Thursday, December 31, 2009

Be A Better Christian

So the other day I was thinking about the end of the decade. I was thinking about what I could do to boost my faith a little more in the next year. What would make me a better Christian? What would make me a more proactive person of faith? Not just a "got my ticket heaven so I don't care about anything else" Christian. So I set out to find a good passage of scripture that really laid it all out. A verse that really sums up what being a Christian should mean. Most of the new testament epistles talk about what it means to be a follower of Christ. I however wanted something in the words of Jesus Himself.

After a bit of thought and meditation I felt drawn to Luke chapter 7. I felt to read the whole chapter not just a specific verse. So upon completing the 50 verses I thought "OK, that seems a little random, I don't get it." The chapter is comprised of four totally different stories during Jesus' ministry. They didn't have a common theme or message. So I read it again hoping to get some insight. The second time around things became magnificently clear. Lets first look at the four stories of Luke 7 separately.

Luke 7:1-10 Jesus healing the servant of a Roman Centurion.

Luke 7:11-17 Jesus raising a man from the dead.

Luke 7:18-35 Jesus discussing John the Baptist.

Luke 7:36-50 A woman washing and anointing the feet of Jesus.

So how in the world do these stories tell how to be a better, proactive Christian? Well lets start at the top. A Centurion was a Roman military officer in charge of about 100 men. This particular Centurion was a good master to his servant {vs.2}. He had respect for people of faith {vs.4-5}. He was a man with authority {vs.8} and respected the authority of Jesus {vs.7}. So Jesus heals the Centurion's servant because of his faith.

The next story in chapter 7 is that of a widow whose only son had died {vs.12}. Jesus comes upon the funeral precession and sees the mother weeping for her son. His heart goes out to her and tells her not to weep {vs.13}. Jesus then touches the coffin and commands the son to "get up" {vs.14}. The man comes back to life and begins talking {vs.15}.

Next we have two servants of John the Baptist coming to Jesus to ask him a question for John who is in jail {vs.18}. They want to know if Jesus is the messiah whom has been expected {vs.20}. At that question Jesus proceeds to heals many who are there and frees people of demons {vs.21}. Jesus tells the men to report back to John "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." {vs.22} Quick side note here---the word "poor" in the Bible doesn't exclusively mean lacking finances. The Greek word for poor is "ptochos" meaning afflicted, helpless, powerless, or someone lacking in anything.

After John's servants leave Jesus begins to talk to the people about the ministry of John {vs.24}. He tells them that John is not like a reed blown in the wind {vs.24}. That he is not a man concerned with things of the world {vs.25}. Jesus says John is a prophet and messenger of God {vs.26-27}. Jesus also explains the rejection they share though for different reasons. John removed himself from the worldly company and was said to have a demon {vs.33}. Jesus put himself in the company of sinners and was also rejected {vs.34}. Jesus sums up by saying that "wisdom is proved right by her children." {vs.35} Meaning both extremes had bore fruit.

The last story in Luke chapter 7 is that of a "sinful" woman. She finds Jesus eating a meal at the house of a Pharisee {vs.37}. She proceeds to fall at His feet weeping {vs.38}. She then washed His feet with her tears, kissed them and anointed them with a fine ointment {vs.38}. The Pharisees are horrified by this display because the woman is a sinner {vs.39}. Jesus points out that the woman had done what the Pharisees should have done. {vs.45-46}. It was customary in ancient times to welcome a guest into your home with a kiss and a washing of feet. I had the privilege of living in Jerusalem for 3 months in 1999. After walking around the old city for hours each day I got to see how dusty and dirty you feet get. I could have done well with a good foot washing or two.

So how do all these stories tell us to be better, proactive Christians? Look at the picture below.

So to be a Luke 7 Christian you need to be a respectable person of authority. A good soldier has disipline and leads by example. God has given us power and authority though Jesus and the Holy Spirit. With that authority we need to not fight against flesh and blood, but instead in the spirit realm. We need to have a respect for other people's of faith. The centurion was not a Jew, but he had a respect for the people and their faith. He also had a respect for Jesus. So use your God given authority to respect God, respect people and battle the enemy. Don't shame God by doing things in His name that are not edifying to others and to God.

Next we need to die to the sinful nature and raise again to a life in the Spirit. This isn't a one time thing. This should be a daily decision. Put off the old self and be alive in Christ! When Jesus raised this man from the dead he didn't just simply come back to life; the man began to talk. He was proactive in his new life. Don't be a Christian who is not proactive. Be a Christian that is alive not just living.

John the Baptist was a man that was totally committed to Christ and the message that He would bring. He was a man who live out in the wilderness separate from the society of worldly possessions. He did the work of the Lord and the Spirit testified through him. We need to do the same. Be separate for the world and totally committed to God. Speak His truth, testify His goodness, and save the lost. Stand firm in your faith. Don't be swayed in the wind by falsehood. Find the balance of being in the world but not of the world. Look at the comparison of Jesus and John in Luke 7:33-35. John had totally abstained from the world and Jesus was in the world surrounded by sinners. With God's wisdom you will know the balance by the fruit you bear. Be in the world but don't become the world. Be a new creature of light in the darkness and prepare the way.

Finally the servant heart of the sinful woman. Do you know that servanthood by default is worship to God? When we serve one another God is glorified. This service should be to one another in the body of Christ and then to the world. For how can we testify the humility and love of servanthood if we can't even get along with other believers? Get along with each other people! Serve people at your church. Serve people at your work. Serve each other in your marriage. Serve each other in your family. Then your will be a testimony in your service. Then you can reach out to the lost. This is worship in action. This glorifies the Lord! Get involved in your community. Get involved at your child's school. Get involved in anything really! Be an example of the servant heart of God and in turn worship Him. He is the reason that you have a second chance. Do all that you can to not let that go to waste.

So there you have the Luke 7 Christian. Use this as a challenge for the new year. Be proactive in your faith. Faith means two things 1} to trust in God 2} to obey God. Believe it then do it. Be a light that shines. Use your authority to edify and battle. Be alive and move forward. Be a testimony of Christ firm in your faith. Worship God and serve one another.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Modern Day Jesus

I came across this website via a friend on facebook. With my love for photography and the Lord these were right up my alley! I don't usually like "Jesus" pictures but Mr. Belk has done a fantastic job with these images. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. Really they need no explanation. There are plenty thought provoking in and of themselves.

Click here to go to the official website for more amazing shots.

Let Me Know What You Think

Would love to hear what you think! I get my inspiration from common questions or misunderstandings that people have about faith and spirituality. I would love your comments and insight. Or maybe you want to just say hello. That is fine too! This is an open board so shoot away. Besides I am nearly impossible to offend so be honest! Post comments below by clicking "comments".

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Deus Amor Vincit Omnia

It is difficult for man to think of the omnipotence of God as being immune to corruptibility. As the saying goes "Absolute power corrupts absolutely". There should be no doubt that God is all powerful. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in it. He is sovereign over all things. But does that mean He is in control of all things? As you may know from reading my blog I believe whole-heartily that God created all beings with freewill. Creating some thing without freewill would not be loving. God, along with His omnipotence is all-loving and there in lies His power.

"But the only thing that has power completely is love, because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore has power." Alan Patan

This quote describes the essence of God's omnipotence, that is love. Now be clear that God is love, but not all love is God. There are many things done in the name of "love" that are not of God. But God is always loving. With any being other than God, namely man or the devil, absolute power is dependent on those whom the power is over. Think of an earthly ruler. He is only as powerful as much as his subjects give him power. The same is true of the devil. So with man and the devil unless power is given to the power seeker he has no power.

There is fear then because of the subjectiveness of freewill that usually prompts the power seeker to use control of those he seeks power over. With God however His omnipotence is subjective to no one. That is why He was at liberty to create beings with freewill. His power is not limited by lack of worship. It is the lack of fear that gives foundation for relationship. A king who knows he can be usurped by no one is free to love all. It is the unconditional love of God that gives both power and freedom with no need for control. He loves us regardless if we love Him. Freewill does not in fringe on His omnipotence or sovereignty.

We must force our brains to understand that just because God is all-powerful doesn't mean that everything that happens is by His power. Because of the freewill of man and the devil many things happen outside the will of God. That is why sin is sin. Sin is choosing something outside the will of God. Anything that happens in this world that is not loving is not God!

"There's too much tendency to attribute to God the evils that man does of his own freewill." Agatha Christie

God created man in His image. God's image is love. So when man chooses anything other than love he is sinning against the image of God. On the same note being that every man was created in the image of God; God desires that all mankind be reconciled unto Him. All of mankind was predestined to have relationship with God. All of mankind was predestined to partake of the grace and atonement of Jesus. All of mankind was predestined to have the freewill to choose otherwise.

"There are only two kinds of people in the end; those who say to God "Thy will be done", and those to whom God says "Thy will be done." CS Lewis

So God's power is not corruptible and is always loving. His power is not subjective to our worship but He does long to have relationship with us. Freewill permits us to choose that relationship or not. But make no mistake in the reason you were created. Why does someone create? Usually to share love and beauty. God created you to share His love and beauty. He did NOT create you to endure the pain and suffering of evil. This is where the passion of God's love for you demands His righteous justice.

"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." Martin Luther King

This is the relationship of love and justice that we see throughout the entire old testament. God longing to have relationship with His created. His created is rebelling against that love in sin. So God in His love, that is His power, battled against the sin that stood in the way of His love for His created. Now you may think God is starting to sound a little controlling. Well not really.

What you have to remember when we look at the Israelites in the old testament is that God had made a two way agreement with these people. The Israelites were chosen not because of their righteousness, but because of the other peoples wickedness. God was trying to show that relationship with Him(since He created you and loves you) was the only way to have fruitful rest and protection from the enemy. This was the agreement...choose God which is life or choose sin and evil that is death.

In the entire old testament God's justice and power was always operating out of love. There were no random acts of violence. There were no fits of rage and control. There was no breech of contract on God's part. However there were all these things on the part of the Israelites and peoples influenced by the devil. They were the ones that choose the death and destruction of sin. God and sin do not mix. Think of it like this. God in His love is fire. Sin in its rebellion is ice. When ice comes into the presence of fire it will always melt.

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its ardor unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame."
Song of Solomon 8:6

The old testament was a battle for intimacy and relationship with God. It was not a battle for freewill. The fact that the death and destruction was there is an indicator that freewill was in full swing. God's justice is not deciding who should die by His power. God's justice is love in the face of the freewill choice to choose something other than love. In the old testament that meant death.

Today the love and justice of God is Jesus. God's love and power is made perfect in His grace. Jesus paid the consequence of sin that is death. He did this so that we wouldn't have to die. God out of His love sent Jesus so that there would be no barrier between Him and man if man so chooses. Again God's love trumps all. God's love conquers all. God does not require you to worship Him to be powerful. He will not use His power to force anything on you. But He does long to have free relationship with you because He loved you first. Man will continue to do evil. The devil will continue to destroy. God will continue to love all who will accept Him. His power is made perfect in our weakness. His power is love.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Don't Panic!

This post is in connection with the new "Panic Button" on my sidebar. Just a post of encouragement and prayer in a time of trouble or need. Hope it helps! ;D

This is a crazy, fallen world that we live in. Because man and the devil have freewill all sorts of hardship and oppression seem to prevail. To a certain extent this is true. This is why bad things happen to good people. This is why even those that believe and have relationship with Jesus are subject to this world of decay. But there is hope in Jesus to live victoriously within the battle.

I am not saying that bad things won't continue to happen; unfortunately they will. Man and the devil will continue this destruction till the end of this world. We will also continue to make our own mistakes that have certain consequences. I am also not saying that bad things that happen are the will of God for you. God's will for you is always loving, fullness and rest. Anything other than that is not God. But sometimes we get pushed out of that will by man, the devil or by our own sin. This is why our loving God gives us grace through His Spirit.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you , for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Romans 8:26,28 "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us...and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him..."

Romans 8:37-39 "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus."

So take heart today. God can take the very worst situation and turn it into something good. The verse above says that God will allow NOTHING to separate us from Him. The trick is for us to agree. Don't let bad things that happen separate you from the love of God. God's heart is grieved at the state of things in this world. He longs for the time when we will be gathered unto Him in heaven. Where He will wipe the tears from our eyes. Where there will be no more death, pain and fear. But He is waiting so that all might be saved.

Until that time partake of God's grace everyday and for all situations. Cast your burdens on God and take His rest. Stand firm against the enemy, that is the devil. Be victorious in this life. Be a witness of God's power, grace and love. If need be forgive. There is no freedom in unforgiveness.

Let's pray!

Father God we come before you today with our problems, burdens and oppressions and lay them at your feet. We are unable to make it through this life without your love, grace and provision. Lord we know that you seek good things for us. We know that the enemy seeks to thwart those plans. So God we come before you asking you to gather us up in your arms. To set us on the path of Your will once again. To give us power to stand against the enemy. To give us the love to forgive those that have wronged us and if need be the humility to forgive ourselves. God give us the grace to continue forward. Give us a willing heart to learn from this situation. For we know that when the world pulls the rug from beneath our feet it gives us the opportunity to fall into deeper intimacy with you. Thank you God for your grace. Thank you God for your love. Thank you God that you care about me and all that concerns me. You are my provider and strong tower in times of trouble. You are a good God. Thank you Jesus. Amen!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

To Be{lieve} or Not To Be{lieve}

I believe that God the Father created the heavens and the earth and all its inhabitants.

I believe that God created all things out of love and for good purpose.

I believe He created us for loving relationship with Him and each other.

I believe God created angels and man with freewill.

I believe that sin was created via the freewill choice of the devil,
putting enmity between himself and God.

I believe that sin entered the world via the freewill choice of man. Thus putting the barrier of sin between God and man that is death.

I believe the devil is the father of all lies, destruction and death.

I believe that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

I believe that for this reason God the Father sent His son Jesus to bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free from sin.

I believe Jesus by His own choice laid down His life, paying the price of death for man's sin
and thus removing the barrier between God and man.

I believe that all mankind has the choice to partake in the atonement of this sacrifice that is Jesus.

I believe that Jesus' death on the cross took back control of death from the devil.

I believe that Jesus rose from the dead, was seen by many and then ascended into heaven.

I believe the Holy Spirit to be the power of God to enable man to battle NOT against flesh and blood but against the enemy, that is the devil.

I believe in the fruit of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, gentleness and self-control.

I believe in the acts of the Holy Spirit that is wisdom & understanding, deliverance,
healing, spiritual tongues, prophecy and intercession.
I believe in specific callings of the Spirit to teach, worship, witness, pastor and counsel.

I believe that the fruit, acts and callings of the Holy Spirit are to be the testimony of Jesus
through all that choose Him. It is the grace given to us who remain in the world
to have spiritual power over the world. It is also to minister to the body of Christ and to the lost.

I believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit three in one as the only Truth and the Word. The principles of truth are the principles of God and may be spoken by many but Jesus is the only way to the Father and eternal life.

I believe the Bible to be the one and only Word of God;
Truth never changing and therefore relevant to all generations.

I believe that one day Jesus will return to earth. At that time man must choose(if he hasn't already) where he will spend eternity. This earth will pass away. Eternity is either spent with God or the devil.

I believe only those who choose Jesus will live in the eternal fullness of
God's presence that is eternal life forever.
I believe that ultimately God is the Judge of man's heart. He is far more gracious than any man.
When the time comes He will gather as many of His created that He can back unto Himself. But He will not gather those who's heart is unwilling. He will not override man's freedom to choose.

At the close of 2009 I wanted to remind myself what I believe. I wanted to again make a declaration to myself and God that this is what I commit my life to. To remind me of His love and His grace. But also to remind me of my commitment to testimony and servant hood to others in His name.

See when we give our lives to God He takes them and cleans them but then gives them back to us. Salvation should never just be a ticket to heaven. It is a commitment to now use your life to testify who God is and minister to the lost. Notice I say minister not judge and rebuke. A starving, broken heart needs food and care. It is with that food and care that you win the heart of man for Christ. Condemnation and shame is not the message of the cross. A wounded heart must be bound up before the damage can be assessed. Then the heart can confess freely and by it's own choice without fear.

So that is what I believe. What do you believe? Have you made a commitment? Think about it and when you are ready just declare out loud these 5 things. Out loud so you can hear yourself say it and remember it. Also as a statement to God and the devil that today you chose LIFE.

1} Believe it! Jesus loves me and wants to save me; just as I am...right now.

2} Say it! I admit that I need Jesus to take away my sin and give me eternal life.

3} Receive it! I ask to be filled with His Holy Spirit to give me power to be a changed person.

4} Do it! I commit to reading His word, prayer, worship and fellowship with other believers.

5} Testify! I will be an example of Christ. I will minister to those in need spiritually & physically.

These 5 steps should be an ongoing declaration for anybody who chooses to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Not that we always need to be groveling at the cross for forgiveness. On the contrary we need to be laying the burdens of this world down at the cross. Daily asking for the Holy Spirit to give us power against the enemy, grace for dealing with hard situations and a heart for the lost. Also to be joyful at the love, grace and salvation of God. To partake of peace that passes understanding. Most of all to put yourself in active conversation with God so that you can remind Him that you love Him because He first loved you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To All Mankind...

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Isaiah 61:1-3

"But the angels said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all men." Luke 2:10

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Wonder of a Snowflake

"Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity, so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand."
Henry David Thoreau


Friday, December 18, 2009


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Star of Bethlehem

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes it's circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making the wise simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous." Ps. 19:1-9

I came across this very cool website of a man who believes he has figured out the mystery of the star of Bethlehem. He is a Christian scientist of astronomy. He has some excellent insight into the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. What is really cool is that he is using science to prove it. This is exactly what we have been discussing. Using the laws of our scientific God to point people towards Him and His son Jesus. Glorifying God with science! I love it. Click on the links below and with a humble heart prepare to be amazed at the wisdom of God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shepherds, Intellectuals and the Humble of Heart

So I was thinking over my last two blogs on knowledge and wisdom. Being that it is the Christmas season I began to think about the birth of Jesus. If you read the different accounts in the gospels it it interesting to read about the different people that saw baby Jesus. It was those who were humble of heart that gained wisdom and understanding.

Who were the ones to get the first announcement? The lowly, humble shepherds. (Luke 2:8-20)These were not educated people of high social standing. They were usually the younger boys and slaves. So right from the get go God is revealing Himself to both Jew and gentile. Their humble standing granted them wisdom. The shepherds not only saw the heavens open; they saw God and worshipped the baby Jesus.

When Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple to be dedicated in is not the priest who recognises the Lord. (Luke 2:21-24) It is a man named Simeon who is moved by the Spirit to go to the temple at that exact time. When he got there his knowledge and humble heart rewarded him with wisdom. He took Jesus in his arms and proclaimed "For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel." Luke 2:30-32. Because Simeon used his knowledge with a humble heart he saw God in the baby Jesus.

Also at the temple that day was a woman named Anna. (Luke 2:36-38) As a woman she would have not been allowed into the inter court to worship. But she was dedicated to the Lord and "worshipped day and night". Again due to her humble heart and fear of the Lord she saw God in the baby Jesus that day.

So far we really have no one of particular consequence that saw the bay Jesus. Really just some young, lowly shepherds and old man named Simeon and an old lady named Anna. Where were all the priests, kings and intellectuals?

The wise men or "magi" have been called all of the above. The Greek word also means magician or astrologer. For the sake of this blog I say they were most defiantly wise and they were men of ancient science. The wise men were the wealthy, intellectual elite of ancient times. These men were well versed in the prophecies of the old testament Numbers 24:17 and Micah 5:2. They were also educated in how to read the stars in the sky. With this knowledge they set out to meet this new "king of the Jews". Remember that knowledge is just information. It is with what attitude (humble or proud) that you use to facilitate that knowledge that makes all the difference. The fact that these men were willing to travel some distance to pay respect to this newborn King already speaks of their humility.

When the wise men get to Jerusalem they are met with prideful opposition. Matthew 2:3 says that King Herod and all of Jerusalem were alarmed at the mention of this newborn King. They were NOT facilitating their knowledge with humility. Pride had instead caused fear. Herod calls the chief priests and teachers of the law to give clue as to where this baby was. But even with the knowledge of the prophesies they were blinded by pride. Herod summons the wise men in secret to gain information. (Matthew 2:7-8) This "secret" meeting being a physical manifestation of the spirit of deception over Herod. He is asking about the star that they have seen. Herod could not see the star. His pride had blinded him.

I think the star has both physical and spiritual implications. Herod and the people of Jerusalem could see it because they didn't know the heavens. They didn't know what to look for. Spiritually they could see it because of their fear and pride. The wise men leave towards Bethlehem with the star ahead of them. They knew the heavens and their hearts were humble.

God honors this humility of the wise men. Just like the shepherds, Simeon and Anna the wise men saw God in the baby Jesus. They offer gifts and bow to worship the Lord. After they leave God speaks to them concerning Herod. (Matthew 2:12) The wise men have been granted the wisdom to discern between good and evil because of their humility. They do not travel back to Jerusalem and King Herod. They go back home.

So here we have the revelation of the birth of God's Son Jesus. It was not prideful pomp and circumstance. It was not a gathering of intellectuals and kings. God gave revelation of wisdom to those with a humble heart. Wisdom to those that yielded their heart to the Spirit of God and worshipped Him. Those who were proud did not see Jesus. They were blinded by fear and deception. It is humility that will make one wise beyond their companions. God will reveal Himself and give understanding to both poor and rich, male and female, uneducated and intellectual, Jew and Gentile. But first you must have the humility of the shepherds, the righteousness of Simeon, the servant heart of Anna, and the discerning wisdom if the Magi. Only then will you have understanding of the fullness of God, the grace of His Spirit, and the redemptive power of His son Jesus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Monday, December 14, 2009

Knowledge is Not Wisdom {Part Two}

Click here to read Part One.

What is pride? Pride is a misconception of your self identity. Pride can go to two extremes. Arrogant pride is thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Pity pride is thinking more lowly of yourself than you ought to think. Both draw the same attention of the attention seeker. Both are equally damaging pride. So how should we think of ourselves?

Romans 12:3
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

James 4:7
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Ephesians 5:8-11a
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness..."

So humility and fear of the Lord is really just submitting yourself to God the Creator. It is not grovelling and saying "I'm not worthy." or "I'm just a screw up, no one can help poor me." That is pity pride. But it is also not thinking that you know better than God. That sounds like this..."Well this is 2009, God just seems a little outdated." or "God just doesn't understand my situation." or "God is for weaklings that can't think for themselves." That is arrogant pride and it is wrong. God created you, he loves you and wants the best for you. He created your mind and intellect as a blessing for you and for Him. Root your identity in Christ. Do not be any more or less.

Now if we follow our diagram above falsehood and lies is what follows a prideful heart. The devil as the patron non-saint of pride thought that he could be better than God. He did not want to honor his Creator. Adam and Eve did the same thing. They thought they could gain more "wisdom" from the created being of Satan instead of the Creator God.

Romans 1:25
"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator."

What is the first thing that happens to Adam and Eve after ingesting this knowledge of the devil? Their eyes were opened to the falsehood and lies of the devil. They noticed their nakedness and were ashamed. See who the devil used both prides here. He enticed them with arrogant pride {you will be like God} and then after sinning are stricken with pity pride {ashamed of how God created them.} All to the devil's selfish delight. The devil never has and never will do anything beneficial for you. It will always be a lie that leads you away from God and who He created you to be.

Now fortunately for Adam and Eve they were in active relationship with God. So they were able to repent and God put His covering back over them. But if people do not repent with a broken and contrite heart the devils lies lead to deception and confusion. This is the all encompassing death of the spirit that the devil feeds off of. People loose their sense of identity. They are often shallow, angry, wounded people. On the other hand they can led somewhat productive lives. The spiritual is dead, but the physical has learned how to cope.

This is the way the devil has worked mass deception. There are millions of people that believe certain falsehoods as truth simply because of how many people believe them. They think that there is truth in numbers. How ridiculous is that? Remember your mom saying "would you jump off a cliff just because your friends did?" Same idea. The world thinks that just because so many people believe in a certain lie than that must mean it is true. Wrong!

Once again this is deception of the devil rooted in pride. These people think that there is no God, or if there is a God he is no good. People that worship knowledge over God or trust their own moral compass are arrogantly proud. They become their own god. This is what we call humanism. Pity pride leads to oppressive religion, self-hatred, self -destruction and altogether lost people. These people think that if their is a God He must not care about them.

Evolution is an interesting falsehood in the way that it works both prides. Evolution arrogantly assumes that we were not created by God (little lower than the angels mind you) and that we are no more than intelligent evolved apes. Now I would say that thinking I came from apes is thinking more lowly of myself than I ought to think. Wouldn't you? But this is the belief of millions of people just because "intelligent" people say so. But what of all the evidence they have found? Well it is my understanding that evidence for evolution has changed several times over the years. You need just as much faith to believe evolution as you do to believe in God! However the bible has never changed or been updated. God has never changed. Why? Because Truth is the same yesterday, today and forever. Look all information and knowledge that does not point to God and His truth and principles is falsehood. These "intelligent" people have used their minds and the knowledge they have gathered with a prideful heart. At the same time these "intelligent" people have given God a big middle finger. This path will always led to deep deception; meaning they can no longer see the truth.

Jude 10
"Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them."

Romans 1:28
2"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done."

James 3:13-16
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, un-spiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."

Are you starting to see the difference between knowledge and wisdom? Now let me clear about one thing. Just because someone does not have a relationship with God, doesn't mean that they are incapable of truth and wisdom. There are many who don't have a personal relationship with God but still honor Him. There have been many great minds throughout history that have discovered great things and at the same time have had no relationship with God. Some have even been strictly opposed to God. But God is truth and God is gracious. Therefore God will always honor truth and goodness even if it comes from someone against Him.

Science is something that should never be deemed un-spiritual. God is a God of science. He is the one that made it all in the first place. That is why we find so much order in the universe. So science should continue to advance. New discoveries can change people's lives. But they should also be things that point to the Creator not away from Him. Think of the even greater things science could discover if scientists submitted their cause to glorify God! But when truth is not backed with a relationship with God it leaves the door open for the devil. He is a master at manipulating the truth of God for his own purpose. Leading people away from God instead of to God.

So knowledge is not the problem. It is what we do with that knowledge in respect to God that makes all the difference. We can not turn knowledge into God. Worship God above all else and He will give you wisdom and understanding. We must also realize that we are never going to have all the answers. Many scientists hold tho the law of "naturalism". Naturalism being the system of thought holding that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. Therefore it excludes exsistance of the supernatural. People...the supernatural is NEVER going to be explained by natural laws. That is why it is called the SUPERnatural. It is above and beyond the natural. So how can finite answers explain an infinite God? They can't. But God can give us understanding beyond the finite through His Spirit. That is why the Spirit is super-natural. He is not of this world.

Colossians 2:2-4
"...they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments."

So how do we make sure we are not led astray be the schemes of the devil? Live in the truth and principles of God. Read His word. Meditate and pray. Learn of the character of God and who He is. Put off the spirit of death and deception and live in God's fullness and life. This is a daily decision for some. You have to yield to the Spirit for this to happen. This is where all logic goes out the window and you step out in faith. Out of the natural and into the super-natural. I can tell you is so worth it.

Romans 8:5-8
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

1John 4:4-6
"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood."

Seems too simple right. Seems unintelligent doesn't it? While we are on the subject...why do the people who follow God seem so simple? Some would even say stupid. Compare the desert dwelling Israelites to the advanced culture of the Egyptians. Compare the hidden"cult" of the early church to the powerful Roman Empire or Greek philosophers of the day. Even today, modern intellectual thinkers seem to be aghast at the ignorance of Christianity. So what gives?

Two things. After man sinned God saw the strategy of the enemy to use knowledge as a pitfall. So God made sure to keep His righteous people focused on Him instead of intellectual advancement. Really all of the "advanced" cultures of ancient times are a testament as to how knowledge is not the best foundation. Most all of those empires cease to exist today. So a simple identity in Christ seasoned with knowledge and wisdom has lasted though the ages and has never faded. It wasn't that God's people lacked the knowledge, they just focused on greater things of the Spirit. Remember it was Noah who built a gigantic ark that stayed a float for a year. It was Solomon who built the temple with the finest materials to exact specifications. Not to mention modern scientists such as Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle and George Washington name a few.

Second, as we have seen intellectual minds tend to be exclusionary. Where as simplicity is open to all. Think of the birth of the early church. This new "religion" had to be understood by all types of people groups and languages. It had to accessible to the uneducated slave and poor as well as educated Romans and Greek philosophers. Messages had to be concise and easy to understand...there were no bibles yet. They had no official meeting places. They had to give quick sermons before they were caught and put in jail. The simplicity was necessary so that all people would have a chance to accept Christ. That is the beauty of the Holy Spirit. Anyone can accept the Spirit and have the same fullness of wisdom in Christ. Paul preached this to the Greek philosophers themselves on Mars Hill. Many of them put their intellect to a humble level and accepted Jesus. {Acts 17:16-34}

Perfect example that the message of Christ can be understood by a child or the highly intellectual mind. But first their must be a change of heart. Humility before the Creator by the created. Then all the riches of God's wisdom and understanding will give you life in His Spirit. So seek God's wisdom. Don't settle for shallow knowledge and deception. God wants you to use your brain but use it to His glory.

Click here from some cool scientific consistencies found in the bible.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Knowledge Is Not Wisdom {Part One}

I love history! I love to find out how different cultures existed in ancient times. I enjoy reading about past great leaders and how they changed the world. I love biology. I think it is so cool to see how living things work. I have always had a love of human anatomy with all the intricacies and inter workings of the body. I love poetry. I love literature and ancient texts. I think they are a window to that particular time in history. Oh and art...I really love art and photography. Really you could say that I love knowledge! I am an information junkie. The more the merrier. To some that that would sound so un-spiritual even carnal. But the thought that God did not want His created to have knowledge is misguided. He is the one that created our brains with the capacities for such things. We did not gain these things from the devil and his tree of knowledge.

There is no good knowledge that we gained from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The only knowledge that we gained was the knowledge that the devil existed. The tree was simply a publicity stunt of the devil to peddle his falsehoods. The devil made it sound as though we would gain some hidden mystery of the universe or wisdom greater than God. All we gained was lies, disappointment, destruction and death.

How did we ever get the idea that an omniscient God created us in his image but lacking in knowledge. That doesn't make much sense does it. Moreover why would God give dominion over the entire earth to a total idiot? Simple answer. He didn't. He created our intellect. He created it so that we would use it. We were not created as a little pet for the Almighty. We are not suppose to be mice running around a little maze trying to figure out if the red button means food or electrocution. All while God is sitting in heaven having a good belly laugh because we can't figure out it is the green button not the red. God created us with an intricate, intellectual brain capable of making decisions, learning new things and problem solving. He made us in the image of His mind so that we could have a personal relationship with a omniscient God. So that we would live in the fullness of His wisdom and have understanding.

Before we go further I want to give four definitions so we will all be on the same page.

KNOWLEDGE---awareness or information from study or experience.

WISDOM---ability to make sound judgements; insight; extensive or accumulated body of knowledge.

UNDERSTANDING---comprehension, reconciliation of differences; compassionate.

CONFUSION---unable to think with clarity or understanding; disorder, bewilderment, embarrassed.

So let's start at the top. God created us with a wealth of knowledge. He did this in part so that we might take dominion of the earth that He also created. Now right off the bat I think that it is safe to assume that God the Creator knows best about His and all that is in it. Let's not forget the celestial either. God created all the angels and where they reside. Angels includes the devil and all his helpers. More on that in a bit.

In Genesis chapter 2 it tells of Adam naming all the animals and birds that God had created. It tells of Adam tending and working the garden. So here is Adam already on his path to being a zoologist, botanist, ecologist and environmentalist. When God created Eve he told them to be fruitful and multiply. Sex Education 101. Adam and Eve didn't learn about sex from the devil. God gave this command before the eating of the fruit. How would man have known how to multiply if God hadn't told them so? I believe they engaged in sex long before the fall. Why wouldn't have they?

I have heard people say that Adam and Eve didn't get a fair shake because they never had a childhood. That they didn't get to "experience" things. First of all they got to "experience" the actual presence and fullness of the Creator God and all His wisdom. Second it would not be wise for God to give dominion of the earth to a child. Which further makes the point that we were not created with lack of knowledge. Third there is NOTHING that you can experience outside the fullness of God that is truly fulfilling. The notion that you can is a lie from the devil. A lie that has ruined countless lives or has plunged people into deep deception. Moving on...

After Eve is created Adam says "this is bone of my bone; flesh of my flesh..." Gen. 2:23. Sounds like Adam has some understanding of the body and how it works doesn't it? They had an understanding of relationship with God and each other. They had an understanding of physical beauty all around them. They ate and tasted good food, they smelled sweet fragrances. They saw colors and patterns. They could feel textures of plants and animals. They could hear and distinguish voices and sounds. This was all done with comprehension and understanding; not with instinct like the animals.

So here we have Adam and Eve prior to the fall. For all intents and purposes they had the makings of zoologists, ornithologists, botanists, ecologists, environmentalists, biologists, horticulturalists, and sociologists. They must have had tools for working the garden. They must have had some place to sleep and keep dry. It was your quintessential educational, vegetarian, nudist colony. It was a perfect, intimate and full of life. They had a God given understanding of themselves, creation and how to be good stewards of both. True Bliss. Really we don't know how long this lasted before the devil showed up; the bible doesn't say. Ah yes! We forgot about the devil and how he ruins everything.

The devil and his incurable pride was jealous of man. So he set a trap in the garden to snatch Adam and Eve from their intimacy with God and each other. (More on this here.) The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was simply a publicity stunt of the devil to show that he existed. Moreover that he knew better than God and that God was hiding knowledge from them. The father of all lies. There was no good knowledge in this tree. The only reason it was called the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" was so that there would be a comparison for understanding. Think about it. If God had just called it the "tree of the knowledge of evil" Adam and Eve would have had no clue what evil was. At this point there was no evil, destruction or death. But because God does not hide things; He named in a way that man would understand. He had to make a comparison between good and evil even though the tree was only evil.

Matthew 7:18-20 "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

So there we have the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The devil's big, gaudy billboard announcing his "more knowledgeable" existence. A fruit of lies, deception, confusion, pride, unrighteousness, falsehood and death. But what of the other significant tree in the garden? The tree of life. It doesn't say much in Genesis about this tree. Except that after the fall God does not want Adam and Eve to eat of the tree and live forever. Meaning that if they eat of the tree of life in their sinful state that would mean eternal separation from God; just like the devil. So God had to protect the tree of life until after Jesus had paid our debt. Now the tree of life is available to all who believe.(Rev. 22:14) But what else does the bible say of this tree?

Proverbs 3:18 "She [wisdom] is a tree of life to those who embrace her;those who lay hold of her will be blessed."

Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life..."

Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."

Proverbs 15:4 "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."

So there we have two very different trees. While in the garden God only warns not to eat of the devil's tree. But spirit of pride entered the heart of Eve and she believed the devil over God. Adam was only moments behind. They both choose the useless knowledge of the devil over the wisdom of God. Knowledge was never a problem. It was never that God didn't want us to have knowledge. But it is how that knowledge is given and in what spirit. God seeks fulfillment and understanding for us. The devil seeks destruction. We must filter knowledge through a humble God fearing heart. Not through the prideful heart which Satan gives such grand example of. Take a look at this graph. This will be our guide as we move on.

Click here for Part Two.

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