Observations From Mark – 031711

The gospel of Mark is and interesting, inspirational, and instructional read.  I preached a sermon from Mark 15 many years ago in a revival meeting on the North side of the Missouri River, and in a Missouri Baptist church.  A lady in the church the following night brought me a copy of a poem she had written based upon the text I used from Mark, and gave it to me in a picture frame.  Now, to let you know, I was truly honored by her gift.  I still have both, and read the poem occasionally.

This account of the gospel of Jesus Christ is much shorter than the other three, though there are many scholars who believe that the other three were probably written using Mark as a source.  I don’t know about that, nor if it can even be proven yea or nay.  It makes little or no difference if we believe that they are all inspired by the Spirit of God and are the truth; which I do.

The final three chapters of Mark give us the message of the crucifixion; which every time I read the message of the cross tears begin to flow as I think of my blessed Lord and Savior dying for me.

In chapter 14 we read of the beginning of the “Lord’s Supper” or communion; and Jesus going to the garden of Gethsemane to pray.  Mark does something really special in Jesus’s prayer.  Jesus calls God “Abba, Father” (14:36), Abba being a much more personal term than “Father”.  It is Jesus’s word for “Daddy”.  Only a son or daughter can call their father “Daddy”.  None of the other gospels give such a personal accounting of the Son to the Father; though it is certainly implied.

When the soldiers came and took Jesus, after being betrayed by Judas, the other disciples fled for their lives; and “Peter followed Him afar off”  (14:54).  Jesus is tried before the hierarchy of religion, found guilty and sent to Pilate (15:1-2).  Pilate, after practically pleading for Jesus’s life, finally succumbs to the whims and wishes of the priest of Israel and the misled people’s desire for his crucifixion.  They cry out “Crucify Him”, and Pilate does.  Jew and Gentile alike are the culprits of the crucifixion of the innocent, spotless, without blemish Lamb of God.  He is blasphemed, He is cursed, He is brutalized; He is mocked; and no one comes to His aid.

There were events on that day which defy description.  Darkness, earthquakes which cannot be explained by mere human faculties.  The events described took place because there was a grievance between the holy and the holy.  One holy person, Jesus the Son of God, had taken on Him the unholiness of men; and received the wrath of God that was due to us.

Chapter 16 shows that death could not hold the Son of the Living God.  He was buried in a borrowed tomb which had been carved from rock.  When Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices they found the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance.  As I write this I am realizing that there is no way for me to express the excitement of the moment they must have experienced the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  The stone was rolled away, Jesus was gone, His body was gone, and “a young man” says to them,

“Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him.  But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee:  there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.” (16:6)

It seems to me that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out of the tomb, but, rather to let witnesses in to see that He was risen.  He is alive.

Because He lives we too can have eternal life, believing in Him, surrendering our lives to Him and His word and will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031011

Our reading today is from Matthew 20 – 22.

The matter of “faith” is one of great discussion.  The subject has been abused, misused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted.  I pray that I do none of those things with this observation today.

Faith, in some circles, has been and is seen as some what like a “genie in a bottle”.  Some tell us, “If you have faith you can live without sin’, ‘drive the finest cars’, ‘never be sick’, and ‘have a large bank account.”  Now they may not say it quite like that, but I believe that is clearly a misuse and abuse of the following verses,

“Now in the morning as He returned into the city, He hungered.  And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, ‘Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.’ And presently the fig tree withered away.  And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, ‘How soon is the fig tree withered away!’ Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:18-22

Now, to be honest with you, as I read these verses my thoughts are, “Man!  I would love to have faith like that.”  Then it occurs to me, “Just what is faith?”  Is faith the object of power or is our faith to be in something or Someone?  The answer is the latter.  My faith is to be in the Someone who is Jesus Christ.

I must also ask the question, “What is my motive for wanting this power?”  The answer comes back, “So I can use it for myself.”  What must this gift of grace and faith be “used”?  For the glory of our Lord, and no other.

It seems to me in this observation, that I already have this faith.  It is a gift from God.  It is not to be misused, abused; but rather to bring glory to the LORD of all creation.

Faith in Jesus Christ gives us the gifts that Jesus Christ Himself possesses.  We are “joint heirs” with Him (Romans 8:17).  Through Jesus Christ, and His authority we can move mountains.  Not only that we can move the world.  The only problem is we aren’t doing it.  We aren’t believing.

There is a story of two farmers who prayed for rain.  One was always going out to his tractor, going to the field, crying, pleading for rain; but nothing happened.  The other prayed for rain, and took an umbrella with him as he climbed on the tractor and went to the field to plow.  Now, which of them actually believed God would send rain.

Let me remind you.  Faith is not the matter of belief.  Jesus Christ is.  Faith in faith will get you nothing.  Faith in Christ Jesus “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

-Tim A. Blankenship

And There shall Come Forth a Rod…

This and future articles on Isaiah will be posted here at Fire and Hammer.    On Sunday evenings at Carr Lane Baptist Church I am preaching through the book of Isaiah, only in a “survey” type fashion.  I pray the Lord’s Spirit will guide you in the study of His Word.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD…”  Isaiah 11:1-2 (KJV)

If we take a moment and consider the title of this post we might take a thought toward created things; and that would not be wrong to do.  It is however necessary that we see the Creator becomes a created being in the “stem of Jesse”, “a Branch” and later on in the chapter (v. 10) “root of Jesse”
What we see of this one who will come from “the stem of Jesse” is that He is “a rod”, and “a Branch” shall grow out of His roots.  This is a deep rooted prophecy of the coming of the Messiah of Israel.  It speaks of His humanity.  It speaks of His humility, and from whence He comes.
His life is lived in the “Spirit of the LORD” and that Spirit rest upon Him and I don’t believe it to be wrong to say, here, even within Him.  Holy wisdom, spiritual understanding, and divine counsel and power comes only from the Spirit of God.  When we have a good and healthy relationship and fellowship with the LORD, then there will also be a right reverent fear of the LORD as well.
In verse 4 we find that this Individual will, “with righteousness” judge the poor.  Could this be the “Poor in spirit to which Jesus refers in Matthew 5:3?  He will destroy the wicked with “the breath of His lips” (Revelation 1:16; 19:15).
In the future kingdom of this King there will be peace throughout the whole earth; even within the animal kingdom (vv. 6-9), and such knowledge increasing unlike anything we have ever known (v. 9).
This “root of Jesse” is an ensign or banner to the nations that are on earth.  They will seek Him and find Him, and all His people [Israel] will come to Him from the ends of the earth (vv. 10-12).  The return of Israel to the LORD will be even greater, more spectacular than was the first exodus from Egypt.
Be ready for our LORDs return.  Jesus is coming soon.
-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022411

Reading for today Deuteronomy 11 – 13.

It is shocking sometimes how quickly God’s people can be led astray.  Led away from the true worship of God unto the worship of the man made, or earthly creatures.  Some years ago I read some articles in Midnight Call magazine concerning finances in the last days.  He named three gods or idols which citizens of the USA worship;  MOFI, GLOBO, AND SCITE.  To give you an understanding of what these are they are related to Money/Finance; Global Organization and union; and Science and technology. I personally think we could add another idol to that; and that is our children.  Have you ever seen a parent who believed their child could do no wrong?  Every ounce of time goes into children.  We hear about our children’s health, our children’s education, our children’s well being, and we ought to be for those things; but they are carried to an extreme; at least in my opinion.

There is a domonic move which has been present since the beginning of mankind to keep mankind from God.  There are teachers, preachers, dreamers and prophets who are demon inspired who direct hearts of men and women; boys and girls away from truth and God unto lies, deception and destruction.  Now who in their right mind is going to go plunging into destruction?  It is not done in the light.  Satan and his legions use deception; deception is one of those cases where a “fridge” is sold to an Eskimo living at the North Pole.  Or, ocean front property in Arizona is sold to some poor soul.  That is the line of work Satan and his minions are in; and he has people in that line of work to lead people away from God and His Son Jesus.

Hear what God says in His Word;

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them’; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him.  And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)

There might come into our midst some great worker of miracles who with those wonders call people to worship some being from outer space.  He/She claims they have found the answer that will change there lives, because they have found that “we are all gods” or some silly thing like that.

There is a growing tendency within our own nation [USA] that “If it works, then it must be good and right”.  NOT!  If it works it could be from the devil if it falls short of our LORD’s expectations and calling.

Since the United States of America is now a multi-cultural society being made of of many ethnic groups and religions and such; then we are being told to guard our speech.  We are being told we can no longer refer to Christianity as the only way to heaven and God; that there are really many ways to God.  There are many roads to the Post Office, but the one that gets you there is the one that leads to the front door.  The front door to heaven is the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus even tell us, Himself, that He is the door.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:7-10

It doesn’t matter what you dream, or what wonders you may do; or that preacher, prophet, dreamer, or teacher made do; if they lead you away from God and His Word, they are a deceptive leader to your death, and destruction.  The Old Testament law calls for their death; most likely by stoning.

Hear God through His Word, and by His Spirit.  Fear Him.  Keep His commandments.  Turn away from every false way.  Jesus is the way to life and eternal life.  Hear Him and live.

Read Deuteronomy 11 – 13

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021711

Today’s reading from Numbers 25 – 27.

Chapter 25 deals with Israel’s sin at Peor or Baalpeor; chapter 26 tells us the numbers of the men age twenty and over; and chapter 27 tells us of Moses view into the Promised Land, because he was not going to be allowed to enter the land due to his rebellion in the striking of the rock; rather than speaking to it, as GOD has said.

Since we looked at Balaam in yesterday’s study let’s finish up with Balaam today.

In chapter 25 we have the people of Israel sinning grievously against GOD.  They were joining themselves with the people of Moab.  Moab hated Israel and wanted them cursed well now they brought a curse upon them.

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.   And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.” 25:1-3

Where does Balaam fit into this picture?  We need to look ahead in the book of Numbers.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.” 31:16

It has every appearance of telling us that Balaam saw he could not curse Israel, but he sees a weakness in them, and counsels Balak to send and invitation to, at least some of the people, to allow them into Israel’s camp.  Bringing their demon worship with them, they lead many into adulterous worship against the Creator of the universe.

We see also in chapter 31 and verse 8 that Balaam was slain by the sword.  He was a wicked prophet for hire.

The great thing about chapter 25 that we need to see is the zeal for GOD shown by Phineas (vv. 7-8).  Because of this sin 24,000 people died as a result of a plague.  Because of the zeal for GOD and His righteousness; the work of Phineas, the grandson of Aaron, the plague was stopped.  Far more people could have died were it not for Phineas.

In a time when there are businesses for the promotion of adultery, online  and otherwise, there needs to be many more with the zeal of Phineas; rushing in where angels fear to tread; not taking lives, but with the message of God’s Word, warning of the destruction that is coming into lives due to so much immoral behavior.

In this time as Christians we have a responsibility to share the love of Jesus Christ; yet loving enough to confront; especially any brethren who call themselves Christian who are dabbling in immoral behavior; participating in things that destroy families, marriages, and lives of children; and calling them to turn back to GOD.

Please read Numbers 25 – 27.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021011

Reading today from Numbers 4 – 6.

My comments today will deal only with the following verses –

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.   And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.'” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

We can see reading from Scripture that it is God’s desire to bless His people.  He desired to bless His people Israel and to give them peace.  The verses of blessing are familiar to both Jews and Christians, and are often spoken; probably not as often as they could or should be among some Christians.

This blessing was given to Moses to give unto Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel.  Moses followed the LORD’s command and delivered it just as God had said.  It follows the law given concerning the Nazarite vow for consecrating one’s self to the LORD.  There was blessing to one who consecrated himself to the LORD and would basically for a life time or for only a month follow the life of a priestly pattern.  We have this blessing given to show us that God wants to bless all His people who will obey His commandments through loving Him.

It is a wonderful thing when God’s face is toward us, looking upon us.  It is a dreadful thing when we think of His back being toward us.  In the Blessed Son we are assured that His face is toward us; and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

We must remember that the greatest blessing is found only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ Son of God.  In Him we have the “Peace of God that passes understanding”.  All these others are given for types, figures of the true.

Remember to read Numbes 4 – 6 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

“And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”  Mark 14:43-52

Judas goes about doing his dirty, dispicable, dastardly deed.  He betrays Jesus with the highest symbol of friendship in that society.  This kiss was the way best of friends greeted one another, but Judas’s was an act of hypocrisy, betrayal.

They come with a large mob, to take the one who offered nothing to them except peace, hope, love, mercy, grace, and joy.  They came as though He were a murderer, or a thief.  The real thief was leading the way, and betraying the Master.

The lowly, miserable, sinful, unclean, wicked, deceitful, betraying, mob took hold of the sinless, perfect, holy, just, righteous, Son of God to take Him to a “trial” and then to take His life.

Peter’s response was to take the sword and attack, which he did and cut off the ear of a servant to the “High priest”.  Other Gospel accounts tell us that Jesus healed this man’s ear (Luke 22:50-51).  Peter was brave, but at a time when it was not necessary to act so brashly and without thought, but then, this was the character of Peter.

Jesus was always for the fulfillment of Scripture.  In order for Him to be the true Christ [Messiah of Israel] all Scripture must be fulfilled.  Not one “jot” or “Tittle” could go unperformed.  God does not leave anything undone which He has spoken, nor will His Son.  Jesus’s life, work, death and resurrection fulfill all Scriptures concerning Him and those events.  Not one thing has been left undone.  Just as the Scriptures had declared, and Jesus had said Himself all the disciples fled for their lives.

There is a young man, who is not identified,  in the garden, and he flees without any garment.  This “Young man” has been thought by some to have been John Mark – the writer of this Gospel.  I see no problem believing that.  Mark not wanting to draw any great attention to himself just identifies himself as a “Young man” who flees from the mob.  He may have been hiding in the trees and rocks, looking onto the events of Jesus and His disciples, and was there when the mob came to take Jesus away.

Do we often try to hide when conflict comes?  Jesus was willing to face the shame of the cross for our sins, and He willingly offered Himself for our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020311

The Bible reading for today is Leviticus 11 – 13.

We are now into matters of foods; in particular meats; that the people of Israel are commanded to eat.  In the mind of the Gentile man or woman these may seem quite archaic or unnecessary; however, these are commandments for Israel; not Gentiles.  That may be partially why these commandments on eating meats, leprosy, and others following are given.

It is not for the people to understand why these laws were given; it is for the people to obey God.

“Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.  For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.  This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.”  Leviticus 11:43-47 (KJV)

In these verses above it seems that the LORD gives us the most important reason for obedience to these laws.  It is God’s command to “be holy”.  Leviticus is about holiness.  God’s call to His people is to be holy as He is holy.  Holiness is cleanliness.

Let me quote from the MacArthur Study Bible on these verses,

11:1-47 This section contains further legislation on the consumption of animals.  Abel’s offering hints at a “post-Fall/pre-Flood” diet of animals (Gen. 4:4).  After the Noahic flood, God specifically had granted man permission to eat meat (Gen. 9:1-4), but here spelled out the specifics as covenant legislation.  All of the reasons for the prohibitions are not specified.  The major points were: 1) that Israel was to obey God’s absolute standard, regardless of the reason for it, or the lack of understanding of it; and 2) such a unique diet was specified that Israel would find it difficult to eat with idolatrous people around and among them.  Their dietary laws served as a barrier to easy socialization with idolatrous peoples. Dietary and hygienic benefits were real, but only secondary to the divine purposes of obedience and separation.

FROM THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE NKJV p. 168

There is an example here for Christians to follow as well.  We are commanded in the New Testament, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17), and “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15, 16).  The world in which we live today is shouting for Christians to be holy, separate, and clean; yet we have professing Christians dressing as the world dresses, eating as the world eats, entertaining as the world entertains; the world sees no difference in the way we live and their way of life; and we wonder why there is a decrease in the numbers of people coming to Christ.

We don’t have to copy the world’s music, dress, entertainment, and worship styles to “win the lost”.  We must, however, be holy and separate from them, and then they may just have a reason to hear the message that only Christ can change us.  If we love Jesus Christ let’s let our lives show what only Christ can do.

Take time to read Leviticus 11 – 13.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 012711

Bible Reading for today is Exodus 29-31.

Today I will be commenting only on a couple of verses from chapter 29.

“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.  And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.”  Exodus 29:45-46 (KJV)

When I read the Old Testament it is obvious to me that God is  full of grace and mercy.  It is evident in the way He deals with Israel.  He desires to dwell among His people, and He makes every way He can in His holiness and righteousness to make it possible.

What does it mean for God to “dwell among” His people.  It means very much for His people.  It means having access to the most powerful being in existence.  It means having a meaningful relationship and fellowship with that Being.  It means being a part of His family.  It means a place in eternity forever with Him.  Most of all is that He is glorified.

In the New Testament Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you… that where I am there you may be also” (John 14:3 & 4).  That was what the work of Jesus Christ accomplished.  The Old Testament picture is only a shadow of what Jesus was coming to do.

It is God’s desire, also, that the world know Him.  One phrase that is used over and over again in the Old Testament is “they shall know that I am the LORD…”  The prophet Ezekiel uses it over sixty times.  God has made a way through Jesus Christ to know Him.  There is no other way.

God desires it but will not force you.  He will be glorified in you.

Remember to read Exodus 29 – 31 today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Joy To The Full

The Lord’s prayer is certainly the most wonderful, beautiful prayer of all scripture.  He prayed it for those who were His.  It is a prayer of rich encouragement, strength, and boldness.

“And now come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves” John 17:13 (KJV).

Jesus is speaking in the world, because His disciples are called out of the world, to Himself.  He intends for all those who believe in Him – trust Him – to have great joy.  He desires that His joy be fulfilled in all those who trust Him.  Since He has prayed for it we shall have it.

We must realize, though, that when we get away from Him, that joy will wane, and then, we will be wondering what has happened.  There is no greater joy than the joy which we receive through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

The joy fulfilled in us; given to us by Jesus is greatly fulfilled as we live out the faith which has been given to us by Him.

You desire joy.  True joy can only be found in Jesus.  He has prayed for us to have joy.  No one else has done so much that we might  have it, and to have it to the full.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Broken Down Walls

There has been talk of tearing down walls; too many walls; high walls; low walls; brick walls; rock walls; all kinds of walls.  Maybe there are some walls which need to be torn down, but not the walls of protection.  Not the walls that are there to keep us from the enemy, those who would destroy us; those who desire to see us cease to exist.

It was when the nation of Israel had sinned against God, broken His law; His sabbaths, and committed lewd acts against the Most High, that He sent the enemy to destroy their walls.  The wall was destroyed and for seventy years in captivity the walls lay in ruin, trampled by wild donkeys, and wild beasts of all sorts.

There was a man by the name of Nehemiah who had a burden for Jerusalem after he had received report of the city’s condition.  His heart was broken, and the king gave him leave to go and lead in the rebuilding of those walls.  Here is what Nehemiah has written,

“Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.  Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.”  Nehemiah 2:17-18 (KJV)

As Christian men and women; let’s keep the walls that protect us, and restore some of those walls that have been broken down. And like Nehemiah let’s lead our family, our churches, communities, and nation in building those walls that call us back to God – correct doctrine, right worship, pointing people to Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God; and living by the Word of God.

The wall of God’s protection is quickly coming down.  We can pray, read and study God’s Word; and then apply it to daily living to strengthen those walls.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Voice Of God

Sometimes the VOICE OF GOD is seemingly difficult to hear; other times not so difficult to hear.  Some just flat out refuse to hear God speak at all.  That is partly because they refuse to believe in Him, thus, not believe Him.

The first place God has given us to hear Him, and know Him is His creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1).  The second place (and I am not putting these in any order of importance) is His written Word.  The third place is His Son Jesus Christ.  Then there are the circumstances and situations of life; and the words of wisdom from others – friend, foe, relatives or neighbors or work associates.

The written word of God is the place to put all into check to see if what we hear is from God.  If it does not agree with God’s written Word, then it is not God speaking.

Maybe a couple was dating, talking of marriage, then the relationship goes sour, and one of the couple determines that God is not answering their prayer, because He does not bring them back together.  Maybe that is God rescuing that individual from a life of misery.  I know from personal experience that planning a marriage is not a sure guarantee of a good relationship.  I am thankful to the Lord for destroying a relationship that I was refusing, as a young man, to hear Him.  He worked and gave me a wife who loves and cherishes me; the love between us is stronger now than before.

Listening to God as things “go south” is as important as listening to Him when things are going great.

Hear the Psalmist in the 29th Psalm:

“The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.  The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.  The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.  He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.  The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.  The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.  The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.”  Psalm 29:3-9 (KJV)

God is not silent.  He may not be speaking loudly.  It may just be in a whisper as with Elijah and the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-14).  If you are born again through Jesus Christ you can and do hear His voice.  If you aren’t hearing then you need to hear Him concerning His Son Jesus, and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Honey And Salt

A thought came to my mind the other day, “Too much honey; not enough salt”.  I lingered on thinking of that for some time to try and get some leverage with it or from it, and I think I have found some.

Our society, or culture lives for the pleasurable, and we have found ourselves in a little chaos.  Wall Street pretty much sets the agenda in the matters of wealth, at least did for a while, then things fell apart, and now that it appears to be recovering there are many going back to the god of greed.

Pleasure, comfort, entertainment is fine in their place and time; but we need to be realistic about life.  It cannot be all fun and games.  It is not all fun and games; as much as we would like for it to be.

The writer of Proverbs said, “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”  Proverbs 25:16 (KJV).  Seems you could say this is a case of “Too much honey…”.

We have all heard the saying “You catch more bees with honey” or “flies”.  My question with that is “Who wants bees?”  Unless you are a beekeeper.  I surely don’t want any flies.  I know the idea of the saying is similar to “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down”; but too much is still too much.

We need some “salt” in society, or our culture.  Salt is a flavoring, seasoning, healer, and we need healing for sure.  “This cereal is ‘slick'” is a phase I can remember my Dad saying concerning eating a bowl of hot cereal for breakfast or something else.  “Slick” meant that it didn’t have salt in it; or at the least; not enough salt, and makes the food have an “flat” or “slick” feel in the mouth.

Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”  Matthew 5:13 (KJV)  As Christians we are to add flavor to the culture, society, community, we live in.  And that flavor or action, or taste will not always be a pleasant one.  It may offend, but all in all it will be the aid to what ails us.

Without Jesus and the salt of the earth the honey of society becomes nothing but sorrow.  Enjoy the pleasures God gives, in Him, but never forsake Him; enjoy them in worshipping Him; and you will be blessed.  Forget Him or forsake Him, and you perish.

“TO MUCH  HONEY; NOT ENOUGH SALT”

-Tim A. Blankenship