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Archive for January, 2009

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10It Has Never Been About Stuff

Prosperity doctrine or ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ theologies are false teachings and generally only serve to make rich the bogus prophets who promote them. These counterfeits hold themselves up as well-to-do models of genuine faith, implying that if we do as they have done we will be as prosperous as they are. It’s nonsense.

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1

Great Reward

It matters not what Bible verse the heretic points to, because they are being cited outside of the context of this fundamental passage from Genesis. In actuality Abram was sadden having just turned down a prize worth gazillions, perhaps because his wife, family, and friends ridiculed or bemoaned him for this action. But what does God say?

“I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

That’s it. God tells us that we are not to desire more ‘from’ Him, but rather more ‘of’ Him, for He desires to give of Himself entirely. In fact, it is a done-deal for Jesus gave Himself wholly on the cross. Seriously folks, if we are in Christ, what more could we possibly want…we are going to Heaven! Lets stop saying ‘give me’ and realize that God is saying it is ‘just Me’. If we are blessed beyond that (and we are), we should be grateful and continually be asking, “Lord, how can I bless you with these good things you have loaned me?”

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10


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Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Genesis 13:1-4The Christian Life: A Series of New Beginnings

If you are in God’s Word, then you probably know that when Egypt is mentioned in the Bible, it is a secular reference to the world and worldly endeavors, and to go ‘down’ there is to take a turn for the worse. In contrast, to leave Egypt; particularly to go ‘up’ from there, is an accomplishment pursuant of and equivalent to a new beginning, spiritually-speaking of course.

The Christian life; that is to say the sanctification process we willfully endure, is nothing more than a series of new beginnings, the succession of which moves us along that narrow path. We see this doctrinal principle employed by Abram, who baselessly went down to Egypt, but then wisely returns to the place where he last felt the warmth of God’s presence; the place of new beginnings.

The Coasters

Our spiritual walk (odd as it may seem) is very much like riding a train. The train’s furnace is stoked and it begins to chug along, but then as momentum is achieved we lose sight of the fire, focusing our attention out the window. At first no one perceives deceleration; the occurrence is so gradual, but eventually we will take notice and sometimes (sadly) not until the train has completely stopped.

“Why did the train stop; it happened so suddenly?” we habitually cry in despair.

The reality is that there was nothing ‘sudden’ about it. The fire diminished, but becoming caught up in, or distracted by the world, we didn’t realize the problem that began miles and miles down the track. It is then we discover that we have been coasting all along.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works… Revelation 2:5a

Where was God’s fire last burning brightly? Where was the place that we were last on fire for the Lord? It is the place Abram discovered and returned to time and time again; it is that place we must return—the place of God’s mercy, grace, and new beginnings. Abram left his mark upon the place so he would be able to find it easily…have you marked your place? What does it mean to leave your mark?


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Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that *I may live because of you.” So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. Genesis 12:13-16
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Sarah is Our Example

In this story we see Sarah’s righteous conduct and Abraham’s appalling ways, but more importantly we see God’s faithfulness. In the Lord’s covenant with Abram He declared (among other things) that He would protect Abram and his family. And so He does…

But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Genesis 12:17

Despite the fact that Abram was making incredibly bad choices, Sarai submits to her husband’s authority and as a result God honors her sacrifice and demonstrates His steadfastness. In the story God gave us an extreme example in order to illustrate an extreme doctrine.

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 1 Peter 3:1-6

In the 1 Peter 3 text, Sarah is again raised up as a model for the godly wife. The scenario she faced was bizarre, even by today’s standards, and orchestrated for her by God for this specific purpose. The passage should not suggest [to us] that if a husband wants his wife to break the law, or if he is breaking the law, that she should go along with those things. That is not the point of the story. Rather, it is God’s purpose to demonstrate that a Christian woman has His protection when she is obedient. Naturally, the same is true for any Christian man.

…A sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice.”

This may sound somewhat inane, but a sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice. In the case of a wife submitting to her husband, the very act of submission is a sacrifice to God. It was never about your spouse; its always been about Jesus. The notion that there is another way is an act of selfish disobedience. We take further note that not only was Sarah protected in her submissiveness, but is so doing, the Lord abundantly blessed the family as well.

He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. Genesis 12:16

Needless to say there are Christian women who will not adhere to God’s will in this regard, just as there are countless men who do not obey Him. The good news is that your salvation is not in jeopardy necessarily (only God knows your true heart). However, there is an abundant life promised for our obedience.  A denial of that reality is to reject those blessings and the rewards of Heaven — I once heard it said that it would kind of be like being a kid in a candy store with no money to spend.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7

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There Are No Contradictions In the Bible…Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. Genesis 8:20-21

Just Misunderstanding

Compare Genesis 9:21 to Genesis 6:5

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually

It seems as if the rationale given by God for not destroying man (in Genesis 8) is the very reason He gave for mans destruction in Genesis 9. Listen closely and we can almost hear the Bible conspirators chanting in slapdash harmonies, “Contradiction! Contradiction!” Let the suspicious and the disbelieving know that these two verses are not contrary to one another. God is not fickle, He cannot oppose Himself, nor does He ever change His mind.

A Protocol is Established

For our benefit, God communicates His knowledge of mans perpetual sinful nature, the likes of which could not be destroyed by flood waters alone–God had only obliterated that which was beyond restoration. Sin we recall, is the singular thing that separates us from God and He will go on to say of our blood in Genesis 9:5, “I will require.” We now appreciate that without the shedding of blood there is no remission for our sin and take notice of what blessed the Lord’s heart:

And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake…”

Noah sacrificed and God responded. The sacrifice was pleasing to God and for the first time perhaps we see that what took place in chapter 8 did not occur in chapter 6. Therefore, the difference between the two events is that total surrender in the form of sacrifice has been factored into the equation, setting the table for the ultimate in remission of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15


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So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in…Now the flood was on the earth forty days…And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days. Genesis 7:16, 17, 24Ark AppraisalNoah’s Ark and the flood are real events; believers know this to be true because Jesus speaks of these events in His teachings. We also know that the ark is a symbolic illustration of salvation found in Christ Jesus alone. Compare the ark-imagery with that of these New Testament doctrines:

Jesus is the Door

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…I am the door, if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7 + 9

Shut In

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:28-29

Free Will

Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Acts 27:31

Flawed Perfection

Therefore do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

377 Days of Silence

I selected the Genesis passage today because I wanted to point our something very significant—there is no mention of God speaking to Noah once He shut him and his family in the boat. For one hundred and ninety days, God is silent. In fact God doesn’t speak to Noah again until Genesis 8:15, which is one year and twelve days after being sheltered away in the ark. That gives me pause—how would I hold up under such a trial?

What we can glean from the account is that God’s silence was not Noah’s ordeal. By faith Noah was at peace, after all, faith is not faith if we know all the particulars. Noah truly was anxious for nothing and there was an understanding that this earthly journey was merely preparatory for crossings yet revealed. Consider this passage from the book of Romans and what it reveals to us:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint (*maketh not ashamed, KJV), because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5

We Are Justified

I like the way my pastor puts it, “Justification means, ‘just-as-if’ we never sinned.” The suggestion of course being ‘positionaly’ we are safely in Christ, just as Noah was safely in the ark. When the Father looks upon us all He sees is the righteousness of His son.

Continual Access

Because of what Christ Jesus did on the cross and because of His gift of the Holy Spirit to each and every believer, we have access to God the Father on His throne. The fact that we may not hear from Him continually in no way suggests He does not hear us continually. Frankly, we have the ability to hear from God on a moment-by-moment basis as we delve into His love letters to us; His Holy Bible.

We Glory

In Christ we can celebrate the ‘hard stuff’. Furthermore, we know the Father’s will for each of our lives. If you are not certain what God’s will is for you, then memorize this verse:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

We Hope

What is Hope? It is the absolute expectation that something good is going to happen. I like the King James Version (of Romans 5) because it tells us that in our hope we are not ashamed. It serves to remind me of when I was not in Christ and in hopeless despair—needless to say there was much disgrace and discontent in those bitter days.

Then God Remembered Noah

Genesis 8:1 starts off wonderfully! But do not be mistaken, God had never forgotten Noah; He continually knew and thought of Noah, although God didn’t speak to him continually. Noah knew this and he continually remembered God, and so should we. Jesus willfully gave us His life so that we might live eternally, therefore we can trust Him in our faithful obedience.

And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19

Extra Credit Study

I finished what I wanted to write about today, but I found this little piece of additional information so interesting that I had to share it with you. Check out this verse in Genesis 8:4

Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.

I have been sharing a lot about how Noah’s Ark is a picture of salvation in Jesus Christ and up until this point you may have thought it to be just some cleverly devised, biblical coincidence. Well how is this for a coincidence–did you know that the 17th day of the 7th month (the day the Ark rested) is the exact same day as when Jesus rose from the grave; Resurrection Sunday? As weird as that is, it is true!


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Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch…You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. Genesis 6:14 + 16Noah’s Ark: An Illustration of Salvation in Christ

The similarities between Noah’s Ark and Jesus Christ are astonishing; so much so that we may affirm the ark to be a symbolic representation of what Jesus would later do for us on the cross of Calvary. It is not an accident that comparable observations could be made between the Ark of the Covenant (of Moses day) and Jesus Christ, but for now we will focus solely on Noah’s achievement.

Pitch

Today we call ‘pitch’ tar. The Hebrew word for ‘pitch’ is ‘kaphar’ and it is used seventy times in the Bible to mean atonement as it relates to blood sacrifice. The one exception is here in Genesis where it refers to the substance which covers the ark inside-and-out. In order to better understand the definition, my pastor likes to break-down the word ‘atonement’ into its basic components: at-one-ment, as in ‘being one with God’. By Christ’s shed blood we are in such harmony with God.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:8-9

One Door

I have heard a lot of sermons about the door on Noah’s Ark. The singular thing I want to draw attention to is the fact that there is only one door; just one way to board this ship of deliverance. I am grateful the Father has maintained this simplicity having provided only One way to salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. God could have provided several ways, but He opted for one. In so doing satan is restricted in his ability to manufacture counterfeit openings reducing the likelihood we will select the wrong door. Jesus said…

“I am the door, if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” John 10:9; 14:6

Many Rooms

Jesus will later tell us of the rooms He has prepared for us in Heaven, but I found it interesting that the Hebrew word for ‘room’ actually means ‘nest’. For me it brings to mind the comfortability associated with being with one’s own family, culture, and as it relates here, Christian denomination. Sure, Noah could have housed the lion with the lamb, but why create an unnecessary headache—let them be separate in their contentment, but united in their deliverance.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling… Philippians 2:12

Three Levels

We do not know precisely how Noah organized the animals on the Ark, but common sense dictates that the heavier beasts would be kept low similar as ballast on a ship would be. In so doing, a foundation of sorts is established upon the rolling seas. I am intrigued that the Apostle John, concerning Christians, made a three-tier distinction regarding understanding and spiritual maturity.

I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. 1 John 2:12-14

Door and Window Control

Later on in the text we notice that Noah has no control over the door, just the window. That speaks two things to me. First, as it pertains to the door, once it has been shut by God, we are in the boat—nothing man can do will open it. That reminds me of these verses from John 10:28 and Romans 8:38-39…

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand…For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The window is on top of the Ark and faces the heavens. Noah has the capability to open it whenever and as often as he likes, allowing light to enter for illumination or seeking to purge the stench of life. We have the same control.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light…Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Romans 13:12 + Psalm 119:105

Noah Finished

We know from Bible history that Noah finished building the Ark. If he had not, as his descendants, not one of us would be here today. Similarly, if Jesus had not finished His work on the cross, we would have no place worth going to. Let us finish the task set before us with the same love and passion as Christ.

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God… Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” Acts 20:24 + John 4:34


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…Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?”…For this they willfully forget: that…the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 2 Peter 3:3-6Authenticated by Jesus

In chapter twenty-four of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ confirms that we are in the last days and that the account of Noah and the Flood were actual events. Our Lord goes on to illustrate a parallel between the two events when He says, “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away.” We can best see those similarities when we refer back to the Genesis text and make the comparison ourselves.

Men began to multiply on the face of the earth

In Genesis 6:1 we see the first recorded population explosion. While we do not know how many people populated the earth during this time, we do know that as a result it became problematic. Today, we see identical symptomology. Mull over the .. it took the world from the time of Noah to 1867 to reach one billion people; then from 1867 to 1935 (68 years) to achieve two billion; and by 1995 (another 65 years) we hit six billion. Currently we are approximately seven billion in total, adding a quarter million souls every twenty-four hours.

They took wives for themselves of all whom they chose

Genesis 6:2 tells us that there were some pretty wild and bizarre things happening sexually in the days of Noah (that I won’t go into here), but suffice it to say, God was not pleased in the least. Today, the largest industry in the United States is the entertainment industry, which includes every form of media, music, arts, and sports. Did you know that the fastest growing segment within that industry is pornography? I recently read that seventy percent of American men age 18–34 view Internet pornography once a month.

The wickedness of man was great…every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually

Has the world today truly reached the point that Genesis 6:5 speaks of? I would venture to say ‘not yet’, but we are unquestionably very, very close. The verse is not necessarily implying that every deed of man was wicked, but rather that the imagination contained within his heart was. When we scrutinize the imagery we are subjected to on a daily basis, there is certain inevitability that the worst of what we see will be etched upon our hearts. It is this very images that are conjured up before, during, and after any sinful behavior.

The earth also was corrupt (and) filled with violence

Genesis 6:11 speaks of world corruption and violence. Who reading this blog can deny that we live in corrupt and violent times. In our country alone, only 2.4 percent of a thousand criminals see jail time. By the time our children finish elementary school they have witnessed an average of eight thousand murders on television. By age 18 they have seen almost a quarter-million violent acts on TV. A whooping 79 percent of Americans ‘do believe’ that violence on television helps to precipitate real-life hostility.

Why Am I Telling You This

For the active Christian much of this information is not news; with the Lord as our guide, we do what we are called to do and we carry-on with our earthly missions. Therefore I suppose today’s message is for the non-believer, the man or woman who judge that their behavior is not repulsive to God and scoffs at the idea Jesus Christ is coming again. It is my hope and prayer that this person would identify with being a partial realization of Christ’s prophecy and seek not to be chronicled as prophecy fulfilled. Christ has died, and Christ has risen, and Christ will come again.


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