Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Whatsoever Filter (Not settling for less)

The other night my daughter and I watched an episode of Once Upon a Time from season three.  In this episode, the evil queen talked about using "blood magic" that only she (supposedly) was able to undo.  However, (spoiler alert) unbeknownst to her, she has a half-sister - the Wicked Witch of the West (yes, the one from Oz). She also had the ability to use and undo this "blood magic".  

Now this should have been (and to be completely honest it was) a major red flag!  However, I let it slide and continued to watch the episode.  That night I had a demonic dream (nightmare), and when I awoke from it I knew exactly why.  By simply watching that show, I opened the door to demonic influences.  I immediately renounced watching the show and reclaimed my spiritual ground through the authority of Jesus Christ.  I informed my daughter that we would no longer watch Once Upon a Time

I KNEW BETTER than to watch that show, but I lowered my standards and gave the devil a foothold.  I know that I'm not the only one.  There is so much garbage out there that we are exposing ourselves to and calling it "harmless entertainment"! It's Eve and the serpent all over again!  "Did God really say?", the devil asks us, but we ignore it.  We're bored, we need something to pass the time, and besides, "It's just a show", so it won't harm us.  Psalm 84:11 says: "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." Every time we choose to watch, listen to or read something that is not pleasing to God, we are basically saying to Him that His best simply isn't good enough for us!

We wonder why we struggle with the same sins day after day.  Well, it really should not be that difficult to figure out!  We turn on the TV show or go to the movie theater where we expose ourselves to profanity, adultery, fornication, drunkenness, murder, lying, cheating, blasphemy, etc..  Every time we choose to participate in those things, we harden our hearts against (or grieve) the Holy Spirit, and the door is opening wider and wider for the enemy to have access to our lives.  

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.   
Psalm 101:3 

Again, let me remind you, Child of the Most High God, that the King does not withhold any good thing from you, if you walk uprightly!  So why do we settle for so much less?  

Genesis 4:6-7 

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.

Before you continue watching that beloved series on Netflix, before you go to the theater to watch the next blockbuster, before you purchase the latest recording artist's album, stop and ask yourself if the One Who formed you and knows what is best for you, would wrap it up, put a bow on it, and personally hand it to you for your enjoyment.  If He would, then by all means unwrap it and delight in the gift!  If you know that He would not, but would rather throw it to the swine, then don't indulge in it!  Don't roll in that muck and dirty the garments of righteousness that Christ gave to you.  Trust in Him and trust that He wants to lavish you with good gifts!  

Matthew 7:9-11
 Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

 God has told us to use a the "whatsoever" filter: 

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Ephesians 4:17-23
 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Youtube Channel

Well, God has told me to do something that I was not really comfortable with at first.  He told me to start a youtube Bible study of sorts.  I posted my first video today.  I know there is much room for improvement, and hopefully future videos will reflect some improvement.  I hope you are blessed by watching!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Life Matters

 Here is a continuation of my summary of Genesis. I apologize if it sounds rambled. 

I love that first verse in Genesis 8: "God remembered Noah..." Who doesn't want to be remembered?  

I can't imagine being shut in that ark and floating and drifting for all those months!  But just as God sent the rain, He sent a wind over the earth to recede the waters.  I wonder if it was a violent wind that rocked the boat just as much as the waves must have. 

After everyone was off the ark and back onto dry ground, Noah presented an offering to the LORD.  This pleased God.  Finally able to leave the ark after all that time and the first thing that Noah did was to sacrifice an offering to God. I want that to be my mindset after I go through raging storms! It is recorded that God, "said in His heart: 'Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood...'" After reading that, I thought, "God talks to Himself!", and for some reason this made me smile. 

The other thing from this verse that made me smile is that because of one man - Noah - God determined not to curse the earth again.  The righteousness of one person has a huge impact

1 Samuel 26:23a 
The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.
Psalm 18:20   
The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

 Psalm 33:5
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Proverbs 13:6
Righteousness guards the person of integrity,
    but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

 Again it is recorded that God blessed Noah (and his sons).  The whole earth has been destroyed because of man's wickedness.  God provides for Noah and his family by giving them permission to now eat meat.  But there are restrictions.  God instructs them not to eat meat with its lifeblood still in it because He wants to point our that life - especially human life - matters! God then distinguishes that humans are more important than animals that every life will be accounted for! Why? Because man was made in the image of God

Genesis 9:4-6
 But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
“Whoever sheds human blood,
    by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
    has God made mankind.

God then makes a covenant never to destroy the earth again by flood.  And to give Noah and everyone after him a reminder of this promise, God provides the rainbow as a symbol. God gives us signs.  God is a covenant maker and a covenant keeper.  

God remembers
God is pleased with the righteous
God is a covenant maker

God blesses
God provides
God restricts
God distinguishes man over animals
God gives signs 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Coming Waves

Genesis 6-7 

God sees the wickedness of man and is grieved over it. It hurts His heart! (Genesis 6:6) Because God is HOLY, RIGHTEOUS and JUST, He will not tolerate sin forever.  God is compassionate, and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Psalms 86:15). "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9) but God has His limits!

In the middle of all the evil, God sees the righteousness of Noah.  God speaks to Noah, and like Enoch in chapter five, Noah "walked with God".  God warns Noah and instructs him on how to prepare for His coming judgement.  God gives Noah specific instructions and establishes a covenant with him.  God provides for Noah's (and his family) physical needs and He gives them plenty of time to prepare.  Then God shuts the door of the ark.  (Genesis 7:16) I was reminded of Isaiah 22:22, "...what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open."

The flood waters came and covered the earth. 

The description of the waves was particularly interesting to me this time because just this morning I dreamed of being in a boat out on the ocean.  I couldn't see anything but the massive waves on which my boat was floating.  The waves rose extremely high and I was carried on them until they crested and I plummeted into a narrow gorge.  I landed safely, having only hit a few tree limbs on the way down. 

The similarities of my dream and the description of the waves of the flood in Genesis 7:17-20 were so strikingly similar, I couldn't help but think that God was telling me something.  I believe He is reminding me of exactly what is recorded in Genesis 6 and 7: God sees the wickedness of man and He has about reached His limit.  His judgement is coming and only those who are in the boat with Him will land safely. The tree limbs represent the tree on which Jesus was crucified. The narrow gorge represents the narrow gate/way that Jesus Christ talked about in Matthew 7:13-14                        

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

John 14:6  
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me.

God has limits
God grieves over sin
God judges sin
God shows the righteous favor
God sees all
God speaks
God warns of judgement
God prepares the righteous
God establishes a covenant with the righteous
God is a refuge for the righteous
God provides
God secures His children 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Apology to Eve

I want to take a slight detour from my study of God's ways and share with you what I saw in the life of Eve. While reading through Genesis 4 and 5 this morning, I was struck by a couple more mentions of the "mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20).  For the most part I have held a grudge against her. After all, she fell for the serpent's lies and has given women a bad reputation ever since then for being gullible.  Not to the mention the whole pain in childbirth thing that every childbearing woman has to now endure! Well, I guess I just mentioned it. 

Anyway, this morning I took notice of Eve's response to God - after being expelled from Eden, told of the ramifications of her sinful choices, I read in Genesis 4:1, "Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.  She said, 'With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.'" And then later in the chapter, in verse 25, I read, "Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, 'God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.'"

Instead of blaming God, she praised God!  

I was quite humbled when I realized this.  I have shared in past posts about how I became angry with God during trying times.  There are many examples in the Bible of showing better responses than the one I had, and now I can add Eve to that list. Although, she has been on God's list all along. 

So, Lord Jesus, please pass on this message from me:

Dear Eve, please accept my apology for holding your sin against you.  Thank you for being an example of humility and grace.  I hope that in the years to come when I face more challenges, I will exhibit the same attitude of praise to God that you did. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Genesis 2 & 3

Again I see that God is intentional in what He does.  He began a good work (creation) and He finished it (Genesis 2:2), just as He finishes the good work of redemption and sanctification in each heart that chooses Him (see Philippians 1:6).  He is our example of how to work and how to rest (Genesis 2:2).  God was intimately involved with Adam, which was reflected in how He "formed" man and "breathed life" into him (Genesis 2:7).  God gave clear instructions (Genesis 2:16-17). He also gave man and woman special attention and a unique purpose (Genesis 2:18-22). 

God completes
God rests
God blesses
God makes holy
God breathes life
God plants
God instructs
God directs
God is aware
God provides
God gives purpose

God's initial desire was to walk with man and woman and openly communicate with them (Genesis 3:8).  Even after Adam and Eve sinned and failed to show up to meet with God, God called out to them (Genesis 3:9)!  Already knowing what they had done, God still asked them where they were and what they had done - holding each of them responsible for their own actions (Genesis 3:11-13).  Because God is holy and just, He had to execute judgement for their sinful, rebellious choices (Genesis 3:16-19).  God also cursed the serpent (the devil) for deceiving Eve, and He prophesied the redemptive plan He already had in place (Genesis 3:15)! 

After everything that Adam and Eve had done against Him, God still loved them enough to provide a covering for their nakedness (Genesis 3:21).  Which reminds me of how I would always hug my children after I had to spank them.

Psalm 25:7  
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.

Even though God's love for man had not changed, sin had severe consequences.  God banished Adam and Eve from the very place He intentionally created for them, separating them from the tree of life.  

God communicates
God is just
God redeems
God disciplines
God is love 
God covers

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New Bible Study

I've decided to begin a new Bible study on the ways and names of God.  As I did on my study of prayer, I will simply read through the Bible and mark every reference of His ways and names, and write them down in a notebook. This time, however, instead of starting in Genesis and reading through all of the Old Testament before reading the New Testament, I've decided to read one Old Testament book and then one New Testament book. I hope doing it this way will give it a fresher feel to my study methods. 

This morning I read Genesis 1, and I want to share my summary of the chapter:

God is very intentional when He speaks and does things.  From the literal beginning of time He put in place a way for mankind to know of His existence.  He put the sun, moon, and stars in place for signs even before He created mankind.  When He did create man and woman, He created them in His own image.  In other words, they looked just like their Daddy!  There was to be no doubt in the heart of man that God is real.  

Not only did God provide signs in the sky but He also provided everything that man would need to live.  He told man that every plant and tree of the whole earth was to be food for them (I don't think I've ever noticed the "whole" earth part before.  I always pictured in my mind that they were designated only to the garden of Eden).  So, when God provides - He provides abundantly

God provided physically for mankind and spiritually.  Genesis 1:28 says that God "blessed" them. 

My observations from Genesis 1 on the ways/names of God are:

God creates 
God speaks
God separates*
God blesses
God instructs
God provides
*(dark/light, waters above/below, water/dry ground)