Follow Up: Observation Always Involves Theory Part 1: The Gap Theory

In light of a blog I posted last week: Observations Always Involves Theory Part 1: Gap Theory

My friend sent me this response via email and I thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss on the blog. I won’t be addressing the different “versions” of scripture on this blog BUT I will try to expound upon this topic one day this week, hopefully. What I will be doing is addressing the question about why one version of Isaiah 14:12 differs from another version of Isaiah 14:12. For the most part we will be sticking with this verse, except for a few examples. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

From my friend: “As you know I’m a KJB (King James Bible) ONLY person, so much so that I do not consider any of these other so called “versions” a Bible. That being said, I know we disagree and I’m not looking for an argument or trying to change your mind and don’t try to change mine it wont work!! Haha. I just want an explanation for a verse comparison because I want to see how you are processing things.

Isaiah 14:12 you mentioned in one of your blogs. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (KJB)

This is referred to as the fall of Satan or Lucifer. How do we find the name Lucifer removed from the NLT, which will give a distorted view of whom this verse is referring to. As well as calling him the “shinning morning star” when plainly in Revelation 22:16 Jesus names Himself as the “Bright and Morning Star”

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Rev 22:16 (KJB)

Would this not be confusing to certain people and as we both know that God is not about confusion in the church.

1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJB)
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

Could all these so called “versions” be an attack on the Word of God and a way in time to be used as a strong delusion because a simple change in God’s word which may I add, God states that it is pure and is settled in heaven, cause enough confusion to make a person believe a lie concerning Satan?   

Ok so before I get into the Isaiah text, let me address the question you asked at the end of the email.

“Could all these so called “versions” be an attack on the Word of God and a way in time to be used as a strong delusion; because a simple change in God’s word, which may I add God states that it (His Word) is pure and is settled in heaven, can cause enough confusion to make a person believe a lie concerning Satan?”

To answer your question…Yes and No. I’m not sure ALL versions are created equal but what I think you aren’t understanding here is that the King James Bible is a VERSION of God’s Word. That’s why it is called the “King James VERSION“. So when you ask the question about the other “versions” you HAVE to include the KJB in that discussion as well.

Matter of fact, unless you have the Authorized King James 1611 as your primary version of choice, then what you have is a NEWER VERSION of the King James. If your argument is against updated versions of scripture, then why are you using a version of the King James that is 158 years OLDER than the original? And I am sure you know that there are versions of God’s word that are OLDER than the King James. Just so you know, there are over 100,000 changes in between the 1611 and the 1769 version you read from every Sunday. That’s a lot of stuff that was changed. Do you not question why that was?

God says his WORD is pure and settled in heaven, NO WHERE IN SCRIPTURE WHETHER GREEK, HEBREW, ARAMIC, LATIN SPANISH, CHINEESE OR GERMAN DOES IT SAY THE KING JAMES VERSION IS PURE AND SETTLED IN HEAVEN. NO the King James was NOT the first English translation and NO the King James does NOT get everything right, but for that matter NONE OF THEM DO. The King James has errors just like the all the ones before and the ones after. William Tyndale was the first person to translate the New Testament into English before he was martyred for treason. Did you know that in comparison from the Tyndale to most of the later versions, up until the 1611, there is about a 90% exact copy rate. That means that most English scholars believe that 90% of Tyndale’s New Testament matches with the Greek. But there is still 10% that they don’t agree with. There is still 10% that Tyndale got WRONG!! Oh and by the way the verse in the NT that says God’s Word is God breathed and inspired was in the Tyndale New Testament. How can God’s word be “God breathed and inspired” and how can we be warned about adding to and taking from YET WILLIAM TYNDALE GOT 10% of his translation WRONG!! What of the people in 1525 who ONLY had Tyndale’s NT to read? They believed that it was “God breathed and Inspired” but their translations was only partially right. Now how are we supposed to know whether or not the King James has anything that wasn’t translated correctly.

Need an example?

Daniel 3:25 (KJB) He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Have you ever wondered how Nebuchadnezzar KNEW that the fourth man was the “Son of God”? How could he POSSIBLY know that considering that the term “Son of God”, referring to Jesus, WASN’T USED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AT ALL. No one knew that Jesus was be the literal, SON OF GOD. Sure there were plenty of references to a Son but NEVER was the phrase used in the OLD  TESTAMENT as the “Son of God”. So HOW, just HOW did Nebuchadnezzar, look into a fire that, by the way, he WOULDN’T have been able to see clearly through considering it was SO hot that you could DIE by just getting to close, recognize that there was a fourth man who just so happened to look like Jesus, even though mind you, HE DIDN’T EVEN BELIEVE IN THE GOD OF THE HEBREWS!! What I am trying to say is, the KING JAMES BIBLE GOT THIS ONE WRONG!! What Nebuchadnezzar actually said was “son of the gods”. He was pagan! An unbeliever!! A vessel of dishonor!!

And furthermore, it could have been an angel God had sent into that fiery furnace. We built a doctrine about this story based on what the KJV said and WE GOT IT WRONG!!! We don’t know if it was an incarnate Jesus or whether it was one of the angels, the BIBLE doesn’t say and honestly we have no idea. You say the Isaiah text gives people the wrong impression about God, well how would our church people feel if we attributed this even to Jesus when it was actually an angel? How would they feel about us preaching Jesus in the fire when old Nebby actually said “son of the gods”?

Now to the Isaiah text.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”

So firstly, most texts DO say Lucifer. But the ONLY use of  הֵילֵל hêylêl, or the word used for Lucifer, in the Old Testament is in the Isaiah text. So here is my explanation.

Most likely this passage refers to the Assyrian King who declared himself King of Babylon, Tiglath-pileser III. Now I understand that what Isaiah was writing was a message for the King delivered by God, but you must understand, Tiglath-pileser III wouldn’t have known WHO LUCIFER WAS!!! The Assyrians had their own set of pagan gods and wouldn’t have gotten the reference to Lucifer. One could argue that the reference wasn’t really for Tiggy but was made for us, the problem with that is, until Myles Coverdale in 1539 wrote the first authorized version issued by the Church of England called “The Great Bible”, the book of Isaiah would have been still considered a letter to “. . . Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”

Please note however:

“Isaiah offered a “song of contempt,” or taunt, against the king of Babylon. This passage has also been taken as a metaphorical reference to the fall of Satan (Lucifer), the “shining morning star” (v. 12). This interpretation is suggested by the Latin translation of “shining star” as Lucifer (lit. “light-bearer”). This later Latin identification has nothing to do with Isaiah’s original reference to a real king who would die and be powerless in Sheol, the place of the deceased spirits (v. 15). Calling the Babylonian ruler the “morning star” may have been a sarcastic reference to his pretense and arrogance.”

Now to the reference about Jesus being the “bright and morning star”. When we study out the Hebrew word for Lucifer in Strong’s Concordance, this is what we get:

1966. הֵילֵל hêylêl, hay-lale´; from 1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star:—Lucifer.

Now if we go to the Septuagint, which is the OLD TESTAMENT translated into GREEK, this is what we find:

[ is.14.12 ] πως [HOW] εξεπεσεν [FELL OFF] εκ [ON] του [THE] ουρανου [HEAVEN] ο [THE] εωσφορος [MORNING STAR –] ο [THE] πρωι [PROI] ανατελλων [RISING] συνετριβη [WERE BROKEN] εις [A] την [THE] γην [EARTH] ο [THE] αποστελλων [SENDING] προς [TO] παντα [ALL] τα [THE] εθνη [NATIONS]

This isn’t translated out to be Lucifer, but morning star. If you’re asking me about how this verse measures up to the one in Revelation:

Ἐγὼ Ἰησοῦς ἔπεμψα τὸν ἄγγελόν μου μαρτυρῆσαι ὑμῖν ταῦτα ἐπὶ ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ῥίζα καὶ τὸ γένος Δαυίδ, ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ λαμπρός, ὁ πρωϊνός.

This last phrase highlighted in Red means: bright morning star.

Here is my point: there is no confusion between the two verses because the words used aren’t the same.

הֵילֵל hêylêl in Hebrew means the morning star, Lucifer.

εωσφορος Heōsphóros, which is the parallel word in Greek means, morning star, Lucifer.

Both Hebrew and Greek use one word to refer to Lucifer.

In Revelation, the reference to Jesus as bright and morning star is three words: ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ λαμπρός, ὁ πρωϊνός . If it was referring to Lucifer they would have used the Heosphoros word. I know our congregations won’t know this difference that’s why it is up to US to know the difference.

I believe you said it yourself in the email that God is not the author of confusion, so we need to know how to combat these situations.

You claim KJB only, which I am completely fine with. But in order to understand the differences between these two phrases and what they mean, I had to turn to something older and more accurate than the KJB. I had to go back to the original Greek and Hebrew.

Please understand that your KJB only philosophy is your personal preference. Personal preferences aren’t dangerous until we try to make them doctrine. Then it can become disastrous. Next thing I know you’ll be telling me you can ONLY be saved through the preaching from the KJB. And BTW, the ONLY way that the KJB would be the SOLE “pure and settled in heaven” is if you could ONLY be saved through the preaching of the KJV.

Are these other versions stumbling blocks for the Gospel? Well let me ask you: Did Jesus go to the cross in the original language. Sure he did. Did he rise from the dead in the KJV? Sure. Did he ascend to the father in the NLT? Last time I checked. Is he pleading my case RIGHT NOW in the ESV? Yup!! Is he coming back for his bride, the church, in the NIV? You bet. Can you still be saved by calling on the name of Jesus in the AMP? Absolutely.

The WORD OF GOD is alive. THE WORD OF GOD IS ALIVE. THE WORD OF GOD IS ALIVE!!!

Whether that be Bishops Bible, Douy-Rheims Bible, Tyndale New Testament, The Geneva Bible, De Nyew Testament in Gullah, New Living Translation, The Authorized 1611 King James, The New King James, The Coverdale Bible…etc.

As long as people are getting saved by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that salvation leads them into a lasting personal relationship with Jesus, does it REALLY matter if they prefer the KJV or not?

Can we really deny the success of say Bethlehem UMC since we don’t use the KJV but primarily the NKJV and the NLT?? Is all of that success fake? It would be fake if you could only TRULY WORSHIP JESUS THROUGH THE KJV.

Thankfully that’s just not the case.

 

 

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Follow Up: Hello, My Name is Judas

So a friend of mine read one of our blogs: Hello! My name is Judas.

He responded with the following question and this was my resonse.

Friend Question: Read your writing on Judas and I have one question. What is your belief on Judas’ eternity?

My Answer: Well to answer that question, I must explain the evidences first. Jesus called Judas a friend but also called him the one he lost so it’s an interesting question. Sometimes we like to think of Judas as someone who was kind of an outcast from the rest of the group an maybe from Jesus but that wasn’t the case. You could say well Judas never really bought into the whole Jesus concept, but in reality, none of them did until Jesus resurrection. Matter of fact, the only ones that were there when he got crucified was Peter. Doesn’t sound like the rest of them really got it either. Judas’ betrayal alone can’t be the determining factor in his eternity because the only sin you can’t get forgiveness for is the dying having rejected the gospel of Jesus. On that same token, suicide can’t be a determining factor for it either. There is nothing in scripture that says suicide is the nail in the coffin for your eternity, it is however, the gateway to an early eternity. Was Judas repentant? I could easily say yes and no. He DID try to give the money back. He DID try to reverse what he had done. There was some sort of remorse for what he had done, but did he ask the Lord for forgiveness in prayer? Don’t know. But in reality, would that make a difference? Here is my opinion about Judas:

Judas forsook all that he had and followed Jesus which is more than can be said for most of us. He left family, friends, job and a future to sit at the master’s feet. He didn’t understand or agree with all that was said but neither did the rest of them. My bible says that if he believed in Jesus then he was saved. One could say “but he betrayed”. If betrayal was the what made him fall from grace then haven’t we all fallen from grace, for we all have surely betrayed him.

To answer your question: What is my belief on Judas’ eternity?

…I Don’t Know

It’s what believe and it’s what I preach. I have no idea where he is. I can make a VERY compelling argument either way. I simply don’t have enough facts to make a decision. If I place him in Heaven then I am being very presumptuous. Same thing if I put him in Hell. So I leave it up to the person, because there is NO way of knowing. Although I will give you this last little tid-bit. Would Peter have went to Hell if he had died before Jesus had rose from the dead and restored him?

 

Observations Always Involves Theory Part 1: Gap Theory

The definition of a theory is the following: a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.

There are many theories people come up with to try and explain things we have no clue about. This blog post is all about exploring different theories and how they interact with Scripture. Obviously we can’t cover ALL the different theories out there but we are going to cover some of interest to the Christian.

The difference between a theory and a law.

A theory is a proposed suggestion or explanation of how something works.

A law is a theory proven true. There is a theory of relativity. There is a law of gravity.

First I need to throw out a disclaimer and a warning:

So this post is supposed to be a fun post about difficult subjects within scripture. IT DOES NOT reflect any personal beliefs of mine unless stated. IT IS NOT intended to sway any opinions toward the topic nor confuse the reader about their faith. This post is not intended to be a stumbling block for you. I realize in the grand scheme of things that discussing such theories has NO weight on a persons eternal salvation. Please understand, this is STRICKLY for fun.

AT ANY POINT IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE OR FEEL CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT YOU BELIEVE PLEASE STOP READING AND RE-EMBRACE SCRIPTURE. THESE TOPICS COULD DIRECTLY CHALLENGE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN TAUGHT AND WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS. AGAIN IT’S JUST FOR FUN.

Let’s get started.

Theory 1: The Gap Theory

The gap theory suggests that there was section of time in between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void, darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The gap theory brings into question whether or not God would have created something that was without form and void from the very beginning. IF that was the only leg this theory had to stand on then it would be easy…EASY to debug this idea. If God wanted to create a primordial earth that was without form and void then guess what…WHO ARE WE TO TELL HIM HE CAN’T?

Thankfully there is just a little more to this theory that makes it a little more sturdy. There is no doubt science is a part of our everyday lives. And certain fields of science make claims that the earth is billions of years old if not more. If we are honest with ourselves then we would EASILY say that we aren’t smart enough to say whether they are right or wrong. I am not qualified enough to look at a discolored rock and say, “Hey this rock line looks like its from the aoieawow period which makes it 4.56999 million years old.” I just ain’t that smart…hehe. But I can say there is a POSSIBLE explanation for this interesting science.

Question: If there is a gap theory, what in the world happened in it?

OK I need to be completely honest. I have been working on this blog for two days and at every corner I find more puzzles without answers…SO I am going to leave what I have wrote here below and then I am going to write a section at the end challenging pretty much everything here…so again this is about having fun and this is about asking questions, challenging your thoughts.

THIS IS ALL….ALL….ALL….ALL Speculation. That’s what makes it fun.

Luke 10:18 “…I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightening!”

Isaiah 14:12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O shinning star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.”

I know what most people will say when confronted with the text in Isaiah. The context would suggest Isaiah was talking about a pagan king of Babylon instead of Satan. But what we must remember is that SOMETIMES God uses scriptures to not only talk about something on THIS existence but also on another one as well. So while this WAS a message for a wicked earthly ruler, this was ALSO a message about the “son of the morning”.

Anyways the point of using these two scriptures was to ask the question. We all know scripturally that Satan rebelled against heaven and was cast out. The only time he can now return to his former home is when he is summoned by God. See Job Chapter 1 and 2.

But WHEN in the narrative of creation did Satan get cast down to earth? When did Jesus behold Satan fall from heaven like lightening? When did this take place. Obviously chronologically we don’t start Genesis out with the rebellion of Satan, thus the first time we see him is in the form of a serpent. So we have an interesting question to explore. WHEN DID SATAN FALL TO EARTH?? Gap theory provides an opportunity to explain this. It would make since that it happened in between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. It would certainly fit there. It could possibly explain how the earth went from creation to nothingness. It would also provide some clear explanation behind Dinosaurs and Evolution.

So in the case of Dinosaurs we need to answer a few basic questions.

  1. What does the Bible say about dinosaurs?

    There are many running theories about whether dinosaurs are in the Bible. A general understanding of the most popular range from:

    1. Dinosaurs are merely made up to support the theory of evolution.
    2. Dinosaurs were animals that had become corrupted, weren’t taken into the ark, and died in the flood.
    3. Dinosaurs were created by God, possibly even taken onto the ark, but died thereafter.

     

    Those who have collected dinosaur remains in the Midwest plains of Canada and the United States or in the Colorado Plateau region have no lingering doubt concerning their reality. Thousands of specimens have been found and excavated, thereby debunking the first theory mentioned. However, simply because we acknowledge the existence of dinosaurs does not mean we must accept that it took millions of years for their appearance/disappearance. The second theory comes from those who see the dinosaur bones, but feel there is no direct Biblical supporting evidence for their creation. Theory number three, is one that is rather plausible and even supported in the Bible.

    Did God create dinosaurs?

    Would God have created dinosaurs? Why is there no mention of dinosaurs in the Bible, especially the creation account? In Creation, there are many creatures that were not mentioned by name that do exist. When thinking of dinosaurs, most first thoughts are of gargantuan, ferocious lizards. It makes it hard to believe that God would create something so monstrous for the Garden of Eden.

    Actually, the fossil remains indicate that they were indeed a highly diversified group, ranging in size from that of a rabbit to tremendous beasts 20 feet high, 85 feet long, and weighing up to 50 tons. It appears that some were relatively light-footed and had bipedal locomotion, while others were quadrupedal and moved about in a slow and cumbersome manner. Some were carnivores and others herbivores. Certain types were well suited for aquatic habitat while others remained on land. However, most dinosaurs were relatively the size of humans.

    Not only that, something to be considered is that humans at the time of Adam up until Noah lived hundreds of years. Adam died at 930 years, Methuselah died at 969, Noah lived 950 years. With such longevity, isn’t it only logical to believe that mankind grew larger and taller? True, it might not be the size of a 20-foot dinosaur, but perhaps proportional to how one experiences the grandiose size of a blue whale compared to the modern average human.

    What about the large ferocious teeth? How would a “T-Rex” fit into the picture of paradise? If one can imagine a lion in heaven eating grass like a cow, perhaps a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Garden of Eden is no longer a stretch of the imagination.

    Isaiah 11:6-7 shares this picture of heaven:

    “ The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,       The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,       The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;       And a little child shall lead them.       The cow and the bear shall graze;       Their young ones shall lie down together;       And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. ”       Predators of our world today were not predators at the start of Creation. Lions used to eat straw and wolves didn’t eat lambs. It was not until sin came in and corrupted animals, bringing in death, predation, and “survival of the fittest.” Is it also possible that dinosaurs once were peaceful creatures?

    Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?

    There has been much discussion on the topic specifically involving verses in Job 40-41. Job is considered to be the oldest book of the Bible. Scholars, in studying Job’s longevity (he lived up to 140 years), descriptions of his wealth and household, believe he was most likely alive after the time of Noah, but before the time of Abraham.

    Behemoth: Job 40

    Job 40:15-24 speaks of a “behemoth.” No one is really sure what it is, but read its description.

    15 “Look now at the behemoth,which I made along with you; he eats grass like an ox. 16 See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles. 17 He moves his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. 18 His bones are like beams of bronze, his ribs like bars of iron. 19 He is the first of the ways of God; only He who made him can bring near His sword. 20 Surely the mountains yield food for him, and all the beasts of the field play there.  21 He lies under the lotus trees, in a covert of reeds and marsh. 22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade; the willows by the brook surround him. 23 Indeed the river may rage, yet he is not disturbed; he is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth, 24 Though he takes it in his eyes, or one pierces his nose with a snare.”

    The way the “behemoth” is described, doesn’t it almost sound like a dinosaur? Perhaps one of the sauropods? Some will argue these verses are referring to the hippopotamus or elephant. However, they run into the problem of explaining verse 17, since the tails of both animals are…well, far from looking like a cedar tree (let alone moving like one). Their tails more resemble switches.

    Leviathan: Job 41

    In Job 41:1-2,7,12-32, the “Leviathan” is another creature described that has been hard to find a modern equivalent.

    1“Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?   2 Can you put a reed through his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook?…   7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears?…  12 “I will not conceal his limbs, his mighty power, or his graceful proportions.  13 Who can remove his outer coat? Who can approach him with a double bridle?  14 Who can open the doors of his face, with his terrible teeth all around?  15 His rows of scales are his pride, shut up tightly as with a seal;  16 One is so near another that no air can come between them;  17 They are joined one to another, they stick together and cannot be parted.  18 His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.  19 Out of his mouth go burning lights; sparks of fire shoot out.  20 Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.  21 His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth.  22 Strength dwells in his neck, and sorrow dances before him.  23 The folds of his flesh are joined together; they are firm on him and cannot be moved.  24 His heart is as hard as stone, even as hard as the lower millstone.  25 When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; because of his crashings they are beside themselves.  26 Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail; nor does spear, dart, or javelin.  27 He regards iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood.  28 The arrow cannot make him flee; slingstones become like stubble to him.  29 Darts are regarded as straw; he laughs at the threat of javelins.  30 His undersides are like sharp potsherds; he spreads pointed marks in the mire.  31 He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment.  32 He leaves a shining wake behind him; one would think the deep had white hair.

    Some have translated the Leviathan to be a “crocodile,” because of the large number currently present in the region. However, the crocodile pales in comparison to the description given to the Leviathan. Do crocodiles really raise themselves? Aren’t the underbellies of crocodiles smooth rather than “sharp potsherds?” Does the crocodile really move fast enough and graceful enough to leave a “shining wake”? The Leviathan is also mentioned in the following verses: Psalms 74:14, 104:25-26, Isaiah 27:1.

    Why are dinosaurs not alive today?

    The sudden extinction of the dinosaurs, as shown by the geological record, is a mystery that evolutionary paleontologists have considerable difficulty explaining. What happened to wipe out the dinosaurs so quickly? A change of temperature? A change in the plants? Blasts of heat from a meteor? Mammals eating dinosaur eggs? A change in oxygen concentration? Overspecialization? Senility? All these have been offered as explanations by evolutionary scientists. The dominant theory at present is that a large object from space hit Earth and blasted up so much dust that the sun was obscured for months. Plants and animals died. However there are problems with this theory. If this happened, why was the extinction selective? Why did some plants and animals, including some more fragile than dinosaurs, not become extinct?

    Were dinosaurs on the ark?

    From a biblical perspective, the most likely explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs is the worldwide Flood described in Genesis 6 and 7. Soon after the flood mankind began to rapidly decrease in size, and in length of years. There was a class of very large animals which perished at the flood. God knew that the strength of man would decrease, and these mammoth animals could not be controlled by feeble man.

    Dinosaurs and the Bible

    Ironically enough, by trusting the Bible, Christians have no need to “explain away” dinosaurs and do mental gymnastics to try and disprove their existence. The Bible even leaves the door open for Christians to discover dinosaurs alive today. Should a dinosaur exist today and ever be discovered roaming around deep in some jungle, it would not really affect our understanding of the Bible or our faith. On the other hand, evolutionists would have to restructure their entire system of thought if a dinosaur appeared alive on today’s scene.

    read more at http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/are-dinosaurs-mentioned-bible

  2. How do we know whether or not dinosaurs are as old as paleontologist claim? 

    How do paleontologists figure out a fossil’s age?

    It can be difficult to determine the age of fossils (date the fossils). Because fossil bones aren’t made from the right kind of rocks, you can’t really run scientific tests on fossils to determine their age. Scientists can use scientific tests to determine the age of rocks near the fossils. The types of tests are called radiometric dating. There are certain types of elements that are radioactive. Radioactive elements fall apart overtime and slowly change into another element that is not radioactive. We know how fast radioactive elements fall apart. We know what radioactive elements turn into after they have fallen apart. We can compare the amount of radioactive elements in a rock to the amount of specific non-radioactive elements in a rock, do some math and determine how old the rock is. For example, uranium falls apart into lead. So, if we find a rock that has uranium in it, we can compare it to the amount of lead in the rock to find out how old the rock is. If you have the right kind of rocks, this method is very accurate. The trouble with using this method to date fossils is: Radioactive elements are only found in ingenious rocks, and you can’t find fossils in igneous rocks.

     

     

     

     

    fossil-layers
    So, if you can’t date the fossil directly with scientific tests, how do you date the fossil? You have to use what scientists call relative dating. The relative dating method most commonly used by paleontologists and geologists is called stratigraphy. Stratigraphic dating works like this. Rocks are formed in horizontal (flat, not up and down) beds or layers. These layers are called strata. The oldest layers are on the bottom and the youngest layers are on the top. So, the oldest fossils are on the bottom layer and the newest fossils are on the top layers. If you find a layer of the right kind of igneous rocks you can use the exact dating method to determine and exact date of that layer.

     

     

    Geo_time 

    Paleontologists have found certain fossils that are different from all other fossils. These organisms lived for a relatively short amount of time, and they know when these animals lived. Paleontologists call these fossils index fossils. Index fossils can be used to determine approximately how old an unknown fossil is. For example, if you find an unknown fossil in the same layer of rock as one of the index fossils, you know your fossil is the same age as the index fossil.

    Geologists and paleontologists have used a combination of dating techniques, which are radiometric dating, stratigraphic dating, and index fossils, to determine the approximate age of rocks all over the world. Once you know the approximate age of rocks, you can determine the approximate age of the fossil.

Read more at http://www.kidsdinos.com/how-old-are-fossils/

So in light of the above information, I must admit that I am in NO way smart enough to say one way or the other whether or not they are correct in assuming the earth is so many millions of years old. Honestly if God wanted me to know for a fact he would have spoken the facts in his word…HOWEVER, this is not the case.

BUT, IF the earth IS “millions” of years old and IF the dinosaurs lived in a pre-man time, then the Gap Theory gives us plenty of room for incorporation. Let’s think about this logically.

Let’s deal with the age of the earth now.

Hubble Telescope has been extremely beneficial in helping us understand more about the universe. If we are going to claim that the earth is “millions” of years old we need to figure out how the earth was created. Unfortunately, in our solar system we are looking at planets that have ALREADY formed. But within the universe, there are plenty of planets being form as we speak. Here is some information on how planets and solar systems are formed.

How Do Planets Form?

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For centuries, astronomers and philosophers wondered how our solar system and its planets came to be. As telescopes advanced and space probes were sent out to explore, we learned more and more about our solar system, which gave us clues to how it might have taken shape.

But were our ideas right?

We could only see the end result of planet formation, not the process itself. And we had no other examples to study. Even with the knowledge gained about our solar system, we were left to wonder, are there other planetary systems out there, and did they form like ours? Discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope are helping us fill in key pieces to the puzzle of how planets form.

Current Understanding

Cloud Collapse

A cloud collapses to form a star and disk. Planets form from this disk.

According to our current understanding, a star and its planets form out of a collapsing cloud of dust and gas within a larger cloud called a nebula. As gravity pulls material in the collapsing cloud closer together, the center of the cloud gets more and more compressed and, in turn, gets hotter. This dense, hot core becomes the kernel of a new star.

Meanwhile, inherent motions within the collapsing cloud cause it to churn. As the cloud gets exceedingly compressed, much of the cloud begins rotating in the same direction. The rotating cloud eventually flattens into a disk that gets thinner as it spins, kind of like a spinning clump of dough flattening into the shape of a pizza. These “circumstellar” or “protoplanetary” disks, as astronomers call them, are the birthplaces of planets.

Particles MergingSmall clumps of material within a disk stick together to form larger clumps. Eventually these clumps grow to become planets.

As a disk spins, the material within it travels around the star in the same direction. Eventually, the material in the disk will begin to stick together, somewhat like household dust sticking together to form dust bunnies. As these small clumps orbit within the disk, they sweep up surrounding material, growing bigger and bigger. The modest gravity of boulder-sized and larger chunks starts to pull in dust and other clumps. The bigger these conglomerates become, the more material they attract, and the bigger they get. Soon, the beginnings of planets — “planetesimals,” as they are called — are taking shape.

Why do the planets in our solar system circle the Sun?

When the Sun was young, it was encircled by a rotating disk of gas and dust. From this disk formed the planets.

The planets inherited their motion from the disk and today act like cars on a racetrack, all orbiting the Sun in the same direction and in roughly the same flat plane.

In the inner part of the disk, most of the material at this point is rocky, as much of the original gas has likely been gobbled up and cleared out by the developing star. This leads to the formation of smaller, rocky planetesimals close to the star. In the outer part of the disk, though, more gas remains, as well as ices that haven’t yet been vaporized by the growing star. This additional material allows planetesimals farther from the star to gather more material and evolve into giants of ice and gas.

As each planetesimal grows bigger, it starts clearing out the material in its path, snatching up nearby, slow-moving rubble and gas while gravitationally tossing other material out of its way. Eventually, the debris in its path thins out and the planetesimal has a relatively clear lane of traffic around its star.

Protoplanetary Origins

Hundreds of these planetesimals are forming at the same time, and inevitably they meet up. If their paths cross at just the right time and they’re moving fast enough relative to each other, SMASH! — they collide, sending debris everywhere. But if they slowly meander toward one other, gravity can gently draw them together. They form a union, merging into a larger object. If the participants are farther apart, they might not physically interact but their gravitational encounter can pull each body off course. These wayward objects start to cross other lanes of traffic, setting the stage for additional collisions and other meetings of the rocky kind.

After millions of years, countless encounters between these planetesimals have cleared out much of the disk’s debris and have built up much larger — and many fewer — objects that now dominate their regions. A planetary system is reaching maturity.

Read more at: http://hubblesite.org/hubble_discoveries/discovering_planets_beyond/how-do-planets-form

The issue with all this planetary formation stuff is that it clearly contradicts scripture. But it is necessary if we are to assume the planet could be billions of years old. So I guess now it’s time to evaluate the gap theory in light of science and scripture.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness.

God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.

Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.

Genesis 1:1-5,13-19

So science says that a star must form BEFORE the planets. But scripture says God created the EARTH first BEFORE he created the SUN. This presents a GREAT challenge, for neither science nor scripture will easily budge on this topic. So is there a way to reconcile this void? Can Gap Theory account for this contradiction.

The answer is: I have no idea…

My suggestion would be that scientific methods are scientific methods; God’s methods are God’s. I have no trouble believing that planets form in the universe in this way. I have no trouble believing stars form first. I also have NO trouble believing that God CREATED the Earth on day one and the sun, moon and stars on day 4. It is how those two facts coexist that I am not certain. There is just not enough evidence to suggest something definitive either way. All I can say is God said it happened…so it happened.

A little disclaimer here: God has the ability, without any effort, to create the earth first and then the sun later. I mean we ARE talking about the God of this entire universe. We are talking about the God that would have CREATED the scientific method.

The creation suggests that God went in his own order in creating the universe. Do I understand what the “Light” of verse 3 is? NOPE!! I struggle understanding and explaining how God created a light that wasn’t the sun, wasn’t the Son and wasn’t electricity. But the beautiful thing is I don’t HAVE to explain it, I just have to believe in the one who says he did it. I can’t argue with astronomers cause I don’t, in any way, have an astronomy degree. But what I do have is a working salvation and a faith that needs no explanation.

So here is my conclusion on the gap theory:

IF Dinosaurs existed “millions” of years ago, it was in the gap theory. The meteor that supposedly wiped the dinosaurs out COULD have been what took the earth from Genesis 1:1 creation to Genesis 1:2 void and dark.

IF Satan fell to the earth before man was created, it was in the gap theory. [Some even suggest that Satan was the one who attempted creation himself and created the dinosaurs and maybe even the Neanderthals.]

Make up your own mind when it comes to Gap theory, but remember, it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you can back it up with Scripture.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND…the more you dig in this stuff, the more questions you have.  The more information I find one way or the other, the more questions I have. SO PLEASE TAKE THIS AS SPECULATION. I AM PROBABLY GOING TO CONTRADICT MYSELF!! I MAKE NO FINAL CONCLUSIONS EXCEPT THIS: GOD KNOWS WHAT HE DID AND WHY HE DID IT AND ALL I AM REQUIRED TO DO IS TAKE HIM AT HIS WORK AND TRUST HIM.

OK so we have reached the portion of our show where I pretty much destroy everything I have written in a section called:

Unsolved Mysteries: Gap Theory

Ok so problem number 1. According to the creation account, the Sun wasn’t created until day 4. How was it that the Dinosaurs could have survived WITHOUT the sun. Were they 100% nocturnal? Did they not need heat? What about the herbivores? They eat plants. Plants need the Sun for photosynthesis. THERE WAS NO SUN TILL DAY 4!! Even further, there was no LIGHT until AFTER the theorized GAP THEORY. Well you could say that the Lord fed them, but the problem is to what end? What would be his purpose in feeding the dinosaurs who have NO soul only to destroy them with a meteor?

Problem number 2. In the book of Job, mentioned earlier, God describes the behemoth as having a tail that swings like the cedar. No animal today can boast of that. I believe God was being 100% honest with him about the behemoth and the leviathan just like he was about the ocean and the rain. So it’s interesting to note that the Lord talked about these massive creatures as if they were still around. He certainly didn’t talk about them in past tense. So that would suggest that there were dinosaurs after the flood. Most scholars say there is enough evidence to date the book of Job around the same time as Abraham.

Problem number 3. As much as there are tons of opportunity for Science and Creation to meet, there are also tons of problems. If the earlier suggestion of how planets are formed is the true method, then how is it that the earth was formed BEFORE the star which is the center of our solar system? How is it that there were plants and vegetation BEFORE there was a sun for Photosynthesis. Science would probably say this would be impossible. Thankfully I serve a God who makes all things possible.

So to recap all this, its all about theories…these theories haven’t been made a law because they have yet to be proven true. God’s Word however needs no man’s validation. Heaven and Earth will pass away before one jot or tittle will fade.

As for me, the more I think about Scripture and Science the more I find too many gaps in the gap theory. So IN MY OPINION, I call the gap theory BUSTED!!

P.S. This is a freebee. Don’t cost you nothing.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness.

What if we have been looking at verses 1 and 2 all wrong. What if verse 1 isn’t the start of the actual creation, but really just an introduction. What if the creation account actually starts in verse 2. The prepositional phrase, “in the beginning”, COULD be Moses’ way of introducing the narrative account by summing it up into one sentence.

If this is true, then verse two would lend itself almost seamlessly to science’s planetary formation theory. If the earth was formed by the smashing together of rocks dust and gas from the birth of the sun, it would explain how it was “formless”, it would also explain how it was dark because the sun had yet to finish it’s formation. We know there is a growth process for a star:

stellarevolution

So what if our sun was in a “protostar” phase until we reached day 4. Then all of a sudden with the word of the Lord, our sun was born. Still wouldn’t explain the light in verse three but it would make science and the bible come closer together AND it also doesn’t make verse one any less true. Considering in the beginning the Lord DID make the Heavens and the Earth.

Tell me what you think…it’s been fun writing this!!

Remember its just a theory. What the bible says trumps all and as long as you remember this, it doesn’t hurt to speculate and discuss.

Next time on Observation Always Involves Theory Part 2: The Multiverse

To be PREDESTINED or not to be PREDESTINED…is that the question?

Have you ever heard the phrase, you need to “know that you know that you know that you know that you know that you know that you know that you know that you know”? Ok I’m getting dizzy. I’m sorry but I don’t find a bible verse anywhere that says I need to know that I know. Have you ever wondered why?

Isn’t it funny that we base so much of our “eternal security” on things that aren’t found in scripture anywhere?

Here are a few words you might recognize that aren’t in scripture:

Rapture, Trinity, Mission and more…

Now we aren’t saying the teaching isn’t there, we are just saying word or phrase isn’t. I find it so weird that we make such a big deal about words that AREN’T in scripture but OVERLOOK words that ARE. We seem to be so SCARED of things that are so vital to our faith and our understanding of God and his provision for us. Today I would like to talk about the word/doctrine of predestination.

Immediately I know there are some people who are going to push back. But I implore you to hear me out. First let’s look at the verse:

Romans 8:29 (NLT) For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:29 (NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29 (AMP) For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.

For a deeper explanation about God knowing things beforehand, check out my other blog post entitled: “Hello! My name is Judas.“. So as we jump into this can of worms let’s start out with the obvious question.

Are you saying that God picked and chose who He would save and who He would not?

My Answer: NO!!!

If we believe that God chose WHO He wanted to offer salvation too then we are calling SEVERAL Bible verses LIES! Matter of fact we are suggesting that Paul, who wrote this verse about Predestination, was contradicting himself when he said “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13 (NLT)

If Salvation is predetermined then this promise can’t be for everyone and therefore renders John 3:16 useless. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (KJV)

Some might say that these verses were intended as a promise for ONLY those whom God has chosen. Well the problem is, EVEN IF God, for whatever reason, hand picked who would get to go to heaven, He certainly didn’t divulge any of that information to us. What I mean by this is, if the doctrine of predestination means that I was randomly selected, at what point do I find this out and how will I know how to lead someone to Christ without the this knowledge? Now let me throw a little disclaimer here: IF, and I mean IF, God WANTED to make it where HE picked and chose who went to Heaven or Hell based solely on some unknown criteria, THERE’S NOTHING ME AND YOU COULD DO ABOUT IT!! You might say, well if that’s the case then I am just not gonna worship him. Problem is, there is only ONE sin you can’t get forgiveness for and that’s dying having not accepted the Lord Jesus as personal savior. In reality you don’t have much of a choice. Call on his name and be saved or don’t and be damned. Is that harsh? Yup. Is that how it works? Yup!!

In my opinion, predestination doesn’t really mean God picked and chose who goes to heaven based on some unknown criteria or at random. The key to the doctrine of predestination is the word foreknowledge.

So let’s dig a little deeper here. I believe the Bible gives us ADEQUATE evidence that God has the ability to not only know every detail of the future, but to prophecy every detail. So let’s say that at some point in what i’ll call eternity past (that is to say, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have no beginning) it became time for the Jesus initiative to begin (enter Genesis 1) and in that moment, before God had created the very first thing, he knew exactly what he was going to do. He knew then that his creation, man, would fall and that they would need a savior. He knew even before he created the first thing, that Jesus, his son, would be the ONLY thing that could help us in our desperate situation. He knew that in order for Jesus to help us that would mean he would have to die on a cross and be buried in a tomb to rise 3 days later. I believe God knew this before he formed the heavens and the earth. But if I am true to form then I am convinced there has never been a time when God didn’t know what must be done. There was never a time when the Father, Son and Holy Spirit played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who would be the one on the cross. It was ALWAYS Jesus. ALWAYS.

That being said I believe scripture teaches that God also knew EXACTLY when a person would be presented with a choice: Accept the forgiveness by faith through grace, or reject it. And surely if God knew EXACTLY when conviction would come, then he MUST ALSO know EXACTLY who would accept and who would reject.

Now I feel you push back just a little so let me back my point up in scripture. Just pick a prophecy within the bible. Take Jesus and Peter for example. We all know Jesus told Peter he would deny him 3 times before the rooster crowed. We also know that Peter was like, “Naw, J, not in my house”. Ok well maybe he didn’t say it QUITE like that but he did say he would never deny him. I am not sure if Peter gave it much thought but I am here to tell you this: Nothing Peter could have done would stop Jesus’ prophecy about his life from coming true. NOTHING would stop it. So how is it that Jesus was able to prophecy to Peter about something that was going to happen, and even if Peter had sequestered himself within the confines of his own room, Jesus’ prophecy would come true. I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous but TRUST me when God the Father, God the Son or God the Holy Spirit makes a prophecy, no matter the circumstances, 100% of the time it comes true. Now in reality, Jesus was able to make such a bold claim about Peter because, not only did he know the future, but he also knew Peter wasn’t going to be one of the ones who cowered in their home and didn’t come out. He may have followed Jesus from a far off, but Jesus knew he would be there. There was a foreknowledge there that was able to make Jesus so confident in what Peter was going to do.

So how is it that it’s hard to believe God the Father KNOWS exactly whether or not you will accept Jesus? How is it that it’s easier to think God knows how to predict what I am fixing to do but he doesn’t know whether or not I believe in him? Romans 9:21-24 (NLT) says it like this: “When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.” What qualifications are there for being “destined for destruction” or “prepared in advance for glory”? JESUS!! It’s all about JESUS. So let’s recap where we are so far.

God knew from the foundation of the world that we would need Jesus.

God’s plan for sin, from the foundation of the world, was always going to be Jesus.

God knew every decision we were ever going to make before he created the first thing.

God knew whether or not we would accept his FREE salvation from the foundation of the world.

If you don’t agree, that’s COMPLETELY FINE, but you need to be able to handle these scriptures and make them make since in light of your beliefs because, in my opinion,  you can’t FULLY TRUST JESUS outside of foreknowledge and predestination.

This is a good time to note that God ALWAYS provides a person with at least 1 opportunity to accept Jesus. The bible says that even the very CREATION, that is to say the world around us, declares the glory of God. Everything around us speaks of God and speaks of his glory. There WILL NOT be ONE single person who will be able to say they didn’t have at least ONE opportunity to accept the Lord Jesus. Otherwise the judgment and justice of the Lord wouldn’t be fair.

So what Paul is saying in the earlier verse is this: God, under the influence of his foreknowledge, created some people to be vessels of honor and some to be vessels of dishonor. Please understand, God NEVER makes the choice for us. He COULD, mind you. But it is OUR CHOICE to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior over our lives or not. God looks at that lump of clay (i.e. you and me) and he laid out his plan for that clay, whether we would be made for decoration of made for garbage, BASED on his foreknowledge of whether or not we would accept Jesus. If he looked and saw that we WOULD accept him, then he fashioned our lives to be a vessel of honor. If he looked and saw that we would REJECT him, then he fashioned our lives to be a vessel of dishonor.

Let’s take a look at a passage to help us understand the difference between vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor.

Exodus 7:1-12:30

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh, and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet. Tell Aaron everything I command you, and Aaron must command Pharaoh to let the people of Israel leave his country. But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh. Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Pharaoh will demand, ‘Show me a miracle.’ When he does this, say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent.’” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the Lord had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the Lord had predicted. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn, and he still refuses to let the people go. So go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes down to the river. Stand on the bank of the Nile and meet him there. Be sure to take along the staff that turned into a snake. Then announce to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, “Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.” Until now, you have refused to listen to him. So this is what the Lord says: “I will show you that I am the Lord.” Look! I will strike the water of the Nile with this staff in my hand, and the river will turn to blood. The fish in it will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.’” Then the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and raise your hand over the waters of Egypt—all its rivers, canals, ponds, and all the reservoirs. Turn all the water to blood. Everywhere in Egypt the water will turn to blood, even the water stored in wooden bowls and stone pots.’” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt. But again the magicians of Egypt used their magic, and they, too, turned water into blood. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted. Pharaoh returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind. Then all the Egyptians dug along the riverbank to find drinking water, for they couldn’t drink the water from the Nile. Seven days passed from the time the Lord struck the Nile. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh and announce to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs across your entire land. The Nile River will swarm with frogs. They will come up out of the river and into your palace, even into your bedroom and onto your bed! They will enter the houses of your officials and your people. They will even jump into your ovens and your kneading bowls. Frogs will jump on you, your people, and all your officials.’” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise the staff in your hand over all the rivers, canals, and ponds of Egypt, and bring up frogs over all the land.’” So Aaron raised his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs came up and covered the whole land! But the magicians were able to do the same thing with their magic. They, too, caused frogs to come up on the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and begged, “Plead with the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people. I will let your people go, so they can offer sacrifices to the Lord.” “You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River.” “Do it tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. “All right,” Moses replied, “it will be as you have said. Then you will know that there is no one like the Lord our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials, and your people. They will remain only in the Nile River.” So Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh’s palace, and Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had inflicted on Pharaoh. The Egyptians piled them into great heaps, and a terrible stench filled the land. But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted. So the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise your staff and strike the ground. The dust will turn into swarms of gnats throughout the land of Egypt.’” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. Pharaoh’s magicians tried to do the same thing with their secret arts, but this time they failed. And the gnats covered everyone, people and animals alike. “This is the finger of God!” the magicians exclaimed to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted. Then the Lord told Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand in Pharaoh’s way as he goes down to the river. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse, then I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, your people, and all the houses. The Egyptian homes will be filled with flies, and the ground will be covered with them. But this time I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live. No flies will be found there. Then you will know that I am the Lord and that I am present even in the heart of your land. I will make a clear distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.’” Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron. “All right! Go ahead and offer sacrifices to your God,” he said. “But do it here in this land.” But Moses replied, “That wouldn’t be right. The Egyptians detest the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God. Look, if we offer our sacrifices here where the Egyptians can see us, they will stone us. We must take a three-day trip into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, just as he has commanded us.” “All right, go ahead,” Pharaoh replied. “I will let you go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God. But don’t go too far away. Now hurry and pray for me.” Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the swarms of flies will disappear from you and your officials and all your people. But I am warning you, Pharaoh, don’t lie to us again and refuse to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord .” So Moses left Pharaoh’s palace and pleaded with the Lord to remove all the flies. And the Lord did as Moses asked and caused the swarms of flies to disappear from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. Not a single fly remained. But Pharaoh again became stubborn and refused to let the people go. “Go back to Pharaoh,” the Lord commanded Moses. “Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you continue to hold them and refuse to let them go, But the Lord will again make a distinction between the livestock of the Israelites and that of the Egyptians. Not a single one of Israel’s animals will die! The Lord has already set the time for the plague to begin. He has declared that he will strike the land tomorrow.’” And the Lord did just as he had said. The next morning all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but the Israelites didn’t lose a single animal. Pharaoh sent his officials to investigate, and they discovered that the Israelites had not lost a single animal! But even so, Pharaoh’s heart remained stubborn, and he still refused to let the people go. Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a brick kiln, and have Moses toss it into the air while Pharaoh watches. The ashes will spread like fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, causing festering boils to break out on people and animals throughout the land.” So they took soot from a brick kiln and went and stood before Pharaoh. As Pharaoh watched, Moses threw the soot into the air, and boils broke out on people and animals alike. Even the magicians were unable to stand before Moses, because the boils had broken out on them and all the Egyptians. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and just as the Lord had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen.

Did you catch that? For the first time in this narrative it is the LORD who hardened Pharaoh’s heart…interesting…

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh. Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you don’t, I will send more plagues on you and your officials and your people. Then you will know that there is no one like me in all the earth. By now I could have lifted my hand and struck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth. But I have spared you for a purpose—to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth. But you still lord it over my people and refuse to let them go. So tomorrow at this time I will send a hailstorm more devastating than any in all the history of Egypt. Quick! Order your livestock and servants to come in from the fields to find shelter. Any person or animal left outside will die when the hail falls.’” Some of Pharaoh’s officials were afraid because of what the Lord had said. They quickly brought their servants and livestock in from the fields. But those who paid no attention to the word of the Lord left theirs out in the open. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward the sky so hail may fall on the people, the livestock, and all the plants throughout the land of Egypt.” So Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed toward the earth.

Job 38: “…Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail? (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.) Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind? “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain? Who laid out the path for the lightning?…”

The Lord sent a tremendous hailstorm against all the land of Egypt. Never in all the history of Egypt had there been a storm like that, with such devastating hail and continuous lightning. It left all of Egypt in ruins. The hail struck down everything in the open field—people, animals, and plants alike. Even the trees were destroyed. The only place without hail was the region of Goshen, where the people of Israel lived. Then Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he confessed. “The Lord is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong. Please beg the Lord to end this terrifying thunder and hail. We’ve had enough. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer.” “All right,” Moses replied. “As soon as I leave the city, I will lift my hands and pray to the Lord. Then the thunder and hail will stop, and you will know that the earth belongs to the Lord . But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (All the flax and barley were ruined by the hail, because the barley had formed heads and the flax was budding. But the wheat and the emmer wheat were spared, because they had not yet sprouted from the ground.) So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and went out of the city. When he lifted his hands to the Lord, the thunder and hail stopped, and the downpour ceased. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had stopped, he and his officials sinned again, and Pharaoh again became stubborn. Because his heart was hard, Pharaoh refused to let the people leave, just as the Lord had predicted through Moses. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the Lord.” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse, watch out! For tomorrow I will bring a swarm of locusts on your country. They will cover the land so that you won’t be able to see the ground. They will devour what little is left of your crops after the hailstorm, including all the trees growing in the fields. They will overrun your palaces and the homes of your officials and all the houses in Egypt. Never in the history of Egypt have your ancestors seen a plague like this one!” And with that, Moses turned and left Pharaoh. So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “All right,” he told them, “go and worship the Lord your God. But who exactly will be going with you?” Moses replied, “We will all go—young and old, our sons and daughters, and our flocks and herds. We must all join together in celebrating a festival to the Lord.” Pharaoh retorted, “The Lord will certainly need to be with you if I let you take your little ones! I can see through your evil plan. Never! Only the men may go and worship the Lord, since that is what you requested.” And Pharaoh threw them out of the palace. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the land of Egypt to bring on the locusts. Let them cover the land and devour every plant that survived the hailstorm.” So Moses raised his staff over Egypt, and the Lord caused an east wind to blow over the land all that day and through the night. When morning arrived, the east wind had brought the locusts. And the locusts swarmed over the whole land of Egypt, settling in dense swarms from one end of the country to the other. It was the worst locust plague in Egyptian history, and there has never been another one like it. For the locusts covered the whole country and darkened the land. They devoured every plant in the fields and all the fruit on the trees that had survived the hailstorm. Not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants throughout the land of Egypt. Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you,” he confessed. “Forgive my sin, just this once, and plead with the Lord your God to take away this death from me.” So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and pleaded with the Lord. The Lord responded by shifting the wind, and the strong west wind blew the locusts into the Red Sea. Not a single locust remained in all the land of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart again, so he refused to let the people go. So Moses lifted his hand to the sky, and a deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived. Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses. “Go and worship the Lord,” he said. “But leave your flocks and herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.” “No,” Moses said, “you must provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord our God. All our livestock must go with us, too; not a hoof can be left behind. We must choose our sacrifices for the Lord our God from among these animals. And we won’t know how we are to worship the Lord until we get there.” But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart once more, and he would not let them go. “Get out of here!” Pharaoh shouted at Moses. “I’m warning you. Never come back to see me again! The day you see my face, you will die!” “Very well,” Moses replied. “I will never see your face again.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the Lord had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) Moses had announced to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me. ‘Please leave!’ they will beg. ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” Then, burning with anger, Moses left Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron performed these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country. While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the Lord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects. “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal—including the head, legs, and internal organs—must be roasted over a fire. Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not eaten before morning. “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover. On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel. On the first day of the festival and again on the seventh day, all the people must observe an official day for holy assembly. No work of any kind may be done on these days except in the preparation of food. “Celebrate this Festival of Unleavened Bread, for it will remind you that I brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day. This festival will be a permanent law for you; celebrate this day from generation to generation. The bread you eat must be made without yeast from the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day of that month. During those seven days, there must be no trace of yeast in your homes. Anyone who eats anything made with yeast during this week will be cut off from the community of Israel. These regulations apply both to the foreigners living among you and to the native-born Israelites. During those days you must not eat anything made with yeast. Wherever you live, eat only bread made without yeast.” Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning. For the Lord will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the Lord will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down. “Remember, these instructions are a permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever. When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.’” When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped. So the people of Israel did just as the Lord had commanded through Moses and Aaron. And that night at midnight, the Lord struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.

I know that was a lot of reading but I needed you to see the whole context for our discussion. I know there are many questions and topics we could chase but what I want to bring to your attention is the fact that about halfway through the plagues God started to harden Pharaoh’s heart. Why? Why would he do that? Pharaoh didn’t need any encouragement to not let the people go before, so why now? Is it possible that MAYBE Pharaoh was considering letting them go before the Lord hardened his heart? Well believe it or not, God was try to accomplish something. The other plagues were to prove some points to Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron, Egypt and the Hebrew people. So what was God getting at? You guessed it! JESUS!! The very first Passover was a foreshadowing of the cross. “When I see the blood I will pass, I will pass over you!!” So God hardened Pharaoh’s heart KNOWING he would never fully accept the God of Abraham over the gods of Egypt. He USED Moses as a vessel of honor KNOWING he would believe. God USED Pharaoh because he KNEW he wouldn’t believe. One a vessel of honor, the other a vessel of dishonor ALL to show a foreshadowing picture of Jesus in the Passover event. And because of this event, Israel was DELIVERED out of Egypt. Because of Jesus we are DELIVERED out of the bondage of the eternal penalty of sin.

God has an objective. In the Old Testament it was all about Jesus’ first advent. In our day it’s all about Jesus’ second advent. God knows who will trust him and he has predestined them to either be a vessel of honor or a vessel of dishonor based solely on their choice.

So let me ask you: which are you?

I heard one guy say that if we aren’t careful then we will make people think that they don’t have a choice and that their life doesn’t matter cause it’s all predetermined. To some extent this is true. God is moving ALL of us…ALL OF US…toward one conclusion, the day Jesus breaks through the clouds and every knee bows and every tongue confesses. This is where we are heading. Question is are you a vessel used for honor, based on whether or not you will except the Lord Jesus, or are you a vessel of dishonor? You have that choice. You do. Right now!! Just simply answer this question:

Do you believe that God sacrificed Jesus on the cross for YOUR sins and do you believe he has raised Jesus from the dead as a living sacrifice for YOUR redemption according to the scriptures?

If Jesus is your Lord and savior then you have been prepared as a vessel of honor from the foundation of the world.

If you haven’t accepted him as Lord and Savior then let me give you a warning. God knows whether or not you will accept him in your life. He ISN’T going to make that choice for you but he will give you PLENTY of opportunities to make up your mind. I cannot say whether or not you are going to be used as a vessel of honor or dishonor because I do not know if you will ever accept Jesus but what I CAN tell you is this: you will be used by the Lord to bring about his purposes ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. Of that you have NO choice. The final question is:

Do you want to be used as a Moses or as a Pharaoh? The choice is yours.

 

Ten Commandments of Biblical Parenting 2: Nothing Else Deserves Our Worship

Biblical Parenting 2: Best Friend or Bad Parent

We’ve all seen it. That moment when you are watching an interaction between parent and child and it’s about to get real ugly real quick. You brace yourself for the inevitable, only to be disappointed because instead of the strong hand of discipline, there was the soft hand of friendship.

You thought, “My parents would NEVER have let me get away with this and neither will my child.”

Then you have kids. And you’re forced to make a decision. Which camp to you fall in? The camp where love and friendship covers all, or the camp where discipline and sternness reign. So let’s find out:

Which do you feel is more important in your home (right now)? Love? Or Discipline?

Who would you say is the disciplinary and who is more likely to be the friend?

Which method of parenting do you feel will become your preference?

MOST of the time our camps can be a direct reflection of our own childhood. For example: When I was a child, there wasn’t as much love SHOWN as there was STERNNESS and DISCIPLINE. I had one of those upbringings where Dad certainly wasn’t a friend but someone to be afraid of. And whether I like it or not, those roots have shaped the kind of father that I want to be and the kind of father that I am.

As we have already seen, there are plenty of different opinions about which way is right when it comes to parenting. We have seen that we feel justified because it’s really about what’s best in our own eyes, right?

But what IS the right camp to belong in? What IS the right Godly method? Should I be more loving and understanding? Should I try to be my child’s friend? Or should I be more of the disciplinary figure? Should I not follow the “spare the rod, spoil the child” philosophy?

Proverbs 3:12 (NLT)

“For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”

Proverbs 3:12 (MESS)

It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.”

 Notice, with OUR FATHER, He loves AND disciplines. He disciplines AND loves. Now watch this. Same book few chapters later:

Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

So not only can the father be the disciplinary, but he can also be a FRIEND that sticks closer than a brother.

So what does all this mean?

Here is our Parental Advisory for this week:

Parental Advisory: There is a time for everything.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

There is a time and a place for everything. There is a time for discipline and a time for friendship. There is a time for sternness and there is a time for compassion. It’s all in the balance.

There will be times when a stern hand isn’t needed. There will be moments when your child is broken and just needs to feel love. There will be times when that strong hand of discipline will need to be a comforting hand of compassion. There will be times when wrapping your arms around their neck and telling them just how much you love them will go SO much farther than grabbing your belt and beating some sense into them.

Then there is a time when actions will need to have consequences. There will be moments when discipline is necessary. In those moments, loving responses alone won’t quench the rebellion or stubbornness. There are times when what the child needs more than anything is a reminder of the boundaries.

But remember, when God, who is the ultimate in Holiness, decides to discipline us, being the worst in righteousness, He does it OUT of love and WITH love EVERY TIME.

If your child doesn’t know that you love them, only that you are mad at them and are punishing them, then you have discipline without love. On the other hand, if your child knows you love them but they can get away with anything and everything, then you have love but no discipline. Again I say it’s all in the balance.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you needed love from your parents but got discipline?

Has there ever been a time in your life when you needed discipline but your parents showed love?

Has there been a time in your CHILDS life where you have been guilty of the same?

Last week we talked about how if we want to be biblical parents then we were going to have to make the Lord top priority. We talked about how the example is set by our actions and not our words. This week we come to commandment number 2.

Commandment #2: Nothing else deserves our worship.

Let’s take a look at where we are in this series:

Make the Lord TOP PRIORITY;
NOTHING ELSE deserves our worship

Exodus 20:4-6 (NLT)

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.”

 There is nothing greater to have than pride for your child. We are so blessed just to be gifted with children, how can you not take pride in them? But pride is a serial KILLER of worship!! There are two types of pride here that will cause us to break BOTH the First and Second commands.

Living FOR your child.

Let’s say your child is very active in the youth ministries here on Wednesday night. But basketball is starting up and the only time they can practice is on Monday and Wednesday night. What do you do? You want your child to play basketball because you KNOW they are good and you KNOW they want to play, but you also KNOW how important being involved in the church is to your child’s future. So I ask again: What should we do? Most of the time our solution would be to pull our child from church just so they can play basketball. I know of plenty of actual ball GAMES that are even held on Sundays!! While we may be able to explain away why we are missing out on worship, in reality, God says there is no excuse. Notice this verse.

“You MUST NOT make for yourself an idol of any kind…”

Listen, if I asked you if baseball or basketball or (fill in the blank) has become an idol to you, then you would obviously say NO!! Truth is, nothing ever starts out being an idol. It starts out as a fork in the road. It starts out as an option to do something different. Then it becomes a form of self-justification or in other words, an excuse. “It’s just for a few weeks. It’s really no big deal. Doesn’t mean we don’t love Jesus.”

According to scripture, what it means is we have MADE for OURSELVES an idol. We have made something for us to WORSHIP other than Jesus. If we find our local congregation meeting at the ball park on Sunday morning, then my friends, we have an idol.

Let’s check out Isaiah 44:9-20 (NLT)

How foolish are those who manufacture idols. These prized objects are really worthless. The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame. Who but a fool would make his own god— an idol that cannot help him one bit? All who worship idols will be disgraced along with all these craftsmen—mere humans— who claim they can make a god. They may all stand together, but they will stand in terror and shame. The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and weak. It makes him thirsty and faint. Then the wood-carver measures a block of wood and draws a pattern on it. He works with chisel and plane and carves it into a human figure. He gives it human beauty and puts it in a little shrine. He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the pine in the forest to be nourished by the rain. Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it! He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.” Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!” Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?” The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”

It all comes down to what’s more important in our lives. How badly do you and I want to be a biblical parent?

We need to understand how this works.

If the Lord is TOP PRIORITY in your life, then NOTHING ELSE will get your worship.

If the Lord is TOP PRIORITY in your life, then NOTHING ELSE will be more important.

If the Lord is TOP PRIORITY in your life, then NOTHING ELSE will get in the way.

If we as parents want to live FOR our child, then make LIVING FOR THE LORD the most important thing. Nothing else DESERVES our worship.

Don’t make ANYTHING….EVEN YOUR SPOUSE OR YOUR CHILD more important than Him. Easy? NOT AT ALL. ESSENTIAL? ABSOLUTELY.

Living THROUGH your child.

Exodus 20:5a (NLT)

“You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

Let me throw out a disclaimer here: There is NOTHING wrong with wanting your child to be the best or to succeed. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting your child to play sports. The problem comes in when we are worshipping our CHILD for the things they are doing, instead of worshipping the ONE who has given them the tools and opportunities.

In this more modern day, our children have/will have chances to do things we simply didn’t have. When I was in school there were 4 sports. Football, Basketball, Baseball and Soccer. Had there been Archery, Swimming, Bowling or even golf I might have found myself on a team. My point is now-a-days the options are endless for our children. But that doesn’t mean we get to live through them.

Have you ever heard someone say “When I was young, we didn’t have all this stuff, we were working…”?

Have you ever seen someone trying to live through their child?

I am all for parents being INVOLVED in their child’s activities, but remember, the LORD takes TOP PRIORITY! If you were meant to have the same experiences your child has, then the Lord would have given you the opportunity. However you ARE meant to worship him and him alone. You DO have the opportunity NOW to worship him in all his splendor and holiness and you ARE responsible for teaching your children how to put him first and foremost in their life as well.

NOTHING ELSE gets our WORSHIP. Nothing else comes before Him. Doesn’t matter what’s going on in our child’s life. Doesn’t matter what kind of experiences they are having or what we get to be a part of. What matters most is WORSHIPPING JESUS.

There’s nothing wrong with you wanting to be there for your child’s first hunt, UNLESS that hunt interferes with your worship of Jesus.

There’s nothing wrong with going shopping with you child, unless that shopping trip interferes with your child’s worship.

Remember earlier. THERE IS A TIME AND A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING. God wants you to have experiences with your child. God wants you to be able to bond with your little boy or little girl. But he NEVER designed ANY OF IT to come before your worship of HIM.

Notice again what he says here:

Exodus 20:5a (NLT)

“You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

It’s not just the “being” on the ball field on Wednesday night or on Sunday that’s the problem. God says the problem is you WANT to be there instead of being at CHURCH. The problem is the desire that is SUPPOSED to be saved for him, is now being used to facilitate and celebrate something that will have 0% effect on your child’s future with Jesus.

Why is this so important?

Exodus 20:5b-6 (NLT)

“I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected – even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who filled my cavity?

abstract-heart-wallpaper-015A cavity is defined as an empty space within a solid object, in particular the human body. Valentines day approaches. And from where I live, a few things can be determined. We MOST likely WON’T be getting into any restaurant without a wait, unless we go at an insanely early time. Every movie theater will most likely be packed. And everything is always over priced.

But, if your significant other, mine being my wife, has filled the cavity in your heart and soul; is she not worth it?

Trust me our marriage isn’t the picture perfect love story, there are plenty of arguments and disagreements; misunderstanding and attitudes, but I haven’t forgotten how much she means to me. I haven’t forgotten how it makes me feel to see her happy and to know that I am taking care of her and providing for her. My one true dream when I was child was to grow up and get married and start a family and I can honestly say there is NO ONE on this earth I would rather be with than her.

So I make sure to SHOW her how much she means to me. I make sure to SHOW her how much she has filled my emptiness. This year for Valentines day I am going OVER THE TOP. That’s kinda my thing. She will receive breakfast in bed on February 10th, she has already received a custom hand painted picture from our wedding, she will receive flowers, balloons, chocolates and cookies at work, and she will get a home-made meal for dinner one night. She is my FOREVER valentine and I want to make sure I fill her life with so much love because she has filled the emptiness of my heart.

via Daily Prompt: Cavity

The Forgotten (Prologue)

So some time ago I ventured into the realm of novel writing. I chose to write a post Rapture novel titled “The Forgotten”. It isn’t quite finished yet but it has come a long way. I would like to post at least some of what I have and would LOVE any feedback so I can make it better.

Here is the prologue of my book, let me know what you think and give ANY feedback please!!

The Forgotten

Book 1

By

Michael Bishop

Prologue

Friday October 9, 2015

5:17 pm

Canton Hill Baptist Church Parsonage

Troy, MS

2,557 Days

 

“Jacob, Abbie, time for supper.” Marcie said as she finished setting the table with the meal she had prepared for his family. He was excited and definitely hungry. His job didn’t allow him to be home for supper very often, the church always needs their pastor. His name was Rowan Lane. Him and Marcie had been at Canton Hill for 5 years now and were pretty happy there. When they had gotten married Rowan began saving up for a house of their own. Not that the potential of living in a parsonage was bad, it just wasn’t theirs. It was a spacious house with three bedrooms, two baths and a gigantic kitchen. The house was built back in the 1970’s and had went through an addition and remodel. When they had moved in it needed a fresh paint job and some odd and end updates, but they found it very livable. It holds a very special place in Rowan’s heart because it was the home they started a family in.

Footsteps quickly hustle down the hall. His kids know it too. Tonight is fried chicken night. In Rowan’s humble opinion, there is no woman on earth who can make fried chicken better than his wife. Unfortunately for him, she only made it one night a week. The last two weeks he had been out on church call and had missed fried chicken night, so he was especially happy he wasn’t going to miss it tonight.

The dining room table was pretty basic except for the fact it was hand made using pallet wood and four-by-four posts. Marcie fell in love with the smooth oak boards making the top of the table. She had painted each board a different color paint using a white wash method. The sequence of colors were a dull red, to a smooth gray and a shadowy black. Building the table was Rowan’s job, the painting was hers. On top of the table was a pumpkin orange table runner and a long wooden tray, only about six inches tall and ten inches wide but ran the length of the table. He had built the tray/crate thing at her request simply for decorative purposes. She had decorated for fall as soon as September had ended. October had always been her favorite month. It was the month they met, and the month they got married. There were small pumpkins and fall flowers with scented candles and leaves that had begun changing colors. On the table were set four plates and four glasses. Forks and spoons, with folded napkins for each plate. Set on the table were five dishes almost overflowing with food: homemade macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas, corn bread, mashed potatoes and of course fried chicken. He smiles knowing there is a sixth dish awaiting in the oven. Blue-berry cobbler. His favorite.

Everyone seems to always be in a better mood on this night. Jacob his oldest boy and pride and joy, who was five, seemed to have this glow about him. The love of fried chicken must have passed to him with the same vigor his dad had. He was cute as a button. Not much taller than Rowan’s mid-thigh, blond hair and his green eyes. He got his looks from his dad which wasn’t going to bode well for him later, but his personality was all Marcie. Even at age five, there was no way a heart that big could fit into a body that small. Of course Rowan knew he wouldn’t be that small for long. Rowan was a six foot three inch tall man, weighing around 300 pounds, with slightly more muscle than fat. Ironically enough, he might have to miss fried chicken night because of church business but he always seem to find time for an hour and a half at the gym. One day Jacob would, hopefully, fill out just like his dad. Maybe be the football star Rowan never was. His thoughts were interrupted by a flying hungry five year old boy. He had used a small step stool to jump clean in the air, completely convinced his super-hero dad would catch him and Rowan would not let him down. Grabbing him while in free fall, Rowan spun him around and hugged him tight before depositing him in his seat.

Again his thoughts were interrupted by a small high pitched voice, “Me next, Daddy. Me next!!” Abbie, his four year old baby girl who had been running close behind Jacob but wasn’t quite fast enough to be able to catch up, timidly stepped up on the small foot stool planning to jump like her big brother. Crouched down in her bare feet with her red and black striped bottoms and her red Minnie Mouse shirt on, Rowan prepares for her grand leap. “Move back, daddy. To close” she says. “Ooh, my little dare devil” he says and takes a step back. “This far enough” he asks? “Nope, still to close” she giggles. He takes another step back and she prepares to jump. As her feet leave the ground, she won’t make it more than a foot off the stool and not much further away from it, with Rowan about four feet away from her. She knows, even at four years old, distance means nothing with daddy. Rowan will always catch his babies. He will always be there for them. Rowan rushes to catches her lifting her high into the air as she squeals with pure glee. He could hear that sound over and over again for the rest of time.

Placing Abbie in her spot, Rowan lovingly looks toward his best friend, his wife Marcie. He could see the changes in her, from the girl he had dated, to the woman she had become. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. They had met at seminary college his first year. To hear her tell it from the moment she first saw Rowan, she thought he was better looking than any football quarterback. He kept telling her to get her eyes checked. He thought she was out of his league, and thanked God he was wrong. She was 5’ 6” but losing her girlish figure. After having two kids, she had filled out quite nicely. Her curvy hips were mesmerizing to say the least. Rowan truly thought she looked better and better the older he got. Tonight she wore a pair of faded blue jeans and a sangria button up shirt that hinted at the contours of her sexy stomach and luscious chest. Her milk chocolate brown hair fell perfectly to her full breasts. Her tanned skin, from a love of the waning summer sun, set her brown eyes to blazing. There wasn’t a single thing about her that didn’t make him burn passionately for her. If given the chance, he would lovingly explore the depths of their intimate relationship tonight, that is, if the kids went to bed early enough. She looks at him now and he could swear there is a glint of unspoken desire behind those eyes. Was she thinking the same thing he was? He sure hoped so.

Rowan takes his seat at the table and reaches out to his kid’s awaiting hands. Grace had been something they had started saying ever since Marcie and Rowan had first met. They had planned to instill in their children the values they wanted them to hold on to all of their lives and it always touched his heart when his children reached out from both sides of the table asking for his hand. He wouldn’t make them wait long. It was always a slight competition between the siblings about who was going to pray over supper. He had ended up having to settle it by letting them take turns every night. Tonight was Abbie’s night. Her excited eyes gleamed with anticipation as if it were something she looked forward to everyday. Yet still, she looks at him waiting for something. Maybe reassurance? Maybe permission? Her body a constant fidget of endless energy. There wasn’t the faintest whisper of a care in the world just a brave security that can only come from a loving family unit. He gives her a reassuring nod and a wide grin wishing to instill in her, in that moment, his love and the deepest emotion of his heart for her. She takes the nod and smiles on the verge of a giggling fit but restrains herself, bows her head, closes her eyes and begins.

“God is great. God is ‘dood’. Let us ‘dank’ him for our food. And for mommy. And daddy. And ‘brudder’ too. Jesus don’t be too mad at him for knocking me down today ‘ax-a-dently’, him didn’t mean too. Him told me so. Amen” she prayed. Rowan opened his eyes and looked from Abby to Jacob. Jacob’s expression almost made Rowan start a giggle fit. Jacob’s smile was gone as he looked shocked at what Abby had said. He then looks to his mom then his dad. Rowan allows a smile to break his face and Jacob’s worry eases into a grin as well. In that moment, Rowan hoped he would never forget the prayers of his kids. There may come a day when he didn’t remember his own name, but he prayed he remember the earnest and humble prayers of his children.

Supper had exceeded Rowan’s expectations. He made sure to compliment the chef personally when the kids had left the dining room. Not much longer after supper they had gotten baths and soon fell fast asleep on the couch. One on both sides of their mom. It was moments like these that would stay with him. Seeing his family snuggled up together. His beautiful wife looking lovingly at him while she stroked Jacob on the head and rubbed Abbie on her back. There was also a longing for him in those eyes. He knew that as much as she needed and desired the love and affection her kids had for her, she needed to feel him in the same way. And oh, how he longed for that feeling of being able to wrap his muscular frame around her gentle body. It was this closeness they shared in their bed each night that would remind him why he worked so hard to provide for her. He loved her. Every single thing about her. Her confidence and independence, yet her need for him. Her since of security as a woman and yet her desperate desire to please him as his wife. Would she ever truly understand how much she meant to him? Smiling he crosses to her and reaches down planting the softest of kisses sending a message to her that there would be more to come, now and for the rest of their lives. Then reaching to his left, he picked up the sleeping body of his first born son. He had not known he had the room in his heart to be able to love each member of his family so powerfully, so deeply. His life would be a shadow and utterly pointless without them. He would do whatever it took to make sure he would never have to lose them. Ever.

11:26 PM

Rowan is awoke abruptly by a piercing, ear-splitting sound. It reminded him of horn blast, yet he had never heard a noise so loud, so penetrating. He could feel it in his very bones. Where was this coming from? What was the cause? He could hardly put two thoughts together. The more he tried to think, the more intense the sound became. It was if nails were being raked down a million chalkboards and amplified through a million Marshalls. His teeth ached and rattled threatening to leap out of his mouth for relief from this onslaught. He felt the floor underneath his body. He must have fallen out of the bed. He couldn’t remember hitting the floor, maybe because of the erupting pain in his head. It wouldn’t be much longer and his ears would burst. He glanced up at his nightstand where a glass of water rested. He needed to know if this was real or if it was just in his head. Inside the glass, the water sat vibrating and sloshing as if even its soluble molecules were being bombarded by this alien intrusion. He knew then this was very real. He felt something hot inching out of his ear and realized he was bleeding from the onslaught. Then a thought sank deep and hard in the pit of his stomach. “Marcie!? The kids!!?” Surely if he was hearing and feeling the shear agony of this nauseating sound, then they had to be experiencing it too. He knew they wouldn’t be able to handle it. He wasn’t going to be able to handle it for much longer.

It took more grit and determination than he thought necessary to be able to withstand the pain long enough to push himself off the floor and look over the edge of the bed. It was if this strange sound not only attacked his equilibrium but seemed to have some weight to it. As he managed to peak over the edge of the bed, where his wife’s body should have been, there was nothing. Empty? Where was she? Had she went to the bathroom before the pain had flashed through his senses? Turning his head he looked into the room lit by the nightlight plugged into a wall outlet and saw nothing. Panic began to fill his every waking thought, as if it wasn’t hard enough already to concentrate. “She must be trying to reach the kids” he thought. “I have to…I have to get to her” he muttered. His words were more like thoughts with the only sound being the shrieking sound of pure madness. With every fiber of his being, he willed himself to get up but not without failing to do so a few times. Finally reaching his feet, he held on to the tall dresser drawer on the opposite side of the bed close to his position. Trying to take some steadying breaths, he wondered “What in the world is going on?” He didn’t know if Troy had an early warning storm siren, but he knew it wasn’t close to their house and knew this didn’t sound like any siren he had ever heard. Each step seemed to tax his muscles and turn his stomach toward vomiting. “M-M-M-arcie!!” He was trying to yell, but it sounded like he had only whispered. Reaching the bedroom door, he stared down the empty hall to the kid’s room. He wasn’t going to make it. Even now the noise had grown so intense, his vision had begun to blacken around the edges. He kept checking his ears for any more blood but didn’t feel any. He would not pass out until he found his family. With renewed determination, he concentrated completely on just putting one foot in front of the other. Gym discipline had taught him to focus on the small goals he needed to achieve in order to accomplish his main focus. This seemed to help in the gym and was helping him now.

All of a sudden the ground boomed and shook violently beneath him. It was as if the earth could take no more and had finally succumb to the insatiable hunger of this ungodly noise. He flew into the air as if bucked by a raging bull and belly flopped face first on the hardwood floor of the hallway. Any progress he had made against blacking out had become vain as his vision dimmed to just a whisper of light and his body felt leaden with impossible weight. The only thing that held him to this realm of consciousness was an overwhelmingly screaming need for his family. He needed to know they were safe. He needed to know they were ok. To hell what happened to him. He was built for pain. But not his family. He couldn’t pass out knowing they could be suffering as much as he was. Not trusting himself to have the strength to stand again, he resigned to crawl towards the open door down the hall.

Jacob and Abbie’s room lay a mere four feet away from where he lay. He had to make it, they had to be in there. There was no way, he realized, he would ever hear them yell his name. He couldn’t hear anything other than this damned screaming in his head. “Move” he told himself. “Move!” As if groggily waking from a dream, his body began to respond to his panicky demands. Trying to crawl down the hall was like trying to climb a vertical wall without handholds. It was a painstaking and slow process but he would not give up. Finally reaching the threshold of the door, he peered into the semi-lit room thankful both of his children had insisted on having their own separate night-lights. The shadow of Jacob’s Marvel Avengers bed lay to the left of the room with no sign of life within. Despair and dread filled his heart. For reasons he couldn’t explain he began to weep, somehow sensing what he would find when he looked to Abbie’s side of the room. As he turned in that direction, Abbie’s tiny Minnie mouse bed lay vacant and empty with a cold silence refusing to divulge secrets as to what happened to his children. Tears flowed harder now as his logic gave way to senseless emotion. They were gone. But where?

As he fought weakly to remain conscious the menacing sounds of the trumpets from hell resounded with renewed vigor, still threatening insanity within his skull, seeming to feed off of his despair. Frantically scanning the room, he caught a glimpse of moment outside the window in the middle of the wall. Jacob had always loved to sleep with the window blinds open, not seeming to be afraid of anything, even being able to help calm his younger sister if she became frightened by the night. He really had some amazing kids, which didn’t help his sadness or his panic. Anger boiled into every muscle fiber. He didn’t know where this strength had come from for he was completely exhausted and covered in sweat. His naked chest glistened in the moonlight as he started to rise from the floor. The moonlight however wasn’t solid. It seemed there was something moving out in the night. Some bird or flying creature interfering with the perfect pale light cast out by the moon. Rising to his feet, sweat dripping from his chin, his hands balled in fists at his side, although hanging limply from his shoulders as if weighed down by led, he walks zombie like toward the window. Reaching the night seemed to take an eternity but he wasn’t ready for what he saw.

Out in the distance lay the Canton Hill Memorial Cemetery. As his eyes creeped upward it was the first thing he would naturally see on the horizon. But something didn’t look right. What should have been a relatively clear view of the gravestones were somehow obstructed by what looked like chunks of earth. If he didn’t know any better, he would have said the dead had risen from th… His thoughts stop and for a moment so does his heart. All of a sudden the noise was gone too. Replaced by something much worse. An impossibly heavy silence. Anger gives way to fear as tears roll down his cheeks a new. What once caused his body to burn and sweat now began to make him shiver all the way to the bones. He dreaded looking up, but as if reading his mind, he felt his eyes reaching skyward. What he saw isn’t easily described even by his vivid imagination. Thousands upon thousands of people seeming to rise in unison toward a light piercing through the darkness of night. What he had once thought was the moon was in fact a misunderstanding. He knew what this was. He knew what was happening. And he knew he had made a terrible mistake. As the forces of unconsciousness struck the final blow, he felt himself falling as he muttered a single word. “Rapture.”