Which Ones?

And, behold, one came and said unto Him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” And He said unto him,
“Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He saith unto him, “Which?” Jesus said,
“Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
The young man saith unto Him, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” Jesus said unto him,
“If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.”
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.                                              Matthew 19:16-22

There is an eternal peril who have possession of great riches, in material things. There is also eternal peril to those who do not have those possessions.

The “rich young ruler” who came to Jesus supposed that he could have eternal life by doing something good. He asked Jesus, “…What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” That is an assumption that most people make; that eternal life is attainable by some good deed.

If we look at the commandments Jesus gave to the young man, they are four of the final six of the Ten Commandments, and all have to do with how we treat our neighbor. The rich young man believes he has been obedient to all those Jesus has mentioned; and Jesus has not mentioned the first of the Commandments which have to do with our relationship to God.

This young man’s relationship with God was not what it ought to be. He had riches which blinded his eyes to God and to seeing Jesus for who He truly is.

We of Adam’s race must realize that all things are God’s. What we have in our possession, and under our feet is not ours. No matter whether you are a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ or an non theist – All Things are God’s.

Would you like to have eternal life? Then be perfect. That is not going to happen except by realizing you are imperfect, lost, dying in sin, and calling on the name of Jesus Christ who died on the cross  for our sins, was buried, and He rose again; and in doing so gives eternal life to all who have received Him.

All Things Are Possible With God

And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples,
“How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them,
“Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” And Jesus looking upon them saith,
“With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”  Mark 10:23-27

With Little or Much

And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
No servant 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.
  Luke 16:9-13

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091320

“And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said,
‘Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.’ ”  Luke 21:1-4  (KJB)

Life, Wealth, Pride, and Rejoicing

“The ransom of a man’s life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.
The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.”  Proverbs 13:8-11  (KJB)

Envy, Evil, and Poverty

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.  The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it, and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.”  Proverbs 24:1-18  (KJB)

Envy, Evil, and Poverty – Proverbs 24:1-34

VERSES 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 19-20, 24 –  The evil and the wicked.  The wise are instructed to not envy the evil.  The devices of the evil and the wicked are contrary to God, and the wise.
Those who are just and righteous (v. 16) when they are knocked down, will get back up; but he wicked “shal fall into mischief”.

“Candle of the wicked” (v. 20) probably refers to the spirit within every man, which is the door way to knowing God. Look at these verses… Job 21:17;  Psalm 18:28;  Proverbs 20:27.
To call the wicked “righteous” is to bring a curse on the one who does it (v. 24).

VERSES 3 – 7, 27 –   Wisdom is needed in building a house and a home; in filling that home with material blessings as well as true riches.
The foolish man does not know what to speak when it is time for good judgment (v. 7).
There is wisdom in being prepared before one builds a home (v. 27).

VERSES 10 -14 –  Wisdom leads to strength to stand in times of adversity.  Understanding will help us make the right decision at important, difficult times; for ourselves and others (vv. 11-12).
On verses 13-14  –  The ESV Study Bible notes state… “Prov. 24:13–14…  …Just as honey is sweet to the taste and good for the body, so wisdom is pleasant to the soul that feeds on it, fostering a secure hope (cf. v. 20; see notes on 23:17–18; Ps. 37:9).”

VERSES 17 – 18 –  It is not wise to rejoice when we see an enemy, or a foolish individual fall.

Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  He that saith unto the wicked, ‘Thou art righteous;’ him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.  Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.  Say not, ‘I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.’
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.  Proverbs 24:19-34

VERSES 28 – 34 –  We ought always to refuse to return evil for evil (vv. 28-29; Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15;  1 Peter 3:9).  The wise man or woman will not allow themselves to grow slack in following that which is good.

One thing to keep in mind the poor are just as prone to greed and lust for more; as are the rich.

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.’
The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: for the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.  Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”  Proverbs 22:7-29  (KJB)

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful – Proverbs 22:7-29

Verses 7, 16, 22-23 —  There is a contrast between the rich and poor.  The poor; people who are often in need of borrowing are placed in servitude to the lender; the rich.  The rich who would oppress the poor by holding their wages; charging a higher interest; etc.  will surely be in want.  Giving to the rich seems like a pointless statement;  however it is done.

Verses 8, 10, 13-15 —  The Geneva Bible notes (v. 8): “His authority by which he oppressed others, will be taken from him. ” Ref: (v. 10) Genesis 21:9-10;
The slothful or lazy will find any excuse not to do their labors.  The person who is abhorred by the LORD will fall into a life of destruction.  Correction is necessary to drive foolishness from a child; even some grown children who are following the path of foolishness.

Verses 9, 11-12, 17-21, 24-25 —  The good individual who is blessed will also be a blessing to the poor. References:  Luke 14:13-14.  See 16:13 and Psalm 101:6 for verse 11.  “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

There is learning of wisdom and knowledge in listening to the wise.  Keep them on your mind and on your lips; ready to speak them.  By them we know what is “right and true” (ESV).

Being a constant companion of the angry will cause your own life to become endangered by unruly anger and a snare.

Verses 26-29 —  Business matters according to Scripture;  Co-signing for debt of another binds you; putting your living at stake, even your family.

The “landmark” is your word.  Should be as sound as a concrete pillar 10 feet in the ground as a corner stake – marking the corner of a property.

When we are “diligent” in our labors we will stand before “kings”, be blessed, and kept from those who would seek to harm us.

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.

Integrity, Discretion, and Fear

Integrity, Discretion and Fear – Proverbs 19:1-29

Verses 1 – 10  Integrity is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as… “SOUNDNESS: adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity,  honesty and candor: COMPLETENESS.”
This is once again a comparison between the poor man who has a completeness about him; being content with his life; family, friends, and God.  The wealthy can far too often not be content with their wealth, wanting more, feeling they have a lack.
As we look at verses 2 – 10 we can see the comparison even further.  Many who are wealthy depend on their wealth for friendships (vv. 4-6), getting good judgments from whomever it may count and luxury is not seemly for those who are without wisdom of God.  The wealthy are far too often servants to their wealth.

Verses 11 – 22  Discretion is defined as… “The quality of being discreet: PRUDENCE:  Individual choice or judgment: power of free decision or latitude of choice.” M/WD  The one who is discreet or having discretion will not prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.  Discretion is having good sense.
“A person with good sense is level-headed and can defuse conflict (15:18).” Faithlife Study Bible Online.  The person with good sense will not be out to upset the king (v. 12), cause his/her parents grief and/or shame(v. 13), and will seek to find the right person to start a home (vv. 13-14).
The person with good sense will be a hard worker, keep the commandments of the LORD, show kindness to the poor, and be honest in his dealings (vv. 15-22).

Verses 23 – 29  The fear of the LORD…  We have dealt with this topic before (1:29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26, 27; 15:16, 33; 16:6) and it is mentioned more as we journey to the end of Proverbs in 23rd verse; in 22:4 and 23:17.
The fear of the LORD is not a dreadful thing.  It is knowing that He is holding on to you; knowing He will not let go, even though we might.  Even though we might let go, because He does not He will pursue us until we are back in right relationship with Him.
Anyone having the fear of the LORD will be a hard worker (v. 24), be growing in knowledge and wisdom (v. 25), honor their father and mother (v. 26), be a godly witness, and trusts good judgment(vv. 27-29).

Please Note:  I just corrected a sentence I had made an error in.  In the section for verses 10-22  it was written, “The one who is discreet or having discretion will prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.”  I did add the word “not” to read “…discretion will not prolong anger…”. (12/31/18)

Instruction and Authority from Proverbs 13

Instruction, Transgressions, and Authority – Proverbs 13:1-25

Verses 1 – 6 –  Once again we are dealing with the issues of the “mouth”.  Eating here seems to be speaking of much more than physical food; but rather of self-control with food and with the tongue.
Also speaking of control of one’s work habits; and speaking the truth.

Verses 7 – 8 –  When one makes themselves “rich” they are usually poor in many other ways.  Jesus said of the poor; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Riches are counted, by God, to be much more than material gain or wealth.  When the wealthy pay “ransom” in fear for their lives; they are genuinely poor.

Verses 9 – 19 –  Verse 13 is the central part of these verses; and words to be heeded by all who will trust the Lord.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

The instruction of God’s Word gives wisdom, grace, knowledge, salvation, fellowship with God, Peace with God, and peace with Mankind.

Verses 20 – 21 –  How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with?  Good parents will keep watch.  “Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33  “Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”
All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with.  You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

Verses 22 – 25 –  There is work and labor involved in caring for our future.  It begins by self discipline, and teaching our children.

“Prov. 13:24 Physical discipline is a common theme in Proverbs (see e.g., 10:13; 17:10; 22:15; 23:13–24; 29:15). It is viewed as an important part of the correction and training of a child, to teach him to avoid wrong behavior, to embrace what is right, and to build godly character. Equally important, physical discipline is an expression of love for a child, while the one who spares the rod hates his son. Taking into account all of the teaching of Proverbs, physical discipline of a child must never be severe and must always be exercised in love. Cf. Heb. 12:5–11.”  ESV Study Bible note.

The rod spoken of in verse 24 is one that speaks of “authority”.  The shepherd had a staff with a crook on the upper end; the king held a sceptre.  Both of these were signs of authority.
Our children need to learn to recognize authority.  When we have some who yell about corporal punishment as teaching children violence they are teaching children to disrespect authority.  Those who are in authority have the power to discipline.  God is the ultimate Authority.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Weeping and Mourning Merchants

And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!  For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. Revelation 18:11-19 (KJV)

Now, the “merchants of the earth” mourn her demise.

I think it would be fitting to make this statement; What the world rejoices in, God weeps upon, and what God rejoices in the world weeps upon.

A list is given of the merchant’s merchandise. Everything on the list is the objects only the wealthy could possess.  Let us look at that list;

1) Precious metals – gold and silver; 2) Precious stones – diamonds, rubies, pearls, etc.; 3) Fine materials for clothing – linen, silk, and scarlet; 4) Scented wood – like cedar for lining closets; 5) Vessels – special made pieces of art from ivory, and wood; 6) Other metals; 7) Seasonings; 8) Perfumes; 9) Drinks; 10) Oil; 11) Livestock; 12) Transportation means; 13) Men made slaves – the government and the wealthy merchants probably enslave the common man, making them think that they (the banks and the government) will supply all their needs – shelter, clothing, food, health care; transportation, etc., only the common man will own nothing in order to have this, while capitalism will thrive for the wealthy.

“And the souls of men” just could be saying that the merchants are responsible for the deaths of many, or their enslavement.

The words “no more at all in thee” or its minor variations are found seven times from verse 14 through the end of the chapter. What the “merchants of the earth” have relied upon and trusted in has come to an abrupt end. The economy of man, no matter how prosperous it is, cannot give peace in times of calamity or in times of peace.

The city burning almost sounds like the twin towers falling on September 11, 2001. There were many nations around the world who were grieved by this calamity. Thousands of people were killed in that attack by an evil people. Sad to say many were more concerned with the economic impact than they were with the thousands who died.

It not only seems that the city is destroyed, but all the wealth as well (v. 17). In verses 16-19 the merchants are weeping more over their economic ruin than they are over the eternal ruin of their soul.

You can sow your seed, but remember God does not give the harvest the next day. You do reap what you sow – good and/or bad (Gal. 6:7).  Will you begin today sowing seeds of righteousness by coming in faith to the Son of God, God the Son who is also the Lamb of God who died to redeem us from all our sins, our shame, and condemnation?  Hear Him and believe.

One Day it Will be Said, “Your Judgment Has Come”

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:9-10 (KJV)

I know that posts like I have been sharing recently, are not popular.  I do not share them to draw a crowd.  I share them because they are the truth, and to give warning to those who are the “Earth dwellers”, and love material things, wealth, houses and lands more than the Lord Jesus and His word.  As Jesus says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Even if one is drawn here by the Spirit of God, sees, and hears the word and is delivered from the bondage of sin, then that will be a glorious thing.

As a contrast to chapter 17, in which the kings desolated the “great whore” and “burned her with fire” (17:16), here they “bewail her” and they “lament for her”. They have great sorrow of heart. Their means of wealth has fallen. This in itself shows us this is the commercial or economic Babylon.

The “kings of the earth” are fearful. She had been strong, wealthy, and “beautiful” just a few hours before, now she is FALLEN, poor and desecrated. They stand “afar off” – at a distance – fearful of where their wealth will go, of what will become of them now; is there anyone to protect their losses.

Isn’t it great to know that when one knows and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our treasure is in Heaven, where thieves cannot break in and steal, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and that it is riches that can stand the fires of God’s judgment, even coming out of the fires of a purer sort.

The suddenness of judgment upon this economic empire could loosely be likened to the crash of the stock market that caused the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. People lost wealth and threw themselves from windows, and committed suicide in various ways. Times like these are certainly times when we find out where our heart and treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21).

It seems that at the time of this judgment the nations of the earth will have been prosperous. Great prosperity will abound in the last days of man’s rule on earth – economically. The banks and governments will be wealthy; the people, for the most part, will be in slavery. Babylon, the city of wealth, has fallen. A sad day for the “kings of the earth”.

There is a kingdom coming which will never fall but will stand forever, and that is the Kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  See Daniel 2:44-45.  Jesus came and died on the cross to build His kingdom.  His kingdom is built on the confession of all those who will hear and believe His word, trusting their all completely to Christ and His finished work on the cross.  Jesus died, was buried, and He rose again.

Consider the Work of God

Days of prosperity often cause us to be joyful.  Prosperity is not always dealing with gold, silver, precious jewels, fine homes and fine cars.  Prosperity can just as well mean, a place to live, protected from the elements; food on the table, clothes on your back, and a wonderful family who loves you; and realizing every day that God in heaven loves, and keeps you.  That is the best of prosperity.

Adversity – troubles, sorrows, pains, family troubles, health troubles, financial hardships, all of these come to us all at some point in life.  I want us to see what the wisest of men; and one the most prosperous (in material wealth) had to say about both prosperity and adversity…

“Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (KJV)

We out always see, to look at; to inspect the work of God.  In order to do so one must see the work of God.  Do you see the work of God?  First consider yourself as a work of God.  Look in the mirror.  That image you see is in the image of God.  Your body is made up of a very intricate system that works keeping these tents, moving, seeing, working, breathing, heart beating, legs moving, arms and  hands busy.  Consider.  No one can make straight what God has made crooked.  We must consider that what has been made crooked can be straightened by God Himself.

In these verses we can see that both prosperity and adversity have a place in God’s plan for humanity.  Both are a work of God.  They are opposite of one another, and so that we might not be able to know what lies ahead in our lives.  We plan, we can save money, but no one knows what is coming tomorrow.  Not even the wealthiest of us.  The wealthiest man or woman in the world could pass into eternity before the sun sets this evening.  Their wealth cannot prevent it.  The same is true with the poorest of men and women.

“Consider the work of God….”

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. John 6:29

The One whom God sent is Jesus Christ His Son, God the Son, and He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again for you and me that we might have fellowship with God, the Creator of all things.

Christmas Day Fifty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be rich, not in the material things like gold, silver, money, houses or land; but rich in God, eternal life, integrity, honesty, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, mercy, grace, self control.

I would rather be rich in God, and be financially poor; than to have the wealth of all the world, and be without God.

“Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:6 (NKJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day 180

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1 (KJV)  Also see verses 2-4

Alms are acts of giving, or righteous giving, showing mercy, or charitable acts.  When we know certain individuals who give from their wealth, and some very notable people donate millions of dollars, and maybe billions of dollars to charitable causes, and lets the world know about it; and we can applaud them for their giving let us remember the words of Jesus above.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to give my best for the Master; not to be seen by my neighbor, the government, or the so called “Elite” of society; but I want to give charitably because it is the good and right thing, and to do so before the Lord alone; without doing it for any reward, I want God’s reward not man’s.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Fifty and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I am thinking today that I want all my family in Christ, my birth family, my children; all who are in Christ Jesus, including myself; to be financially free – I do not mean “Rich” in this world’s goods; or Wealthy with money, but indebted to no human being, financial institution; except to love one another.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (KJV)

“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. 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. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:45-49

This Man will Receive You

One of the things that causes jealousy in the hearts and minds of men and women is when someone else gets more notice, and attention than we do.

This jealousy is quite evident among the religious leaders of Jesus’s time on earth with us; walking, talking, teaching, living for the Father, and His glory. The way He lived, the words He spoke, the kindness in His voice to the weak, the lame, the sick, the poor, and the outcasts was what drew these people to Him.

Luke the Historian of the life of Christ writes:

“Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” Luke 15:1-2 (KJV)

Why do the religious always want to seek after those who have? Why do those, even, who profess themselves to be Christian go after the same? Jesus had no ill motive of seeking what the wealthy, religious leaders had to offer. He came to save souls (Luke 19:10).

The publicans were the most hated of people. They were the tax collectors of the day. Hebrew people who were collecting money from their own to give to the Roman government; therefore very despised, and hated; yet, Jesus would sit with them speak with them, and treat them with dignity and respect.

As Christians in the world of 2015 we must be as Jesus and treat all people; no matter their race, their economic level; their political affiliation; their illnesses; or transgressions; must treat them with the love and respect that Jesus would. Yes! That would include the muslim religion, and any other religious sect.

In loving them; we still confront sin; and its crippling, killing affects on those who are enslaved by it.

Draw near to Christ today. He loves you so much that He died on the cross for you, was buried, and rose again.

The Word of the LORD Came…

The Word of the LORD Came…
Genesis 15:1, 4

1.  Abraham had just passed over great wealth considering the glory of the LORD (14:21-24).
2.  There could have been some apprehension, second guessing of himself following.
3.  There was evidently some fear; what is going to happen now?; type questions of what had happened.
4.  The Word of the LORD came and gave Abraham hope, vision and promise for the future.

 

I.  …IN TIMES OF DOUBT AND FEAR (John 14:1-3).

II.  …TO GIVE HOPE, PROMISE, VISION.

III.  …GIVING ASSURANCE OF RIGHTEOUS DECISION MAKING (v. 6).

 

Application –
i.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; lean not unto your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
ii.  The LORD knows that where we are not guided by vision we perish (Proverbs 29:18).
iii.  Believing the LORD is the way of righteousness (Romans 10:9-13).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preached January of 2011.

The Rich in This World

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19 (KJV)

According to tax records and stats the rich of the United States of America are only about 2 percent of the population.  I am not sure what income level that richness begins.  Is it one half million per year, a million, or what is the beginning point of richness?

I have never had wealth, as far as the wealth of the world goes, so I do not have a clue as to the feelings of responsibility with that wealth.  I know I do sometimes become angry when I hear of the profits of big corporations, the big million dollar bonuses of the CEO’s, COO’s, etc. and then the astronomical prices people must pay for their product.

When I hear of a Christian brother of sister becoming better off it is a great joy; however, it is an even greater joy to know that they are following the Lord in the management of their new found wealth.

The rich of the world; be they Christian or not need to realize where their wealth came from.  Most definitely some people earn what they have made, and have worked very hard for what they have, and they should be able to enjoy  their blessings; yet, they must realize that the strength they had, the health they have enjoyed comes from God, and He is the One who has truly blessed them.

All that we have is God’s.  We are only stewards of what God has given us.  We all need to realize that the Creator is really the giver, the provider of all good things; and He has blessed us to share with those who are less fortunate.

The one foundation the rich must have, is the same foundation that the poor must have; and that foundation is the Rock, Jesus Christ.

Just one finishing note.  God is not for a redistribution of wealth, making all equal financially.  You could give every man, and woman on earth a million dollars; within a month, maybe less, some would have nothing left, some would have much more; and them it would be back to the way it was before.

The greatest wealth and riches one can have is in knowing where you are going.  That can only be had by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His bodily resurrection.

-T.A.

Day 40 – Thoughts from Psalms; Riches

Riches are often what many of us think about at times, especially when we are having financially difficult times.  What would we do if we had wealth and riches?  Most of the people I know would end up not having any of it left after they received a big lump sum of money or things; myself included.  I started to write here that I no longer have a desire to be wealthy; however, that would have been a flat out lie.

Millionaire is the word that used to be the catch phrase for being wealthy.  Now it is Billionaire.  There are several Billionaires in the United States of America, and around the world.  Two of the most prominent ones in the U. S. of A. are Bill Gates who has prospered from the founding of the Microsoft corporation; and the other is Warren Buffet,  and I guess Donald Trump is now in the Billionaire category as well.

There are times that those who have not are envious and angry with those who have.  The Psalm I am going to look at today shows that in the heart of a man named Asaph, the writer of this Psalm and the ones that follow through to Psalm 83.  My reading today was Psalms 66 – 79.  Psalm 73 will be our focus for this morning.

“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  Psalm 73:1-3 (KJV)

Asaph realizes that his envy has been to his own detriment.  Envy profits us nothing.  There are many of the wealthy who have worked hard to gain what they have, and of course, have prospered because of good timing, and good planning.  I still believe that is possible for anyone in the U. S. of A.  I do not believe that a person who has their heart set on wealth is going to get wealthy.  Hard work, and willingness to help others have a share go a long ways in this world.

Sadly there is much evil within the gaining of riches.  When one becomes wealthy they can become weaker in faith toward God, if they had it to begin with.  I think it was Jerry Clower who once said, “There is no temptation like wealth to turn your heart away from God”  or something similar to.

Asaph does realize that he is falling, losing his footing because of his envy.  His envy, and any envy you and I may have is an enemy of our heart, soul and life.

A few years ago, a couple I think, Bill Gates challenged all the Billionaires to give away one half of their wealth.  Bill Gates at the time was; on paper; worth over 50 billion dollars, and Warren Buffet about the same.  Giving away half of their wealth would really be a sacrifice to them, would it not? 🙂  The reason I am a bit sarcastic about their giving effort is because the media played it up like they were really making a huge sacrifice.  I saw no sacrifice.  Real sacrifice is when your giving hurts; it cost you something.  I applaud their giving, if they did; but their wealth has not suffered by their generosity.

I applaud even more the husband and wife, or individual who have given faithfully to the LORD, through their local church; and steadily, faithfully given at least ten percent of their wealth.  They are the real bulwarks of our society.  Some have given even more from annual incomes of 10,000 dollars; 20,000 dollars, 30,000 dollars, and they are blessed by their generosity.  Not only that many of these people also give when the community suffers loss due to storms; or give to a friend or neighbor who has lost their jobs, or their homes to a fire.  Those are the real people of wealth and generosity.

Asaph realizes his need is the LORD, and realizes the plight of the ungodly wealthy,

“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.  So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee.   Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand.  Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”  vv.21-24

He realizes he is a recipient of the greatest wealth and richer that can be had by mankind.  That wealth is having the peace of God that passes understanding, and all the wealth of Heaven at our beckoned call; and to know that when we speak with God He hears us.

Asaph ends the Psalm with,

“For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee.  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works.”  vv. 27-28

It is good for all men, even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to draw near to God.  The only way made available to us by God, to Him, is through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  All the giving in the world will not buy Heaven.  It has already been purchased for us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on that cruel, killing cross of calvary. (See 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Quickly Perishing

When I look at our society today I see so many who are quickly perishing, and are completely unaware of it.  Why do I say they are unaware of it?  They live as though there was no end.  They live as though there is no God.  They live as though they will answer to no one.

We are all fickle at times.  We can so easily be led astray, be deceived and deluded.  There is something we all must realize and that is, that, there is more to life, than “Me”.  “Me” will one day end, and then what.  Hear what the apostle Peter has written,

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV).

It is a terrible thing for man who is quickly perishing to give so much confidence and power to things which we cannot take with us.  I heard the story of a woman who was married to a wealthy man, on his death bed, who wasn’t leaving anything to her, and wanted it all cashed out before he died and, then,  put into his coffin with him at his burial.  She went and cashed everything out, and the day of the funeral put a box in the coffin before they closed the lid.  A friend who was with her asked, “What was in the box?”, and she proceeded to tell her of her deceased husband’s request, and that she had placed it in the box.  She went on to say, “I deposited the money in my checking account, and wrote him a check.  Now he can cash it any time he chooses.”

Any one with any sense knows when you die, that, silver, gold, or paper money will be of no service to you.  It too will rot, rust, decay, and one day blow away in the wind with the rest of the dust.

There is only the “word of the Lord” that endures for ever, and that will be in the lives of those who put their faith and trust in Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection.  “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).  Those who will come to God the Father through God the Son will have an eternity with Him in glory.  Call on His name today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Conduct Yourselves in Fear

In this first chapter of First Peter we looked last at being holy.  It is God’s command that His people, Christians be holy.  We are called apart, set apart, so we are to be apart from the wiles, wickedness, and ways of worldliness.

Looking now at verses seventeen through twenty one we see what is required of us to be holy:

 “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;  knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.   He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” 1 Peter 1:17-21 (NKJV).

To be holy is to be set apart from the society in which we live.  Not as monks, or as though a world of our own, but apart in the sense of not participating in the world system of greed, debauchery, lust, uniformity, etc..

Being holy, and since we as Christians call on the Father on a quite regular basis we also know that He is One who judges us justly, and  fairly according to our works, and knowing that we will conduct ourselves with the utmost respect of Him who holds our hearts and each breath we breath in His hands.  We will live with the fear, knowing that the time of our lives is in His hand.

Knowing the Father as we do; we also know that we have not been redeemed with material things.  Our redemption is not founded on how much gold or silver we possess, or how much we give away.  It is not based on any form of material wealth.  It is not gifts given for the fulfillment of the traditions of men.  Our redemption is not dependent upon someone else paying our way out of a fictitious purgatory.  The price of our redemption was paid to God our Father by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Our sin debt was owed to God.

Jesus Christ, the precious lamb of God, paid our sin debt to the Father for us.  The price of our redemption was His life.  He laid it down, and no man took it from Him.  As a matter of fact; the Father took His life (Read Isaiah 53:4).  Jesus was that sacrificial Lamb who was without spot, and without blemish.  There was no sin in the life of Jesus Christ, but He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and the wrath of Almighty God was poured out to the max upon Him.

This was “foreordained” even before the foundations of the earth were laid, and it was fulfilled in that day when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  It is only because of this wondrous gift than anyone can call on the name of the Father, and He will hear us, save us, and give us life eternal.  No one can come to God except it be given of the Father, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus from death He has been restored to the glory He had with the Father from the beginning.  His glory renewed we can now have faith and hope in God.  Without this there would not be much of a point in our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering for His name.  Because He lives we live.  Because He died for us, we can die for His name’s sake, and give Him the glory.

May God bless our brothers and sisters who are suffering for the name of Jesus.

-T.A.

Observations From Matthew – 031211

Today’s Reading is from Matthew 26 – 28.

In looking at the life of Jesus Christ one cannot help but notice that the life of Jesus is completely submitted to the will of His Father.  He is about fulfilling God’s will for His life as a human being on earth.  Now, if we want a good example then, Jesus is the one to follow.  He is however, much more than an example to follow.  He is, in fact, the very only begotten Son of God (John 1:1-5, 14; 3:16).  Part of His submission to the Father as man is His heart and will to fulfill Scriptures and we see that in the following verses,

“Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me.  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”  Matthew 26:50-56

In this short passage we see the statement twice, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled…?” and then, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”, and all this was at the time of His betrayal and arrest.

Though the name of the sword wielder is not given, we know from the testimony of the apostle John (John 18:10-11) that it is Peter who was overly protective of His Lord.  If we think Peter only meant to cut off that man’s ear, we would be gravely mistaken.  Peter was not a highly trained soldier in handling a sword; but his intent was to divide that man’s head.

The intent and purpose of Jesus was to fulfill Scripture and glorify His Father.  In that act He would also make a way for those who will believe to have fellowship with God the Father.  By way of the cross Scripture, all of Scripture would be fulfilled, the sin debt would be paid, God would be honored, and glorified; and there is a way of salvation from the condemnation of sin.

The event of the above Scriptures follow a time of great trial in our Lord’s life.  It was a time of the “press”.  In a place where the olives were pressed for the oil, the very fragrance of Heaven was being pressed in doing the will of Heaven.  Jesus was about doing the will of God.  His mind, His heart, His soul, and His strength was going to see that all Scripture would be fulfilled.

In the press, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, we can be about fulfilling the will and word of God in our lives.  Be strong in faith, believe God, trust every word He has said; that He will fulfill every word that, even now, has yet to be fulfilled.  Believe it will be; and live accordingly.  No matter what trial or tribulation may come; economic failure, employment fails, health fails, earthquake or flood, or fire.  God’s Word – all of Scripture will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship