Be Of Good Cheer: Come

“And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a spirit;’ and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying,
‘Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.’
And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.’ And He said,
‘Come.’
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, ‘Lord, save me.’ And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him,
‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.’ ” Matthew 14:22-33

Some things we immediately see as we read this portion of Scripture:1) Jesus orders, commands, or made the disciples get into a boat to go to the other side; 2) After sending them away He went to a mountain to pray, and He was alone; 3) the boat the disciples are in is in the midst of Sea of Galilee tossed by the waves and the wind; 4) It was the “fourth watch” between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. when Jesus went walking to them on the water; 5) When the disciples saw Jesus they thought Him to be a “spirit”, and were afraid; 6) Jesus says to them, “It’s Me. Don’t be afraid”; 7) Peter asked Jesus to allow him to walk to Him on the water, and Jesus says, “Come”; 8 ) Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water, began walking to Jesus, but when he saw the boisterous wind he began to sink, and cried out to Jesus for help; 9) Jesus reached out His hand to Peter, and “caught him”, then says, “O thou of little faith…”; 10) back in the boat the wind ceased; 11) The disciples worshipped him confessing, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.”. Quite a few interesting events are taking place here and some which Matthew does not mention as well; according to the other gospels. I will get to those later

Dealing with the matter of JESUS THE KING we can see by this that He is not only the King of men, but also the King of creation, and all created things. Only the sovereign King and God can walk on water, and command the winds and the waves.

Having fed at least 15,000 people with five loaves of bread and two small fish; Jesus has sent the multitudes away with their stomachs full, their hearts should also be full after having been in the presence of our Lord. Being fully God, yet also fully man, Jesus is probably weary, tired and needing some time of refreshment and rest. He needs to be alone. Yet He know that He is never alone; because the Father is always with Him. The multitude sent away and the disciples rowing across the Sea of Galilee he goes up to a mountain to pray, to speak to His Father.

They are on the East side of the Sea of Galilee, and were rowing toward the West side. Matthew says, “Other side”. Mark writes, “Bethsaida”. John says, “Capernaum” was the destination. Matthew’s destination could mean anywhere on the West side, but I think there is more than that meant. Mark’s destination was more definite, yet speaking of an area on the West side. John speaks of the place where Jesus headquartered His ministry. There is not a contradictory statement here in any of them. First of all they are all three mentioning the West side. Secondly, we do name things like this all the time. For instance; when my wife, our son and I lived in California, and we would come back to Missouri; we were sometimes asked where we were going when we were planning on traveling back home. We would say the Southwest Missouri area; and another time we might tell them Barry County in Missouri; and we might be a little more specific and say Jenkins, Missouri. Now, were we making contradicting statements? NO! Where we were coming was to the Southwest part of Missouri and into Barry County, to the community of Jenkins, Missouri. We have three different testimonies as to their destination, and they are all accurate.

It seems to me, that in this historical event in the life of the disciples and the life of Jesus Christ there is a picture of life, its troubles, and trials and our deliverance.

How many times have we heard the phrase, “Other side” concerning the death of someone we know; whether it be a family member, work associate, or a friend? “He/She has gone to the other side”. Could there be a lesson on life and our eternal destination in this event of history? I think we can see it if we look at the situation, and understand the truth that is presented here.

Capernaum is where the headquarters for Jesus’s ministry is, and possibly in Peter’s home. We can see in Matthew 4:12-16 that Jesus went to Galilee and “dwelt in Capernaum”, and did so that the Scripture might be fulfilled spoken by Isaiah the prophet. Then, in chapter 8 we find Jesus at Peter’s house healing his mother-in-Law (chapter 8:14-15). He dwelt in Capernaum, and when they were there stayed in Peter’s home. Capernaum was home for Jesus on earth. Capernaum, though did not realize who was living among them.

In this act, this miracle of Jesus,  He gives us a picture of His coming for those who are His, and our eternal deliverance.

As Christians go through life, it is sometimes likened to the “Sea of life”, and these seas get very troubled at times. Physically our Lord Jesus is not with us and we row, and struggle and grow fearful that the boat we are in is going to fill with these troubled waters and sink, capsize, and we will not make it. Then Jesus comes, our faith grows, and then, in an instant, we find ourselves on the other side. John writes, “Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going”. Where were they going? to the “other side”, writes Matthew. Where were they going? “Bethsaida”, says Mark (Mark 6:45). Where were they going? “Capernaum”, writes John (John 6:17). Where were they going? Headquarters. Home.

When Jesus comes again, as we struggle in this life we will immediately appear with Him in glory, where we shall forever live with Him. No more struggles with life; no more tears, no more fear, no more death or dying…” Home Sweet Home.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 082120

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately,  ‘Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?’

And Jesus answering them began to say,
‘Take heed lest any man deceive you: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.’ ”  Mark 13:3-13  (KJB)

Why Are You Troubled?

“And He said unto them, ‘Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.’ ” Luke 24:38-39 (KJB)

Here we are on the Eve of Christmas and there are many of us who are troubled. Most of our trouble is dealing with material things; such as financial debt, did I get the right gift for some loved one; or could be even troubled because of inability financially to buy gifts for loved ones.

The trouble of which Jesus addresses above is concerning His appearance to His followers whom He has just appeared to in this room. The door was locked, and He came in. Keep in mind all of the life of Jesus was about fulfilling the word and will of His Father, purchase our salvation, our redemption by His death on the cross, be buried – not just to prove His death, but to fulfill the type of the scapegoat of Leviticus 16:20-28. When that portion of the Law was fulfilled He rose from the grave alive with “flesh and bone”.

The disciples, followers were troubled because they thought they were seeing a ghost, a spirit, but Jesus quells that by telling them to look at His hands and His feet. His hands still had the scars from the nails of the crucifixion; His feet as well. Then He confirmed His body by speaking of being flesh and bone. He even invites them to touch Him… “Handle Me”

Why are we troubled? We are not mindful enough of the presence of the Lord Jesus, the bodily resurrected Lord Jesus alive, and seated at the right hand of the Father; and that He has given us the earnest of His Holy Spirit abiding in all those who are His (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5); awaiting that day when we shall be glorified with Him.

The One was born of a virgin, lay in the manger in Bethlehem, grew to be the Man that would give His life as the sacrifice for all our sin. He was buried, and He rose from the dead. He died for you and me. Why? Because He loves us so much He gave.

Child of God; if you are troubled about things in this world, your family situation, your finances, your health, or your eternal condition, then look to the One who has showed Himself alive forevermore.

That the World Will Know

“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60  (KJB)

King Solomon had just ended a prayer during the dedication of the temple. During this dedication he now speaks to the people, and informs them that through these things which he mentioned in prayer the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God…  What are those things by which they may know?  It has to do with the way God loves His people:

  1. He chastises or disciplines His people when they sin;
  2. He hears and answers their prayers when they pray;
  3. He forgives their sins and delivers them out of their troubles;
  4. He keeps them in His hand, and protects them in their enjoying their blessings;
  5. He always reminds them, lets them know that there is no other God; all the others are powerless and false.

Now the question could come to us who are Christians, “How can all the people of the earth know that the LORD is God through us?”  We know and love Jesus, yet, the above things are for you and me as well.

It does say in the book of Hebrews chapter 12…

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8

Just wanted to remind you that no Christian can sin without consequences. We still are disciplined for our sin.

Let us let the world know of God’s holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. The cross of Jesus is where all of these were put on display by holy God.  Let the world know.

LORD God of My Salvation

“O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before Thee: Let my prayer come before Thee: incline Thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.” Psalm 88:1-3 (KJV)

For the commentary today I will let  a scholar from the past speak:

I. A man of prayer, one that gave himself to prayer at all times, but especially now that he was in affliction; for is any afflicted? let him pray. It is his comfort that he had prayed; it is his complaint that, notwithstanding his prayer, he was still in affliction. He was, 1. Very earnest in prayer: “I have cried unto thee (Psa_88:1), and have stretched out my hands unto thee (Psa_88:9), as one that would take hold on thee, and even catch at the mercy, with a holy fear of coming short and missing of it.” 2. He was very frequent and constant in prayer: I have called upon thee daily (Psa_88:9), nay, day and night, Psa_88:1. For thus men ought always to pray, and not to faint; God’s own elect cry day and night to him, not only morning and evening, beginning every day and every night with prayer, but spending the day and night in prayer. This is indeed praying always; and then we shall speed in prayer, when we continue instant in prayer. 3. He directed his prayer to God, and from him expected and desired an answer (Psa_88:2): “Let my prayer come before thee, to be accepted of thee, not before men, to be seen of them, as the Pharisees’ prayers.” He does not desire that men should hear them, but, “Lord, incline thy ear unto my cry, for to that I refer myself; give what answer to it thou pleasest.”
II. He was a man of sorrows, and therefore some make him, in this psalm, a type of Christ, whose complaints on the cross, and sometimes before, were much to the same purport with this psalm. He cries out (Psa_88:3): My soul is full of troubles; so Christ said, Now is my soul troubled; and, in his agony, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto death, like the psalmist’s here, for he says, My life draws nigh unto the grave. Heman was a very wise man, and a very good man, a man of God, and a singer too, and one may therefore suppose him to have been a man of a cheerful spirit, and yet now a man of sorrowful spirit, troubled in mind, and upon the brink of despair. Inward trouble is the sorest trouble, and that which, sometimes, the best of God’s saints and servants have been severely exercised with. The spirit of man, of the greatest of men, will not always sustain his infirmity, but will droop and sink under it; who then can bear a wounded spirit?
From the Matthew Henry Commentary

May your heart hear God as He speaks with you, and draws you to Himself.

Through the Bible in a Year – e080413

GOD as Our Refuge

1.  HE BRINGS HIS PEOPLE THROUGH TROUBLES TO A WEALTHY PLACE (Psalm 66:8-12).

2.  HE HEARS THE PRAYERS OF HIS  PEOPLE (Psalm 71:7-13; 80:1-7).

3.  HE ESTABLISHES HIS TESTIMONY AND HIS LAW IN HIS PEOPLE (Psalm 78:1-8).

4.  HE IS WORTHY OF THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE (Psalm 81:1-7).

5.  HE IS MORE GLORIOUS THAN ZION OR HIS DWELLING PLACES (Psalm 87:1-3).

Increased Trouble

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.” Psalm 3:1 (KJV)

I want to begin in this New Year of 2012 doing something a little more consistent with Fire and Hammer.  To begin with I will endeavor to have a post from the Psalms or Proverbs daily; with commentary by Spurgeon, some other legend and least some; maybe most; by myself.  The above verse is my first for 2012.  May God bless you richly during this coming year, may He keep you in His powerful hands, and give you peace.

Of the verse above the Psalmist sees much trouble coming from what is probably the people around him.  His trouble has increased.  We do not need to wonder what trouble is do we?  We are each and everyone of us surrounded by trouble of some sort.

The world is experiencing trouble.  Individuals within the world is having troubles galore.  There are troubles from created nature; earthquakes, fires, floods, famine, hurricanes, tornadoes, and troubles from peoples own evil and mistakes; murders, rapes, slavery, robberies, pollutions, bankrupt economies, etc. and there are troubles with families; divorce, unemployment, estranged mothers and fathers, sickness, disease, wayward children and parents.

Yes!  There are troubles in our world.  You have troubles.  I have troubles.  None are immune from it.

We do, however, have the LORD to whom we can go and He will listen to our troubles; and they will seem small compared to knowing Him and His greatness.

There is help and hope for those who trust in the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Do Not Fear; Be Watchful

“And Jesus answering them began to say, ‘Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.  9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”  Mark 13:5-13 (KJV)

DO NOT FEAR; BE WATCHFUL.

“There will come in the days of the future”, Jesus said, “times of trouble, and many will say ‘I am Christ”.  That will be a day for one to be watchful.  This appears to be a time following the destruction of the temple [which happened in A.D. 70], but the time Jesus is speaking of here seems to apply to another era of time.

Jesus warns the disciples and us of an approaching time when there will be many “anti-christs” who come for no other reason, but to lie and deceive, and to lead followers after them.  Whether it be in the time of the disciples or in our own time; be it 70 A.D. or 2010 the Word is the same, “BEWARE”, “TAKE HEED”.  These false christs are out for their own well being and not for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells the disciples not to be afraid even though there will be earthquakes, famine, war, etc.  These are only “birthpangs” showing that the second coming of Jesus is near.  They would begin with less intensity, but as the time of the end draws near they will become more and more intense.

In looking at these things we need to be mindful that there is great reason to believe that Jesus is speaking of His second coming in the “Olivet Discourse” both here and in the gospel of Matthew.  There are some things, that,  we who are looking for the appearance of Jesus in the “clouds”, must learn from these passages of Scripture.  First of all, none of these signs Jesus speaks of has to do with the “rapture of the Church”, all the prophecy of Jesus coming for His Bride [Church] has been fulfilled.  Secondly, We too must be on guard, keeping up the watch, being alert, taking heed.  There are false teachers, false professors of Christ, and some who say they are the Christ.  Anyone who professes to be Christ is a liar.  Everyone will know when Jesus comes again, with the exception of the “Snatching away” of believers of Christ Jesus.  A third thing to learn is, we must always be sure we are ready, and that our friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors are ready to “…Meet thy God”.  We can know we are ready by drawing nearer to Jesus through everyday association with Him in prayer, His Word, and in so doing obedience to His Word.

During the time of what Jeremiah calls, “…The time of Jacob’s trouble…” (Jeremiah 30:7), there will be a persecution of the people of God unlike anything the world, or God’s people have ever known.  Those who believe in Jesus at that time will be put to death by the most horrid means imaginable, and in the last three and one half years of “Jacob’s trouble” the Hebrews will be in great distress, yet protected by God.  “But he who endures to the end shall be saved…” is not speaking of a salvation of works, but of those who already have salvation, and by the grace that saved them showing the power of their faith in God.  God gives grace which keeps us to the end.

We must be strong in our Lord.  No matter what the world may throw at us we must “…keep looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  Even those of us who are looking for the “Rapture” must “…be ready to always give an answer for the hope that is in us” (1 Peter 3:15).  There is none of us who are immune to persecution. “Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).  Live for Jesus Christ; He is coming soon.

-Tim A. Blankenship