What happened?

We live on a murderous planet.

. . and yet we know Eden in our hearts.

What happened?

God’s Word is God telling us our story.

Have you ever really read what He has to say?  From Genesis to Revelation?

Don’t you think it’s time to hear His story . . for yourself?

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8, NIV)

 

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For me.

If I love Christ and I am a Christ-follower, I need to find time each and every day to read the Book I’m staking my life and eternity on.

How about . . now?

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Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Keeping in touch

We have more ways to keep in touch than ever . . .

texting (I was late on that bandwagon) . . . emails (I still remember Orion) . . . and what is now called “snail mail” (the ponies of the express would be indignant, I bet).  There’s facebooking.  (I have 534 friends.  My grandmother, whom I recall introducing to facebook, has 1,042.  But I’m not bitter.)

There’s tweeting (I don’t know how to tweet.  Maybe my grandmother will teach me how someday.)  There’s voice mail.  I even remember the old answering machines, with their screechy sound when you rewound or fast-forwarded through messages.  There’s even talking on the phone . . . at just about every coordinate on earth, it seems.  The effervescent light of the cell phone has become familiar in so many places . . . such as dark movie theaters when you are trying to watch a movie.

I guess people think because they are texting and there’s only this big ol’ blast of green light that hits you in the face, it will be all right for them to pull their cell out every 5 minutes.  I watched an opera once in which the entire first half of the performance, the teenagers in front of me were spotlighting my face as they maybe texted everybody they knew on facebook, probably almost as many people as my grandmother knows.  (Why only the first half?  An usher had a conversation with them.)

Then there’s skyping.  I’ve never skyped.  And webcamming.  (Is that a word?)  I actually have a webcam built into my computer.  I felt very cool when I got it.

I haven’t used it once.

I need to give this computer to my grandmother.  She could start youtubing her webcams to all her facebook friends, and there’s another way of communication.  I’ve never youtubed, but I did watch a video of a snoring puppy on there one time.

Anyway, we have so many ways to communicate, I’m probably forgetting something cool.  And then there’s one way I seem to remember hearing about one time . . . what was that?  Oh, yes, conversation.  That’s old school, though.

You can communicate with just about anyone in an instant.  Nearly everyone (but not my mom) is on facebook.  Most people text nowadays.  I can even text.  I text old school, though.  I found one of those old phones that has a QWERTY keyboard with actual, real, truly buttons you can press.  My mom has one of those new phones that has phony, innauthenic, pixilized buttons you are supposed to touch. I thought my fingers were skinny until I tried texting on her phone.

And her phone has that handy dandy autocorrect so that when you mean to say, “Sweetie, would you like me to pick up anything for dinner?” and because your fingers aren’t the size of a stylus, you accidentally type *a few* wrong letters, it autocorrects to something like,

“Santa, would you like me to pick up antlers for Dancer?  He lost them on the last chimney.”

(It adds extra sentences like that, to make it make more sense like.  Ok, no it doesn’t, but it would be really funny if it did.)

With all this communication going on, wouldn’t you think we’d be the most at-peace society since the time of Eden?  Don’t I remember self-expression being a way to healing and tranquility advertised on TV and self-help books?  We’ve sure got self-expression now.  You can find out that your uncle had chicken pot pie for dinner on facebook.  Didn’t you always want to know what your uncle had for dinner?

. . But . . we’re not at peace.  In fact, we’re a restless society (unless we’re watching TV).  And not only are we restless, we’re well, not very happy overall, I’d say.  I haven’t seen any drop in divorce rates because of cell phones.  I haven’t heard of better friendships thanks to texting.  Now that doesn’t mean these new ways of communication are bad . . .

Oh, yes.  I knew I’d forget at least one, and I did.  But I didn’t think I’d forget one, well, obvious: blogging.

. . . That doesn’t mean these new ways of communication are bad (especially not blogging) . . but it means they simply aren’t working at getting us closer to each other than we were before.  That’s because, when it comes down to it, I love someone because of what they communicate to me, not because they used the newest high-tech device.  I can text “AZOSDIFMA3SFD” and I’m not going to make new friends, unless C3PO and R2D2 have cell phones somewhere.

The message is what matters.  But, sometimes, I lose track of that.  I pick up my Bible, but I really want God to text me or Youtube me instead.  But something I remember about God: He’s not trendy; He’s timeless.  God is from age to age.  God is from before the age of stone tablets to after the age of computers.  God has no limitations on his language.  He can communicate in any way He likes, at any time.  God can communicate as easily on cave walls as He can a typewriter as He can the world wide web.  So why did He choose to give His Words to people living thousands of years ago, to write scrolls?  Why did He choose that one way?

The Bible is clear: the Bible is complete.  There will be no revelations, devotions, sermons, or any other communication that will take place on this earth until the time the Lord returns that will be anything like the Bible.  Nothing–no music, no texts, no conversations, no videos, no calls, and no blogs will ever be on par with what we find in God’s Word.

The Bible is finished because everything we need to know to receive salvation and follow God is already there.

God chose the perfect time, the perfect transcribers, and the perfect technology.  Scrolls were just right.  From those scrolls, every word of the Bible is now available in books across the globe, every word on audio files in many languages for free listening on websites, and every word uploaded on a nearly countless number of sites.  There are even apps for phones to read the entire Bible, CD’s, and even DVD’s in which speakers have read books of the Bible word for word.  Bible verses are tweeted and posted as status updates on facebook, and the Gospel is even carried through YouTube.

God is not silent to us.

The question is, am I so busy checking facebook to see how many people have “liked” my status and browsing email shopping offers and watching videos of cute baby animals that I miss the one Message that matters?

I love my friends, but I don’t want to miss the Son of God.

I listed different ways of communication earlier, but I didn’t list the greatest.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5, ESV)

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:9-18, ESV)

Coming Across Difficult Bible Verses

There is no way around it and there is no reason to avoid it: some passages in the Bible are difficult for me to understand.

It’s not always the same passages for everyone.  Some passages are easier for one person to understand, harder for another.  But all of us, who read God’s Word’s will struggle at times, because we are fallen.

My sin: my misconceptions, temptations, resistance, rebellion, and confusion work together to confuse me as much as possible.  This is Satan’s plan.  When I try to read God’s Word, Satan will do his best to throw every possible obstacle in my path.

Outside obstacles alone make it difficult to concentrate on God’s Word.  Thoughts about work, plans, family, worries, etc., household chores, entertainment possibilities . . . Satan will throw every blockade up he possibly can to get me “too busy” to read God’s Word or “too distracted” to pay attention when I’m reading.

Satan is just fine with people busying or distracting themselves all the way to Hell.  And for Christ followers, his goal is to keep us from growing closer to God and deeper in His Word.

But when the Spirit opens our eyes, we see!  Our heart quickens!  We love our holy Savior more than ever!  And we learn!

I am convicted, challenged, redirected, activated, and encouraged when I read God’s God’s WOrd.  I learn to fight sin, the same sin that, without the grace of God, would totally block out the Truth of God’s Word in my life, like the moon eclipsing the sun.

When I come to difficult passages in the Bible, I have these choices:

  • Ignore the passage.
  • Reject the passage.
  • Skew the passage to say what we would like it to say.
  • Dismiss the passage as contextual and not applicable to us today.
  • Say, “Here I am, God.  Your way is best.”

As a Christian, my choices get much easier:

  • ·        Ignore the passage.
  • ·        Reject the passage.
  • ·        Skew the passage to say what we would like it to say.
  • ·        Dismiss the passage as contextual and not applicable to us today.
  • Say, “Here I am, God.  Your way is best.”

Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11, AKJV)

Photo by Ryk Neethling, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/rykneethling/

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version- Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Why would I believe in a young earth?

2 Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 15:4, and 2 Peter 1:20-21 give no allowance for a "somewhat useful" Scripture. I must decide either 1) every word of the Word is true or 2) God is a liar or 3) people have made God up.

If the God of the Bible is perfect, His guidebook is perfect.  The Word is not just an authored book, the Word is a manifestation of the Author (see John 1:1-5).

For me to believe the God of the Bible is who He says He is, I must believe His Word is perfect.  The Word sets up an incredible claim: either every word God inspired specially chosen people through the ages to write is infallible, or the entire message is lost in imperfection.

I believe, with everything I am, that the Word is infallible.  I could not think otherwise because God has opened my eyes to read and my ears to hear the language of God, set down perfectly and immovably in the 66 books of Scripture.

This foundation is much broader than only a belief in a young earth.  This foundation is the starting point for why I accept every claim in Scripture [1].

There are Christians who genuinely believe the Word of God is infallible, but they believe God used millions or billions of years to create the Universe rather than the 6 days the Bible clearly outlines in Genesis 1.

To harmonize these two beliefs, they have to add time in between days of before the first day or believe the days as symbolic.  They also must believe the order of events is symbolic if they believe in the Big Bang.

Unless the Christian believes God used millions or billions of years for some processes but created Adam from dust[2], Adam is believed to be an evolved ape-like creature who God “finished” or merely “adopted and breathed into” rather than created from dust as Scripture says.

Outside the Garden of Eden, the world was already full of the skeletons of animals who have struggled to survive and failed.  To harmonize this with the Bible would have to mean death of animals is

very good (Genesis 1:31).

Ape-like creatures, who would one day become human, also suffered and died.  But God did not show care or concern for them until one day He “adopted” two [3]?

If instead of being the first two humans, Adam and Eve were two of many apes-like creatures evolving (as some progressive creationists now believe), why did the curse fall on all of humanity?  And what is the consequence of sin if there was already suffering and death[4]?

But most deadly of all, if the first Adam was symbolic . . . why do we believe the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, is an actual Person?  To believe in a symbolic Christ is to destroy the entire Bible, the purpose of faith, the atoning power of Jesus, and to condemn us all–every single one of us—to the sinner’s Hell where we belong.

Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:47, NLT)

Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death resulted from sin, therefore everyone dies, because everyone has sinned.  Certainly sin was in the world before the law was given, but no record of sin is kept when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death ruled from the time of Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed.  He is a foreshadowing of the one who would come.

But God’s free gift is not like Adam’s offense.  For if many people died as the result of one man’s offense, how much more have God’s grace and the free gift given through the kindness of one man, Jesus the Messiah, been showered on many people!  Nor can the free gift be compared to what came through the man who sinned.  For the sentence that followed one man’s offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift brought justification, even after many offenses.  For if, through one man, death ruled because of that man’s offense, how much more will those who receive such overflowing grace and the gift of righteousness rule in life because of one man, Jesus the Messiah! (Romans 5:12-17, ISV)

And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17, NLT)

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[1] I am ashamed to even use the word “claim” to describe the Truth.  God has given us the freedom to choose to accept His Word or not, and this is what I am trying to express.  The reality is that whether or not I accept the claims of Scripture, they will always be truth.  Regardless of whether I accept the claim of gravity, if I jump off a cliff it’s not going to go well for me.  To an infinitely greater extent, what I conclude about God’s Word has no impact on its validity but instead on the state of my soul.

[2] This doesn’t satisfy the evolutionist, who insists man came from ape-like creatures, or explain why God would describe each day as a day but only day 6 (or certain days) to be literal.

[3] If Adam and Eve evolved from ape-like creatures, then Eve’s creation must be symbolic as well, for she could hardly have been made from Adam’s rib if evolution is true.

[4] If the only consequence of Adam’s sin was Hell, then the rest of creation did not actually suffer any more than it already was.  But Romans 8:22 says,

We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time.

Romans 8:18-23 is a crystal-clear explanation of the connection between the fall of creation, suffering, death, and our sin.  My prayer is you will take the time to read this passage, and explore what the Bible says about the curse (e.g., Genesis 3) for yourself.  Biblecc.com and Biblegateway.com are easy ways to look up Scripture.

Photograph by Savio Sebastian, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/savioseb/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.