Monday, November 30, 2009


I added a fun new globe counter to my blog today. (Scroll down on the side bar to see it.) The google analytics page for my blog lets me know what country each one of my page hits is from. It has been so cool to see hits from countries I have had the pleasure to visit. It has also been cool to see hits from countries I have yet to visit. But this information isn't available for you guys to see. So I thought it would be fun for you guys to see all the countries too. Hence the globe counter. Unfortunately it isn't retroactive. It will only start pin pointing hits from today forward. So not wanting to leave anyone out, here are the countries that have visited this blog up until now...

Costa Rica
Puerto Rico
United Kingdom
South Africa
New Zealand
and my birthplace Australia

Isn't that awesome! May Truth and Life continue to reach the four corners of the earth!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Love & War (Part Five)

Click here to read part four.

I want to take a quick look at a story in Genesis 20. We have been seeing a lot of how the wicked are destroyed because of their sin and the righteous are spared. But what happens when it is the righteous who sin against the pagan? Does God still intervene? I am happy to say yes...our loving, gracious God does. I give you Abimelech king of Gerar.

Abraham and his wife Sarah are traveling through the region of the Negev. When they come upon the region of Gerar Abraham is afraid that these people don't honor his God; so he lies. Sounds a little backwards I know. None the less Abraham lies and says that Sarah is his sister. Maybe the whole Sodom thing was still fresh in his mind. I don't know. Bottom line he lied-sinned-stepped out of the will of God. So Abimelech upon seeing this hot, single woman in her 90s takes her to be a part of his harem.

On night God comes to Abimelech in a dream. Not Abraham, Abimelech. God says "You are a dead man because of the woman you took, as she is another's wife." Gen. 20:3 Oh my goodness God is speaking to a pagan! And look the pagan responds "Lord will you destroy a nation even if it is innocent? He told me she was his sister...with a pure heart and clean hands I have done this." Gen. 20:4-5 God then says to Abimelech "Yes I know you have a clear conscience so I have keep you from sinning. That is why I did not let you touch her." Gen. 20:6

So here we have God speaking to a pagan king and Abimelech responding un-alarmed and unafraid. This shows us that along with the close proximity of the spirit realm in ancient times God did not only appear or speak to the righteous. God was made known to pagan and righteous people alike. (I am going to talk more on this latter.) Interaction with the spirit realm in ancient times was common.

So God goes on to tell Abimelech to return Sarah to her husband Abraham so that "you and yours" will not die. Remember sin=death and in the old testament prior to Jesus that meant actual death. What a gracious, loving God to warn Abimelech. Just as warning Cain "sin is crouching at the door" Gen. 4:7 But unlike Cain this pagan heeds the words of a righteous God and returns Sarah to Abraham. Wow...a God fearing, righteous pagan. Who knew there was such a thing. LOL.

So Abimelech returns Sarah. He is a little pissed at Abraham but does not let the devil take hold of the situation. Instead of being pissed...he honors Abraham and Sarah. And in turn he honors God in the situation instead of the devil. Warfare! He brings Abraham sheep and cattle. He offers Abraham workers to work for him. He tells Abraham he can live anywhere in his kingdom. To top it all off he brings 25 pounds of silver and gives it to Sarah. "I am giving this to your cover the offense against are completely vindicated." Gen. 20:16 Love how he still says "brother". Come on he had to get a little jab right? :D But what Abimelech did was sacrifice goods that he owned for the vindication of Abraham. He atoned for Abraham's sin. That is righteousness!

At the end of the chapter Abraham intercedes for Abimelech that he too will be vindicated from any wrong doing. In the face of Abimelech's righteousness and honor how could God refuse? Well he didn't. God gave life back to the household of Abimelech. The surprise ending is that God had made all of the women in Abimelech's household barren because of Abraham's sin. If Abimelech had refused to return Sarah and sinned; death would have come to his household via infertility. The other catch is that Sarah had not yet bore Isaac at this point. What a mess it would have been if Abimelech did have sex with her and nine months later Sarah would have been wondering who the baby daddy was! Wow, what a good, gracious, loving God to both the pagan and the righteous. Let's check the sin/dominion formula on this one...

Creation-"You and yours will die" Yours meaning all your livestock and land.
This was averted because Abimelech did not sin.

Humanity-Death via infertility. Averted because Abimelech did not sin.

The Devil-Gains no dominion. The devil looses out on account of Abimelech's and Abraham's

Man himself-Abimelech does not sin and vindicates Abraham for his sin. Life for both!

Too bad that they don't all turn out that way. But this shows that all through the old testament God was known to many. It also shows that God honors the righteous man whether he is pagan or not. Righteous is righteous full stop. Finally God wants to bring life into any situation he can. Death and destuction is not the heart of God. The heart of God was and will always be love, life, and grace. Aren't we lucky!

Love & War (Part Four)

To read part three click here.

Continuing to look through the old testament at the concepts of sin and punishment. Building off the idea that sin is a stepping out of the will of God and into the will of the devil. When we do this we in fact punish ourselves. We make the choice to step out of God's plan that is life and righteousness and in turn we step into the devil's plan of distortion and death. We have also been discussing that when we sin it effects all that we have dominion over...creation, humanity, the devil and ourselves. If you are totally lost it may help to read the prior blogs. :D

When we meet Abraham in Genesis 12 we learn quite quickly that he is a righteous man who has relationship with God. (At this time his name is actually Abram but that's another story. We will just call him Abraham to simplify) We also in chapter 12 meet his nephew Lot. They have been traveling and living together. But they come to a piece of land that is unable to feed both of their herds. We also learn that their workers or herdsmen are not getting along. So they decide to go their separate ways. Abraham leaves to the high country of Hebron and Lot to the plains of Sodom.

Genesis 14 give a great snapshot of the constant battles between the people groups of this time. Remember this is before the "Israelites" even exist. But the devil was already getting very good at stealing man's dominion and causing his will to come to past. Death and destruction. It is during one of these battles that Abraham's nephew Lot gets carried off as a prisoner. Abraham hears of this and sends a rescue party. The rescue is a success and upon return Abraham runs into two very different kings. Melchizedek king of Salem is a righteous man who has relationship with God and the king of Sodom who does not. To honor the king of Salem Abraham gives him a tenth of the spoils. The king of Sodom sees this gesture and says to Abraham "give me the people and keep the goods for yourself." Gen. 14:21 Notice Abraham's response "I have raised my hand to God...I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or strap from your sandal..." Gen. 14:22-23. Can you see the battle in the spirit here? Abraham is refusing to hand even a shred of his dominion to anything unrighteous. This is warfare. Lot on the other hand after just being rescued returns to Sodom. Sodom means burning.

A couple of chapters we find Abraham in his tent in a town called Hebron; which means fellowship. Abraham looks up to see God an two angels. Remember the spirit world and the natural world were nearly one in the same in ancient times. As soon as Abraham sees them he bows down in respect and invites them to stay for a feast. He gets Sarah to make bread from the best flour. He has one of his men kill the best calf. He brings other choice food to complete the feast to honor his guests. One funny note here...the Lord asks "Where is Sarah?" when she is standing just a few feet away. Remember in Eden? "Where are you?" or with Cain "Where is your brother?" Sarah has a lacking relationship with God. So even though she is in the presence of God; He can sense the separation of her spirit. So here they are feasting with Abraham having a little chit chat. Then God says "the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin is grievous." Gen 18:20 Robert Alter's commentary for this verse notes two things:
1) the Hebrew word here for "outcry" "is often associated...with the shrieks of torment of the oppressed."
2) the Hebrew text reads "the outcry of Sodom..." not "the outcry against Sodom..." This is how it reads in the KJV as well.

Now is this sounding at all familiar from the last blog? Remember the outcry of torment of the people prior to the flood. It was so bad that Lamech even names his son Noah; which means comfort. See how the devil was once again using the dominion he gained from man to twist and distort God's created? These people on a physical level were engaged in "grievous sin" but even still their spirits were crying out in torment. Isn't the devil twisted! This is the spiritual battle of good vs evil.

So Abraham catches on pretty quick that these cities, five in all, were to be destroyed. He bargains with God not to destroy the cities if at least 10 righteous people are found. Abraham is trying to save his nephew Lot. God agrees and sends the two angels to Sodom to check things out. Lot happens to be at the front gate when the angels arrive. When he sees them he too bows down in respect and invites them to his home for something to eat. So what feast does Lot prepare? Flat bread. Flat bread and cheese? NO. Flat bread and meat? NO. Flat bread and wine? NO. Flat bread and beer? NO. Just flat bread. A far cry from the feast or shall we say offering that his uncle had prepared. Think relationship or lack there of. So while they are eating "all the men from every part of the city-both young and old-surrounded the house." Gen 19:4. Kinda sounds like the all encompassing wickedness of the people prior to the flood doesn't it.

So "all the men" it turns out want to have sex with the new men in town. Makes you wonder if Lot got the same treatment when he moved in. If he did...makes you wonder why he is still living there. Anyways...Lot in his demented sinful mind offers the huge group of men outside his two virgin daughters instead. What a loser huh! Well the men of Sodom are not satisfied with that offer and try to break into the house. The angels strike the men of Sodom with blindness...a physical blindness to mirror what was obviously a spiritual blindness. Lot's name by the way means "covering or veil" in the bad sense. The angels then have to basically drag Lot and his family from the city before it is destroyed. I think they really would have preferred to stay. They are totally clueless as to how wicked things are there and don't really believe the cities are to be destroyed. Total deception till the death is a specialty of the devil.

Now I would like to note here that sexual deviation was not the only sin of Sodom. In fact I believe the sexual deviation was just secondary to the underling often deep rooted sin. Ezechiel 16:49 says "This was the sin of Sodom...she was arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and the needy." Think of these things on a spiritual level. A spirit of pride, a spirit of lust, and a spirit of broken will. Sodom was immersed in the wicked schemes of the devil because they had given away their dominion. A broken will breeds complacency and it is always a door for the devil to come in and take over. So just like the flood the wickedness of the devil is destroyed by the righteousness of God. The fact that a total loser like Lot was considered righteous enough to be spared gives a good picture of how unrighteous the others in those towns were. I also think it was because Lot was related to the righteousness of Abraham if only by a small thread. Remember Abraham was the one who interceded for Lot. So lets check our sin/dominion formula...

Creation-Fire and brimstone (or pitch) Gen. 19:24
Vegetation of the land destroyed Gen. 19:25

Humanity-The outcry of Sodom is great & the sin grievous Gen. 18:20

The Devil-Total dominion via the broken will of the people Eze 16:49

Man himself-Death by total disassociation with righteousness

Is this starting to make sense? I hope so.

Sad to say this story ends much in the way that it ended for Noah. Lot even after being rescued from Sodom does not seek God or righteousness. The angels implore him to flee to the high country. I think spiritual they were saying "Get back to the righteousness in Hebron. Get close to God! Take charge of your dominion!" But Lot doesn't listen. Days later we find him drunk in a cave(wandering) and having sex with his daughters. It sounds like the pride, lust and broken will of Sodom had claimed another victim even after the physical cites had been consumed. The devil was still on the prowl for dominion and man was falling for it. The battle of good vs evil continued. Click here to read part five.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Battle Is On

Friday, November 27, 2009

Love & War (Part Three)

Click here for part here for part two.

Between the time of Adam and the time of Noah there isn't too much information in the bible. Genesis chapter 5 is really just a genealogy that connects the two. It does also give us the hope that even though there wasn't much righteousness in the earth there still seems to be a tread of commitment to God via the seed of Adam. Remember this is the seed that will strike the devil's head...Jesus.

Back to Noah whose mane means "rest". It was said of Noah by his father Lamech "He (Noah) will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands." Gen. 5:29. The Hebrew word for toil in this verse is "itstsabown" which means pain or sorrow. It is only used in the bible 3 times. Once in Gen 3:16 where God is telling Eve of the curse now on humanity because of sin. And second in Gen. 3:17 where God is telling Adam of the curse now on creation because of sin. So Noah's dad is saying that Noah will be a comfort from those curses. Remember sin is the punishment. Sin also effects that which we have dominion over...creation, humanity, the devil and ourselves. Lamech's words make evident that both on a spiritual level and a physical level the whole world both human and earth is greatly suffering from the torment of sin and the devil. The overwhelming choice to give the devil dominion through sin has become a crushing weight. Evil is winning the battle.

Now Noah was a righteous man. Righteous meaning just, upright or straight. So to be righteous is not allowing sin to bend, twist and distort. When we are righteous it automatically takes dominion back from the enemy and ceases the bending and twisting of the devil. This is warfare! At this time Noah was the ONLY righteous man. Genesis 6:5 tells that "every inclination of man's heart was evil all the time." Meaning that their heart or their spirit was set on evil not just their mind but their whole being. It goes on to say "all the people on earth had corrupted their ways." Gen 6:11"the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was filled with outrage" Robert Alter's commentary notes here that this was "a perversion of nature by man [that then needed] a reversal of creation by God." I would like to add to this comment that it wasn't that man himself was evil. Man had become evil by coming in line with the will of the devil to distort and destroy. The word evil and wicked are from the same Hebrew word "ra" meaning bad, hurtful, malignant; giving pain, unhappiness and misery. Notice that humanity at the time of Noah is simultaneously wicked and tormented. Sin is the punishment. Sin and the punishment thereof is the will of the devil not God.

So the devil was having a grand time. This grieves the heart of God to see His beloved creation once again falling prey to the schemes of the devil. Remember God came out of the garden because He still longed to have relationship with us. So when it says in Gen 6:6 " The Lord was grieved that He had made man...and His heart was full of pain." It is because He didn't think that we would continually and so easily take our God given dominion over to the devil. We were meant to be battling the devil, not joining forces with him. God is in pain over the painful (both physical & spiritual) state of His created.

God takes a drastic measure to remedy this situation. If you trust in a God that is full of love, justice and grace you must assume that His choice was the best choice. It must also give you a picture of how extremely wicked things were. These were not people that just skipped church on Sunday, they were people totally consumed by the demonic of the devil. So God floods the entire earth. The flood is an act of spiritual warfare against the devil. God washes the earth clean with the waters of the Holy Spirit. He saves the animals(since they are only subject to wickedness via mans sin)and He saves Noah and his family. Noah was the only righteous man who was walking in relationship with God.

So lets see if our dominion/sin formula worked this time. What had the sin in the time of Noah effected? (Those of you confused read part one and two first :D)

Creation-"painful toil of our hands" Gen 5:29
Plus most every living thing was flooded and died.

Humanity-needed comfort in their pain. Gen 5:29
they had corrupted their ways Gen 6:12

The Devil-had almost total dominion of the earth via man
"man was only evil all the time" Gen 6:5

Man himself-wandering in wickedness & torrment . Death by association.

Another way to look at the loss of life in this situation is something that I alluded to earlier. That the people were saved from the dominion and tormenting of the devil by the cleansing water of the Holy Spirit. Remember it was said of Noah that he would comfort the people. For all we know our gracious, loving God gathered all those people lost in the flood back into His arms in their death. Released from the clutches of the enemy. Just a thought. Also BTW there is no mention of the words wrath, sin or punishment concerning the story of the flood in the bible.

When Noah comes out of the ark God very quickly makes a new covenant with him that is a kin to the covenant with Adam & Eve. God says "TAKE DOMINION! Over the earth, over humanity and over the devil! Quit giving your dominion of these things to the devil! I don't have the heart to flood the earth again so get it right this time! Multiply righteousness instead of wickedness!" Gen. 6 translated by Cherie. See the flood wiped out the the physical world and people but it did not wipe out the spiritual realm of the devil. The devil is poised and ready for round two. So it is enormously important that Noah heed the word's of God. See when fail to use our dominion righteously it is an open door for the devil to use it wickedly. Unfortunately for Noah he didn't lock the door and fell prey to the schemes of the devil.

Genesis 9:21 says that Noah became drunk and laid uncovered in nakedness. He gave his dominion away just like in the garden. Noah gave way to his own desires instead of God's and sin laid bare the nakedness of his unprotected spirit. And so it was that the battle of good and evil continued to weigh heavy against the goodness of God. But God keeps His promise never to flood the earth again. Soon after there was another man who walked with God in righteousness. A man that God makes covenant with. A man that God implores to take dominion. A man whom God will multiply into a righteous nation. Until now man was implored to multiply themselves. Now God is stepping in saying "I will multiply you". Until now man was implored to seek God and righteousness themselves. But now God is stepping in saying "I will show you how to be righteous." God has now stepped up His personal involvement in the battle of good vs evil. And the man at His side was Abraham.

Click here for part four.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Are Gonna Have To Fight

Monday, November 23, 2009

Love & War (Part Two)

To read Part One click here.

What are the principles of sin & punishment in the bible? What does it mean to sin? What is the consequence? How does God punish sin? Does He punish sin? or Does man punish himself? I believe that when we sin the consequence goes far beyond ourselves. I believe this to be true because of what God gave us dominion over. Sin in my definition is stepping out of the best that God has for you. In turn it is a separation of relationship between God and man. The first time that we see the word sin in the bible it is the Hebrew word "chatta'ah" which simply means sin. It is from the Hebrew root word "chata" meaning to miss the mark or wander from the way. So all together sin is wandering from the plan and relationship of God.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden it affected everything that they had dominion or rule over. What do we have dominion over? Psalm 8:6 says "You made him (man) ruler over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet." Man has dominion over all creation, all humanity, the devil and ourselves. Now this isn't to say that God isn't sovereign, He is. But he chose to give us rulership of these things. Not that God doesn't have His own plan for these things but so that we could work His plan together in relationship. At least that was the hope before we chose otherwise. So when we sin it effects that which we have dominion over. It separates us from God, creation from God, humanity from God and the devil from God. Now with the devil it gets a little interesting. The devil wants to be separate from God. He chose that before man first sinned. So when we sin it further separates the devil and we come in line with his will instead of God's. So our sin gives the devil allegiance in his separation and we end up by default glorifying the devil instead of God.

Let's look at Adam and Eve and what fell prey to their sin. After they sin God says to Eve your pains in childbirth will increase and man will rule over you. (Gen 3:16) This is the consequence over humanity. Physical pain, disease and death. On an emotional level He says you will seek mans rule instead of God's. God was not saying men will now rule women. (Though it has been interpreted incorrectly that way) It was broader than that. You have chosen humanity to rule you instead of God. Your desire is humanity and not God.

To Adam God says "cursed is the ground because of you..." Gen 3:17. This is the consequence over creation. This is natural disasters, global decay, drought etc. I even believe that some of the carnage and suffering that we seen in the animal kingdom is due to our sin. If you think in the simple terms that sin=death and prior to sin there was no death...then our sin has had a huge affect on the animal kingdom.

To the devil God said "cursed are you...I will put enmity between you and the woman." Gen 3:14 God goes on to say that the seed of the woman will crush his head. This being the first prediction of Jesus. I also want to note here that in the original Hebrew of these verses God only personally curses the devil. To both Adam and Eve he is just stating fact. That because of their sin things are going to change. Not God's curse/consequence the sin's curse/consequence.

Finally sin separates us from God personally. Notice the first words out of God's mouth after Adam and Eve sin. "Where are you?" Now why is an all-knowing God asking where someone is? Because sin had brought separation. This was further illustrated by Adam and Eve being sent forth from the garden. God didn't banish them. The Hebrew word is "shalach" which means to let go, set free, or send away.

So when we sin it effects all humanity, all creation, the devil and ourselves. It effects that which we have God given dominion over. And the effects are from the sin not from God. Remember sin is stepping out of God's plan so the result of sin is not God's plan. Sin is the punishment. More on this in a bit.

Let's see if our little formula works with the next recorded sin in the bible. The murder of Abel by his brother Cain. What I first want to point out is that God did not stay in the garden after Adam and Eve left. God came out of the garden because of his longing for relationship with man. And now that sin has entered the world He comes out of the garden to protect us. So God sees that Abel's heart isn't in his sacrifice the same way that his brother's is. He isn't giving God his best, not offering wise but relationship wise.

So what does God do? Well he doesn't curse him or cause him to burst into flames. God comes to Cain and sits down for a little chat. A heart to heart if you will. "Why are you angry?" God asks "And why has your countenance fallen?" Countenance meaning face. Since we are created in the image of God our countenance is the reflection of God in us. See with Cain God can feel the same separation as He did with his parents in the garden. "Why has your countenance fallen?" is similar to "Where are you?" God already knows that Cain has sinned in his heart. So God is desperately trying to intervene before this sin goes any further. God is trying to protect Cain. God goes on to say "If you do what is right will you not be accepted? But if you don't do right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Gen 4:6-7

This is a wonderful visual of the battle that the devil has wages for mans dominion. It is also a fantastic showing of God's longing to protect us from the destruction of sin, that is the devil. See it is sin that is crouching at the door with desire to destroy man. It is not God waiting for us to screw up so He can punish us. The sin is the punishment. Just as God is trying to save Cain from that punishment so it is through the whole old testament. The battle of good vs evil.

Cain then by his own freewill chooses not to listen to the warning of God. Cain murders his brother. Then God comes back to Cain to have another little chat. "What is this you have done? Your brother's blood cries out from the ground. Now you are under a curse...the ground will no longer yield will be a restless wanderer on the earth." Gen 4:10-12. Now lets check our formula. What has Cain's sin affected?

Creation-"the ground will no longer yield crops".

Humanity-"your brother's blood cries out".

The Devil- his desire has been fulfilled.

Cain himself- "will be a restless wanderer" a wander from God

Woo Hoo it worked!

Now where is God in all this? I mean He must be pretty pissed since this is the first murder in all history. He should probably make an example of Cain so man will know not to piss off God by sinning. Nope! Not our loving, gracious God. Cain comes to God and says "My punishment is more than I can bear!" This is exactly what mankind does. We blame God for the consequence of the sin that we chose over the better advise of God. God is no more sending Cain from His presence than Cain has chosen to leave His presence by sinning. Just like in the garden. But God sees Cain's heart is in a place of repentance. So God puts a mark on Cain to protect him from the death he fears in wandering the earth. This is the loving, gracious God of the old testament.

Now let me point out in this little chat between Cain and God it is the first time that we see the word "punishment" in the bible. The Hebrew word used here is "avon" (no not the make up lady) which means iniquity or guilt. The root word is "avah" meaning to bend, twist or distort. What does iniquity mean? Websters says "wickedness or evil". Does God heap guilt on us? No, the devil does. Does God twist or distort his beloved creation? No, the devil does. So see the sin is the punishment. Punishment is the will of the devil, not of God. So when Cain is saying "My punishment is more than I can bear". What he is really saying is this wickedness and distortion of the devil is not what I wanted. He is repenting and that is why God accepts his heart and puts a mark on him. A mark that takes Cain out of the will of the devil and back into the will of God.

Click here to read part three...

Love & War (Part One)

As we move deeper into the old testament you must force your mind to think in terms of good vs evil. Think of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Star Wars...whatever. It sounds silly but it will help; I promise. Let me explain.

The entire old testament is centered around two themes...Love & War. It is the longing of a loving creator God to have relationship with His creation. It is a war against the devil who wants to steal that relationship for his own selfish gain. The devil is primarily doing this to gain dominion and secondly to destroy man and "the seed" (Gen 3:15) that will strike his head. JESUS. The devil will stop at nothing to see that Jesus doesn't come to pass. This is the warfare of the old testament.

Now in the old testament the warfare is both spiritual and physical. The spirit world being God/devil...angels/demons. The physical world being man. So it is not just "evil forces" fighting "good forces". Man is caught right in the middle. Are you thinking Lord of the Rings? Good.
So why does man have to mess with all of this? Because man is the free will being that has dominion over the earth. So in the old testament just as the devil was using people and nations to further his plans of destruction, so God chose a nation and people to further His plan of life and redemption. Unfortunately the greatest cost in the old testament was bloodshed and loss of life. Man and animal. Remember creation suffers from sin too.

Now the reason I suggest getting your mind to think in terms of Lord of the Rings or something as such is because the way the earth and society was 3000+ years ago is way different than or world today. There are obvious differences of this in the physical realm. They had chariots/we have cars. They had primitive tools/ we have electric saws. This is nothing new to our thinking. But these huge differences were also true of the spirit world. So even though the old testament is real -not fairy tale- our modern minds have an easier time thinking in those terms. Most modern western people have never had any experience with the spiritual realm. It is totally foreign to them. Modern non-western countries and peoples still have quite a bit of interaction with the spirit realm because of certain beliefs and religions. Now times that that interaction by 1,000,000 and you have the old testament. There was very little, I mean minute separation between the spiritual realm and physical realm. So what exactly does that mean?

It means that the spirit realm was actually visible to the physical realm. Certain people actually walked and talked with God. Angels and demons interacted with people. These things were not unusual. Witchcraft, wizardry and sorcery were real things that were practice by most every ancient people group. Do you know that the Hebrew word for wizard comes from the root word "Yada" which means to know, to have knowledge, and to perceive and see. It is the same Hebrew word that described "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". Blood sacrifice, both human and animal were practiced by almost every ancient people group. Rituals and patronage to gods was something that nearly every ancient people group participated in. Sexual deviation, pedophilia and zoophilia (bestiality) was some thing that was practiced by nearly ever ancient people group. Are you getting the picture? These were not just Bible things. The people of this time both pagan and righteous "saw" the spirit world. They regularly interacted with the spirit world. There was nothing hidden about whose side they were on if you will. There was only two choices good and evil.

So in this sense there was a greater degree of responsibility for the people of this time. You know the old saying "the more knowledge the more the responsibility". They could not pretend not to know because everything was out in the open. They saw all these things with their own eyes. The spirit realm was not hidden. So this means that the consequences of sin was actual death. Remember man chose sin, and the consequence of sin is death. Not because God wants you to die but because the devil does. Sin and death was never God's plan for His creation. He warned us not to do it but we did. Think...Lord of the Rings.

Finally in reading the old testament we need to steer clear of two major things.
1) That we don't just right the whole thing off as one big allegory or myth. People think it is just too hard in modern times to imagine the spiritual and physical world in such close proximity. Or the fact that there is a spiritual world at all. So people decide it isn't plausible for it to have been real and don't believe it. Well it was real. And funny enough one of the devil's biggest attacks in modern times is to get you to believe it was all just a myth. Do this...type "demon" into google, or go to your local bookstore to the witchcraft section to see the huge amounts of intense believe still today. This isn't just a christian thing.
2)People go to the other extreme and think the the ways of the old testament need to be how we operate in our physical world today. This is how in post biblical times we ended up with the horrors of the crusades or burning people at the stake. Wrong , wrong , wrong. Why?

JESUS! Now Jesus does not cancel out the existence of the old testament. The principles and truth of God in the old testament were fulfilled in the man Jesus. But along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit came a new way of doing things. For one, 3000+ years of old testament sin and separation from God has begun to bring separation between the spiritual world and physical world. This isn't to say that the spiritual world no longer exists by the time we get to the new testament. It surely did! Jesus and the Holy Spirit bring the principle of physical warfare and sacrifice to spiritual sense. We no longer fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. (Eph 6:12) We no longer sacrifice at the temple, Jesus has been the ultimate sacrifice. You no longer worship at the temple, you are the temple and your life is worship. Just the same is true today. The spirit realm is still in full swing. But modern humanity has pushed it into hidden places so we don't see as many manifestations as in the bible. But that is a whole other blog.

Here and now I want to focus on the old testament. I hope to show you that through the warfare and bloodshed there still remains a gracious, loving, just God. A God that longs for relationship. A God who will stop at nothing in that grace and love to see that ALL creation and humanity will have the choice of redemption and eternal life. Jesus. Remember that we ate the fruit. We wanted to know. What we choose was war and God has been fighting to save us from death ever since.

Continued in part here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In World Of Hurt

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Tree of the Knowledge "of the Battle Between" Good & Evil

I happened to be in Borders book store yesterday. I thought I would check to see if they had R. Crumb's new comic style book on Genesis. To read the blog on this book click here. I have been spending a lot of time in the book of Genesis for my studies. I thought it would be interesting to see what translation he used and how he depicted the events in illustration.

Moreover I was curious as to how he had specifically depicted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the event of Eve's temptation. I have recently written a blog in which I suggest that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was placed in the garden by the devil, not by God. Not that the devil necessarily created the actual tree, but that the devil distorted or manipulated the tree for his own purpose. I base this on the fact that Eve looked on the fruit of the tree in lust. In the NIV the word used is "delight" which is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word "ta'avah" meaning lust or covet. God would have and never does tempt us. (James 1:13-14). Nor would He create something that would cause us to do so. I also believe that a more appropriate name for the tree is "the tree of the knowledge of the battle of good and evil". Click here to read that blog.

To my delight when I read Gen 3:6 in R. Crumb's "Genesis" he uses the correct translation! He writes "And the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and that it was lust to the eyes and lovely to look at." Well I was sold! Not by any means to replace the Word of God but just to have for reference. Upon reading some of Crumb's commentary in the back I found some more interesting facts. One being that upon writing this book he had used the King James version of the bible and "The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary" by Robert Alter for reference. Alter has taken the Torah and translated it into a more Hebraic friendly English and added his own commentary to the tune of 1064 pages! I bought that one too. BTW Alter also uses the word "lust" in Gen. 3:6.

Back to Crumb. In the back of his book he had added a footnote to Gen. 3:6. He made note of an old Sumerian myth about Inanna and the Huluppu tree that is very similar to the Genesis account. I had never heard of it. So when I got home I began to check it out. It is an ancient text that co insides with "The Epic of Gilgamesh". This is part of the text concerning Inanna and the tree. If you wish to read the whole text click here.

"A young woman who walked in fear of no man,
and would not be owned,
Plucked the tree from the river and spoke:
"I shall bring this tree to Uruk.
I shall plant this tree in my holy garden."
Inanna cared for the tree with her hand.
She settled the earth around the tree with her foot.
She wondered:
"How long will it be until I have a shining throne to sit upon?
How long will it be until I have a luscious bed to lie upon?"
The years passed; five years, then ten years.
The tree grew thick,
But its bark did not split.
Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the Huluppu-tree.
The Anzu-bird set his young in the branches of the tree.
And the dark maid Lillith built her Home in the trunk.
The young woman who loved to laugh wept."

Here is part of a commentary by Diana Wolkstein that I found here...

"The snake, because it sloughs off its own skin, has long been connected with rebirth. Both because of its regenerative aspect and its phallic likeness, the appearance of the snake suggests rebirth and sexuality.
Moreover, the text states that the snake “could not be charmed.” Inanna will not be able to appease, tame, or disregard it. The snake is immune to the laws of the land.
The Anzu-bird was known to the Sumerians from the story “Ninurta-turtle,” in which the Anzu-bird unsuccessfully attempts to steal the Me, the attributes of civilization and knowledge, from Enki, the God Of Wisdom. The mature Anzu-bird, depicted in Sumerian art with the great wings of an eagle and the face of a lion, craves power and knowledge.
Lilth does not appear in any other Sumerian texts. In Zoharic texts, she has dominion over all instinctual, natural beings, over “every living creature that creepeth.” Lilith forms with the Anzu-bird and the snake a triad of sexual, lawless creatures who live outside the bounds of the Sumerian community and seek power only for themselves. These are Inanna's unexpressed fears and desires , which have now been “named.” "

Here is a desripition of Inanna...

"Inanna is the goddess of love and is one of the Sumerian war deities: She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals."
Enheduanna pre 2250 BCE "A hymn to Inana" ETCSL translation: t.4.07.3.

And of Lilith...

"Dark is she, but brilliant! Black are her wings, black on black! Her lips are red as rose, kissing all of the Universe! She is Lilith, who leadeth forth the hordes of the Abyss, and leadeth man to liberation! She is the irresistible fulfiller of all lust, seer of desire. First of all women was she - Lilith, not Eve was the first! Her hand brings forth the revolution of the Will and true freedom of the mind!...Look on her in lust and despair!"
—Lilith Ritus, from the German by Joseph Max

Now I am in no means wanting to glorify the devil or any other demon here. But I do believe this information is very interesting concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the bible. Also concerning the spiritual warfare that has been in play since the devil decided to leave the presence of God because of his own lust for dominion. To me it personally confirms my thought that the tree was not placed there by God. There is no where in the bible that I know of that says God put that tree there and I don't think He did.

I think the tree was placed there by the devil as an act of warfare against God for our dominion. I am beginning to entertain the thought that part of the reason that we were created by God was to defeat the devil. See the devil was created with free will just like us. God has the power to destroy the devil. But he won't cross the lines of freewill. So God needed to created another being(mankind) with freewill to destroy the devil. A fair fight shall we say. I think the devil knew this and that was why he tempted us. If he could get us to follow him then we wouldn't destroy him. I think this is why God is so frustrated with us in the garden. If we as humankind would have stayed in the will of God in the garden I think the fight would have been quick and to the point. But we fell for the trick of the devil and gave him some of our dominion.

Now even today the battle rages on. Think of all the suffering, war, disease and death that this creation and humanity has been exposed to over the last few milinia. Both in the spiritual and the physical. Now we know for sure that in the end God has the victory. But the question is How do we live in victory while we wait for the end? How do we bring victory to others? This battle isn't only for those who believe it. We ALL are effected by it whether we like it or not.

One simple thing that we can do is make choices rooted in the principles and truth of God. One of the greatest acts of warfare against the devil is worship. Now I am not just talking about singing. I am talking about doing things in our everyday lives that are edifying to the Lord. Choosing NOT to to things that edify and really in turn worship the devil. All sin is is edification of the devil. We don't want to do that! We must seriously think of our choices as battles in the spirit. You have the choice to give allegiance to God or the devil in all that you do. And it really does make a difference. Remember YOU have dominion over creation, humanity, the devil and yourself. (Ps 6:6-8) Every choice you make effects those things.

The next few blogs I am going to be discussing the concept of sin and punishment in the old testament. Why sacrifice was needed. Why God insisted on a tabernacle. And how all of this is related to the battle we still fight today. Don't be a victim, rise up and fight!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Do You Choose To Effect?

Sin by my definition is stepping out of the plan of God or separating oneself from the plan of God. The first time that the actual word "sin" is used in the Bible it is the Hebrew word "chatta'ah" which simply means sin. It is from the root word "chata" meaning "to miss the mark" or "wander from the way". So sin can fairly be described as missing or wandering from the plan that God has for you.

Now when Adam and Eve sinned it effected everything that they had dominion over. The same is true when we sin today. So what do we have dominion over? Ps 8:6 "You made him [man] ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet." So man has dominion over all creation, all humanity, the devil, and himself. Yes God is still sovereign and all powerful and could preempt this dominion at anytime. But he also out of love chose to have relationship with us and co-rule this earth with Him. God is the emperor and we are the ruler.

So every time that someone sins whether it be in the Bible or now; it effects that which we have dominion over and in turn separates it from God. Creation separates from God, humanity in general separates from God and we personally separate from God. Concerning the devil it gets interesting. The devil has already made his own free will choice to separate from God. But since we have dominion over the devil (he is a work of God's hand) our sin further separates the devil from God. Well this is exactly what the devil wants. So now our sin has crossed us over from the will of God to the will of the devil. We give allegiance in his separation. We glorify the will of the devil instead of the will of God.

Now listen guys and gals I want to make something very clear before I move on. This is something that I have struggled with in my own life. How does my personal sin effect that which I have dominion over? There is no doubt with talking about sin and punishment that your own history will come to mind. We need to be very careful not to attach certain events after we have made a mistake as punishment to us personally. Let me explain.

Say you go out tonight and drink two fifths of tequila and end up kissing your best friends husband. We can safely assume this is stepping out of God's plan for you. So in effect you have sinned. The next morning you wake up with vomit all over your jacket, you feel like crap, hangover is an understatement! You try to call your best friend and she hangs up on you because her husband has told her what happened between the two of you. Basically you are screwed. Two days later you get a call from your best friend saying that her husband has just been diagnosed with cancer. So is the sin you committed the cause for the husband's cancer? NO!

When we sin (and I am talking post Jesus modern times) there is a direct effect from the cause. You drank too much therefore you made a dumb choice, you puked all over yourself, and feel like crap in the morning. This is how our sin has effected us personally. Along with stepping out of the will of God. This is the short term effect or punishment. Now since we have dominion over humanity and creation our sin effects these things progressively and in the long term. Five thousand years of this has resulted in disease, deformity, natural disasters, global decay and death etc. So when you sin personally the immediate result is never a long term effect. Get it? You friend's husband getting cancer is NOT a result of the sin that you committed. A tsunami is not the wrath of God on a certain town. A couple that has a "special needs" baby is not being punished. These are all long term progressive effects of sin on creation and humanity. But do keep in mind some sin has the immediate result of death and disease but only when it is in direct correlation with your sin. For example...if you shoot someone in the head with a gun they will die. If you eat poorly and lack exercise you may develop type 2 diabetes. Do you see the difference?

The good news is that no matter what the sin or the effect we have Jesus. By His blood we are forgiven. The record of our sin is cast away. But Jesus is only applicable to those who choose Him. We still live in a fallen creation and fallen humanity. Therefore the long term effects of sin are still in effect. They will still have an effect on you even if you have a personal relationship with Jesus. So it is most important that you do not think that the long term effects sin are punishment on you personally. This world and humanity will continue to die and decay until Jesus returns. This is simply a result of the sin, not God's punishment.

In the meantime the best thing that we can do is use our dominion to glorify God. Make choices that correlate to His will. The less that we step out of the will of God, the less we contribute to the fall of humanity and creation. The less we pledge allegiance to the devil. Moreover the more people that we lead to Jesus the less the world and humanity are effected by their sin. Really we are all in this together to the end. This is the order of things that has been in play since the garden because of our choice to sin and step out of God's plan. When the end finally comes we have hope in knowing that God will "wipe the tear from every eye. There will be no more death or mourning or crying, for the old order of things has passed away." Rev. 21:4

OK... so that "point" took a little longer than expected to make! Ah well...more tomorrow!

HE Can Fix You!

This may seem a little out of the box. I don't really like boxes! Try to listen to this song as a conversation between you and God. God doesn't have to TRY to fix you...He can fix you...if you let Him. He is the light that will guide you and the fire that will ignite you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Were Not the First To Fall (Part Two)

Click here to read the first part of this blog.

Now notice the words out of God's mouth after this event takes place. Gen 3:9 "Where are you?" He did not say "You idiot!", "Damn you to hell", or "What a mistake you were!" No. God said to His beloved created "Where are you?". Now why is an all-knowing God asking where Adam and Eve are? Because he senses the separation that the sin has put between them. God is grieved not angry. Well take that back...He is angry. Not at Adam and Eve, but at the Devil. "Because of you" He says "cursed are you" he goes on. God proceeds to let the Devil know that he will now be an enemy to man. Also that Eve's offspring will crush his head. See the moment that we sinned Jesus came into play. God immediately gave us an "out" from our sin. I will discuss this more a little further on.

So God blames the devil for what has taken place in the garden. This is further confirmation to me that the devil put the tree there and NOT God. Next the Lord addresses Eve. Now this is another verse that I have looked up in the original Hebrew. I do not see in the Hebrew that God is personally cursing Eve. He is simply stating that now she is cursed because of her choice, not by God's. In the Hebrew Gen. 3:16 sounds like this "to the woman said-greatly multiplied your pain-childbirth pain will bring children-will be for your husband your desire-he will have dominion."

To Adam He says "cursed is the ground because of you." Gen. 3:17 Not cursed are you, Adam. So I don't believe God cursed Adam or Eve. God is simply stated the consequence of the choices they made. Remember they had dominion over the entire earth. They were in a sense CEOs of this corporation called EARTH. As we know when the CEOs make bad decisions it isn't long before the whole corporations goes down. So I believe God is saying to Adam and Eve is "Darn it you guys, now that you have made this choice things are going to be really hard for you. This planet is going to suffer because of you."

So we were the ones that choose death. We were the ones that choose a life of hardship and pain. We were the ones that "subjected creation to decay" Rom 8:21. We were the ones that choose to separate from God. God never intended any of that for us! And it grieved His heart that it ended up being anything other than perfect relationship with Him.

As we move on in Genesis God's love for Adam and Eve abounds. The fact that they choose something other than Him breaks His heart, but God still seeks relationship. He did NOT kick them out of the garden on their naked butts. Gen 3:21 says "The Lord God made garments for Adam and his wife and clothed them." See the Hebrew word for garden is "gan" from the root word "ganan" meaning to cover, protect, defend. God put a covering of protection over them before they left the garden. That doesn't sound like a pissed off God to me. That sounds like a loving, good God. It goes on to say in Gen. 3:23 "God sent him forth from the garden..." That is the King James Version. NIV uses the word "banish" which I believe is inaccurate given what the original Hebrew word means. The Hebrew word "shalach" means to let loose, let go or set free.

So why did Adam and Eve have to leave the the garden? Well we know that one of the reasons they have to leave is because they choose to leave. Choosing sin is choosing not to be with God. Remember the Devil? Sin is what caused the separation from God. Same with Adam and Eve. But at the end of chapter 3 its says that God needed to protect the tree of life. Remember the tree of life is "healing for all nations" Rev. 22:2. So this tree is more important now than ever given the events that just took place. The tree of life is eternal life. As it stands now Adam and Eve are in a progressive state of separation from God. The end result is death. Sin=death. So if God allows Adam and Eve the choice of staying in the garden...the tree of life is at risk. Gen 3:23 says "He (Adam) must not be able to...take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." It sounds like God wants them to die. But it is quite the opposite. God wants them to live. See if they eat of the tree of life now, in their sinful state, they would eternally be separated from God just as the Devil is. God does not want that for Adam and Eve.

Keep in mind that even though God is all-powerful and sovereign, He still chooses out of love to operate within the confines of our freewill. So yes God could destroy the Devil right now. Yes God could have started over after Adam and Eve sinned. But that would be control. Out of LOVE he is letting our freewill choices ride.

So God had to guard the tree of life. As I said before the instant that we sinned Jesus came into play. The seed that would strike the Devil's head. The tree of life is part to that redemption. The tree of life is eternal life without the separation of sin. This is what God had planned for us in the first place. That is why I believe death in the physically sense is so traumatizing. When some one you know dies, it is extremely hard to get over. I think that is because we were not created by God to experience death. But we choose against God's warning that we would die. We choose the punishment of death by sinning. The sin is the punishment. Death is not the punishment of God. Adam had dominion therefore his choice was for all humanity.

The final thing that I would like to point out in in Gen 3:16. God is speaking to Eve after she has sinned. "[Her] desire will be for her husband, and he will rule over you." I do not believe that God is making a sexist remark here. In the grand scheme of things we know that man has no more God given dominion in this earth than woman do. So God is not saying woman must now be controlled by man. What I believe God is saying is that humanity will now desire wisdom and intimacy from themselves. That in a state of sin they will no longer desire wisdom and intimacy from God. This is soooo true. The entire rest of the old testament is God trying to restore intimacy with His creation. This is why Jesus is sent! To take away the barrier of sin and restore intimacy. Moreover this is still the case today. God wants nothing more than to have relationship with you, but sin is the barrier. How do I know this? Because when Adam and Eve left the garden...God left the garden too. He came out of the garden just to be close to His beloved creation. He wanted to be close to you.

I am going to continue to explore the relationship of sin and punishment in the old testament. I want to show that God was never punishing people. People were punishing themselves. Yes God does convict us. Conviction being God saying "Careful I don't think this is a good idea!" But the punishment part is simply us pushing past God's advice to make our own sinful choice. The punishment is the sin. So stay posted...

Does He Know Your Voice?

Monday, November 16, 2009

We Were Not the First to Fall (Part One)

So in my studies for this book I wanted to take a closer look at sin. What is sin? Where did it all start? Is this thing our fault? Did God trick us or did the devil? What is the consequence of sin? How does God decide how to punish us? Is it really fair? So this is the beginning of my journey to hopefully answer these questions.

Where to start? At the beginning? NO. Let's start with Jesus. Jesus led a perfectly pure life. How do we know this? Well because Jesus is God in human form. And God is pure and holy without blemish. See our God is not like the gods of other religions. He isn't half good and half bad. He is ALL good ALL the time.

When looking up the word sin on "Blue Letter Bible" in the original Greek and Hebrew; I came across the Greek word "anamartetos". It is a Greek word for sin used in the new testament only ONE time. So it must be pretty special right? It is a familiar story of a woman about to be stoned to death. Jesus steps in and says "Ye without sin cast the first stone..." John 8:7. Now in the original Greek the word for "sin" is "anamartetos" which means " he who has not sinned". Jesus was talking about Himself. "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone..." In other words, let me be the Judge. Now this is our PERFECT God.

Now as discussed in prior blogs Satan was an angel that God created. I think he was created prior to the creation of the earth. Job 38:4-7 basically says the the angels rejoiced when God laid the foundations of the earth. I also think that angels were created with a freewill. Why? Because it is the only way for a creator God to create something out of love. And also because Satan was the first sinner. Ahhhh...isn't that a nice load off your chest; to finally know that man wasn't responsible for screwing everything up! Well...hold that thought.

"Your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth..." Ez 28:17 So Satan's sin was that he thought he could be higher than God. The result of his sin was eternal separation from God. Pretty harsh? Not really. First Satan choose to leave by sinning. The separation is just the result of his sin, not the punishment of God. Also the extremity is due to how much wisdom Satan had of God. You know the old saying "the more knowledge...the more responsibility". Satan KNEW God! He was there when the earth was created. He was in God's heavenly kingdom. It says in Ez 28:14 that God anointed him as the guardian angel of heaven. So Satan was not only an angel in the presence of God, he was an angel with special responsibility and power! So when he sinned it had HUGE consequences. The result was eternal (since angels don't die) separation from God. Several of the other angels decide to go with Satan. "And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandon their own home..." Jude 6. Now their sin has separated them eternally from God as well.

Now I believe that this separation took place in Gen. 1:4 "God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from darkness." Genesis continues with God creating the whole earth. God affirms with each day that what He has created is good. Next God creates man. He creates man in His own image. He creates man out of love and with the ability to choose. Free will. God never controls His creation that is not love. To man he gives dominion and rulership over the whole earth. To me this implies that this earth will operate differently than heaven. God is still sovereign but with this creation He is allowing us to rule as humans via our own choices. The first example of this is God allowing Adam to name all the animals. (Gen 2:19-20). God could have named the animals but He didn't. He wanted us to be in charge of this new creation. He wanted us to use our intelligence and take ownership. God is not insecure. He his confident enough in His sovereignty that He was willing to sacrifice some power out of love for His creation and man. There was only one rule! Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.

Now if we read Gen 2:9 "God made all kinds of trees grow out the ground; trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." What do these trees mean? And who put them there? Well in Rev. 22:2 it says that the leaves of the tree of life are "healing for all nations". So the tree of life is really just how it sounds. It is God's perfection and life eternal. Notice God never tells Adam that he can not eat from this tree. He does however tell him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he does he will die, the Hebrew word here means "doomed to die". Simple as that.

So what is this tree all about? Well lets not forget about Satan. Remember at this point he has chosen separation from the goodness and perfection of God. This in turn has made him a sinner and evil- not by God's judgement but simply as a result of rejecting God. Now I PERSONALLY believe(and this is new to my brain as of the last week or so studying) that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the "tree of the knowledge of the battle between good and evil". In other words knowledge of the battle between God and Satan that at this point was in full swing!

Let me explain. Satan has left God of his own free will. Satan is allowed in the garden via his freewill. Satan is pissed at God. Satan wants to be God. Satan is seeking dominion. Satan sees his opportunity to have dominion over the earth through man and for man to worship him instead of God. We know that Satan has degree of power via being created by God as an angelic being. Satan has the power to create evil. He does this by twisting or manipulating the perfection God created. Therefore I believe that Satan took a tree that God had created and twisted or manipulated it for his own purpose. The tree of the knowledge of the battle between good and evil was in the garden because of the devil not because of God. God put the tree of life, the devil put the tree of death. Now this does not mean that God didn't want to have knowledge. Our totally intricate, intellectual brain is NOT a result of sin. God made us that way from the beginning. The knowledge of this tree was simply the knowledge that the devil existed and there was a battle.

Now where in the world did I come up with something like that!?! Well let me point out a few things that I have come across in my study for the last couple of weeks. This is new to me too. So stick with me...

Remember God says that he created "all kinds of trees that are pleasing to the eye and good for food". But He also makes it very clear NOT to eat of the tree of knowledge or you will die. So the tree of knowledge is NOT good for food. The trees God created were. Therefore He did not create this tree! Remember that God can not sin, there is no evil in him. So he can not create evil. Still having a hard time swallowing this? Well let's move on to Eve.

Eve is created by God out of the same love and with the ability to choose. Eve is the second part of the equation of Adam or humankind. She is for relationship, co-rulership and gives Adam the ability to multiply. In other words have sex. Oh my! See God could have decided to populate the entire earth Himself, but he didn't. He made it that man and woman would create something together out of love in God's image. All babies are the image of God when born. Whether they decide to keep that image is a different story.

So there were Adam and Eve naked before the Lord with no shame because they were without sin and fear. They were in the perfection and protection of God because they were in the secure, loving presence of God. God walked with them.

Then who screws it all up? Ah the devil! We forgot about the devil! Wouldn't it be nice if we could pretend that the devil didn't exist? Well he does. And a spiritual battle has been going on ever since he sinned.

So the devil comes to Eve and tempts her with the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of the battle between good and evil. Now the fact that this fruit is "tempting" is further confirmation the the devil put the tree there and NOT God. God will never temp you. James 1:13-14 says "When tempted, no one should say 'God is tempting me'. For God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." It goes on to say that the result of sin is death, and that every GOOD gift is from God...not evil. This is exactly what happened in the garden.

The devil by his own free will created this tree to tempt man. He wanted dominion over the earth. We saw us as his meal ticket and blood lust ensued. If he could get us to trust him and not God he gains worship of God's creation and dominion over the earth via man's free will.

Now what is interesting are the original Hebrew words used to describe the fruit. Remember God says that the trees HE created were "pleasing to the eye and good for food". Now in Gen 3:6 it says "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom she too some and ate it." The Hebrew word for "pleasing" when God is describing the fruit He created is "chamad" which means desire, precious, to take delight in, beauty. The Hebrew word that is used to describe the "pleasing" fruit Eve takes a bite from is "ta'avah" which means desire, lust, covet. "Ta'avah" is from the root word "avah" meaning crave, be greedy or prefer. So God would NOT create something that would make us covet or lust. This is the fruit he told us not to eat! So why was the tree there? Because Satan put it there via his freewill.

God would have never created something that would have tempted us to sin. That would NOT be a loving, good god. And our God is. God intended perfection for us without sin and death. This sin caused Adam and Eve to step out of the perfection of God. Sin is injecting imperfectness(if that is a word) into the perfection of God. So what was once perfect is now tarnished. This was NEVER God's plan for was Satan's.

Now what are the first words out of God's mouth after this event with the fruit? Continued in Part Two...

This Was Never God's Plan

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Parable of the WEEDS

This is a real quick follow up of my last couple of blogs on suffering. I am on my way to a wedding in Seattle. Woo Hoo! Anyways... Why doesn't God save the day. In my studying last night I came across Matthew 13:24. I think it gives a little more insight. Now when you read this the "man" is God, we (ALL mankind) are the "wheat" and the "enemy" is well the enemy...Satan.

"Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed GOOD seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping , his enemy acme and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat spouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
"The owner's servants came to him and said 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
"'An enemy did this,' he replied.
The servant asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
"'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring into my barn.'" Matthew 13:24-30

Is that cool or what! God is not going to step in until ALL the "wheat" can be saved. He wants EVERYONE to have the opportunity to be brought in to His "barn". I also loves how in says the the enemy will be bound up and thrown into the fire. We should exercise our authority "to bind" while we wait for the final binding that God will exercise for eternity. If He came back now think of how many lost would remain lost. So we have to wait for God's time and trust that His time is the best time. We are all suffering on this fallen earth one way or another. But in our (as Christians) sufferings we have the benefit of God's grace. Exercise that! And instead think of those suffering without the benefit of knowing a loving, gracious God! God is GOOD. Lets let everyone know that!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Come God Doesn't Save the Day?

One one my wonderful friends and fellow blogger made a fantastic comment on my last post (click here) about suffering. She pointed out that "what most people wrestle with is not just the causation of the pain, but why does God allow suffering...[why doesn't He] miraculously intervene?" Excellent question! So this got me thinking and fortunately I like to think...well at least now that I'm older. ;D

My short answer was that God has to allow everything good and bad in order for us to truly be free. Free speech in this country means that we get to hear some really great stuff and some really horrible sometimes vulgar, hateful stuff. So because God is a loving God, He want us to be able to make our own choice in totally freedom. You cannot create something out of love for the purpose of control. Control is not love.

So then why doesn't an all powerful God step in and stop all the "bad" stuff from happening? Why doesn't He "miraculously intervene"? Well say God was to step in every time some thing "bad" was going to happen. Well we wouldn't be free. He would be in control of a world He gave us control over. And how would you define "bad"? "Bad" is subjective to each individual. As we know in this world a lot of people are answerable to their own moral compass not God's. For example...What if God decided He did not want to see another baby aborted. Now I agree with God, but there are others most defiantly don't. In fact they fight viciously for the right to do so. So can you image how pissed off some people would be if God stepped in and miraculously saved all the babies. They would be marching in the streets pissed off yelling they have a right to do what they choose. Do you see what I'm getting at?

Or look at it this way...My daughter is learning how to ride her bike. Now because I love her I want to protect her so i keep holding on as she rides. Sydney on the other hand keeps saying "let go, let go, I can do it myself!" So I let go. About ten feet later she hits a rock and falls off the bike. Now whose fault was it that she fell? Was it mine because I shouldn't have listened to her desire and kept holding on? Or was it Sydney because she shouldn't have tried to do it on her own? Am I an abusive parent for letting go of the bike? Or is Sydney rebellious for not heading my desire? It starts to get convoluted doesn't it. In the end no matter whose fault it is I go and gather my daughter up in my arms and comfort her.

Now could Sydney's bike accident been prevented by a miracle of God or divine intervention? Well believing in an all powerful God I say yes. So why did He let her fall? Well let's take a look at what the word miracle actually means in a biblical sense. I went to a fabulous online bible site that I have become well acquainted with in these last few weeks called "Blue Letter Bible". So I looked up the word "miracle" in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary. One definition was "sign or wonder" from the Hebrew word "mowpheth". The root word "yaphah" means "to beautify or be beautiful." In the new testament I found two words for miracle..."dynamis" meaning "to be able or to have power" and "semaino" meaning "to make known". I clicked back over to the old testament and found one other word used as "miracle" it was "owth" meaning "sign or mark" the root word "uwth" meaning "to consent or agree". EUREKA!!!

In order for their to be a miracle we have to give consent. In other words miracles happen when we give God consent to step over the freewill boundary. That is why prayer is so important and why God tells us to do it...regularly! When we pray or intercede we are giving God consent to change the way things might otherwise happened. So it is a miracle. Think of prayer and intercession on a corporate level and the power in the Spirit that that has to change things. What was suppose to happen didn't because we gave God permission to step in. In turn He doesn't compromise our freewill. Why do we need to give an all powerful God permission? Because WE have dominion over this earth given to us by the all powerful God.

Think in the bible what was often said when someone was miraculously healed. They we healed because of their faith. Or they were healed because they gave consent to be healed. Now I know this can get a little touchy for some people. I suffer from some not nice health problems myself! So I give consent and I am healed right? Well I don't think anything is that black and white. There are several other factors to keep in mind the biggest of which is the battle in the spirit realm. The enemy is constantly on the attack to destroy us emotionally and physically. I don't know that we will ever have all the answers we want; at least here on earth.

I do think it sheds some light on things though. It gives me hope that God did give us power to change things. None of those definitions for miracle were exclusive to God. Particularly the word for miracle in the new testament "dynamis" meaning "to have power". That is the power of the Spirit working through US to do miracles! The more we align our will with God by giving consent the more God can work for us and through us. I think this has to be a active choice daily. Even an active choice throughout the day. Giving God consent in all that we do! Will our lives be perfect and suffering free? No, we can not escape this fallen world until we go to heaven. But we can do our best while we are her to live in victory. And pray for victory and miracles for others.

Lastly I thought it was interesting that one of the other root words in the Hebrew text for miracle was "to beautify". Think about that for a moment. Any beauty that we have in this fallen, decaying world is a miracle of God. It is the grace of God, it is the goodness of God. He gives us "beauty for ashes...gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Now that is a miracle!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Few More Thoughts On Suffering

I have gathered several quotes on the subject of suffering. I think it is a good way to see a broad worldview of how others feel about the subject. It is interesting that some of the quotes I have have chosen were written by people directly attacking Christianity and God regarding why we suffer. Basically saying that people are crazy to adhere to a religion that has such an angry God. Why would anyone want to believe or trust in a God that is the cause for all our suffering? Well you know what I think they are right. I am happy to say that I do not believe in a God like that. I believe in a good, loving, just God who would never use His power to abuse me. So where does suffering come from? I break it down like this...suffering(in general) comes from these 4 things...

1) A direct result of exercising our free will to sin. In the Old Testament when this sin multiplied to a national scale it was usually the cause for exile. But not exile by God, exile because they made the choice to step out of the protection of God and His law. In turn enemies had the chance to move in. God always gave several warnings to come back into relationship with Him to be protected. This was the cry of the prophets to the we know they usually didn't listen until it was too late. Today we still incur our own suffering due to sin and choosing to break relationship with God.

2) An attack from the enemy, meaning the devil. As in the book of Job. Click here to read that blog. The devils mission is always to destroy us and defame God. He was doing it 5000 years ago and he is still doing it today.

3) An attack from someone else exercising their free will to do evil. This was in the old testament and the new. In the new testament this is the suffering most often discussed. The suffering they were enduring was the actual persecution of anyone trying to spread the gospel. They were literally being hunted, tortured and killed if caught! We are not talking about having back pain for Jesus. These people were being fed to the lions in arenas, made into human torches by Nero, and being physically crucified on the crosses of the Romans. All for their faith.
Today this is the suffering of abuse, neglect, oppression, war or any other human caused suffering.

4) Natural disaster. In the garden of Eden we were given dominion over all creation, then we choose with our free will to sin. This in turn effected all creation and is why I believe we have natural disasters. In Romans 8:20-21 it says "...for creation was subjected to futility; not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay..." This won't happen until Jesus returns.

So notice none of the suffering is from God. Yes, God corrects us, but He is never abusive. Remember "there is no fear in love" 1 John 4:18. Also remember He will never compromise our freedom to exercise our free will. Whether the choice be good or bad. He will not control us. That is not love and God is always loving. He will however work all suffering for good and restore what was stolen from us. That is a good God! That is my God!

So keep all that in mind while reading these quotes...

"Love never claims, it ever gives, love never suffers, never resents, never revenges itself. Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction" Gandhi

"Vice has more martyrs than virtue; and it often happens that men suffer more to be lost than to be saved." Charles Caleb Colton

"Although the world is full of suffering it is also full of overcoming it." Helen Keller

"Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather it is a spirit that bears all things-with resignations; yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope."
Corazon Aquino

"Suffering is not a punishment, it is a result." Robert Green Ingersol

"You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will." C.S. Lewis

"To be or not to be that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings ans arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of trouble, and by opposing them, end them." Hamlet...William Shakespeare

"A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain." Samuel Johnson

"Love does not cause suffering: what causes it is a sense of ownership, which is loves opposite."
Antoine de Saint Exupery

"The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live."
Ayn Rand

"Fear is the path to the dark side, fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Yoda...Star Wars

"Now it seems to me that love of some kind is the only possible explanation of the extraordinary amount of suffering that there is in this world." Oscar Wilde

"Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer to be tricked." Machiavelli

"I am bigger than anything that can happen to me. All these things sorrow, misfortune, and suffering are outside my door. I am in the house and I have the key." Charles Fletcher Cummis

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