Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Secret to A Life of 70 Years

People say I am too active and look too young to be 70 years old.  They want to know my secret.  I have looked younger than my age all of my life.  A lot of it is probably due to heredity.  My mom always looked young for her age. When I was a teen, people use to think she was my older sister. 

Living a clean life:  I was never a party girl and don’t smoke or drink and never have.  I think those things take a tole on your skin and overall health. 

Attitude:  Attitude is also a key.  You take what life has given you and you make the best of it.  You should never throw yourself a pity party.  Look at all your blessings and thank God for them.  Also always look for the good in people and in life.

Being thankful:  I thank God that I have always had good health, plenty of food to eat, shelter over my head, parents that loved and provided for me as a child, a good job making good money, and a husband and children who love me and are there with me through all the ups and downs. I also now have grandchildren who are the joy of my life.  I think they may be keeping be active and young, too.

Church and Christian friends:  There is also my church and many Christian friends who are always there to encourage, support, and pray for me.  Fellowship with other Christians has always been very important.  If you don’t have a church or Christian friends, you are missing out on many blessings God has for you.  We all need good friends to do life together. 

Don’t worry:  I never really worry about tomorrow, because I know God will take care of it.  When my husband was laid off from work, I looked at it as a new chapter in life.  Then God provided a better job.  When my company was downsized and I lost my job, I never worried about it either.  I got a better job making more money that before.  Then a few years later, that company moved out of state and I lost that job.  Again, I never worried.  I took that opportunity and retired.  Now my life is better than ever before.  Through all the changes in finances due to job losses, we still survived. 

It is God who blesses:  Most of all it is God who has blessed me.  I know God is in control.  He will take care of tomorrow.  He always wants what is best for me.  All I can do is try to live a life pleasing to Him, stay trusting Him, stay on my knees, and He takes care of the rest.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Genesis 14 – 15:1

This chapter reveals Abram’s love for family, his willingness to take risks for the right cause, his leadership capabilities, his humility in victory and his motives for going to war.

Genesis 14:1-16 - War

How do you define victory?
What does it mean to win?

4 kings known as Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeloiim, and the king of Bela.  For 12 years the latter 5 kings had been subject to Kedorlaomer.  They had enough and decided they would not pay tribute anymore so they rebelled.  Elam today is known as Iran and Shinar is known as Iraq.  During this war they seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and captured Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions. - Gen. 14:1-12

Lot had chosen to live in Sodom.  It was a wicked place, but he didn't seem to be concerned or how it would affect his family.  Lot's choices contributed to his being taken captive.  He chose wealth and worldly values.  He chose to settle where the land was rich and fertile.  He did not consider the consequences and did not ask God for guidance.

Abram was probably aware of the turmoil of the region and had formed allies.  He had trained 318 men and was prepared for war at any time.  One man escaped and reported to Abram that Lot had been captured.  Abram called on his 318 men for help.  Why does  scripture say 318?  We are not sure, but it doesn't matter.  They represented 318 lives and       318 yeses that were ready and willing when needed.  It shows that every person matters to God.  These men used proper tactics for the situation and pursued the armies driving them north of Damascus. - Gen. 14:15.  Abram shows us the proper attitude and action we ought to have and take when the stakes are high, but the cause is righteous.  Abram was willing to take risks.

Even though Lot and Abram had separated previously because of disagreements, Abram came to his rescue.  He gave him a renewed life and a redeemed life.  Now Lot had an opportunity to make better choices.

Living prepared and willing to obey God wins spiritual battles.

The Christian life can be filled with times that are risky. - 2 Cor. 11:23-28.  The cause is the highest, the salvation of men.  Abram is a great example of boldness in the face of danger, when the cause is right.  Lot was not prepared.  He was caught up in the world.  God got his attention.  Is God trying to get your attention?  All believers live in a war against evil.  We can stand against the devil's schemes by putting on the full armor of God.  The weapons Christians are to use against spiritual enemies are found in Eph. 6:10-18"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Living outside God's will is a form of capture.  Do you consider yourself prepared for attack against evil?  The biggest battle we face in life is for our soul.

What are some of your spiritual battles you face?
Is your battle to trust God?
Is your battle to surrender control to God?
Is your battle to obey Him?
Is your battle to give, when you think you can't?
Is your battle to serve, when you think you have nothing to give?
Is your battle fear, pride, jealousy?

God's Word helps us see it's a spiritual battle and how to respond.  The world entices us to believe what we think we need and don't have.  Abram could have said to Lot, "You made your bed, now you have to lie in it" or "I hope someone will talk some sense into him" or "I have my own life and demands and I don't have time".  But Abram's heart showed no anger or resentment toward Lot.

We have become desensitized to sin in the world.  There are those who are held captive to their pain, quilt from the past, heartbroken, disparate, in habitual sin, etc.  How will you get involved with those held captive?  How will you help?  How will you surrender your heart to God and get involved?

Living prepared means go when God says  go.  Ask God to show you how to set a captive free.  It may take a lot of your time and a lot of prayer.  Are you willing to invest in God's redeeming work of great cost?  We will never understand what Jesus gave up to save us.  Abram believed God would guide him.  He shows us the heart of Jesus.  Jesus rescued us from captivity and paid the price on the cross for our sins, when we didn't deserve it.

Genesis 14:17-24 - 15:1 - Worship

After Abram defeated Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine and blessed Abram.  Melchizedek was the priest of God Most High. - Gen. 14:18-20.  Melchizedek was a picture of the coming Christ and His work.  They were alike in that both were kings and high priests forever.  There is no mention of Melchizedek's birth or death.  This is a symbol of Jesus, both are from God.  Hebrews 7 tells us that Jesus is a High Priest like Melchizedek.

Melchizedek came to give Abram strength after the battle.  Abram was probably very tired and he reminded him that the victory belonged to God.  Abram's response was to worship God and give God a 10th of everything.  This was Abram's way of acknowledging that the victory belonged to God.

True victory is the worship and glory of God in an ungodly world.

What is your battle - fear, family, health, lost hope?  Jesus is your High Priest and is praying for you He knows what you need.
What does your victory look like?  Victory is when God is glorified.
How can your battle be a worship to God?
Life with God is the ultimate victory.  What do you need to do to say "no" to the world's offer?
Do you see love demonstrated through Abram?
What do you consider victory?  Is it when it turns out the way you wanted or when God is glorified?  When the true God is worshipped, that is victory!

What can you say about Christ as Priest that will help others:
To a discouraged Christian - Jesus is always there for you.  He always listens and answers prayers.  He always forgives, if you repent.  It's never too late to turn to Him.  He will never forsake you.
To a tempted Christian - Jesus was tempted in every way and He knows what you are going through.  He resisted temptation and you can to.  Just ask Him to help you.  Read His Word and don't stop praying and never give up.
To yourself - He always listens when I pray and always answers my prayers.  It may not be what I think I want, but it is always in my best interest.  He loves me and wants the best for me.  We are all discouraged at times and tempted daily.  I just need to keep trusting and praying.

Lessons we learn from Abram:
For love of family Abram was willing to attack the armies.
He was prepared for what evil was to come.
He was a leader by calling on his 318 trained men to rescue Lot.
He trusted and followed God, which contributed to his victory.
He displayed humility when blessed by the priest even after such great victory.
When the king of Sodom offered for him to keep all the goods, Abram showed that he didn't go to war for money.  He didn't use Lot to enrich himself with the possessions of the helpless.   He returned those things that did not belong to him to the rightful owner.
He was a witness to the king of Sodom by not keeping the goods for himself.

Do you have Abram's love for family?
Do you have his willingness to take risks for the right cause?
Do you exercise the kind of leadership that he did?
Are you prepared for future evils?
Is there someone or situation the Lord has set on your heart for you to respond to?
Do you give a tithe to your local church?
Do you give 10%?
Are there other gifts that you give the Lord to celebrate your appreciation towards Him?
God wants us to be liberal givers, because God has given so much to us.      

God reassures Abram that he did the right thing and tells him to not be afraid for God will always be with him.  "Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward." - Gen. 15:1  God always provides and protects His children.                   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Genesis 13:5-18

1.  Genesis 13:5-9 – Abram Choses Sacrifice
2.  Genesis 13:10-13 – Lot Choses Sodom
3.  Genesis 13:14-18 – God Reassures Abram

Genesis 13:5-9 – Abram Choses Sacrifice

Abram faces another life challenge with Lot.  Abram was the elder and leader of this journey.  There was not enough grass and the land could not support both Abram and Lot’s flocks.  The herdsmen became frustrated and they began to quarrel.  Abram was the true spiritual leader and was ready to sacrifice his own right letting Lot choose to stay or go where he was.  Abram showed growth from his last choice.  He showed a different priority.  He chose peace and called Lot a brother. – Gen. 13:8.  He realized life with God was   worth trusting at all costs.  He knew it would be stressful, but yields his rights to Lot.  “Let’s part company.  If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” Gen. 13:9.

God’s priority requires worldly sacrifice.

Abram’s attitudes and actions are examples for Christians who disagree with one another. 
Gen. 15:5-13 – We are to compromise and work out our differences.
1 Cor. 6:1-8 – We are not to bring lawsuits against another believer.
Eph. 4:1-3 – We are to be completely humble, gentle, patient and keep unity.
Eph. 4:31-5:2 – We are to get rid of bitterness, rage, anger.  We are to be kind, compassionate and forgiving.

During the famine Abram took matters into his own hands.  How are you trying to manage people or out come?
How is God calling you to let go of what you think you deserve?  True prosperity is living right with God.  Abram was right with God. 
Few things turn away the non-believer like a quarrelling Christian.  Is your squabbling impacting your witness? 
Do others see that God’s people handle things differently or the same? 
Do you let practicable problems grow into spiritual problems?
How will  you let God lead you today in your problems?

Genesis 13:10-13 – Lot Choses Sodom

Lot chose the Jordan plain because was well watered, like the garden of the Lord and like the land of Egypt. – Gen. 13:10.  He chose that land for himself.  He was what we call a carnal Christian.  He lived on the edge of God’s will.  Carnal Christians keep their eye on the world.  Lot was spiritually immature.  There is no mention of him building an altar or calling on the name of the Lord for guidance.  However 2 Peter 2:7 tells us that Lot was a righteous man.  It’s easy to be like Lot.  He let his eyes make his choices.  He chose by sight not by faith.  The land was like Egypt.  In Egypt he became rich so he thought the rich land would be an easier life for him.  He got all his wealth while staying with Abram, but showed no gratitude.  Lot should have insisted that Abram choose first.  He didn’t trust God with his wealth and probably thought he would lose it if he did.

Abram stayed in Canaan and while Lot lived near the city of Sodom.  Sodom was very wicked, but he was not concerned on how it would impact his family.  By his choice he lost his property, his wife and his daughters to this sinful place and as we know God eventually destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  His choice showed the priority of his heart.

Our choices reveal our heart and impact our future.

How can you resist the world ways?
What does your choice reveal about your heart? 
Do you feel short changed, hurt, afraid, need control, and not sure you trust God?
What do your choices teach you about you?
Lot probably thought he could have the best of both worlds.  How are you trying to live in both worlds?
This Christmas do you say “This Christmas I’m going to make it all about Jesus.”?
How can you submit your plans as your celebrate Christmas?

Genesis 13:14-18 – God Reassures Abram

Abram was probably disappointed and sadden that he was taken advantage of by Lot.  God said “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west.”Gen. 13:14.  He’s saying look where you are; God is still on the throne and is still in charge.  Lot looked at the land and saw what seemed to be good now.  Abram was down in the dumps, but God says not to worry.  What He will give him is much better.  Abram doesn’t just say I believe, he gets up and acts. – Gen. 13:18.

Focusing on God’s Word and worship will strengthen us to move forward on our journey of faith.

Do you have a Lot in our life?
Is their choice concerning you?  You know you have to let them go and look up right where you are.
How are you going to respond to this passage? 
Do you have a wayward child, a financial problem, a job loss?
Will you respond like Abram?
Will you make your priority align with His?
How do we respond to Him?  Do it through God’s Word and through worship.
How do you make his Word and worship a daily priority?  The world will not help you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Genesis 12 – 13:4

Genesis 12:1-3 – God Calls Abram

God had a plan for Abram and his descendants.  God told Abram to leave his county, his people and his family and go to the land where He will show him.  Abram lived in a world of paganism where they worshipped the moon god.  Rom. 1:20 – “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse”.  But the people did not choose to submit to the true living God.  I am sure Abram asked himself, “Why Me?”  Abram did find God’s will as God revealed it to him.  God was asking a lot of Abram, but provided him with much more.  God’s command had no explanations, but many promises.

God made seven promises to Abram:  He would bless him; He would make him into a great nation; He would bless his name;  He would be a blessing; God would bless those who bless Abram;  all the people on the earth would be blessed through Abram;  God promised that whoever curses Abram, God will curse.  We know God fulfilled all His promises despite Abram’s failures.  He blessed him and made his name great.  We are still reading and talking about him today.  We are all blessed because of Abram for through him came the promised Messiah, Jesus.

Asking Abram to leave his country and family is a symbol of separating us from the world.  It challenges us to put God in front of all else.  How do you do that? – by making God the greatest desire of your heart.

What is the deepest desire of your heart?
Is God in it? 
We are moving into the season of want – Christmas.  How will you approach Christmas this year?
What is God asking you to do today?

Wholehearted faith grows from a heart that desires God above all else.

Genesis 12:4-9 – Abram Obeys and Follows God

Abram didn’t know how all this was going to happen, but he trusted God completely.  He said “yes” to a radical change to his life.  He had no idea where they were going.  He was 75 years old and had no sons.  So how would God bless his descendants?  He didn’t have any sons and he and his wife were too old to have any.  He didn’t question God.  He just trusted and obeyed.  So Abram left his country and took his wife Sari, his nephew Lot, his possessions and the some of the people of Haran.  He became a witness to his wife and his nephew by obeying God.  God guided them to Canaan.  There God told him that He would give the land to his offspring. – Gen 12:7.  Abram built an altar to the Lord.  He called on God for guidance, worshipped God and preached about God.

Each step of faith impacts our intimacy with God and witness to others.

How does God’s call affect those who are committed to Christ? 
Matt. 4:18-22 – tells us they left everything and followed Him
Matt. 8:22 – we are to be more concerned with the living
Mark 8:34-36 – we are to deny self and follow Him
Luke 14:26-33 – we are to love Jesus more than anyone else no matter the cost
1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 2:15-17 – we are to declare His promises and we are not to love the world

Does God promise rewards to everyone who follow Him?  Yes.
Eph. 1:3 – we have every spiritual blessing in Christ
Eph. 1:18 – we have the riches of His glorious inheritance
Eph. 2:6-7 – we are raised up with Christ and are sealed with Him in heaven
1 Cor. 2:9-10 – God reveals what he has for us through His Spirit
Psalm 16:5-6, 11 – we have a secure and delightful inheritance; joy in His presence and eternal pleasures.

Saving faith is believing in the gospel and what God says, having a heart response to the person of God, and a commitment to God.  Abram’s obedience to God reveals his heart.

What does your daily response show you about your heart?
Does your response show you are wholeheartedly committed to God?
What kind of intimacy with God will you experience if you move forward?
How have you grown closer to God through obedience?
What do you know about God because you chose to believe what He says?
Are you building altars of devotion and surrender?

Genesis 12:10 – 13:4 –Abram’s Fear vs Faith

The Bible teaches that a life of faith is full of obstacles.  It’s how we handle them that show our true faith.  God tested Abram’s faith.  In Gen. 12:1-3 God was testing Abram to leave his home.  So I think the famine in Gen. 12:10 was also a test.  Faith is always tested.  God strengthen us through blessings and hardships.  God’s purpose in testing our faith is to purify it.  Even though Abram trusted God, he made some serious mistakes.  He was not perfect. 

There was a famine in the land and Abram chose to go to Egypt.  He didn’t trust that God would take care of him so he took matters into his own hands.  When he arrived in Egypt fear and panic took over.  He told his wife, Sarai to say she was his sister.  She was beautiful and he was afraid the Egyptians would not treat him fairly because of her and even kill him.  He didn’t lead his wife to pray, but to lie.  When the Pharaoh saw that Sarai was very beautiful, he took her to his palace to be his wife.  Abram was rewarded well for her sake and he became very wealthy. 

Lying is a sin and sin has consequences.  God brought diseases to the Pharaoh and his house because adultery is a sin.  When the Pharaoh found out that Sarai was Abram’s wife, he was very angry and sent Abram and Sarai away. – Gen. 12:18-20.  Abram knew he was wrong.  He could have built an altar, which would have been a better witness to the Egyptians than lying.  God gave mercy to Abram and protected Sarai.  Abram was allowed to leave Eqypt unharmed.  He returned where he had first built an altar and he called on the name of the Lord. 

What do you do when you mess up?  Abram went back to God.  Abram failed, but God did not fail him.
Wholehearted faith chooses to trust God when life gets scary.

How have you taken things into your own hands and not trusted God?
How do you respond when life gets scary?
How has fear made you react?
Do you stop and build an altar?
When trouble comes what do you do?
When you mess up, do you run to Him or run away?
These verses tell us how we can continue in our Christian life.
Col. 1:23 – we continue in faith
Col. 2:6-7 – we continue to live in Jesus
Heb. 6:1 – we become mature in Christ
Heb. 10:35-38 – don’t throw away our confidence and don’t be ashamed
1 Peter 2:2 – crave pure spiritual nourishment

Will you ask God to protect your heart?  It’s the most valuable thing you have. 
Are you running to Egypt?  Ask God to open your heart to trust Him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Genesis 10-11:1-9

Chapter 10 tells the origin of the nations of the world.  It shows that God never intended for there to be a one world government.  It also shows everyone on earth is descended from Noah and his wife.  God made us one big family.  We are different in languages, cultures, and locations, but we still are the image of God.  Verse 25 tells us the earth was divided.  How did it become divided?  That where chapter 11 come in. 

In chapter 10 we see the birth of a troublemaker, Nimrod.    In chapter 9 we learned about Ham and how he dishonored his father Noah and how God punished his son Canaan for Ham’s sin.  Nimrod was the grandson of Ham.  “He was a mighty hunter before the Lord” - Gen. 10:9, meaning he was “against the Lord”.  His name means “rebel”.  He was a mighty warrior and hunter.  He was a hunter of men.  His kingdoms were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh.  We learn in Revelation 17-19 that Babylon was a government powered by Satan.  Nimrod was associated with the Towel of Babel, maybe even was the leader.  1 Chron. 1:10 says he was a mighty warrior on the earth. 

 After the flood God told Noah and his family to replenish the earth; however their descendants did not do this.  They stayed together in one spot on the earth. – Gen. 11:2.  They decided to build a city and a tower to heaven so they could make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the earth. – Gen 11:4.  This was probably headed up by Nimrod.  This was pride at its fullest!   

Today people continue to disobey God in many ways.  They love themselves.  They don’t love God.  They don’t think of others.   They are selfish and unforgiving.  They have no self-control.  They are lustful, liars, murders, and thieves.  They use others to get what they want.  They want power and fame at all costs.  They simply don’t obey God’s commandments found in Exodus 20.   “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, of lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.  They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” 1 Tim. 3:2-7.

The people were building this city and this tower to bring honor to themselves, not to honor God.  God judges those who rebel against Him.  He put a stop to this.  He confused their language so they wouldn’t understand each other.  The word Babel means confused.  God scattered them all over the earth and they stopped building the tower. – Gen. 11:8

The people in Genesis are like the people in Psalm 2:1-5.  They are all prideful.  People today are the same – prideful and rebel against God.

What “towers” are you building?
Do you think you know better than God?
Are you a prideful person?
What is your attitude towards God?
Do you rebel against God and what He says in His Word?
Are things in your life confusing?  Decide right now to follow God and obey Him.

 It’s OK to have possessions, but we should not use them to give us a sense of worth or even identity.  We can enjoy the blessings God has given us, but we should always give the credit to God.

People try to reach God through the giving of their money, their good works, or by church attendance.  There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6.  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

How are you trying to reach God?
Are you trying to reach Him in your own way and not the way He has given you?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Genesis 8:20 - Genesis 9

Noah worships God

The first thing Noah did after leaving the ark was to build an altar to God.  Noah was thankful to God’s provision and for sparing him and his family.  He sacrificed burnt offerings on the altar.  Being a man of God, Noah had probably done this before.  In Genesis 4 Abel’s offering was a fat portion from some of the firstborn of his flock so this was not something new.  This was so pleasing to God that He made a covenant with Noah, his sons, his descendants, every living creature and the earth to never again destroy the earth by a flood.  He made a rainbow as a sign of this covenant.  Today the symbolism of the rainbow has been corrupted by the world.  It is used to symbolize other things.  It is used as pointing to a treasure with a pot of gold at the end, a peace movement, homosexual rights, etc.

The covenant

What is a covenant?  It is an agreement or contract between two people or two groups that involve promises on each other’s part.  A covenant today has an end date, while a covenant in the Bible is a permanent arrangement.  Covenants in the Bible are still in effect today – snakes still slither on the ground, women still give birth in pain, man hast to work to eat, we all turn to dust when we die, all nations are blessed through Abram because of Christ, and the land of Israel still belongs to the Jewish people.  Jesus made a covenant with the believers at the Last Supper.  “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”Luke 22:20.

In what ways to you give sacrifices to God?  There are different ways to give sacrifices to God:
Ps. 27:6 – shouts of joy, singing to the Lord
Rom. 12:1 – a broken spirit, being sorry for your sins
Eph. 5:2 – living a life of love
Phil. 4:18 – gifts to others
Heb. 13:15-17 – praises to Jesus and sharing with others
1 Peter 2:5 – spiritual sacrifice to God

God gave similar commands to Noah and his family in this chapter as He did to Adam in the first chapter.  He told them both to be fruitful and increase in number and to fill the earth.  He gave Adam every plant to eat.  He gave Noah everything to eat even meat, but said not to eat meat with the lifeblood still in it.  He told them both that man had dominion over the animals and He also told Noah that the animals would fear and dread man – Gen 9:2.  He would demand an accounting from every animal – Gen. 9:5.  God also told Noah that He would demand an accounting for the life of fellow man.  Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God has God made man.” Gen. 9:6.  In other words if anyone murders, the life of the one who murders will be taken.  Today’s term is Capital Punishment.

Murder carries with it a sentence of death.  Capital punishment is not murder.  It is the punishment for the crime of murder.  God requires a life, when a person takes another’s life.  This punishment has been placed into the hands of the State. – Rom. 13:4.  Why does God punish by death?  It is because man is the image of God.  Man belongs to God and we are accountable for taking what belongs to Him.
Why did God forbid man to eat the blood of animals?   The life of a creature is in the blood.  Animal blood was used as a sacrifice for the atonement for man’s sins.  Now that Christ shed His blood, we have a new covenant and His blood is the atonement for our sins.

Because of sin the image of God is blurred and for it to become clear again, you must be born again.  We must be born on the Spirit.  “I tell you the truth no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:1-8.  “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24

If we focused on God’s image in other Christians, it would affect our relationships with them.  We wouldn’t be so critical and see their shortcomings and faults.  We need to be more like Christ - more loving, forgiving, and compassionate.  When we believe in Him, the veil of ignorance is lifted and we see the truth.  We are changed and can then be like Christ. – 2 Cor. 3:15-18.

The curse

Noah drank some wine and became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.  I am sure he did not intend to get drunk.  He was probably not use to drinking wine.  His son Ham told his brothers, Shem and Japheth.  Ham probably made fun of Noah.  He stirred up distention instead of promoting love as mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 and 17:9.  These passages in Proverbs apply to us, too.  We should not stir up distention with gossip.  We should not be quick to point out the faults of others.  Shem and Japheth had more love for their father than Ham and covered him so others would not see.  “Honor your father and your mother” Ex.20:12.  They did just that.  They honored their father.

When Noah found out what they had done, he cursed Canaan.  Canaan was the son of Ham.  He said Canaan would be the lowest of slaves to Shem.  He blessed Japheth saying God would extent his territory and would live in the tents of Shem meaning he would share in the all blessings of Shem.

Canaan did nothing wrong.  So why didn’t Noah curse Ham instead of his son Canaan?  If you did something wrong, wouldn’t a worse punishment be for your son to pay than you?  

There are several scriptures warning against drunkenness.   Here are just a few.  “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” – Prov. 20:1.  “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”Prov. 23:20-21. “As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” 1 Peter 4:2-4.  Drinking is not a sin in itself, but drunkenness is clearly a sin.

Lessons from Gen.8:20 – Gen. 9

It pleases God when we give sacrifices to Him.
Man is of higher order than animals.
Animals are resources as man’s food.
Man is forbidden to eat an animal with the life blood still in it.
Man’s life belongs to God.
We are accountable to God for taking what belongs to Him.
God made us in His image and He values life.
Murder carries a sentence of death.
The rainbow is God’s covenant with Noah, his sons, their descendants, and every living creature on earth that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood.
Honor your father.
God blesses those who show love and concern for others.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Genesis 6 - 8:19

The Flood

Gen. 6:1-12 – “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose.”  Who were the “sons of God”?  These were direct creations by God.  They were fallen angels – Satan’s angels.  We know this because Job 1:6 says the angels presented themselves to the Lord and Satan was with them.  Jude 6 says angels did not keep their own domain and they are kept in darkness until judgment.   2 Peter 2:5 says God does not spare the angels, but cast them to hell.  These angels took human wives, “daughters of men” and had children with them.  Of course this was not allowed by God.  Some say the sons of God were the descendants of Seth.  Some say the Nephilim mentioned in verse 4 were their children.  Others say the Nephilim were giants and violent tyrants.  Others say they were a worthless class of men with violent character.  Either way there was much wickedness on the earth.    

God was upset with men and the world.  Marriage and sensuality was taken lightly, inclination and thoughts of man’s heart was evil all the time and there was much violence.  This grieved Him so that He decided he would wipe man off the face of the earth. – Gen. 6:5-6.  This judgment ultimately was a good thing for the human race, because it cleared the earth of all evil.  In these passages we learn that God is filled with pain in His heart for mankind.  He is deeply grieved.  He was so sorry that He had made them that He was willing to destroy everything on the earth - even the animals, too.  God has a firm commitment to accomplish His righteous purposes and does what was necessary. 

What evil do you see in our world today?  It sounds like Noah’s day was just like ours.   There is so much violence on TV and in movies with sex, marriage being degraded, the collapse of the family, shootings, murders, drug abuse, acceptance of homosexuality, widespread pornography, and the rebelling against God.  We see so much of this type of lifestyle that it seems normal. 

Why is there sin in the world?  People are consumed by their desires.  They see all this evil behavior and think it’s ok since others are doing it.  When things go wrong, people want to blame God for it.  They see Satan’s evil and want to blame it on God.  Satan loves this thinking.  He knows if they blame God, they will reject God.  If there was no sin in the world, then there would be no free choice.

Lamech had a son and named him Noah, which means “rest” or “to comfort”.  Maybe Lamech thought Noah would bring comfort to the world, but he was wrong.  Noah brought comfort to God.  Noah walked with God like his grandfather, Enoch.  Enoch was alive during Noah’s first 69 years of his life.  He probably had a great influence on Noah.  Noah found favor with God in Gen. 6:8.  This is the 1st mention of grace in the Bible.  Noah was a preacher of the Gospel.  Gen 6:9“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God.”  Noah was not perfect, because we know in Rom. 3:23“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  We know Noah was righteous, because he did everything God commanded him to do.

Who influences you?
Are you setting a good example for others, for your children?

Gen. 6:11-22 – God told Noah He was going to destroy the earth and everything in it because of the evil in the world and for Noah to build an ark.  God gave Noah all the instructions that were needed on how to make the ark.  It took him 100 years to build it.  Then the 1st covenant of the Bible was made.  God made a covenant with Noah that he and his family would be spared.  He was to enter the ark along with 2 of every kind of creature, male and female and he was to keep them alive.  He was to take every kind of food and store it away for food for his family and the animals.  Where did Noah get these creatures?  They came to him.  When God asks us to do something, He always provides.

I am sure God’s revelation to Noah and his family might have seemed unbelievable, since it had never flooded before, the size of the ark, every kind of animal on earth was to be saved, the feeding of those animals, Noah’s in-laws would perish, his daughter-in-law’s family would perish, and just the magnitude of the event itself.  Noah’s family was probably convinced because of Noah’s faith and his living example, the evil in the world and the evil of those living around them, the animals coming to them and it raining for 40 days.

What convinces you the flood was real? – The alleged discovery of the Ark in Iran; the fact that there are stories of a great flood in the ancient traditions of the Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, American Indian, and Babylonian cultures; geological evidence of a flood; rainbows.

Noah was obedient, are you?  He made no excuses.
What if God told you today to build an ark and that there would be a worldwide flood, would you?
What excuses do you make when God asked you to do something?
How can you be godly when others around you are not?

On the 2nd month and the 17th day the rains began and Noah and his family entered the ark.  It then rained for 40 days and 40 nights – Gen. 7:11.  Noah was in the ark for 1 year and 10 days.  We know this because Gen. 8:14 says the 2nd month and 27th day the earth was completely dry and Noah came out of the ark.  That’s 1 year and 10 days.  Noah sent out a dove.  But the dove could not find a place to land so it returned.  Later Noah sent out a dove again and it returned with an olive leaf.  He knew then the waters had receded.  Then to be safe, he sent a dove again and it did not return. – Gen. 8:11-12.

 Why do you think he sent a dove?  Perhaps God told him to.  Noah knew doves ate only plants and if the land and vegetation had surfaced, the dove would fine it.  Then God told Noah in Gen. 8:15-19“Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.   Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you – the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground – so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it.”  Don’t you think after a year on the ark Noah wanted to get off immediately?  But he waited until God told him it was ok. – Gen. 8:15.  He was more obedient to God than his own feelings.  God provided for him again by making him wait until the destruction of the land had healed so there would be food for Noah and the animals.

 What lessons do you learn from these chapters?

   Marriage between the righteous and the unrighteous is not wise. – Gen 6:1-2
   God is patient, but his grace will eventually end. – Gen. 6:3
   Evil originates in the heart and can take over your life. – Gen. 6:5
   God holds the power of life and death. – Gen 6:7
   It is possible to not live as the world lives. – Gen. 6:8
   Man should follow the example of Noah. – Gen. 6:9
   God will judge evil. – Gen. 6:13
   God made a covenant with Noah. – Gen. 6:18
   Noah was obedient to God. – Gen. 6:22
   The flood was a global catastrophe. – Gen. 7
   God kept His promise in Gen. 6:17. – Gen. 7:10-12
   God’s judgment is inescapable. – Gen. 7:21-23
   God remembers the righteous. – Gen. 8:1
   God is powerful.  His power controlled the flood waters. – Gen. 8:1-2
   God is the God of a new start. – Gen. 8:17
   He is pleased by our sacrifices. – Gen. 8:21-22
   God promised to never again destroy the earth by water. – Gen. 8:21-22
One day God will judge the earth as He did the earth in Noah’s day.  He has plans and purposes and He will bring about His perfect plan.  All those who are against God will be judged, when Jesus returns.  God is perfect and loving.  He cannot tolerate sin.  He loved us even though were sinners.  He loved us enough that He sent His son, Jesus to die in our place and for our sins.

When will Jesus return?  We don’t know, but He will come when we least expect it.  He is waiting as long as He can.  He wants no one to perish, but time is running out.  God’s judgment will inevitably fall and will separate those who trust in Jesus from those who have rejected Him.  God has provided a way of escape for you just as He did for Noah.  That way is through Jesus.   Are you ready to be judged?  Are you ready for Jesus to return?