Genesis 6:16 — A window shalt thou make to the ark… (KJV)

Read bibleA window shalt thou make to the ark… –Genesis 6:16

God directed Noah to build a window near the top of the ark. He provided light for Noah and his family, if…

If Noah chose to open the window.

God provides light for you and for me, as long as we choose to open up the window of His word.

It’s up to you and it’s up to me how much of God’s light we enjoy. His word is there, waiting for us. It might feel easier to watch Sports Center or that cooking show. You might feel like gravitating toward Facebook or Call of Duty: Black Ops.

But the degree to which we choose to spend time in God’s word is the degree to which our lives will be changed for His kindgom.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

Let God’s light in.

Read His word.

[Image via Traveling Mermaid – Creative Commons]

References:

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

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 a serious call.

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.

Negativity and the Media–Think On These Things: Philippians 4:8-9

Negativity, Negative Media--Think on These Things: Philippians 4:8-9The following is a guest post from Nathaniel Bennett.

Researchers in the U.K. recently conducted a  study that showed people are most attracted to negative content on the internet. You can read about it in the article, Want to be popular on the Internet? Be a Jerk! Using a system called “sentiment analysis” they were able to categorize posts in online forums by the type of emotion they convey.  Perhaps not surprisingly, negative posts were overwhelmingly more popular.

It’s long been known that human beings are addicted to conflict. Let’s face it, conflict is entertaining. There has never been a successful movie produced that wasn’t focused on some sort of struggle. Reality shows, novels, TV dramas, Shakespeare, political radio, and even the evening news, are all popular because they appeal to our natural desire for conflict. Negativity breeds conflict and conflict sells.

It’s tempting as Christians to let negativity dominate our faith. It would be easier and certainly more entertaining to indulge in the controversy and drama that surrounds religion these days. There’s a never ending supply of things to get angry about and a vast sea of people who can’t wait to profit off it. Despite the natural attraction however, negativity is simply not where God wants our focus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

It’s interesting just how diametrically opposed that verse is to todays’ culture. We spend far too much time being angry about things that aren’t important. For instance, deep down I know that I will never, ever, under any circumstances “win” an argument on the internet, but somehow that doesn’t stop me from trying. A theological argument with a cynical stranger is probably not the best use of my time and almost certainly not helping God’s kingdom. Eventually negativity and strife will steal the limelight and push aside what’s really important.

If I’m not focusing on what’s pure, good, virtuous, and praise worthy, then I’m certainly not focusing on Jesus.

References:

[Image via: European Parliament – Creative Commons]

Biblegateway

Technotica on MSNBC.com

1 Corinthians 6:9–12, 19-20 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial

Submission to Christ (Courtesy of Revelife.com)

The following is a guest post from my friend and brother in Christ, David Smith.

In Chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians, Paul is dealing with a church where some very poor choices are being made. There are people in the church that are living like the world. They claim a faith in Jesus Christ, yet they still openly walk in the sin of the world. Paul then gives a very stern warning that speaks to eternity. I don’t know about you, but when inheriting the Kingdom of God is mentioned, I really pay close attention.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

As a side note, look at the part where he says “do not be deceived.” This implies that there are people in the world that will try and deceive you concerning these things. Do not be fooled. The lists of sins in these verses are non-negotiable. We know the world will try and deceive us into thinking they are ok, but we must head his warning and not play the fool.

In reading this list, we all find conviction. Although as Christians we do not walk in these sins, to say that since I have been saved I have never had a sexually immoral thought or made a decision that greed played a factor or spoke a slander about someone out of anger or frustration would be a lie. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, right? Is Paul sentencing all who have committed these sins to hell?

No, what Paul is saying is that salvation in Christ is submission to Christ. That is, are you submitted to what Christ deems is right or wrong, or are you simply claiming Christ as your Lord, but not submitted to Him? Look at the next verse.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

So they are coming to the table saying “Hey, you said that in Christ, I am free from sin. Sin has no hold over me anymore and because sin has no hold, I can do whatever I want.” And in one sense they are right. In Christ you are free from sin. It no longer needs to reign over your life and eternally you are saved from the ultimate consequence, eternal separation from God. But let’s jump up to verses 19 and 20 to see how Paul closes out this argument.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

This is where the submission to Christ comes in. See, Paul is not saying you must be perfect. What he is saying is that you need to check yourself and see if you are living for you or living for God. Look to the list of sins mentioned above. Do you believe they are wrong? You are free from them, yes. But do you believe they are wrong? By giving your life to Christ by being born again in the spirit and claiming Him as your Lord and savior, you agree that you should not walk in sin. That is, salvation in Christ is submission to Christ. You cannot separate the two.

Paul is calling out those that are living as luke warm Christians. Do you have something in your life that you are holding on to? Do you have something that you are hiding behind the freedom in Christ, yet in hiding behind the freedom in Christ, ignoring what Christ has commanded? If you are, let it go. The game you play is one that could have eternal consequence. Remember, salvation in Christ is submission to Christ.

In walking with Christ we need to constantly be reckoning the old sinful nature of our flesh dead. Do not be deceived, as some were at the church of Corinth. You are free in Christ, but to be in Christ is to be dead to yourself. Carrying your cross is the calling of a Christian. The world has many “prizes” that it offers to those who give in to its lusts. Those prizes will always fail you. As you’re carrying your cross in this life, do not forget to keep your eye on the only prize that never fades, eternity with a loving, awesome, gracious, and beautiful Father God.

Photo Courtesy of revelife.com

Genesis 6:13-22 — I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens. But I will establish my covenant with you

Noah’s Ark by Edward Hicks

So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.  Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Genesis 6:13-22

 The animals:

There’s much debate concerning how all of the animals fit on the ark, were fed and cared for on the ark, etc. The ark was as long as one and one half football fields and taller than a four story building. The available storage space on the ark was equivalent to that of 520 modern boxcars and it’s been calculated that this would be more than enough space to accommodate the 16,000 species necessary to ensure the continuation of all of the animal kingdom. There’s a good article on the topic by John Woodmorappe that can be found on the Institute for Creation Research website.

The discussion on the feasibility of the animals on the ark is interesting but think this through with me. Isn’t this one of those questions that comes down to whether or not you believe in God and all that He is? If God did indeed create the universe in all of its vastness and majesty, if God did indeed create all of the animals on earth to begin with, then isn’t it an easy thing for God to preserve all of the animals on the ark? He could have brought only immature animals to ensure adequate size, once on board He could have put all of the creatures into a state of hibernation to ensure adequate care. The same God who created the universe, the same God who created Adam from dust, could have easily preserved the animals on the ark. Is anything too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14)

Some interesting observations:

Noah was a carpenter — Jesus was a carpenter.

Noah was righteous, blameless, walking faithfully with God — Jesus is righteous, blameless, walking faithfully with God (and He is God).

The ark had only one door in its side. There was only one way into the ark. — Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9 KJV) And Jesus also said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

The ark had many rooms — Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms…” (John 14:2) As the ark had many rooms for the many different types of animals, we see that our Father has designed heaven with many rooms for the many different types of Christians who will dwell there (yes, even Charismatics).

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. (v.22) — Speaking of God, Jesus said, “…I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29)

The way of escape:

Yes the world was filled with violence but God provided a way of escape! The way of escape for mankind in Noah’s day was through the door in the side of the ark. There was no other way. You either went through that door, as Noah and his family did, or you perished.

The Hebrew word kapher is the word used in verse 14 that we see translated pitch. In every other instance in the Bible kapher is translated atonement. For you and for me, the way to escape hell is through Jesus Christ. That’s the only way. This isn’t my idea. As a firefighter that’s not the way I would have designed salvation. When a builder submits plans for a room that will hold a large number of people, we like to require multiple ways to escape. The greater the number of people, the greater the number of exits. That’s how I would have designed salvation. But God says: “…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” When God designed the ark, He designed it with one door. When God designed salvation, at great personal sacrifice, He designed it with one Door, Jesus Christ, His Son.

Jesus said,

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…”

John 10:9 KJV

 

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References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Institute for Creation Research

Ray Stedman

Jon Courson