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 Accepted, Accountability, Bigotry, Change, Confidence, Fear, Forgiveness, Free Will, freedom, Garden of Eden, God, guilt, Life, Politics, Progress, Racism, Self, Success, Taking Responsibility, Truth

Accepted

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This past week saw the taking down of the confederate flag in South Carolina and it was not without its controversies. Highlighted in that week was congressional sparring about the event and a much choosing of sides by political pundits.

There was also a huge buzz on social media where some felt South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a decision that would make or break her political career. There was talk about this event thrusting her into the national political scene and perhaps even a vice president bid. Others felt that she had ruined her career and she even received cowardly death threats.

I was not that vested into whether the flag stayed up or came down and I did not even watch it. What turned me off was this: Our country has an acceptance problem. Many of our troubles and struggles come from our inability to accept one another.

So, in our initial relationship with our heavenly Father, we were separated from the commonwealth of God by our sins. It is impossible for us to be accepted by God on our own. Despite many failed attempts over thousands of years, we only proved that we are sinners and lost forever in darkness.

Then, Jesus comes and dies for the sins of the world so that we have the opportunity to be “accepted in the Beloved.” Now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we who believe live to bring this joyous occasion to others. Acceptance not only says that you belong, but it also says that you belong just the way you are. Acceptance is the bridge that allows the sinner in darkness to fellowship with the light. Without acceptance a connection cannot be made. And it’s in that fellowship that the magic happens. The apostle John wrote that if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin — that’s a pretty powerful fellowship! But if I am not accepting, it’s all for naught!

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Have you ever felt like you did not belong? Have you ever been in a situation where others have made you to feel that way? It’s a horrible feeling, but do you know we do that whenever we decide that another person does not matter. I don’t have to conform to the way you think to accept you. You don’t have to look like me, live like me or eat the same things I do for me to accept you. I accept you because I have been accepted. And the thought of me cheapening my acceptance or taking it for granted because I don’t accept you, is not an option for me. My acceptance of you is my judgment of you and as for me and my house, we choose to accept.

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, 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.