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The Thinker

SIH STSTA ICON“The Thinker” is the name of a very widely recognized statue created by Auguste Rodin.  The thinker represents “a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle.”  (Quote from http://www.statue.com/the-thinker-statue.html)

Did you know that the Word of God encourages each of us to be this type of “thinker”?  Let’s take a moment to see what the Lord has to say …

THE SCRIPTURE:

Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  (Hag 1:5-7)

THE STUDY:

In our text, the main thrust of these verses centers around the phrase “consider your ways” –

The word “consider” is a translation of a three-word Hebrew phrase:

1.   the first word of the phrase means “to consider, to examine, to give attention”;

2.   the second word carries with it the idea of “the heart, the innermost parts”;

3.   the third Hebrew word in our phrase is defined as “according to, because of”

The Hebrew word for “ways” is simply referring to the paths we have chosen to follow in our life.

If we put all of our ideas together we get this idea: the Lord is telling us to “to closely examine our hearts to understand the motives that drive our life choices.”   How important it is for us to simply ask the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

The Lord was speaking to members of Israel whose lives were exhibiting a lack of satisfaction and contentment, and the resulting loss of divine blessings.  He is instructing them to take time to ask the questions… “What is in your hearts that causes you to be never satisfied nor content?” and “What is taking place within you that is causing a lack of blessings to come your way?”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Both for those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, and for those who have never come to repentance and faith in Him… the need to examine our life’s motives cannot be underestimated.

For the Christian….

By examining our motives for our life choices, we can more easily see when our love for our Lord is beginning to grow cold.  When we love Him as we should, His will and desires for us will take preeminence in our decision making.

We will ALWAYS put Him first, when we love Him as we should.  (Deut 6:5-9, Matt 22:37-38)  Do we find ourselves putting others ahead of the Lord in our life’s decisions?  Someplace along life’s path, sin has slipped into our life and our love for Him has grown cold… (Matt 24:12)  It is our responsibility to come before Him asking for forgiveness and allow Him to restore a right heart… (1 John 1:8-10)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By examining the driving forces behind your decision making, you will quickly come to a realization that the fulfillment of the desires of your flesh and mind are the driving forces in your life choices.  The Lord explains your condition in this way:

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”(Eph 2:2-3)

If you see yourself in this condition what must be done?  The Lord clearly reveals the answer to this question in the following verses:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”(Eph 2:4-9)

In these verses, the two main points that are presented are:

#1 – Christ must intervene in your life and grant you spiritual life.  This can only be done through an act of God.  No man can merit, nor gain, this gift of spiritual life through any works he may perform.

#2 – It is imperative that one who is dead in their sins come to Christ in submission to Him, humbly recognizing they can do nothing to gain their own salvation.  A part of this submissive spirit is the willingness to turn their past sins, to trust Him with their entire life, and accept Him as Lord of their life.

Christ’s promise to each one who sincerely seeks Him….

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.  (Joh 6:35-40)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Oh, How Good It Looks… Oh, How Bad It Is For You

SIH STSTA ICONOne of my weaknesses is my desire for a cheeseburger.  I love cheeseburgers…. Burger King Whoppers with cheese to be exact.  But actually, how can anyone find fault with me?  Just take a look at this Burger King Whopper commercial…. (be forewarned, I don’t know how anyone can resist this!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pltp_xNrego

After having a mild heart attack about 5 years ago, it is for my good that I don’t make a habit of eating these babies.  It seems as if ever since I was told to “lay off the Whoppers” that I have only wanted them more.  We have all experienced something like this… temptation is universal, everyone has experienced it at one time or another.

Sadly, this universal experience is one of the greatest hindrances we face to living a faithful, obedient Christian life.  Why does temptation make such an impact in a Christian’s life?  How can we overcome such a strong influence?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about temptation…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1Jn 2:15-17)

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Gen 3:6)

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Mat 4:1-11)

THE STUDY:

1 John 2:15-17

Here, we find the three basic areas of attack that temptation takes… the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  These are the three types of sinful desires we all have within us.  These are the areas that temptation appeals to and to which we submit, producing sin in our lives. (James 1:13-15)

Genesis 3:6

Here, we read of the very first temptation of mankind.  Note the three areas attacked by Satan during his temptation of man:

the tree was good for food” (lust of the flesh);

it was pleasant to the eyes” (lust of the eyes);

a tree to be desired to make one wise” (the pride of life).

This is a consistent pattern throughout the Scriptures.  Every temptation that is enacted upon man is aimed at one (or more) of these three types of sinful desires we all possess.

Matt 4:1-11

In this account, we have the temptation of Christ brought into view. Notice that, again, temptation’s attack is in a three-fold direction:

command that these stones be made bread” – Christ’s hunger after His fasting (this would have appealed to His desires of the flesh)

If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:… lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” – By doing this, Christ would be proving to everyone His divine origin (this would have appealed to His desire to exalt Himself or His pride of life)

The devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, …if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” – This was appealing to the sight of all the kingdoms of the world.  (By doing this the temptation involved the desires of His eyes)

In each case, a similar area of Christ’s life was being attacked (just like in the other two examples we looked at.)  However, in the case of Christ, we have a perfectly sinless response to these temptations.  Why?  Christ’s did not have a sinful nature that fallen mankind possesses.  This is one reason why Christ was perfectly able to resist these temptations.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

For our benefit, Christ clearly displayed the method in which to overcome any temptation that we may face.  Please notice, in each of the three attacks by Satan, the Lord used the Word of God to gain the victory over Satan.   “It is written”, “it is written”, “it is written”; was Christ’s constant refrain.

In each case Satan lied (John 8:44), in each case Christ refuted the lie by going to the source of all truth, God’s Word.

Satan can use our friends, our family, even our experiences to lie to us.  The only sure source of truth we can rely on is the Word of God.  If anything in our life leads us contrary to Scripture, we must put it aside, and follow the Scripture exclusively.

The example of Christ, once again, speaks to us concerning the importance of Bible study and memorization for the Christian.  It is truly the only offensive weapon we have to deflect Satan’s attacks against us. (Eph 6:14-17)

Another lesson from Christ’s example is the need to take special care when we see a weakness in any of these three areas in our life.  We should be constantly striving for control of our pride, control of our eyes and control of our fleshly desires.  When these begin to dominate us, we are headed for defeat.

For those who have never submitted to the Lord…

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 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. (Jas 1:13-15)

Without the forgiveness of Christ, spiritual, eternal death is the end result of temptations workings in mankind.  The only remedy for this is to look to Christ, the life-giver, who gave Himself on the cross so that we might share eternal life with Him. (2 Tim 1:8-10)

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If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Who’s Our Boss?

SIH STSTA ICON(Rob’s Note: Following my Monday posting of “The True Wonder Of Nature… Ignored!”  I have received several emails asking for further information on why the Bible would say that if we reject God as our Creator, it results in many other sins to be committed. 

I was planning on posting today’s blog entry sometime next month.  However, I thought that this entry might help to answer your questions, so I have chosen to post it today.  If you had questions about the relationship between rejecting our Creator and the sin that flourishes around us, please review Monday’s posting after you read this entry. 

It is my privilege to answer any questions you may still have about Monday’s posting,  just leave a comment or send me an email.  It is only through your input that I can know what needs clarification.  Thank you for graciously reading my blog, you are all a great blessing to me.)

In the mid 1980’s, Tony Danza, Judith Light and Alyssa Milano starred in a situation comedy called “Who’s the Boss?”   This show was a classic about a professional woman, her male housekeeper, and their children.  Over the course of the show’s 8 year run, the continual theme was who was running the household, the woman or her housekeeper.   Many times, the housekeeper would override the woman’s instructions, creating havoc for the entire household.

If you are not sure if you’ve ever seen this show, just listen to the theme song, it is one of the most memorable theme songs on TV.  If you’ve heard it, you will recognize it in a heartbeat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBKsHdZJjZM

In a sitcom, confusion about who runs things can be humorous and harmless.  But in the world today, our society is falling apart, due to the confusion concerning to whom we should submit.   It is a very serious issue… we are watching our society implode due to a lack of recognition of the ultimate authority that is over us.

Who holds the ultimate authority over us?  What should our attitude be towards this authority?  The Bible gives us an answer to both of these questions…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?(Rom 9:20-24)

THE STUDY:

Today we complain about our appearance, or maybe our vocation, or our financial status in life, or even our family and friends.  In our text, the people were complaining about their eternal destiny (Rom 9:10-19).

Paul, by the inspiration of God, begins to address these complaints…

Man was complaining to the Creator of the Universe, the true God over all, Jehovah.  Paul makes it plain that NO ONE has the right to complain to the One who created him.  Why not? Because the God who created us has every right to create us as He pleases.  (vs 20)

If a potter desired to make a cup without a handle, he has every right to do so.  However, if He desires to make one with a handle, he can do this as well.  Does the cup without the handle have a right to complain to the potter due to his lack of a handle?

Oh course not, Why not?  Because the potter was not obligated to make only cups with handles.  SINCE HE WAS THE CREATOR HE COULD MAKE THE CUP AS HE PLEASES.  The cup is obligated to recognize his creator and submit to his desires.

In the same way, if He desired to show the greatness of His wrath in my life, He certainly could do it.  But He desired to save my soul from sin and withhold the judgment I deserved. In either case, He would be fair and just (vs 21-24)

Since all men deserve eternal punishment, He can allow it into any one’s life.  If He chooses to show His grace and mercy in the life of some, He has every right to do it as well.   We are obligated to recognize Him as our Creator, therefore recognize His authority and submit to His wishes for us. (Isa 64:8)

What’s THE major problem in our world today?  We are in denial about Jehovah God being our Creator.   Because of this, we do not see the need to submit to His will for our life.  This is why we see such heinous sin taking place in our society.  Once we denied Him as Creator, we no longer see the need to submit to His desires for us.  This is the insidious result of denying His Creatorship.  This is the state of our society today… we have rejected His Creatorship and, therefore, no longer see the need to submit to His will.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

As a Christian, we need to recognize that God is our Creator.  He is the Creator of both our physical and spiritual life.  Oh, what a responsibility we have to submit to His desires for us.

Our life’s slogan should be…Since God is my Creator and my Savior, I owe Him my all.  He has every right to do with me as He pleases, I have no right to complain to Him about my lot in life. No exceptions.  He has already blessed me above measure with my salvation.  I am only to always be in alignment with His will.  (see Jer 18:3-6)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Remember, He is our Creator (Gen 1:-2:), therefore, we are obligated to conform to His desires for our lives.   What is His utmost desire for us?  To come before Him, humbly trusting Him to do what we cannot do… save us from our sins.  If you would like more information about receiving the forgiveness He so graciously gives,  please take a look at the page labeled “All About Salvation” just beneath my blog heading above.  May the Lord bless you.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me…!

SIH STSTA ICONBack in the 60s and 70s a TV show called “Hee Haw” hit the airwaves.   It was one of the funniest series I have ever seen.   One of the funniest re-occurring features involved a group of “good old country boys” that were feeling sorry for themselves.   They recounted their misfortunes in a song entitled…”Gloom Despair and Agony On Me”.

If you would like to relive the good ole Hee Haw days, you can watch it on the RFD-TV network, or you can see the skit on youtube… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ5ob9B9yD4

Many times, as Christians, we start to feel sorry for ourselves as we face the trials and difficulties this life has to offer.   The Psalmist in Psalm 119: put a different type of “twist” on the trials he faced in during his lifetime… he looked beyond the pain he felt during the trying times and he concentrated on the end results of those trials.  His conclusion about those trials can be found in Psa 119:65-72…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. (Psa 119:65-72)

THE STUDY:

Why does the Lord allow bad things to happen to good people?  As pastor, this is one of the most common questions that hurting, faithful, Christians have asked me.  Only the Lord will be able to give us a complete answer as to why we face trials in life, but one thing is certain…  TRIALS BRING A CHRISTIAN CLOSER TO THE LORD.   In every case, after the trial is over, a true Christian will readily admit, they are closer to the Lord after the trial than when the trial first began.

Trials in life will always bring the true Christian closer to the Lord. This is the point that King David, the author of Psalm 119: clearly proclaims.  If you remember, David had faced many trials during his lifetime.  His life had been threatened by King Saul following his defeat of Goliath (1 Sam 18:8-9); He had miserably failed the Lord in the incident with Bathsheba, which resulted in the loss of his child (2 Sam 11: and 12:); and later in his life His own son, Absalom, rebelled against his reign seeking to overthrow his kingdom by force.  This led to Absalom’s early death. (2 Sam 17: and 18:). In spite of all these problems, and others, David was able to thank the Lord for the trials because they had brought him closer to the Lord.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those of us who are saved….

In Psalm 119:65-72, David clearly reveals to us how to deal with the trials we face in our lives…..

Principle #1 Count the blessings that the Lord gives to us…

“Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.”

“Thou art good, and doest good”

David starts by saying that the Lord had treated him well during his lifetime. In spite of the trials, David recognized the presence of God’s grace throughout his lifetime, and the forgiveness God had given to him.

Principle #2 – Recognize the value of His Word, especially during times of trials

The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.”

Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

David compares the value of the Word to the value of precious metals.  His conclusion?  The Word is of far greater eternal, spiritual value than all the riches this world has to offer.   David also compared the wealth and excess of his enemies with his possession of God’s Word.  His conclusion?  God’s Word brought him much greater joy than his enemies’ enjoyment of great excess and wealth.

Principle #3 – Always desire to grow in knowledge of Him and His Word; while retaining faith in His Word…

“Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.”

“teach me thy statutes.”

“The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.”

David knew the value of His Word and, therefore, craved to receive more knowledge of His Word. As David trusted in God’s Word, he realized great blessings and peace even in the midst of the trials he faced.  Think about what our life would be like without God’s Word… no comfort, no peace, no direction for our life, no counsel, no wisdom….  No wonder David was craving a greater understanding of His Word as he faced the trials of his life!

Principle #4 – Concentrate on the end result of the trials we are facing….

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.;”

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

This is the hardest principle indeed… to look beyond the pain and sorrow and to see the end result of the trials we are facing… a closer walk with Him based on a greater knowledge of His Word!   What a privilege it is to face trials… Let’s thank Him for the trials we face, knowing they will result in a closer walk with Him.

For those of us who have never trusted in Christ as their Savior….

Please keep in mind, the many precious promises the Lord gives in His Word apply only to those who are saved.  Until an individual places his trust in Christ, he cannot claim to be a recipient of God’s gracious intervention in His life during times of trials and heartaches.

Are you tired of facing your trials alone?  Do you desire to know without a doubt, that the trials you face are for your good and your ultimate gain? (Roms 8:28) Do you need a friend that sticks closer to you than a brother, someone who will NEVER leave you nor forsake you? (Pro 18:24, Hebs 13:5)

If this is your greatest desire then look to The Lord Jesus Christ and submit your life, and your eternity to Him.   Be willing to turn from your sin and begin to serve Jesus as Your Lord. (Ezek 33:14, Acts 17:29-32)  He will abundantly pardon you. (Isa 55:7)  He will save you form your sin and adopt you into His family. (Gals 4:4-6) You will never be alone again.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Do Aliens From Other Planets Exist? A Biblical Perspective. (Part 1 of 2)

SIH STSTA ICON{A note to my readers:  This blog entry is the first of several entries answering my reader’s questions.  I trust they will be of interest to all of you. I enjoy answering your questions and reading your comments… keep them coming!   Finally, thanks to everyone who is reading my blog, you are a blessing to me. }

With the increased number of reports of UFO sightings, comes increased curiosity concerning the legitimacy of those reports.  Google “UFO sightings” and you will see a list of over half a million websites, recording multiplied thousands of UFO sighting reports.

We are constantly bombarded with the opinions of scientists and other researchers attempting to prove or disprove alien’s existence.   So let’s go to the final Authority, our God.

What does the Lord have to say about the existence of UFO’s and aliens from outer space?  I will share with you some of the Biblical teachings on this subject.

(Note for an in-depth scientific answer from a Bible believing scientist please refer to the following link Institute for Creation Research)  Dr Henry Morris is director of the Institute for Creation research.  He is a dedicated Christian scientist who has contributed to many different areas of scientific thought.  I encourage you to make use of his website for Biblically based research.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2Pe 3:10-13)

THE STUDY:

There are several Biblical principles that help us to understand the Lord’s teachings concerning the existence of aliens….

Principle #1 – In all the creation accounts, the Bible never describes God creating life on other planets.

Man is the jewel of God’s creation… God gave man the dominion of all creation – Gen 1:26-28; God made man exalted over all earthly creation – Psa 8:5-9.  The earth was given to man, all the rest is possessed by God – Psa 115:16.  He gave none of the other parts of creation to alien beings.  There is nothing mentioned about aliens or any role that God has given to them to fulfill in His creation scenario.

Principle #2 – Gen 6:17 – describes the flood as destroying “all flesh under heaven”…

in other words, the only flesh that exists “under heaven” (ie the third heaven see 2 Cor 12:2) is the flesh which is on the earth, that was capable of being destroyed in the flood of Noah’s day.

Principle #3 – There is no reason to believe that the Bible records any alien sighting by man.

Every supposed account of men seeing alien beings in the Bible is better interpreted as …

God revealing Himself to man in a vision (Isa 6:1 etc etc) or  God symbolically revealing creatures that live in heaven with God (the third heaven see 2 Cor 12:2) (Isa 6:2, Ezek 1:1-28, Rev 1:12-17, Rev 9:3-5  etc etc )  There is NOT ONE account that, due to context, must be interpreted as a man seeing an alien being.

Principle #4 – God’s earthly creation is the central theme of His Word and His eternal plan laid before the foundation of creation itself.

God sent His Son to die on the cross to redeem human beings from their sin.  Earth and human beings are in the center of God’s attention and workings.   It is extremely difficult to conclude God has other worlds filled with life when everything in His Word points to the earth, and the earth alone, as the cradle of life.  (John 3:16-18 – “world” is speaking of this earth, the center of His orderly creation.)

In our text, 2 Pet 3:10-13, the entire creation, including the special universe, are connected to God’s plan for man.  As a part of His second coming to earth, all the universe will be remade for His followers to dwell in.  Once again, we see how mankind is dominate in the plan and ways of God.  All creation (including the heavens) fall under that plan.

Roms 8:18-22 – When Adam fell “all creation” was affected.  The sin of one man dictated the state of the entire universe.  Once again, we see man as the dominate created being in all the universe.

Gen 1:14-15 – He made the lights in the heavens to give light to man on earth, no where is it said He made the heavens to house other beings.

All 4 of these principles point to man as being at the center of God’s attention and workings in the universe.  With no mention of aliens in God’s creative or redemptive plan for the universe.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, understanding the central role of earth and it’s inhabitants in God’s eternal plan is very reassuring…. we can fully trust in the principle that God’s redemptive attention is on those He has chosen to save.   He physically made us, He chose to save us, He sent His Son to die for us, and He secures our salvation through His workings in our heart (Rom 8:14-39)

For those who have never accepted Christ as Lord and Savior; understanding His great love and workings on behalf of His people, magnifies the need to look to Him for salvation.  If God Himself has sacrificed so greatly for His people, how can we neglect the salvation He so graciously offers?   (Hebs 2:1-10)

And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: …(Gen 16:13)

His attention is always upon us… for the saved, it is a great comforting blessing; for the lost, it is an important reminder of the certainty of no escaping judgment apart from His forgiveness of our sins.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

I’m Late I’m Late for a Very Important Da…errr… Discovery! (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONThe contents of the Word of God never cease to astound me.  I’ll never forget one of the first times this ever happened to me…  I was a young guy in Lexington Baptist College doing an assignment for a class.

This assignment led me to read Isaiah 40:22 – “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, …(Isa 40:22)

“Whoa, wait a minute”, I mentally said to myself.  Here, the Bible is making a very plain statement of fact that the earth is a globe and not flat.   No big deal, right?  We all know this is true.

But there was one big problem with this…. Isaiah 40 was written 2700 years ago in approximately 700 – 750 BC (give or take a few years).  The first recorded teachings (apart from the Bible) that THEORIZED the earth was round were written by Greek philosophers over 200 years later.   The roundness of the earth was not PROVEN until Magellan’s voyages in 1500 AD.   So in other words, what the Bible stated as fact in 700 BC; man did not prove until over 2000 years later.

This is one event that solidified my reliance on Holy Scripture as truly being the very Words of God.  How could any man know this long before mankind had discovered it?   The answer was very plain… no man could know this…. only God could have revealed it to mankind.   Truly, the Bible is God’s Word!!!

The following is a list of other scientific “discoveries” first stated as fact in the Bible.  Please note that in each case, science did not theorize, nor prove these truths, for many years after God had already revealed them to mankind in His Word…

  1. Job 26:7 – the earth is suspended in the heavens by gravity.  It is not resting on the back of a turtle, elephant or other animal.  This was stated 2800 years before gravity was discovered.
  2. Gen 7:1 – fountains, springs, or wells exist on the ocean’s bottom.  The first of these were discovered in 1977.
  3. Eccl 1:6 – the existence of the trade winds.  Most people believe was first discovered by mankind in 1840s
  4. Isa 45:12 – the universe is constantly being “stretched out” (expanding) – First theorized in the 1960s and 1970s
  5. 2 Sam 22:16 – there are “channels” (valleys) in the bottom of the ocean – First proven in the early to mid 1900s.
  6. Psa 8:8 there are ocean “paths” (currents) under the surface of the ocean – First discovered in the 1800’s
  7. Job 36:27-28 – the water cycle exists in nature – discovered by man 300 years ago.

These are just a few of the many different scientific truths that our great God choose to reveal to mankind.  Do a google search of “scientific discoveries in the Bible” to get much more information about the above discoveries and many, many more.

All of these discoveries are examples of science’s “coming late to the ball”.  Kinda like the white rabbit of Alice In Wonderland fame; the worldly scientists of today are always late for the discovery of important events, so they run around like chickens with their heads cut off!  (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDO5ea8MwgY).

THE SCRIPTURE:

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

After looking at the different scientific truths revealed in the Bible, the truthfulness of Col 2:2-3 is clearly displayed.   Our God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge.

Just think, we have the precious Word of God that comes from a God that knows all things!!   What a wonderful blessing it is to know we have the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge at our finger tips.   We should take His Word very seriously and spend time reading and studying it!  (Psa 40:8, Psa 19:8-11, Pro 2:1-5)

For those who are saved, His Word is a guide book for us to aid us in our daily walk of life. (Psa 119:105)

For those who have never received God’s gracious salvation, the Word is the only source of life for a sin sick soul. (John 6:62-71)

(Please note: in our next blog installment, we’ll be looking at two scientific truths the Bible reveals that many scientists still do not accept as truth. We will also study the result of their denial of these truths on all mankind.)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

“I Need You, Like the Flowers Need the Rain” …

SIH STSTA ICONToday, we are surrounded by messages of “need”.  TV commercials consistently say we “need” something… a new car, a new set of clothes, or a new computer.  Our government would like us to think that we “need” all of it’s programs and spending; without them we would fall off the face of the planet, we are told.

But the classic example of the message of need is presented to us in the song by America entitled “I Need You” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk-7n1hdK3M). Speaking of one person’s need for another, the song says it is “like the flowers (that) need the rain”. Sounds serious to me, flowers can’t live without rain, you know.

As a young man, my father used to consistently remind me that there was a difference between a “need” and a “want”.  Sorry to say, I didn’t see the wisdom in his words back then… it was only as I moved away from home that I began to see what he really meant.  In many instances, what we have is a tendency to say something is a “need”, when in actuality it is only a “want”.

But what is even more perplexing is that we have one true need that is often overlooked or devalued.

It is as if our attention is drawn to these other false “needs”, causing us to ignore the most important need of our life…. The Lord Jesus Christ….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.

(Psalms 68:19 kjv)

THE STUDY:

In the preceding verse we are given two very important reasons why we need Christ in our lives…. “He daily loadeth us with benefits” and “our salvation”.

First, let’s look at his “daily benefits” He gives to us.   I can only speak for myself, but in my case, I am CONSTANTLY forgetting all that my Lord does for me on a daily basis.  The food I have to eat, the roof over my head, my strength and health, my wonderful wife, even the very breath that I take comes from my Lord.    How quickly do I forget these things.  In the middle of my day, when I am wrapped up with the daily grind, how easy it is to forget His constant flow of blessings to me.

I may be busy at work and have to eat a late lunch and grumble about it. Next time, I should thank Him  that I have food to eat and an appetite which allows me to enjoy the food.  Or, how about when I am tired and cranky; I take my frustration out on my poor wife… I’m certainly not appreciating the Lord, or her, like I should be.  As our verse said… He is daily LOADING us with His benefits (blessings).  Thank you, Lord for all you do for me on a daily basis!

But there is another blessing He gives to us mentioned in our verse…. His salvation.  “Salvation from what?”, you may ask.  This is a very fair question.  To help us answer this question, we need to understand what is meant by the term “salvation”.  In this Psalm, the Hebrew word translated “salvation” simply means “to deliver from or to give the victory over”.   Here, we are told that our Lord is the One who gives us deliverance from something.  That “something” is sin.

Over the years, I have heard more definitions for sin than I can count (or remember).  To me, the easy way I understand the meaning of “sin”, and it’s effect on our life, is by thinking of a blind man who stops to ask for directions.  He is given a roadmap to guide him…. only one problem, he cannot begin to understand, read, or even see the map.  He is in a horrible predicament.  He has a set of instructions guiding him on the path he should take, but he cannot begin to follow those directions. Such is the sinfulness of man.

Because we are sinners from conception, we all are unable to please God of our own ability.  Just like the blind man, we are in a terrible situation. God has given us His Word which contains His desires for our life, but without His grace, we cannot begin to follow them. For further study on our condition as sinners before God please study (Isa 64:6-7). To sum it up… apart from the Lord we are in horrible straits.

Does this mean we are in a hopeless situation?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  This is where faith in our Lord Jesus Christ comes in.  Once we understand our inability, our next step is to turn to Him and realize we are totally dependant upon Him to deliver us (or give us the victory over) our sinful condition.  In other words WE NEED HIM to save us from our sins.  By turning to Him, and trusting in Him, we receive the forgiveness of our sins and the ability to please Him with our lives.

Why is Christ the One we must turn to and place our faith in?  It is because He is the One who died for us, taking our sin upon Himself that we might be saved.  (please see Roms 4:24-5:2 for more info)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Yep, “just like the flowers need the rain”, we truly need Him, not only for our physical well-being, but for our spiritual salvation as well.  We can all agree with these words: “Without me (Christ) ye can do nothing”… but… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (John 15:5, Phil 4:13). Let’s turn to Him and receive His salvation and forgiveness and then, every day, be thankful and praise Him for all He has done for us!

May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Is It God or Is It Memorex?

SIH STSTA ICON“Is it live or is it Memorex?”   For those of us old enough to remember, these are very familiar words from a series of Memorex commercials shown in the 70s and 80s. (To refresh your memory, you can watch one on youtube…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bkt8Dwzl6Sg)  In these commercials, famous singers from the day would shatter crystal wine glasses with their voice alone.  The question would then be asked “was it live or was it Memorex?”.  Memorex claimed that you couldn’t tell the difference between a live voice and one recorded on their audio tape.  They said that the recordings stored on their tapes would be more accurate and they would last for a longer period of time than their competitors.

Memorex isn’t the only one that is in the business of recording words…. Our Lord recorded His Words and then went far beyond what Memorex attempted to do. What Memorex claimed, Our God perfected… The Lord recorded His Word that will exist unchanged for an eternity!   He did this for us, that we might know His mind and see Him more clearly…

THE SCRIPTURE:

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

(Psalms 119:89-91  kjv)

THE STUDY:

Why should we take time to read, study and meditate on God’s Word?   We have this question answered for us in the preceding verses.

Please notice in vs 89 we have a clear declaration of the permanence of God’s Word.  This truth is brought out to us in two phrases…  “for ever” and “settled”.

Let’s look at the last phrase first.   To be “settled” means “to have a firm foundation placed under something so that it cannot be moved, shaken, or altered”.  In other words, the Lord has completed His Word and it will not change.  He has settled on it.

For example, if we have a big decision to make we may take some time to decide the best course to take.   Once we have made our decision, we say, we have”settled the issue.”   In other words, we have decided on it, and have put it to rest in our minds.  Our conclusion will not change.

Likewise, the Lord, who dwells in heaven, has “settled on” His Word.  He has proclaimed it through the Godly men of old… He has decided on it…. it is now settled and it will not change.

Praise God, we can trust in His never changing Word!   When times get tough and we feel like there is no hope left for us, turn to God’s Word knowing that He, and His Word, never fails.

Now let’s look at our first phrase. “Forever” simply means “without end”.  Have you ever spent anytime at the ocean side?  When you look out over the ocean you can see no end to it.  It seems to continue on forever.   Scientists, as they look into the heavens, tell us that they cannot see the limits to the vast area we call outer space.  These examples of “seeing no end”, show us the definition of the Hebrew word for “forever”.  This word is defined as “seeing the vanishing point”.

The Lord has established His Word and we cannot see an end to it… we can be assured that no matter how long time exists, the Word will exist and be relevant to our lives… there is no limit to His Word or the keeping of it.  Yes dear friend, because of these truths even our eternal existence can be entrusted to our Lord and His Word.

Vs 90-91 give us an earthly example of the permanence of His Word… the physical creation we see all around us.  The Lord created the earth… it continues to exist. All of His living and nonliving creation continues on.  This pictures for us the continuity of His Word.   Because God decrees that His creation will proceed… it does.  No if, ands, or buts about it.

Every morning, as we awaken from our sleep, and see nature all around us, it should remind us that, just as His creation exists for another day… so to does His faithful Word.  He is so good to us supplying us with a wonderful world to live on, with a never-failing revelation from Him to live by!   .

Finally, please notice the reason why the earth continues to exist….it’s because the Lord has ordained (decreed or said) that it would.  How powerful is God’s Word!  He simply speaks and it is done.  He spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1:), likewise He calmed the sea during a massive windstorm, simply using His Word (Mark 4:39-41), His Word even raised a dead man to life (John 11:43-44).  This same powerful word is the Bible…. it is one in the same.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

We have the gracious privilege of being able to hold, read and most importantly, rely upon this Word for our eternal salvation and instructions for our day to day walk of life.

Have you received the salvation from your sins that the Lord so graciously gives?  If not, please begin to read more about His salvation in His Word.  Great places to start would be  Romans 3:19-31 and  John 3:10-21, in both these passages our Lord makes the necessity of salvation very clear to us, as well as the way of salvation which is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And for those of us who are saved, let’s not take His Word for granted.   Everyday, let’s appreciate His Word, read, study, and meditate on it, so that we can be “equipped fully unto all good works” ( 2 Tim 3:14-17)

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”