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Monday, October 23, 2017

The Day God Put the Earth In A Blender

The Book of Genesis Day 80 Ge 7:4 "For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made." 5 And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. 7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all he fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. Again, we read the words, “And Noah did according to ALL that the Lord commanded him.” This is the secret of walking in faith. This is the secret of powerful living. As we step out in obedience to God’s simple commands, (for Noah, that meant “build and load,”) He meets us with His supernatural power and provision. This is how mountains are moved! Another way that mountains are literally moved is when water rages at them. This is the picture captured in verse 11. The first day of the flood saw the fountains of the great deep uncapped, and the windows of heaven opened up. Remember back to Creation? The Lord had created a canopy of water above the earth, “Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.” On this first day of the flood, the windows of heaven were opened and this canopy of water rushed out. That kind of rushing water will do an awful lot of altering and reshaping of the landscape. In addition, the fountains of the deep were uncapped. They gushed forth like giant waterpics, sculpting even more of the earth’s surface. As scientists dig and make discoveries on this earth and try to put an age on the various layers of sediment, they would do well to consider the natural effects of this flood as recorded in Scripture, and admit, that with all this swirling and gushing of water, they really can’t tell much about the earth as it was before the flood. It would be like trying to figure out the makeup of a milk shake after it had been put into a blender. We have had enough catastrophic floods in our lifetime to grasp a small portion of the power of raging water against a landscape, and when talk of “millions of years” of glacial activity comes around, I just reflect on verse 11 and the power of a milk shake. That’s enough to explain any rock formation to me. Pray: Lord, be with those today who have recently experienced catastrophic flooding. Let it serve as an opportunity to remind us of the power of water, and may it move our hearts with compassion for those whose worlds have been turned upside down to the effects of raging waters.

Friday, October 20, 2017

# 79 Nothing But the Blood

The Book of Genesis Day 79 Ge 7:2 "You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 "also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. Noah and his family have tickets to board the ark, now God gives him the rest of the passenger list. This list will help Noah understand what is to come in the way of dietary restrictions after the flood. There is no written record in Scripture at this juncture that defines “clean” and “unclean” animals, but no need to worry, remember, it is God who brings the animals to Noah. Ge 6:20 "Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” Noah only had to see the groups of seven to know what would be considered clean and unclean. These excessive clean animals would be necessary after the flood for the purpose of suitable sacrifices to God and suitable food for Noah and his family. The first thing Noah did after the flood, was offer a sacrifice of clean animals to the Lord. Ge 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Noah and his descendants would now be allowed to eat flesh, as long as the blood had been removed. Ge 9:4 "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. In blood, there is life, and this restriction would serve as a reminder that one day the precious blood of Jesus would be shed for the sins of the world! 1Pe 1:18 says, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Once Jesus had died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven the “blood” restrictions were lifted” (See yesterday’s devotion) I think it is interesting to look at the list of “unclean animals found in Leviticus 11, you will see that basically they are not vegetarians . Their diet consists of flesh or carrion. The food chain of the unclean animal is typically tainted with blood in one way or another! Again this speaks of how precious God considers the blood of His only Son Jesus. This “blood” was a type of the blood of Jesus and once Jesus shed His blood, the restrictions were no longer necessary. Oh how precious is the blood of Jesus and its benefits: Ro 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. Re 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. No wonder Jesus said in Joh 6:53, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” And as He instituted the Lord’s Supper in Mt 26:28 "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. The blood of Jesus! Precious! Let us never make it common! Hence the stern warning found in 1Co 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. Reflect: What are some ways we can eat and drink at the Lord’s table in an unworthy manner? Pray: Lord, let us never forget Your costly sacrifice for our sins. For without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

# 78 What to Eat

The Book of Genesis Day 78 Ge 7:2 "You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 "also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. Let’s talk a little bit about dietary restrictions found in Scripture. Before the flood, man’s diet was supposed to be strictly vegetarian as we read in Ge 1:29, “And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” After the flood, God lifted restrictions regarding meat as we read in Ge 9:3,4 "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. 4 "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” If Noah was going to order steak it would have to be “well done.” These dietary laws would be further expounded on and codified for God’s people in Leviticus chapter 11. They would stay in place until New Testament times when God lifted all the restrictions as we read in Ac 10:9-16, “ The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." 14 But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.” In 1Ti 4:3,4, the Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostle Paul gives us even more dietary instruction as he warns Timothy of those who apply man-made rules to our eating habits. “ and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;” In short, eat, what you will, just be thankful to God for providing it. The mere act of thanking God for our food, sanctifies it, no matter what it may be! Just one word of caution here. Don’t use that freedom to eat a rare steak to be a stumbling block for those who struggle with what their conscience allows them to eat and not eat. This principle is beautifully spelled out for us in Romans 14, 1-3, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.” And in v6, He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; (again sanctified by thanksgiving!)and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.” And in verses 13-17, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way. 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.” 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” And in verses 20-18-21, “ For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. No need to walk on eggs in this regard. If your brother is offended by eating meat, you will know it, and when and if you know it, yield to it, lest it be a stumbling block. It is the loving thing to do, but remember no matter what you eat, eat it with a thankful heart. It what Jesus did before He broke bread and we should do it too! Pray: Father thank You for giving us our daily bread, let us always remember the words of the Psalmist who said in Ps 145:15,16 “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. 16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

# 77 Faith Without Works Is Dead

The Book of Genesis Day 77 Ge 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. 7:1 Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. Last time we cross referenced these verses to get a few more details about what was going on with Noah at the time leading up to the flood. Hebrews 11:7 helps fill in the blanks: “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” God warned Noah. Noah believed God, and he proved his belief in his construction of the ark! In so doing, he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. Okay, we know it is not within the power of Noah or any other human being to condemn the world. That’s God’s business. The condemnation comes because Noah built that ark, relying solely on the Word of God without actually seeing the flood. The very definition of faith is it “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) Noah “hoped” he and his family and the animals would be saved from this yet unseen deluge if he would but build the ark in accordance with God’s instructions. God’s Word was the substance of Noah’s faith, the ark was the evidence. It was his works in the ““faith without works is dead” equation found in James 2:17! Noah’s standard was the same standard for Abraham and also for us today. Believe God and it will be accounted to you as righteousness! Joh 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The word “perish” in this famous passage speaks of the same warning given to the world in the days of Noah, and everlasting life is the same unseen promise of salvation for Noah through faith! None of us have tasted of heaven yet, it is as yet unseen for us, but we believe God’s warning about perishing found in John 3:16, and we believe His promise of sparing those who by faith believe and are baptized into His only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our ark. He is our hope and salvation. Trust in Him, lest you perish in a flood of eternal fire. Noah and Abraham believed God and it was accounted to them for righteousness….we must do the same! Reflect: If you were on trial and being accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Pray: Lord, grant me that kind of faith that simply clings to Your promises, knowing that it is that kind of faith that produces evidence in my life.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

# 76 Cutting Corners

The Book of Genesis Day 76 Ge 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. 7:1 Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. One of the things to remember in reading Scripture is that “chapter and verse” did not come along until around 1227 A.D. They were developed by Stephen Langton an archbishop of Canterbury who divided the Scriptures into chapters. The first published Bible to use the chapter divisions was the Wycliffe Bible of 1382. The division of verses came to the Old Testament around 1448 thanks to a Jewish Rabbi named Nathan, and in 1555 Robert Estienne (also known as Stephanus) added the New Testament. I say this because I think it’s important to link this last verse of chapter 6 in Genesis with the first verse in chapter 7. God saw that Noah was righteous because Noah did all that God commanded him, and the evidence was this big old ark sitting in the middle of nowhere! Faith without the evidence of works is dead! (James 2:17) Hebrews 11:7 gives us even more insight as to what was taking place in the heart and hands of Noah: “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. There’s an awful lot of stuff packed in that one verse! It was Noah’s faith in God’s divine warning of an event that had not even taken place yet that resulted in the building of the ark. His motivation? Godly fear. The word “fear” here is not what we typically think of when we think of fear. It means “to be wary and unwilling to take risks!” I get the sense here that Noah built that ark paying close attention to the details that God gave him, not willing to compromise, (take unwilling risks) because a leaky boat would not cut it in the coming deluge. God said it, Noah believed it, and so he built it in complete accordance with the instructions from God. Hmmm, any message for you and I in the matter of compromising God’s Word today? Reflect: It’s funny, we pay closer attention to the “do it yourself” instructions that come with Ikea products than we do with God’s instructions for righteous living as found in Scripture. Where do you see the “church” at large cutting corners today? Are there any areas where you may be cutting corners? What can we do about that? Pray: Lord, give us the uncompromising heart and faith of Noah, and help us to correct any mistakes, lest we sink our boat!

Monday, October 16, 2017

# 75 Build and Load: Simple One Word Commands

The Book of Genesis Day 75 Ge 6:13 And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 "And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 "You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 "And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 "But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark-you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. 19 "And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 "Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 "And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them." 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. This was a violent world! Even the animals (all flesh) were out of control, and God confides to Noah, that He has had it and will be making an end to all flesh and the earth! Both would be destroyed with the floodwaters. All flesh would die in this flood and the earth would be completely rearranged. In the meantime, God gives Noah some things to do. He gives him the instructions for building an ark which will be big enough to hold his family, the animals God chooses to save, and enough provisions to withstand the duration of the flood. This was a huge ship and given the tools available to him, it was a big undertaking for Noah, but he and his sons built it one plank at a time. Once built, he was told to bring along two of every living thing, a male and female, so the animals could repopulate the earth. This sounds like a tough task too, but if we read ahead, we see that he was not in charge of gathering the animals only opening the door. Ge 7:9 says, “ two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.”So basically, Noah was given two tasks here: Build and load. That was all that was required of him. God had given him all the skills he needed to complete the task. Verse 22 puts it this way, “ Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” Noah did. This is the way it is with the commands of God. They are far more simple than we make them out to be. Let me give you another quick example. When Peter walked on water, Jesus gave him a simple one word command, “Come.” Peter didn’t go through a long litany of things that could go wrong! He didn’t ask for a set of instructions on “how to walk on water,” No! He stepped out of the boat….he came! He exercised faith! That’s all it takes for you and I as well. Look for those simple one word commands in Scripture and in faith, do them! Love! Give! Trust! Forgive! And many more. Look for them! Float your boat of faith as you obey these simple commands of God! What is God simply telling you to do today? Break it down to a single word…..and do it! Reflect: Tell about something you have built Do you read and follow instructions or try to figure it out yourself? See how many one word commands of God you can come up with. Pray: Father, forgive us when we try to complicate or add to Your simple commands. Help us to be like Noah and DO them!

Friday, October 13, 2017

# 74 The Stench of Violence

The Book of Genesis Day 74 Ge 6:10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. The word corrupt shows up three times here and the Hebrew meaning of the word is decay. Have you ever smelled decaying flesh?. Have you ever driven by or walked by road kill? I remember living near a rendering plant as a child. A rendering plant would take dead animals and render them into certain products. When the wind was right, the odors of the dead rotting corrupted animals would invade our senses. It would even invade any clothing that may have been hung on the wash line to dry. It is a stench that I have never forgotten! This is what was wafting up to the nostrils of God as He looked upon His creation. His perfect creation had become rotted and bloated with sin. It had become tainted and filled with violence. The blood of Abel and countless others had soaked the ground and stained the foliage. Even the animals had gotten into the act. (Jurassic Park did a good job of portraying this violence of animals) The whole earth reeked of death. How does one clean up such a mess? You use water. Lots and lots of pressurized water. (The fountains of the deep mentioned in Gen 8:2) It’s funny (well not really) but no matter when I study this portion of Scripture, I don’t have to look far for an act of violence committed on this earth to remind me that we are indeed living in a time similar to that of the days of Noah. The most recent episode occurring just yesterday (as I write this) in Las Vegas Nevada where 59 people were killed and over 500 wounded by a lone gunman. We have been living in the “last days” since the ascension of Jesus and these tragic events have always served as reminders to all of us to repent for the time is near! I don’t say this to frighten you, if you are in Christ, you have nothing to fear. But please understand the urgency of the hour as the Apostles did. Pray, witness, and live for Jesus as never before. God cleansed the earth with water in the days of Noah, the next time He will cleanse with the final fire. The judgment is next! In the meantime, remember, we are to be the salt of the earth, the preservative that stems the rotting of flesh. Where and how might we leave the shaker and apply ourselves in this rotting world today! Reflect: What’s the worst thing that you have ever smelled? What’s the most difficult thing you have ever cleaned? What’s the difference between cleansing with water and cleansing with fire? How will the new earth be prepared by God? (2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. Where will those believers who are alive on this day be? (1Th 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. Pray: Lord, that first cleansing was temporary, sin still remained in the world, help us to be ready for the final cleansing of fire through faith in Jesus!