The SOVEREIGN Of All

“Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks: for that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare.
‘When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly. The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.
I said unto the fools, ‘Deal not foolishly:’ and to the wicked, ‘Lift not up the horn: lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.’
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another.
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and He poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them. But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.’ ”  Psalm 75:1-10  (KJB)

7 Lessons When Prayer Seems Unanswered

The Fight of Faith

Sovereign Lord, what I most desired you have denied, yet I praise you! On what account, I know not, yet I praise you. You have done it; that silences me. Your will makes it indisputable, and renders it my indispensable duty to your wise determinations. Hitherto I have had no complaint on the conduct of providence; nor shall I complain until all the mazes are explained. Do, then, all your counsel, though all my counsels should come to nothing. Can a person expect favors from God–who will not wait for God’s way and time?

But what does it matter how the affairs of a present world go, if the interests of the next world are secured? The weather-vane is whirled about with every blast, but the iron spire is still at rest, because it cannot be displaced. So, what does it matter though the outward man decays–if the inner man…

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Israel; Jacob’s Fear Not

“And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And He said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” Genesis 46:2-4 (KJV)

Israel is the new name God had given to Jacob.  Jacob had been a “supplanter” a deceiver; and had tried to have things his own way.

Jacob’s life had now changed at the end of his life.  He had just heard that his son Joseph was not only alive, but was a ruler in the land of Egypt, and due to famine throughout the Middle Eastern countries was being invited by that son and the Pharaoh of Egypt to come into the land and dwell there.

Now there was no more scheming, no more planning and or plotting to achieve his desired path, but now Jacob was in the hands of the Sovereign hands of GOD.  “Fear not to go down into Egypt…” were the words of God to Jacob.

God promised Jacob that when he died Joseph would be at his side.  He also promised that it would be in Egypt that “I will there make of thee a great nation”.  He also promised that they would come out of Egypt, to the land He had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

We can learn from these passages; as Joseph’s brethren had learned – You cannot thwart the  plan of God.  Instead they were used in their evil plot to work the plan of God.  How do I explain that?  I do not even try.

It is best for me and all God’s children to leave these matters in His hands; to trust Him, and believe that whatever happens is going to be for our good and His glory.  It was, for example, our evil that caused Jesus to be nailed to the cross; however it was the plan of God that His Son die for our sins, that we might have access to the very throne of God.

God speaks, and He sees to it that what He speaks comes to pass just as He has spoken.  Just as Jacob/Israel saw his son Joseph again; so too will Jesus come again.

Believe God and trust Him today.

Love of the Brethren

Love of the Brethren

Genesis 37:1-36

We are taught in Scripture to love our brothers and sisters.  it is sad when you see families, brothers and sisters, parents and children at odds with one another; and in the  case we look at today; even hating a brother to the point of wanting him dead.

1.  The Father Has a Special Son (vv. 1-4).

2.  The Son Has a Special Heart for the Things of God (vv. 5-11).

3.  The Son’s Heart for His Father and for His Brothers (vv. 12-17).

4.  The Sale of the Beloved Son/Brother to the World (vv. 18-28).

5.  Seeing the Sovereign Hand of God Through Tragedy (vv. 29-36; Psalm 76:10;  Romans 8:28).

Preached Sunday morning at Shiloah Baptist Church July 27, 2014.

Through the Bible in a Year – 012713 Evening

The Kingdom Coming

Matthew 20 – 26

1.  The King’s Vineyard (20)

A.  The laborers (vv. 1-19)
B.  The Great ones (vv. 20-28)

2.  The King’s Presentation (21:1-10)

A.  Cleansing the temple (vv. 11-17)
B.  Authority (vv. 18-27)

3.  The Identity of the King (22:41-46)

4.  The Ruling of the King (23)

5.  The Kingdom Coming (24-25)

6.  The Price of the Kingdom (26)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Newly Elected President: Not So New

I posted this four years ago as President Obama was elected President of the United States of America.  I repost it today, because it still holds true.  It is time for God to work; and for Christians to pray and be vibrant witnesses for Christ; no matter what may come our way.

God’s Appointed King or President???

Recently I have read emails, comments on blogs, and heard some asking the question or making comment as to whether God’s will was done in the past election of President Elect Barrack Obama.  In my mind and thinking I have seen how the election turned out, but was not surprised.

No!  The candidate I voted for was not elected.  I was disappointed and could have been, and still could be quite fearful of what lays ahead for the United States of America; the home of the free, and land of the brave.  I have known and believed for years in the sovereignty of God, and have seen God at work in the hearts and lives of others and in myself.  I have learned that no matter what man does the will of God is not thwarted; His will is done whether we go our own way, or choose His way.

Others who are concerned with our “free will” can believe that we overthrow God’s will.  That is frivolous thought.  How can a created being, such as we are, overthrow the will of the All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Present, and Immutable God?  The “free will” of humanity does in fact work with the sovereignty of God, God is glorified, and His will is done.  I cannot explain that any clearer, but that is what I learn through the reading of Scripture.

If we are fearful that God’s will was not done in the election of Barrack Obama as our President, then, we are in fact not trusting the sovereign hand of our God.  I do not know what lays ahead for our country, but I do know that whatever it is is in the hands or our Almighty God.

God has been merciful to us for the past eight years and longer.  We may now be in for a period of judgment, but let us not lose  heart, and fear that “God’s will was not done”.  As Christians we must believe God’s Word when He tells us;

“And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding…”  Daniel 2:21 (KJV)

Since Barrack Obama is set to be our President, then we need to pray for him, his family, his decisions concerning cabinet members, and his time as President of our nation.  Christian we are obligated by God to respect the man as our leader, to pray for him, and obey him.

Paul the apostle has written;

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” Romans 13:1-6 (KJV)

The “higher powers” of which Paul mentions are rulers of nations, and governments of States, cities, etc..  It seems to me that our God has placed every ruler who has ever lived, and who is living today in their place.  Was the will of God done with Hitler in power in his day?  Whether we like it or not; or whether we understand it or not we must say YES!  The rise and fall of kings and nations is in the  hand of God, and as Paul writes, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”.

You may disagee with this assessment, but it seems to me that the argument is not with me, but God.  Talk to Him about it.

When we reach the place where we trust these matters to His hands, then, we as Christians can have peace, stop complaining, belittling the man who will be our next national leader, and then effectively pray for him.

I am actually excited about what lays ahead.  It is after all in the hands of our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Please note:  I did remove one paragraph that was in the original post that did not relate to this years election; they were concerning Prop 8 in California, and an issue in Arkansas as well where the people still decided for moral issues on Marriage and adoption.

For God So Loved the World…

Within the Southern Baptist Convention there is a great controversy over Calvinism and Arminiamism.  I only use these because in the end they are the extreme side of both ends.  I know that my little bit will not help the debate, but it will be my two cents nevertheless.

Calvinism is based partly on the teachings of John Calvin, a reformer; born in 1509 and died in 1564.  I am not a follower of John Calvin, nor would I call myself a Calvinist, but neither am I an Armenian.  Just to get to the nitty gritty of the matter Calvinism teaches the sovereignty of God in salvation, and there is no Biblical problem with that.  No one can be saved except the Spirit of God draw an individual to God (John 6:44).

The problem with this belief is when it is carried to the extreme by living as though there is no human responsibility in taking the message of the gospel to the lost of the world.  We are commanded by Jesus Himself to “go into all the world…”  Many of those who have fallen into this lie will say that this is spoken only to the disciples, or apostles of Jesus and has no merit for today’s believers.  I guess the rest of Scripture, then, has no merit for us.  That is the only conclusion one can reach with that belief.

The extreme calvinist will tell you too that God only sent Jesus into the world to die for the elect; thus the title of this post.  According to Strong’s Concordance “world” is from the word “kosmos, cosmos” which takes in all of creation, the universe, and every thing and everyone upon planet earth.  Especially those made in His image and after His likeness, but He does not leave out the rest of His creation.  The extreme calvinist will also deny the freewill of man.

Yes God is sovereign in salvation of mankind.  No Christian can deny that and believe Scripture; however, one cannot deny that Christ came and died, was buried, and rose again from the grave, that “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  To deny that is to deny the Scripture as well.

It is my understanding that the extreme of Arminianism is that an individual can of his/her own will decide to be saved.  The logical conclusion of that is; if one can on their own merit decide to be saved, in their own time, place and way; then, they could at any time, any place, and any way they choose decide not to be saved as well.

What amazes me about the sovereignty of God is that God saves by His discretion and grace; and that His will is and will be done no matter what we may say or do.  The sovereignty of God, and the freewill of man are both taught in Scripture.  To deny one or the other is to deny the Word of God.  They work together to accomplish the will of God on earth and for His glory.

In the end neither one of these man made soteriologies are going to get anyone to God or heaven;

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

As Baptist we need to agree that the Scriptures are true; and that we do not understand all there is to know about God, His sovereignty, or His salvation by grace.  We are called to trust and believe on His Son, His death, burial and resurrection.

Let us get together, and get it together.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Commanding the Ravens; Feeding the Prophet

When a prophet preaches the Word of God to his nation or to his church he must realize that word will affect his life too.  Elijah was certain to find this out shortly after he pronounces judgment by drought upon Israel, and king Ahab.

We also find that the LORD takes care of those He calls, and equips as well.  When Elijah told Ahab of the drought coming God already had a place for the prophet to go; to a brook; and there he would have water to drink and bathe, and God would send ravens with “bread and flesh” to eat in the morning and evening.

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, ‘Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.’  So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.  And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.” 1 Kings 17:2-7 (KJV)

For those who have a problem with the Sovereignty of God, and His directing the affairs of this world, we need to hear what the Word of God says here.  “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”.  The LORD has the perfect place already for the prophet.  The prophet must be obedient to the LORD’S leading and follow.

It does not occur to preachers some times, but what we preach affects us too.  Even if you are not a preacher, but are a follower of Jesus Christ the Word of God is for you too.  You can obey God and His Word; or you can be disobedient and completely miss God’s provision for your life.

God’s provisions are more bountiful and wonderful than anything our disobedience can give us.

Elijah did as God commanded went to Cherith, which flowed by the Jordan.  I cringe a little when I think of having ravens bring bread and flesh to eat.  However, what God provides He cleanses.  What He blesses is good to eat.

The LORD of creation still commands the birds of the air, the fish of the sea (think of Jonah here), the beast of the forest, the cattle in the fields and upon the Thousand Hills Ranch :).  He still blesses His preachers, prophets, and His people who will trust Him in drought and in flood.  He provides by His own hand.

Commanding ravens and feeding prophets is no problem for the one who is Lord of all.

Teach me LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 52 – The Sovereign Holy One of Israel

There is one phrase which keeps coming up in the prophecy of Isaiah.  It is more than a phrase, it is a statement of the character of God.  In Isaiah, as well as in other parts of Scripture we hear of “the Holy One of Israel”.  It is a good term, a great reference to the character of the Creator of all that is; both seen and unseen.  As I read chapters 35 – 48 of Isaiah this morning I noticed the presence of God in the nations around the tiny nation of Israel.  You really cannot help but notice that God is God of the world when it gets right down to it.

If God reigns, and he does, in Israel; then, He also is reigning throughout the whole world.  He is, though, not often recognized as being the one who is reigning.

In chapters 36 – 39 we hear about Hezekiah, and his struggle against the pride, and arrogance of Assyria, and her king Sennacherib (36:1).  No army had been successful against the Assyrian army, and the king wanted Hezekiah to know it.  In his arrogance he blasphemed the God of Israel, seeing Him as nothing more than the idols of the fallen nations he had conquered.  However, since God is defensive of His own glory, and Hezekiah had a heart for God, then God was not going to let this arrogant king get by with it.

We also see in the reading that God is not at all well pleased with Israel, and that they are going into captivity because of their rejection of God, His Word, and His ways. Babylon was God’s source of captivity and judgment upon Israel, however Babylon showed them no mercy, and in their arrogance they brought judgment of God upon themselves to destruction;

“I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.  And thou saidst, ‘I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.’  Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.  For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, ‘None seeth me.’ Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I am, and none else beside me.’   Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.   Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.  Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” Isaiah 47:6-13 (KJV)

If you will notice this announcement of judgment is due to “thou didst shew them no mercy”.  Because of this Babylon would fall to a king that God names in chapers 44 and 45;

“That saith of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.” 44:28

“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut…” 45:1

The LORD is THE SOVEREIGN HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL; however He is Sovereign of the whole world, yea, even of the Universe.  A final word in the reading for today says this,

“There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 (KJV)

The wicked are all those who refuse to submit to the Lordship and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and His finished work on Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Daniel 1:1-7

I realize I have done a previous study on the prophet Daniel.  However, the following are study notes for a new series of sermons I am preaching at Carr Lane Baptist Church beginning January 03, 2010.  I will include hear a link to my previous study and to only the points on our church site.

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

“Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

A STUDY IN DANIEL

Purpose – To unveil and see the sovereign hand of God at work in the history of the nations of mankind, of men, and to know and trust God to be sovereign in directing our individual lives.

When Your World Crumbles Around You

Daniel 1:1-7

Purpose – To know and trust God to care for us even when nations, our own, and others are falling; God will take care of us, and meet our needs.

OUTLINE –
I.  THE FALL OF A NATION (v. 1).
II.  THE CAPTIVITY OF A KING, AND KINGDOM’S RELIGION (v. 2).
III.  THE CAPTORS ATTEMPT TO MOLD AND CONTROL MINDS (vv. 3-5).
IV.  THE SOVEREIGN HAND OF GOD IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS (vv. 6-7).

Isaiah the prophet had prophesied over one hundred years before of the impending doom coming on the nation of Israel.  They had grown rich, soft, comfortable, complacent, and apathetic.  “No harm will come to us.” they would say, “After all we are God’s nation, God’s people.  We have the temple of God”; and oh so foolish in their hearts turning from God.

There is security with the LORD so long as the LORD is honored, revered, trusted and obeyed by His people.  When God’s people forsake Him, He does not forsake His people, however, He will discipline, correct, and rebuke them to get them back under His care.

I.  PEOPLE FALL AWAY FROM GOD (v.1)
Jehoiakim king of Judah was the son of Josiah, who was the son of Amon, the son of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:18-26).  Johoiakim was born Eliakim, but the king of Egypt changed his name to Jehoiakim and appointed him king of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:34).  This falling of the kingdom had begun a few years earlier when the prophet Isaiah was warning of the hard heartedness, and their straying from God.

The reason for the captivity that we are reading about in this text is because of the people’s forsaking God, His Word and His commandments (Ezekiel 20:13, 16; 23:38).

When God had spoken throught he prophet Jeremiah to call the people to go out to Nebuchadnezzar and surrender that was their last opportunity to remain in their land (Jeremiah 27:1-11).

II.  A KING IS TAKEN AND A KINGDOM’S RELIGION IS CAPTURED (v. 2).
This was the first invasion by Nebuchadnezzar.  He took the king from his throne, and to Babylon.  He also took some of the “articles of the house of God”.  It seems to have been a way to imply that the power of the gods of a nation are determined by the conquering nations taking these articles with them, and housing them with their religious articles.  This is seen earlier in the nation of Israel’s history when the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the house of Dagon (1 Samuel 4:11; 5:1-9)

One thing we as Christians must know and keep in mind; just because our place of worship may be destroyed, in shambles, and the place of the “Lord’s Supper” be stolen does not mean that God is destroyed or stolen.  He is larger than our pieces of religion which are used to remember Him.  When the world may take the sign of the cross and abuse it, misuse it, and/or mock it that does not deminish the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Several years ago a man, believing he was designing some sort of artistic piece placed a designer cross in a jar of urine, and photographed it.  That did not affect the power of the cross of Jesus one iota.  It was saccreligious.  It caused an outrage among many, and it seemed with some that it was almost the end of the cross of Christ.  Not so however.  The power of the cross of Christ Jesus cannot be captured, destroyed, or diminished.

Religions of men can be captured, destroyed, diminished, and cast out; but the cross of Christ will continue in its power to save and change lives until Jesus Christ returns.

III.  THE WORLD ATTEMPTS TO MOLD AND CONTROL MINDS (vv.3-5).
In the day of Babylon’s captivity of the Jews and others they would take the captives and change their names, and give them a new diet.  For the Jewish people it would mean eating swine, and other unclean foods for them.  In the eyes of many of the world this rich food would be a “blessing” over what they had been eating.
Ashpenaz, a eunuch for the king, was to pick out choice youth from the kingdoms, including Israel, and give them a new diet, and teach them new things.  Fill their heads with new thoughts, divert them from what they had been taught, and gain their loyalty.

Even in a free country such as the USA our public schools, many colleges, and universities, endeavor to redirect minds from the basics of what they have been taught by their parents, churches, and private schooling; directing them to more liberal thought and leadership styles.  They do these things by calling basic life truths, Bible truths, and moral truths into question, and ridiculing any and all who will stand on those basics.

This thought is seen in the science of the thought of “Global warming”.  When some scientist began questioning the authenticity of the theory and its truth these men and women were called all sorts of insulting names; “Unlearned, ignorant, fools” and not even given a chance to prove their points.  The world is attempting, even now, to control the minds, and beliefs of the people.

IV.  THE SOVEREIGN HAND OF GOD IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS (vv. 6-7).
A changing of the names of these Jewish youth.  We are told of only four.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; probably because they were four who stood for what they had been taught, never followed the path of evil in Babylon, and stood their ground.  We do not hear them called by these names until a later chapter.  They are called by their Hebrew names at least 5 times from chapter one through chapter two, and yet most people only know them by their Babylonian names?   God wants us to know them by their names Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  Daniel is referred to as Daniel most of the way through the book; why do we not continue to know Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by their true names?

Daniel means “God is my judge” … Belteshazzar means “the keeper of the treasure of Baal”;  Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious”  …Shadrach means “command of the moon god”; Mishael means “Who is like Jehovah” … Meshech means “the goddess Shach”;  Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper” … Abednego means “the fire god”.

Part of the reason and answer to the question above is that we too have been conditioned by what we have been taught.  Let’s begin retraining our thinking to direct ourselves to the thoughts of godly thinking, and living; and trusting that kings and kingdoms are ordained by God; they rise and fall by His decree; and that no king, kingdom, man or woman can stand without the hand of God ordaining it. “The king’s heart is in thehand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” Proverbs 21:1

APPLICATION-
i.  Let’s stand upon the Word of God; reading, studying, hearing, and applying it to every area of our lives (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Timothy 4:2).
ii.  Putting our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, and guarding our hearts and minds from religion of men (Psalm 118:8).
iii.  Filling our minds with the things of God, holiness, righteousness, God’s glory, justice, peace, His love, mercy, goodness, bearing the fruits of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:16;  Ephesians 5:18; Galations 5:22-23).
iv.  Always keeping in mind the power of the sovereign hand of God over the affairs of men and nations will help us realize everyday, that, God is directing the events and circumstances of  our lives; that, He does not have a plan A and a plan B (Daniel 29, 37, 47).

-Tim A. Blankenshi

You may find my previous study posted on Fire and Hammer and the article on Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and the other Daniel: The Educating Of The Youth.

The Death Of Sarah

Abraham and Sarah had came to the land of Canaan about sixty two years previous.  For twenty five of those years they  had waited for the promised son, Isaac.  They had been through much together.

Almost from the first day they arrived in the land a severe drought had struck the land, famine had set in, and they went to Egypt leaving the place of promise which had been given them by God [YHWH].  In Egypt they would have probably “picked up” Hagar, and Egyptian slave girl.  The sovereign hand of God is seen in every element of the decisions which they made together.  The LORD of all has a way of teaching us dependency upon Him.

For sixty plus years they had walked together, suffered doubts and fears together, believed together, grew together, and now with Sarah being one hundred and twenty seven years of age, her aged body dies.

We must remember; death is not a friend; it is the fruit of sin, or its wages as Paul says in Romans 6:23.  Death is the enemy of mankind.  God [YHWH] created us for eternity.  He created us with an eternal soul that yearns for Him.  It is a longing that far too many fight and struggle against by denying the existence of God.  Denying the existence of God is almost like denying yourself.  You exist, and since you exist means that you had a designer, builder, Creator, and His name is Jehovah [YHWH].

“And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.  And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.”  Genesis 23:1-2 (KJV)

One of the things which Genesis is clear about is our life and death.  It begins with creation and a garden, and ends with a “coffin in Egypt.”  From creation to the grave.  It is a sad commentary on the beginning and end plight of mankind.  It reminds us that we have an eternal destiny, and that GOD is the one who is in charge, sovereignly guiding, the affairs of all people, and nations.  We see that more clearly through all of Scripture.

Death is not a real pleasant thing to talk about.  With some people you don’t even want to use the word “D-E-A-T-H”.  Let’s be true and faithful about death.  As I have already mentioned it is the enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26), and it is the “last enemy” to be destroyed; and that destruction will be by the appearing of Jesus Christ in His glory.

It doesn’t appear that Abraham or Sarah had a fear of death.  The reason for that being their faith in GOD.  It has been through the life, faith, and testimony of Abraham and Sarah that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save condemned, dying sinners from our plight.  We are born spiritually dead – that means no relationship with God and thus no fellowship with God, because of sin.  Because of the work of Jesus Christ, ie., His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection we can be “born again” into relationship, enabling our fellowship with Him; and receiving eternal life,  living for Him now, and eternally with Him.

The follower of Jesus Christ need have no fear of death because of the cross of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection.  The resurrection of Jesus proves without doubt that the enemy of death has been defeated.  All who are in the faith of Jesus Christ will be raised to life.

Even Sarah, Abraham, all the patriarchs; and those who were before them; and all who came after them unto the cross of Christ will be raised to life again.  All those who have believed following the death of Christ on the cross will also be raised to life.  WOW!!! What a glorious day that will be.

It is a wonderful and glorious thing to know that though Genesis ends with that “coffin in Egypt”, the Scriptures end back in a garden, and in the presence of the LORD in glory – Heaven.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost…” Titus 3:5 (KJV)

The faith of Abraham and Sarah was looking to the One who would come, die for the sins of mankind, be buried, and rise again from the grave.  Believe Jesus and be delivered from death, and its fear.

-Tim A. Blankenship

All Wise Savior

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” Jude 25 (NKJV).

In this closing statement by Jude he clearly declares the deity of the One we call Savior. “To God our Savior”. Anyone, person or religious organization who would deny the deity of Jesus Christ; or decrees deity to all who could or would achieve the “christ-spirit” or whatever they would call it; denies the very heart of Christ Jesus; therefore they do not know Him. They are in fact worshipping a different “Jesus”; a demon.

The Jesus whom Jude, Peter, James, John; and Matthew, Mark and Luke write of is Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, who is God made flesh, and “dwelt among us”. He alone is the One who died for the sins of the whole world, was buried in a dead human body; and rose victoriously over sin, death and hell in a glorified human body. If you don’t know the Jesus who died as the incarnate God, was buried as the incarnate God, and rose again as the bodily form of God, then you know not my Jesus.

Jude gives Jesus as the One “who alone is wise”. We can read the eighth and ninth chapters of Proverbs, and you see the Personification of wisdom, and that Person is none other than Jesus the Christ. Solomon is often given credit as being “the wisest man who ever lived”, but then, there is Jesus; the One who gave Him His wisdom. Jesus was wise to follow the guidance and direction of His heavenly Father. He desired to always do those things which pleased His Father, even to the death on the cross.

The glory of Jesus is in the fact that He did the Father’s will. We have all sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus came, as like sinful men, yet without sin, and Himself was the glory of God on earth. He fulfilled the task which the first Adam failed to fulfill. As followers of Jesus Christ, and by imputation – the reckoning of God – we fulfill the glory of God. When we see Jesus we will see Him in all His glory and majesty. A couple of things we have which are symbols of majesty on earth are the eagle in the sky, and the lion. These pale in comparison to the majesty of Jesus.

With Jesus is all power, and He rules in the hearts of rulers, and will ultimately have His way in this world. One day the Lord Jesus will return to this earth, will overthrow the kingdoms of this world, and its rulers, and He Himself will rule, and sin will no more have rule and dominion in the hearts and minds of men or women. These qualities which Jude ascribes to Jesus are given to Him also by the angels, and the saints in heaven according to Revelation 4:10, 11; 5:12-14.

Give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father by believing in Jesus, and the work He has done on the cross, becoming sin for us, receiving the wrath of God that was ours, taking our sins away in His burial, then, rising victoriously over it all. Proving once and for all that He is all that He said He is. Proving that there is life after death, and that eternal life is found solely through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Rod

The last time in the Psalm 2 we looked at verse 8, and we see that God has promised as an inheritance, to His Son. the nations, and the uttermost parts of the earth are given Him as His possession.  It is His rightful possession, because in His death, He paid the sin debt of the whole world, but for the most part has been rejected.

In the Twenty third Psalm we find the phrase, “Thy rod, and thy staff they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4b).  The use of that rod and staff sounds encouraging, and blessed, but the one we will look at here today, does not sound very pleasant at all.  This “rod, and… staff” is one instrument.  The shepherd’s staff, often seen with a crook on the upper end also had the rod on the other, and could be used for a walking stick over rough terrain, driving off wolves, bears, lions, and for correcting straying sheep.

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:9 (KJV).

Nations are ruled by the “prince of the  power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) on earth.  These nations have rejected Christ, hated Christ, and you can see from the beginning of the Psalm have sought to work against Him and defeat Him, but always to no avail.

This “rod of iron” is a means of judgment.  Judgment is in the hands of the Son –

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”  John 5:22 (KJV).

In this Psalm, it is clearly judgment that it is speaking of.  The Potter’s vessel’s are all baked brittle, and and iron rod would easily smash them to pieces.  The judgment will be just and righteous.  Jesus would judge no other type judgment.  This will be a judgment of the nations who have plotted and worked against the God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords to have their own way in the world.  It is these nations which are out to destroy God’s  people, and develop their own kingdom, establish their own god; setting themselves up on the throne or royalty; and acknowledging no other.  They will be broken, shattered, smashed to pieces by the rod of God.

The rod which Moses carried became the “Rod of God” for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 4:20; 17:9).  It is only a foreshadowing of the deliverance Jesus Himself will do in delivering Israel from the clutches of evil nations as they seek to destroy Israel.  Those who have the discernment can see the nations lining up against Israel even now.  The judgment of these aligned nations will be swift, unexpected and sure.

You can experience the comforting staff of the Shepherd of the Twenty third Psalm rather than the iron rod.  That is by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over all your life.  Confess you have sinned against Him, repent of your sin, believe that He died on the cross, was buried and that He rose from the grave and now is seated at the Father’s right hand.

If you enjoy singing you should like the Psalms of the Bible.  The songs which several men penned, inspired by the Spirit of God, concerning their walk with the Lord, and they go so far, at times, of naming some of their sorrows, griefs, and even frustrations with God and other men.

Sing and make melody in your heart to the LORD; for He is coming soon to let the world know that He is Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

His Kingdom Is Forever

When He came He established His headquarters in Capernaum which was within the area of Isaiah’s prophecy.  In Matthew 4:12-16 the apostle has written, “…That it might be fulfilled  which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…” then Matthew quotes the first two verse of chapter nine of Isaiah the prophet.

It leaves no doubt of whom the prophet is speaking.  Joy will increase under His government, and then we read these wonderful words;

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV).

If you will remember the promise of Isaiah 7:14 the prophet spoke, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”  and Matthew says after quoting these words, “Which is translated, ‘God with us’. (Matthew 1:23).  I just don’t understand how so many can miss these words.  Clearly speaking of the coming of the Messiah, and He is called Emmanuel in the New Testament by Matthew the apostle.  The disciples heard it, seen His works, heard His words, and they believed Him.

In these verses is further reason for hope for us and for Israel.  These promises are first of all to Israel, then to the rest of the world.  This Child born is born to be “God with us”.  He would come live as one of us.  Suffer our hurts and pains, and frustrations.  He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  He truly endured even knowing that His purpose in coming this time was not to set up His kingdom, but to die on a cross under the hands of the ruling human government, and for the sins of mankind.

“A Child is born” – ‘unto us’, thus, a “Son is given”.  John the apostle wrote the words of our Savior when He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…“  In this verse we have a Child born, a very certain Child; born ‘unto us’, and when He becomes a man He is the “Son given” for the redemption of our sins.

If we were to look at these as all these events happening in the same age we could see why the disciples, and many of the unbelieving Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day and our own could reach the conclusion that Jesus doesn’t meet the criteria.  Yes, He was a “Child born…”, and yes He was “given”, but He didn’t stick around and carry out the rest of the prophecy.  That is because of His mercy and grace.  In the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus He justified all who believe in Him; and took back the ruling power which was given to Adam in the first place.  In His death sin died.  In His burial all sin was carried away, cast into the depths of the sea, and cast as far away as East is from West; then He arose from the grave proving and showing to all that He had accomplished His purposes as God incarnate, and fulfilling our justification – for all who believe.

This is a divided prophecy.  Just because it has not been fulfilled yet does not mean that it won’t be fulfilled.  While we await His coming again, hearts are being changed, lives are being delivered from the bondage of sin, shame and self-righteousness which is as “filthy rags” before the God of all Creation.

There is coming a day when the “government will be upon His shoulder”, and we shall not have a thing to fear.  Look at these names.  Though the King James Version separates “Wonderful” and “Counselor” it seems that they belong as one name.  He will have supernatural wisdom, because He is the Son of God and incarnate God, born, died, buried and raised again; returned, glorified upon the earth.  As “Mighty God” He is the warrior who can conquer all things evil, and holds all things in His hand.  He is sovereign, and even in this day when it seems that evil rules; He still overrules.  As Everlasting Father He comforts, encourages, and meets the needs of His children, and He disciplines them when needed.  As Prince of Peace, there can be no peace without Him.  Paul the apostle wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”.  That has just about everything to do with peace.  When we are at peace with God there will be no more war.

The kingdom of which Isaiah speaks is an everlasting kingdom, and it will have no end.  He will see to its order and establishment, and everything will be carried out just as the Scriptures say.  The Lord Himself, in His righteousness and zeal will see that all of these things come to pass.

Jesus Christ as the Sovereign Lord sees all things to its completion.  Nothing of God’s word will fail; nor will this everlasting government.  HIS KINGDOM IS FOREVER.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Only Begotten One

The Psalms are the hymn book of the Bible.  They are songs written and sung by kings, and sinners.  King David is recognized as the Psalmist, but there were others who wrote and sung some of them.  For instance Moses probably wrote Psalms 95-100, then there is a man named Asaph which little is known of him.  He is referred to in several verses of 1 Chronicles, and is given as the author of the fiftieth Psalm.  We have a good variety to sing.

Now, back to the Second Psalm.  Jesus is the king referred to in verse six.  He is King of His enemies, King of saints, and King of His Father.

“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, ‘Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee” Psalm 2:7 (KJV).

This verse is one which clarifies that Jesus was with the Father from the beginning.  The Father declares to the Son, before He was born into the human race, “This day have I begotten Thee. ” How could the Father say to a non-existent being ‘Today you are born’ and ‘You are My Son’?  He could, I guess, but it certainly would not make sense.  It also would be for the day that the Father would decree for the blessed virgin to conceive.

Jesus, the only begotten Son of God the Father decreed before time and eternity that Jesus – the Word – would become flesh and dwell among us without sin, and die for the sins of all mankind.  The day God became flesh, and “(we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)” full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (KJV).  And dwelt among us, thus the name “Immanuel” – God with us.

This is the One whom others have mocked.  He is the One who has made all things, and has set them in order.  He is the One whom the Roman soldiers drove the nails in His hands and feet.  This One who was with the Father from the beginning became man, that He would die, and atone for the sins of mankind. Why is it so many turn their backs on Him, deny Him, and choose to hate Him; when He is worthy of so much love, devotion and worship?

Rage on wicked rulers if you so desire.  The “Desire of nations” will come and reign on the earth whether you approve or not.  He is coming.  As the prophet Amos said, “Prepare to meet thy God”.

Many times it just seems as though there is not much in our lives that seems worthwhile.  Sometimes those thoughts can be a wake up call.  Wake up and realize that there is more to life than “Me”.  There is so much more to this life than “Me”.  There is GOD, and in the person of His Son showed His love for you by judging our sin on the cross of His Son Jesus Christ.  The “begotten” One became our sin – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Just A Thought 03/23/09

In these times of economic hard times, or in any period of despair, it does us good to consider this…

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 (KJV)

And, we do not know what tomorrow may bring, but “We do know Who holds tomorrow”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Neighborly Conflict

“And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. And Abraham said, I will swear. And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away. And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day. And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them. Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.” Genesis 21:22-34 (KJV)

The writer of Proverbs has written, “When a man’s ways please the LORD; he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). Abimelech would probably be considered and enemy. He does not believe like Abraham. He does not live like Abraham. He does not believe in the God of Abraham, therefore would be the enemy of God. However, Abraham is a faithful witness. We have previously with Abraham and Abimelech seen Abraham act without faith, when he lied concerning Sarah, and going back to the old lie of Sarah being only his sister. In this deed Abraham sinned, and could have very easily set up an account of hateful vengeance by Abimelech, but God is sovereign and overruled in the matter.

Abimelech notices that God is with Abraham, “…in all that thou doest”; and goes to Abraham seeking to keep a treaty between them. It seems that Abimelech is knowledgable concerning the land on which he and Abraham are living. He asked Abraham to “not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son” – only three generations – and to treat those generations with the kindness that he had shown Abraham. An agreement was reached by both men, and Abraham kept the agreement as did Abimelech.

Before the agreement was reached Abraham had a complaint to bring before Abimelech’s attention. Abraham tells Abimelech, “I will swear”, then proceeds to inform Abimelech of a combative action which Abimelech has known nothing about. Some of the servants of Abimelech had “violently” taken a well which Abraham’s servants had dug. Abimelech claims to not have known about the violent actions of his servants. We are not told why the servants did what they did. They may have believed their master was being cheated out of a good well of water by this foreigner who had just recently came into their land. Water was a very precious commodity in that land, as it still is. Therefore, they may have just seen it as an opportunity to gain the water, and their masters approval.

A gift was given by Abraham to Abimelech to seal the deal – the covenant. It is not said that Abimelech gave any gift in return; maybe because Abraham and his people were only pilgrims, visitors, traveling through the land. One day it would become the land of Abraham. The Promised Land that God would give to His people. This well, taken by the servants of Abimelech, was named “Beer Sheba” meaning the “Well of the oath”. Abraham named it. He had the right to do so. He and his servants had dug the well, they lived on that land, as Abimelech had given them right to it (20:14-15). By naming it that gave Abraham ongoing authority to the land. At least, in the context of the Bible, giving the name to an object, thing, and sometimes people gave dominion or authority over it or them. Adam named all the animals which came before him. God says, “…Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (1:26). With that dominion and authority he names them, when God causes all the animals to come before him (2:18-20).

Now, with Abimelech and Abraham anytime there was a potential for battles between them, anytime there was misunderstanding they could look at the well of “BeerSheba” and remember the oath they had both agreed upon.

It was here at this well that we are told once again, “Abraham…called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God”. “El Olam” speaking of God as being of an indefinite time or age; eternal, everlasting, never ending, without beginning and without end. Therefore, because God is everlasting, eternal, He can be trusted to carry out all His promises, in His time, in His way, and for His own glory.

We Christians, like Abraham, are only pilgrims, visitors in a foreign land. We are; as much as is possible; to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). Sometimes that is a chore, but if we keep our eyes on the cross, and remind ourselves that we are only strangers in a foreign land, that our home is with the King of kings, then, surely we can be at peace with our neighbors, and one another as brethren. When there is peace in our own hearts with God, and things are right with us and God, then, in most cases we will be at peace with others. It has nothing to do with agreeing doctrinally, spiritually, or morally; but mostly the neighbor seeing that you are a man or woman of your word, that you live what you believe, that you are a good neighbor, they see Christ in you, and they see the hand of God on you; though they may not realize that is what it is.

Christian stand for Christ, preach the word, believe and live the word, exalt Christ in your life, and your neighbors will be at peace with you. They will have no means of bringing a legitimate charge against you. God help us and forgive us when we don’t live for Him and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We too dwell in the land we are in for many days, but one day we will go home.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Prophet At Rest

The Prophet at Rest

In the beginning of this prophecy we see the prophet Habakkuk questioning God, wondering what is happening, why God is not judging His people. God answers with the prophecy of impending judgment coming from what the prophet sees as an unlikely source; mainly the Gentile Babylonians. He is troubled by this.

After some messages from the LORD the prophet realizes that the LORD is the One who knows best. That He still holds His people in His hands, will not continue to allow His people to live in sin without consequences. There have been five “Woes” pronounced against the Babylonians for there brutal abuses against God’s people, and their arrogance. There are also five promises, basically given to the prophet to show the worthiness and glory of the LORD.

We see in chapter three that the prophet is strengthened, encouraged, and that his faith is renewed. There is an element of verse 16 we must see. The prophet is trembling at the word of the LORD:

“When I heard, my body trembled;
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered my bones;
And I trembled in myself,
That I might rest in the day of trouble.
When He comes up to the people,
He will invade them with his troops.”

Anytime we hear the Word of the LORD it should cause us to tremble; even when we see that His Word and will is going to be carried out. Within our lives, the lives of those who may oppose us, the lives of friends and/or family should make no difference. We can rest in the LORD our God.

When we hear, as did the prophet, that God is going to have His way with the people of the Chaldeans – the Babylonians – and with His people; accomplishing His purposes, we should rest in our days of trouble.

There should be perfect peace in our hearts knowing that all these matters are in the hand of the LORD, and fully embrace the will and Word of the LORD. Even in the midst of “The day of trouble”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship