Treasure

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
  Matthew 6:19-24  (KJB)

The Disciple of Jesus Christ

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33 (KJB)

Jesus has dealt with the cost of following Him in verses 25-33 of Luke 14. Many who have or are thinking of themselves as followers of Christ have truly sacrificed, and given themselves for that great name – the name of Jesus.

There is a cost to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. First of all, your heart and life become His – you are His possession. You are no longer your own. You are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). Secondly, you see as He sees, you believe as He believes. If He has declared something a sin; it is sin. You are in agreement with Him and His word. Human opinion is moot against the word of God. Third, you love Jesus Christ more than family, friends, work, play, sports, deer hunting, hunting, wife, children, grandchildren, and more than your own life (Luke 14:26). In this there are times when you will stand for the truth of God and His word at the disdain of these. Fourth, not the least of these is your greatest treasure is Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34).

The cost of discipleship – of following Jesus – is the cross we must choose to pick up. Let us keep in mind the price He paid that we could do so. He went to the cross, laid down His life, took the judgment that was yours and mine, died, was buried, and then He rose again. Through Him, there is life everlasting.

Treasure

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7  (KJB)

Gold, silver, precious stones, or metals; is that what I write of today?  There is a treasure so great that it is greater than ourselves. It is greater than houses or lands.  It is even greater than family or a multitude of friends.

I write of the presence, the power, the grace, and knowledge of God in our lives. Our greatest treasure is knowing the All-Powerful, All-present, and All-Knowing One who has created all things, and is greater than the universe itself; and that He is Immutable, and that He knows those who are His.

Our treasure is where our hearts and minds dwell; for Jesus said,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

I will finish this by leaving with you the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown on 2 Corinthians 4:7…

“Lest any should say, How then is it that we continue to enjoy such unspeakable glory in a mortal body? Paul replies, this very fact is one of the most marvelous proofs of God’s power, that an earthen vessel could bear such splendor and keep such a treasure” [Chrysostom, Homilies, 8.496, A]. The treasure or “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” The fragile “earthen vessel” is the body, the “outward man” (2Co_4:16; compare 2Co_4:10), liable to afflictions and death. So the light in Gideon’s pitchers, the type (Jdg_7:16-20, Jdg_7:22). The ancients often kept their treasures in jars or vessels of earthenware. “There are earthen vessels which yet may be clean; whereas a golden vessel may be filthy” [Bengel].

that the excellency of the power, etc. — that the power of the ministry (the Holy Spirit), in respect to its surpassing “excellency,” exhibited in winning souls (1Co_2:4) and in sustaining us ministers, might be ascribed solely to God, we being weak as earthen vessels. God often allows the vessel to be chipped and broken, that the excellency of the treasure contained, and of the power which that treasure has, may be all His (2Co_4:10, 2Co_4:11; Joh_3:30).

may be of God … not of us — rather, as Greek, “may be God’s (may be seen and be thankfully [2Co_4:15] acknowledged to belong to God), and not (to come) from us.” The power not merely comes from God, but belongs to Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.Him continually, and is to be ascribed to him.”

The Great Treasure is to have this treasure in these flesh and blood bodies,  and know that He has saved us, He has redeemed us, and thought this body is decaying He is being glorified in and through us.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us unto the Father, was buried, and He rose again.  Will you believe this?  Turn from your sins and to Jesus.

The Treasure of Giving

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And He called His disciples, and saith unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, all her living.’” Mark 12:41-44  (KJB)

Jesus was watching people give into the container where the offering for the temple was received.  Many of the wealthier ones gave out of their abundance; this poor widow gave all that she had.

Who gave the most?  The poor widow did.

Several years ago a couple of billionaires of the U. S. of A. announced that they were going to give half of their wealth to aid the poor.  That was noble thing to do.  Both of their worth was around or over 50 billion dollars apiece. If they were giving half of that would they not still have 25 billion.  Such sacrifice.  Smile.

The widow gave all she had.  It is said, that our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and so it is.  One of our greatest treasures is giving.  Giving from a willing heart.  Giving; not from what we do not have, but from what we have; with that willing heart.  That in itself is a treasure.

Our Lord Himself gave His best, His all to redeem us from our sins. He died on the cross.

The Precious of Your Eye

The Apple of Your Eye – Proverbs 7:1-27

Verses 1 – 5  –  The keeping, protecting power of the Commandment.  A commandment to “guard”, “give heed to”, “wait for”, “retain”, “treasure”

v. 2 – “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings…” Psalm 17:8, See also Deuteronomy 32:10;  Lamentations 2:18;  and Zachariah 2:8.  The pupil of the eye is a sensitive part of the eye, thus the faithful Christian is one who will treasure, retain, “Keep” the commandments, the word of God as precious in life, for life.

v. 4 –  “Sister” Part of the family, one dear to the heart.  See Song of Solomon 4:9, 10, 12; 5:1, 2. The way of evil is to keep one from holiness, and to move the naive toward unrighteous and evil deeds.

Verses 6 – 23 –  The path of the simple minded and ignorant.

v. 9 – “The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.” Job 24:15

v. 14 – See Leviticus 7:11-18.  “Peace offerings” were a part of the Hebrew worship.  This is the way of evil.  There is probably more evil within the churches of the USA than most of us would like to admit, or think.   Hypocrisy is pretending to be something one is not.  Whether it is a wolf acting as a sheep; or a sheep acting as a wolf it is hypocrisy.

“…Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour…” 1 Thessalonians 4:2-4

There is a much greater danger than the husband returning home (vv. 19-20).  There is first the offense of God; there is the offense to one’s self; there is the offense of one’s future spouse; and the offense of the offended spouse.  There is also possible reference to disease in verse 23.

Verses 24 – 27 –  God’s plea for knowledge and wisdom to control one’s thinking.  Matthew Henry Commentary states,

“Take fair warning when it is given you.’’ (1.) “Look back, and see what mischief this sin has done. The adulteress has been the ruin not of here and there one, but she has cast down many wounded.’’ Thousands have been undone, now and for ever, by this sin; and those not only the weak and simple youths, such as he was of whom he had now spoken, but many strong men have been slain by her, v. 26. Herein, perhaps, he has an eye especially to Samson, who was slain by this sin, and perhaps to David too, who by this sin entailed a sword upon his house, though so far the Lord took it away that he himself should not die. These were men not only of great bodily strength, but of eminent wisdom and courage, and yet their fleshly lusts prevailed over them. Howl, fir-trees, if the cedars be shaken. Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (2.) “Look forward with an eye of faith, and see what will be in the end of it,’’ v. 27. Her house, though richly decked and furnished, and called a house of pleasure, is the way to hell; and her chambers are the stair-case that goes down to the chambers of death and everlasting darkness. The cup of fornication must shortly be exchanged for the cup of trembling; and the flames of lust, if not quenched by repentance and mortification, will burn to the lowest hell. Therefore stand in awe and sin not.”  From the Libronix Digital Library System.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Children of Men

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?”  Psalm 12:1-4 (KJV)

Before we get too far into this study we might want and need to know who the “Children of men” are.  They are those who have not been godly.  They are those whose hearts are in the world and all that they can hold.  They are those who would definitely need redemption if it is possible.

The saddest part of the above verses is that the “Faithful” have failed among the “Children of men”. We have failed to lift up holiness in the Lord.  We have failed to be godly in our lives.  We have failed to be witnesses of the saving power, and all the awesome power of Holy God.

The children of men speak vanity – useless, empty, evil, false things – which often cause strife and division.  They have no heart for God, nor the things of God.

We hear of the heart from the words of Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21), and He spoke again and said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:35).  By this we can see that it matters greatly about our hearts.

Flattering lips and a double heart are usually within the heart of the same individual male or female.  A double hearted person is probably lie the double minded individual of James 1:8; “unstable in all their ways”.

Pride in one’s own abilities, words, strength is a surefire way of falling away from doing what is godly, righteous and just.

The surefire way for us all to be good, godly, and righteous before Holy God is to come to Him the only way He has provided.  If we try another way we only exalt ourselves over the Most High God, and are saying to Him, “I am right.  You are wrong.”

He has provided only the way of the cross of Jesus His Son. Come by the cross, or you do not come at all.

 

Christmas Day Two Hundred and Eighteen

My wife and I went to spend some time with our son in Arkansas, and to celebrate the fifth birthday of their youngest daughter.  I had intended to do some post automatically, but I went off and forgot; so that is why there has been no Christmas countdown on Friday May 20, or Saturday May 21.  Back to the countdown.

What do I want for Christmas?

This is another LORD’S Day; so I want Jesus to always be my treasure, and for nothing to come between my love for Him.

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Proverbs 21:20 (KJV)

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [Jesus] Matthew 6:21

Day Three Hundred and Eighteen

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to have the greater Treasure of my heart be the Treasure of your heart, that we all might speak good things from the treasure of our hearts.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Matthew 12:34b-35 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred Forty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the faith of Jesus Christ in me strong enough to stand with Him and for Him no matter what the circumstances of life may be; to stand with Him and for Him in comfort shows that He is my treasure in life; to stand with Him and for Him in trials and tribulations shows that He is my strength, and way of life and living.

You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 97:10 (NKJV)

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Treasures of Your Heart

I heard a story of an old preacher who was in one of those cafe’s where you could come in and set at a bar near the kitchen, and order your meal; a hamburger, club sandwich, fries, or chicken fried steak, fried green tomatoes, etc.

Anyway this preacher had set down near a man who used the vilest, cruelest, nastiest language the preacher had ever heard. A waitress delivered the cursing man’s meal to him, and was about to take a bite when the preacher spoke to him, and said, “Are you going to eat with that same filthy mouth your talking with?”

There are times the vile filth that comes from people’s mouths is not even worth noticing; but the people are in grave need of God, and His salvation through Christ Jesus.

Jesus said of the mouth:

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37 (KJV)

Of course the people to whom Jesus was speaking were the religious leaders; and He was not speaking of cursing, and what we might call “filthy language”; but He was speaking of the hearts of men; of mankind. What comes out of your mouth reveals your heart.

Is that a troubling thought? It should cause some trouble in all our thoughts, and hearts. What kind of words do you speak? Do they lift up and edify others? Do they always, or many times tear others down?

Beware Christian. The words you and I speak do come from our heart. It is best if we think before we speak; and think from a heart that is clean and right with God. When we do that we will speak words that not only edify others, but will glorify our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Where?

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.” Psalm 148:1 (KJV)

Does a place make a difference?  Where is your heart?  Is it on the LORD?  We ought always be praising the LORD.

Maybe the best question would be, “Where is your treasure?”  Jesus said,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:21

The place to begin praising Him is in your heart by making Him your treasure.  When He is your treasure you will look up to the stars, and see the handiwork of this marvelous Creator, and praise Him.

Then, when you are on the highest peaks, or looking toward the highest peaks you will praise the LORD; for He is the Creator of them all.

Hallelujah.

Words for Christian Living – Our Treasure

In January I posted a short article on this same topic.  I awoke this morning with this topic on my mind; and it has been just about everyday I live.  The topic of “Treasure”; in particular: what is my treasure.  It is something for which I am ashamed to mention.  First let us look at what Jesus said;

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21 (KJV)

Jesus knew we would have treasure; however those treasures are not to be earthly treasure; and that is the first thing we think of when we think “Treasure”.  Gold, silver, precious jewelry, houses, lands, boats, cars, and sometimes spouses and children.  Jesus does not tell us these things are bad.  They are, in fact, good to have; remembering from whom they have come.

My shame lays in the thought that I see in myself more affinity for speaking of things like a good movie, book, car, a football game; than I do of speaking of Christ Jesus.  That tells me that Jesus Christ is not my Treasure.  Why is it when the subject of those other things come up I can speak without fear; yet when the subject of God comes up I can get really quiet?

I have no excuse.  Jesus is the greatest treasure.  I am endeavoring today, by the power of the Holy Spirit to make Jesus Christ my Treasure.

Making Judgments, Bearing Fruit, From the Heart

“Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?  The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, ‘Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye,’ when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”   ~Jesus (Luke 6:39-45)

Heaven’s News – Treasure in the Kingdom

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 6:19-24)

Words for Christian Living – Our Treasure

In January I posted a short article on this same topic.  I awoke this morning with this topic on my mind; and it has been just about everyday I live.  The topic of “Treasure”; in particular: what is my treasure.  It is something for which I am ashamed to mention.  First let us look at what Jesus said;

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21 (KJV)

Jesus knew we would have treasure; however those treasures are not to be earthly treasure; and that is the first thing we think of when we think “Treasure”.  Gold, silver, precious jewelry, houses, lands, boats, cars, and sometimes spouses and children.  Jesus does not tell us these things are bad.  They are, in fact, good to have; remembering from whom they have come.

My shame lays in the thought that I see in myself more affinity for speaking of things like a good movie, book, car, a football game; than I do of speaking of Christ Jesus.  That tells me that Jesus Christ is not my Treasure.  Why is it when the subject of those other things come up I can speak without fear; yet when the subject of God comes up I can get really quiet?

I have no excuse.  Jesus is the greatest treasure.  I am endeavoring today, by the power of the Holy Spirit to make Jesus Christ my Treasure.

Where Your Treasure Is

“And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, ‘Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.’  And Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, ‘I have made Abram rich:’ save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.'”  Genesis 14:21-24 (KJV)

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21 (KJV)

In our verses today we have Abram (Later Abraham) having returned from a victorious battle to retrieve some captives, his nephew Lot and family, and others with goods that had also been taken by the captors.  The king of Sodom wishes to bless Abram with the “goods”, but Abram refuses, confessing to the king that his blessing comes from the Most High God (El ElYon).  He refused reward for himself, lest the king should say “I have made Abram rich”.  Abram was in fact already “rich”, yet realized where his blessing came from.  Do we?

In Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells us, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.  What do we cling to?  What do we cherish most?  Is it our children?  Our grandchildren?  Our income; or lack of income?  What holds our hearts and minds?  We all have a treasure.  However, what is our treasure?

The treasure that matters most for eternity should be the Most High God, and His Son Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When the LORD has not Spoken

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, say unto her, ‘Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.  There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.  Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.  And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD hath not spoken.  The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.  And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.  Therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads,’ saith the Lord GOD.”  Ezekiel 22:23-31 (KJV)

There is One who stands as our hedge of protection and is the one Man who stands in the gap between God and men; the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy2:5).

-T.A.

Treasure in a Field

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.  So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 13:44-50 (KJV)

Jesus gave the price of His former glory, to come to purchase His treasure with His blood.  He lived glorifying His Father; died on the cross, was buried, and rose bodily from the grave and is now forever glorified at the Father’s right hand.

-T.A.

Day 89 – Blessings and Judgment to Come

It is quite pleasant to write and to speak of blessings.  It cannot be said of Judgment.  Nevertheless, judgment is a topic which must be addressed by those dealing with truth.  Truth is more than philosophy; it is of God; because God is Truth.

My reading for today, as we near the finish line for the ninety days of reading through the Bible, was The Revelation of Jesus Christ chapters three through twelve.  Though it is in yesterday’s reading I want to point you to chapter one verse three.

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”  Revelation 1:3 (KJV)

In the beginning of the reading of the Revelation we find that our Lord’s intent is for blessing those who will take the time to read this book, hear and obey what He says, and keep them as treasures in one’s heart.  The time at hand is that of the completion of the redemption of the world.  It is more than judgment it will be the final putting down of everything that is vile, evil, and morally reprehensible.

There is blessing for all those who will read, hear, and keep the the “words of this prophecy”.  It is quite clear also that there is judgment for those who love this world and all its principalities and powers;

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  Revelation 3:10

“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Revelation 6:10

“And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!'” Revelation 8:13

It is  important to note that following chapter four; chapters 2 and 3 being specifically to seven churches; the Church is mentioned no more, except in chapter five around the throne of God as the “twenty four elders” (4:4;  5:8).  It is implied in chapters 21 and 22 for the Church to be in the presence of God in Heaven.

The judgment is not for those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.  The judgment coming on the world that the Revelation speaks of is for those whose hearts cannot be torn away from the riches, fame, popularity, politics, and power of this world.

Blessing is what God desires for you.  Blessing is what He has provided for all who will trust in Him, and the finished work of the cross of Christ.  Refuse Him and be judged.  Receive Him and be blessed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 41 – Thoughts from Psalms; Home

To me, “Home” is a pleasant word, but much more than that a place of shelter, warmth.  Home is a place of family; the place you lay your head at night.  The place you dwell, and abide.  In a ship sort of way home is the anchor of your life.  You can leave home for a while, but you always come back.

The old phrase, “Home is where the heart is” is a true phrase; at least for many people it is.

My reading this morning was Psalms 80 – 93.  My comments this morning will rest in Psalm 91.  Psalm 91 makes me think of home.  I am blessed to have an earthly home.  I grew up in what many might call the “traditional family” where the father works providing for the family, though his work was mostly farm work, and I worked along side him when I was old enough to start; and the mother stayed home, tending children, and caring for the house.  Mom, also did more than housework, she even killed the chickens we raised for a good chicken dinner at times; made homemade butter, and cottage cheese.  O my, that was gooooood stuffff.

Look with me at the first two verses of Psalm 91 –

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.'” Psalm 91:1-2 (KJV)

I have already written of “Wings” in a previous post, and that being a place of safety, and rest.  Home is the place we live, we dwell there, we abide there.  It is indeed where the heart is.

The  psalmist says to us, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High…”  That “dwelling” is where we stay.  It is a place of shelter; a place of comfort; a place of protection.  This “secret place” is more than home though.  It is the place where God is; the most holy place.  It is the holy of Holies. The place of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat.  The place for only those in intimate relationship with God the Father can dwell.

This “secret place” is the place the intimate ones never leave; but if they ever do they will quickly return.  Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

The treasure, the dwelling place, the abiding place of the intimate ones with the LORD is in the “secret place of the Most High”, and those who dwell in that “secret place” are abiding “under the shadow of the Almighty”.  It is a place of shelter from the darkness of the world.  One thing we might think of as we think of “the shadow of the Almighty” is that His shadow most certainly would be a shadow of greater light.  Just as the light of the sun overpowers the light of a light bulb, so too does the light of the glory of God overpower the light of the sun.

The home of the Christian is in the presence of God, the Almighty.  He is our refuge and fortress.  Let us say with Moses, or whomever the human author of this Psalm is, “In Him will I trust”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Luke – 032111

When I was a boy I spent many days and hours digging for treasure.  I had all kinds of holes dug in the ground around our house, in the pastures, the cedar glades, or wherever there was a place I thought that there could be treasure.  I did this probably when I was 8 – 10 years of age.

All the time I had a treasure I didn’t see, and that was my family, my parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins.  Later on I received a treasure that I have to this day, and will have it through all eternity, and that treasure is the treasure of Jesus Christ in my heart, my life, my inner most being; eternal life with God and Him who died for me.  That is the greatest treasure.

Jesus said in Luke 12:34;

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Now there is not a thing wrong with desiring treasure.  You will notice though that the verse does not say “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also”, and that is what many of us probably think.  That is not what Jesus says though.

We already have a treasure.  Defining our treasure is a key to being at peace; recognizing our treasure.

I knew a couple several years ago who built a new house; they gave a great testimony of loving Jesus Christ, being great givers, and being church people.  For a while after building their house they  became somewhat frightened or nervous about leaving their home at night.  They were worried that someone might break into their house, and either steal some of their new things or vandalize the house.  In their hearts, at least for awhile their treasure was in that new house; and they were not at all at peace.

Where is your treasure?  If it is truly in Christ Jesus, then you will be at peace, and fear nothing.

“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030711

Reading today in Matthew 11 – 13

We have all heard the language people use on the street, many times in business, at work, at recreation and play.  We hear it from children, both special needs children and “normal” children; and that is most generally because the children hear it from their parents or legal guardians.

When I read the following Scriptures that tell me, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” then there are an massive amounts of people; young and old; who have corrupted abundance in their hearts:

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”  Matthew 12:34-37 (KJV)

Maybe the next time you let a vile, corrupted word fly from you tongue and lips you better check your heart.  It is corrupt if you let words fly that are vile, dirty, rude, hurtful, filthy, and/or ungodly.

These are the words of Jesus Christ; the purest of men; the God man who gave His life for our sins.

Consider that before you open you mouth to speak.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Widow’s Gift

38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: 40 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.   Mark 12:38-44 (KJV)

This sounds similar to many of the religious leaders, preachers on television who promise great dividends for sending in their offerings.  They are really nothing short on theives [wolves] in sheeps clothing.  They love the greetings of the people; they really love the offerings of the people.  What they love most  is approval, and the adulation of the crowds.

Lest someone judge me for making this judgment let me say this.  Jesus is the one who is making this judgment.  You need not worry about my “judgment” it is His which will hold muster in the end.

The boastfulness and arrogance of the religious leaders is astounding.  As a matter of fact it makes Jesus sick.  These love to have all the attention focused upon them.  They like the service they do simply because it gives them notoriety and privilege.  They will take the homes of the widows without remorse, and plead for the widow to continue to give unto the end.

A widow woman comes and cast “Two mites” into the “treasury”.  It seems this was all that she had, and Jesus gives her more adulation than those who gave from their wealth.  This woman gave all she had, the wealthy gave only a portion of what they had.  It does not matter how much you give as long as you give it all to the Lord.  If the Lord has it all you will guard what you have left and use it wisely for God’s glory.  Does God have all that you hold in your possession?  Does He have you?

Tim A. Blankenship

Our Love For Jehovah

OUTLINE for Deuteronomy 5:6-21;

I.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).
II.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).
III.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).
IV.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15)

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).  God [YHWH or YaHWeH] is the One and only One who delivered Israel from Egypt.  Delivered from the house of bondage He calls His delivered people to trust only in Him.

To LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART is to love only Him.  When a man is  in love with a woman, he grows more in love with her with each passing day.  The same is true with knowing and loving God.  In the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy we are told, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart…” (v. 5); and in Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus is quoted saying the same thing (Matthew 22:37;  Mark 12:30;  Luke 10:27).

When God speaks here He is not authorizing us to put Him at the top of the list of gods to worship.  His heart’s command is to worship Him alone, and there is no other.  Would a man tell his wife “As long as you have me at the top of the list, you may see all the other men you want”?  No man in his right mind, and with any moral character would say that.

The heart is the seat of who we are.  The heart of the one who worships God alone will have his/her heart filled with God.

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).  Mankind is the only one of God’s creation which is made in His image and after His likeness.  We are told that when God had made Adam, “…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 (KJV).

When we LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR SOUL we are loving Him from who we really are.  He breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and that is not said of any other creature of creation, but mankind.

When we worship and love gods of our own making we denigrate ourselves.  Even when we worship self through selfishness, atheism, agnosticism, or in science, technology, or any other means of self worth garbage; we do not lower God we lower ourselves.

It is certain, at least in my mind, that everything which God has made obeys the ordinances and laws of God set down for each of them with the exception of one; and that one is man.  The one made in His image has sinned, rebelled, and seeks other things as their god.  The worship of other gods is demon worship;

“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

Man is the only part of God’s creation of which God has said is made in His image and after His likeness. Remember, everytime you look at another human being you are looking at the image of God. Though this image is darkened by sin; there is light for thier soul. To murder the unborn in the womb is to murder the image of God. To curse another human being is to curse the image of God. To lie about another is to lie about the image of God.

The greatest, purest, and clearest Image of God was the One who walked on earth as God’s Son.  His name is Jesus.  He said, “If you have seen Me,  you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).  It is certain, at least to me, that many people of our society need a renewed mind. I know that Jesus also said that, “…From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45), but is it not the mind that gives the mouth the ability to speak. And, we do often “Speak our mind”. We say things like, “…I will give them a piece of my mind…”, and usually when we cannot afford to give them any.

God’s name is often used, even by professing Christians who use His name without thought. It has been said that the Hebrew scribes, when writing the Scriptures would change “pens” to write the name of God. It was so special that the name of God is not even clearly revealed in the original languages. In the Hebrew language all we know of the name God is YHWH. That name has been transliterated to Jehovah or YaHWeH. The best name we have for God is J-E-S-U-S. And, how often we hear His name used vainly.

The heart that is abundant with the things of God and Jesus His Son will speak from that abundance. An abundant heart will have a clear, thinking mind. The abundant heart will speak things which will glorify the Father and the whole God-head. When your heart and soul are filled with God, are you going to speak vainly of God? No way.

There are those who use God’s name in vain by cursing and swearing. What about those who speak God’s name, seemingly in a reverent manner on Sunday at church, but the rest of the week live like the world in the way they speak? It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy. Not just a hypocritical act but the act of a Hypocrite.

There is nothing that turns off a someone away from God quicker than someone who professes Christianity on Sunday, but imbibes in the world the rest of the week. This is a taking of God’s name in vain as well. God help us to guard our minds, by always speaking reverently of God. “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9).

What about those who do all the churchy, traditional things, but overlook doing right toward their neighbor?

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” (Isaiah 29:13).

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9).

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Luke 6:46-48).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15).  This is the fourth and final commandment having to do with our relationship with God. It is important to have this relationship. We are born into this world with that relationship in deadness. There is no spiritual heart for God. The law is pure evidence that this is so. There is no human being who has obeyed the law of God completely, except the Son of God Himself – Jesus Christ.

In the first place the Sabbath was initiated by God after the sixth day of creation when His work was finished.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3).

In creation God established a work cycle for mankind. Contrary to some beliefs work is not a part of the curse. Laziness is a sin and is a part of the curse. God made it where every hard working person would have a day of rest and worship. It is still necessary to have a day to rest and to worship the Lord our God. It is a shame on our society in which people work seven days a week and never give God a thought. The only god some people worship is the “Greenback” which can do absolutely nothing for peace or joy.

For Israel it was a day for renewing their strength after six days of laboring, and for worshipping God. The Christian is not bound by this commandment. We find our strength and rest in Him. He is in fact our rest and strength. That does not mean that we are to forsake the day of worship. It does mean that our worship is to be everyday, and when we join with our brothers and sisters on Sundays to lift up the name of our Lord and Savior, and God.

The Christian and the Sabbath is shown us in Hebrews 4:1-11. There we are told,

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief…”.

Because Jesus fulfilled this and all the law by His complete and perfect obedience to God, His Father, we are privileged and honored to join together on the first day of the week to do so, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7). “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6). The reason we worship on Sunday is because of the fulfillment and completion of the law in Christ Jesus and His resurrection on Sunday morning. The Christian’s rest is in Jesus Christ, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). Jesus said this before He died and was buried and rose again. That means it was so in the beginning as well.

Our strength is God’s.  He gives every breath we breath.  He gives every beat of our heart.  He gives us every step we take.  Our sole allegiance ought to be to Him and to Him alone.

Loving God We Love Our Neighbor

OUTLINE vv. 16-21

I.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).
II.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).
III.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).
IV.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).
V.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).
VI.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).  Without our mothers and fathers we would not be present in the world.  That should be a good thing for us.  It is a sad thing that many a child grows up never knowing their dad, and sometimes their mom.  One of the most dreadful things is that some of those who do grow up with both parents is the disrespect many have toward them.

Usually, when a child does not honor and respect their parents, they have less respect, if any respect, for law enforcement, and for any in places of authority; thus getting themselves into a multitude of troubles.  God intended children to have their parents.  Mom’s and Dad’s; you are not ordained by God to be a friend to your child; you are called, ordained to be a parent, giving them guidance, correction, love, care, providing for them as they are growing and learning.  Friendship with your son(s) or daughter(s) will come when they are grown, then, you will have a friendship which you will cherish.

This is the only commandment of the ten with a promise.  One reason for the Babylonian exile was Israel’s disrespect for parents;

“In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow”. (Ezekiel 22:7);

“Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 22:13-16).

Could it be that many of the problems of the society within the United States is much related to the disrespect of children toward parents, many authority figures, and God Himself?  That may have started with adults having a disrespect for human life.  Which would have began with a turning away from God.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).  This sixth commandment is given to protect life, human life.  We are to cherish, and respect all human life.  The human baby in the womb of his/her mother, or even the embryo in the glass dish, or frozen in storage.  The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Pocket Dictionary defines “embryo: a living being in the earliest stages of development–”,  and we have “Scientist” who want to cut up and destroy human embryoes for the purpose of “life saving” stem cell research.  These are not “Scientist”; they are butchers.

Let me get one thing straight.  This commandment is a commandment against cold-blooded murder.  Willful, pre-meditated, planned taking of a human life.  It is not commandment against protecting one’s own life.  It is not commandment against the execution of a murderer.  The execution of a murderer is surely the surest form of respect for human life.  Capital punishment of the murderer shows all that every human being is equal before God.  When we allow a convicted murderer to live; we count her/his life more precious than the one they killed.  When we put to death the one who killed maliciously; we  show not only respect for human life, but also show the respect that is due God’s commandments.

Here is some Scripture to reconcile the sixth commandment with capital punishment –

“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’ brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:5-6).

“And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.” (EX. 21:15).

“And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.” (EX. 21:18-19).

Then a New Testament passage,

” 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. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7).

All human life is precious.  Our neighbor’s life and all in his/her household are precious in the sight of our Lord.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).  This commandment, the seventh, is a decree of respect and honor for the marriage of every man and woman.  Marriage is not a right it is an institution of God.  It is decreed by God that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24), and this definitely means a man and a woman.

The First Institution God Ordained. This first institution is MARRIAGE. This blessed institution is falling by the wayside in our modern society. Our government penalizes married couples by charging them more  taxes in some cases. Elderly couples can receive more Social Security benefits by living together without marrying. This, in essence, is government, our government of the United States; rewarding immoral behavior.

Young couples are living together more and more without marriage. They want to “Test drive” the relationship, similar to test driving a car they want to purchase. This is a relationship not a piece of property. If you test drive a car and buy it there will come a day in a few years, at the most, where you will get rid of that car. If you “Test drive” that relationship, that is what most likely will happen to the relationship too. Why? Because there is need for commitment, and where there is no commitment, there is no power or permanance to the relationship. Either party in the relationship can leave at any time. It is with sadness that I must admit, there are many who enter marriage with this attitude as well. If you are not prepared to spend a lifetime with someone do not marry, but do not make a sham of marriage by living in rebellion to God’s law by cohabitating. There is little to no respect for the institution for marriage, and it seems due to the fact of no respect for God and that which is holy, righteous and good.

Marriage is more than, “Just a sheet of paper…”. It is in fact the bringing together of two – one man and one woman – before God and they two become “One flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). It is in fact a life-time commitment with binding vows that promise one another, and God, that whether “…rich or poor, in sickness or in health, loving no other, until death do we part.” That is more than a sheet of paper; it is a “binding contract” with God, and has serious repercussions if the bond is broken any way other than by death.

THERE IS FORGIVENESS (John 8:1-11). In the Bible the penalty for adultery is death. The Scripture given previously to the last sentence shows this was what was in the heart and mind of this woman’s accusers. Quick to pick up the stones of accusation, slow to mercy, slow to forgiveness. With this woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus gives her forgiveness.

Notice Jesus’s words, “…Go, and sin no more”. It was not just a blanket forgiveness without responsibility. She had been forgiven, and now her life would reflect the cleansing and forgiveness she had received. Muse on these questions for awhile. Where was the man who was caught in the act with her? What did Jesus write in the dirt on the ground? Why didn’t they throw the stones?

The only one who could have stoned her forgave her instead. THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR THE SIN OF ADULTERY. There is forgiveness for all sin, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).  For some reason there are many  who think society owes them something so they take what they want, when they want it, and often at great cost to someone else.  Some people who work in some business think they have a right to take a little something which belongs to their boss.  It could be “just a box of paper clips”, or only showing one’s self busy when the boss is watching.  It is theft.  It is stealing.

* Of the first seven commandments; death is the penalty for the violation.
* This eighth commandment does not call for the death penalty – it calls, rather for restitution (Ex. 22:1; Luke 19:5-10).
* There is one exception, that is if they “Kidnap” – steal a human being (Ex. 21:16). This called for the death penalty.

If we love God and one another we will not desire what another has, and take and steal. We will practice what Paul taught the Ephesians, rather, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). There will be no need for gambling, stealing from those who are more needy – doing it legally. When one loves their neighbor there is also a love for God and for being a faithful steward of God’s resources He has put in our trust. Also there will be the need to see that all debts are paid in full, especially the debt to our neighbors that could be the redemption of their souls.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).  This commandment is a decree against lying against your neighbor.  Bearing false witness to condemn, to elevate one’s self, to unjustly bolster one’s self image over another, or to bring condemnation before a court.

The Truth is precious, and we should be truthful with our neighbors, with our families, and most of all with God.  When we love God and our neighbors the truth will be precious to us.

The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.

J. Vernon McGee writes,

“Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150).

That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.  Should we not consider that when we are guilty of that it is almost certain that it will not be long and they will come back to get us.

Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination.

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)

“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)

Now look in the New Testament,

“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).  When we have real desire for others [our neighbors] to be blessed we will not have the audacity to desire, lust for, covet the property which belongs to them; or the persons which are in their love and care.

Though this commandment is the final of the ten, it could be the KEY COMMANDMENT.  Think about this; if we disobey this commandment we can very easily and are breaking every one of the other nine.

James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 (KJV). Get that, “Guilty of all”. Now that can be said of all the others too, but here, I hope you can see why it is important to realize that covetousness is a seed of evil, that breeds evil, and leads to the decay of the whole law in the hearts of people.

According to the book of Colossians it is Idolatry to covet. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5 (KJV). Even the book of Ephesians backs this up by saying, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). Note that Paul has written there, “Nor covetous man, who is an idolater…” O, the sad thing is there are many, many, too many people who live for the grasping and holding on of things, or people, or positions, or power; do I need to go on. I think you get the point.

The following verses are the words of Jesus:

”Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV).

Again Jesus says,

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt 6:31-34 (KJV).

Now if this is not a word for those who covet things and such, I am mistaken about the whole issue,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:21 (KJV).

If your heart is on the things of the world, that is your treasure. However, if your heart is on the Lord and His righteousness and glory, that is your treasure. If you are going to covet; covet the godly things, that will glorify the Savior.

When our treasure is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, then we have these laws written in our hearts, and our desire is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  No one I know of wants any of these negative acts conducted against them.

-Tim A. Blankenship

His Kingdom Coming

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:44-52 (KJV).

We have looked at the beginning of the kingdom of heaven in verses 3 – 23; seen the opposition of the devil within the kingdom in verses 24 – 43; and lastly we will see the finished result of the kingdom in verses 44 – 50. The final thing we will see is the responsibility that those who are in the kingdom have with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The finished result of the kingdom of heaven will be the final putting away of all that is evil and false. The complete redemption of all who are bought and claimed by the Redeemer. All the parables of Matthew 13 give us an outline, together, of the Church Age. First of all in the parable of the “Sower” we see individual’s responses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Secondly, in the parables of the wheat and the tares, the mustard seed, and the leaven; we see Satan’s opposition to the work of God in His kingdom, and his attacks upon it. Thirdly, we see the results of Judgment upon the “Treasure” [Israel], the Pearl [the Church], and the dragnet [Gentile nations]. This parable shows us that there is evil in the kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of Christ while He is not bodily present, and it will progress until He comes again.

In the following parables we see three items; the first being “a hidden treasure”; the second is “a pearl of great price [great value]”, and finally; “a dragnet”. We have mystery, beauty, and “What?”.

For some time and some odd reason many have looked at the parable of the “treasure” and said this treasure is Jesus Christ, and when you find Him you sell all that you have, then take that and buy to obtain Jesus. That may be a great sentiment, but we do not purchase Jesus. He is not for sale. If there is any finding to be done when it comes to the salvation of lost mankind Jesus will do it. Then, just what is the meaning of this parable (v. 44)?

Remember the previous parables. In the parable of the “Wheat and the tares” the field is the world. In this world “a man” is God in the person of His Son, and the “treasure” is true Israel. Hear the words of the Old Testament here: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” Exodus 19:5 (KJV); another one would be, “For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” Psalms 135:4 (KJV). When God called Israel to be His people and Nation He had a plan for them, and He still does. Warren Wiersbe says, “That nation was placed in the world to bring glory to God, but it failed. It became a nation hidden, a treasure not being invested to produce dividends for God. Jesus Christ gave His all to purchase the whole world in order to save the nation (John 11:51). On the cross, Jesus died for the whole world; but in a special way, He died for Israel (Isaiah 53:8). The nation suffered judgment and seeming destruction, but in God’s sight it is ‘hidden’ and will be revealed again in glory.” From the Bible Exposition Commentary, by Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 47, VOL. 1.

God is the Creator of the world; the Son as the man purchased the world with His own blood redeeming Israel, and all who will receive Him. One day, and it may be sooner than we all think, there will be a manifestation of Jesus Christ in the hearts and souls of the people of the nation of Israel. It will take some time and trial for them to realize their need, and to realize that their Messiah has been here already, but it will come.

Pearls are made through the much tribulation of the oyster. I don’t know all the mechanics behind the making of the pearl, but what we have all heard is that it begins with a grain of sand being on the sensitive part of its body. It senses the irritation, and gives off a substance which surrounds the irritation easing its aggravation, and after several times of this it becomes a pearl; a piece of jewelry which women seem to love and desire.

In the parable of the “pearl of great price” (vv. 45-46), it has seen the similar interpretation as the above “treasure”, the “pearl” being Christ Jesus and those who give up all they have, and purchase the pearl have made a great bargain. Again, there may be great sentiment in this interpretation, but Jesus Christ and His salvation is not for sale, and salvation cost us nothing. Let’s see some Scripture on this matter:

” Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:” 1 Corinthians 10:32 (KJV).

“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13 (KJV).

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Ephesians 4:4-7 (KJV).

“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalms 14:2-3 (KJV).

In this parable of the precious pearl the “Merchant man” is truly representing Jesus Christ. Jesus saw the Church as being a precious pearl, and gave up the splendors and glory of heaven to come and redeem fallen men to God. If you use the interpretation of the pearl representing Christ then, you have mankind searching for and finding God. That contradicts the rest of Scriptures. In Scripture we always have God seeking for men. He came in the garden seeking for Adam, and it wasn’t or even isn’t that He doesn’t know where we are; it is important that we know where we are in relation to Him. The Bible says, “that no man seeks God” (Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:11). It was Jesus who said, “I came to seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). The Merchant man is the one who is searching.

God seeks after men – He is in pursuit of the souls of men. Jesus left it all up that He might purchase with His own blood the “pearl of great price” the pearl is one of great value. Precious means that it is rare. There is no other like it on earth, or anywhere else for that matter. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28 (KJV). The price He paid was not only in leaving the immediate presence of the Father, but becoming a lowly servant; taking on Himself the stench, the ugly, the weight, of our sins, and enduring the wrath of His own Father; then giving to us His righteousness

The pearl which the Merchant man seeks is the Church. The Church comes from the realms of mankind. The sea is most usually a picture of mankind. The oyster and the pearl are products of the sea. Read 1 Corinthians 10:32; Ephesians 2:11-13 and 4:4-7 again. The growth of the Church is unseen by the world, just as the pearl within the oyster. It is a unified product – just as the pearl is layered in its production, from beginning to end; so too is the Church.

Jesus once again goes to the sea, only in a bigger way. There are a lot of people who like and even love fishing. We look now at a peculiar catch. Keep in mind that we are to understand that the “kingdom of heaven” contains both the good and the bad [evil]; the true and the false. The good and true are the ones who are genuine believers. The bad and false are the ones in it for the wrong reasons – power, politics prestige; they are the hypocrites. The net is the kingdom and the fish represent people from all nations the Jew and the Gentile (Daniel 7:1-3; Revelation 13:1; 17:15).

The time of this judgment is at the end of the age, when God is going to make all things right. Evil will be judged and eventually put away. It will be a time when many will wonder, “What is going on?”, and “Why is this happening to me [us]? The Gentile believers will be separated from the unbelievers. It is not the end of the Church Age, but the end of the age of a “Mixed Multitude”. It will end the time of the tares infiltrating the wheat.

Jesus’s question as to the disciples understanding of the parables was pertinent. They needed to understand that the new thing He was teaching was coming from the old truths of the Old covenant. The new and the old never contradict but complement one another; or complete the other. The new may give fuller, and clearer understanding to the old. Scribes were given the task of writing the laws and preserving them; they, however, became preservers of man’s interpretations of God’s Word and laws, and in many ways fell away from the practice of these laws. The follower of Jesus needed to know and needs to know that there is a time for the study of the Word, and then, God gives us the time to proclaim the Word to those who need to hear.

The reference to the householder is that when he displays or shows the treasures of his house he shows the old and the new. The same is true with those who are followers of Jesus. I think this is Jesus telling us that the Old Testament is needed to be taught and preached as well as the New. Those who neglect the Old are prone to never have a good understanding of the New. Those who would teach only the Old, without the New, will never have a clear understanding of the Old.

“And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:53-58 (KJV)

After Jesus finished teaching these parables He went home to where He had grown up. A question that comes to my mind as I look at verse 54 concerning the phrase, “He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished…” is, “Does the statement mean that He taught them these parables, or is it just that He was teaching the people in the synagogue?? With verse 53 saying what it does, “When Jesus had finished these parables…”, and the and verse 54 adding, “…so that they were astonished…” it almost sounds as though it is speaking of the parables being taught by Jesus, to the people of his home town. It is clear that He “taught them in the synagogue” and in that reference is of the people. There is no doubt about His teaching the people in their synagogue. Therefore, that is probably the better understanding of it. Everything Jesus taught, wherever He was teaching was astonishing. The people of Nazareth did not understand where this young man, who grew up in their midst, could get such wisdom and understanding.

The people of Nazareth only saw Him as being the son of Joseph and Mary. Their eyes had been closed as to His true identity. After all as He was growing up He had brothers and sisters, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, and sisters. These people were offended that He had such a wealth of knowledge of God, Scripture, and wisdom. He hadn’t really even been educated, at least not like the Pharisees, and Sadducees, the knowledgeable elite. It seems that thier offense went something like this, “Who does this guy think He is coming in our synagogue and teaching us?”

I am sure that Jesus’s heart was broken in their rejection of Him. He so desired that all would hear His voice and know Him, but He would not force any to follow. Jesus understood the attitude, and that it was their familiarity with Him growing up in their midst. Because of their rejection and rebellion against Him He could not, nor would not do “many mighty works there because of their unbelief”. Of course, this would be refering to the miracles He performed. It seems that the first miracle He did was in Cana of Galilee (John 2).

It is a sad commentary on a city, county, or country when they will acknowledge their war heroes, veterans, and sports stars, but they do not give any recognition to those who are given to the work of God. It just shows that the people “of the earth” have their hearts in another place.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Man of Mystery

Man of Mystery

“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” Genesis 14:17-24 (KJV)

It is with fascination that I notice that when one has his treasure in this world he falls with its kings and is captured like all the possessions. However, if the heart is on the Lord you will never fall.

Lot, backsliden, his heart drawn away by the pleasures of the world, worshipped the material, and went into captivity with the material. Abraham worshipped the God of Heaven and delivered all the people and their possessions from the captivity.

It is also interesting to notice that when Bera, the king of Sodom shows up, that Melchizedek king of Salem, and priest of the Most High God [El Elyon] comes to Abraham’s aid. Bera comes offering Abraham great material wealth as a reward for his victory. Abraham has, however, vowed to God that he would not take any reward from these perverse and rebellious people, lest they claim they have made Abraham rich (vv. 22-23).

Mechizedek’s appearance is reward enough for the “Friend of God”. Who is this Melchizedek? He is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament – here in Genesis and in Psalm 110:4; and the most mentioned of him is in the New Testament book of Hebrews. This scarcity makes him somewhat of a mystery character. Who is he? This Old Testament account calls him the king of Salem [present day Jerusalem]. He is called “the priest of the most High God [El Elyon] = “Possessor of heaven and earth”.

It seems that we are given license in Scripture of Melchizedek as a “type” of the Christ. “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” is written in a messianic Psalm (110) prophesying of the throne at the Father’s right hand, and His judgment on the nations.

There are good and godly scholars and pastors who believe Melchizedek to be a pre-incarnate visitation of Jesus Christ. The problem with that is he appears as an earthly king to Abraham – a highly honored one to be sure – yet he is the king of an earthly city. Another problem is Paul spaks of him in Hebrews 7:3 as, “…Made like unto the Son of God”. This certainly implies “type” or “Shadow” rather than substance.

In understanding who Melchizedek is we must first realize the mystery involved. Understand also, that, Scriptures were “God breathed” inspired by the Holy Spirit, and sometimes what is missing is, or can be a clue to correct interpretation. In Melchizedek’s case we have no record of his genealogy; “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life”. Yet, the Holy Spirit gives us a genealogy of our Lord’s human birth.

Let’s compare the two. Melchizedek: “Without mother or father”; no birth, nor death; A gentile priest of God; King of righteousness; King of Salem; A priest continually. Now let’s look at the One who is the substance of the shadow – Jesus Christ: without mother or father – in his deity only; no birth, nor death – also in deity only; a priest of God from the tribe of Judah (Both Melchizedek – Gentile priest of God, and Jesus – are declared by God to be priests); King of righteousness; King of Jerusalem; a priest continually – “after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16).

The comparisons are many. The one, however, is a shadow of the substance.

Abraham worships the “Most High God” by giving “tithes of all”. A tithe is one tenth. It is encouraging to notice that the tithe was initiated before the law of Moses. Not being subject to the law makes it a wonderful starting place for giving. To give less would be to insult the grace of God. Giving God ten percent of all acknowledges Him as Lord of all. We are to give willingly, cheerfully, proportionately, and promptly. Ten percent is a good starting place, but as God blesses the one’s who have a giving spirit will want to increase their giving for the glory of our Lord (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). This is proportionate giving, “…as God has prospered him”.

The true worshipper of God gives all to God, and withholds nothing.