Noah, starring Russell Crowe!


Noah-Movie-Russell-CroweRussell Crowe as Noah? I have to admit, I was pretty excited to hear that Hollywood has produced a Biblical Blockbuster film about Noah. I had an experience while watching the preview for the first time. I was overcome with emotion.  I sobbed. I really do believe I was tapping into God’s heart for all those who were lost in the flood. He cared desperately for them. It “broke his heart” the Scriptures tell us. Reminds me of when God weeps in Jeremiah for those who brought judgement upon themselves.

I went to see Noah in the theatre and while they “got a lot o things wrong” I thought it was a compelling and creative story. I am not one to tar and feather people for taking artistic license. Noah’s identity crisis was an interesting point of discussion as well as how the two other sons ended up with wives in the end and the family in fighting that happens in every family. Very creative!

I am also aware that the writers and producers were pulling largely from the book of Enoch (which interestingly at least part if not the whole is validated by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Ever read the book of Jude?) and other extra biblical writings and “histories”. I have read portions of these extra books and find them interesting.

As I read through Genesis (reading thru the Bible in 90 days) I was struck by how much history is covered in such a short time. Two thousand years in first twelve chapters! That’s one-third of earths entire history and not many details are given until Abram is mentioned. Then we become involved in this one mans story and the subsequent story of his descendants. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This blog is about Noah.

“Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” (Genesis 6:9 NLT)

Does this shock anyone else? Noah was the only one walking in close fellowship with God? Out of an estimated billion people, Noah was the only one?

At first I got all bent out of shape about the odds involved here. I mean if only one out of a billion love God, then what chance do you think you have? What chance do I think I have? But then I realized this was man centered thinking (as most of our thinking is), instead of realizing that God is on the job and “he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it”.

God had this to say about society at that time of Noah:

“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. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart… Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence.  God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.” (Genesis 6:5-6, 11-12 NLT)

When you ponder the account of the flood do you think about the heartbreak God endured? Or do we pity the wicked fools who died and blame God for condemning fellow human beings like that? How would we be today if God judged the world again (as he indeed will)?

I am reminded of something I posted right after Osama Bin Ladins death on facebook: “Regarding Osama Bin Laden, I liked that someone posted a verse from Ezekiel 18:23: “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.””

There was a prophecy surrounding Methuselahs death. His name means “his death shall bring”. He died the year the flood came, I believe this wasn’t in the flood but just before it. His life was a sign. He was the oldest recorded human ever to have lived. 969 years old. This is a picture of the mercy of the Lord. God is long-suffering. He waits as long as possible before bringing the judgement he never even wanted to bring in the first place. He extended Methuselahs life on and on and on to give people more time to repent and find salvation.

Another Scripture that points to the mercy of Jesus:

“So he (Jesus) went and preached to the spirits in prison – those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.” 1 Peter 3:19-20 NLT

I believe this speaks to Jesus extending redemption and the message of salvation to all those who perished in the flood. God gives us all way more chances than we deserve.

A while ago I remember sobbing at one of the closing scenes of “What Dreams May Come”. Robbin Williams character goes to hell in search of his wife who had committed suicide. He was determined to stay with her and to try to instill faith and hope in her that could set her free. At the time I watched that movie I was in a personal hell of my own and to think that Jesus was right there wooing me back to redemption was an absolutely beautiful thought.

Why was Noah the only one left? After giving this some thought, I suspect that this violent society had likely hunted down and killed everyone else who walked with God. Why didn’t they kill Noah? I mean he was a huge target, never far from his giant ark.

They were probably having way too much fun mocking him day after day. I bet there was a fresh audience every day to come see the madman who was building his ark far from any body of water.

Noah had a firm grasp of reality (aka faith) that caused him to build a ship far from any body of water because God told him to!

Would you do that? Would you be Noah or among the masses who mocked him?

There are plenty of mockers today aren’t there? There are those who mock Christians for believing that God created the world and only in six days. They ridicule people for insisting that the Bible teaches us that Homosexual behavior is a sin like all the rest and must be repented of. They roll their eyes at people who say that we are living in the last days and that God’s judgement is coming again as it did in Noah’s day.

SO, WHAT IS YOUR ARK?

What would God have you do in these last days before Jesus returns? What is your “ark”? Are you experiencing a close fellowship with God that you are able to hear from him, and what he would have you do?

I am praying for a close fellowship with God. I hope you are seeking this as well. May we all escape the matrix of this corrupt society and its worldview and read the Bible and gain a firm grasp of reality (faith) to follow Jesus and obey him in all he would have us to do.

So again I ask, what is your ark?

Islam & Mormonism, an answer in the Word of God

I was watching the following video and it reminded me of a story in the Bible which gives us a clear answer in regard to two world religions: Islam and Mormonism

Here is the video:

So, a guy in a cave comes along and claims, “an angel told me so” who then says that Jesus didn’t die on a cross, there was no resurrection, and God doesn’t have a Son… and we’re just supposed to believe him at the risk of our everlasting soul?

The Bible warns us about listening to anyone who ever comes along telling us, “an angel told me so” and illustrates this with a story in 1 Kings 13 (Click on link to read it)

Done reading it yet?

ok… sorry to interrupt. I’ll wait till you’re finished.

So… as you can see from this text, God is warning us here to disregard anything from Mohammed and Joseph Smith or anyone else who comes along telling them an angel told me so.

But didn’t Moses have an encounter with an angel that led him to go on a rescue mission for the captive nation of Israel? This story has one striking difference however, this angel (“messenger”) was in fact God himself who reveals his name as “I AM”.  He supported Moses and his message with signs and wonders that only the all powerful Creator God could perform. (See Exodus 3)

What proof or signs did Mohammed or Joseph Smith bring? None that I know of. But even they had many awe inspiring signs, this wouldn’t make it true. Even the antiChrist will have a “resurrection” though he blasphemes the only true God.

Did Mohammed or Joseph Smith prophecy a future event and then have any of their prophecies come true? Look it up.

But again, if we were only looking for signs without considering the truth and purity of the message we are also in danger of being deceived by the coming Antichrist who will perform many signs and wonders:

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24: 24 NIV

God allows false prophets to test us. To see if our faith is genuine.

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The Bible and Homosexuality

Is it clear from Scripture that those who practice homosexuality are “missing the mark” (def. of sin) of what God intended for human beings? Let’s talk about that.

Here are a quick list of some Scriptures on the subject of homosexuality:

Genesis 1:27 & Genesis 2:18-25 (God creates man and woman. His world, his humans, his design. Who are we to argue?)

“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.” Leviticus 18:22

Leviticus 20:13 (& a capital offense among those who are called to be holy and in God’s family. When people make war on love, they do so at the risk of, not only their lives, but  their everlasting soul.)

Genesis 19 (Homosexual Sodomites want to rape some angels and Lot)

“And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.” Jude 1:7 (Commentary on Sodom and Gomorrah which were destroyed as a warning to all who would give themselves to sexual immorality)

“So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.” Romans 1:24-28 (This sin is part of the final stages of God having to hand people over to sin and Satan because of persistent rebellion)

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“We know that the law is good when used correctly. 9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.” I Timothy 1:8-11 (The laws purpose is to expose and confront sins such as these)

These are the main passages of what the Bible has to say on the subject.

The good news is that we get to repent! Yes!

You have the wonderful amazing privilege of repenting (having a change of heart and mind and turning away) from your sin! In Jesus, you can walk away and never look back from this sin or any other sin you may be involved in. YEA!!!!

Have you ever considered what a gift it is to part ways with sin? Jesus already has paid the death penalty for your sin. As I read through the Bible I was confronted with things I had done that deserved the death penalty. How amazing that there no longer remains any punishment, for Christ has taken it all and he commands, and allows us in his grace, to repent. Take advantage of his offer today. It really is a gift! (More on the gift of Repentance)

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t in any way hate or even dislike people who commit this particular sin. I have sinned myself, and I wish to extend the same grace that God has extended to me when I get entangled in sin to anyone who is caught in the snare of this or any other sin. Sin is the enemy. It’s pretty obvious that sin hurts the one who sins and not only them but also everyone around them as well. We are all in this together. We have all sinned and every one of us needs grace and forgiveness to be set free and stop hurting ourselves and each other. May we have the humility to receive the salvation and freedom that Jesus freely gives to any willing to receive it.

It’s obvious that God doesn’t want us to sin. He wants us to live as he created us to live. In his image. To live loved, and in turn, to live lives marked by His love. Sin is incongruous with God’s loving intentions. Sin is anti-love. Sin wars against love. God created us not harm ourselves with sin, but for love. It pains God to watch us hurt ourselves by choosing sin over love.

God, because of Jesus and all he accomplished on the cross, has nothing but mercy, forgiveness and cleansing – yes, even complete redemption – for all sinners who want his grace and are simply willing to receive it. Do you want to be free? I know I do.

Honestly I would rather not write a blog post on this topic of homosexuality, but after having a few dreams I thought I must at least voice my concern. My dreams were about how the enemy (yes, I’m talking about the devil that most people don’t really even believe exists) was planning (and is well into implementing his plan) to desensitize and thoroughly corrupt people by putting homosexuality on display, especially in front of impressionable kids. And I see it happening. Don’t you? So this blog is for my nieces and nephews who are being lied to every day by a media that homosexuality is just an acceptable lifestyle.

I get it. People need love. People need intimacy. But we need to realize that the intimacy we were made for is actually meant to be fulfilled in relationship first and foremost with God and, in lesser ways, our mates or our “mates” (of course with the Aussie understanding of the word). God wants to be intimate with you and indeed with everyone he has made. Of course this is not in a sexual sense but in a far more satisfying way then mere sex could ever do for you.

We get a few pictures of this kind of intimacy between friends in Scripture, which I believe model for us the kind of satisfying relationship/friendship that we can have with God himself. Take for instance the relationship between David and Jonathan:

“Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1 NIV)

David’s tribute to Jonathan at the news of his death:

“I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” (2 Samuel 1:26 NIV)

or Jesus and the apostle John (who referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved):

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:23-25 NKJV)

Neither of these close friendships were in any way sexual, and to even imply so would taint this beautiful picture of friendship. We too can be, and are meant to be, one in spirit with Jesus and have a level of intimacy with him that will meet every need of our hearts so we can stop looking for fulfillment elsewhere in what God forbids us to do. He knows best and he wants the absolute best for us. This intimate relationship with Jesus is what’s best for us and is what we were created for and will satisfy our intimacy needs. Unfortunately, more often than not, this relationship with Jesus is either neglected or even rejected. And so we are left with unsatisfied hearts searching for love and intimacy elsewhere… in sin.

So many people are confused about this issue of homosexuality, saying people were born this way, etc… and I suppose when I was in the most deceived time in my life, I too believed the same. I once had thought that God had just put a spirit of a woman in a man, or vice versa, but this is complete nonsense when you hold it up the truth of Scripture.

You must read this very thoughtful and, I believe, anointed article on this topic by Ron B. entitled Love that does not Count the Cost.  It was amazing and shed so much light on the subject. Way more than I could or would ever intend to do.

If we say we believe in Jesus, we have to agree with him about what he says is sin and what isn’t. Right? It has been said that Jesus never condemned homosexuality as a sin, that he never spoke about it in his earthly ministry, therefore… what exactly are we supposed to derive from this line of reasoning? Paul was just a homophobic hateful person? Moses got it wrong and had cotton in his ears when God was giving the law? Jesus brother Jude was a heretic?

Anyone familiar with the Gospels will quickly realize that Jesus never came to overthrow the law. The law stands. In fact he upped the ante. I mean why would he need to say having a perverse form of lust is wrong when he says that to lust is to commit adultery in your heart.

Here is a video from a woman who has a really close walk with God who has visited heaven. I saw this on the Youtube sidebar and was curious if she was going to stay in line with the Word of God. Her talk and many others I’ve since heard are in line with the truth of Scripture and worth considering.

FURTHER THOUGHTS

I have been disturbed that many professing Christians don’t know homosexuality is a sin or worse, are even defending it as an acceptable lifestyle. I even talked about this with a pastor who, when asked, told me that he didn’t know if it was a sin. Really?

I think the reason we compromise with the clear teaching of Scripture is that either we don’t want to give up our sin or, there are loved ones or people in our lives with this sin and we have to reconcile with that. I can see how difficult it is. But the answer is not to capitulate the truth, for the truth is what sets us free. (John 8:32)

As I see it, this, and every other issue, boils down these questions: What is the truth? Is God the creator? Does he love us and intend the best for us? Do we trust him? Is he pure and absolute perfect love itself as his word says? And as the loving Creator he is, does he have the authority and right to dictate to us what is love and what isn’t love (what is sin)?

Besides, even if we all agreed that homosexuality wasn’t a sin, would that change the truth? Can we shout loud enough to drown out the voice of God? Can we change his mind about how he intended his creation to be if we all agree to protest? There is an account in Scripture of a time to come in the last great rebellion when the masses will unite to overthrow God’s rule. Do you think they succeed?

The worldly media has been saturated with the homosexual agenda. You know it and I know it. There is hardly a show out there that doesn’t have the token gay character or at least have guest appearances of gay characters. It’s an agenda to desensitize us and make this sin commonplace and an accepted part of society.

But, it is all a deception. We live in enemy occupied territory you know. The devil exists and rules this sin saturated world. (And only rules because of our sin.) He seeks to turn us all away from our loving heavenly Father. He seeks to twist and corrupt what God intended for good – our sexuality – and pervert it.

Based on what I have read in Scripture, I don’t believe anyone is born homosexual. I do, however, believe the enemy may come in at an early age and deceive and distort and bring confusion to someone’s sexual identity. This is what the enemy does. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus has come that we might have life abundant and free… free from sin.

If you are caught in this or any other sin, God can and will lovingly restore your innocence if you let him. He loves you and created you just the way you are for his glory.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION – LEAVE A COMMENT!

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Answers to the Sin Problem

In my quest through the Bible I have been searching for a faith that really works. As a recovering sinner (much like an alcoholic) I used to believe it was just a matter of time before I sinned again (had another drink) and so I never was free.

How could I pretend to love God if I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) obey him? It felt like I was Judas, constantly stabbing Jesus in the back. This haunted me. I was never free to simply just love Jesus and be me. The looming threat of sin weighed me down.

How would any of us like to be married to a spouse who said, “I love you and all but it’s really only a matter of time before I cheat on you again.”

I think we can all agree, that relationship is doomed. Yet this is the attitude many Christians have toward God. I have heard many Christians say, “but we’re only human” to explain away our sinfulness. Apparently being “human” means being prone to and destined to betrayal and backstabbing, selfishness and strife, adultery and idolatry, drunkenness and failure.

Is this really what it is to be human? Is this what God had in mind when he started this whole thing and made humans and said, “It is good”? Wouldn’t he know more about what it means to be human since he authored us all? And wouldn’t he, through his marvelous plan of redemption, also make provision for us to be restored completely to our intended state as “good” humans?

I know that he has.

I don’t know about you but I want to obey God and be faithful in my heart to him and be good. My infidelity to God has plagued me over the years and I thought, “There must be a cure!”

Indeed there is.

Jesus didn’t leave Paul forever stuck in Romans 7. Romans 7 describes the universal plight of every fallen human that even though we agree with the truth and want to do good we inevitably do the wrong that we hate instead. This is slavery to sin. Paul grew in faith into the salvation described in Romans 8 – life by the Spirit of God. The Spirit’s activity in our lives is paramount and absolutely vital to the salvation experience.

I have come to see through my reading of the Bible that the Holy Spirit essentially is the Christian life. His presence in our lives is our eternal life. All Holy Spirit-less forms of Christianity are counterfeits. Thankfully the Spirit of God is freely given to everyone who believes in Jesus, to all who look to him for salvation.

Snakebit!

Numbers chapter 21 describes a time when the Israelites grumble against God and against Moses and even despise the manna God had been providing for them. So God sends poisonous snakes into the camp. Many were bitten by these snakes and some died. The Israelites came to Moses and confessed their sin and pleaded for releif from the snakes. God then instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and attach it to a pole. All those who had been bitten then need only to look at the bronze serpent and be healed.

Jesus references this very story as an illustration of the cross. Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:14-15 NIV

Every last one of us has been bitten by the deadly snake of sin. We could decide then, and many do, to sit around and moan and complain of our snakebites. We can choose to fixate on our snakebite and watch it fester and ooze puss.

We can look on as it discolors our lives an ugly shade of black and blue and feel within ourselves the absolute bitterness and misery that sin inflicts upon us. We could then look for help in therapy and counseling or in self help books. We could seek the answer at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol, and then, in turn, seek the answer by getting sober. We could search for our healing by eating healthy or by working out in the gym.

OR, we can get on with the business of salvation and find real healing in Jesus. The only answer, the only healing that can be found for all of sin’s poisonous effects – both for those sins that you have done and including all the sins done against you – is to look to Jesus. Look no further. The search is over. If you have found Christ, you have found everything you need.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I am tired of showing off my ugly snakebite. Instead, I will choose to look to Christ and find my healing and salvation and I encourage you to do the same.

Getting Practical:

How do we look to Christ or fix our eyes on him?

Faith: First things first. We need to put our faith in Jesus. If you don’t have faith in Christ, you don’t have the Holy Spirit which is the only cure for the sin that ails you and who is the only power over sin. Sincerely ask Jesus to save you! The Bible tells us that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). It is truly amazing how he responds to and rescues those who will humble themselves enough to simply ask for help.

Word of God: Are you reading the Bible? God’s word does a work in our lives, exposing the pride and sin which is our greatest enemy.  We can be set free as we confess and repent of our pride and sin.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV

Talk with God: Don’t talk to God, talk with him! Do you talk with him everyday? How is your conversation with God coming along? Paul tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), so keep the conversation going!

Obey: Once you have the Holy Spirit, you now have the power to say no to ungodliness and worldly lusts.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14 NIV

Do you obey him and by the Holy Spirit put to death the misdeeds of the body? God promises to never give us more than we can handle, you have his word on that:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

Start seeking the Lord earnestly. He will be found by all who seek him with all their heart.

“…You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV

Reflections & Thoughts, the Bible in 66 Days

I read through the Bible in 66 days! In this video I share a few of the life changing discoveries along the way including, but not limited to, the secret to the Christian life!

This is a rambling reflection of my experience through God’s Word that I deem worthy of 17.65 minutes of your life. I know… arrogant of me isn’t it?

Enjoy! (If you can get through it)

Daniel Lovett  =0)

Reflections & Thoughts, the Bible in 66 days from Daniel & Catherine Lovett on Vimeo.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now, I am tackling the Bible in 90 days! It was such an amazing experience the first time around I am now sharing this experience with some good friends. Want to join us?

90 Day Bible Reading Challenge!

I Read the Bible in 66 Days… So What? Now What?

I read the Bible in 66 days… so what?

The truth is, if I am not a more loving person; more obedient to Christ and more like Christ; if I haven’t really changed for having read the Bible, then what was the point?

I think we all have an amazing capacity to disregard the most important things in life (such as paying attention to what our Creator and Savior has to say to us). Just consider the fact that we all just have one short life to live and yet we twitter it away entertaining ourselves. We waste our lives watching T.V. or movies or playing solitaire or facebook games or by watching youtube videos of cute kittens and other such time-wasting nonsense. Or even worse, we misspend our lives pursuing sin.

 If we don’t obey the word and really live the word, then can we really say that we are the “good soil” that Jesus talked about in his parable of the soils? (Read the parable here). Aren’t we instead the hard soil, thorny soil, or the rocky shallow soil? But only the good soil produces the fruit of the Spirit – which is love.

Jesus own brother James tells us:

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
(James 1:21-25 NIV emphasis mine)

So this is what we must do:

We must confront ourselves, and keep on persistently confronting ourselves with the Word of God until we change… until we become like Christ in every way… until we truly love and God’s Spirit is glad he made a home in us (if he indeed has). Incidentally, the Bible tells us that we aren’t even saved if the Holy Spirit is not in us! I once shared that fact with a few Christian friends and they argued with me! But this is what God’s word says!

“Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8: 8-9 NIV)

In subsequent posts, I plan to give the top highlights of my journey through the Bible, but this blog is about taking a frank look at the seriousness of taking God and his word seriously.

THE BIBLE IN 90 DAYS CHALLENGE!

Even though I have just finished reading through (and praying through) the entire Bible I am going to read it again starting January 1st.

Why am I going to read through it again so soon?

While I definitely learned a great deal about God and grew in my relationship with him, I know there is so much more work to be done in my heart. As I read through God’s Word this time it grated against my pride and ego (as it is designed to do) and for portions of the time that I was reading it, I reacted with resistance and fear. In many ways I was still running away from God. This is what sin does! It runs from God! But we must not let sin have its way to the detriment of our souls. We must keep coming to God!

But here is some really good news: We can change! It just requires perseverance and persistence to come to God and to really listen to what he has to say! Jesus will conform us to his image by his Spirit if we just keep coming to him and obeying him! Jesus said, “make a tree good and it’s fruit will be good”. Jesus can and will “make our tree good”, but he alone can change us. We can’t change ourselves!

There is a REALLY AMAZING episode of the show Person of Interest (Watch it here) that really spoke to me recently about change. I loved the last few moments of this episode! (If you must, just skip to the very end to watch it).

Jesus once said:

“But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” (Luke 13:5-9 NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be fruitless! Jesus warning is real! If we remain fruitless (loveless) we are in very real danger of being condemned. (Incidentally, there was an actual real fig tree that Jesus condemned and it withered instantly. He had likely looked for fruit on this tree every time he passed that way on all his trips to Jerusalem and never found any.) The Bible warns about people who are “ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”.

I don’t want this to be true of me, do you?

Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. And if the Son sets you free, you shall free indeed!”

This is not a matter of reforming our flesh (the sin that lives within us). No, sin cannot be reformed, but must die every day as we pursue a life of following Christ. Our victory over sin is found as we simply receive the victory Christ gives us, by faith. It’s that easy! Yet our pride does not allow for something as simple as victory by faith, does it? If we didn’t work really hard to kick our habit, if we didn’t overcome anything on our own, then our pride cannot accept it. This is why people pass up their victory over sin. They are too attached to their pride.

I sense that there is still a transforming work God wants to do in my heart and life and so, starting on January 1st, I will be reading through the Bible once more, but this time, I will do all I can to obey, live, and act on what I read and not resist God. (I will also be reading it in 90 days this time). Who will join me?

(Bible in 90 Days Challenge!)

Please leave a comment below! Disagree with me about something? Tell me! Challenge me!

How am I supposed to grow if no one ever challenges me? How are you supposed to grow if you never allow yourself to be challenged? Read the Word in the new year and let it challenge you to change!

Self Esteem, and Why We Avoid the Bible

In third grade, my elementary school started a self-esteem program. My mom was concerned about the humanistic values that she suspected would be in this program and so had me excused from attending these seminars. So, while everyone else in my class went to the self-esteem seminars, I was left alone in the classroom.

And I have struggled with self-esteem ever since… if only she had let me go!

I’m totally kidding! My mom was probably right. After all, what does the world know about how to truly find value and worth as a human being?

Doesn’t God Want Me to Have a Good Self-esteem?

My little girl Ellie has discovered Veggie Tales. She is 18 months old and has never watched television or videos… up till now. We thought it would be fun to play her some veggie tales and now she is hooked. When she is in the living room she will point to the dark tv screen and say, “Bob? Bob? Bob?” (asking for Bob the tomato – I was just now reminded of Bill Murray in “What About Bob?”).

One of the episodes we watched together last night was  called, “A Snoodles Tale”. Written in the style of Dr. Suess, it is a lesson in self-worth.  I was touched. The story talks about a snoodle who struggles with self-worth and is brought down by all the other snoodles who belittle him because he isn’t good at anything. When he is finally told his worth by his creator, he is transformed from being burdened and weighed down by all the pictures others have painted of him to being so lighthearted and free that he begins to float above the ground and finally makes use of those wings he was given.

Watch “A Snoodles Tale” HERE on Youtube

This is what it’s like receiving our worth from God and hearing from him how he really views us and how he really loves us… unconditionally. He alone can give us purpose and a glorious destiny. When we believe and receive that purpose and destiny, we begin to fly above the confines of everything we have thought and might think of ourselves and also above all the ways others have defined us.

After reading as much Scripture as I have thus far (now in Hosea) I am absolutely convinced that God isn’t at all interested in bestowing upon us a good self-esteem. In fact, I would propose and submit to you that God doesn’t want us to have self-esteem at all… good or bad. God has something far more precious and totally awesome to give us then merely good self-esteem.

Our worth is only meant to be found in God and was never intended to come from within ourselves, independent of God. In fact, independence from God is how we lost our worth to begin with. Our pride is independence from God and is a vain attempt to find self-worth apart from him. Instead we build our self-made identities based on abilities, accomplishments, possessions, self-improvement, etc…

“Self-esteem” is how we see ourselves and it is largely influenced by how others see us, or how we perceive that they see us. Self-esteem is based on the principles of pride and on our performance, not on the grace and unconditional love God extends to us. God is the one who made us and it goes without saying that he wants us to care more about how he sees us and to set us free from this trap of self-esteem. He does this by giving us what I will call God-esteem.

When we take our eyes off of ourselves altogether and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, we are then liberated to be the people he always intended for us to be, and it is beautiful!

Why We Don’t Read the Bible

Unfortunately, we are all bound, confined, and limited by our opinions of ourselves and of others opinions of us, that we don’t even think to go to God to find our worth. We are so caught up in the trap of self-esteem that we surround ourselves with only those who speak and think well of us, and we avoid everyone and everything that might cast us in a negative light… including the Bible.

While there is a glorious identity waiting for us to take hold of in Scripture, God must first break off and crush all our false ideas about who we are. We must first be humbled before we are even able to receive grace… before God can show us and free us with the truth of who we really are… in him.

God’s word is designed to deal a devastating blow to our self-righteous ego and kill any possible chance of a good self-esteem. This is why we avoid reading the Bible! It’s why I avoided it. It made me squirm like a worm on a hook. I felt cornered. Exposed. Undone. I mean, who wants to feel crummy about themselves? Who wants to be faced with all the various ways they have failed and the fact that at the very core, that you are a rotten person?

According to his law of love, God convicts the entirety of mankind and exposes us all for the self-centered, loveless creatures that we are. He then makes it abundantly clear just how much all our wretched sinfulness and rebellion has deeply offended him and incurred his wrath. We are all sinners and stand (or rather grovel) before him convicted, doomed, and damned because of sin. Apparently, sin is a really big deal! We would all be lost forever without someone to intervene and come to our rescue. Thank God Someone did!

All of this makes the good news of Jesus so much sweeter and more amazing! We are not without hope! The good news of Jesus is that he is our Savior. He is our hero who came to take the bullet for us. He became our sin and was condemned for it. On the cross, He absorbed all the wrath of God for sin! Jesus was convicted, doomed, and damned in our place that we might be saved as we trust in Jesus and follow Jesus! This is pure grace.

The Humbling Effect of God’s Word

Just the other day in Ezekiel I came across another contemptible sin I was guilty of. Upon reading it, I was so upset that I started swearing in my head and thinking, “Do I have any alcohol in the house?” I then remembered I had one beer left in the closet. I was planning to down the thing as quick as possible.  All while I was thinking this the Lord was speaking to my heart. In a very comforting voice he gently whispered, “Just come to me, just come to me.” As if to say he had all my sin covered and that it was alright.

I tried to have the beer anyway cause I still felt like crap. I opened it, took one sip and then poured the rest down the drain. I didn’t trust myself not to still attempt a bit of drunkenness. Then, as I sat at my kitchen table with my head resting on my Bible I said, “Okay God, now what?”

Any last flickering flames of self-esteem were thoroughly extinguished as I read for the umpteenth time of yet another way I had deeply offended God and I had to agree that I deserve his wrath. I just can’t win! And just maybe, this is the point.

I loathed myself just as Ezekiel wrote: “Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did.” (Ezekiel 36:31 NLT)

This is the humbling effect of the word of God. It humbles our pride. But, does God want to keep us in a perpetual state of loathing ourselves? No, of course not! He wants us to find our worth in Him and find pure unadulterated joy in our restored relationship and our new identity with him! He wants to show us a new way to be human and how to be what he always intended a human to be. Loving. Gracious. Kind. Forgiving. Free.

And yet, I foolishly still find myself attempting to find my value and worth in and of myself apart from him. I still try to think of myself as a good person. Every day my pride tries for a bit of glory and a bit of recognition. Every day I must, once again, die to myself just as Jesus said that we must. Every day we as humans still struggle with pride.

The Lord tells Jeremiah that, “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)

Jesus once said, “No one is good but God alone.” (Mark 10:18 NIV)

I don’t know about you but I am always attempting to make myself appear better, smarter, and more spiritual than I really am. Can you relate? Some of us do this by hiding our sin as best we can and then projecting a sanitized image of ourselves to the world (on facebook or twitter) trying to convince everyone that we are likable decent human beings who have important things to say.

I have seen thus far in my journey through the Bible that the entirety of the law and the prophets is designed to assassinate our pride, and then to lovingly restore us and yes, even resurrect us to a new way of life – a life marked by trust and love. I read the following verses today which just served to underscore this:

1 “Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us; 
   on the third day he will restore us, 
   that we may live in his presence. 

3 Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

4 “O Israel and Judah,
what should I do with you?” asks the Lord.
“For your love vanishes like the morning mist
and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces—
      to slaughter you with my words,
with judgments as inescapable as light.
6 I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.
7 But like Adam, you broke my covenant
and betrayed my trust.

(Hosea 6:4-7 NLT emphasis mine)

Pride is the source of all sin. It is like that black tar that afflicted spiderman. It’s tenacious clawing, grasping, and wanting to possess us. To control us. Pride is our greatest enemy and we must fight it… but how?

What is the antidote to pride?

Confession? Repentance? Humility? Love? All of the Above?

(I can’t help but remember one of my first blog posts I ever wrote which I entitled: Baring My Soul. )

What are some ways you have found that are a good antidote to pride? Leave a reply below.

How to Read the Bible and Completely Miss the Point!

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”(John 5:39-40 ESV)

Pharisees by Wilmer Murillo

Jesus said this to Jewish religious leaders. As you read the Gospels, it seems that if Jesus had a bone to pick with anyone, it was the religious leaders.

Among the religious leaders in Jesus day, the Pharisees were the most faithful to the law, the most zealous, the most “righteous”, and also the most conservative. They had the entire Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) memorized and were extremely well versed and educated in every detail of the law, the histories, and the prophets. And yet, with all their zeal and Bible knowledge, they were missing the point. They had lost the plot.

If you ever have the chance to see the movie, Matthew – Visual Bible, you should! Bruce Marchianno was brilliant in the role of Jesus. I have read his biography, In the Footsteps of Jesus, in which he shares that his goal was to play every scene as a love scene. God is love, after all, and Jesus is God. The way he portrayed Matthew 23 was so powerful!

Matthew 23 is a rebuke to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He starts out by saying that no one should be called “teacher” or “father”, and that we all are brothers. All are equals in the kingdom of God!

Start at 3:05:00

The “woe to you” portion of Matthew 23 starts out with Jesus saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (vs 13)

Watching him portray Jesus speech to the religious leaders made me both uncomfortable and inspired. What was it that made Jesus so upset and angry? What was at stake that caused this confrontation? What was the big deal?

Would you be angry and upset if someone was trying to seduce your spouse into leaving you? That’s sort of what was happening here, only far more serious. People for whom Christ came to rescue were at stake, including you and me. These religious leaders were misrepresenting God to the people. The fact that God wanted to love and be loved and have us live in love toward each other, was all but lost in all the hypocrisy and hoop jumping and demands made by the Pharisee’s religion.

Legalism

Legalism says that obedience to the law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle in redemption. That seems to be the problem here with the Pharisees. They were careful to dot every “i” and cross every “t” in their efforts to keep every detail of the law in order to win God’s approval, and so save themselves. Yet they neglected love and justice, mercy and faithfulness altogether.

Based on the amount of divine revelation they had thus far, would the Pharisees have come to any other conclusion? How would they have known that it was faith in God’s grace rather than strict adherence to every detail of the law that “saves” us? Here are three things they had:

  1. In Genesis it says that Abram “believed God and God credited to him as righteousness”. So they knew righteousness comes by faith in God.
  2. They had the commands of Moses to love God with their all, and to love their neighbor as themselves. They ought to have known that love was at the center of a life of faith.
  3. They had a conscience which convicted them of guilt. When Jesus said, let him without sin cast the first stone in the story in John 8, not a single one could say they were guiltless. Every last one of them dropped their stones and walked away. Would not guilt drive anyone to God to seek his forgiveness and grace?

The Pharisees practically had the Bible memorized and from sun up to sun down their lives were consumed at every moment with God and his word. They were experts in all-things-God! But apparently the point of a life of faith is not to become Bible experts. In fact Jesus said to these bible experts, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33 NIV)

Did Jesus love the Pharisees? Of course he did! The apostle Paul was an especially devout Pharisee and it is likely that some of these same men who heard his “woe to you” speech were among those who eventually came to believe in him (Acts 6:7). Of course many (perhaps most) who heard his “woe to you” speech that day were the ones spitting on him, beating him, mocking him, and condemning him to a cruel death on a Roman cross just a short time later.

As I read through the Torah I wondered, “Would they get it? Would they get that this is all about love?” Cause I sure didn’t! Even though I went to Bible college and became a “Bible expert” myself, I struggled for years with a self-righteous judgmental religion and ended up loathing myself.

The Scripture that I started this post has echoed in my ears for years. I have spent most my life studying the Scriptures diligently, trying to formulate a philosophy (a world view) that would help me make sense of God and the world, and how I fit with either one. I was fairly content with all my philosophizing… and justifying myself… until I realized that my heart was empty when it came to grace. Empty when it came to love. Empty of life. Empty of Jesus. I was a proud “bible scholar” and the Lord needed to give me a much needed spanking! Thankfully, he did.

Eventually I came to realize I knew nothing at all if I didn’t love, and Jesus is the source of love. We must come to Jesus! The one to whom all of Scripture testifies about.

Jesus is the point! His love is the point! Without Jesus and his love we are nothing. Without Jesus and love we have lost the plot. Without Jesus and his love, our lives become meaningless and empty.

The following story is the Scripture that God put on my heart to share to end this post:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 NIV)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”   26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Numbers, Are You a One in a Million?

Remember: all I'm offering is the truth

Blue pill or the red pill?

I remember watching the Matrix for the first time. It was amazing, eye-opening, and inspiring! I also thought, “this is one of the most prophetic movies to ever come out!” Such is the perspective of a young man in his early twenties.

One of my favorite lines of Morpheus: “Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

The “path”, to me, meant Jesus. Jesus once said, “I am the way”. Following Jesus is like the Matrix in some ways. For one, it is true that we all are, or were, slaves to sin and so under the control of evil forces.

Consider this Scripture in the Gospel of John:

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…”

“…I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:31-32, 34-36 NLT)

This reminds me of something else Morpheus said to Neo: “You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.”

My point is not to prove that the Matrix is some sort of incognito message from God to us, but that it speaks to people (like me) because there actually are elements of the truth here.

The correlations:

  1. We were made for more than this. (“This” meaning your current experience of life – your “reality”).
  2. There are powerful evil forces at work (even within yourself) keeping you from becoming free as God intended you to be.
  3. It is extremely likely you are helping these evil forces right now and so fighting against the truth and hurting yourself.
  4. Jesus wants to free your mind from fear, doubt, and disbelief and make anything seem possible. Because with God, it is!

It takes a very special person, one in a million really, who will do what it takes to find their freedom. Who will do the hard work of obeying and trusting and loving God and living in the truth. And what is the “truth”?

Jesus! Yes, “truth” is a person.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

In Numbers we read about some men who believed in God. They were virtually untouchable because the Lord watched over them and protected them. They did amazing feats in battle, performed miracles.  They knew God. This last one was the most important element to their freedom. They knew God! Remember Jesus words? “They will know the truth and the truth will set them free!” Above all else we must know God, and trust him with all we’ve got.

The good news is that we are also just as human as Moses, Caleb, and Joshua. These men were among the one-in-a-million who followed, loved, and trusted God in Israel. Here is what God had to say about them:

12 The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they have wholeheartedly followed the Lord.’ (Numbers 32:12 NLT)

The above verse is referring to the following statement of the Lord where he basically says all the rest of Israel grumbled against the Lord and so he prolongs their stay in the desert until every last man from that wicked generation died.

26 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. (Numbers 14 NIV emphasis mine)

Out of 603,550 battle ready men 20 years old or older, 603,548 of them grumbled against God and were strangers to him in their heart. No wonder the Lord says to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? 12 I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!” (Numbers 14:11-12 NLT)

But, by the grace of Jesus, any one of us can be like Moses, Caleb, Joshua, or Enoch, Noah, Elijah, Daniel, John, and even the apostle Paul. We could move into a future of greatness in the Lord’s eyes (probably not in the worlds) and walk with Jesus as close friends. We too can be a one in a million who follows Jesus.

Leave a reply below. Sharing is caring. Hope you enjoyed.

Genesis, the beginning of God’s redemptive story

God is a God who makes and keeps promises (also known as covenants). He made them with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even today he is happy to make a covenant with anyone who looks to him for salvation (yes, even you! – see John 1:12 and John 3:16)!

Consider this covenant with Noah and the entire human race:

Genesis 9:12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” NLT

This reminds me of a Youtube video I saw the other day, which if I’m honest, made me uncomfortable and even a bit embarrassed for the man in the video. A man sees a double rainbow and just goes nuts in his excitement, wonder, and awe. He ends up sobbing; awe struck at it’s beauty.

As I’m watching the video, I’m stunned, thinking, “Get a grip, it’s only a rainbow.” But another part of me is saying, “No, he is right. We all should be filled with awe and wonder like this man was at the glorious beauty God has surrounded us with.”

I want to be that amazed at all of God’s creation! I want to be filed with awe and wonder at the intricacies of a spider’s web, or the bee’s honeycomb (this summer I had an underground hive in my backyard and it was fascinating watching them come and go), or the stars and galaxies that fill the universe as far as we can see even with the most powerful telescopes.

I stumbled upon the following video the other day and just marveled at the beauty of God’s creation – especially the scenes of the stars (this is in HD so may take a time to load – hit play, then pause it until it fully loads, then enjoy full screen!)

Isn’t that just simply stunning?

I was researching the universe the other night and came across some information about the Hubble deep field. For ten days in 1995 the Hubble telescope took a picture of deep space, the area it focused in on in the sky was about the size of a grain of sand held at arms length. 3,000 galaxies were found within this dark small patch of sky.

In 2003, the Hubble then took more pictures known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. 10,000 galaxies, some of them 13 billion light years away appear in this photo. Just think of how many grain-of-sand-sized patches of sky are all around us on every side, and this is only as far as we can see! Who’s to say that these galaxies don’t just go on forever in every direction? Just think about that for a moment. God created that! Marvelous!

Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photo

Speaking of stars and promises, consider this one from Genesis 15:5:

“Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”” NLT

and again in Genesis 22:17:

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” NLT

It was more than he could ever count. God was making the point to Abraham that his offspring would be innumerable! And based upon the rest of Scripture (see Revelation 7:9-17), God was not simply referring to natural descendants, to Israel and the Jewish people, but also to all (yes, even you the reader) who come to faith and find salvation in the God of Abraham… in Jesus the Messiah, the only true God.

One final Scripture to meditate on:

“For his unfailing love toward those who fear (reverently trust) him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.” Psalm 103:11 NLT (Psalm 103 is amazing!)

Would you take a moment to pray with me?

God, You are a brilliant Creator! Thank you for blowing our minds with how wonderfully complex and beautiful this world is that you created. Please soften our calloused hearts and help us each new day to marvel at the beauty of creation, and with grateful hearts to be in awe of you, the Creator!

As we look into the night sky may we remember that your unfailing love is as “great as the height of the heavens above the earth” for those who simply trust you. God, in this moment we say that we trust in you. We believe God, help us with our unbelief. Thank you that you are willing to make a covenant with us that we can know such an awesome God in such a personal way all because of Jesus.

One final thought:

As I was reading through Genesis I was struck by how God was making all these redemptive promises. As soon as sin enters the world he already has a plan to rescue, to save, and to put things right. He makes his first redemptive promise right after Adam and Eve first sinned (God is speaking to the serpent in this verse):

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you (the serpent or Satan) and the woman, and between your offspring (unbelievers) and hers (Jesus); he (Jesus) will crush your head (Satan’s power), and you will strike his heel (the cross).” NLT (see Galatians 3:15-25)

This is the first of many Messianic prophecies throughout Genesis and the Bible. Genesis as well as the rest of Scripture really is all about Jesus. He is this incredibly fascinating central figure of the Bible and the protagonist in God’s redemptive story.

How else have you seen Jesus in Genesis? What fills you with awe and wonder?Leave a reply below!