Did God Really Say That Our Own Deceit Deceives Us?

Yes ... yes he did

Did God Really Say That Our Own Deceit Deceives Us?Did God really say that our own deceit deceives us?

Yes … yes he did.

Jacob knew in advance that tricking his father into passing the blessing of the “firstborn” onto Jacob, the secondborn, would lead to a curse. “If  my father touches me I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.” Genesis 27:12

With his mother’s help and encouragement, however, Jacob tricked his father anyway. When asked if he was Esau, his older brother, Jacob answered, “I am Esau, your firstborn. Give me your blessing” Genesis 27:19

But God often gives us a chance to reconsider our sin and the path on which we’re about to embark. “Are you really my son Esau?” Issac asked.

How about you? What sin are you contemplating today? Has God warned you of the consequences? Has he offered you a second chance to back out of this act you are about to commit?

“Your brother came and deceitfully took your blessing,” Issac said, when Esau arrived at his dying father’s bedside. Genesis 27:35

Anything that does not strengthen us morally is the enemy of virtue and Godly holiness. Becoming righteousness in God’s eyes does not happen by accident. Moral virtue is acquired one decision at a time, one act at a time. God has given us free will and the responsibility to rule over our thoughts and desires. Too often it is easy to see the character flaws of others and remain blind to our own, but we are never “all right” when we are doing wrong.

Jacob’s words proved true: he received Esau’s blessing and that of the firstborn, but he also became cursed by inviting deception from others. Laban, his father-in-law, tricked Jacob into marrying his oldest daughter, rather than Rachel, the one Jacob loved. In defiance Jacob boasted, “My honesty will testify for me in the future.” Genesis 30:33.

But it did not. Soon Jacob fled in secret.

But we cannot hide from God. He always finds us.

“God came to Laban in a dream at night and said to him, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.'” And Laban, “Taking his relatives with him, pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.” The one who deceives, the trickster, the one who schemes and connives will always be found when he flees. God will see to it.

Even after he and Esau were reunited and their relationship restored, Jacob lied to his older brother and did not follow Esau to his home as he had promised. The sin of deception is born of Satan and does not die easily.

As he was dying, Jacob deliberately crossed his arms and put his right hand on Ephraim’s head (Joseph’s younger son) and his left hand on Manasseh’s head (Joseph’s oldest). Joseph was displeased and thought that his father was making a mistake, but Jacob told Joseph that he was intentionally blessing the younger son.

Are you, like Jacob, wrestling with God over the matter of your character. Surrender. Give the issue of your righteousness over to Christ. Let him remove the deceit within you. Only then can you fully enjoy the blessings of God.

Did God Really Say Climate Change Is Real?

Yes ... yes he did

Did God Really Say Climate Change Is Real?Did God really say climate change is real?

Yes … yes he did.

And at some point in the future climate change will get much worse.

Climate reacts to forces in the atmosphere and on earth. Some scientists argue humans are now the dominant force. But are they? Had we lived during the days of Noah, “When men began to increase in number on the earth …” would scientists have claimed humans were the reason for the Great Flood? Would population growth and the increase in livestock and raw sewage entering streams have been blamed for a month of rain?

Drought was the most common cause of famines mentioned in the Bible. Drought caused famines in the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:10 ), Isaac (Genesis 26:1 ), Joseph (Genesis 41:27 ), and the judges (Ruth 1:1 ). Drought also impacted the Israelites during the days of David (2 Samuel 21:1 ), Elijah (1 Kings 18:2 ), Elisha (2 Kings 4:38 ), Haggai (Haggai 1:11 ), and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:3 ). Did human behavior cause these droughts or did God ordain it?

In the Book of Revelation we read, “hail and fire mixed with blood was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” Revelation 8:7

Trees affect our climate, and therefore our weather, in three ways: they lower temperatures, reduce energy usage and reduce or remove air pollutants. When we lose a third of the trees and all the grass, we can expect a substantial increase global warming, a strain on our power grids, and an increase in air pollution.  While mankind might play some role in global warming our affect is nothing compared to what is to come.

And what of our water supply? “Something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. And a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. A third of the waters turned bitter. Many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” Revelation 8: 8-10

Scientists warn of rising sea levels but nothing will compare to the sea-coast flooding we’ll experience when tsunamis larger than we can imagine hit our shores. Whole navel fleets will be wiped out. Imagine the devastation that will occur in Norfolk, Virginia, San Diego, California and Mayport, Florida. With a third of our streams and rivers toxic those living further inland will scramble to find clean drinking water.

And what of the sky? “A third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.” Revelation 8:12

The first thing we’ll notice is an increase in darkness — then the extreme cold. The planet’s temperature will drop several degrees Fahrenheit over the course of weeks and months. With less sunlight, the amount of photosynthesis will decrease. Plants will begin to wither and die. Animals that rely on vegetation to survive will be left with a shrinking food supply.

We might imagine that people would rush to spend time in the sun during the reduced daylight hours, but “the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire.” Revelation 16:8. We will long to stand in sunlight, but the sun’s intense rays will prevent us from enjoying its warmth.

Sea levels will rise dramatically. “Every island fled away.” Revelation 16:20

Tectonic plates will shift, leveling whole mountain ranges. “The mountains could not be found.” Revelation 16:20

Rivers will shift or disappear. “The great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up.” Revelation 16:12

Yes, God warns that climate change is real — and what’s to come will be worse than anything the alarmists have predicted.

In Genesis God commands us to be good stewards of our planet. It is our duty to protect and preserve what God created. But a day is coming when the Son of God will return to rule over “a new heaven and a new earth.” Revelation 21:1.

When that day comes will you be ready to meet him?

Did God Really Say Darkness Can Be Felt?

Yes ... yes he did.

Did God Really Say Darkness Can Be Felt?Did God really say darkness can be felt?

Yes … yes he did.

We tend to think that darkness and light are for the visual sense of sight, but there is a darkness so black, a despair so deep that it can be felt.

Before light, darkness covered the earth. ” ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

Light is a creative force. Plants need light to grow. Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, causing us feel upbeat and hopeful.

Darkness is a destructive force. Plants die in darkness. Darkness triggers depression and despair.

We live in an age of intense light, both in the physical realm, but also at a social level. It seems every comment and act is exposed to public scrutiny. Even the dead are at risk for ridicule. Every Internet search is recorded and catalogued, revealing our heart and character. As we seek to hide our deeds this intense light drives us deeper into darkness.

When Moses commanded Pharaoh to release God’s people, the Egyptian ruler refused. So “the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.’ Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.”

The word for felt in Hebrew is more than simply a darkness that affects the inward man and hope. This kind of felt is the Hebrew word that signifies touch.

“When a person deviates from the eternal rules of God and morality, there is darkness.” – Billy Graham

The darkness of which Mr. Graham spoke is not simply shades of shadows, but a complete loss of inward light. It is a soul-deep darkness. This is one reason so many individuals grope around as though blind. They cling to all manner of perverted beliefs in hopes of finding footing and safety in numbers. While they blindly comfort and cling to one another, claiming to be enlightened, they stand at the edge of a chasm so deep and dark that no light reaches down into it.

When Pharaoh finally relented and released God’s people the angel of God went before them, leading the way. “Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side.” Many Biblical scholars believe this angel of God was the pre-incarnate Christ: the One who actually created the heavens and earth at God’s command. “Through Christ all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:3

With the light of Christ, moral decisions become black and white. With the light of Christ, God’s words, commands and laws bring liberty and life. But the one who rules the realm of darkness — the one who steals, kills, and destroys — would have you believe that the words of Christ are hurtful, out-dated, and of no value to the wise, educated, and enlightened.

This is a lie.

Some have rejected the truth of God and become victims of a great delusion. They have changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped the creature more than the Creator. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.” Romans 1: 25-26. “For this reason God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2:10-12.

Without the light of Christ we make our way along in darkness. Even if it seems as though we are progressing towards a greater age of enlightenment, we are actually rushing headlong into the fires of Hell where there is a darkness so intense it will be felt for eternity.

During his final moments on earth Christ hung on a cross between two convicts. One taunted him, saying, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The other begged for forgiveness. “Don’t you fear God. We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

One convict died in his sins and went to hell.

The other admitted he was a sinner and acknowledged that Christ had done nothing to deserve death. “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to the second man, “today you will be with me in paradise.”

Confess your sins. Admit that Christ accepted punishment for your sins.  Then come into the light and begin to live a life without sin: a life of love, joy, peace, self-control, kindness, moral integrity, devotion to God, self-control and gentleness.

 

Did God Really Say Believers Should Not Marry Non-Believers

Yes ... yes he did

Did God Really Say Believers Should Not Marry Non-BelieversDid God really say believers should not marry non-believers?

Yes … yes he did.

As Moses prepared the Jewish people to enter the Promised Land, God warned, “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going. If you do, those in the land will be a snare among you.” Exodus 34:12 “When you choose some of their daughters among those who live in the land, and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.”  Exodus 34:16

God was not warning Moses that the daughters of those who worshipped pagan gods were sexually immoral. Rather, God warned that the women in the land were willing to sacrifice their talents and self-respect for personal or financial gain. In doing so, the men of God would follow the practices of the women.

God knows men struggle with lust of the flesh. Man has since Adam.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”

With full awareness and intent, Adam looked upon Eve in all her beauty and traded his relationship with God for that of the help-mate made for him. The last image Adam beheld before he turned from God towards sin was the radiant beauty of God’s final creation. He chose the creature over the Creator.

It is no wonder God warned Moses to keep his people separate. God demands that we make no accommodation for sin, not one. Even the smallest compromise leads to larger and greater sins. This is why Paul cautioned believers in Corinth, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Though it may seem intolerant to refuse to sign agreements, covenants, and treaties with non-believers, God knows our hearts must seek him before others. And if both hearts serve him first, then God, not the couple, is the head of the relationship. When we submit to God first, we surrender our right to be right, to be in control, to be honored. When we submit to God first, we become a servant of others, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21.

At its core, sin is my claim to rights as a person. We demand respect and to be recognized for our accomplishments, all the things to which God alone is worthy. The nature of sin is fulfillment of one’s own desire and will. It is our pride which leads us to say, “I am my own god and I demand to be …”

Only with Christ as our Lord can we love as he loves us.

Paul gave us an example of an equally-yoked relationship. “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:22 & 25 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:22 & 24

May we strive to follow God’s instructions for Godly relationships.

Lord, help me to love my wife with the same love you have for her. And may she love me with the same love you have for me. And may we both love you above all else. Amen.”

Did God Really Say He Would Equip Us for the Battles Ahead?

Yes ... yes he did.

Did God really say he would equip us for every battle?Did God really say he would equip us for the battles ahead?

Yes … yes he did.

Despite the many confirming circumstances, signs, and words from God, Moses struggled to find the courage to do the thing God called him to do: Lead God’s people out of slavery. A disciple of Christ is also given this charge: Lead my people to Christ so he can set them free from sin. But the faith we found in our last victory may be lacking as we face our next battle. We are prone to think: I dodged a bullet last time, but this time … ?

You have not let me know who you will send with me,” Moses said. Exodus 33:12. Moses needed help, knew it, and asked God to provide a team larger than one. Moses clearly understood his calling; what he lacked was confidence that the one who called him would also equip him. So he asked, “Lord if you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.” Exodus 33:13

Because we live on this side of Jesus’ resurrection, God’s assurances to Moses are ours in Christ.

  1. My Presence will go with you. Exodus 33:19
  2. I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14
  3. I will cause my goodness to pass in front of you. Exodus 33:19
  4. I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. Exodus 33:19
  5. I will have mercy on who I will have mercy. Exodus 33:19
  6. I will have compassion on who I will have compassion. Exodus 33:19
  7. I will put you in a cleft in a rock. Exodus 33:21
  8. I will cover you with my hand. Exodus 33:22
  9. You will see my back. Exodus 33:23
  10. You will not see my face.Exodus 33:23

Through Christ, God has promised that this battle you face, this journey ahead, need not be a solitary struggle. God is beside, behind, and ahead of you.

Lord, when I grow weary, give me rest.

When evil surrounds me, cause your goodness to pass before m.

When the chaos of today’s news prompts me to cover your hears, whisper your name, reminding you that you are in charge.

When I shrink from the battle, cry out in fear, turn and run, have mercy on me. As a comrade in arms, give me your courage.

Lord, do not shame and condemn me, but offer pity and concern for my sufferings and circumstances.

During the heat of battle, place me in a bunker of protection.

Like a mother shielding her terrified child from the horrors she sees and fears, cover my eyes with your hand.

And when it is time to advance, Lord, go before me.

Though I may not see your face, give me your courage and confidence. Bless me in this way and I can face today’s battles. Amen.

Did God Really Say We Are to Respect Judges and Rulers?

Yes ... yes he did.

Did God Really Say We Are to Respect Judges and Rulers?Did God really say we are to respect judges and rulers?

Yes … yes he did: regardless of whether you like the individual or not.

Here is what God says: “Do not revile (blaspheme) (the judges / God / the gods) or curse the ruler of your people.” Exodus 22:28

We may not agree with those in authority over us. We may not agree with the decisions rendered. But God is clear on this matter: we are to respect them. If we disagree with those in authority over us, pray for them and ask God to give those individuals wisdom and discernment.

 

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Did God Really Say It’s Okay to Use Violence to Defend Your Home and Family?

Yes ... yes he did

Did God Really Say It's Okay to Use Violence to Defend Your Home and Family?Did God really say it’s okay to use violence to defend your home and family?

Yes … yes he did.

Up to a point.

This is what God says: “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed. But if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed.” Exodus 22:2. God goes on to say, “A thief must make restitution for what he takes.” And if he cannot, the thief must, “be sold to pay for his theft.” Exodus 22:3

The spirit of this command seems to be: the theft of property does not justify the taking of the thief’s life. On the flip side, incarceration without restitution does not restore the victim. Let us pray that all our judges rule wisely and administer justice fairly.