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Crucified Before the Foundation of the World

"Crucified before the foundation of the world." What does that mean? How could that even happen? Historians and archaeologists ta...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tell Us about the Future

Fortune Teller
Fortune Teller (Photo credit: meeni2010)

The Bible repeatedly warns against seeking knowledge from fortune tellers and mediums.  Saul sought information about future events from a medium who lived at Endor. 1 Samuel 28 tells the story. He had obeyed the Lord and removed all the fortune tellers and mediums from the land, but when he could not get direction from the priests and God did not answer his prayers, he resorted to seeking this help.  He concealed his identity and went at night to visit her. She perceived who his was and feared for her life.

She was successful in calling up Samuel from the dead, but he chastened Saul, too.  He message was one of loss: Loss of his children, his army, and his kingdom. Saul had disobeyed God's command and it didn't do much good to seek God's leadership and direction when the current situation was a result of that failure.  Saul's heart was set to do his own thing, not to obey God.

Seeking knowledge about future events from these strange sources causes problems for a lot of people. Instead, we have God to guide us and the Lord's presence to walk with us as we make decisions and choose courses. We must remember what we are doing and who we represent. Acts 1:7-8 gives a promise that will carry us into the future with confidence and security

7[Jesus] said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Dust or Slime? Maybe Mud!

English: The Creation of Adam is a fresco pain...
English: The Creation of Adam is a fresco painted by Michelangelo, the work started at 1508 and finished 1512, it appears on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It illustrates the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis in which God the Father breathes life into Adam, the first man. Chronologically the fourth in the series of panels depicting episodes from Genesis on the Sistine ceiling, it was among the last to be completed. Français : La Création d'Adam Deutsch: Die Erschaffung Adams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The record of creation that begins in Genesis 2:4 may be the observations or insights of a different writer than the one who wrote Genesis 1.  In this account man is formed out of the dirt, the same substance the earth is made of with the exception that God breathed into his nostrils breath so that he became a living being.  

This account is not compatible with evolution any more than the first one.  God created a shape that he liked out of dirt, or the Wycliffe Bible says, he made man out of  slime.  A child playing with mud may fashion a house, or an animal, or a playmate in the mud, but God went a step further and made the man alive with breath from his own being; the Spirit of God made the man alive.

Since the creation of man, humans have had access to God, being made by him and having an identification with him in spirit.  

All the rest of the Bible and the story of God's dealing with mankind rest on this one fact:  God created us and then, even in the face of our sin and failures, he loved us and provided a way for us to enter into his love and grace.

Read the rest of the story in the Bible.
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sabbath Rest

Drupal's Calendar Module
Drupal's Calendar Module (Photo credit: m.gifford)
Genesis 2:1-3 says that God rested from the work of creation on the seventh day and he blessed it and thereby created our week.  When we get to the giving of the Law, we find the seventh day to be called a day of rest still.  In the modern world we still observe the Sabbath or Sunday and call it a day to be hallowed.  It is the day we worship, and it is the day we rest. Even for people who work on Sunday it is still a special day:  It marks the beginning or ending of a week.  Jews and some Christian denominations observe the seventh day.  Many others observe Sunday as the Lord's Day commemorating the day Jesus rose from the dead.

One of the blessings of the seventh day observance is that people need to rest.  The cycles of time give our lives times and seasons.  Rest doesn't mean we should sit and stare at the wall, but it is a time to assess where we are and get a new grip on life so we can go out again.  To worship on the day of rest is the same kind of renewal, and it allows us to see ourselves and our lives in a refreshed light; as we worship, God allows us to see ourselves as he see us.  We have the opportunity to change, repent, press on, or take up a new challenge.

I remember times when my husband's job required him to work without the day of rest.  I saw him become stressed and angry when the times to rest and worship were abandoned.  God calls us to rest and worship.
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Let Us Make Man in Our Image

Bible: Creation story, l. 6 (detail with expul...
Bible: Creation story, l. 6 (detail with expulsion from the paradise). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Genesis 1:26 begins the most arresting passage for people to recognize--the creation of human beings.  The Bible does not define time periods or give developmental milestones, but Man was the last thing created on the Sixth Day.  Don't panic--male and female he created them. 

It is immediately noticeable that God did not act unilaterally. The scripture says "Let us make man..."  It was a cooperative effort.  God created by speaking and calling forth out of nothing.  The Wycliffe translation says
"And God made of nought a man to his image and likeness; God made of nought a man, to the image of God; God made of nought them, male and female.  ."  Wycliffe's translation repeats the notation that God created out of nothing.

In Genesis 2 there is another account of creation that begins with  man and this one is significantly different in several ways.  The NIV and the KJV report that man was created out of the dust of the earth, but Wycliffe says he was created out of the slime.  In both cases man was not created alone.  He needed another somewhat different companion--woman.  This account gives some details that we need to address later.

Genesis 1:27 says that God made them together.  Woman was not an afterthought, but a part of God's original plan.  When we say "mankind" or "human race." we include all of us together.  Remember that the scripture speaks of God calling himself plural.  As a Christian I claim this to mean God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were in union and agreed on the method and the outcome.  

English: Man Made in the Image of God, as in G...
English: Man Made in the Image of God, as in Genesis 1:26 to 2:3, illustration from a Bible card published 1906 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Adam and Eve  contributed a few things to the event that will have to wait for another post.
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