The Temptation

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But He answered and said,
‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’
Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’
Jesus said unto him,
‘It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’
Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’
Then saith Jesus unto him,
‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’
Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.”  Matthew 4:1-11  (KJB)

If we will look at the above encounter Jesus had with Satan we could learn much in dealing with temptation.

First of all we need to understand Jesus had gone into the wilderness and was many days without food and water, so in His flesh He was weak. He needed to survive. He longed to survive. When that old devil presented Him with the idea o turning stones to bread it would have been quite the temptation for Jesus to do so; but He did not

Jesus realized and knew that for Him to do so would be making Himself a pawn of the devil, and would be yielding Himself to the will of the serpent. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” was His answer. The word of God must be our main source of sustenance and survival.

Secondly, the devil tempted Jesus with security by tempting Him to throw Himself off the highest point of the temple to prove He was the Son of God. In doing so, again, He would have been submitting to the devil’s snares.

Security is very important to people of all times and stations of life. Jesus told the devil, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” and to do so would be to lose the greatest security ever given to the redeemed.

The last temptation  was one of success and worship. If Jesus would bow down to the devil, then He could have all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus knew that He was going to redeem them unto Himself anyway on the cross some three years later, and He said to the devil these words, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Jesus knew that the only worship He could give is to His father or He could not and would not finish the task the Father gave Him to do.

If Jesus would have yielded to temptation then the world would be lost. When you and I yield to temptation we lose our fellowship with God when we are His children, we lose power with Him, and we lose peace, and feel greatly vexed by our lives.

Let us follow the witness of Jesus’s temptation, and greatly depend on the Holy Spirit and the word of God.

If you do not know Jesus as Your Lord and Savior, then  when you realize you are lost in sin, apart from God, then hear that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you, was buried and He rose again – then call on His name and He will deliver you from sins condemnation. Call on His name today.

 

Jesus Said, ‘Follow Me’

Being A Disciple Of Jesus

Matthew 8:18-22

“Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto Him, Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head. And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow Me; and let the dead bury their dead.” Matthew 8:18-22 (KJV).

ANY DESIRE FOR POPULARITY MUST BE DEALT WITH (v. 18).

* Jesus had no desire for popularity, nor should His disciples.

* The false teachers and preachers love the praises and accolades of crowds they draw by their showmanship, and “Miracles”.

THERE IS NO GUARANTEE FOR MATERIAL SECURITY – NO PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD – NO PROMISE OF COMFORT (vv. 19-20).

* Jesus knows the hearts of all men, and He knew the heart of this scribe, just as He knows yours and mine.

* We never hear of this man again – he is only known and remembered as “A certain scribe”, though as some kind of parable or illustration.

THERE CAN BE NO LINGERING, WAITING FOR YOUR EARTLY INHERITANCE (v. 21).

* Burying his father was not the idea, because his father was not dead, it is the inheritance that was on his mind, and that responsibility.

* We can be faithful disciples of Jesus when we disciple our families into Christ.

* The follower of Jesus Christ taking the responsibility to see that his/her family comes to Christ is the greatest achievement of that disciple.

THE COST FOR BEING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST IS VALUING THE ETERNAL OVER THE TEMPORAL (v. 22).

* If you determine that following Jesus is too costly, then you will lose everything ( “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” Matthew 10:39).

* The life of the follower of Jesus Christ is a crucified life – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Gal 2:20 (KJV).

* It would be more beneficial for the questioning disciple to follow Jesus; for then, there is great possibility that his family will follow too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Security

The Security of The Word – Proverbs 6:1-35

Verses 1 – 5 –  Warning or caution against being the security for anothers debt; or “co-signing” for others.  From the ESV Study notes,

“The main point of the appeal begins in v. 3: save yourself from the whim of the one in debt and plead urgently with him. The point of such pleading is made clear by the comparison to game caught in a trap: focus all your energy and seek to get out of such a situation and thus save yourself (v. 5) from ruin.”

See Proverbs 11:15; 17:18; 20:16;  22:26; and27:13

Verses 6 -11 –  Sloth or laziness is not commended by the wise.  God has created that human kind be the intelligent ones; however the wise can also learn from the creatures of God’s creation.  It should have a humbling affect on us.

If there is a tie between verses 1-5, and verses 6-11; it is in that the “ant” needs no surety from another; but is wise to save for that “rainy day”.

There is no wrong in providing a co-signature for a friend; not so wise in providing one for a stanger; and even more foolish to provide one for a slothful and lazy individual.

See Prov. 10:5;  24:33-34.

Verses 12 – 15 –  The walk of the wicked leads to destruction.  The whole body of the wicked man or woman communicates evil.  His mouth, eyes, feet, and hands [fingers].  It begins in the heart.  Jeremiah the prophet said,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

Prov. 10:10;  16:27;  Psalm 35:19.  See also Matthew 6:31;  12:35.

Verses 16 – 19 –  Seven things which God hates.  These seven things are directly related to the heart of evil.

From the ESV Study notes we read of verse 16,

“This numeric literary device presents a representative rather than exhaustive list (cf. 30:15–16, 18–19, 21–31) that seeks to draw particular attention to the final item as the focus of God’s hatred. It is easy to agree that God hates the first six items; it is also easy to overlook the seventh (v. 19b), and thus the author pulls the reader up short.”

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we find,

“God hates sin; he hates every sin; he can never be reconciled to it; he hates nothing but sin. But there are some sins which he does in a special manner hate; and all those here mentioned are such as are injurious to our neighbour. It is an evidence of the good-will God bears to mankind that those sins are in a special manner provoking to him which are prejudicial to the comfort of human life and society. Therefore the men of Belial must expect their ruin to come suddenly, and without remedy, because their practices are such as the Lord hates and are an abomination to him, v. 16. Those things which God hates it is no thanks to us to hate in others, but we must hate them in ourselves.”

Verses 20 – 35 –  Make the Word of wisdom and of God familiar, that sin be not familiar.  We are told often about the preciousness of the Word of God.  It is valuable.  It is eternal.  It is to be cherished and counted a treasure.

These verses show why.  The words of wisdom from parents, received from Scripture, are eternal gifts to be received and practiced.

See these Scriptures:  Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25;  Psalm 19:7-11;  Psalm 119:9, 11, 89, and 105

-Tim A. Blankenship

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Nine

“Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.” Ezekiel 11:16 (KJV)

In their captivity God is giving His people who are known to have rebellious, hard hearts, a promise of His presence, peace, safety, and security in a foreign land.

What do I want for Christmas today?

There is an absence of the presence of God in many lives, because they do not know Him; I want all to be aware of the presence of God, and His love for you shown on the cross of His Son Jesus where He bled and died, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, coming out alive conquering sin, death, hell and the grave, and gives peace with God, and everlasting life.

 

Trusting the Righteous LORD

“In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in Thy righteousness.” Psalm 31:1 (KJV)

For David trusting the righteous LORD was not even questioned.  In who else, or what else was one to trust?  He knew that you cannot even trust yourself without reservation, or second guessing one’s self.  He knew there was nothing righteous in himself, or anyone else.  He also knew there were times he was ashamed of things which he did; but never the works of GOD, or His acts.

In whom do you trust?  Are trusting that your place of employment is secure?  It is not.  Are you trusting your spouse without reservation?  He/She is human, and can fall and fail just as you can.  I pray you do trust your spouse as we are called to, but not for eternity, and eternal reasons.  Men, you will not get to heaven on the “Train” of your wife’s wedding gown.  Ladies, you will not get to heaven on the strength and faith of your husband.

Because our LORD is a righteous LORD we can trust Him implicitly.  Because the human race is a sinful race we cannot trust God on our own.  He has made a way through the righteousness of His only Son.  He was crucified on a cross for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, and ever lives calling all who will hear to follow Him.  He is our only access to the righteousness of GOD.

Then, we can, with David say, “In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust…”  Trust Him.

Do Not Be Found Out

Has anyone ever stopped to think about the foolishness of idolatry. That is the desire for things, the greed for wealth, the lust for power, and/or the opposite sex; and in some cases of this day the perversion of the same sex. That is, afterall, what idolatry is all about.

We live in an era not dissimilar from Jeremiah’s. The people were living in basic comfort, secure in their wealth, and easy lives. Though, ours is plagued somewhat with fear of terrorism we still go about doing whatever we please; paying the exhorbitant prices for gasoline, and everything going up due to that; yet we purchase, or at least those who can do. Power for more of the things desired.

Hear the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah:

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, saying to a stock, ‘Thou art my father;’ and to a stone, ‘Thou hast brought me forth:’ for they have turned their back unto Me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us.’ But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? Let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.”  Jeremiah 2:26-28 (KJV)

It seems quite clear that the people of Judah have been caught in the practice of idolatry, worshipping other gods, which are not gods at all, but more burdens for the people to carry. Have you ever noticed the junk that we in our society build up and keep in closets, garages, security vaults, magazine racks, and how valuless they really are?

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day they were here being accused of having wood idols, and giving it praise for being their father. Also of telling one made of stone that was their mother. In the worship of other gods, they turned their back on God, denying Him as their birthparent as a nation. By turning their back and not their faces we find a great hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy is that while everything is going good, life is easy and comfortable, they really have no care to remember God, His holy days, nor His Law or His Word. However, when they start hearing about an enemy, or having some other troubles they begin to cry out to the true God for help. God, the LORD, says to that, “Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble;” It is like He is saying to them you have plenty of gods you love and adore more than Me, “Let them help you”. The prophet continues by saying, “For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” You would think that the more gods the better. Right? Wrong.

The one true God is sufficient to meet our every need. In fact there is no other god but the LORD God. The one who loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place.

We continue now to the next two verses:

“Wherefore will ye plead with Me? Ye all have transgressed against Me, saith the LORD. In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.”  Jeremiah 2:29-30 (KJV)

At times when people face catastrophe they tend to recognize that God does exist. When things ease off, and start getting back to normal it is back to the worship of things,getting those desires met, achieving those personal goals at the cost of life, limb, or friendships, or spouses and family. When this happens, some of it is genuine, and some is not. The one’s who are genuine will continue being faithful when the things start being good again. They will hear the voice of the LORD and will obey Him. They do not turn away.

These are the ones whom the LORD will bless. These are the ones whom the LORD has genuinely saved.

These “two faced” people are about as dependable as a flat tire, and no rim with it. The correction of the LORD does no good, accomplishes nothing, and they hate the prophets who tell them the truth for the saving of their souls.

Do not turn your back on God. Do not be a two faced individual who worships God on Sunday, then, through the rest of the week no one will ever know any difference from watching your life, hearing your dirty words, and dirty jokes.  Turn your face toward Jesus Christ, and you will be made just before holy GOD.  When you have given your life to the LORD through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ your life changes, for His glory and your good. You will love the Law, the History of His people, the Wisdom of the sages, and the prophets; both the Major and Minor prophets. You will love God’s Word.  You will desire to please the LORD.  It is not a burden but a pleasure to love the LORD, His Word and the life He gives us.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Corrected By Your Own Sins

In our world today we hear parents saying things like, “I want the best for my children”, or “I will do whatever I can to protect them from harm”, while at the same time let them live in immorality. Even letting the “Make up their own minds concerning morality or religion.” Parents putting their daughters on birth control pills, so they will not get pregnant is one good example of what I refer. Another is the new vaccine which supposedly protects young girls from getting a cancer which can only be contracted by sexual intercourse prematurely. That is another example.

One of the things I have noticed about God is that He does not prevent us from sinning, in most situations. He does let our sin cause us grief and sorrow.

Therefore do parents do their children good by trying to protect them from means that should teach them responsibility.? It is my belief that it is harmful to their eternal well being to try and protect them from the means that could be used to bring them to God, or to become right in fellowship with Him

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled?  The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.  Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.  Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor; or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”  Jeremiah 2:14-19 (KJV)

God is not as concerned for our physical health or wealth as He is our holiness. He despises sin and wickedness. He despises even more His own people turning away from Him. When we look to other means for safety, such as the people in the prophet’s day were doing in “Take(ing) the road to Egypt…” and “…the road to Assyria” we have turned from the Lord our God.

God is greatly grieved when His own people turn from Him to serve other gods, which are not gods, but only stone, wood, metal, or flesh. Why would the people of God do such a thing? One of the things that was prevalent in Jeremiah’s day was they had grown comfortable, wealthy, fat, and satisfied with themselves. They had the attitude, “We can never fall. We are a God blessed nation. We have the temple of God, and He will never let anything happen to it”.

I look around our Nation today, and I see much of that same attitude. Even though there is the imminent threat of terrorists infusion, bombings, and destruction we still are not trusting our Lord. We have placed more confidence in our economy, our bank account, our government, but where is our faith in God?

Since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 we have been under the merciful hand of God. Our Nation has not been attacked within our borders since that time. Is that because of our great government, our President, our wonderful Congress, and Senate? No way. It is due to the mercy and grace of God. However, that mercy and grace protecting us from terrorists attack will be removed. It has been the hand of God. He has been calling us back to Himself, and giving time for others to come to Him. That time may soon be over, then we will see the worst of terrorism.

Our own wickedness, our own backslidings will correct us. God gave a message to the two and one half tribes of Israel who were to settle on the East side of Jordan. After telling they they were to go and give aid to their brethren who were going to settle on the West side, He said through Moses,

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”  Numbers 32:23 (KJV)

If your life is filled with fear; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are trusting in things, or government for security; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are looking to any thing other than to God; your own sins will correct you. If you are His He will make you holy, and He will do whatever it takes to make you so.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Is God Missing In Your Life?

The Word of the LORD is important to the prophet of God. Without the Word he has no message. No message of any importance anyway. The most important message the people need is that of what God says.

It is sad when we hear news reports of missing people. Here, of late, we have heard especially of young women, wives, and mothers missing. Some of them end up being found dead. No one enjoys hearing of a missing individual, but how would we feel if God were missing? Would we even notice?

For the second time in the second chapter of Jeremiah we have a “Thus says the LORD…” (vv. 2, 5). Jeremiah realized that since God had called him to be a prophet, and not just a prophet of men, but a prophet to proclaim only the Word of the LORD, with promise of protection, keeping, and power in the words He would proclaim (1:17-19).

In verses two and three God reminds them of their early faith, and holiness. Now the prophet addresses, at God’s direction, their forsaking God. They had gotten to a state of comfort, which led to a lethargic, complacent mindset, and then, completely turned their backs on God.

Hear the Word of the LORD:

“Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel.” Jeremiah 2:4 (KJV).

There seems to be a message of warning in this phrase alone. The name “Jacob” was a name of self-dependence; of one’s using their own methods to accomplish their own ends. Jacob had trusted the LORD God, and God changed his name to Israel. “Jacob” actually meaning ‘Heel catcher’ because he had a handhold on Esau’s foot when they were born. “Israel” meaning ‘Prince of God’, or ‘He struggles with God’. (NOTE: You can find this history in Genesis 32:22-32). So in addressing them as “House of Jacob” could it be that the LORD, through the prophet, is reminding them from whence they came; that they have forgotten their faith?

 “Thus saith the LORD, ‘What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Neither said they, ‘Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?  And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made Mine heritage an abomination. The priests said not, ‘Where is the LORD? And they that handle the law knew Me not: the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.'”  Jeremiah 2:4-8 (KJV)

Easy living, comfort, the fatness of the land, or a good economy, are some of the things that lure people away from faith, and trust in the LORD God. It can happen so easily. For a Christian today it starts by neglecting your daily quiet time with the Lord. It continues as you neglect your prayer life. The next thing you know you missed a Sunday morning worship gathering due to being up too late Saturday night – you were out with friends, went to a movie, or just did not take an initiative to be in bed to get to church as usual. It really does not take much effort for a child of God to get away from godly practice.

The worship of Baal can be as simple as seeing other things as more important than that personal quiet time with God. Be careful. Be careful to maintain that quiet time, that special time you have with the Lord Jesus each and every morning. In this quiet time you receive strength, and encouragement for the day. You may not think so at the time, but that strength will be there as you need it.

When we start neglecting that personal time with God, the next thing to go will be our worship of God, and fellowship with other believers. The house you live in, the boat, and going to the lake for water skiing or fishing begins taking the place of God, fellowship with Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ. When this happens; you have become a modern day Idol worshiper. Just a thought – is an idle worshiper and Idol worshiper? My answer to that is YES!!!

The prophet Jeremiah reminds the recipients of this message of the work the LORD has done for the Nation (vv. 6-7). God had indeed brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness, where no one lived. Though it is not mentioned, per se’, He also provided them with water from the Rock. He is our Water in a dry and thirsty land where no water is (Psalm 63:1).

Twice it is mentioned in this text; the question, “Where is the LORD?” First it was the “fathers” (v. 6), then it is the priests (v. 7). They were not even missing the presence of the LORD. Why would you ask, if you do not even notice that God is missing from your “worship”.  The LORD has come and dwelt among His people.  He went to the cross and died for our sins in the Person of His Son Jesus the Christ.  He was buried carrying all our sin, our guilt, our shame, our condemnation away; then He arose bodily from the grave, and is now seated at the Father’s right hand always interceding for all who will come to Him.

The one’s who saw to the keeping of the scrolls of the law were doing it, and not even knowing the Person of the Law. The Living Word of God appeared to these in His day, they saw His works, they heard His teachings and testimony, and they still rejected Him. They did not know what they had been copying. It was just a job, a task to perform and keep them busy. Something upon which to boasts.

The rulers turned their back on the LORD. They had grown to despise the true prophets of God and chosen the false prophets of men, ie., Baal. That way they heard only what they wanted to hear. There is no profit in the false words of the profit [prophet] makers.

Is God missing in your worship, or have you even noticed?  He is as close as His name.  Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Fighting, The Spiritual Warfare

Let me give a disclaimer on the matter of “Spiritual warfare”.  I do not, nor will not claim to be an authority, or even very knowledgeable on the matter of the battle which we as Christians must fight everyday if we are to maintain a proper fellowship with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ.

I do believe Jesus taught us by example how to wage this war against the legions of Hell and their Desperator.  Since he is the agent of despair, doubt, and fear; and a theif, a murderer, and destroyer I believe the name “Desperator” would fit, though I cannot find this term used in a dictionary.  Maybe a new word?  Meaning the chief one who causes despair.  My focus is not, however, upon him, but rather upon the One who brought about his defeat.

The example of Jesus’s battle with the devil begins with,

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred.  And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’  But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’  Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’  Jesus said unto him, ‘It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’   Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’  Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’  Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.”  Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV)

Upon reading the passage from Matthew’s gospel we see that in Jesus’s weakness following a 40 day 40 night fast the  devil confronts Jesus concerning His identity and person.  I heard one preacher put it like this; “In the first temptation the devil attempts to get to His desire for SURVIVAL; in the second he attempts to get to His desire for SECURITY;  in the third and final temptation he attempts to get at his desire for SUCCESS.  These are seen in each of these temptations.

They are also relevant in light of the temptations which John the apostle mentions…

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  1 John 2:16

and we find these also in the Garden of Eden as Eve is being tempted of the devil through the serpent.

For the Christian to grow more into the image of Christ Jesus we must be knowledgeable of the Word of God; live by it; make it our life daily; ruminate upon it.  In short “Hear, trust, and obey”.

Satan, the devil questions the Sonship of Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…”, then tells him to turn stones into bread to prove it; using the “lust of the flesh” and the need of SURVIVAL,  and Jesus responds with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3).  Then the devil assaults Jesus with a temptation of SECURITY, or “the lust of the eyes”, even using Scripture himself, and once again Jesus quells the temptation with Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:16).  At the final temptation the devil uses SUCCESS, or “the pride of life” in offering Jesus the world; with that again Jesus goes to Scripture, and puts the temptation back on the devil from whence it came (Deuteronomy 6:13).

We can learn from this event in the life of Jesus that there are three basic temptations the devil will hurl at us.  There are are many sins in this world; but all of them are connected to the three.  Jesus gives us a lesson on how to overcome the temptations of the devil.  We must be in the Scriptures – both the Old and New Testaments.  Remember, the only Bible that Jesus had, and the only Bible the apostles had was the Old Testament; and after the establishment of the Church, then the New Testament.

Without one or both of them we will be defenseless against the evil one.  Paul the apostle gives us good advice in Spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-20.  I am fearful that we Christians; at least far too many of us have “Walked into the enemies camp, and laid our weapons down”; and to our peril.

Let’s take them up again; beginning with the Word of God, and making it our Word from God daily.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unsecured Testimony

Not every one that saith unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?’  And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)

Sad to say that there are many who call themselves “Christian” calling Him “Lord, Lord”, but are not known by Him.  Our security rest in His knowing us

-T.A.

Day 60 – Knowing the LORD God

Reading the prophecy of Ezekiel can lead a person to only one good conclusion, and that is that GOD wants people to know Him.  Some of the reading sounds harsh, deadly, and judgmental; however we are speaking of our Creator; and who are we to question how He works.  Can the clay say to the potter, “You don’t know what you are doing”.  Not at all.  The God of creation has one thing in mind, and that is the glory of His name; and He will accomplish what He has started to do – that the people of the earth know Him.

My reading this morning was Ezekiel 24 – 37.  I have mentioned it in passing, but today I will spend some time with the phrase, “…Know that I am the LORD”.  In looking at this phrase and its use in Ezekiel we find it at least 24 times in today’s reading.  I will only give you a few of those references.

First in today’s reading I read these words being spoken to Israel of Ezekiel’s service,

“Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:24 (KJV)

Ezekiel’s wife had died.  He was not to weep or mourn publicly because of her death.  By this Ezekiel was a sign for Israel and their captivity; no time for grief and mourning over the dead.  The second time in my reading this morning is in verse 27,

“In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.” 24:27

Previously, Ezekiel had been unable to speak, but now the LORD was going to open his mouth, and he would speak, and by this the people would know that Jehovah/YHWH is the LORD.  Remember the LORD is proper and just, Righteous, and holy and can do how He pleases to bring people to the one conclusion the human race needs to know; and that is that He is the LORD.

“And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  25:11

The LORD of hosts speaks these words through Ezekiel and to other people; not just to Israel.  He desires the nations to know Him.  He desires Moab to know that He is the LORD.  One day at the final day of judgment the world will know that He is the LORD.  That however does not mean, that all will be with Him in His glory.

To the land of Tyre [Tyrus] God says,

“And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.  It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.  And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  26:4-6

Many an arrogant nation have exalted themselves over what GOD had for them.  Many of these nations will be removed from the earth, their lands left desolate; and never restored.  It is to the king of Tyrus that we find him to be filled with the evil of Satan himself (28:12-15).

The Nile River is a very important river in Egypt.  However the nation’s leader had exalted himself to the point of being Egypt’s god, claiming to have made the river himself and it being his river.  To this arrogance the Lord says, through the prophet,

“And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.”  29:9

God is especially grieved when His people; the one’s He has chosen to be His light, and the glory of His name; when we turn our backs on Him to other gods [idols made by the minds and hands of men in their own images].  This was the guilt of Judah and Israel. God says to Israel again,

“For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.   Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.”  33:28-29

God will not leave His people without judgment.  In fact He will judge His people first and foremost.  The arrogance of Israel was so bad, so gross they had been secure in the temple, also made by the hands of men; in thinking and saying, “God will never destroy this nation, or this temple.  It is the Temple of  the LORD”.  They found out differently.  God is more involved and careful that we might know Him, than He is in our security, survival or success.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.  As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  36:37-38

God will not leave His people without hope.  In their captivity He continually reminds them of their return to the land.  It will of course be after the land has been restored its sabbaths lost by the years of neglect of sabbaths by her  people.  A final promise I want to leave with you is that,

“And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and My servant David shall be their prince for ever.”  37:24-25

“David My servant” is none other than the King of kings, born in Bethlehem, died on a cross in Jerusalem, buried, and bodily raised from the dead; justifying all who will believe in Him.  The world will know that Jesus Chirst is LORD.  Bow now; or bow later.  It is your choice.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 57 – The King, Whose Name is the LORD of Hosts

The reading of the prophecy of Jeremiah can be a difficult read; and even difficult to write about; especially if you focus on the judgment part of the prophecy.  Jeremiah lived through much of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, Judah and Israel.  He also wrote many promises of God.

My reading today was Jeremiah 38 – 52 finishing up this portion of the prophecy of Jeremiah.  I say this portion, because we have Lamentations to read yet, which is part of his prophecy.

“As I live,’ saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, ‘Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.'” Jeremiah 46:18 (KJV)

One of the things I learn as I read the Bible, and that I am reminded of everyday is that God is the Supreme Ruler over the earth.  The phrase in the verse above, “…the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts” is used in two other verses in today’s reading – 48:15 and 51:57.

The LORD of hosts is King of every nation, tribe and tongue, and His will will be done.  His name will be glorified.  Egypt of the above verse was prideful.  The remnant of Judah who had been left behind by Nebuchadnezzar, had asked Jeremiah to seek the LORD and they would follow His guidance about what they were to do.  They were to stay in the land of promise; yet they disobeyed the LORD, and chose to go into Egypt seeking security from Babylon.  They would, instead of finding security, find themselves a part of another captivity, because Babylon was going to come to Egypt conquering them.  He is the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

In the second verse the word is against Moab,

“Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.” 48:15

Moab, thinking themselves strong, mighty, and secure would fall by the “King, whose name is the LORD of hosts”.  Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Bozrah, Edom, and even Babylon would fall by the decree of the King; “the King whose name is the LORD of hosts”

No king or president or senator or congressman or any leader can stand long against the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.  He is the King of kings, and the LORD of lords.  One day every tribe, tongue and nation will bow before Him.  The One whose name is above every name.  The One to which every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 39 – Thoughts from Psalms; Wings

Men have thought of flying for all times and generations.  We have watched the birds of the air, and wondered what it would be like to fly through the air and the skies.  Of course in the age we live now there is not too many people who have not experienced flight within the confines of a passenger plane or an airplane of some sort or other.  Some have flown on hang gliders, using air currents to stay up in the air, and those who are good at it can stay up for as long as they want or until they get too tired to continue.

Well this is not supposed to be about flying, but about “Wings”.  The shelter which our God provides us is often likened to wings and we see plenty of evidence of that in the Psalms.  My reading today was Psalms 52 – 65, and within those 14 chapters the word “Wings” is mentioned four times.

The first of the day is Psalm 55:6,

“And I said, ‘Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.'” Psalm 55:6 (KJV)

Now, when we think of a “dove” we think of the symbol of peace.  The psalmist is thinking of a peaceful flight to get away from his enemies who were oppressing him.  He wanted peace, and the first thought was having the “wings like a dove” who would find no rest except in the ark of God (Genesis 8:6-12).  David’s thought must have been that the wings of a dove to fly away could only find rest in the hands of our faithful Creator.

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” 57:1

Of this verse, particularly the latter part, Charles Spurgeon wrote,

“‘Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge.’ Not in the cave alone would he hide, but in the cleft of the Rock of ages. As the little birds find ample shelter beneath the parental wing, even so would the fugitive place himself beneath the secure protection of the divine power. The emblem is delightfully familiar and suggestive. May we all experimentally know its meaning. When we cannot see the sunshine of God’s face, it is blessed to cower down beneath the shadow of his wings. ‘Until these calamities be overpast.’ Evil will pass away, and the eternal wings will abide over us till then. Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time, but our safety is a matter of eternity. When we are under the divine shadow, the passing over of trouble cannot harm us; the hawk flies across the sky, but this is no evil to the chicks when they are safely nestling beneath the hen.”  From THE TREASURY OF DAVID by Charles H. Spurgeon

When we write about “Wings” one of my first thoughts was where Jesus says,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”  Matthew 23:37

A mother hen protects her young by calling them under her wings.  She protects them there from rain, or predators.  Of course as we contemplate the matter of God having wings we do need to understand that these are speaking metaphorically, at least as far as we know.  We can and do know that the LORD desires to protect and help those who trust in Him.  We can know too, that even when the wrath of God is in open display we can be sheltered beneath those “Wings” for all time and eternity.  Nothing can touch or harm us except that that the LORD Himself allows under His wings.

God’s “Wings” are as a “hiding place” as we read the psalmist say,

 “I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah.”   61:4

The place of safety, security, and for hiding from the enemy is under these mighty wings of the Almighty.  We are not to flee from the enemy, but let us face the truth, there are times we get tired in the battle, we need to hide, we need to get away, pray, seek the face of God, and recuperate.  There is no other place for the child of God, the Christian to be than in “The covert of Thy wings”.

“Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” 63:7

Our place of rejoicing is in the shadow of His wings.  He stands between us and the world.  He stands between us and all harm that could come to us.  In being between us and the harm and danger His wings form a shadow of light from the darkness of the  world outside.

You may find this peace, this place of safety, this place of rejoicing only when you come to the One who took your place on Calvary’s cross, died for your sins, was buried, and was raised bodily from the grave after three days, and now He lives.  Because He lives you too can live eternally with Him.  Believe Him, trust Him and be saved today.

Christian, if you are fearful, struggling with problems in this life, and who is not; then you can flee to His sheltering “Wings” and rest from the battle, renew your strength, then be strong for the battle ahead.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Can a Christian Lose Salvation?

I couldn’t have said it any better myself so I give you this from “GotQuestions.org”.

Question: “Can a Christian lose salvation?”

Answer: Before this question is answered, the term “Christian” must be defined. A “Christian” is not a person who has said a prayer, or walked down an aisle, or been raised in a Christian family. While each of these things can be a part of the Christian experience, they are not what “makes” a Christian. A Christian is a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

So, with this definition in mind, can a Christian lose salvation? Perhaps the best way to answer this crucially important question is to examine what the Bible says occurs at salvation, and to study what losing salvation would therefore entail. Here are a few examples:

A Christian is a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This verse speaks of a person becoming an entirely new creature as a result of being “in Christ.” For a Christian to lose salvation, the new creation would have to be canceled and reversed.

A Christian is redeemed. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The word “redeemed” refers to a purchase being made, a price being paid. For a Christian to lose salvation, God Himself would have to revoke His purchase that He paid for with the precious blood of Christ.

A Christian is justified. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.

A Christian is promised eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Eternal life is a promise of eternity (forever) in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to lose salvation, eternal life would have to be taken away. If a Christian is promised to live forever, how then can God break this promise by taking away eternal life?

A Christian is guaranteed glorification. “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). As we learned in Romans 5:1, justification is declared at the moment of faith. According to Romans 8:30, glorification is guaranteed for all those whom God justifies. Glorification refers to a Christian receiving a perfect resurrection body in heaven. If a Christian can lose salvation, then Romans 8:30 is in error, because God could not guarantee glorification for all those whom He predestines, calls, and justifies.

Many more illustrations of what occurs at salvation could be shared. Even these few make it abundantly clear that a Christian cannot lose salvation. Most, if not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation cannot be reversed. A Christian cannot be un-newly created. Redemption cannot be undone. Eternal life cannot be lost and still be considered eternal. If a Christian can lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and change His mind—two things that Scripture tells us God never does.

The most frequent objections to the belief that a Christian cannot lose salvation are 1) What about those who are Christians and continually live an immoral lifestyle? 2) What about those who are Christians but later reject the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these two objections is the phrase “who are Christians.” The Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a continually immoral lifestyle (1 John 3:6). The Bible declares that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he never truly was a Christian (1 John 2:19). Therefore, neither objection is valid. Christians do not continually live immoral lifestyles, nor do they reject the faith and deny Christ. Such actions are proof that they were never redeemed.

No, a Christian cannot lose salvation. Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28-29). God is both willing and able to guarantee and maintain the salvation He has given us. Jude 24-25, “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

Recommended Resource: Eternal Security by Charles Stanley.

-posted by T.A.

I Kept Them In Thy Name

This prayer of Jesus’s  is the most beautiful and majestic of Scriptures.  It must be because it is prayed by our Maker.

Jesus continues praying as though He has finished the task for which He came to do, and that was always to do the Father’s will, and all the way to the cross of His death.  He prays,

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12 (KJV)

Jesus’s prayer is as though His work is finished; past tense.  “While I was with them”, and He has not gone to the cross yet.  He prays as though it was already done.  The gift of salvation, grace, mercy, is as good as finished, because He asked for it.  He has kept and will keep.

There is one exception.  One has been lost, and that is the “son of perdition” – the son of wickedness; the son of the devil.  And, this was so that Scripture might be fulfilled.

You and I can rest assured today that all Scripture either has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled concerning you and me.  We need never fear that anything will ever take us out of the Father’s hands, when we are  in the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, ie., His death, burial and resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Keep Through Thine Own Name

Jesus continuing His Priestly prayer for His disciples, prays…

“…And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee.  Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are.”  John 17:11 (KJV).

Jesus is nearing the time that He will lay His own life down as the sacrifice for our sin.  This prayer is assured to be the prayer of God, the prayer God is guaranteed to hear, the prayer the Father will answer.  Why wouldn’t the Father hear His own Son’s prayer.  He is God’s High Priest.  He is the Priest of all priests.  He has obeyed His Father’s will and His Word in all things; even to the death of the cross.

Jesus’s saying “…I am no more in the world…” shows that He has already committed Himself to the cross of His death.  He considers Himself to be already dead, the work already as good as done.  Fully recognizing that the disciples are still “…in the world”, by our flesh.

Let us not believe that when He was praying for “…these”, that He is praying solely for those present day disciples.  NO! NO!  He was praying for all the disciples who would ever follow Him.  He is praying for you all who are in the faith of Jesus.  For all who would ever hear His call, “Come follow Me”.

Notice Jesus prayer in this one verse.  “…Keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me…”.  How can one who is God’s child, one who trusts in Jesus ever leave Him.  In order to do so they would have to make Jesus’s prayer null and void.  That will never be done.  In the faith of Jesus we are kept by the power of the Father’s own name.

Blessed be the name or our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Secure The Documents

The prophecy of Isaiah has been strong. The people who have heard his preaching of these prophetic words of judgment coming are calling him a leader of conspiracy. In fact in conspiring against his own people and nation.

He has told them of one coming who would be a sanctuary and a “Stone of offense and a Rock of stumbling”, in fact “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem”. Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone who we are told in the New Testament is that Stone of offense and Rock of stumbling, are warned not to let that Rock fall on us, by Jesus Himself (Matthew 21:42-44; Mark 12:10). This is the stone also of which Daniel the prophet would describe coming down out of heaven, and in the kings dream –

 “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold–the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” Daniel 2:45 (NKJV); (Also see verses 34-35ff).

The responsibility of keeping these prophecies – writings were those disciples who were following Isaiah, and writing down what he preached (8:2). To “Bind up the testimony” is to secure them for future acknowledgement of the events which the prophet foretold. They have been kept secure now for over 2,700 years. That is in fact what we are reading today.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.  And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” Isaiah 8:16-17 (KJV)

The prophet is secure in the preaching of the LORD’s message. The prophet would not see the invasion of the invading forces of Babylon. The word of the LORD which he had spoken, and his disciples who believed the message would have it to show and prove to those who were living at that time that it was foretold.

When we read the words, “Hiding his face” it means in judgment, or shame, or maybe both. God is not looking on “Jacob” in favor is its implication.

Isaiah the prophet will “Wait for the LORD’ and ‘hope in Him”. The confidence of Isaiah is wonderful. He may be tried beyond understanding, and normal patience; but no matter what his faith in God will see him through. We see the nation we live in crumbling morally, and economically around us; when we see the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ watered down with “Feel good” messages, and messages of prosperity and health, without our suffering with Christ; we too have the faith to look to the LORD, and “Wait for the LORD” of heaven to come in all His glory and power, and to put all things under His feet. Let us pray that He is not hiding His face from His people today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

In The Father’s Hand

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30 (KJV)

When you are known by the Good Shepherd, and you know Him; you are known and secured by the hand of the Father.

-T.A.

The LORD On His Throne

Sometimes kings and presidents are loved and admired by many and hated and despised by many more. As a matter of fact that is the way it is most of the time. When you have a political leader who does not push for moral issues and what is right, but is rather loose on these things, then you have many who believe these things do not matter; being flamboyantly for him. The man who stands for right and what he believes in will have the support and backing of those who believe courage stands for something, they believe the leader is going as his heart for God, righteousness, justice, and love leads him.

That is the way Isaiah seems to have viewed king Uzziah. Uzziah was a godly king who had grieved God by going into the temple and burning “incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:16b). Because of this grievous sin, God placed the judgment of leprosy upon him for the rest of his life (2 Chronicles 26:21). You can see that the Scriptures says, “…He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…” (26:4). Though, he had sinned in this one thing of offering the incense, when it was not his place to do so; Isaiah still mourns his death.

Whether Isaiah’s call is before or after the first five chapters could be important. I personally believe that having seen, and having wrote what is written in those first five chapters, he hears the voice of God ever so clearly, and knows without a doubt that he has God’s call to go to God’s people with God’s Word. It comes at a time of tragedy for the Nation. The king has died. Any time the chief leader of a nation dies, or is sick or wounded, the nation grieves; at least in most cases. On March 31, 1981 (I think this is the correct day and year) President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded by John Hinckley. I can remember thinking, “That’s terrible. How could someone do anything like that?” The Nation was on its knees, and I believe we were mourning. It should have been an eye-opening experience.

Here are the words of Isaiah:

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.“ Isaiah 6:1-3 (KJV)

Isaiah had a burden for his people. He had a burden for God’s people to get back to God, get right with God and then live in the glory of God.

Many of us can see the problems of our nation and the world, but we have not yet caught a vision of God that drives us to our knees, and helps us see God for who He is. He is the exalted One, the Holy One – thrice holy One; He is the Glorious One, and without Him we have no glory. We need to see that it is God who is on the throne. It is He who rules, and has everything under control – His control for His plan, not yours and mine. He is the one who sees the BIG PICTURE. Since the angels, seraphim recognize Him as holy, holy, holy we need to do so as well.

Have we sacrificed holiness for democracy, safety, health, security, and celebration?

Bow on your knees and cry HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preserved, Called and Sanctified

“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preseved in Jesus Christ.” Jude 1 (NKJV).

 

Jude was a half brother of the Lord Jesus. Mary was his mother, and Joseph his father. Jude does not, now even consider himself to be worthy of calling himself “the Lord’s brother”; because he had at first rejected Jesus (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; John 7:5). He instead, calls himself the “brother of James” who also is a half-brother of Jesus. That is the James who wrote the Bible book of James. Jude did not believe until after Jesus had risen from the grave.

Notice to whom this letter is written. To “those who are called”. The called are those to whom the Father has saved by His grace. This is not speaking of an invitation, but an already chosen people who have been delivered from their sins, by faith in the Perfect One who died for the sins of the world.

The called are also one’s who are “sanctified”, set apart, beloved, and continually growing in the faith of Christ Jesus. These are also “preserved” which means kept by the hands of the one who called them. And, He keeps them from falling.

To make it even clearer. The called of God are secure, safe, and set apart for all eternity, and nothing shall be able to take you from the Father’s hands. NOTHING. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Saved, secure, forever; held in the Father’s hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

A Coming Invasion

Fallow ground, hardened hearts, idolatrous worship, hypocrisy, and judgment seem to go together. It begins with turning of the heart away from God. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened”, so writes the apostle Paul (Romans 1:21). Sad to say, but even a professing child of God can turn away from God, have a hardened heart, get into idolatrous worship, hypocrisy, and the ultimate end is judgment.

The prophet Jeremiah was dealing with a people of God who thought they had it all made. They were secure. Their security was in false messages of hope and goodness of the people. It was in their temple, and God would never allow anything to happen to the temple (7:4, 8-11). They had listened to the false prophets saying, “There will be peace in the land” (4:10), and one false prophet refused, and mocked the word which the LORD had spoken through Jeremiah saying, “The captives won’t be in captive for seventy years, but only two.” (Chapter 28). Like the rest of the lying prophets they meet God on His terms; and pay a tremendous price; their eternal souls.

Because of the idolatry, hard heartedness, along with hypocrisy and pretense God was sending an army from the North to invade, conquer, and take captive those who were refusing the Word of the LORD. Jeremiah is calling them to come together.

“Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say: ‘Blow the trumpet in the land;’ Cry, ‘Gather together,’ and say, ‘Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities.’ Set up the standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, and great destruction” Jeremiah 4:5-6 (NKJV)

This message from the LORD is not one of, “Let’s wait and see”, but rather “Gather them together now”. It is almost like this was to be and would be their final opportunity to repent, and turn to the LORD with all their hearts. The call was to come by way of the sound of the trumpet; “Blow the trumpet in the land…”. The trumpet was to be sounded by the watchmen on the walls of the city. Jeremiah was a prophet of God. He spoke the message of God, though many refused to listen and hear it, because of the soothing, comfortable, easy, lethargic messages of the false prophets. The warning of coming judgment has been given. The time of repentance is before the enemy comes.

This “Cry” was for the purpose of calling people who lived outside the walls of the city, and giving them time to get to safety. From a spiritual and practical point of view it also gives them time to think about their behavior, their sins, and get right with God.

With many Christians of our modern day (2008 ) we have no “walls” where we can flee. Many people have storm shelters to which they can flee from violent storms here in the United States, and maybe as they are heading to the shelter they should be thinking about getting things right with God. We need Christians who do not just profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior with their lips, but also by the way we live our lives. Our lives should be a clear reflection of Jesus Christ. We have people walking around today professing they are Christians, when it is comfortable for them to do so; and when its not comfortable to do so, then you could not tell the difference between them and the world.

The warning of “Blow the trumpet…”Cry, ‘Gather together” is one of great urgency. Jeremiah sees it as already taking place. He would live to see many taken captive to Babylon, but he himself was not taken there. The city was their place of “refuge”, and it was not the LORD. Despite the fact that they had the temple; despite the fact that they were known as “the people of God”; despite the fact they had the ark of the covenant; God was sending judgment upon Judah and Israel.

There is no security for the individual whose security is in things; such as walls and temples, even professions, and confessions, and not in God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

What Is Legalism???

Just What is Legalism???

There are charges of “Legalism” being shouted, proclaimed, printed in meetings, in comments, and by email and other means. It seems to me, at least in some cases, that these charges are brought by those who are defending their own actions and/or the actions of others. The charge often cried against those who propose Biblical support for abstaining from alcoholic beverage, or gambling, and other things is, “That is legalism”. The charge says, if you espouse abstinence, then you are binding.

Is this charge accurate? There is a verse of Scripture in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus tells us, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” Mark 2:27 (NKJV). Jesus Himself had been accused of breaking the law of the Sabbath. He and His disciples had walked through grain fields and as they walked they plucked hands full of grain, rubbing it in their hands, thus, threshing it, then eating it; and being charged with laboring on the Sabbath day, breaking the law.

These accusers had taken the “Commandment of God” and added their “commandments of men”, making it a law that binds rather than protecting. They would charge Jesus many more times as well with breaking the Sabbath, because He healed on the Sabbath day. The Law was given for protection and good, not for keeping us from doing the good and right.

If we were looking at the Ten Commandments we could see that each of them are for the purpose of pointing us toward loving God and loving one another. Not one is binding. They protect and give respect to God and others, thus back to ourselves.

The first four are for the protection of the worth of God to be worshipped, and in keeping them, keep us from eternal death. The final six are for the protection of respect for one another, our relationships, our word, and our property. (Let me make it quite clear right here, We have not, nor cannot keep these laws in our flesh. Jesus died and fulfilled these laws, thus we obey them through Him.) These laws were meant to keep us from wronging God, and wronging our fellowman. When we are not at peace with God, we will not be at peace with our fellow man. When we are not at peace with our fellow man, we are probably not at peace with God. We must first have peace with God and the peace of God.

For the accusers of Jesus to accuse Him and His disciples was an act of self-righteousness, and could be called “Legalism”. If legalism is adding to the law of God, then, this was a case of legalism. There is, however, one thing for sure, and that is; adding to the Word of God is a death sentence (See Revelation 22:18-19).

Jesus’s words to His accusers puts a new focus on the whole law. His principles for living in His kingdom (Matthew 5-7) are much more eye opening than are the Ten Commandments. Will you accuse Jesus of “Legalism” because He says, “…whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28 NKJV)? I would dare to think not. I do not think that anyone would be foolish enough to even accuse Him of adding to the Word. That would be a foolish accusation anyway, because the Word was not yet complete, and He is the Word.

One of the arguments in charging legalism is, “If it is not named in Scripture, then we cannot call it sin; when we call it sin, that is legalism”. I think most who read this will agree that there are actions committed not named in Scripture which are clearly sinful. For example, the matter of pornography. Is that not a sinful behavior? Is it not sinful whether you produce it, practice it or view it? You answer. I have not seen this behavior mentioned anywhere in the Bible, yet I have no problem calling it immoral, sinful, behavior. The Bible does tell us, “Abstain from every form of evil” 1 Thessalonians 5:22. That includes a multitude of sins which are not named in Scripture – “Every form of evil”.

Just what is legalism? Legalism is the taking of grace and adding works to it for the basis of our salvation and/or the keeping of our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Grace and faith are the gift of God, not of works, lest we should be boastful, and steal the glory of God for ourselves.

When a group makes requirement for salvation to be grace, faith, and sacraments – that is legalism. When denomination requires grace, faith, and baptism for salvation – that is legalism. When someone requires grace, faith and abstaining from certain practices; such as gambling, drinking alcoholic beverage, or pornography, etc. for salvation – that is legalism. It is the adding to of grace in salvation that determines legalism.

To present these things of abstinence for sanctification, and holiness in Christian living has only to do with one’s growth in Christ Jesus, and protection from harm; not condemnation.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Don’t Be Found Out

Don’t Be Found Out

Has anyone ever stopped to think about the foolishness of idolatry. That is the desire for things, the greed for wealth, the lust for power, and/or the opposite sex; and in some cases of this day the perversion of the same sex. That is, afterall, what idolatry is all about.

We live in an era not dissimilar from Jeremiah’s. The people were living in basic comfort, secure in their wealth, and easy lives. Though, ours is plagued somewhat with fear of terrorism we still go about doing whatever we please; paying the exhorbitant prices for gasoline, and everything going up due to that; yet we purchase, or at least those who can do. Power for more of the things desired.

Hear the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah:

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found out, so is the house of Israel ashamed; They and their kings and their princes, and their priests and their prophets, Saying to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ And to a stone, ‘You gave birth to me.’ For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble They will say, ‘Arise and save us.’ But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” Jeremiah 2:26-28 (NKJV).

It seems quite clear that the people of Judah have been caught in the practice of idolatry, worshipping other gods, which are not gods at all, but more burdens for the people to carry. Have you ever noticed the junk that we in our society build up and keep in closets, garages, security vaults, magazine racks, and how valuless they really are?

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day they were here being accused of having wood idols, and giving it praise for being their father. Also of telling one made of stone that was their mother. In the worship of other gods, they turned their back on God, denying Him as their birthparent as a nation. By turning their back and not their faces we find a great hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy is that while everything is going good, life is easy and comfortable, they really have no care to remember God, His holy days, nor His Law or His Word. However, when they start hearing about an enemy, or having some other troubles they begin to cry out to the true God for help. God, the LORD, says to that, “Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble;” It is like He is saying to them you have plenty of gods you love and adore more than Me, “Let them help you”. The prophet continues by saying, “For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” You would think that the more gods the better. Right? Wrong.

The one true God is sufficient to meet our every need. In fact there is no other god but the LORD God. The one who loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place.

We continue now to the next two verses:

“Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,’ says the LORD. ‘In vain I have chastened your children; They received no correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion.'” Jeremiah 2:29-30 (NKJV).

At times when people face catastrophe they tend to recognize that God does exist. When things ease off, and start getting back to normal it is back to the worship of things,getting those desires met, achieving those personal goals at the cost of life, limb, or friendships, or spouses and family. When this happens, some of it is genuine, and some is not. The one’s who are genuine will continue being faithful when the things start being good again. They will hear the voice of the LORD and will obey Him. They do not turn away.

These are the ones whom the LORD will bless. These are the ones whom the LORD has genuinely saved.

These “two faced” people are about as dependable as a flat tire, and no rim with it. The correction of the LORD does no good, accomplishes nothing, and they hate the prophets who tell them the truth for the saving of their souls.

Don’t turn your back on God. Don’t be a two faced individual who worships God on Sunday, then, through the rest of the week no one will ever know any difference from watching your life, hearing your dirty words, and dirty jokes. When you have given your life to the LORD through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ your life changes, for His glory and your good. You will love the Law, the History of His people, the Wisdom of the sages, and the prophets; both the Major and Minor prophets. You will love God’s Word.  You will desire to please the LORD.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Invitation From Jesus

The King’s Personal Invitation

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30 (KJV)

After pronouncing “Woe” on three cities Jesus extends an invitation. One of the things that people will answer in most lands ruled by a monarchy is an invitation from the king. If one refuses to answer the kings invitation they are expressing pride, and dishonoring the king. In such a case the king would not look very favorably upon such a person or his household.

There are some prerequisites of the King’s invitation. First of all you must be humble as a child (vv. 25-26). King Jesus is thankful that the prideful are blind to the truth. These are full of pride (the scribes and Pharisees), because of their knowledge and personal works. God is not delighted with sacrifice at the expense of a broken and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17). Children are humble and dependent. This shows us that God is sovereign and that the power of salvation is solely His. He hides His truth from the prideful, ie. prideful in their education, their works, thinking that they have achieved these things, and God owes them for their efforts and accomplishments. God reveals the truths to those who are humble, and know they receive what they receive by God’s mercy and grace. There is no place in Heaven for someone walking around on or in his/her own merit (Ephesians 2:8-10). Heaven is the place of God’s own glory. There is no room for any other. Child like faith is good in God’s sight. Imagine, they have fallen from His glory (Romans 3:23), yet proceed to take it for themselves. The devil was cast out of Heaven because of his prideful attempt (Isaiah 14:12-14).

The second prerequisite is to recognize the revelation is God’s to give (v. 27). God has given “all things” to His Son. It is at the Son’s discretion who will know Him. It is also at His discretion who will know the Father. One cannot know the Father without knowing the Son. Revelation of God is given through His Son Jesus. We see by this that a pride filled individual cannot just decide he wants to know God, and thus know Him. Many times God works through situations and circumstances to humble the prideful. To break their prideful, self-seeking, selfish lifestyles; to remind them that there is a Sovereign God to whom every soul must give an account. The initiative is God’s not man’s (John 6:44). If there is no conviction of sin, and its destruction there is no revelation. If there is no belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus there is no revelation. God pity the soul who receives revelation, yet is without repentance.

There is the need for faith (v. 28a). “…Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is , and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV). Coming to Him believe that He is capable of receiving us. Faith is the gift of God, and without it, there is no pleasing God. Faith believes that which cannot be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted – at least in the physical sense. Our coming to Christ must be with the faith of a child. For some that will be difficult, because of knowledge, education, and just out in out pride. Just as a child trust their parents for sustenance, protection, loving and caring; so to must the man, woman, boy or girl trust Christ Jesus for the greatest need of mankind. We must trust Him for deliverance from sin, death, and/or eternal separation from God. We trust Him for our sustenance, protection, salvation, and eternity. When you reach the place you realize you are too weak from carrying that load of guilt, and you cannot find comfort from the load of sin you have been bearing, and you have fallen beneath that load; Jesus’s invitation is “Come unto Me…, and I will give you rest.”. You can rest in Him alone for your eternal salvation, and in Him you will have eternal joy in the presence of God the Father.

These “prerequisites” are needs that come with the grace given and received. Another one is repentance (v. 28b). Repentance is a one hundred and eighty degree turn around. You were on the road to disaster, on a slippery hope to destruction, and you decided to turn around and go the other way. In the case of God and repentance, He is the One who opens the eyes of sinful individuals, causes them to see their plight if they continue the way they are going, and also shows them the cross of Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection. If you keep going straight ahead you lose eternally. If you turn around by faith you live eternally. People are on a quest for fulfillment, and think they can find it in material gain. Those who realize that material gain is not the answer, but refuse Jesus, sometimes get into mystic religions, and cults which deny Jesus and His deity, and exalt the self, and to their eternal detriment. All of those things which lead away from Jesus are going the same direction as the seeking of material gain. There is only rest for your soul as you yield to Jesus Christ. When He calls us to “Take My yoke upon you…” He is asking us to join in His work. His work is the work of the Father, and we cannot do it except through Him. Doing God’s work requires that we do it His way, and His way is by Jesus Christ. Genuine faith and repentance are necessary alliances of salvation/rest. Faith without repentace is dead. Repentance without faith is purposeless.

Finally, for one to be a disciple of Jesus Christ we must be submissive to His teaching and training. He gives us command to take His yoke (v. 29) to learn of Him, to serve with Him, and this is what is called discipleship. Every soul who is won to Christ needs teaching and training to grow and be more Christlike. We know that His commands are not grievous or burdensome: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” 1 John 5:3 (NKJV). The Pharisees, and lawyers had heaped a grievous burden of law on the people making traditions law. They were heavy with no fulfillment. With they yoke of Jesus He is alongside us. Another name for the Holy Spirit – as “Comforter” (John 14:16) – is “Parakletos” meaning alongside of, or intercessor, consoler. He is Jesus within us as our Teacher, Comforter, Encourager, and Guide (John 16:7, 13-14). Don’t let anyone deceive you the life ahead even with Christ as your Lord and Savior will not be easy. It is not a promise to an easy road ahead. He is promising that He will remain with you, even in you through all of life’s ups and downs. In Him you are accepted. You can lay all your sins, transgressions, and the guilt that goes with it at His feet, and He will never let you down. His love abides forever.

-by Tim A. Blankenship