Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Heart Conditions

I’m a wonderful person…really!  I like me.  I love my family.  I’m a wonderful son and father.  I’m nice to people; compassionate.  I don’t drink or use drugs.  I’m not a liar.  I’m generous and I don’t kick my dog.  I’m just about perfect, except that I was born with a heart condition.

There was a problem with my heart that caused damage to my body.  It looked fine.  It wasn’t misshapen or broken; it just didn’t do what it was supposed to do.  In fact, as a human being I have two heart conditions, a physical one and a spiritual one.  Today I want to post on the spiritual heart condition, from this one verse:

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Heart Conditions

A heart condition is what we call it when our heart doesn’t work like it should.  Basically, our hearts are just pumps.  Blood enters the heart; the heart constricts and pushes the blood forward.  Then, it expands and blood enters the heart again.  That’s what happens when our hearts beat.

Sometimes, though, it doesn’t work like it should.  It doesn’t move blood efficiently.  It beats erratically; or the valves don’t work:  Something doesn’t work right; that’s a heart condition.  I’ve just described a physical heart condition. 

The word heart in a spiritual sense isn’t referring to that physical pump that moves blood.  The spiritual heart is the Bible's way of referring to the center of our emotions, personality and character.  The “Spiritual Heart” is who each of us is as a person.  The longings and desires you have for your future, the way you respond to your fellow man, your courage, your outlook on life, your patience, those things make up your spiritual heart.

When our spiritual hearts are functioning well we exhibit the attributes of God.  Long-suffering, mercy forgiveness and love; those are the attributes of God’s heart, but the question is, “Are those things found in your heart?”  The fact is that we’re all suffering from spiritual heart conditions. 

Our text describes a spiritual heart condition:  The Heart is desperately wicked.  We weren’t created that way.  We were created in the image of God; in the likeness of God.  Our hearts were created to be like His heart.  God’s heart isn’t desperately wicked.  Wickedness isn’t a part of whom God is.  It isn’t a condition of God’s heart.  It’s only a condition of ours. 

There was a change that took place in the Garden of Eden.  That change caused a corruption that changed our hearts, forever.  There was a mutation; a breakdown that caused a corrupt heart to be passed down from Adam and Eve to all of us.

Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned--

God doesn’t struggle with being righteous.  It’s who He is – But we struggle, don’t we?  We often don’t do what’s right.

Romans 7:15 (NKJV)
7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Even the apostle Paul struggled to do the right thing.  So, if he struggled, how about you and I?  Do we struggle, too?  Oh, I think we do.  Are you ever envious?  Yes!  Do you get jealous?  Yes!  Are you rebellious?  Do you have bad attitudes?  Are you a liar and a thief?  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Are you ever just plain mean?  You know you are!  Your heart is desperately wicked.  Wickedness, sinful attitudes, and sinful behavior, unfortunately that’s who you are.  That’s who we all are – That’s the condition of our hearts.

I just told you how wonderful I really am.  I’m Mr. Wonderful, but the Bible says my heart is desperately wicked.  I have a spiritual heart condition.  Just like Paul, I do things I hate, and the things I want to do…I struggle to do.  It’s my stinking, corrupt, deceitful heart.  It’s so deceitful that when I am doing the wrong thing, it sometimes lies to me and ,makes me think it’s okay.  I can justify it to myself. 

“I can hate those people – I’ve been oppressed.”
“Well, he was a jerk first – He deserves what I did to get even.”
“They don’t pay me enough – That’s why it’s okay for me to steal this thing.”

Our hearts are deceitful above all things.  People can easily lie to themselves; I’ve seen it at least a million times. 

So, what can we do with a heart like that?  How can we be saved with a heart like that?  We will always default to the dark side – just like Darth Vader.  We have to really fight to be right.  We need a spiritual “Heart Transplant”.

A Heart Transplant

David recognized his need for a new heart:
 Psalms 51:10 (NKJV)
51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

David’s asking God for a heart transplant.  Take this filthy, wicked, stinking heart and replace it with a clean one – a pure one:  A heart like yours, God.  That should be our prayer as well.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a heart that led you to do the right things instead of the wicked ones:  A heart that prevented wickedness?  Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you will always be godly – like God?  How wonderful to not have to battle temptation.  How wonderful to not destroy yourself through sin.  How wonderful to always do the right things – without fail.  Did you know that that’s a promise of God?

Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)
36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

That corrupt, wicked heart, that’s hardened by sin, God says He’ll take it out; remove it and He’ll replace it with a new one – a tender one. Is that the kind of heart you want?  That’s what David wanted.  That’s what David longed for.  David was a man after God’s own heart.  He wanted a heart like God. 

God said that about him, “He’s a man after my own heart.”  That’s the kind of man God was looking for to lead His people:  Someone with a heart like His.  That’s the kind of man that God can use.  Do you ever pray for a heart like God’s?  Are you contending to be more godly?  Godly means to be like God – to have the attributes of God:  long-suffering, mercy, forgiveness, love.

There is a way to get that.  There’s a way to get a heart transplant.  To start you have to repent.  Repentance is a change of heart.  You have to have a change of heart about sin.  You have to have a change of heart about your lifestyle.  You have to have a change of heart about priorities.  That’s repentance.  That word repent literally means to turn around, as if you’re traveling in one direction – away from God.  Your becoming less like Him and more like your father the devil, (John 8:44), and you change your mind about the direction you’re traveling.  Then, you turn around and travel toward God.  That moment when you have a change of heart that’s when the heart transplant has taken place.  That’s a heart transplant, right?  Take out the defective one and replace it with a new one:  One that works properly; a heart that’s tender toward the things of God.  The stony heart is gone and is replaced with flesh.

That’s why when you get saved you look at the world differently.  You look at people differently – with compassion.  You look at sin differently.  It becomes ugly and disgusting.  You look at God differently.  Pleasing Him becomes important, instead of just pleasing your own carnal, animal nature. 

Were you different after getting saved?  If so, that’s that new heart pumping strongly in your chest, moving pure blood throughout your carnal self; purifying, changing, removing the filth of sin.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Have you ever heard the expression, “I feel like a new man.”?  That’s the power of repentance.  As the heart functions properly, you become stronger.  You feel good again.  You’re a new man.  When it’s a spiritual heart transplant the Bible says you’re a new man – literally.  You’re a godly man, a man or woman that’s like God. 

Remaining a Man After God’s Own Heart

Romans 2:5-7 (NKJV)
2:5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;

After a transplant we have to keep our new heart healthy.  We have to commit to caring for, and guarding our new heart.  We need to protect it.  The scripture calls it “patient continuance in doing good.”  Why patient?  We'll continue to endure temptation.  When you get saved sin doesn’t go away.  The Devil doesn’t just back off: “Oh rats, they got saved; well I guess I have to leave them alone, now.”  It doesn’t work like that – The world continues to be the world.  The temptations continue to tempt.  The attitudes continue to work on you.  People are still people, right?  You still want to kill some of them. 

The difference is that now you have the tools to stay away from that.  You can avoid trouble.  God will meet your needs and help you to avoid sin.

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Come boldly to Him.  Cry out for help to Him.  “God I don’t want to sin – I need your help.”  Paul said “Who will deliver me from this body of death.”  He’s talking about sin.  I think we can all agree that Paul was saved.  How often has that been your prayer?  “Oh God, keep me from sin.” 

A prayer like that will inspire courage and endurance in you.  Jesus won’t leave you there to struggle alone.  He will always be there for you, but you have to reach out to Him.  That’ll keep you saved. 

Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV)
13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Superlatives of God

As a writer I’ve been taught to be careful of the use of superlatives.  Superlatives are words like “fantastic”, “magnificent”, and “splendid”.  Generally, when a writer uses words like that, they’re probably exaggerating.  Let me show you an example:

Fuddrucker’s Restaurant advertises that they serve “The World’s Greatest Hamburgers.”  You’ve tried every hamburger in the world and you know that?

We use words like that all the time to describe what are really ordinary things.  Fuddrucker’s hamburgers are pretty good, but the best in the world?  I seriously doubt it.  When the writers of the Bible described the blessings of God on His children, they wanted to speak in the strongest of terms, so the Bible is full of superlatives.

Today I want to post on Thanksgiving.  I think that as Christians we have a lot to be thankful for, like the blessings of God. 

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (NKJV)
9:10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

The Superlatives of God

A superlative is a comparison word.  For example, This is the Best tea of these two.  Best is the superlative.  It’s interesting to read your Bible and see the way the writers thought about God.  It’s difficult for them to speak of God’s attributes without using words like “greatest”, “best”, or “most”.  Face it God’s abilities are far beyond ours.  He’s much more capable than any of us.

Psalms 147:5-8 (NKJV)
147:5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. 6 The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. 7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, 8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

What I really want to post on today is Thanksgiving.  As Christian we have a lot to be thankful for.  For one thing we’re not on the way to Hell, anymore.  I don’t know about you but I’m glad about that. 

One other thing we might have to be thankful for is the mercy and character of God.  The writers of the Bible articulated their thoughts on the awesomeness of God by talking about His attributes in the most expressive terms available:

Isaiah 55:7 (NKJV)
55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

Here Isaiah is speaking of God’s mercy, “He will abundantly pardon.”  God’s not stingy with his mercy.  He pardons abundantly; over and over.  He doesn’t withhold mercy.  How wonderful for you and I.  I can’t tell you hoe many times people have told me that God couldn’t forgive them, “You don’t know what I’ve done.”  You’re right, I don’t, but the Bible says, “God is faithful to forgive.” (1 John 5:9)  That means He always forgives, if you repent.  That’s what the mercy of God is like; it’s abundant, and do you know why?

Ephesians 3:19 (NKJV)
3:19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

It’s because the love of God “passes knowledge”.  That means it’s beyond what you could know.  Think about how much Jesus loves you.  He loves you so much that He died a brutal death for you.  He loves you so much that He left heaven just so He could come to earth and suffer for you.  Those are things that you know about his love.  Guess what, He loves you more than that; more than you could possibly know.

He did all of that so that you could be filled with the fullness of God:  So that God could dwell in you.  That’s what we have that no other religion has – God dwelling in us:  God becoming a part of us.  What a gift God has given us in the gift of His Son.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)
9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

There are no words that can describe that gift.  Words are inadequate.  This verse is talking about the blessings of God that come to you, through other people praying for you; contending for you, because of your generosity:  What you have given them.  This isn’t necessarily about material things (although it could be) it’s about giving of yourself:  Giving of your time, your resources, your encouragement and your prayers.  People will want to pray for you as you live your life in imitation of God’s abundance of love, mercy and faithfulness.  The value of prayers and blessing is indescribable.

Finally, there’s this:

Psalms 147:5 (NKJV)
147:5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.

His understanding is infinite; without end.  God know everything; He understands all.  He understands what you need, what you go through.  He understands every temptation and weakness.
 Hebrews 4:15-16 (NKJV)
4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

He understands and He’s willing to help.  He encourages us to come to Him for help.  What a gracious God we serve

What are you thankful for?

People sometimes struggle with gratitude.  There are people who focus their lives on what’s missing.  How unhappy they are!  They never take time to be thankful for the things of God.  It’s always, “I don’t have the nicest car.”  Or, “I don’t have the nicest house.”:  “The most sensitive husband, the most beautiful wife.”  Those people only go to church for what God can do to make their lives seem better.  They’re consumed with the carnal things and forget about the blessings of God.  Look at what the psalmist says:

Psalms 105:1-3 (NKJV)
105:1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! 2 Sing to Him, sing Psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! 3 Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!

Are you thankful for a God that does wondrous works?  Are you thankful for a God who gives mercy abundantly?  Are you thankful for a God that lifts up the humble and casts the wicked down to the ground:  The God who makes rain so that grasses can grow.  (Rice is a grass – His rain produces food.)  Are you thankful for a God like that or are you more concerned with worldly things?

I’ve seen Christians who are depressed because they don’t have it all.  They forget about a God who forgives sin and who prepares a place for them.

Revelation 21:4-5 (NKJV)
21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

You may not have it all on this earth, but there is a place where there will be no more sorrow or pain.  A place where there’s a crown of righteousness laid up for you.

2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)
4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Have you forgotten about God’s goodness and love?  Are you so focused on the world’s definition of greatness that you can’t be thankful for the spiritual things you have; for the future you have in Jesus:  The eternal things of Christ?

Be Thankful

Psalms 100:4-5 (NKJV)
100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

This is the attitude we should have.  This is talking about the temple, Enter into the place of God’s inhabitance with thanksgiving and praise.  How many come to church grateful for the God that we serve?  How many come to church looking for more from God?  Are you entering into the house of God gratefully?

Every November Americans celebrate Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was instituted in the beginning by George Washington:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore his protection and favor…The people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God…

This is what thanksgiving is about.  We shouldn't be grateful one day a year, after all, God works wondrous works in us every day of our lives.  This is not American culture – It’s Christian culture.  Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday to thank God for fruitful fields, healthful skies, abundance of precious metals, and a harmonious and increasing population.  He called them the gracious gifts of God.  We should thank God for all of His gracious blessings but also just for being whom He is. 

All of these writers used superlatives to describe God.  They had to, because God is beyond comparison with people.  You can’t describe God in normal ways because God is above all of that.  I don’t know about you but I’m grateful to serve a God who’s not like people but infinitely greater.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Pathway to Fruitfulness

One of the things I love about the Old Testament is that there are stories that can give guidance and direction.  It’s a little different from the New Testament where we have the words of Jesus for guidance, or where the apostles show us how to live through Jesus’ words.  The Old Testament has stories that can demonstrate truths of life.

Today, I want to post from the Old Testament, specifically from Genesis Chapter Thirty-five.  I want to use the story of Jacob returning to, and then leaving Bethel.  It’s a story of being in God’s will and the pathway to personal fruitfulness.  It begins with this:

Genesis 35:1-4 (NKJV)
35:1 Then God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother." 2 And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone." 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.

The First Steps:  Entering Into the Will of God

Let’s remember the beginning of this – Jacob was a cheater.  He tricked Isaac into blessing him with Esau’s blessing.  Remember, his mother dressed him in Esau’s clothes and put goatskins on his arms.  Esau was a hairy guy, Jacob wasn’t.  Isaac was blind and this worked Isaac was fooled. 

Esau was angry, wouldn’t you be?  Jacob cheated him out of his blessing.  So, he determines to kill Jacob and so Jacob’s parents send him away to Laban, his uncle to find a wife.

Along the way God shows him the future – A ladder that reaches Heaven; a pathway to Heaven.  Jacob is moved.  He’s met with God.  He’s heard from God and so he names that place BethelBethel means “House of God”.  This is God’s dwelling place – This is where you hear from God.  Look at what city-data.com says about Bethel and Luz:

Bethel means “House of God” (“House of El”).  Luz means “to turn aside”, “to depart” – “with devious or crafty connotations” (Boling, AB, p59 - who translates Luz as deception.)

Think about who Jacob was before this encounter with God.  He was crafty and deceptive.  The name Jacob even means usurper – underminer.  One who takes without consent which is exactly what he did to Esau.  He was separated from God because of his sin and greed.

Then he has an experience with God at that place and changes the name of the place to Bethel.  It’s a picture of the change that took place in Jacob himself.  It is a picture of what takes place in each of us when we have an encounter with God.  When we get saved we are not who we were before.  God dwells in us.  This seems to be the case with Jacob as we no longer read about him acting in a dishonest or deceitful way again.

Jacob made a vow in that place – That if God provided for him that he would give a tenth.  Then he left Bethel and went to Padan Aram.  He was there to find a wife; to work for Laban for a wife.  Jacob became wealthy in that place.  God did provide for him.  He left that place with two wives, a huge flock of livestock and eleven sons, and another on the way.  He was a wealthy man.

Now God says to him, “Go to Bethel, dwell there and fulfill your vow.”  So Jacob leaves Laban’s house and prepares to go to Bethel.  When he does he calls everyone together and they give him all of their idols; the things that they put before God.  In this case they were actual idols, gods, household gods.  Thery are turned over to Jacob who buries them under the Terebinth tree.

This is a landmark.  It’s something they will remember again.  It’s a place that they’ll recognize.  It is their moment of surrender.  It is now a reference point in their lives.  It’s a place that they can return to and remember what God id in their lives; that God moved in them in that place.

I can remember the moment when I decided to turn to Jesus.  I remember the moment when I surrendered and said, “Whatever you want God.”  That’s what’s happening here at this landmark moment – They have surrendered to God.

There is an old saying, “Every journey begins with the first step.”  So if we’re talking about a journey to fruitfulness, these are the first steps.

The First Step

You listen for God – Jacob was CALLED to Bethel.  God spoke to him, “Go to Bethel and dwell there.”  If you want fruitfulness in your life you need to listen for God’s call…and then you have to be obedient.  Often, we hear the call but it interferes with what were doing; what we’re pursuing – The things we want.

The Second Step

You surrender to God.  “Okay God, I hear you and I’m going to obey.”  Then you step away from the idols that you’ve been carrying.  Some people don’t want to change.  They want to be in God’s will and their own, too, but God calls us to something different.  He calls us to His purposes.  If our will doesn’t line up with His will then he’s calling us away from our own purposes.

It is a landmark decision in our lives to bury our own will – our idols, desires, will and take up His.  Have you gone to Bethel yet?  Have you taken the first step?

In Taiwan there are literal idols in lives that need to be buried.  You can see them in people’s homes.  You can see them in every temple; literal idols, local gods.  But you can also them in people’s lives.  I can name some of them for you:

Education – If it comes between you and God it’s an idol.
Wealth – Are you pursuing wealth before the will of God?  If it’s more important to you than God’s calling it’s an idol.  People have idols in their lives – You have idols in your life.  If you want to see fruitfulness, you have to bury them.

The Next Steps:  Hearing God’s Purpose

Genesis 35:6-14 (NKJV)
35:6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother. 8 Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the terebinth tree. So the name of it was called Allon Bachuth. 9 Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name." So He called his name Israel. 11 Also God said to him: "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. 12 The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land." 13 Then God went up from him in the place where He talked with him. 14 So Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it.

When he arrives in Bethel, he builds the altar – He obeys God.  He’s in God’s will and Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse dies there.  This woman was his nanny.  She helped to raise him.  He loved her; she was like a grandmother to him.  This is a great sorrow to him.  I know that because he named the place he buried her Allon Bachuth – The oak of weeping.

We can’t always expect things to be easy, when we’re in God’s will.  Sometimes there will be sadness.  Sometimes, bad things will happen.  It’s not always easy, but if we remain committed; if we don’t falter we will hear from God.  God speaks to Jacob.  He reiterates the promise, “I’ll give this land to your descendants.”  He reminds him taht he's been transformed, "you're no longer Jacob, but Israel."  God doesn’t back away from the promise.  God tells him the promise is still there and the promise will come through him.  He tells him to go forward and be fruitful.  So now we see the next steps:

The Third Step

Do not waver, despite the circumstances.  Stand firm in your promise to God.  Stand in the face of heartbreak.  Bad things will happen, that’s just how life is.  Job said it, “Can we expect blessing and not adversity?”  Persevere in the face of adversity and God will speak to you.  God will comfort by reiterating the promise and reminding you of your destiny.  God will direct your next steps:

The Fourth Step

Jacob sets up a stone.  He’s honored God, “I heard from God in this place.  This is truly God’s house.”  I posted a post once called “The God of Location”.  God is a God of location.  Now God is sending Jacob, “Go and be fruitful.”  This took place in God’s house.  It’s a picture of the local church.  There’s a place that you’ve been called to.  God to Jacob – Go to Bethel.  God to you – You’ve been set into your church.  You’re called to that place.   Those who’ve left they didn’t leave under God’s guidance.   They stepped out on their own.  God said to Jacob, “Go to Bethel and dwell there.”  Those who left stepped off of the pathway to fruitfulness.  They stepped off of God’s planned route.  If you leave, the question is, has God sent you, or are you thinking for God?

God will call you in the local church and send you.  “Go and be fruitful,” but it’s likely to be a part of the church he set you in.  I didn’t leave my home church on my own.  I was sent to this place as an extension of that church and told to be fruitful.

The Pathway to Fruitfulness

Finally, we’ve arrived at the third part of the story:

Genesis 35:16-20 (NKJV)
35:16 Then they journeyed from Bethel. And when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor. 17 Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, "Do not fear; you will have this son also." 18 And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel's grave to this day.

So Jacob leaves Bethel to travel to Ephrath – Ephrath means fruitfulness.  Jacob is on the pathway to fruitfulness.

He’s heard God’s command, “Go to Bethel.”  He’s surrendered His will and given up his own.  He’s gone to God’s house.  He’s honored God.  He’s honored his vow.  God has promised him ppople – descendants as the stars in the sky - A great nation – fruitfulness.  God told him, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

That’s the pathway.  This is the direction to fruitfulness, but there’s one more thing.  There will be loss.  Something has to die for fruitfulness to happen.

John 12:24 (NKJV)
12:24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

There is a price for fruitfulness.  Fruitfulness has a cost.  You might have to give up something.  You might lose something – in my case the ability to walk.  It could be something else.  It could be wealth and power.  You won’t be fruitful, if you're divided in your commitment.  A seed has to die – You have to die to self will, in order to produce fruit.

On the road to fruitfulness Jacob had to give up Rachel.  She was the thing he most wanted prior to God’s call.  I’m sure that was painful to him, but look at the end result.  He was fruitful – His descendants became a great nation.  They did receive the Promised Land.  Jesus was in Jacob’s lineage, through Him ALL the world was blessed.

The pathway to fruitfulness isn’t always easy.  There will be struggle and loss along the way, but there will be a reward in the end.

I want to encourage you today.  God has a calling on your life.  He’s sent you to Bethel.  He wants you to surrender your will to His and he will make you fruitful.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Today I want to post on something that we’ve all experienced at one time or another during our lives – Rejection.  Not long ago I posted on another emotion, fear, and how it causes us to act in certain ways.  Today, I want to do the same thing with rejection.  In order to do that I want to focus on the story of Jacob’s wife, Leah.

Genesis 29:18-23 (NKJV)
29:18 Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, "I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter." 19 And Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me." 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her." 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 Now it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her.

Rejection Hurts!

Jacob has followed his father’s advice and gone to his family to find a wife.  As he arrives there, he meets Rachel, who is watering her father’s sheep and falls in love.  So he makes a deal with her father to work for him for seven years, so that he can marry Rachel.  But on his wedding night Leah is given to him.  I don’t know how they pulled this off, but Jacob consummated the marriage with Leah, and didn’t discover it until the next day.  Look at his reaction:

Genesis 29:25 (NKJV)
29:25 So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?"

Rightfully, Jacob was angry, seven years is a long time to work for one wife only to be tricked and receive another one, but what about Leah.  Think about what she was feeling at that moment.

First, look at descriptions of the two women:

Genesis 29:16-18 (NKJV)
29:16 Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah's eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. 18 Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, "I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter."

Apparently, Jacob’s decision was made on Rachel’s appearance.  Rachel had a good figure and a beautiful face.  She was beautiful, but Leah was just described as having delicate eyes, whatever that means, perhaps she was nearsighted. 

So Jacob has fallen for Rachel based on her looks.  It wasn’t her character, because later in the story we see that Rachel was:

1.        A thief – She stole her father’s household idols  (Genesis 31:34)
2.        A liar – She lied and deceived her father about them (Genesis 31:35), and
3.        She tormented her sister (Genesis 30:8).

Leah was rejected because of her looks not her character.  Then there’s this:

Genesis 29:30 (NKJV)
29:30 Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years.

Jacob loved Rachel more that Leah.  There are two rejections here:

1.        Her father has no respect for her.  He felt that he had to sneak her into Jacob or she’d never marry.  Apparently, he thought she was too ugly to find a husband on her own.
2.        And now Jacob, her husband, has rejected her, too.  She must have felt like any woman whose husband has cheated on her. 

Do you think Leah was aware that Jacob loved Rachel more?  I’m sure that she was.  You can see what she was feeling in the names of her first three children, Reuben, Simeon and Levi.

The name Reuben means seen, look at verse 29:32:

Genesis 29:32 (NKJV)
29:32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, "The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me." “God has seen my affliction.” 
 The New International version says misery;  The Amplified version says humiliation.  She’s miserable; she’s hurting and she’s humiliated.  She says, “Now maybe my husband will love me!”

Simeon means heard.

Genesis 29:33 (NKJV)
29:33 Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also." And she called his name Simeon.

“God has heard that I am unloved.”  God’s heard her cries he’s given her a son.  She wants to be loved.  There’s no love in her marriage.  This son will love her.  This is a woman who’s suffering.

Then there is the third son, Levi.  Levi means attached:

Genesis 29:34 (NKJV)
29:34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore his name was called Levi.

“My husband will become attached to me because I have borne him three sons…”  The Amplified version says my husband will become a companion to me.  She’s longing for the attachment and companionship of her husband.  She can feel the rejection, “I've given him three sons, now MAYBE now he’ll care about me.

This is how rejection affects people – It causes pain and suffering.  Look at this from an article in Forbe’s Magazine, “Rejection and Physical Pain Are the Same to Your Brain”:

For example, when someone feels physical pain, opoids are released in the brain so that the significance of the pain is inhibited.  We now know this same experience occurs when people feel slighted or rejected by others.1

There is a reaction like physical pain that takes place in our brains.  Your brain interprets rejection and physical pain in the same way.  It also affects our personalities:  How we relate to each other.  We’re become afraid of rejection because of the hurt, so we lash out and drive people away before they can hurt us.  In effect saying, “If I hurt them first, then they can’t hurt me.”  Another strategy is to become competitive.  In the story of Leah and Rachel, Leah wouldn’t give some flowers that Reuben had picked for her to Rachel.  She used them to purchase Jacob’s attentions for the night. 

We see competition play out in a contest to see who has the most loyalty among friends.  We gossip and denigrate other to see whom people will choose to side with.  A way of saying, “See, more people like me than him or her.”  We want to see someone else rejected.

We want someone else to hurt because we already do.  We use social media – cyber-bullying, and subtweets.  Subtweets are just another form of Gossip. We assassinate people’s character, spiritually murdering them.  All of these are a strategy for coping with rejection, but are these the right ways to cope?  Not if you’re a Christian they’re not.  Let’s look at how Leah handled her pain

How to Handle it

The Bible doesn’t come right out and say, “This is how you handle rejection.”  But we can get a glimpse at how Leah handled it by looking at the names of the rest of their children.  The first three names reflected her pain and misery; afterward she came to a decision about how to deal with her rejection.  Look at these names:

JudahJudah means Praise God
Gad – A Troop (lots of sons.)
Asher – Asher means happiness
Issachar – Issachar means reward – God has rewarded her!
Zebulun – Zebulun means dwelling –

Where has the focus of Leah gone?  Some time after Levi was born, Leah had a change of heart.  Don’t stay in that Place of Pain.  She’s not crying about her husband’s rejection anymore.  She’s not thinking about what has been inflicted on her.  She’s looking at what God has blessed her with and she’s happy.  I’ve said this many times, “Happiness is a decision we make.  It comes from what we choose to focus on.  We can choose to focus on the hurt and what we don’t have, or we can choose to dwell on the blessings.  Leah has chosen to focus on the blessings. 

One other thing is that sometimes the rejection we feel isn’t what was intended by the other person.  One result of past rejections is that we become oversensitive.  We see everything as a potential rejection and we react that way.  We cause the suffering and hurt of other people because we’re looking at everything they say, and the way they say it through the filter of past rejections.  I used to be exactly like that.  I’ve been rejected in some very painful ways over the years, but I made a choice to look at the good things and not the painful ones.

None of us is alone in this world; all of us have suffered rejection.  It’s just as painful for everyone else as it is for you.  You have inflicted the same pain on someone else.  We’ve all rejected someone to one degree or another.

People make mistakes, people say things, things happen – people have opinions just like you.  It’s not always all about you.

God Hasn’t Rejected You

The suffering can cause one of two reactions in you.  You can focus on the hurt and always look inward, or look at your feelings, only.  If you do then nothing will ever change.  You’ll always be sad and hurting.

Or, you can turn to God.  This is apparently what Leah has done.  She’s decided to turn to God to ease her suffering and He did.  She began to praise God.  Nothing had changed in her relationship with her husband, when she turned to God.  Jacob still loved Rachel more, but God is where blessing comes from.  It’s obvious that there was a great change in her attitude.

Over the years an interesting thing takes place in Jacob.  Look at what happens at the end of his life:

Genesis 49:29-31 (NKJV)
49:29 Then he charged them and said to them: "I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah.

He’s telling them that he’s going to be buried with Leah.  She’s the one he buried with his ancestors.  She’s the one accorded with that honor, not Rachel – The one he loved more.  Rachel’s buried in Bethlehem.  He has chosen Leah.  In the end, he came to love her.

I think Leah came to the realization that she couldn’t change Jacob.  We always try to change other people.  After all, they’re the ones who are wrong, right?  We always think we’re right or we’re the one standing on the moral high ground.

I had a friend that once said, “I wouldn’t think it if it wasn’t right.”  We always think we’re right – it’s human nature.  I want to share a truth with you – You cannot change anyone else, you can only change yourself.

After a while, Leah didn’t try to change Jacob, she just changed her own way of thinking.  Jacob came to love her for whom she became.  The key to overcoming rejection is to change your focus.  Focus on God and his blessings.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Presence of God

You know, I love being a Christian, really.  I’ve been at this about 25 years, now.  I’ve come to know God.  I know what He does in my life.  I’ve felt His protection.  I’ve felt His guidance.  I understand what my life would be like if I had never met Jesus.  Today, I want to look at a moment of history, (The Bible is a history book.), and I want to examine how God works in our lives.

This is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and their journey through the desert to the Promised Land.

Exodus 13:21-22 (NKJV)
13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

The Presence of God in our Lives

Israel had suffered under the bondage of slavery in Egypt for many years.  They had gone there in victory, but over the years ended up as slaves to oppressive taskmasters.  God heard their groaning and reached into their lives to bring them out to a “land flowing with milk and honey”:  A land of Promise – A land full of God’s grace.

This is a historical event.  This actually happened in history, but it is also a metaphor for what God has done in our lives.  It’s a story about Israel’s deliverance from slavery and bondage, but it’s also a picture of our deliverance from sin.

God saw the suffering of sin in our lives.  He heard the groaning from Satan’s oppression and He sent a deliverer – Jesus – to deliver us from bondage.  Moses is a type of Jesus.  That means he’s an Old Testament picture of Jesus.  He brought God’s chosen people out of bondage.  We are chosen.  Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16).  He brought us out of the bondage of sin.

What’s important about the deliverance of Israel is that God didn’t just deliver them and leave them on their own.  His presence was noticeable in their lives.  It could be seen; it could be felt.  It was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and our text tells us that God stayed with them.  He didn’t abandon them:

“He didn’t take away the pillar of cloud by day, or the pillar of fire by night from the people.”

God was present in their lives to guide them and protect them – And He will be in our lives, as well.

Hebrews 13:5b-6 (NKJV)
13:5  …For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. 
God guided them on the journey.
        God protected them from Pharaoh’s army.
        God provided Manna in the desert.
        God gave them water in the desert.
        God fought alongside them to win the Promised Land.
God was there for Israel throughout their journey.  You are no less chosen than Israel as God’s people.

John 1:12 (NKJV)
1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

You have been given the right to be the children of God.  So, God has chosen you, as well.  Like a parent chooses an adopted child.  God will also guide, protect, provide, and fight alongside you. 

Israel could look up and see the pillar of cloud.  They could look up and see the pillar of fire.  They could see that God was with them, “There’s God; He’s still here – still leading us.  He’s still present in our lives.”  These days we live by faith.  There is no actual pillar of cloud.  We can’t look up and see a pillar of fire by night, but we can see the evidence of God’s presence working in our lives, at least we should be able to.  Can you see God moving there? 

Is there something you can point to and say, “If I didn’t have God, I wouldn’t have this or that in my life?”  Maybe your marriage would be a mess.  Maybe you wouldn’t have the job that you have.  Maybe you wouldn’t have the opportunities that you have now.  Those things are the pillars of God in your life.  They’re the visible evidence of the presence of God in your life.  You should be able to see those things that God is doing and say, “There’s God – God is still there – He’s still guiding me.”

Do you know what, though?  Israel, even though there was a tangible presence of God, there:  Even though they could look up and see evidence of God’s presence, they still for got that He was there.  They were always complaining:
At the Red Sea – You brought us out here to die!  At the bitter water – You brought us out here to die!  When they got hungry – You brought us out here to die!

“Hey look God is here but…”

They had it easy – There was God, cloud, and fire.  It’s harder for us, because we don’t have that; we can’t see that.  Even though God moved powerfully in our lives, we forget about the mercy and blessing of God.

Let’s face it, things go wrong in our lives; we get sick; we get laid off.  There are tragedies in our lives and we forget about God’s presence and what He’s done for us, but God is still there for us.

He Guides and Protects Us!

God Guides

Exodus 40:36-38 (NKJV)
40:36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

So, God gave direction and guidance to Israel.  When God moved, they moved.  If God didn’t move, neither did they.  God orchestrated their movement to the Promised Land.  He brought them out of the bondage and then guided them to that land of promise.  They moved as God did.

We’ve been delivered.  God brought us out of the Egypt of sin.  The problem is that we don’t always wait for God to move before we move.  We try to anticipate God, “God will want this, maybe not now but in the future.”  Or we think for God, “I will make this happen.”  Or God says sat and we go anyway.  Instead of waiting for direction from God we run off without thought or prayer as to God’s plan, and we can actually end up at cross-purposes with God; working against Him instead of allowing Him to work with us.  Look at what the Bible says about waiting on God’s plan:

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

I’ve said this at least a million times:  God has a plan for your life.  He knows how to bring it to pass, but the biggest impediment to God moving in our lives is thatwe can’t wait on God’s timing.  We want I tall on our timing.  We need to let God direct.

Psalms 37:23-24 (NKJV)
37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

There may be struggle and turmoil or even failure, but the scripture tells us that even in the midst of that God will be there.

God Protects

Exodus 14:19-20 (NKJV)
14:19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

This is a moment of great danger for Israel.  They’re trapped – The Red Sea is in front of them and the Egyptian army is bearing down on them.  They’re frightened, they’re crying out and God does something powerful, here.  God moves His position from in front of them to behind in order to protect them.  God takes a position in order to trouble Egypt

Not only is God a leader, but God is also a protector.  He’s there for Israel – He fights for Israel.  He keeps Israel’s enemies from destroying them.  Have you experienced that in your life?  Has God ever stuck up for you?  This is one of David’s prayers:  That God would deliver him and protect him from his enemies.

Psalms 26:1-3 (NKJV)
26:1 A Psalm of David. Vindicate me, O Lord, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. 2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. 3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.

That’s been my prayer before!  When enemies have tried to destroy me:  When my character and integrity has been assaulted.  I’ve cried out that prayer, “Vindicate me God!”  God has fought for me.  God has helped me.  God has troubled my enemies.  He took time out from guiding m to protect me, like he did for Israel at the Red Sea.

God is faithful above all things.  We need God’s presence in our lives.  We need Hi guidance to bring us to where we need to be. – The Kingdom of God – The land of Promise.  We also need His protection to fight for us against the enemy of our salvation.  That’s who Pharaoh is in all of this: The enemy of Israel’s deliverance.  Satan plays the role of Pharaoh in our lives and God will STAND for us.

The Faithfulness of God

Nehemiah 9:19 (NKJV)
9:19 Yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, To lead them on the road; Nor the pillar of fire by night, To show them light, And the way they should go.

God was there for them for the entire journey.  He didn’t forsake them in the wilderness.  This is a hard thing for us, because we always think:

God’s mad at me!
God’s abandoned me!
Where’s God in all of this?

The Bible tells us that God is there:  That God will always be there.  We can trust God for His guidance and protection. 

I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have God’s presence in my life.  I can’t see a pillar of cloud or a pillar of fire, but I can see the miracles God has done.  The life and testimony that I have is visible evidence of the presence of God in my life.  There’s evidence of God’s presence in your life too.  I wonder if you can see it.  If you can see it, when are you going to trust Him?

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Spiritual "Flat Earth" Model

Recently, I have noticed a lot of “Flat Earth” videos on You Tube.  People believe that the earth is flat – I’m not kidding.  They’ve crossed over from the common understanding that the earth orbits the sun and that the planets are globes.  This is something that was discovered and reasoned out by Copernicus in 1543.  But now, in 2016, once again, the debate rages.  The idea stems from the conspiracy theory that NASA faked the moon landings:  That no one has ever reached the moon.  The most common “Flat Earth” argument is this:  “NASA lied; the photos from the International Space Station are CGI.”

The problem is that if listen to their arguments they include a combination of a misunderstanding of perspective, a misuse of practical geometry and other things.  In short, they have rejected what is perceived to be scientific fact and embraced a lie, and I'll tell you there is no debating of scientific principle with them; they have no understanding of that.  They just accuse you of being a NASA shill or a sheep. 

In our day and hour, in the church, we have seen people rejecting the truth of God’s word and by rejecting that, they’re accepting the lies of false doctrines.  Today, I want to look at these things from this portion of scripture:

John 14:16-17 (NKJV)
14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Embracing the Lie

At first glance the “Flat Earth” movement seems harmless.  The proponents are doing their little experiments.  They’re launching their “Go-Pro” cameras on weather balloons.  They’re using lasers to measure the curvature of bodies of water.  They’re drawing single plane triangles on globes, applying single plane geometry to a curved surface, which doesn’t work.  They’re making slick you tube videos to convince people.

The sad part is that it is a failure of the US educational system.  In the US educators have become social engineers.  They’ve stepped away from educating and have put their energy into changing society.

We have to be careful in the church, that we don’t remove our focus from the Word of God and place it on the changes taking place in our society: Embracing the policies of the world and neglecting to apply the truth of scripture to our lives.  We must remember this:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

The word of God is inerrant truth.  We hear the argument, “The Bible was written by men and so it can’t always be correct.”  The Bible was written by men INSPIRED by God.  God has used these men as tools to give us His word.  God is incapable of lying.

It’s a strategy of the devil to cause us to doubt the word of God.  When we doubt the word of God we end up lifting up the philosophies of men, and make God a liar.

Romans 3:3-4 (NKJV)
3:3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."

Then truth is still the truth.

Satan used this strategy of causing doubt in the very earliest moments of human history.  This is how he caused the fall of mankind – Let’s examine that:

Genesis 3:1-3 (NKJV)
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' "

The Bible tells us that the devil is cunning.  That word cunning means that he is able to use trickery.  He’s good at it.  It’s something that he uses for his purposes.  He begins to do that with Eve, “Did God really say..?” He’s saying, “What?  I can’t believe God said that to you.”  Then:

Genesis 3:4-5 (NKJV)
3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Here he says, straight out. That God lied.  “God’s a liar – You’ll not surely die. He just doesn’t want you to be like him.”

Genesis 3:6 (NKJV)
3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

The devil lied and mankind died!  The liar was the serpent, but Eve believed that lie.

The Bible is full of truths:

Fornicators will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).  That’s a truth.

You must be born again:  Experience a change of heart about sin (John 3:3).  That’s a truth.

Jesus is God.  He is God made man. (John 1:14)  That’s a truth.  

There are many others, but people pick and choose and apply only certain ones, just like the “Flat Earth” crowd and because of that they believe the lie.

A Spiritual Flat Earth Model

Some interesting flat earth beliefs:
1.        The sun and the moon rotate on a flat plane over the earth.  They are supposedly four thousand miles up into the “Star Dome.”
2.        The Stars are arranged in a “dome” over the earth.
3.        Antarctica is a ring around the earth that keeps the ocean from falling off the edge.

But in order to believe those things you must reject things that are observable, for instance:
1.        The sun rises and sets.  It comes up and it goes down.
2.        The moon eclipses.  A round object passes across the front of it.
3.        The sun eclipses.  The light of the sun is blocked.
4.        The stars in the Southern Hemisphere can’t be seen in the Northern Hemisphere.  It they are in a dome with Polaris in the center we should be able to see all of the stars.
5.        Antarctica can be crossed.  It isn’t a ring, it’s a continent.

There are so many observable phenomena that must be ignored in order to believe this, that it can’t be anything but an unflinching refusal to believe the truth.

Since the beginning people have refused to believe in God.  Look at this:
 Romans 1:18-20 (NKJV)
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

“There are those who suppress the truth.”  That word “suppress” means to exclude from consciousness.  In other words, you refuse to believe it.  The scripture says that God’s invisible attributes can clearly be seen since the creation of the world.  So there are spiritual “Flat Earthers” who see what is clearly observable and overlook it.  They refuse to believe the evidence of the existence of God.  In the same way as those who refuse to see accept the shape of the earth even when the evidence of a global earth can clearly be seen.

Those people doubt God’s existence, so they don’t give any authority to His word.  They pick and choose what “truths” to believe and they begin to mix their own philosophies with the truths of God.  How many times have you heard truths of the Bible perverted?  For example, the Bibles says no one enters the Kingdom of God except through Jesus (John 14:6), but how many times have you heard, “Yahweh, Buddha, Allah, they’re just different names for the same God;” or, “If I’m a good person I’ll go to Heaven.”  All of these thoughts are spiritual Flat Earth Models. 

When you refuse to believe the truth you can use your own imagination to fill in the blanks.

Romans 1:21-23 (NKJV)
1:21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Why are there so many different religions?  Because there’s no limit to imagination, the more people you have the more different religious philosophies you can imagine.  The Flat Earth model is nonsense – it’s foolishness.  The Bible says when we reject the truth we will develop foolish philosophies. 

“Professing to be wise they became fools, changing the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.” 

It is a suppression of the truth and I want you to know there are consequences for suppressing the truth.

Romans 1:24-25 (NKJV)
1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

These are people who worship their bodies.  They throw away modesty; they sexualize everything.  These are people who are hooked on pornography.  They’re men, who see every woman as a sexual conquest.  They’re women who look at men solely as a source of sensual pleasure.  They’re people who blur the lines of gender accepting anything; hedonists seeking only pleasure.

Romans 1:26-28 (NKJV)
1:26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

In a mind where truth and authority of scripture is overlooked, there is no moral absolute.  In the absence of morality any act, no matter how depraved, becomes possible.

Genocide – destruction of a nationality or race of people.
Abortion – Murder of society’s most innocent.
Transgenderism – You don’t even believe your own body.

These things are a spiritual Flat Earth model.

Resisting the Lies:

Foe the last several months, I've been carefully considering the thought process that leads to a Flat Earth model.  I’ve listened attentively to their arguments.  I’ve attempted to refute logical fallacies.  I’ve even spent time examining the mathematics that accurately explains the Global Earth Model.

To me this kind of discussion is interesting; it’s scientific.  That's always appealed to me; I majored in Biology in the university.  The problem is that it seems like science, but it’s all based on faulty logic incorrect mathematical application, a refusal to believe the easily observable, and a complete lack of understanding of Physics.  In short, it’s not science, it’s pseudoscience. It sounds like science but it’s not.  It’s imagination.

Those who reject the authority of the Bible, creating their own spiritual philosophy that sears the conscience and makes it possible for them to participate in sin without guilt, are involved in something that seems like spirituality, but isn’t.  It’s pseudo-spirituality.  There is a way to resist these arguments.  Immerse yourself in the truth.  Read; study your Bible.  Know what God said.  Eve believed the lie because she didn’t understand clearly what God had said.  Look:

Genesis 3:1-3 (NKJV)
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' "

God clearly said, “If you EAT the fruit you will surely die.”  He didn’t mention touching it.  That was Eve’s interpretation.  We have to be careful of NEW interpretations of God’s word.  We need to know what God has really said.  The Bible is straightforward and clear.  If we aren’t careful to know the truth, we can be easily deceived by carefully spoken words and slick presentations.  Be on guard – know your Bible.

When Jesus was tempted he turned the devil back with the words of scripture, “It is written…”  When the devil attempted to twist scriptures, Jesus called him on it.  He knew completely the word of God.  He studied it.  He memorized it and spoke it.  Following the scriptures in church and in Bible study isn’t enough.  You have to devour the word of God.  Meditate on the word of God.  Know the truth and reject the lie.