Posted in Accepted, Accountability, Adam and Eve, Change, Death, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, Garden of Eden, God, Guarantor, Happiness, Jesus Christ, judgment, Justice, Love, Opinions, repentance, Resurrection, society, The Family, Truth

The Truth about death

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Death gets a really bad rap I suppose because it can be so sneaky. Death doesn’t always come timely and it sucks if it happens too soon.

There are much older folks wondering why they are still here and some young folks wasting their life away and it seems that there could be a better use for that life.

From the very beginning we were introduced to death in the negative for God told our first parents that death was the result of disobedience. Since then, mankind has been running from the death sentence. As if death was the sheriff carrying bounties for us all, we attempt to cheat death.

There is another way of looking at our friend — yes I said friend.

Without death, how can we measure life? What actually makes life precious is the fact that it doesn’t last. Further, death was not just given to us as a result of disobedience, but a reminder that this world is temporary and that we should make good use of our time while we’re here.

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Moreover, our God will transport us to himself in a vehicle called death. You cannot get to God without it. With that said, death can be a beautiful thing, like a flower with a prickly stem. The prickly stem does not take away from the beauty of the flower. Likewise, untimeliness cannot lessen the true effect of death.

For some of us, death will have a sting. For those that are in Christ, there is no sting. The worst part of death is the sting, but if you have been born of the water and the spirit into the family of God, the sting is gone. And death only hurts on the time-side of life, not the eternal side. Therefore, as a great songstress once said, “…living in Christ we know that death is our friend. It will take us home.”

Make death your friend today. Believe that Jesus died according to the scriptures and he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. You don’t need a degree in biblical studies to understand the facts of the gospel and the fact that the savior himself said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.

Death is coming. Will it be your friend or foe?

Questions or comments welcomed!

Posted in Accountability, Adam and Eve, Change, Discipleship, Faith, Free Will, Garden of Eden, Giving, God, God's Promises, Jesus Christ, Life, Religious Freedom, Resurrection, Truth, Uncategorized

The importance of types in scripture

A few weeks ago, I began teaching a class on types in scripture.  By types I mean that an Old Testament story is somewhat of a mirror to a scenario today. We often don’t associate or connect the Old Testament and the New Testament together this way, but we really should. There is much to be learned by “things written aforetime” (Rom. 15:4).

There are several types portrayed in scripture between the time of Adam and the Law of Moses. I would like to expound on five. First, God’s action toward Adam and Eve in the garden as he made provisions for his people and gave them purpose.  This is something he does for us in Christ today. Christ was our provision and we have a purpose in our life that centers on doing his will. Second, even when God put Adam and Eve out of the garden, he taught them a lesson on the consequences of sin. Because of their sin, something died. Physically, God shed blood from animals to cover their sin. This practice would continue until Christ died on the cross. Many bulls and goats died because of the sins of God’s people. And all that blood could do is what it did on Adam and Eve’s exodus from the garden – cover their sins.

Third, Cain and Abel is one of the oldest lessons in the bible as it relates to man. Abel’s offering was based on God’s revelation; Cain’s offering was based on man’s imagination. This lesson is played out every Sunday as so-called religious people attempt to worship the Father “their” way and not God’s way. Many are responding to the gospel by man’s imagination instead of God’s revelation. This is a powerful lesson that man must learn before Jesus returns.

Forth, Enoch, the bible says, was translated so that he didn’t see death and it was all because of his faith. Our faith works exactly the same way in that Col. 3:13 tells us that we are translated into the kingdom of his dear son because of our faith. Enoch’s testimony will always serve as a wonderful type for us today in that it was said of him before his translation, that he pleased God. We then learn, in  Heb. 11:6, that without faith it’s impossible to please God. Enoch was a man of faith and because of his faith he was translated. And today because of our faith so are we.

Fifth, we have to say a bit about Noah. There are so many types when we discuss Noah. My favorite is the comparison of the Ark to the Church. Both places work much like the inn in the story of the Good Samaritan. The inn was the place where Christ would keep his souls saved until his return. The ark served that purpose and the Church today does as well. Do you see any other types in the bible during the time spanned between Adam and the law Moses gave?

Posted in Accountability, Adam and Eve, Faith, God, God's Promises

Part 2: Is my heart right with God?

Adam and Eve continued their family problems as the fourth chapter of Genesis introduced us to the oldest lesson in the Bible. The account of Cain and Abel shows perfectly the joys of serving God and the consequences of disobedience. This account tells us how to be pleasing to God and how to disappoint God. It tells us what good God can produce in us through His revelation and what bad things can be conjured through our imagination.

In Heb. 11:4, the Bible tells us that it was Abel who offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain did and it was from that sacrifice that he obtained witness that he was righteous. One of the joys of being a child of God and having the opportunity to serve Him with gladness is the fact that we can know assuredly that we are righteous.

In Jer. 23:1-8 we understand that in the rebuke of the pastors of Judah and Israel, the prophet explains that our righteousness is in the Lord and that being true, everyone who is “in the Lord” has obtained righteousness through Him. Abel’s witness, therefore, is in God reaching down from heaven and consuming his offering (I Chr. 21: 26 and 2 Chr. 7:1) and likewise with us as Paul said, “…like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Jude well documents the perils of traveling “the way of Cain.” Cain had his own ideas about how God should be to him. Cain obviously took God’s word as a suggestion instead of heeding the Master’s voice. Even in the text where God gave him an opportunity to turn from his ways (Gen. 4:5-7) he chose instead to go his own way and kill his brother – which led to Cain being banished from the presence of God. This must be the wickedest of states to be in. Who would want to be alienated from God?

But, dear reader, isn’t there a little “Cain” in us all? Why is it that we knowingly do things? Sometimes we even plan to do things wrong. God’s word tells us to have self control, yet when someone crosses us we let them have it. If we don’t lay hands on them, we definitely have a few choice words for them. God’s word requires us to love one another, but for some reason we always want to love the people who are easy to love. As for the challenging folks – they don’t stand a chance. And some of us believe that it’s ok to not show love to the people who make life difficult for us. It’s hard! We remember that it’s God we want to serve, it’s just that we remember that too late. And so quickly things are said or done that we wish we could take back.

Thank God that there is hope for us. We live in this flesh and until we are changed at Judgment Day to put on incorruption, we will sin. God knew this so He sent Jesus to take our punishment. As a result, we now have the forgiveness of sins, a promised inheritance and God’s Spirit with us. What God is expecting from us is that we walk by faith. We’re not called to be perfect, but we are called to be faithful. Catch the difference: Faith requires us to hear, believe, trust and obey. We hear God’s word. We believe that his word is true. We trust that the things said in his word will come to pass and then we obey what it says. This does not make us perfect –  it makes us pleasing to God.

To answer the question is our heart’s right with God, we must first establish who we hear, who we believe, who we trust and who we obey. If I still think that I have value (in and of myself) and have taken credit for my good fortune, then I should hear myself. If I believe that God is far greater than I am and His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are far above my ways, then I should hear Him. The choice is really simple. It’s the consistency that’s going to kill us.

Be encouraged my friends that despite the odds and everything that we see, God is in control and can definitely be trusted. Make peace with the Almighty and live faithful unto Him. For the 117th division of Psalm states: “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise ye the LORD.”

Posted in Accountability, Adam and Eve, Free Will, Garden of Eden, God, Truth

Part 1: Is my heart right with God?

We have many examples biblically and in our daily lives of the challenges and triumphs of serving God. Sometimes we have to sit back and be honest about the answer to this question: Do we really want to serve God? This is one of those questions that we should be honest with because God already knows the answer. Without embarrassing myself or any of the folks I counsel, let’s review how hard it can be through the eyes of the first family.

God gave Adam and Eve dominion over everything that He created on earth and entrusted them as keepers of the Garden of Eden. Adam was clearly given instructions on how to serve God and what God’s expectation was within their covenant. There is sufficient evidence that Adam instructed Eve regarding service to God, as her conversation with the serpent reveals instructions regarding the forbidden fruit – her mate would have been the only person to tell her. (Gen. 3:1-5).

The Bible does not reveal to us exactly how long Adam and God shared this covenant relationship before Eve was created, but arguably Adam definitely knew the benefits of this union and enjoyed the splendor of serving God and being obedient to His word.

Unfortunately, Eve was deceived and Adam turned from leader to follower and the two were alienated from God and sin separated them. The covenant had been broken and the relationship drastically changed. In this state, it would have been better for Adam to have never known the covenant relationship with God rather than experience it and lose everything. Said Peter in 2 Pet. 2:21: “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”

We have the same opportunity Adam and Eve had to glorify God. We receive arguably better things than they did, considering the fact that the world is a bit more advanced than in their day.

Nevertheless, as they struggled to maintain a relationship that is pleasing to God, we do, too. And we don’t do it for the same reason they didn’t – we lust from our eyes, we lust in our flesh and we’re full of pride. Satan knows these things so he attacks us through one or all of these three.

If you read the conversation between the serpent and Eve you will see these three things in play:

  • Eve saw that the fruit was good (lust of the eye)
  • Eve saw that the fruit held the key to wisdom that could make her like God (pride of life)
  • Eve’s answer to the question of why they were at that tree in the first place (lust of the flesh)

Adam and Eve could eat from any tree save this one. It was in the midst of the garden. Wouldn’t you think that it would be easy to avoid? Why couldn’t they stay on the outer banks and never go into the midst of the garden to be tempted regarding the tree?

The challenges we face in the flesh lead us to second guess what we know to be right or wrong. It is literally how we are drawn away.

Can this process be avoided?

Next week we’ll examine Cain and Abel and draw some meaningful conclusions about them and the lesson that comes from their story.