Thursday, September 19, 2013

Two Good Reads

I will not be blogging for the next few weeks, but I wanted to share two links that I felt were worth reading.

1. A post by Randy Alcorn on hope, its power, and our hope as Christians.

2. An article on Global Warming that confirms much of what I've felt and even blogged on in the past (I recommend you read that post if you didn't when I made it). "Science" says "jump" and we jump—until they change their mind. Unfortunately, in regards to Genesis, that jump has undermined so many people's faith in God and His Word that by the time they change their mind it will have been devastating to so many people.

As a side note on the whole Global Warming issue—I am not even saying that the earth isn't warming up, but I am questioning man's role in that. If it is man that alters the earth's climate then what caused the earth to warm up and end the ice age in a day when man was not producing emissions? We know that the earth was much colder at an earlier time (for a season), and it was a time man couldn't have impacted that, so if the earth goes through temperature cycles on its own then why are we all of a sudden saying it is man's fault?

May God bless all of you richly with a deep sense of His love for you in the weeks ahead.   —Erick

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good Insight from a Hard Path

Very recently I was driving into town to a Ministerial meeting and asking God a lot of questions on the way. Something that had seemed to be so clearly His leading was turning out not very good at all. We had made a decision based on what we felt were clear indications and leading from Him and yet we found ourselves in a position that was very hard for us. I was driving and asking God, a lot, "Why?" and starting to strongly question if I/we had heard His voice (my expression for sensing His leading in multiple ways), and if not, then if we'd actually heard His voice in other decisions we'd also made around the same time. I was really struggling, doubting myself, confused, hurt, and angry—all at the same time.

I felt suddenly, strongly, "Lean not on your own understanding" (most will recognize that as from Proverbs 3). It was a very clear thought. And suddenly I felt assured that the two were separate things—whether we had heard His voice a couple months ago, and what was happening now. I suddenly felt that it had been God's leading two months ago—the signs and path were so clear!—and that what was happening now did nothing to invalidate what happened then. For then it was, "Yes" and for now it was, "Lean not on your own understanding." While I was still hurting, struggling, etc., I can't describe the peace in realizing that I was not wrong two months ago, and that I could trust I'd heard His voice then and in other things. And, for now, while I couldn't (and can't) fathom what it was/is all about, and what He is doing, and why things are happening if He was leading, my call is to trust Him and not lean on my own understanding.

After the meeting I spent some time talking with a pastor who is also a good friend and he said something that really spoke to me in light of what I just shared. He said that he has learned that you have to separate results from hearing God's voice. He said that too often we can, hearing God's voice, then assume the results will match our plans and desires. Different results then we expected or wanted, he reminded me, don't mean that we didn't hear God's voice in the beginning. The words floated back to me, "Lean not on your own understanding . . ."

I realized in this that I had fallen into the trap he'd described, that I'd heard God's voice (sensed His leading) and then assumed I knew where that was supposed to go (based on where I hoped it would go). That isn't the case in this case and so I have a couple of choices—I can be angry at God, doubt I heard from Him and subsequently second guess and doubt all the other things I think I heard from Him . . . or I can realize I heard from Him*, but that His plans are not my plans and His ways are not my ways, and trust He who died on a cross from me out of a love for me that is deeper than any human love . . . trust even when I don't understand.

As I drove and processed that I was, again, reminded of why I feel so strongly about a literal, young earth interpretation of Genesis. It is because all other interpretations are forcing Genesis to match "science" and are already, at the door of the Bible, choosing to lean on our understanding instead of not on our own understanding. If we've already begun there in Genesis, and taught our kids to as well, then what precedent do we have for leaning not on our own understanding when other things in man's mind and our life don't match what we expect or are taught or experience?

*This isn't to say that there aren't times we haven't heard from Him and thought we had (maybe hoped we had and run ahead with our own wants and hope He'll follow blessing them), and that the Holy Spirit might not want to point that out to us, but I don't believe that this was one of those times as it was too clear and too strong and too unusual for not just myself but for Mary Ann as well.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Just Noticed Something . . .

I love when this happens! God and His Word are amazing . . .

I have for awhile believed that Psalm 104 is referencing the global flood of Noah* and giving us an amazing description of the topographic changes that occurred in this upheaval of judgment—giving us all the description we need to be confident in the flood as the defining element in explaining the geography around us. It says in verses 5–9:
He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.   ESV
Note that it says the mountains rose and the valleys sank down. It makes sense to me that the earth would have been created a lot more "mild" in terrain then we see it now as our command was to take dominion over it, so it needed to be accessible. But after the curse, and then the flood of judgment, it became far more harsh and inaccessible, and Creation groans awaiting redemption. I believe these verses give us a very real and literal description of a geographic season when the entire earth was transformed dramatically in a very short time, not in the long periods of time evolutionists require who don't believe in the flood or its ensuing changes.

But . . . I also believe that far more of the Old Testament then we probably realize is, while being true and literal, also a picture and foreshadow of Christ to come, and this morning in my reading through the Bible I saw something in a passage I'd never seen before. In Luke 3 it says of John the Baptist that he will preach ahead of Jesus and and fulfill the words of Isaiah. It says these words are:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"   (Luke 3:4-6, ESV)
So, in the flood of judgement the mountains rose and the valleys sank down . . . and in Christ, the one who takes from us God's judgement, "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways."

Wow! This spiritual picture of what Christ did for us is amazing! God has become accessible, Christ has carried and become the curse, and the path to and for God is made! What man was cut off from is now available. Isn't that amazing!

God is so good, and what He has done in and for us so amazing, and His Word so rich and deep and valuable and inspired! Thanks, Lord, for all!

* Some people believe these verses describe Creation, but I don't think that's possible because it says of the waters, "You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth." and if that was Creation then it is a lie, because clearly they did in the global flood of Noah, but never again after that due to God's promise sealed in the rainbow. For other posts in which I've talked about Psalm 104 see this and this. As a note that meant something to me, I was really encouraged after reading different commentaries that ascribe Psalm 104 to Creation to read Michael Oard's books on Creation (he is an atmospheric scientist that defends a literal Genesis reading) and find that he agrees with me that the Psalm has to be talking about the flood.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Is it OK?

After God sets us apart unto Himself through our new birth there comes the call to be holy as He is holy. While we are set apart by Him, we have a choice to set ourselves apart for Him. The awesome and wonderful reality of this is that He has done so much for us and does so much through us to help us in this. We are set apart by Him, adopted by Him, indwelt by Him, eternally sealed by Him, forgiven by Him, and so much more! We are not who we used to be, we are no longer slaves to sin or under the law, we are positioned to live out the plans He made for us and that He works out Himself through us! The battle against sin takes on a whole new look when we stop thinking of ourselves as failures simply made up and prone to sin, and instead think of ourselves as God's children, set apart by God, with God in us, and with God's promise that no temptation is too much for us to resist! Does the ability to sin still remain? Yes. Is there still a devil trying to tempt us? Yes. But the equation is dramatically different when we realize who we are in Christ and what He is in us.

In our desire to live a life holy, set apart unto God, there comes the natural question of what is OK and what isn't. While the New Testament has lots of things in it we should or shouldn't do, there are many, many situations in our lives that come up that it doesn't specifically address. What follows are some questions (with the verses they are drawn out of) that can help us evaluate a choice or course. Some came from a book by Jerry Bridges on being holy, and others are ones I felt God led me to.

Nine Questions
#1: Psalm 119:11   I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Q: Does the Bible say something about it?

#2: Hebrews 1:3a   [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature . . .
Q: Is it consistent with God's nature as revealed through Jesus' life?

#3: 1 Corinthians 6:12a   "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. . . .
Q: Is it helpful (spiritually, physically, mentally)?

#4: 1 Corinthians 6:12b   . . . "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.
Q: Does it bring me under its power?

#5: 1 Corinthians 8:13   Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Q: Does it hurt others or make them stumble?

#6: 1 Corinthians 10:31   So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Q: Does it glorify God? (At a minimum for things that may not glorify God, we need to make sure it doesn't disparage God's glory.)

#7: James 4:17   So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Q: Am I NOT doing something God is asking?

#8: Romans 8:14   For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Q: Are you following the Spirit's lead in action or inaction? (This is huge and actually ties into many others. For example, #9, about loving, only the Spirit can show us what form that love takes at that moment.)

#9: Matt 22:37b-40   [Jesus] said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is   like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Q: In this action (or inaction) are you loving God and others above all else?

I hope that these help. Certainly we could add a lot more questions to this list, but in the interest of keeping it usable I kept it to this length. May God bless you this week with a deep awareness of His holiness, His love for you, and His presence with you.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Two of the things in the Bible that I most often hear described as boring are the book of Leviticus and the genealogies. I'd like to share what God has done to change that in me (I used to feel that, too).

Leviticus: God has been opening my eyes to His holiness. He is set apart, holy, separate. We tend to make common (profane) His name and who He is. We tend to try and make Him and His Word match our opinions, our "science," our values, our desires, etc. When we do that we profane Him and His Word. Leviticus has become, for me, an amazing reminder of His holiness. It is filled with reminders of the fact that that which is for Him will be set apart, holy, not used for the common. That God has a way and it is His way or no way. That He is holy and I am not and that I must follow Him instead of expecting Him to follow me (a reminder David should have thought of before Uzzah died moving the ark, and not after . . .) Leviticus reminds me of how, though God is holy and a vast separation exists between us and Him, Jesus paid for our sin and now His Word says we as believers are a holy nation, His own special people, set apart unto Him, no longer of this world, no longer Satan's but now, instead, God's adopted children for all of eternity. It makes me so grateful! Leviticus is a constant, repeating reminder that God will not be profaned or made common. He is holy, and all that is for Him will be set apart as well. And so, now, I enjoy it. It reminds me. It blesses me. It encourages me to not become casual with God or to try and to things half way or my way and just assume He'll be OK with that. He is holy, holy, holy. He is God. It is His way, not mine.

Genealogies: I read them as history. Real history! Recorded history. Verified history. So much of our "understanding" of origins and history is based on a scrap of writing or a bunch of theories without evidence, but the genealogies gives us a person by person listing of history back to the first man. It is amazing! And, most important to me, the genealogies with the accompanying ages at births and deaths, give us the age of the earth. Yes, it is the genealogies that form the corm foundation of the young earth interpretation of Genesis, which I believe is one of the most critical views we will adopt in our walks. If the genealogies are true then we must interpret Genesis as literal and the world as very young. If they aren't, then the Bible is a fairy tale and we might as well throw it out along with all the revelation in it of God and of His promises to us. When I read the genealogies I realize I am reading an accurate, detailed listing of the line of men to Adam. It is my family tree. It is my history. And I am more and more convinced that God gave them to us in such detail that we could do exactly what I described—count them out and realize that Genesis must be interpreted and stood on as a young earth account, historical and detailed and accurate. When I read the genealogies I read with amazement, realizing God has given them to me to strengthen my faith in His Word and to give me the basis to stand with confidence on a literal reading of Genesis. Wow! Thanks, Lord!

Maybe these will bless you. Maybe not. But they bless me and I thought I'd share them. Thanks for reading. May you have an amazing week in the arms of the Father!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Is the Present the Key to the Past?

You can explain the earth's geology in one of two ways. Uniformitarian belief (which includes Christian compromise attempts to "make" Genesis match "science") says the present is the key to the past. Therefore, since the earth's surface changes very slowly today they conclude it must have been changing at the same rate all along (a "uniform" rate), therefore vast periods of time had to have passed to explain what we see today. People who reject God have no problem with this. Christians who believe this are forced to manipulate Genesis to say what it doesn't say, or to add to it things it doesn't support.

The other lens to view and interpret the earth around us through is that of a catastrophe that dramatically shaped the earth's surface in a very short period of time. This fits exactly with the young earth, eye-witness account of Creation and a global flood given in Genesis. (Eye-witness because God was there and He recorded what happened!) In this model the earth's surface was dramatically ruptured and uplifted and scarred during the global flood of Noah and the period following it.

I believe the earth was probably a lot gentler in contour prior to the flood. This makes sense to me since God gave us the earth for our use and to take dominion over, and we can't do either to parts of it we can't access or live in. Then, when God had had enough, He judged the world with a global flood. I have read that if the earth's land was flat the oceans would cover it by over 8,000 feet, so there is clearly enough water on the earth to cover the land even with some contour.

Genesis tells us the earth was flooded for an extended time, and at 8 lbs/gallon that weight alone would have tremendously impacted the earth's surface and plates. Add that the fountains of the deep opened up and you have splitting and rupturing below. Then add the effect of the runoff of water as it first sheeted, then, as mountains rose out of it, started to narrow (which would accelerate its flow), and you have tremendous gouging and cutting and sediment moving.

Then we have Psalm 104. Some people say this describes Creation but I don't think that is possible because it talks about the waters never again covering the earth. The Bible makes it clear the water covered the earth in Noah's flood, so it has to be talking about that flood. It gives us a tremendous window into what the earth endured in the flood and shortly after. The specific section of verses I am referencing say:
He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. (Psalm 104:5–9) ESV
Mountains rising, valleys sinking, flood waters receding. Could this explain what we see? Absolutely! And it is what God said happened and, when the presuppositional bias of science that there is no God is removed, it is what true science supports! No, the present is not the key to the past, and we don't need to buy the old earth view. It is completely incompatible with the Gospel, it destroys the words of Jesus and other New Testament books, and it erodes faith in the Bible as a whole. God formed the earth, then He judged the earth, and He provided an ark in which safety was found until He said "enough" and closed its door. Inside the ark it was safe, and outside it was death, as the ark rose and left the earth behind. Nothing has changed. Our ark is Jesus. And the door is open until God shuts it, but then it will be too late. The same Bible that tells us how the earth was formed is the same Bible that tells us that as well. May we believe it, live it, and trust it until that day comes!

I Didn't Say "Fun"

Recently I was talking with a youth about some choices and how much more deeply satisfying it will be in their core to choose to honor God and love and serve others than anything they could do for themselves. After some thought the youth said, "But it won't be as much fun." I pointed out that I hadn't used the word "fun" and that they were right, it wouldn't be as much "fun," but that I was talking about something much more satisfying and lasting than temporary fun.

The world is right. There are a lot of things more "fun" for a moment than surrendering to God in that moment and loving or serving another person instead of yourself. I can't argue that the alternatives are a lot more fun than helping out a parent, or submitting to what someone else wants to do instead of you want to do, or doing an unpleasant job that needs doing but others are walking around. But I didn't say, "fun."

What I did say is that there is nothing we can do for ourselves that will match, at a level of deep satisfaction and lasting joy, what comes to us by choosing to love another more than we love ourselves, and to express that love in tangible acts of selflessness. To walk in the plans prepared for us by the Star Breather Himself when He created us—what greater honor or deeper joy could there be? To make God smile and to open up a flow of relationship with Him instead of quenching or grieving His Spirit—what higher goal could there be than this? To invest in things eternal instead of things that moths eat and rust destroys and thieves steal—what could rank higher than that? To say to God, "I love you" through our life and not just our words and songs—what louder voice could there be than that? To be conformed closer to God's image—what higher desire could there be for ourselves than that? And what an adventure and promise of clarity of God's voice it is to explore, through our obedience, the amazing words of Jesus in John 7:17 when He says, "If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority."!

No, I didn't say "fun." Didn't mention the word. I can't argue against fun for the moment. Curl up with a good book, or help someone unclog a toilet—I won't even try and say that the toilet wins over the book for "fun." But this isn't about fleeting fun that in the end has no lasting value—it's about finding the deepest level of satisfaction possible in living in the plans we were created for and expressing our love for our Creator through our obedience to Him and our laying ourselves down for another . . . and experiencing the closeness with Him and intimacy and fellowship that seems to often spring forth from simple acts of love and obedience.

And, you know what? I've often found that when I have obeyed and loved, often I'll sense the Spirit release me to have "fun" and He often prepares the way and blesses me in it far more than I could ever do for myself on my own. And it feels so much better to know He's given me the fun, than that I took it when my Spirit was nudging me to something else I turned away from.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Worth Reading

In light of my recent post, "What Are You a Citizen Of?", this article by Todd Starnes called, "Christian Bakery Closes after LGBT Threats, Protests" is well worth reading . . . and pretty sobering for Christians attempting to stand up for what they believe. It talks not only about a bakery in Oregon and the cost one family paid, but it summarizes other recent decisions in the United States. We are not far behind Europe, Great Britain and Canada. I can not repeat it enough—Christian, you'd better have already made the decision whose laws you will honor, and what you are a citizen of, because the time is coming when you and I will have to choose between God and man at a much more public and costly level than we have been used to in the past. Another article about them, listing other similar things, can be found at:

What Do You Call Me?

There's a lot of things people can, and probably do, call me. Some good, and maybe some not so good. They may depend on their relationship with me, their experiences with me, whether they attend the church I pastor or not, whether they know me in person or only online, etc. They may accurately reflect who I am, and they may not. They may be based on truth, or a misperception (my spell checker says that's not a word). But, there are only two people in the world who can call me "Daddy" and those are my two daughters.

Bethany and Abigail and Daddy getting ready to
make a horse feeder. Yes, a horse feeder, but
that's another story . . .
Well, in both Romans and Galatians God tells us that with His Spirit in us as the seal and sign of our adoption as God's children after we have trusted in Jesus for our salvation, we can call the Father, "Abba! Father!"
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:15-17
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7
That, in and of itself, is stunning. That we would go, through God's gift and our faith, from alienated, hostile, pleasure-driven, world-enslaved sinners to sons and daughters of God, fellow heirs with Christ, able to call the Father, "Abba! Father!" But then, to read Jesus' words to the Father in the Garden recorded in Mark 14:36 is almost too much to absorb:
And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Only two people in the world can call me, "Daddy"—and yet God has given us the right as His children to address Him with the same words Jesus Himself addresses Him in Jesus' most agonizing, powerful, intimate moment recorded on earth. Wow! Does that blow anyone else away? Thank You, Abba, Father, for having done so completely for me what I could have never done or afforded on my own, for having so completely reconciled and united me unto You that I can share in calling you, "Abba! Father!" Thank You!


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