Genesis 8:10-22 — Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it

The Sacrifice of Noah c. 1640 by Sebastien Bourdon

He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

Genesis 8:10-22

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! (v.11) As we saw in the last post, the raven, a symbol of living life in the flesh, never returned with anything. (see previous post: He Sent Out a Dove) The dove, a symbol of living the spirit filled life that God desires for you, returned with an olive leaf, a symbol of peace. If you’re interested in having peace in your life, ask God for His holy spirit. Just ask. (see special post about living the spirit filled life)

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.” (v.15-16) Isn’t it interesting that we see in verse 13 that on the first day of the first month Noah saw that the earth was dry. Yet Noah remained in the ark until he heard God’s word on the twenty-seventh day of the second month. Noah was a man who lived his life in obedience to God’s word. He saw how listening to God’s words had saved him and his family so he waited. He waited to hear from his Lord. From the time he heard God’s instructions to build the ark until the time his feet hit the ground Noah heeded God. Today it’s the same for you and it’s the same for me. If you want to live, if you want to survive life’s floods, if you want your family to live, listen to God’s word.

We’re inundated with information today, primarily because of the internet. The internet is an amazing resource, a great and powerful tool. With it we can learn practical wisdom, we can find distraction in the form of entertainment, we can communicate with friends and family like never before. But all of that is no substitute for God’s word.

He’s waiting to speak with you. His scripture is there, available to you. Wisdom from the Faithful and True One. (Revelation 1:11) Wisdom from the Almighty Most High God. (Revelation 1:8, Hebrews 7:1)

He waits for you — in His Bible.

Even as Noah enjoyed life as a result of obeying God’s word, you too can enjoy life in such greater measure if you listen to God’s words.

Just open the book.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (v.20) This verse provides for us a wonderful lesson in giving. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”

R.G. LeTourneau began life as a man of modest means. But when he started his business, a manufacturer of earth moving machines, he decided to tithe 90% of his profit and keep only 10% for himself. Incredibly, his business exploded to become the premiere giant earth moving equipment manufacturer in the world. He was the first to build giant equipment of this kind. I mean giant equipment, the type with tires twice as tall as a man. He became rich beyond what I can even comprehend. He himself said the money just came in faster than he could spend it. Speaking of his practice of giving 90% of his income he said, “I shovel it out and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel.” Research his story, it’s amazing. Or read his biography, Mover of Men and Mountains.

In the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a good grasp of this truth.

Now imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate? Throw a party? Play some frisbee football? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah built an alter and sacrificed to his Lord. Noah gave thanks!

This is such a key in our walk with the Lord — recognizing that everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. (1 Timothy 4:4) Paul was talking about those on whom God’s wrath falls when he said in Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Thanksgiving is a pleasing aroma to our God. (Genesis 8:21) The flood didn’t eradicate the problem of sin as we see in verse 21 that still every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. But it was Noah’s sacrifice that prompted God to say, “…never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” (v.21) Our Lord’s sacrifice, Jesus’ sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice is what prompts God to show us mercy in spite of our sin today.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Jon Courson

Ray Stedman

Matthew Henry

North Shore News

Churches unite to help thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow’s airports

Stranded at Moscow airport

Apparently the U.S. isn’t the only country dealing with flight delays. Due to a recent ice storm that hit a large area of Central Russia hundreds of flights have been delayed. The airport in Moscow is designed to hold around 3,000 people but the crowds have swollen to 10,000 due to the flight delays. Interestingly, in this nation that not so long ago claimed atheism as their national religion, Churches and Synagogues have stepped up to assist with food, bottles of water, and perhaps most appreciated of all, bunches of those moist towlette thingies. If you’re interested you can read more at Churches unite to help thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow’s airports | Russia | RIA Novosti.

How great is it to see God’s people in action.

This is how it should be because the Bible tells us that…

…the fruit of the Spirit is love…

Galatians 5:22

Bennett Christmas 2010

Bennett Family Christmas 2010

Bennett Family Christmas 2010

I’ve been away for a few weeks this month. One week was spent at a conference on Emergency Cardiac Care and another with my family celebrating Christmas.

As is often the case with the lives of the Bennetts, our Christmas celebration turned into an adventure. We attempted to drive to Crater Lake National Park but ten miles or so North of Fort Klamath we encountered a white out. I’ve never experienced anything like it, even while growing up in Illinois. Everything was just, well, white. After some debate we turned around — OK so I was the only one who wanted to continue, but we did debate, even if it was five against one. We wound up at a snow park where we enjoyed some great sledding and took this photo. The dogs loved the snow.

The Emergency Cardiac Care conference was interesting because they had fifty survivors in attendance. These were people who were revived by CPR, and/or defibrillation, and/or cath lab intervention. Hearing their stories reminded me of Christ’s intervention that saved me.

My thanks to David Smith and Nathaniel Bennett for their guest posts during my absence.

This week you’ll see a short post on Genesis 6:16, then beginning Sunday I’ll continue blogging through the Bible taking up where we left off at Genesis chapter 7.

May God richly bless you this Christmas season!

…don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:3-4

In Him,

kurt

Luke 1 — You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus

Photo by drproehl

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

…no word from God will ever fail.”

Luke 1:30-35, 37

There he sat in the lounge chair, snacking on munchies with his friends while watching one of his favorite movies. They were more than friends really. After working twenty-four hour shifts with these men, after saving lives with these men, after fighting fire with these men, they were his family. It always felt good to be around them. He was completely relaxed, completely at peace, and completely content when the bell went off.

“Beep, beep, beep,” the pre-alert sounded. “Structure fire, flames and smoke seen from an upper floor of a highrise. Address is…” As was often the case, the tone of the female dispatcher’s voice said as much or more about the call than her actual words. This wasn’t a false alarm or burned toast. This was the genuine article.

He moved quickly and easily from the lounge chair and made for the apparatus bay where his fire engine waited. Like a mother duck with ducklings, the Captain unconsciously listened for the noises of his crew making their way to the engine. First running, then the sounds of his men donning their protective gear, then the sounds of doors slamming – one door, the driver’s, then another, then another. As he entered the cab himself he heard the engine start, he heard the bay door open as he looked down to zip up his turnout coat, then he heard the siren.

“8102 responding,” he said into the radio as he simultaneously pushed the responding button on his mobile computer.

“Do you know where we’re going?” he asked the engineer. As usual he did.

The headsets came on and one of his firefighters asked, “What do you think Cap?”

“Sounds like the real deal to me,” the Captain replied. “We could be first in. Be prepared.”

“First in.” First in had special implications. Incidents that start well usually go well. Incidents that don’t start well…

“What are we taking up?” one of the firefighters asked. The crew reviewed the list of equipment that they’d need to take with them: two inch and three quarter hose packs, thermal imaging camera, irons for forcible entry…

It was barely more than five minutes when they heard the dispatcher say, “Units responding to the highrise fire, we have a report of multiple trapped victims on the fire floor and on the floors above.”

“Copy,” the Captain said into the radio. His adrenaline was already pumping but this last bit of information felt like an electric shock.

They turned a corner and there it was: perhaps fifteen or twenty floors up, multiple floors well involved with fire. People hanging out of windows. He took the briefest moment to steel himself for what was to come, then he gave his report, “8102 is on scene at a thirty story apartment building with at least three floors well involved, possibly floors fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. We have victims hanging out of windows. 8102 is going to the lowest fire floor. 8153, it looks like we’ll need at least ten alarms.”

“Central copies, multiple floors well involved. 8102 we just received a report of a floor collapse on the seventeenth floor.”

“Copy, floor collapse on the seventeenth,” the Captain said. Then to his crew he said, “Let’s do it.”

They bailed off the engine, entered the building, and began making their way up the stairwell to the fifteenth floor. On their way up, they shouted and directed people to the way of safety.

“8102,” the dispatcher called.

“8102, go ahead,” the Captain answered.

“8102, we have reports of two more floors collapsing. It appears to be the fifteenth and sixteenth floors. We also have a report of fire showing on the roof.”

“Copy,” the Captain said trying to catch his breath enough to speak as he climbed the staircase.

“Cap?” It was his youngest firefighter, “Cap, are we going to make it?”

“We’ll save as many as we can.”

“OK but will we make it?”

The Captain knew they had to climb as far up into the highrise as possible. He knew he couldn’t save them all. He knew they’d have to save as many as they could.

And he knew they probably weren’t coming back.

“We’ll save as many as we can.” he said. The young firefighter could hear the determination in his voice…

Before Jesus was born into this world to save us, He enjoyed a wonderful and amazing life in heaven with the Father. He enjoyed a life that was filled with glory but He chose to forfeit all of that to come down to earth. (John 17:5) He chose to come in order to save as many as He could. He chose to come even though He knew it meant His own death.

Like the fire Captain in our story, what a devastating choice that was for Jesus.

But what a glorious choice that is for you and for me.

The fire Captain left the comfort of his fire station to go up into the highrise to save as many as he could, knowing that death awaited him. Jesus left His life in heaven with the Father to come down into the earth to save as many as He could.

Praise God in the highest for in spite of the terrible death that awaited Him, Jesus chose to come for you and for me, to save us, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

Paul, speaking of Jesus, said,

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8

Thank you Lord for choosing to come down to save us.

Glory to God in the highest!

Merry Christmas!


References:

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

Photo by drproehl

Genesis 1:14-19 — The Fourth Day of Creation

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Genesis 1:14 – 19

Given this mornings lunar eclipse I thought it appropriate to repost from Genesis 1:14-19. The total eclipse began at 2:40 AM and lasted 72 minutes. You can read about it in the Washington Post article Lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice.

On the fourth day God created the sun and the moon. The sun speaks of the great light of the world, Jesus Christ, for He said, “I am the light of the world…” (John 8:12) And the moon speaks of the lesser light, you and I, for Jesus also said, of His people, “You are the light of the world…” (Matthew 5:14) The only reason the moon shines is because it reflects the light of the sun and in like manner the only reason we shine, as a light of the world, is because we reflect Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you saw these two lights interact early this morning during the eclipse. A great and important lesson is found in here. When the world comes between the sun and the moon we on earth experience an eclipse and the light of the sun is blocked from people’s view. That is exactly what happens to me when I get caught up in the things of this world. When I become consumed by my performance at work, by a desire to prosper financially, by a pension for entertainment, or other things of the world. When I allow the world to come between me and my Lord, my own light is eclipsed, and I fail to reflect the great light of Jesus Christ. The same is true for any Christian. The same is true for you.

Remember that you and I are the church and as the church goes, so goes the world.

Let nothing come between you and Jesus.

For more go to Ray Stedman’s teaching on Genesis 1:14 – 19 or Jon Courson’s teaching on Genesis 1.

Genesis 4:9-15 — “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“My Brother’s Keeper” by Ronnie T. Tres Reyes. Top Five finalist, 2008 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office “Isang Pitik sa Charity” photo contest. Reyes describes his photo: “Taken one chilly night outside a McDonald’s along Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City. For over a year, this five year old boy has been taking care of his baby brother every night on the steps of the restaurant. Sometimes he lies on the concrete and allows himself to be the baby’s bed and source of warmth.”

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:9

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) Cain’s insolent answer to God’s question reminds us of the same condition of heart found in Pharaoh when he said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him…” (Exodus 5:2) The difference is that Pharaoh didn’t have a direct awareness and communication with God like Cain did. Given the level of direct communication that Cain enjoyed with God, it’s hard to believe that Cain could answer God with such hardness of heart. But that’s one of the consequences of sin. Cain committed the first recorded murder, and his sin had the effect of hardening his heart toward God, causing him to question. Questioning God’s ways is no more rational than not obeying God in the first place. Listen to what God said to Job and his friends when they questioned Him:

“Who is this that darkens my counsel

with words without knowledge?

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Tell me, if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,

or who laid its cornerstone—

while the morning stars sang together

and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors

when it burst forth from the womb,

when I made the clouds its garment

and wrapped it in thick darkness,

when I fixed limits for it

and set its doors and bars in place,

when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;

here is where your proud waves halt’?

“Have you ever given orders to the morning,

or shown the dawn its place,

that it might take the earth by the edges

and shake the wicked out of it?” (Job 38:2-13)

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2)

Lord please keep our hearts tender toward You, keep us from questioning Your will, help us to give thanks in everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Lord, please keep our hearts tender toward others, keep us far from the way of Cain. (Jude 1:11)

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) The way of guilt is to deny responsibility. The truth is that God has in fact made us our brother’s keeper. God tells you and I that each of us should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4) Notice that Philippians 2:4 instructs us to take care of our own responsibilities as well as those of others. Taking care of ourselves, our own family, our own brothers and sisters in the Lord, and also others, it’s all part of God’s plan for you and for me. Matthew Henry writes that caring for others is, “a great duty, which is strictly required of us, but is generally neglected by us.”

The church is God’s instrument to minister to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the old of our world.

You are the church.

Love God.

Love people.


“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:34-40


References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

C.H. Spurgeon

Matthew Henry

Don’t Go Rafting Without a Baptist in the Boat

This is just too funny not to share. In case you’ve never heard her before, when she says “Left Brain” she’s referring to her husband. Check it out.