In a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:1-6 (KJV)

Far too often we notice there are not too many “Just Societies”.  Even in the United States of America more often than not, there is injustice.  Money is needed to get a good lawyer to defend oneself from a false charge; or even to be sure one can get a fair trial.  I do believe in our Justice system, but I also see the injustice in it.

A man or woman charged with a crime is supposed to be seen as “Innocent until proven guilty”; but that does not always happen either.  We all too often begin condemning the indicted individual with a guilty verdict long before the trial; even on the streets, and highways and byways of the areas around the case.

The following are thoughts for Proverbs 28:1-28…

Verses 1a, 4, 12, 15, 28 – A look at the wicked. The wicked are those who refuse to recognize the way of God, His Word, and refuse to submit themselves to Him; whether rich, or poor. 1.) The wicked see a conspiracy behind everything that is against them, and flee. 2.) For anyone to turn their backs on righteous laws is to give praise to the wicked who break those laws. 3.) When the wicked rule and are in leadership people tend to hide. 4.) Wicked rulers among poor people are as devastating as an angry growling lion (Job 24:4; Prov. 19:12; 1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 2, 5, 8-9, 11, 16-17, 21-22, 25-26 – A look at the wicked who are wealthy; leadership, rulers. 1.) Many rulers, maybe “Big government” is a result of a wicked nation. 2.) True justice is not understood by the unjust; and that goes along with exhorbitant interest, profits, low wages, etc.. 3.) The unjust will be “cruel oppressors”, and will most likely have “blood on their hands” thus face eternal judgment. 4.) Greed, partiality, will ultimatley bring poverty into the lives of those who practice it – ultimate destruction.

Verses 3, 10a, 13, 24 – The wicked poor. 1.) You would think a poor man would be more understanding of the poor; but the wicked poor will stoop to the lowest degree in order to improve their own situation in life. 2.) Destruction awaits those who would lead an upright individual astray – take Balaam as an example (Numbers 31:8, 16). 3.) It is the tendency of all wicked people to cover their transgressions, and even refuse to believe they have transgressed (v. 24).

Verses 1b, 6-7, 10b, 12a, 14, 18-20, 23, 27 – The way of righteousness. 1.) The righteous have no reason to fear the thing so the world or of man; they have died to the wickedness of the world. 2.) The poor upright are better off, and wise in God. 3.) The Lord will bless those who are upright in the things he/she possesses. 4.) There is glory and happiness in the fear of the LORD (vv. 12, 14). 5.) Salvation, plenty, and blessings are the reward of the righteous. 6.) A just and righteous tongue is favored; and gives to the poor, and shall not lack (vv. 23, 27).

The only way to a just society is through the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has told us…

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

We can only receive that “Justness” that righteousness through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Believe Him, trust Him: call on His name (Romans 10:13).

Observations From Mark – 031511

Reading today from Mark 8 – 10.

There is much mention of leaven throughout scripture.  It was forbidden in the house of a Hebrew on Passover; it is a symbol of delay, and God commanded them to make haste concerning their departure from Egypt.  Leaven also symbolizes the spread of pride and evil; it is puffed up with self and selfish ambition; with no time or room for God.

In my observations of scripture there is no time when leaven is used as a symbol or type of anything good.  For today’s observation we will look at the lesson Jesus gives concerning the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod;

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.  And He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.’  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’  And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, ‘Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?  When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ They say unto him, Twelve.  ‘And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ And they said, Seven.  And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye do not understand?'”  Mark 8:14-21 (KJV)

These verses begin by telling the reader that the disciples had gotten into the boat with only one loaf of bread, and no more.  This gives us a clue as to the disciples thoughts on bread, and their misunderstanding.  Jesus says, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.”  Now His disciples begin thinking that Jesus is concerned about the lack of bread.

Jesus reminds them of the miracles of the fish and the loaves in the feeding of 5,000 men, not counting women and children; and of the miracle of the loaves to 4,000 men, not counting women and children; and their worried about bread? They are not understanding.

Jesus is speaking of an arrogant, pride filled heart; a puffed up attitude of one’s self and leadership.  With an attitude similar to the Pharisees and of Herod there is nothing but destruction awaiting that type of person.  Have you ever noticed with the use of leaven that it never adds anything to taste, or even to its content.  Leaven/Yeast merely puffs up a loaf of bread, makes it appear to be more than what it is; when all it really is is simply air.

The thing the disciples needed to understand, and that many professing believers of our day need to understand is who Jesus really is.  It had not quite clicked in their hearts just yet.  They had witnessed the miracles of the loaves and fishes, the opening of the eyes of the blind; and the healing of the deaf ears; but yet they were not fully seeing who Jesus is, nor hearing all that He said.

In just a bit Peter makes his confession of who Jesus is, “Thou art the Christ.” and in Matthew (16:16) the words, “Son of the living God” are spoken.

Sin and pride; its leaven; blinds eyes, and closes hearts to the understanding of who Jesus is.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030811

Matthew 14 – 16 is our reading for today.

The text we look at today is from the 16th chapter following Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Who do men say that Jesus is?  The disciple’s answers were that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or some other of the Old Testament prophets; giving answer to some comments people had made as to who He was.  The all important question asked by Jesus at this point was, “Whom say ye that I am?”  That is the clincher for the actual answer.  Peter’s answer, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, and that is the answer by all who will have eternal life.

Following this confession of Peter, however, it seems that the devil himself confuses Peter, and is rebuked for his speech;

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.’  But He turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'” Matthew 16:21-23 (KJV)

From the time of the confession of Peter Jesus begins to teach them that His destiny is to go to Jerusalem and die.  This is what the disciples were hearing, and that is the reason for Peter’s words of denial in the above passage of Scripture.  Jesus didn’t leave the matter without hope; He did speak of His resurrection of being “raised the third day”, yet Peter’s response comes from the dark recesses of his being.

We must think about this for an instant.  Peter loved Jesus, and to hear him speak of His coming death was a shock to his ears and heart.  That, nevertheless, does not excuse his mind being opened for the devil’s use.  Peter has been called “The disciple with the foot shaped mouth”, slow to think, quick to speak.

Can you just see Peter taking Jesus aside and rebuking Him.  Peter, do you know what you are doing?  He is thinking from the way of men, not the way of God, God’s Word and God’s will.  Many a time I have heard said that Jesus is calling Peter “Satan” in His words.  Not so.  Jesus recognizes who the infiltrator is, though there is a two fold action here.

Jesus first directs His rebuke to Satan who has tempted Jesus before (Matthew 4:1-11); and then to Peter telling him that his heart is not on the things of God, but those of men.  It is my conviction that the devil never wanted Jesus to go to the cross and die; he tried to misdirect our Savior from His atoning work; thus the temptations of chapter 4; the temptations from the masses to be king, and so forth; and now through Peter the devil attempts it again.

We must give our hearts to God, His Word and His will for our lives.  We, like Peter, may not always be able to understand what is going on, in fact, we may never understand; we are called to trust, believe and be faithful in what God says.  Jesus was faithful unto death.  That is our calling as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030111

Today’s Bible Reading is from Deuteronomy 26 – 28.

In Deuteronomy we find, as you remember, that Israel is nearing the day they will enter the Promised Land.  The Lord is giving them final instructions for their entrance into this new land.  There are laws, commandments, ordinances, statutes, judgments, etc. which they are to follow.

There is many a time I have heard someone; even professing Christians; say something like this, “If it looks good, taste good, feels good, then it is a sin.”  Now, that is being cynical or sarcastic to say the least; if not downright disrespectful to God and His clear teachings on sin.  If God calls something sin it is sin.  Every time God forbids something it is due to His care and caring for us.

The following are the verses that we will look at today,

“This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.  Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and to hearken unto His voice: and the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.”  Deuteronomy 26:16-19 (KJV)

The best  place for the people of God to be is in close communion with our LORD.  When He sets boundaries, gives us commandments, judgments, statutes, ordinances, laws it is for our well being and protection.  It is never to deprive us of life or its pleasures.  He has made us to experience pleasures, however, they must always be within the parameters He has given.

One of the things we can learn today from the laws and commands the LORD gave to Israel is that they failed to keep and obey them.  We are no more perfect than they.  We have sinned.  God is full of grace and mercy.  There are several times through out the Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that the children of Israel say, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do”.  Well they failed to do it.

We must realize, as a Christian, we are empowered by the Spirit of God within us to overcome sin, and disobedience to God; however, we still live in a body of flesh and bone that is still encumbered by the dead corpse of sin.

The reason we are to obey God and keep His commandments is because of His love for us; and our love for Him.  We praise Him, we honor Him when we love Him and keep His commandments.  If we labor to keep the laws to gain His favor, however, we will fail miserably.

In the New Testament we hear this,

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:4-10

Only through the grace of God in Christ Jesus can we be saved, delivered from the condemnation of sin and death, and given eternal life.

Read Deuteronomy 26 – 28

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022211

Reading Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

In reading these chapters it seems quite apparent to me that GOD desires to speak with and to His people.  The people of God should count it an awesome and glorious thing that GOD would desire to speak with a people who are sinful.

In chapter four GOD gives us decree not to “add unto” or “diminish aught from it” (4:2)speaking of His commands – His word.  It is holy, separate, set apart, different, peculiar.  That is the way His people are as well.

When Israel heard the voice of God speaking from the darkness of the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, they were so overwhelmed that they were fearful.  They had heard God speak once, but if they heard Him again they might die.

“And ye said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.  Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.”  5:24-25

GOD has called on His people to hear His voice.  He is holy.  We are unholy.  The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews wrote,

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31

The best place to be is in the hands of the living God.  We can only be in His hands of grace through the shed blood of the Lamb of God, His holy Son Jesus Christ.  When we are in His hands; no man, no peril, no sword, no trial or fire, no spiritual entity can snatch us from His hands (John 10:29;  Romans 8:37-39), that comes by hearing His voice.

Adam and Eve having sinned against God in the garden of Eden, heard the voice of GOD walking in the garden, hid themselves; and GOD called unto Adam, “Where art thou?”.  GOD knew Adam’s whereabouts, but Adam didn’t.  He was afraid of the voice of God.  When you are fearful of the voice of GOD it is due to a lack of fellowship with GOD.

To the credit of the Israelites they did promise to do what ever the LORD commanded them, through the leadership of Moses (5:27).

The voice of the LORD is personified in the Person of Jesus Christ.  We can come into the throne of God and petition Him, worship Him, be silent before Him (Hebrews 4:16); because of the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary’s cross.

Hear the voice of God today.  He is calling you to come to Him through His Son.  There is no other way.

Please read Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021511

Today reading from Numbers 19 – 21.

There are several great points for us to consider from these three chapters.  The hearts of the surrounding people to Israel as they journey, and most of it due to fear and disrespect.  Moses told, by GOD, to speak to the rock, and then, he strikes it instead.  Finally the placement of the “serpent on a pole” for their healing from snake bite, because of their sinning in complaints.

We will take a moment and focus these observations on the Rock.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.’  And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.  And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?  And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”  Numbers 20:7-11 (KJV)

In Exodus 17 we find the first time the people are thirsty in the wilderness and their experience with the rock.  In that chapter of the Exodus Moses is commanded to strike the rock, and Moses obeys; then, comes forth cool refreshing water for the multitude of people.

In this case above the people are complaining about not having water; and remember this is after seeing God provide water previous to this.  Verse four says, “Why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?”  My how short their memories are.  My, how short our memories are as well.  We can be surrounded by God’s grace, mercy, sustenance, and every need being met and still complain.

The apostle Paul tells us that this rock was following them in the wilderness…

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4

“For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them…”  Can it be anymore clear than that?  Paul continues, “…that Rock was Christ”.  Who was with Israel in the wilderness?  Jesus the Christ of God.

It does not seem that we should even try and understand why Moses struck the rock; but we must remember the consequences of his disobedience.  Because he did this rebellious deed, now Moses will not enter the Promised Land.

It may have been anger that caused him to strike it.  He was disobedient.  It could have been he didn’t fully hear God’s statement.  He was disobedient.  It could have even been because he was “only human”.  He was disobedient.  Moses could not go into the Promised Land, and he did not.

That Rock was Christ.

Remember to read Numbers 19 – 21.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020811

The reading today Leviticus 26 – 27.

Most of us have heard the saying, or something similar to it; “If you sow your wild oats a harvest will come”.  It is another way of saying what God says  in His Word and through nature.  “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galations 6:7b).

Israel was given much, special land.  Yet it was theirs under the condition of the covenant with God.  The covenant was that they had to “walk with God”; and that means obey Him; to see things God’s way, not their own.  The prophet Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3),and the answer is no.  In the case of man with God; we must agree with God.  God does not agree with me, nor does He need to or have to.  It is my obedience, my repentence, my sorrow for sin – that is necessary for me to walk with God – not God’s.

“And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.  But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.  These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.”  Leviticus 26:44-46 (KJV)

In Leviticus 26 God the LORD has warned Israel of what will happen to them and the land should they not follow His commandments.  Both the Ten Commandments and the others that are given concerning treatment of others, their worship practices, moral issues, and the land.  If they go against God.  They are not “walking with God”.  They will suffer the consequences; and that will be judgment from surrounding nations, captivity; the enemy even harvesting their crops, rather than themselves.

God is merciful.  He even promises that should they disobey; and they do; then He will remember the covenant with them, and bring them back into the land.

Many times we may find that it is our own sins that judge us.  The prophet Jeremiah even bears this thought out when God spoke to him saying,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reproove thee…” (Jeremiah 2:19a).

It is great to know that we find grace and mercy given by God in the Old Testament; and that same grace and mercy is magnified, and personified in the person of His Son Jesus in the New Testament.  We have the promise of the New Testament:

“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteouness.”  (1 John 1:9).

and”My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…”   (1 John 2:1).

The grace of God through Jesus Christ is the greatest gift of God to man, through Jesus.

Read Leviticus 26 – 27

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020111

Reading today from Leviticus 4 – 7.

In the reading for today we read about the “sin offering” and its laws; personal sins; trespass offerings; and laws of holiness.

There is within the commandment concerning the fire on the altar, that it is to be ever burning.  It is to never go out.  This is the place of the burnt offering.  Every offering was offered here and was to be completely burned to ash.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.  And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.'”  Leviticus 6:8-13 (KJV)

This brazen altar is to have special care taken with it.  It is the place where the blood of the sacrifice is shed.  The blood is poured out here as an offering to God for sin, trespass, peace.  We must keep in mind as we read the Old Testament that all these are shadows of what was to come.  These are only earthly pictures of the heavenly person who was to come and die; shedding His own blood for our sins, trespasses and to give us peace.

The fire ever burning shows the way God is always waiting for the sinner to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.  He has planned for all the years of earth; at least sin the fall of Adam and Eve; to redeem all who will come to Him believing through His Son Jesus.

In the first epistle [letter] of the apostle John we read,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 (KJV)

The sin was placed figuratively on the sacrifice; by the laying of the hands of the priests on the head of the animal; then the animal was slain, its blood shed, then, burned on the altar.  This showed that the sin was forgiven, and there was cleansing and forgiveness from God.  This, of course, looking forward to the cross of Jesus.

God’s consuming fire is still burning.  His grace is still large and is much larger than our sin.  His mercy is everlasting.

Remember to read Leviticus 4 – 7

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 012511

On January 1 of this year I began once again reading through the Bible.  I will this year take my time and read it through with the same schedule that has been prepared for our church people and which I post on the back of our bulletin each Sunday.

There was an idea which entered my thinking this afternoon of providing a study; at least in part; that will spark new ideas in your mind and heart as well.  I can’t promise that this will go on each day, but I will endeavor for that to happen.  What will I do?  l will endeavor to give a short reading each day, and probably of the morning each day, of that days reading: for example,  today’s reading is Exodus 22 – 24; and that is what I will give you My Observations of…

Exodus 22 has much to do with responsibility for property.  Personal property as well as that property which belongs to someone else.  We could go back to the Ten Commandments on part of this to the eighth commandment which states, “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15); because the first four verses deal with stealing, and the punishment and restitution of such things.  I would dare say that if we followed the law of God’s word for these matters; even the ones following that there would be a lot less trouble with stealing; and problems with neighbor relationships.  If we would love our neighbor as we do ourselves wouldn’t we all get along much better.

There are moral issues dealt with in verses 16-31; and some of these deal with treatment of those who are materially poor.  The moral issues deal with a man leading a virgin into sexual sin, and the price he should pay; or not by the will of the father of the virgin.  There is also the issue of “sorcery”  which is the practice of the occult; including witchcraft, voodoo, fortune telling (palm reading, necromancy, astrology, etc.)  Some may want to say, “Well this is in the law.  Didn’t Jesus destroy the law with His death, burial and resurrection?”  and the answer to that is…  The law was not destroyed, but fulfilled in Christ.  The law is not nullified it is established to the full.  These verses also include things  such as beastiality.  These things by the law require death; by grace there is cleansing and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Chapter 23 deals with justice in verses 1 – 9.  Far too many times when we are aligned with a group of people we will go along with that group; even when they are doing something unjust.  For the Christian we must have the mind of Christ and speak in those situations the truth that will glorify Him.  Joining with others who are unjust to ruin the life of one is definitely unjust.  Taking care of our neighbor’s possessions is the right thing to do as well (vv. 4-5).

There are also to be three feast which the people of Israel are to keep.  Later on it came to seven, and I believe now there are nine or so among the Hebrew people.  I might be wrong about that, because I haven’t searched that out.

In verses 20 – 33 God gives promise that He will be with His people, driving out their enemies and will give them the land He has promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Chapter 24 has Israel agreeing with God and His covenant with them saying, “All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.”  Moses goes up on the Mount Sinai to meet with God and receive “tablets of stone and the law and commandments… that you may teach them”.  To the people of Israel; as Moses was on the mount before the face of God; the glory of the LORD appeared as a “consuming fire”.  Can we not see and realize that when we get close to God we see Him in his glory.  He is a consuming fire to that which must be consumed (Hebrews 12:29).

The daily Bible reading for January 26 is Exodus 25 – 28.

Father add YOUR blessing to the study of YOUR holy word today.  Save those who may be lost through the blood of Jesus YOUR holy and righteous Son; convict of sin in  the heart of the condemned, and draw them to YOUR Son and YOUR love in Him.  A-men!

-Tim A. Blankenship

…Through Their Word

There will probably be some who read the posts on Jesus’s prayer for His followers/disciples, and think, and believe, that this prayer was only for those 12 or so disciples who walked with Him through the streets of Jerusalem, along the shores of Galilee, and over the roads of Judea.  If that would be the case then, the prayer is almost without merit.  That would invalidate the promises, and you had just as well take away the cross and resurrection as well.

Now, hear what Jesus prayed next:

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word;  That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.”  John 17:20-21 (KJV).

There are at least a couple of things which Jesus requests in this portion of the prayer.  First He lets it be known that this prayer is not just for Peter, James, and John; but also for Tim, Tom, Jane, and Jill.  All those who have believed in Jesus through the words of the disciples.  That means all those believers who have believed since the day Jesus prayed this High Priestly prayer.

The second request of this prayer is that we might be one in Himself and the Father.  To begin with; when anyone reads this prayer how can they deny what Jesus asked for.  Jesus was admitting to being one with the Father.  He has requested that we may all be one in Himself and the Father.  Having been separated; in the darkness, on the cross; from the Father because of sin, Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection made this possible for all who will believe and follow Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Enlarged Aorta 2

Back in February of 2008 I wrote a piece informing the readers of Fire and Hammer of my wife’s diagnosis of an aneurysm   of the aorta of her heart.  Well in the past few months we have learned after her last CT scan that it has grown to the point of needing surgery.

The surgery will be “open heart”, and if that alone is not complicated enough her aorta is behind her thorax (windpipe) area.  According to the surgeon it is normally in the front.  He has told us that he will remove the aneurysm by cutting it away, and bringing it around the way it is supposed to be to her left arm.

Now understand; I am no physician, nor do I understand this whole process, but it is as accurate as I can tell you.

Her surgery is scheduled for the 21st of September.

My wife, Madge and I, have been married now for 37 years and a couple of months.  Thank you all for your prayers.

Tim A. Blankenship

UPDATE FEBRURAY 18, 2012

I apologize to many who were concerned and praying for us in this matter for not letting you know sooner.  The surgery on September 21 of 2010 went well.  It has now been over a year, and now 1.5 years since the surgery and Madge [my wife] is doing well.

We do thank you for your prayers and concern.

 

I Also Sent Them Into The World

The world inwhich we live, ie., the cosmos, is the creation of God.  From the beginning it has been in His hand, and He has never removed His hand from it.  We even have an account in the epistle of Paul to the Romans, where Paul wrote, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Romans 8:22 (KJV).  This world and all that is in it were created perfect.  There was no sickness or disease.  There were no terrifying earthquakes, no loud boisterous thunderstorms, or lightening flashing and terrifying life everywhere.  These things did not occur until sin entered the world by way of Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience to God.

That is why our Lord Jesus has prayed with concern of our being in the world.  The world of sin, iniquity, and rebellion.  From verses 11-16 He has prayed for us and our position in this world.  In verse 17 He prayed for our sanctification through the Word.  We come now to His sending us as His people to be His ambassador in this world.  We read;

“As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”  John 17:18-19 (KJV).

I am assured that this prayer is for all who will believe and follow Jesus.  He has asked for our sanctification, and that is the work that continues to go on in our lives day after day after day.  It is His work in us.  Let’s be thankful for His daily work of grace which not only saves us for all eternity, but works it out in our lives through cleansing and removing all that is vile and sinful in His sight.

Jesus, Himself, has set Himself aside to do the Father’s will.  To accomplish all that the Father sent Him to do.  The will of the Lord Jesus, and the will of the Father are one and the same.  Be assured today, that, it is God’s will to complete what He has started in you, and He will.  You are His ambassador in this world.  Let’s live as though we are.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Power Of The Ten Commandments

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:   And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:   And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.”  Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

THE POWER OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Jesus is asked by a scribe, “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus’ answer is one which shortens the whole of the Ten Commandments into two short commands. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”. I have done a study of the Ten Commandments and find some very amazing thoughts of the first four commandments God gave us. The first four Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship with God. In the first Commandment the “Heart” can have no other gods – there can be only one. In the second, the “Soul” of man cannot unite with other god’s by building an image – we are made in God’s image, not He in ours – thus the soul must be knit only to God. The third, the “Mind” of man must not think thoughts that make the mouth say vain things of God, or curse His name. In the fourth, we need “Strength” so God commanded a day of rest and so that we could devote one whole day for worshipping Him and renewing our physical and spiritual “Strength”. Just as a means of summing up these matters, we must come to the conclusion that there is no place in man’s heart and life for any other god, but the God who created all things, seen and unseen.

On the matter of the second commandment which Jesus gave, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” we see that the final six of the Ten Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship to his/her fellowman. From one’s mother and father, marital faithfulness, preciousness of life, sacred ownership, speaking of others, and the possessions and being of your neighbor.

The scribe acknowledges that there is no greater law than these; to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength is better than “whole burnt offerings and sacrifices”. This man was a wise man, and even Jesus tells him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”. Not by keeping commandments is one saved, but in knowing and loving God, and only God can give that to us.

For a list of other studies on the Ten Commandments you may follow this list.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sowing Seeds

I attended the Bible Evangelism Conference of Barry County Southern Baptist Association this morning and heard some very passionate, heart pounding, convicting messages from God’s servants the evangelists who God sent our way for the week.

The one for which I get my title comes from our new Director of Missions who was filling in for an Evangelist who had to leave because his wife became ill and he had to go home.  Brother Randy challenged us to sow seeds of the gospel and for the invitation we were challenged to come and take a small packet of seeds, in a sealed plastic bag to keep where we could see it everyday and it would be a reminder to us to be faithful in sowing the seeds of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The final verses of Scripture he read were Psalm 126 which says,

 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.  Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.  The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.  Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. 

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

and focusing on those final verses,  “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy…rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”.

May I be a daily gospel seed sower, and trust God to give the increase.

-Tim A. Blankenship