Abraham A Good Start

(Genesis 20: 1-13)

We saw though he had a good start there was still a lot of work to be done in his life. He stepped out in faith simply on God’s word. (A plus)Then when Abram came to this land that God had promised, because he was doing what God had told him to do, he probably didn’t expect to encounter such obstacles as famine or enemies. (A test)What we find with Abraham instead of following God and His plan, he relied on what he learned as a pagan idol worshipper. Do it yourself. (A failure)

Forsaking the path of faith, for whatever reason, always brings its own complications. There is no knowing how low a saint will sink when he is out of touch with God. 

Through the Gospels, you will find example after example where Jesus will put people in a position where they must choose. All of us here are going to make a choice today. Many of you including myself God has been intimately pursuing you. Some are becoming better.  Letting God strip away the things that camouflage themselves as good and Godly. Some seem to become bitter. Holding on with a tenacious spirit the desire to be right instead of righteous. To be heard instead of Holy. To be brash instead of broken. 

Still, we choose which way we want to go.

In our scripture today we find Abraham choosing.

  • The rerun. Unbelief 
    • (V2) don’t know for sure why he journeyed south but did. 
    • No matter how you cut it up, no matter how you justify it, the issue that arises in Abraham’s life still boils down to unbelief. Jesus had some hard words for the sin of unbelief, using what we spoke about last week.
      • (Mt 10:14-15) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (15) Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
      • Unbelief is the foundation that all disobedience is built on.
    • The problem for us is the same as Abraham. We like what we see as the easy way. We don’t really want to trust God and wait and rely on Him.
      • We speculate and figure out all the different ways we can afford to carry on without faith. Here at church, at work, in our homes.
    • How many when it comes to our church finance have already thought; what if we cut this out, don’t have this, and do away with that?
      •  Then how many have done what God has already told us to do. Witness and live in such a way that God brings others in not that we cut things but actually add things?
      • You know why this is not appealing to some? You think we’re doing too much already because it is cutting into your world time, or making you feel guilty.
      • Many of us have been greatly impacted by the less is more movement found in our churches today. What I mean is many self-professing believers only want to invest and spend a minimum amount of time doing things with the church. Mainly because it interferes with their real life.  
    • When we fail to believe God it always brings confusion and despair.
      • (Pr 3:1-2) ¶ My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: (2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 
      • I have used this on several occasions. When we believe God, He adds to us length of days. Time to get done what needs to get done, time to enjoy this life.
      • He also adds to us long life. Time on top of time to enjoy the blessings He gives.
      • But you have to trust Him and His word to get this.
    • In Abe’s life, the fear came from a false sense of righteous discernment, which generated unbelief.
      •  Look in verse (V11). Is this not the pot calling the kettle black? 
      • Here was Abraham lying or worse partial truth, and once again bringing his wife down with him and thinking this king and his subjects were acting ungodly.
      • Religious pride is what kept the leaders in Jesus’s day from seeing and receiving the blessing and it is the same today. 
    • (Pr 3:3-4) Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
      • You can only show mercy if you have received it. You can only share the truth if you know it.
  • The repeat. God’s plan of action.
    • Before God delivered fully on the promise of a son, He brought Abraham back to an issue he faced earlier on in his journeys. 
      • The first time this couple went south so did their testimony. It was the lack of trusting God that sent them and the lack of trusting God that got them in trouble with the Pharaoh.  
      • Now God was allowing him to be back in the same situation. 
      • A time to choose.
    • Seems often like many a believer comes to the point in their life they feel they can coast. They’ve taught, preached, studied, and led. They have sung, served, sacrificed, and suffered. 
      • For the believer, we cannot coast for one minute. We will have all of eternity to rest and relish the victories, but only this short life to work and win them.   
    • There are those here who God has dealt mercifully with you on areas of sin in your life. It might be in the area of pride, selfishness, lust, greed, etc. but you are still being hounded by the same ole thing.
      •  A time to choose.
      • God has so much more in store for you. Not that He hasn’t done and is doing far more than you deserve but like as was recorded of Jesus’ hometown folks. (Mt 13:58) And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Oswald Chambers said “ if we really believed that God meant what He said, just imagine what we would be like! Do I really dare to let God be to me all that He will be?

Are you here with some unfinished business?

  • Many of us have been raised or raised our own young’uns with the gathering of the body, the church is important unless it conflicts with what I want to do mentality.

A Bunch from Abram

(Genesis 13:5-9)

Last week we took time to discover a fatherly lesson from Lot. A lesson in what not to do. I would like to camp here one more day and look at a bunch of what to do’s from Abram.

We have been looking at the life of Abram and how it relates to the Christian walk. We have seen how he started out with a handicap to begin with which we will see come back and be a sore spot a little later. 

We were privy to an event in Abrams life where he didn’t trust God with his new life and fell back on his old ways which produced some serious and embarrassing issues. 

Here in the 13th chapter thankfully we see him returning to where he abandoned God’s truth. When it comes to restoring the passion in your life there are some things you must do.

Remember, repent and return. This is where we find Abram today in the process of restoring the passion. It is here we are able to look in and see how the mind of a spiritual man functions.

Remember the sore spot I spoke about, the one Abram thought he had to hang on to? Well it’s beginning to fester.

And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

Genesis 13:5-9
  • Worrying circumstances.
    • We all have them, sometimes its marriage, sometimes its sickness, financial, family. Most of the time it’s a combination of theses and others. Having issues in life is not always a sign of our failure as it is life.
      • How we go about handling these issues is a different matter.
    • God’s word is full of directives here.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 55:22

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Matthew 6:25

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7

    • God’s word never contradicts itself.
      •  This is in no way shape or form, saying don’t work or provide but is speaking of trusting God. Don’t place priority on these worldly things. 
      • It is best expressed when He states:  (Mt 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
    • Here in our scripture we find a good problem but none the less a problem.
      • God had richly blessed these two men and it had become too much for the land to bare.
  • We saw why and what a carnal man decided last week.
    • Because Lot was: Weak in his devotions, Worldly in his desires. He was:
  • Wrong decisions: 
    • A person who is weak in their devotion, worldly in their desires, is going to be wrong in their decisions. 
      • The next thing we see in Lot’s life is he set his tent towards Sodom. Very important to see this. He didn’t start off in Sodom just let it occupy his mind. It won’t be long before he is right in the midst of it.

So today what would one who trusted God do?

  • A divine resolution. A spiritual man’s approach to life.
    • An old cliché’: We most often hear “don’t just stand there do something.” But when it comes to God’s word we most often see “don’t just do something stand there.”
      • Abram had been promised by God that this was going to be his land. He could have stood for his rights and demanded that Lot go find his own land.
      • His reaction to the problem at hand was: wait. He had learned all too well what happens when a child of God takes matters into his own hand. A lesson that will be repeated in his life.
      • When confronted with worrying circumstances that seemed to be crying out for immediate action he waited. He was sure God would soon make his way clear.
    • An old sore. Abram made Lot a problem of his own choosing. God had specifically told hold him to leave his father’s house and kindred.
      • That one thing he held on to that he thought he needed or thought he was being a help to was now starting to demand attention.
      • They always do.  Abram was now learning how to deal with things God’s way. 
      • The first thing we see as a spiritual man Abram surrenders his personal rights.
    • He deals with spiritual directness.
      • Look at the wording in verse 8: between me and thee. He named himself first as though he was the cause of the trouble.
      • He came directly to the point and called the problem what it was strife. He wasn’t giving the devil any room to run.  
      • He wasn’t willing to give God a bad name in front of their wicked neighbors. (V.7)
    • He dealt with spiritual discernment.
      • “We are brethren,” the things that unite us are far more important than the things that divide us.
      • Would to God we as believers could reach that point in our spiritual journey.
    • He dealt with spiritual dignity:
      • Sovereignly he was the stronger. Socially he was the senior. Spiritually he was the securer.
      • Abram put aside his rights and let Lot choose. He took whatever was left. Why do you ask? Because his confidence was not in a land or an economy but God.
  • Whose does your thought pattern resemble? The carnal or the spiritual?
    • As born-again believers, the bible tells us: Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
      • Lot filled his mind with the things of this world. His lifestyle and decisions suffered for it. 
      • God blessed Abram. Where the world would have called him a fool for giving up the good land. God had a better plan.
    • He has a better plan for you if you will trust Him.

God Wants My Time

By: Stephanie Sanchez

Please hear my heart even if the words don’t make much sense and possibly come across as a bit abrasive. 

Some of you know my story. Most of you think you know it and have me figured out. Some of you know just bits and pieces along with what the gossips tell you. All of you only know what I want you to know along with a tid bit or two that leaked during a moment of vulnerability. Well, I am feeling a bit vulnerable and a bit fed up. So, let me share what’s on my heart. Maybe then you will understand.

I tell the story of “becoming a Christian” with a bit of humor and a lot of sarcasm. At 4 years old I was fully aware of what I was asking for when I muttered a few words while kneeling next to my bed with my eyes closed… a few extra minutes not having to go to bed. It was a stall tactic and I got what I wanted that night.

It wasn’t until several years later, in my early 20s, when God finally got a hold of my heart. I always joke saying I came back kicking and screaming. Well, that’s not entirely true, at least not how you probably pictured it in your mind as you shook your head and walked away. Oh, I was kicking and screaming and crying and pitching a fit. Not at God, but at myself. My world was literally falling apart. I knew the thoughts I had had in my teen years along with the things I did. And yes, there was a significant amount of shame associated with pretty much all of it. 

Well, at the point where I finally turned to God I was married with a toddler and baby. My marriage was on the verge of divorce. I couldn’t afford to work (childcare costs and lack of training/schooling). It was one emotional roller coaster after another. And (in my mind) nobody understood me. I was falling apart from the inside out and seemed like the devil himself was digging my grave while laughing hysterically. 

It was at the moment when I was at my absolute lowest with all my shortcomings and failings flashing like neon signs before my eyes that I truly felt God lift me out of that pit. I knew from that moment on that I was His and whatever He wanted from me I would gladly give. You know what he asked of me? Time. He wanted my time. How it would be used, He would show me later. But, He asked me to give Him my time.

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

I grew up in church. It’s a fact that I come from a very, very long line of Bible believing Christians. I did an ancestry search/study several years ago and found out this actually dates back to the 1600’s. (This won’t save you, by the way. Ask me about that later and I will gladly explain.) So, to say that I knew what was expected of me is a pretty obvious statement. I knew everything I was supposed to “do.” Well then, why was God only asking for only my time?

It took several weeks to find the congregation God wanted me to be apart of. All the while my Mom is a crying, blubbering, excited mess. The power of a fervently praying parent is nothing to shake a stick at. 

When I did discover where God wanted me, it was almost immediately that I found where God wanted to use my time, EVERYWHERE. So, that’s what I did. If there was a need I filled it, usually subbing in the nursery or Sunday School when they were short handed. 

It was a rare Sunday when everyone showed up ready to serve and I could rest. But, I never grieved anyone over it. It was a joy to serve and give God my time, just like he asked. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would become a model for later in life. I thoroughly enjoy working in the school system as a substitute teacher. Even on the rough days.

Sure there are ages and stages that I prefer over others, but if it is asked of me I go. That is really all God has asked of His children. You see, time is key. Time in His word. Time praying and talking with Him. Time serving His church. Time loving the lost. The thing is, none of His work can be completed if His children don’t give their time. 

Your time is precious to God. Do you trust Him enough to let go of your time and allow God to use your time in the best way possible? Even if it means giving your time to tasks you don’t like or enjoy? 

Are you willing to give God your time?

What Paul Thought About Easter

Romans 8:35-39

What is Easter all about?

Is it simply about bunnies, baskets, and boiled eggs? Is it about families, feast and fellowship?

Is it more about the new dress, the new duds or the new doo? 

Are you the religious type? Does Easter conjure up thoughts of the church service, cantatas, or plays? 

All the Gospels record the resurrection of our Lord, hence the gospel, the good news. If Jesus just died for our sins he would be another martyr, a name amongst many who have died for a cause. What separates Jesus the Son of God from all these false gods is He rose again and is at the right hand of God making intercession for us and waiting instruction to go gather His faithful.

But what does the death and resurrection mean for us? What does it mean for you personally? How has it, or has it affected the way you live?

Turn with me to Romans 8:35-39 and look what it meant to Paul.

Paul wrote this after he had met the living Savoir. You might think what’s the big deal about that? It’s not until the Holy-Spirit of God can convict and convince you of your spiritual deception that you can grasp what Paul is writing here. 

  • Paul the prodigy 
  • Paul was a passionate, persuasive, proponent of a false religion.
    • One that started out attempting to serve God in the effort of redeeming fallen man.
    • But became part of a self-serving, self-righteous ritualistic religion that filled the lust of fallen man of serving God apart from God.
  • Paul was doing this in what he thought was the name of God. He was sold out, he was serious.
    • He was seriously wrong.
  • The book of Acts detail his encounter with the living Christ on the road to Damascus. In this recall he was struck blind, in the spiritual aspect of this; he wasn’t stuck blind but simply the true condition of his heart was revealed.
    • We keep bringing to light how we see our condition but what have you really done about it. Why do we keep doing the same things expecting it to change us?
  • Paul the perplexed.
    • One can just imagine all the things that were going through his mind, those three days he was without sight.
      • How many he had delivered to torture even to be killed because they believed that Jesus was the Christ
      • How he tried to persuade all he could that Jesus was an imposter and those who believed in Him blasphemed the very name of God.
      • Suddenly finding out he was the blasphemer
      • How his heart must have broken to learn that he was the one doing damage to the name of the very God he said he served.
      • You might ask why God didn’t just kill him? He might have asked the very same thing. Why would God not punish him for all the evil he had committed in the pretense of serving God? How could God love him after what he had done?
    • Now your starting to get a picture of what Paul was writing to the Romans
      • Ro 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
      • Who shall separate us from the love of Christ
  • Paul the purposeful
    • What the resurrection means to you and me is the same it meant to Paul;
      • Unmerited favor with God. Grace 
    • Paul knew he didn’t deserve forgiveness, what he had done was unforgivable.
      • Paul knew all too well what he did deserve; eternal damnation where the fire is not quenched and the worm dies not.
    • Paul knew also he was experiencing unbelievable, overwhelming, abundant grace and it radically affected what he believed and how he lived
      • Paul knew what the resurrection meant to him
    • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when because of our own conceited pride won’t admit He exists.
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when we fight against him.
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us when we create our own way of serving Him and call it right
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when we refuse to extend it to others.
    • Because of grace I want to serve Him, yield to Him, follow Him
      • Tithing is not an intrusion on my lifestyle.
      • Being involved in the things of His church is not burdensome.
      • Trying to learn more about Him so I can please Him is not a chore.
      • Giving to His work is not an expenditure but an investment
    • You can choose to refuse God’s grace but you cannot prevent Him from loving you.
  • What the resurrection of Jesus means to the world is the re-righting of the relationship between God and man.
    • What Paul knew about the resurrection of the Son of God radically affected what he believed and how he lived.
      • Are you having a Paul-like Easter today?
    • You could be here today and think it’s too late, no way, God can’t forgive that. I am here to tell you on the authority of God’s Holy word, He will and He wants to.
    • You might be here today and know you have received His grace but have not been living in the realization of it. That can all change by simply committing your life to Him today.

Picture credit: https://libcov.org/christ-is-risen-he-is-risen-indeed/

The God That Never Quits!

Genesis 6:1-9

Last week we looked at the fruit of sin. We were able to see where Cain’s offering was the beginning of the world’s attempt to please God. The giving of everything except self. Cain was willing to worship, but on his own terms.

We saw the difference between Cain and Abel, between the religious and the real. Is not in the person themselves but in the object they trust. The one provided for themselves. The other accepts what and how God provides for them

 When you talk about fruit we know when it becomes ripe. If it is not consumed it will continue to mature until it is over ripe, rotten. A process in most cases to preserve the species by putting seed back into the ground. 

The thought behind what we are observing today is not the preservation but perversion of the species. 

  •  The Godly gone. Where have all the Godly gone?
    • Seth had been born to Adam and Eve and was producing a people that feared the Lord and called upon His name. When we come here to the 6th chapter we see only one man mentioned as being righteous.
      • Sadly there are quite possibly more Christians interested in who the giants are, who the sons of God are, than the crux, or core of this story.
    • This is what I want you to notice: the Sethites were a godly people, the Caininites a worldly people.
      • As is such throughout the word of God, wherever we find the people of God compromising with the people of the world, we most often see the world’s ways rising to the top.
    • God has a tried and true plan for us to succeed in this life. 
      • What we find all too often is believers who are entrapped in a situation because they didn’t agree with God’s assessment or instruction. 
    • Paul tells the Corinthians, 2Co 6:14-17, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”
      • Whenever we allow the devil a little space he will take it. It might seem small, insignificant, nothing to be concerned with. 
      • Imagine your life as a hundred acre field. You give the devil one acre, he will take it right in the middle giving him access to it all
    • God warns us over and over, yet we feel it won’t happen to me.
      • How many here have compromised over the years and fell into this trap?
      • Now you’re finding every excuse why you can’t serve.  Why you can’t be faithful, why you can’t…
      • The going theme right now is a recurring one, “were so busy with things”.
      • One of the devil’s greatest tools is getting us busy with everything except what God has called us to, prepared us for, and placed us to do.
    • Remember, sin is a volitional act of disobedience against the revealed will of God. Therefore the dominion sin has over you is according to the delight you have in it.
  • The Godless activity. How far had sin taken God’s creation? How did one act of disobedience affect many?
    • Look what God saw: (V5) God saw: 
      • We are pretty good on getting approval from men but what is important is what God sees.
    • Man thought all was well. 
      • The Godly line that had been compromised probably was still feeling like they were making a difference. They might not be the old bible thumpers like in times past but felt they were standing out. 
    • God saw that wickedness was abundant and even man’s thought life was totally evil.
      • The old cliché’ sin takes you farther along the way, keeps you longer than you intended to stay, costs you more than you want to pay.
      • It is a reality!
    • Where it is talking of imagination and thoughts it points towards vain philosophies.
      • The word for imagination means to mold, shape as with pottery. Men fashioned ideas that supported their lust. 
      • Not much has changed.
      • The bible says: Pr 18:2, “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.”
    • A period of 1,500 years lay between creation and the flood. Though the Godly had the truth the worldly fabricated a lie. How do we know this?
      •  Ro 1:20-23, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse :  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
    • How far has it gone? To the point of breaking God’s heart.
      • The stench of sin was breathtaking. The fruit was going through its natural course. Maturing, rotting, and preserving the perversion of sin.  
  • The God that never quits. In verse 6 we understand it repented the Lord, grieved him in His heart.
    • Grieve is actually a love word. How’s that?
      •  We don’t grieve over things we don’t love.
      • This is the heart of what God is showing here, it is the continual thread that runs through from Genesis to Revelation.
    • God’s offer from the beginning of the curse.
      • God had not been silent, he had His witnesses. You look back over the record in the 5th chapter you see , Adam had lived 930 yrs, Seth 912. Enos (Seth’s son) was still alive even when Noah was born. Back to our Romans scripture. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”
      •  God wanted them to know Him but they refused.
    • God’s offer before the flood.
      • 1Pe 3:20, “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
    • What is meant by longsuffering?
      • God didn’t have to have Noah build an ark. He simply used this as a warning and an invitation to repent.
      • In 2nd Peter 2:5, he is called a preacher
    • You can almost see it. Noah would lay down his mallet and take off his tool belt as the crowds would gather to tease him. Then he would speak of the love of God and let them know they were welcomed to come aboard.
      • Sadly you know how that turned out.
    • Isn’t that the same thing happening today? Preachers, Godly people declaring God mercy and goodness inviting them to come aboard. 
      • Yet many choose to die in their sins. 
    • When you look at the world before the flood there are a lot of similarities today. 
      • What I see is just like in the days of Noah. God still is pursuing His creation.
      • Instead of a boat He has a cross.
    •  He still uses the same instrument as in the beginning, preachers. 
      • They are still doing the same as Noah, looking like a fool in the eyes of those who think they have a handle on it.
    • Sadly much of creation is still reacting the same way. 
      • Refusing to accept the truth and instead fashioning ideas to support their lust, their ways, politicking to gain support, all because they don’t want to repent, admit they’re wrong. Wrong enough to want to change.
  • God’s invitation.
    • The invitation is still the same.
      • It is still coming from the same kind of people in the same easy to understand way.
      •  Turn from your wicked ways and turn to Him. There are those here today and watching that need to come today. Will you?
    • Others, you have been serving and serving well. 
      • The devil has snuck in and convinced you, you’re doing too much.
      •  Can we ever do too much for the One who saved us from our sins?

God has so much in store for this congregation. The hard part is keeping us going together for Him.

Image Credits: https://brucelhartman.com/jesus-the-carpenter/

The Worst/Best Day Ever

Genesis 3:11-21

It would not take much thinking to come up with a list of why 2020 was such a terrible year. And let’s face it, for MANY people it was. 

  • 2020 was a year of tremendous loss for many people, the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, the loss of dreams, as well as the lack of ability to be with our families. 
  • When you put “the previous year” into history, it was most definitely not the worst in history.
  • When I ponder some of the worst years in history, there are many candidates; from the years war started; to the years when plagues wiped out huge portions of the world populations; to the advent of Communism, the list goes on.
  • Usually we will define a year as the worst year in our lives depending on the impact the said year had on us personally.
  • Even though we do not have an official year on the calendar for when the events of Genesis three took place, we can see that indeed, whatever the year these events happened, that year has to be the worst one in HUMAN HISTORY!
  • Life was good.
    • Life was easy, Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God himself.
      •  Life is GREAT until we get to Genesis 3.
    • In chapter 3, everything goes bad. Fatally bad, terminally bad, historically bad, inescapably bad.
      • All human beings who will ever walk on this earth are affected by what happened in the third chapter of Genesis.
    • It is the explanation of why things in this world are the way they are: why there is so much evil; why there is so much sin; why there is so much corruption; why there is disease, deformity, and death; why there is conflict, hatred, war; and why there are disasters of all kinds that fall upon man. 
      • It all comes from this third chapter.
    • Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, in a state of innocence, free from sin, until they fell to the temptation of Satan,
      •  a temptation to call into question the integrity of God, the righteousness of God, the goodness of God, the wisdom of God.
      •  They became doubters of God. They fell, and with them the entire race fell.
      • I would say the year the events in Genesis 3 took place takes the crown for the worst year in human history.
    • We’ve all been plunged into a spiritual death. We’ve all been plunged into physical death; from the moment we are born we begin to die. 
      • We are all born dying and dead, dead spiritually and dying physically.
      •  We have no hope of life if all we have is the fall.  
      • The events that took place in Genesis 3, has affected ALL of CREATION, including ALL human beings.
    • We will see that even in the middle of the storm, even in the moment of our most epic failures, God has a plan! 
    • In verses 14 and 15, in the curse that God pronounces on Satan is the first expression of gospel hope, salvation hope, deliverance from sin and Satan; embedded in a curse is the hope of mankind.
      • This takes place AFTER Adam and Eve broke the ONE commandment that God clearly articulated to Adam NOT TO BREAK!

Genesis 3:11-21

Moses tells us here the story of sin coming into the human family; and its consequences are massive, incalculable. Adam and Eve, in fact, by their sin set in motion a spiritual avalanche that carries the whole human race down and buries them in death

  • The deed.
    • God had given Adam and his wife Eve everything in the garden and simply asked one thing back.
      • Do you see a principle of a tithe here or is it just me?
    • God told this couple all the great things He had in store for them.
      • He then told them one thing that would hurt them. That would bring a thing called death to them.
      • It had to be evident that God was clearly letting them know how devastating to them this would be. 
    • You know most of us are today? You tell a young’un not to touch that or turn this and even threaten them with bodily harm. Their mind starts wondering why it’s so special.
      • You reckon Eve walked by that tree every day wondering how it would taste, I mean it looked so good to the eye.
      • Temptation always does look good to the eye. 
      • I am sure Satan was watching this scene unfold and when the time seemed to be right when Eve appeared to him to be at her most vulnerable, Satan showed up to reap the harvest of Eve’s desires. 
    • Jas 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”
  • The decision.
    • In verses 14-19 we see Divine Justice rendering a perfect sentence.
      •  Obviously there are natural consequences to sin, they’re just built into it. Whatever a man sows, he reaps.
      •  If you lie, there are inevitable consequences to your lying. If God didn’t do anything, there are built-in consequences to telling lies.
      •  If you are drunk, if you are inebriated, if you are an alcoholic, there are built-in consequences. God doesn’t have to act; that kind of behavior has its own consequences. 
      • If you take drugs, that kind of behavior has its own consequences. If you are characterized by hostility and anger, that kind of behavior has its own consequences.
      •  If you engage in homosexuality, sexual sin, if you kill people, whatever it might be, whatever sin, built into those sins is the inevitability of cause and effect results.
  • But there is a far greater reality than that, and that is the reality of divine judgment on top of natural consequences. 
    • The sentence that comes down from God on sin. And here God renders a sentence, an appropriate and just sentence, in absolute, divine justice, on the serpent, on the woman, on the man and on the deceiver himself.
  • The serpent (V14) as an animal, was cursed “above all livestock, and above every wild animal,
    • It’s a selective curse. “Of all the cattle and of all the beasts, only you are cursed.” That’s what it’s saying: “Of all the cattle and all the beasts, only you are cursed.”
    • Cattle refers to domestic animals, the beasts refer to wild animals, “So of all the animals, wild animals and domestic animals, only you are cursed, only you.” 
    • This is a selective curse. Fallout came on the cattle; they die. Fallout came on the wild animals; they die. But only the snake was selected to be cursed.
    • Whatever may have been its beauty and posture before, it would henceforth glide on its belly and be an object of dread and loathing by all.
    • It is a perpetual reminder to man of the instrument of his fall and of the final destruction of Satan himself.
    • Every slithering, dust-eating snake is a symbol of the crushing curse of God and the judgment that is come on Satan. Snakes symbolize the devil degraded and defeated. 
    • They are constant reminders to human society that Satan has been declared a defeated enemy.

When God created the tree that Adam and Eve were called to stay away from, God did so in order that Adam and Eve have freedom of choice, free will if you will, which is a necessary part of love. • God wanted Adam and Eve to obey Him because they loved Him.

When God was dealing with the serpent and the deceiver, both were cursed by God; however, Eve was not cursed, she was given consequences for what she did. God held her accountable, but He did not curse her for eternity. 

  • On the woman.(V16) Eve paid a high price for her sin. Childbearing pain was going to be intensified for women and because of her deception, the husband will be the head of the marriage and her desire was to be to her husband.
    • It is not as though there was to be no pain associated with birth prior to the Fall; instead that pain will be greatly increased. 
    • The discomfort and pain that comes from bringing forth new life is a reminder of the real cost of exchanging THE TRUTH for a lie.
    • Desire to the husband and he will rule over you. Thus started the great conflict between men and women.
    • At first it wasn’t so. Remember Eve was created from Adam’s side.
    • Now the consequence of her choice and the fallout to all who come after her, battle of the sexes.
    • When it speaks of her desire to her husband. Its best understood as to be over him. Wear the pants. 
    • Many today will be the first to tell you their husband is the head of the house. BUT THEY’RE THE NECK!

When God was dealing with Adam He, God cursed the ground, not Adam. Again God held him accountable. There are consequences he must face.

  • The man (V17-19) Adam KNEW better, God told him DIRECTLY not to mess with that tree, yet here comes Adam. Even worse, look at verse 6 of Genesis 3
    • Adam was with her the entire time, and he did nothing! 
    • I feel God sentenced Adam for being dumb and for not caring enough to stop Eve! Eze 3:18, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
    • Adam’s life was no longer going to be easy. 
    • (Gen 2:15) We know work was not part of the sentence or punishment of the fall. But now the world was introduced to TNT: Thorns and thistles.
    • Man had to draw life from it painfully and by the sweat of his brow
  • The deceiver.
    • Satan, apparently still in the form of the serpent, was standing before God and God had a plan for him
    • Satan’s thought was this: “I’ve turned Adam and Eve, the human race, against God.”
    • And God says, “I’m going to turn the human race against you.” That’s what it’s saying. Enmity. 
    • God denies Satan at the very moment when he assumed he had triumphed. God denies him what he thought he had gained. 
  • This situation is a mess which there seems to be no way out. 
    • Adam and Eve brought a curse to creation, they began the process of their own death as well as ushering in death to all. 
  • Childbirth was going to be more painful, the ground was going to be more difficult to harvest, the woman role in the home was changed, AND ON TOP OF IT ALL, THEY WERE GOING TO GET BOOTED FROM THE GARDEN! 
    • Is all lost? 
    • No, there is hope because of the grace of God, God has a plan
  • The great promise in Genesis 3:15 has long been known as the Protevangelium, promising the ultimate coming and victory of the Redeemer.
    • God will enable man, in his sinful condition, in his fallen condition, to be so totally transformed, that he will hate the serpent and love God.
    •  God has redeemed out of the human race, starting from that very incident in the garden through all of human history until the end of the age, a humanity that has been so transformed that that group of human beings, that massive group of redeemed human beings through all of human history, actually hate Satan and love God.
    • For this to happen there has to be a radical transformation of the human heart. There has to be a deep, deep change in the human heart to turn man back to God. 
    • It is so profound that the New Testament speaks of it as the new birth. There will be a humanity that will be so totally transformed that they will love God, and they will see Satan as the enemy and God as the friend.
  • God delights in mercy. 
    • Before He pronounces sentence on man and woman, before He expels them from the garden, He gives them salvation hope, hope of regeneration that they will hate Satan and see him as an enemy, and they will love God 
    • That there will come a Savior, that there will come One who will conquer Satan and therefore conquer sin.
    • Even though He in the conquering will be bruised, He will crush that deadly enemy.
  • It has already been done. His name is Jesus, do you really know Him?
  • Have you joined the redeemed?

Ordinary Days

This past week our close nit community of North Florida was rocked to its core by the senseless death of two young men. Out to lunch while on duty, just a regular day on the job. For most people a regular day on the job is never life threatening. When they go anywhere, most people don’t worry about where they sit in the restaurant or how many people are there or think about the exits. For those who wear a uniform though a regular day on the job is always life threatening. The minute they made the decision in life to put on that uniform and accept that badge is the minute the definition of a regular day changed.

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Following the news and Sheriff Bobby Schultz unparalleled press released, everyone’s heart across this area was broken. On Friday most of us wore blue to honor the fallen and show love and support for the loved ones left behind. Most of us have probably sat around trying to figure out what on Earth went wrong and how could this happen in Little Ol’ Trenton?

Governor Matt Bevin has a video going around and I watched it recently. There is actually more than one. Of course he is being questioned about gun control. He corrects the other people in the discussion though and explains to them that it has nothing to do with guns. People have had guns since guns were invented. Twenty years ago people had guns in their vehicles at school and on them at school. It was no big deal. The problem is that the value of life no longer exist. We as a society do not value life. He went on to name some examples such as abortion, school shootings just because someone got turned down for prom, gang violence, video game violence along with music that has violent lyrics. 100 years ago people would have chopped off their arms to save a child’s life or to heal a loved one, they would have given anything to have the resources we have today. Our society as a whole has taken for granted the life, health, healing, vitality, freedom and in general all the wonderful things the last century has brought us.

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I’ve been watching Dr. Quinn recently along with some of the older western stuff, just something to listen to while folding clothes. Those small towns use to have to send off to big cities for a U. S. Marshall or a Judge anytime they had criminal problems. Or they had to advertise for a sheriff and hope someone with integrity and courage stepped up that wouldn’t turn into the town drunk or a tyrant. This is another thing we take for granted. In a matter of minutes I can have a deputy sheriff at my door steps if I need one. I don’t have to wait six months for one. So why has our society gone from begging for law enforcement, to killing them out right for no reason, just because.

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The next afternoon Jesse Clay was scrolling through his Facebook. He’s always showing me recipes or funny memes. So half the time when we are on the couch, or settling down for the night, I can’t look at my phone cause I’m looking at his. So while he is scrolling along, he pasted Taylor Lindsey’s girlfriend’s post. She had written a post for the most part I think just grieving and remembering, wanting to share some of who he was. I couldn’t read it, I got past the second or third line and turned away. I found something else to do. I could not sit there and read a letter/post I pray I will never have to write.

No he doesn’t where green, but he does wear a uniform. He does wear a badge. Bad guys with guns see a badge and a thin blue line. They see someone between them and their goal. I may be half a sleep when he leaves at 5:15 in the morning but I pray every time he walks out that door. I know that he may never come back. Anyone one who has a loved one, whether husband, wife, son, daughter, sister, brother, you know what I am talking about. You get a call that a riot is going down, or that an inmate has escape, or a chopper has been called or the ambulance is on the way to the prison or the Sheriff’s department, your heart drops out of your chest so fast you can’t breath. You feel like Dumbo’s mom just dropped kicked you into the next dimension. The asthma attack you are having isn’t over until you can talk to them. Then you can breath again. For a little while anyway.

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For all those out there who want to, as Sheriff Schultz puts it “demonize” law enforcement, take a good look around. Just because they are wearing normal clothes doesn’t mean anything. The minute they are in a crowd, they are what I call “switched on”. This means that they are very aware of their surroundings and everything going on. They don’t rest or relax. They have people to protect. The families of these willing to serve pay a high price as well. You try finding a vacation spot with not a lot of people, that still has a lot of fun stuff to do.

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There are those who have taken advantage of the badge, dragging it through the mud. There are 1,000 times more honorable men and women out there laying it down just so you can sleep a little better at night. Remember they are human, they have bad days, they have families that don’t always cooperate and sometimes wash red sweaters with their uniforms or put salt in the tea instead of sugar. This could potential make for a bad attitude for the day. That being said, take it into consideration the next time you see some one in a badge, they may not be serving their country the same way as those in our military, but they are serving us, right here at home, day in, day out, over worked, under paid, dealing with the loonies nobody else is willing to.

When all is said and done, after putting up with everything they do during the day, the nasty, the druggy, dirty, awfulness of it all, they come home to us. If we are lucky they make it home before supper time, if we aren’t lucky and they had to work overtime then at least they made it home.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of our fallen! My heart breaks for the sorrow you are feeling. The words I have can never heal your hearts. May you find the peace that surpasses all understanding, and may God’s Grace abound in your life!

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Hard Love

I have an opinion. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be writing a blog. Today’s opinion is on spanking. Of these I have received many in my life. Countless in fact. Around the age of 11 or 12 is probably when I received my last one. I can’t really remember what it was for, I want to say it was for fighting with my brother, who’s four years my junior. I had a tendency to try and beat the crap out of him, he’s still a brat. I’ve been spanked with belts, coat hangers, fly swatters, peach tree limbs, fish board, flip flops, shoes, hands, anything in the nature of about 1 foot to 3 foot long and anywhere from 2 inches to 12 inches in diameter. If it could leave an impression on my behind it was used. I’ve been spanked by a few different people, for the most part there is only about four main people though that spank me. And I usually understood why I was getting the spanking I was getting, whether I thought it was deserved or not.

Looking back now as an adult, I probably deserved every one of them I got. With each spanking that I got I learn to respect authority just a little bit more. I learned that for every wrong thing that you do, there consequences to be paid. I also learned that even if you didn’t do the wrong thing, if you were with the person who was doing the wrong thing you could still pay the consequences for whatever was being done. Which as a teenager taught me who I should be hanging out with.

Am I the best version of myself I can be, no. At the moment that’s no one’s fault but my own. I figure after the age 21, that responsibility falls on my head. No one else is responsible for me but me. Not every kid has that parent. I remember growing up and not having the one parent who was as interested in developing my character into the best version it could be. So instead of the “Stepping Stones” I needed as a child I got a pretty good bit of stumbling blocks. I was blessed and had other family members step in and take up the slack. Not all of that slack was in the form of spankings, but some of it was. I can occasionally still feel the sting of a peach tree limb from my grandmother, after slamming the back door one to many times, it was not lesson wasted. Even now I remember not to slam my own door. Saves on the wear and tear and when I’m at someone else’s house I’m reminded to show respect to their things. That’s just one example. As a parent, now it’s not that I want to spank my children, but it is my responsibility to them as their parent to help them become the best version of themselves that they can be.

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I love my kids, my baby boys, my bouncing baby boys, are my heart! But most days talking just does not do the trick, especially when I tell them to do something, they don’t want to do. So whether it’s clean their room or pick up in the bathroom or stop hitting their brother, or quit running in the house, or “For the third time stop jumping on the couch because it ain’t a trampoline!”, talking and telling them has done me no good. I can take away their toys, I can put them in timeout, or I can separate them, but after it’s all said and done, they’re not going to listen. They will return to doing what they were the minute I turn my back. They’re going to push me as far as they can just to see how much they can get away with.

Some cases they want to see just how much control they have in the house. My oldest is a little more mild tempered, and the youngest has a little bit more respect for authority for now. It’s the middle one who pushes the boundaries the most, and usually knows where the fish board aka the paddle is located in the house. Some people would call him stubborn, others a Problem Child, some would say he’s mean or a bully, a lot of people just don’t know how to handle him, or what to do with him when he starts doing what he he does. In some circles he would be known as a strong-willed child, and there are people who would call that an attribute. Other parents would think he needs to be broke like a wild animal. Then you have those who think he needs to be honed into a leader or world dictator. When all I want is for him to stop jumping on the couch, running in and out of the house, and to shut the refrigerator door.

See there’s a fine line between disciplining your child with corporal punishment and abuse. For some kids corporal punishment is not necessary aka spanking. It’s just not required to keep them inline. One strong word from a parent and that’s all they need. Then you have the Robinator, combined with the Mynomite and a Jedi and somebody’s getting a spanking.

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After about two to three rounds with the fish board or nearest paddling apparatus, and my point usually makes it’s way past their eyeballs and settles in their little brains. This allows for them to realize that mommy is not playing and really does want them to stop. Sometimes it only takes one, sometimes if it’s something they really want and just have to do, it may take more persuasion.

Most of you reading this are probably thing, “Yeah, okay, we know this. We got our butts beat too!” I guess my question is what happen to the next generation? What happen to having to go pick out your own peach tree limb? Or go find the paddle? Why in blue hill are we seeing grown women being beat up by their 12 year old children? Then these people what us to ban guns? Your raising an entitled brat to send to school with my kid, and my kid is suppose to be tolerant and generous as well as understanding. Sure we understand, it’s called lazy parenting.

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(2 weeks of the flu at my house, air mattress in the living room trying not to succumb to cabin fever this past February!)

Parenting is not for the week at heart. It is not for those who can not finish a task or the weekend thrill seekers. You are taking on the responsibility of building the character, integrity, honesty, and decency of a human being! This is not a fish, or a plant! The children being born now will rule the world in 40 years. What kind of a world are you nurturing? Do you care enough to take the time to do it right? Are you willing to make the hard decisions, because you will be the only one who can, you are the parent!?

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Thank you for reading! Leave me a comment at the bottom, or suggest a subject! Ya’ll have a great week!

You need a ride. Whether across town, across the parking lot or you’re just going to lunch with your friends. Better yet it’s your car, you’re doing the driving, you’re the one giving the lift, either way the front passenger side floorboard is full of garbage. We’re talking half way up to your knees. From junk mail, soda cans, leftover fast food, you even have a grocery bag full of garbage where you attempted to clean the car out, and then didn’t finish. There’s a few candy wrappers thrown in there, you might even find your good pen down there. If you could think of the one thing you’ve been looking for all week long that you can’t find, it’s probably in that front floorboard.

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But you haven’t had time to clean it out, between the morning rush, the afternoon rush, the weekend hurry, the lunch busy, the Sunday sleep, and in between clocking in and out at work, the front floorboard of your truck just hasn’t been at the top of your to-do list.

Think about all that garbage, like sin, each little piece represents a sin in your life and as it builds up and built up, we leave it there and we don’t do anything about it. When people climb into our space and into the area of our lives, they have to climb over that sin to get to the real us. You wouldn’t think that they have to deal with that but they do. Because you see if we’re the ones driving our life, then they’re the ones that are riding, catching all the junk we throw over there. They’re the ones that are having to shove their feet knee deep into our sin just to have something to do with us, knee deep into our mess because they love us, and if the people that love us are willing to do that, shouldn’t we be willing to deal with our sin.

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First off you got to admit that you got a floorboard full of junk. You need to admit that you got problems. Everyone has problems. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. Everybody has garbage in the truck, unless it’s just been detailed, and even then you got that little paper thing in the driver side covering the mat, and that’s automatically garbage. So it doesn’t matter how clean you think your truck is you’re always going to have garbage.

But every time you get out of your truck, take a little bit of that garbage as you go. Throw it away. Ask for forgiveness, that’s all you have to do and your sins are washed away. They are as far as the East is from the West, from you. Will we have more garbage? Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay there, that doesn’t mean your loved ones and your friends and your children and your spouse have to trip over it.

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Romans 3:24 goes on to say, we are justified freely by grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. There are some key words there. The first is free or freely if you want to get technical. The other word there is Grace, which if your floorboard looks like mine right now I need a lot of. Then Redemption, we all need to be redeemed, and the only way we can be redeemed is through Jesus Christ.

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Passenger Floorboards