Thursday, December 05, 2019

God Says Go - Don't Follow The Crowd

The one who scattered us will bring us all back together for his glory.


Genesis 10:4-9 Then they said, "Come, let's build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world." 5 But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building.

6 "Look!" He said. "The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7 Come, let's go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won't be able to understand each other." 8 In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city.

9 That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way He scattered them all over the world.

You have probably been warned more than once about the danger of following the crowd. Jesus warned us that his followers would have to choose to stop following the crowds and choose the straight and narrow road that few people were willing to take. (Matthew 7:14) In today's scripture we will see the dangers of unity and how God dispersed a crowd without using any physical effort.

The new beginning that Noah received from God wasn't perfect, the floods washed away sin from the earth but it didn't cleanse the heart of mankind, the eight people that got off the ark still had a sin nature and it didn't take long for it to affect their lives.

Noah's children and grandchildren were supposed to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth but they didn't want to scatter like the animals did. They chose to move to the East as a group, and when someone decided to stop, they all stopped. Following the crowd was already a popular idea.

It seems like Nimrod was the first man to rise to power after the flood, he was a great hunter and he also became the first to invest in real estate, he took after Cain and built the first great cities that are mentioned after the flood. (Cain, Genesis 4:16-17; Nimrod, Genesis 10:8-12)

No more than a hundred years after the flood, while Noah's children and grandchildren are still alive, the world population is ignoring what happened and doing what they want. Some of the people that got off the boat are still alive, they had all of the facts about God's judgment of sin that caused the flood, but they didn't care.
God’s will for human beings is not that we find our joy in being praised, but that we find our joy in knowing and praising him. His will is not that we find our security in cities but in God whom we gladly obey.
A great city with a famous landmark has been the dream of many people throughout history. The love of praise and the love of security are great motivations for the masses to stick together but this tower was also an attempt by Satan to get man to worship anything besides God.

This tower was probably a ziggurat, these towers were the center of religious activity that can still be seen around that area today. We saw that right after Noah got off the ark that he worshiped God properly but most his grandchildren followed the way of Cain and chose to do worship their way.

It may seem like a curse that we are all scattered around the world into so many different people groups with so many different languages and cultures but this diversity is actually a great tool that God created to prevent evil from going unchecked. One evil man is not likely to make much trouble but that can change quickly in the company of like minded friends.

The plans of evil world leaders are restrained through diversity, uniting the nations sounds like a great idea but think about all of the united efforts in world history that prove that human unity can also be extremely evil.

The unity of other countries was the only reason the Nazis were not successful at ruling the world with their evil schemes. The plans of the United Nations is right in line with Satan's desires for a one world, one government system under one ruler. The one who scattered us is the only one that has the authority to bring us all back together again and he is the only one that will bring us together without any evil intentions.

The next time the world is united it will be under the rule of the Antichrist, the world population will think it is an awesome idea to unite together but they won't realize that his unity will be for evil just the same as he did it at the tower that was built in Babylon.
Revelation 7:9 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. 
Someday God's people will enjoy unity again, the effects of sin will be washed away permanently and the one who scattered us will bring us all back together for his glory. Until that day comes we must strive while we are still here on Earth to bring glory to God through the unity that we have as followers of Jesus.

Following the crowd doesn't have to be a bad thing if you are careful to follow the crowd that will bring glory to God for eternity.

In the next post we will see that the fame that the people sought to have at Babel was realized in Abram because of his obedience and willingness to go in faith to a place he didn't know.

RELATED ARTICLES
Why Did God Create The World (desiringgod.org)
What Is Christian Unity (desiringgod.org)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Who Are You?

What defines who you are? What would you do if all that were taken away?


Video: Hillsong Worship - Who You Say I Am

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes I am

What defines who you are? As a child of God, Satan knows who you are and how powerful your life can be, he just hopes that he can keep you from knowing it. Cheap substitutes is all that Satan has to offer you to keep you from living up to your full potential.

Satan will get you to define yourself in ways that involve your family, friends your career or good deeds but any of these things can be taken away and then what do you have to stand on?

If you lose the thing that defines you then your life will feel empty and meaningless when it is gone. You need to be defined by something eternal so that you won't be crushed when your circumstances change.
Overcomer - Hannah Scott Quote
I am created by God.
He designed me, so I’m not a mistake.
His Son died for me, just so I could be forgiven.
He picked me to be his own, so I’m chosen.
He redeemed me, so I am wanted.
He showed me grace, just so I could be saved.
He has a future for me because He loves me.
So I don’t wonder anymore, Coach Harrison. I am a child of God.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The God Of New Beginnings

God offers a fresh start for his people that will never end.


Genesis 8:1-4 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. 2 The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. 3 So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, 4 exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

Genesis 8:15-20 Then God said to Noah, 16 "Leave the boat, all of you--you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals--the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground--so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth." 18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose.

Ever wish for a new start? Imagine living in a world without another family that goes to church, where nobody else agrees with your views of morality or politics, a world that is so full of evil that even God wants to start over.

It is easy to read through Genesis real quick and fail to realize the difficult circumstances that Noah lived under. This one man's faith stands out in in a world where no one else has any concern for God or about having his favor.

We don't know how God's favor was displayed or whether his neighbors knew that Noah had favor but I imagine there was a lot of peer pressure for Noah and his family to join in and live like everybody else. When Cain knew that God's favor was on his brother Abel it made him furious so I imagine that Noah's neighbors probably didn't like him or his family.

Just to make things really interesting God asked Noah to do crazy things that would test his faith. To put his faith into action Noah had to build something that has never been built for an event that has never happened before. (Hebrews 11:7)
Noah Teaches Us:
We should be obedient even if nobody else is. The pressure to be like everybody else must have been intense. Their sons must have wondered "why can't we do what our friends do?"

We should have faith that can be seen and heard by our neighbors. Noah's faith in what was unseen caused him to be obedient in ways that can be clearly seen by his neighbors but they were also warned by Noah as he told them why he was building something so crazy.

We should wait on God despite the circumstances. It looked good outside after the flood, the birds proved that there was dry ground, but they didn't leave until God told them to.

We should worship God because he has given us favor. How can you not worship when you realize how many people were killed and the fact that you are just as sinful as they and deserving of the same judgement yet God spared you?

We should be aware that things are going to get much worse. The wickedness on earth was probably greater than it is today. There is a greater percentage of people that have God's favor on the earth today than there was in Noah's day.

We should not forget how prone we are to do wrong. Even the best of men are weak and liable to fall, when those eight people got off the boat sin came along with them, Noah got drunk and one of his sons disrespected him and made fun of his shameful behavior.

We should look to the sky for only one sign. Many people look to the stars and planets for information but the rainbow is the only thing that God put in the sky that we need to look to.

We should be ready for the day of final judgement. Noah was protected from God's wrath as a reminder to us that God's people will be out of here before the final judgement that will be by fire. 
Noah and his family would get to live in a fresh environment that had been cleansed from man's wickedness, it sounds like a dream come true but these eight people knew that while they escaped punishment there were millions of lives that were lost outside of the ark.

Their fresh start wasn't perfect, the floods washed away sin from the earth but it didn't cleanse the heart of mankind, the eight people that got off the ark still had a sin nature that would continue to challenge them as they tried to live to please God.
2 Corinthians 5:15, 17 He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Jesus left the glory of Heaven to have a new beginning with us, this was certainly not a fresh start, he endured life in this broken world so that we could have a new beginning in this life and in the next.

My first new beginning is in this life. It is very much like Noah's do over, he experienced God's mercy and grace because he had favor with God. God's grace and mercy have given me favor with him through my belief in Jesus as my only way to get to Heaven.
If God's purpose was to fill the earth with the glory of his righteousness, then we must conclude one of two things: God is a failure or God is preparing for something greater in the future.
-John Piper
My next new beginning will be the last. Unlike the other new beginning in the Bible, this one will be final and the changes that it brings will last forever. God's purpose for creating man will finally come to pass, man will fill the earth with God's glory and worship him with pure hearts for eternity.

God will take up his bow and judge the world. We need to share the good news that God has given us a season of mercy, he has put his bow in the sky pointed away from us, but this season will come to an end without warning.

God's people will be taken away to a new beginning in a glorious kingdom and Satan and his children will begin a new existence separated forever from God. Are you ready?
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Saturday, October 12, 2019

One Man's Faith

Noah's faith affected his family but the rest of mankind missed the boat.


Genesis 6:5-8 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the LORD was sorry He had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart.

7 And the LORD said, "I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing--all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them." 8 But Noah found favor with the LORD.

If you think our world is bad, consider what Genesis says about the world before the flood, in just a short time the way of Cain had increased to the point that "everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil."

When you read the genealogy in Genesis chapter five it is easy to not realize that the world population could have been a few billion people before the flood came. That would make the ratio of self pleasers to God pleasing people a few billion to eight.

We think we have it so bad but it is very possible that evil may have been far worse than it is in our day. Today we still have thousands of God's people on the planet compared to only eight out of billions of people back in Noah's day. You probably know hundreds of people that do not fit the description of "everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil."

God chooses one family to be a part of his plan to start over, God knew that Noah and his family had the faith to build the ark, a special boat without sails, oars or a rudder. The occupants of the boat didn't have any control, their faith in God made it possible to trust him for the direction, the speed and their final destination.
Noah Was A God Pleaser
  • Noah was a righteous and blameless man. (Genesis 6:9-13)
  • Noah believed that events that never happened before would take place.
  • Noah trusted God's design specifications for the ark. (Genesis 6:22)
  • Noah dedicated a large amount of time and resources to build the massive ark.
  • Noah warned the people around him (1 Peter 3:20 / 2 Peter 2:5)
  • Noah waited on God before leaving the Ark (Genesis 7:1-24)
Imagine the ridicule as the Ark project got started, when people asked what he was building and why, they had never seen rain and there wasn't a large body of water around. It seemed like Noah was just a crazy man wasting his life and resources away.

Besides the neighbors, Noah must have also been mocked by the suppliers and the laborers that contributed to the project. There were men that made good money in the lumber business, there were laborers, carpenters and people that applied the waterproofing.

After the Ark was completed there were the suppliers for the food and supplies that they would need to set-up household on the boat. There were probably people that visited the project maybe some that went inside and took a tour of the Ark. They saw it, they touched it and heard the message from Noah but at the end of the day they shared crazy Noah stories with their family and friends.

Think about the reactions when the animals started showing up in pairs. It seems to me that the animals would validate Noah's warning and prove that he wasn't just a crazy old man but this was another missed opportunity to receive grace and avoid the coming judgment.

God could have supernaturally provided the Ark and flooded the Earth immediately or he could have wiped out man in some other way but instead there was a season of grace, a delay of justice that allowed the message of salvation and repentance to spread.

The good news was ignored by everyone, all of Noah's friends, his extended family and his business associates that helped build the Ark, they were physically so close to the truth but spiritually they were so far. Noah's faith didn't make any difference to the culture, their wickedness was so great that they were blind to the truth of Noah's faith and obedience.
Blinded By Sin
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
The letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church makes it clear that people are blind to the truth. The glorious light of the good news is right in front of them but they can't see it, grace and mercy is available but it makes no sense to them, the same stubbornness that we see in Cain still exist today.

Sadly, the rebellion continues, the flood put a temporary end to the injustice in the world but it did not change the human heart. Mankind keeps on rebelling against God and his glorious standards, we stubbornly redefine marriage, distort sexual relationships, we think one man is better than another because of pigment, and we kill our babies everyday without any sign of remorse.

We are so wrong for thinking that God doesn't really care about morality and injustice or he would have already intervened. Don't be fooled, the day is coming when God will judge mankind, just as he did in Noah's day, he will protect his people and then he will judge the earth. But this time his people will be taken away to their forever home so that the earth can be destroyed by fire.

Just like the days before the flood, it will seem like God is okay with how things are going, all of the everyday things that happen will keep on happening, plans will be made to marry, have a family, change jobs and go to parties, it will be business as usual for the planet right up to the end. (Matthew 24:36-39)

We all belong to Adam, we all have the craving to go the way of Cain, but we can choose to belong to Jesus and get caught up to live with him for eternity.
RELATED ARTICLES
Thinking Outside The Box (answersingenesis.org)
Timeline For The Flood (answersingenesis.org)
The Global Flood Of Noah's Day (icr.org)

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Caught Up

Death is not an issue for God's children... some of them won't even do it.


Genesis 5:21-24 When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 Enoch lived 365 years, 24 walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.

2 Kings 2:11 As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.

Mark 16:19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand.

God loves us so much that he gave us a very important warning way back at the beginning of his love story to us, he warned us that the penalty for our sin would be death, and since Adam sinned we all sin and we all will die.

But that's not completely true, God changed the rules for a couple of privileged men that had a special relationship with him, these two were promoted to Heaven without going through the formality of dying. (Hebrews 11:5)

The first one was Enoch, the exception to a long list of men that begot a son and then died at a very old age. (Genesis 4:17-5:32) Enoch had a short life for people back in those days, after only 365 years God walked him right up into Heaven. I don't know how his family felt about this but what a way to go!
Jude 1:14-15 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, "Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of His holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
Think you have it bad as a follower of Christ? Enoch lived a godly life in a culture that was so bad that God wanted to destroy it with a flood. There were far more people that followed the way of Cain that brought the culture down spiritually, but there is good news for God's people.

Enoch is a picture of the rapture before the judgment that was on the way. God will take up his church just as sure as he took up Enoch, this is a picture of the rapture of the bride of Christ before the tribulation.
Matthew 24:36-39 "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son Himself. Only the Father knows. 37 "When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn't realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
The days before Jesus’ return will be similar to the days before the Flood. All of the everyday things that happen will keep on happening, plans will be made to marry, have a family, change jobs and go to parties, it will be business as usual for the planet right up to the end.

God could have provided the Ark and flooded the Earth immediately but instead there was a season of grace that allowed people to change their minds and call upon God to save them. God's grace saved eight people from the flood while everyone else lived for themselves.

They had plenty of warning during the time that it took for Noah and his construction crews to finish building and stocking the Ark with supplies. Imagine being one of the laborers or a supplier of the materials that got stuck outside the Ark when the waters started getting high. Surely Noah and his family let you know what you were building and why.

Noah's predictions were too incredible, even the people that helped build the boat didn't care that Noah could be correct. Life goes on for most people without any serious consideration of where they came from or where they are going.
1 Corinthians 15:22-23 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when He comes back. 
God's grace will be seen by his children that are alive when he comes back to take them to the home he has prepared. I want to walk in close fellowship with God and be a part of the multitude that God will take up without dying.

We all belong to Adam, we all have the craving to go the way of Cain, but we can choose to belong to Jesus and live a new life that will not end or be marred with sin.

Are you ready to be caught up?

RELATED ARTICLES
What Is The Rapture? (billygraham.org)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Way Of Cain

There are only two kinds of people in this world and they rarely ever get along. 


Genesis 4:3-7 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. 4 Abel also brought a gift--the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but He did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

6 "Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked Cain. "Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master."

Jude 1:11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain.

If you are following my study through Genesis you should know by now that sin is the root cause of every breakdown on this planet. We like to think that the issues are very complex but God has made it crystal clear that every breakdown, every unrighteousness and every injustice is a direct result of sin.

The only reason the issues are complicated is because man is too arrogant to admit the problem and seek the help that we need from the only person that has the cure. We prefer to ignore God's rules and do things our own way.

When Adam and Eve sinned we see the shame and remorse that they had, they admitted their sin and they willingly accepted their punishment without arguing with God. But that is not true of every sinner. Their first born son wasn't concerned at all about what God thought about his sin.

Cain's attitude toward sin was self centered and indifferent to the ways of God. Cain was obsessed with what he thought was fair and just and he thought he should be able to be his own god and make his own rules. Cain may have thought: Why should Abel get God's favor? Doesn't God know what Abel did to me?

Cain was probably warned by his parents, surely the boys heard stories about the good old days back in the garden, the devastating consequences of their sin must have been talked about at home, especially when the boys were misbehaving.
Psalms 51:17 The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
God warned Cain that sin is powerful, it desires to have you, and it crouches down low so you won't know how big it is. Sin will stalk you and if you give it an opportunity it will not let you go without a struggle. The smallest little grudge wants to be murder if it isn't controlled.

God showed grace to Cain and let him know why he wasn't pleased with him, God could have been a harsh judge but he came in love. Cain hated God and he couldn't bear the thought that his brother had God's approval.

Cain deserved death but he didn't worry about God killing him, he was pretty sure that one of his relatives would try to get revenge for God, so God protected him from physical death but it was up to Cain to decide his spiritual condition.

Most of the sermons preached on Genesis four focus on murder, fake worship and the power of sin in Cain's life. All of those are great points but if you look at chapter four through seven as a whole there is a message that is even more important.
1 John 3:12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. 
Cain and Abel show us that there are only two kinds of people in our world, there are people that belong to God and all of the rest of mankind belong to Satan. We all decide for ourselves: Will I try to be God or will I be happy to be under God?

Cain is the prototype for everybody that does not belong to God, just look at his family tree in the next few chapters of Genesis. The list includes a lot of accomplished men that achieved great things and contributed to society and to culture but there isn't anything spiritual mentioned about the people in Cain's lineage.
1 John 3:12-13 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
It's only the beginning of God's book and already the ungodly seem to be in control, as quick as sin ruined Cain it also ruined the culture, we can see today very clearly where the mess all around us came from.

Cain and his ungodly offspring would defy God's definition of marriage and take more than one wife. They would be known as unforgiving and violent people. Sure, they were religious but they would like to make the rules and decide how God should be worshiped.

Man has made a quick mess of God's perfect creation, it looks bad, much like it does today but the promise remains. The promise that someone from the woman's offspring will strike the head of Satan. The plan to kill Abel was Satan's first attempt to prohibit the fulfillment of the promised Messiah.

God has a remnant in Seth's lineage, in the midst of a world full of ungodly people there are only eight people, Noah, his sons and their wives that God can use to fulfill his promise. Take note that the lineage of Seth doesn't have any cultural acclaim like Cain's offspring, the people of Seth were famous for what really mattered, they worshiped God correctly. (Genesis 4:26)

The Bible is quick to show us that there are two kinds of people in this world and they will have a hard time accepting each other. It seems like the problem is getting worse everyday as various groups of people attempt to change our values and force us to accept their deviation from God's original design.

The world will always be angry because God's children are favored, we must be careful that we don't join them and give them our anger, we need to be know for our amazing ability to show love to people that do not love us.

The most important message to learn from Cain is that he belonged to the evil one, Cain and his descendants never did love God and they all died in the flood. You can find favor with God and avoid judgement if you accept his offer of salvation.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The Growing Sin Problem

We keep denying the source of and the solution to the sin problem.


Genesis 3:1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, "Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?"

James 1:14-15 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

So far in my study of the book of Genesis I have learned that In the beginning God created us to rule over creation and to fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of God. Since God created us and made us in his image he must be by far the most qualified expert on what is best for us but we are arrogant enough to think that we know a better way. (Isaiah 43:7)

In our arrogance we think we are allowed to decide absolutely everything, things that we once thought were obvious facts that could not be denied are now up for debate, we are foolish enough to believe that we get to ignore God without any side effects.

It wasn't too long ago that our gender was something that was an absolute fact but thanks to science and technology we can be something we were not designed to be. I have to wonder how much of this perversion is being fueled by the desire to make a lot of money without regard for the lives that are being devastated.
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Man has deceived himself and believed that the issues are very complicated but God has made it crystal clear that all of this confusion goes back to man's departure from God's design to seek our own way. Every breakdown, every unrighteousness and every injustice is a direct result of sin.

All breakdowns are because of sin: 


  • The first effect of sin happened before God even confronted Adam and Eve, before they even knew that their relationship with God was broken, it became clear to them that their relationship with each other was very different.
  • Sin made them ashamed to be fully known by God or by each other, they needed clothing to hide their most intimate parts from each other. Transparency is a rare trait in the best of relationships.
  • Sin distorted God's created gender roles, it wouldn't take too long for man and woman to start mistreating each other. God predicted that man will tend to make an idol out of power. and that woman will tend to make an idol out of the relationship.
  • Work is not a curse but thanks to sin it is cursed, thorns and weeds always get in the way of our ambitions.
  • Nature works against us, instead of being in control and ruling over the earth, in many ways it is controlling us.
This list is compiled from a podcast by Tim Keller - "A Promise of Hope"

Our sin is the source of every breakdown, from our broken bodies to the difficulty in your relationships to catastrophic weather events.  It is easy to look horizontal at what is wrong in this world and point your finger at many different causes but the root cause of our problem is the fact that the vertical relationship with God is broken. Horizontal sins happen because of our vertical sins.

Our rebellious arrogance and pride got us into this situation and it is the reason we are still dealing with the problem. Everybody is looking for world peace but we cannot fix our deepest problems and make a better society on our own without returning to God and his design and his rules.  If we keep denying the source of our problems we will never be able to solve our problems.
Psalms 2:1-4 Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? 2 The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against His anointed one. 3 "Let us break their chains," they cry, "and free ourselves from slavery to God." 4 But the One who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.
We are all kings, ruling our little empires, we make our choices about our lives that prove who is in control. We all plot against God to do what we want to do, he is the source of our wisdom but we think that we are wiser than he is, it is no wonder that he laughs at our crazy notions.

It is a real breakthrough when we realize and submit to the reality that God's ways are the ultimate. We will begin to heal when we get to the point that we realize that our best is so corrupt and falls short of what God intended.
Psalms 51:7-8 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; You have broken me--now let me rejoice. 
God is waiting for my will to break so that I will give up on my rebellion and give him control. When I get off of my throne and let the ruler of the universe be the ruler of my life then I will find my greatest satisfaction and joy.

When this happens the world around me will see that there is a better way, they will see a little bit of heaven on earth, my life will be a witness of the future when Jesus comes back to rule with justice.
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Monday, September 02, 2019

Heaven On Earth

Seek his kingdom first.



Video: Stars Go Dim - "Heaven On Earth"

Take my life and let it be
Set on fire for all to see
Break me down, build me up again
Don't leave me the way I've been
Take my heart into Your hands
Come and finish what You began
'Til I seek Your kingdom first
'Til I shine, shine
Like Heaven on earth
Like Heaven on earth

The Kingdom
Exodus 19:5-6 Now if you will obey Me and keep My covenant, you will be My own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to Me. And you will be My kingdom of priests, My holy nation.' This is the message you must give to the people of Israel."

 Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

Colossians 1:13 For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son,

Hebrews 12:28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe.

 Revelation 1:6-7 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God His Father. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen. Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see Him--even those who pierced Him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for Him. Yes! Amen!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Problem Of Sin

There is vice in every virtuous thing that I do.


Genesis 3:9-13 Then the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" 10 He replied, "I heard You walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked." 11 "Who told you that you were naked?" the LORD God asked. "Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?"

12 The man replied, "It was the woman You gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it." 13 Then the LORD God asked the woman, "What have you done?" "The serpent deceived me," she replied. "That's why I ate it."

1 John 2:16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

Nobody likes to talk about sin these days, even pastors and Sunday School teachers are less likely to talk about it, the response from society can be so severe these days that many people are unwilling to mention sin. God’s rules about creation, marriage, sexuality, morality are being replaced by the individual. Reality is optional. Truth is always changing.

You may think it isn't nice to mention sin, you may not want to make someone feel bad, but if you don't lovingly point out their sin then you are not doing them any favors, if nobody ever helps them see where they fall short then they may never be right with God.

Thankfully somebody started pointing out my sin to me from an early age but even with the most favorable circumstances I still played around with sin and wasted too much of my life doing what I thought was right.
Sin is doing anything for your own glory, even if it means good things. And righteousness is doing things for the glory of God, out of a sense of beauty for who he is.
-Timothy Keller
The assumption that there is sin implies the possibility and obligation for intervention but without sin you do not have the ability or the right to intervene when you see injustice, without sin we are powerless to make change.

Man always finds inadequate ways to deal with sin.


Denial has always been one of our most popular responses to sin, no fault theology is very popular, society says don't define sin for me, I can decide what is right for me.

Another popular response has always been to hide our sin. God came to visit man in the garden and all of a sudden hide and seek is a new game that has been created. First they hid from each other by making the first clothing and and then they hid from God.

As soon as they were confronted with sin they invent the blame game. Adam pointed his finger at God and reminded him that Eve was his idea and then Eve tries to put the blame on the snake.

Even in the most favorable circumstances, such a lovely place to live, creation wasn't marred by sin yet, they could interact with all of the animals without fear, their only neighbor was God yet they still could not be content.

What is your motivation to be good?


Most of us don't like to follow the rules if they don't make good sense, if you don’t give me a good logical reason then I won’t obey, but God doesn't need to give us a reason. If he did there is a good chance that we wouldn't comprehend it anyway. God says do it for his glory, his happiness and his agenda whether it makes sense to us or not.

Satan's biggest trick was to sell us on the idea that we would be like God, he didn't want us to realize that because we were already created in God's image, we were already like God. Instead of becoming like God we actually became less like God and more like Satan.

Theologian, author and pastor Jonathan Edwards first introduced the concept of common virtue and true (saving) virtue in his book "The Nature of True Virtue" back in 1755. Edwards says that common virtue is doing the right thing out of fear or pride and true virtue is doing the right thing simply because God is worthy of our total trust and obedience.

Common virtue says:

  1. FEAR - be honest because it pays or be honest because God will get you.
  2. PRIDE - be honest because you don’t want to be one of those people, those sinners.
Did you notice that our incentive to be good can also be our motive for sin? Fear and pride may be good incentives to not sin but they can also be the catalyst that creates in us the desire to sin. Think about it, fear and pride are the main reason for all of the evil in this world and yet my virtue is full of fear and pride.

Common virtue is rotten at the core, there is vice in all of my virtue, because of this my efforts to be good will never be good enough and they won't last for very long. Fear and pride will help me develop better filters but real change comes from the heart.

True virtue says:

  1. Do the right thing because of who God is.
  2. Because of what Jesus has done.
True virtue comes from a desire to honor and please God for his glory and because of his beauty and worth. I want to be generous, humble and loving because I love him and want to please him and be like him. God will be your greatest desire and the source of satisfaction above everything else.

If you realize how bad your goodness is then your point of view will change, Jesus won't be just a good example to follow, he will be your Savior that you cannot be without. You won't run to him when you need him to get you through something rather you will stay at his side because you need him always.
The Gospel: I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me yet I’m so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.
-Timothy Keller
The gospel changes everything, your pride will disappear as you realize that you are so bad the he had to die to reverse the effects of sin. But at the same time you don’t have to live in fear because God loves you so much that he was willing to come and die for you.

These realities should change your worldview, generosity, racial reconciliation and love will be what you are known for. Let's pray that this reality will come alive for every follower of Jesus so that we will be known for our love.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Nobody But Jesus

I'm just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about somebody.



Why You ever chose me
Has always been a mystery
All my life I've been told I belong
At the end of the line

With all the other not-quites
With all the never-get-it-rights
But it turns out they're the ones You were looking for
All this time

'Cause I'm just a nobody
Trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody
Who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me
You gave my heart a song to sing

I'm living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus
I'm living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus

Moses had stage fright
When David brought a rock to a sword fight
You picked twelve outsiders nobody would have chosen
And You changed the world

Well the moral of the story is
Everybody's got a purpose
So when I hear that devil start talking to me saying
"Who do you think you are?"
I say

So let me go down, down, down in history
As another blood-bought faithful member of a family
And if they all forget my name, well that's fine with me
I'm living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus

So let me go down, down, down in history (Goin' down in history)
As another blood-bought faithful member of a family
(That's all I ever wanna be)
And if they all forget my name, well that's fine with me
I'm living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.