Proverbs 3-21-23

Doing anything on our own belies the purpose of the cross, which was to join us to Christ in friendship and partnership.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19

We have been looking at how the Lord instructs us through the Bible on how to treat each other (and more specifically applying these instructions during a church building project). But, there is a component that often goes missing: We were never meant to do it alone. Jesus came to be with us; He left so that He could send the Comforter (Himself), the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ), to be with us. We forget that God the Father sent God the Son to make a way for God the Spirit to live in us. Here is one of my favorite passages:

25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” John 16:25-28

The Father Himself wants a relationship with us?! He eliminated everything that keeps us from Him through Christ. Let’s look at four things to learn from this passage:

  1. Up until that point in the upper room, Jesus had spoken to his disciples figuratively. Why? I can think of two possible reasons. The first is because it wasn’t time to reveal the real reason for His coming, which was to take away our fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15 and 1 Corinthians 2:8). The second reason is that once the Spirit took up residence in them, He would give them perspective so that all that Christ taught them would come into focus.
  2. Jesus was establishing their relationship with the heavenly Father. To ask in Jesus’ name is to ask according to all that Jesus taught them.
  3. The Father loves them–and us. Why? Because we believe that Jesus came from God, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5). To believe Jesus is to believe God.
  4. Jesus reiterated that He came from the Father to the world and was about to go back to the Father. “That power is the same as the mighty strength He [God] exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms…” (Ephesians 1:20).

The next time we think about asking God for something or about something, we need to DO IT! To not do it means that we either don’t believe that He cares enough to listen (unbelief), or that we can do it ourselves and don’t need His advice or help (pride). The fact that we thought about it is evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

If we can come together in Jesus’ name, asking God for wisdom, discernment and understanding, I know that the Spirit will give us unity. He has promised us, “I in them and You in Me–so that they may be brought to complete unity” John 17:23).

Abba, You tell us that we are part of one Body, Yours. We all bring something unique to the table, but we are still all part of You. Help us to focus on Your plan for the furtherance of the Gospel. Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts are WAY higher than ours. We trust You. Help us to see clearly as we discuss and plan. Amen.

Proverbs 3-20-23

God doesn’t ask us to do anything that He didn’t model in Jesus. He also empowers us to do them.

Paul says in Philippians 2:13,

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. NIV

The Amplified Classic Edition says it this way:

13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the desire and power], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

We were talking yesterday about how to speak to each other concerning the building program at church; what we discovered is how God would like for us to treat everyone we know! Let’s look at the passage again:

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

  1. Get rid of all- In order to get rid of anything, we must first identify the bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander in our lives. The key word is “all.” We can keep none of it back and succeed. In verse 30, Paul uses the word, “grieve,” regarding the Spirit. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, he uses the word, “quench.” Hanging onto any of these will quench the Spirit’s work in our lives. It’s like turning the faucet nearly all the way off and trying to fill a bathtub.
  2. Be kind and compassionate to one another-
    • Kindness- the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
    • Compassion- pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
      These two leave no room for bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander. They are what we use to fill the empty spaces that the others leave. We cannot do these on our own. We must ask and then allow the Holy Spirit to work with us and through us. It’s a cooperative effort.
  3. Follow God’s example- The secret to this one is to study the life of Jesus. He is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). John describes God as love (1 John 4:8). We also have some lists that are given to us in Exodus 34:6-7 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. We ARE dearly loved children. John also says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
  4. Walk in the way of love- Jesus showed us how: self-sacrificing, loving us even knowing that we may not return His love. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down your life for your friends” (John 15:13). The way of love is not easy, but it is very rewarding.

In order to do this right, we must practice these four commands routinely. Therefore, we would do well to use them on every person we know–especially family members. If we can do it with them, then we can do it with anyone!

Abba, help us to practice these commands on each other. May we be able to gently remind each other when we get aggressive or stubborn. May we praise each other when we are doing well. Show us how to love like You, Abba. Amen.

Proverbs 3-19-23

Our hardest lesson is learning to keep our speech God-honoring. But, what do we do with what we’re feeling inside?

11 “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Matthew 15:11

As we prepare for pending church building projects, both physical and spiritual, we must remember that we all are brothers and sisters in Christ. We belong to His body, His Church, and we all have Him living in our hearts. The verse above is Matthew quoting Jesus. Mark records Jesus saying the same thing (Mark 7:15). James put it this way,

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:5-6, 8

Paul was very specific on how we are to speak to each other:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Even when we feel justified in what we want to say, we must be obedient to this verse. Our words, our tone, our countenance (how we look), and our body language are all part of how we communicate with others. All of these components must fit into the “helpful for building other up according to their needs” part. What happens when we don’t pay attention and share something unhelpful or unbeneficial? It’s in the next verse:

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

This is not about salvation (we’re already sealed for the day of redemption), but it is about Lordship. Our goal must be to look like Jesus, act like Jesus, and be like Jesus. When is there ever a time when it’s okay to ignore this goal?

Paul didn’t just tell us what not to do. He also told us how to do it right. It’s in the next two verses:

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Today, I want us to simply ponder the underlined parts. Tomorrow, we will look at their mechanics. Have a great day in worship on this Lord’s Day.

Abba, today’s lesson was easy to say, but hard to do. What is it that is in us that makes it so hard to maintain control of our tongues? May Your Spirit guide us into all truth in this matter. My favorite phrases are “with whom you were sealed” and “as dearly loved children.” Both speak of our relationship with You. You love us and live in us! For this truth alone I will praise You all the days of my life. Amen.

Proverbs 3-18-23

As we continue laying our foundation for a building project, we must prepare our hearts for the possibility of hurt.

People forget to filter their words and attitudes, thus causing hurt and ill feelings. We must pre-decide to take the high ground and prepare our hearts for such times. We arm ourselves with kindness and compassion for others drawing from the forgiveness of Christ in our own lives. We looked at a verse yesterday that applies, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Paul taught the church in Rome how to get along with each other and with the community, which was mostly hostile to them. Let’s read about it:

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Proverbs also has wise advice for us to keep in mind:

19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger,
    and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
    but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

As we move through the process of beginning a building project, may we all practice loving each other as Christ loves us. May we show His love to those who disagree with us, and may we all agree in prayer that Christ has all the answers. He will reveal to us the TIME, the PLAN, and the DIRECTION we need to go. We just need to trust Him.

Abba, may we all begin at the foot of the cross in gratefulness for Your forgiveness. May we proceed to the foot of Your throne asking for mercy and grace, for wisdom and discernment, and for direction for our church, our families, and our relationships. If struggle drives me to you, then I welcome the struggle. May You be the first Person I go to with any conflict I might have with a brother or sister. Knowing You are involved gives me great peace, Lord. Help us move forward as a church in a healthy manner. Amen.

Proverbs 3-17-23

If our church is going into building-mode, then we need to set some ground rules; those rules start at the foot of the cross.

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. John 14:15
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

There are always deep feelings associated with any building project within an established church body. We must proceed with extreme tenderness and compassion–wait, I’ve read something like that before: 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32. Jesus made it very clear how He wanted us to live and treat each other,

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in youMay they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

You’ll notice two types of highlighting in those verses. The underlined ones are the way we are supposed to see each other and treat each other. The bolded ones are the result of us doing the underlined parts. Our best witness is done not by what we say to outsiders, but by how we treat each other inside the doors of our church. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love” is our song; it speaks our mission on both sides of the coin:

Love each other, care about your neighbor.

Even as we consider others before ourselves, we are to treat each other with kindness, tenderness and compassion. In this way the world will know that we are His disciples. Our goal should be for those who know us but don’t know Christ to say, “See how they love one another!”*

Abba, our–Your–reputation is on the line. How we treat each other over the next few months will tell the tale to the community of whether or not we take seriously our commitment to Christ and His mission. There is another set of folks that we must consider during this time, and that is our children. How we react/respond to each other will make a difference in their view of You, Abba, Your church, and in their involvement in church life when they are adults. May we weigh everything we say against the weight of the cross upon our shoulders as we take up our cross and follow You daily. Amen.

*”See how they love one another,” from “Let People Say of Us…” In the early Church, Tertullian tells us that pagans were struck by the witness of Christian love. “See how they love one another!” they would remark.

Proverbs 3-16-23

To build or not to build, how to build, and in what order? These are questions that our church is having to answer.

Building projects are exciting times. There’s an air of anticipation and expectation of newness in all areas, not just in the physical building. Much of this newness comes in the body itself, but not like they might expect. Building projects call for us to practice loving each other in ways and to extremes that are way out of our comfort zones. We’re not often called upon in such a manner, so here we go!

As we do, I would like to establish some biblical ground rules for how we talk to each other, the manner in which we refer to each other, and even when it is appropriate to talk about certain aspects of the building project with each other.

  1. Our priority as the body of Christ is to exhibit His love to our community, to our families, and to each other. If we do not demonstrate this love and aren’t careful to build each other up, then we have failed before we even begin work on a physical building.
  2. Our church has a structure that we follow, much like our government, but also like a family. We must work within that structure if we are to honor the Lord by honoring each other.
  3. Christ has given us specific protocols to follow when we discuss matters. These protocols are non-negotiables toward implementing our church’s motto: “Loving God, Loving Each Other.”

What are these protocols, you may ask. Let’s look at one of them today:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Humility. Philippians 2:1-5a

  • We need to be encouraged and encouragers; that encouragement comes from the Spirit of Christ in unity, which is oneness of spirit.
  • We need the comfort of His love and to be comforters, which happens when we are one in the Spirit.
  • Our common sharing in the Spirit comes when we realize that nothing is actually ours individually, but part of a whole that is Christ’s.
  • Our joy is made complete when we prioritize being like-minded, having the same love, and are one in spirit and mind (even when we might not agree on some details).
  • How do we attain such joy? By doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. We cannot hold ourselves higher than our brothers and sisters. In fact, we must do the opposite by humbly valuing others above ourselves. We cannot look to our own interests and look to other’s interests at the same time.
  • Christ’s mindset was humility; ours must be the same.

I heard an interesting perspective today. A fellow was talking about the metaphor of the church being a hospital. He said that this analogy tends to lead people to believe that the pastor is the doctor. Not so. Jesus is the Great Physician; if anything, the pastor is the chief nurse, and we his staff. When it comes to making plans for building, we must all seek the guidance of the Chief Architect and Builder, Jesus Christ. He framed the universe and hung the stars; He holds every molecule together by His power. Surely, He knows what we need and how to achieve it. So, we begin in prayer asking for His leadership.

Abba, we come to You in humility. We acknowledge that we do not know everything, and we admit our tendency to insist on our way. Even when we think our plan is altruistic and is for the benefit of everyone, we still need to step back and allow You to work Your plan in everyone. The building project is important, but even more important are the lessons in humility and self-sacrificial love that we are about to learn. May we excel in them! In and with Your Spirit, I know we will. Thank You in advance. Amen.

Proverbs 3-15-23

“They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” was copyrighted in 1966. It is as relevant today as when Jesus said it.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

After seeing the movie, “The Jesus Revolution,” we have been doing songs on Sunday evenings from the ’75 Baptist Hymnal that were from the Jesus movement. We have sung, “People to People,” “He’s Everything To Me,” “Pass It On,” and last Sunday, “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” The first line of the song is, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.” I found a verse the other day that says that very thing,

17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17

The lyrics changed “spirit” to “the Spirit” indicating that we are joined by the indwelling Spirit of God. Here it is from the Living Bible (LB),

17 But if you give yourself to the Lord, you and Christ are joined together as one person.

To become one with the Lord is to think His thoughts, feel His emotions, and do His works. Philippians 2:13 tells us that He gives us both the desire and the power to do His will. What is His will? That we will be one in Him,

21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. John 17:21 LB

Jesus has said it twice, “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples,” and “the world will believe you sent me,” meaning that people will believe in Jesus because they see Jesus in us. When we love like Jesus loves, then we are most like Jesus. Look at this promise:

11 Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too. 12 For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and his love within us grows ever stronger. 1 John 4:11-12 LB

We will be talking more about this oneness and showing His love one to another in later posts. For now, we will allow the song to speak for us,

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Abba, there is no better or greater way to express who You are to the world than by Your children loving each other. We know that Your compassion spills out onto those around us who don’t know You when we love each other. You draw people to Yourself through the demonstrated love of Your children. May we always keep the main thing the main thing: Love one another. Amen.

Proverbs 3-14-23

“Which version of the Bible is the best? The one you’ll pick up and read.” Check out these versions.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

15 Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.” Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means. 2 Timothy 2:15 Living Bible

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker who isn’t ashamed to teach the word of truth correctly. 2 Timothy 2:15 God’s Word Bible

I read the following article from Patterns of Evidence and found it very enlightening. It has a guide to translations in it that tells where a particular translation falls on the “literal” to “functional” scale. It all comes down to this: God wants to impart His words and His Spirit to us. The best way for us to receive them is to read them, heed them, and ask Him to explain them to us, individually and collectively. Talking about His Word is good for us because we all have different perspectives. The more we share with each other, the greater our knowledge base.

I pray that you will read the article and read His Word for yourself.

Abba, “open our eyes that we may see wonderful truths in your law” (Psalm 119:18). Amen.

A Guide to English Translations

Proverbs 3-13-23

Faith is believing God and trusting in what He has told us. Sometimes, we just have to choose to believe Him rather than what we see.

We have been looking at scientific evidence for a young earth. What we haven’t looked at is the biblical evidence given for a young earth. What evidence might that be? It is what God Himself said about it. Let’s look:

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

This passage is the fourth command in the Ten Commandments given by the Lord to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Israeli faith as well as the first half of the Christian faith. It is the hub of all Judeo-Christian values.

36 the son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God. Luke 3:36-38

This genealogy of Jesus is datable and fixed. From the first man through Jesus Christ, the years are 5,000-5,500 years.

Believing in an old earth is not a salvation issue, but it does undermine the basis of the Lord’s Word. We tend to believe what we know; if all a person knows is evolution, then it makes sense to try to fit everything into that worldview. The basis of faith, though, is to take God as His Word. If doing so requires us to defy the present-day logic of science, then so be it. Paul said in Roman 3:4,

Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
“So that you may be proved right when you speak
  and prevail when you judge” (Psalm 51:4).

As we march through history, each invention has proven God to be true:

  • Archeology
  • The Hubbell Telescope
  • The electron microscope
  • The seismograph
  • Molecular biology
  • Mitochondrial DNA mapping
  • Satellites

And these are just a few! The idea is that just because current science doesn’t agree with the Bible doesn’t mean that it won’t in the future. Each science book is an updated edition of the previous one meaning that there is information in each edition that has been changed. Not so with the Bible. It’s information has stayed the same for 4,000 years! We can trust God’s Word.

Abba, may You give us faith concerning Your Word. As we study it and ponder it, please open our hearts to Your truth and our minds to all the wonders of Your universe. Amen.

Proverbs 3-10-23

Reflections on heaven from last night’s presentation:

I was involved in a huge praise and worship presentation yesterday. There were over 500 people onstage! Many of these people are members of my choir as well as fellow ministers I’ve known for 40 plus years. I played percussion in the orchestra, so I stood for most of the afternoon rehearsal (3.5) hours and performance (3 hours). We are all tired today….

The music was hymns of our faith and was a neat service with lots of audience participation. As much as I wanted to immerse in the joy of the experience—and I did occasionally—I had to focus on playing the music. Here are my reflections:

• The music was beautiful and I enjoyed being a part of something much bigger than I usually get to do. I got a sense of what it will be like in heaven with so many instruments and so many singers around me.

• Making sure that I played my part correctly meant that I couldn’t just listen and soak it all in. At the same time, there is a great feeling of accomplishment and a certain satisfaction in a job well done and to be a part of an overall experience that went way above one that I could achieve as an individual.

•The fatigue is something that we will only fight in this world. Once we get our glorified bodies, mental and physical fatigue will be no more!

I look forward to playing in a heavenly orchestra praising my God and Father, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and my earthly Companion and Guide, the blessed Holy Spirit.

Abba, thank You for the opportunity and privilege of last night’s experience. In all we do, may You receive all glory and praise. Amen.

Proverbs 3-12-23

The evidence for a young earth just keeps pouring in! Today, it’s the Lazarus bacteria DNA.

Our last of the “10 Best Evidences from Science That Confirm a Young Earth” from Answers in Genesis is:

#10 DNA in “Ancient” Bacteria

“In 2000, scientists claimed to have “resurrected” bacteria, named Lazarus bacteria, discovered in a salt crystal conventionally dated at 250 million years old. They were shocked that the bacteria’s DNA was very similar to modern bacterial DNA. If the modern bacteria were the result of 250 million years of evolution, its DNA should be very different from the Lazarus bacteria (based on known mutation rates).

In addition, the scientists were surprised to find that the DNA was still intact after the supposed 250 million years. DNA normally breaks down quickly, even in ideal conditions. Even evolutionists agree that DNA in bacterial spores (a dormant state) should not last more than a million years. Their quandary is quite substantial.

However, the discovery of Lazarus bacteria is not shocking or surprising when we base our expectations on the Bible accounts. For instance, Noah’s flood likely deposited the salt beds that were home to the bacteria. If the Lazarus bacteria are only about 4,500 years old (the approximate number of years that have passed since the worldwide flood), their DNA is more likely to be intact and similar to modern bacteria.”

I found it interesting that they chose a biblical name with a biblical resurrection story to name their bacteria. It’s a bit ironic. Let’s read the passage about the REAL Lazarus:

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:38-44

That completes our look at evidence for a young earth. Of course, the best reason for believing is because God said that He created the heavens and the earth and all that are in them in six literal days. Who are we to say any different?

Tomorrow, we will look at some passages that corroborate a literal six-day plan. For today, let’s praise the Lord for His infinite wisdom, power, and love!

Abba, I praise You for Your infinite wisdom. You knew exactly what You were doing and what we needed. You are still providing answers to man’s questions. It seems that each invention provides new evidence that Your Word is true! May we extol Your mighty works, O Lord. And to think that it’s all because You love us and want a personal relationship with us! May we fellowship with You today corporately. Amen.

Proverbs 3-11-23

Extrapolating backward in time has the potential for serious errors. Doing so exaggerates erroneous information.

Today’s “10 Best Evidences from Science That Confirm a Young Earth” reveals:

#9 Very Little Salt in the Sea

“If the world’s oceans have been around for three billion years as evolutionists believe, they [the oceans, not the evolutionists] should be filled with vastly more salt than oceans contain today. Every year, rivers, glaciers, underground seepage, and atmospheric and volcanic dust dump large amounts of salts into the oceans. Consider the influx of the predominant salt, sodium chloride (common table salt). Some 458 million tons of sodium mixes into ocean water each year, but only 122 million tons (27%) is removed by other natural processes.

If seawater originally contain no sodium (salt) and the sodium accumulated at today’s rates, then today’s ocean saltiness would be reached in only 42 million years–only about 1/70 the three billion years evolutionists propose. But, those assumptions fail to take into account the likelihood that God created a saltwater ocean for all the sea creatures he made on day five. Also, the year-long global flood cataclysm must have dumped an unprecedented amount of salt into the ocean through erosion, sedimentation, and volcanism. So, today’s ocean saltiness makes much better sense within the biblical timescale of about 6,000 [to 8,000] years.”

Tomorrow, we finish our study of the 10 best evidences. Of course, there are hundreds of evidences with many that could be considered in the top 10. These were chosen because of their testability. What differs between evolutionists and creationists is our viewpoint, or, our worldview. The problem comes when all the evidence points to a young earth. Our best verse to remember when conversing with someone with whom we disagree is:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6 (notice the “salt” reference)

Abba, may we always be like You in our conversations. You are patient and kind, therefore we work hard to be patient and kind, also. Just like You, we are not wanting anyone to perish, but for them to come to a saving knowledge of You. May we be just like You, Abba. Amen.

Proverbs 3-9-23

How long can a comet last? Not as long as some would like to think. Here’s the scoop:

As we resume our study of the “10 Best Evidences from Science that confirm a Young Earth” from Answers in Genesis, we look at:

#8 Short-Lived Comets

“A comet spends most of its time far from the sun in the deep freeze of space. But once each orbit, a comet comes very close to the sun, allowing the sun’s heat to evaporate much of the comet’s ice and dislodge dust to form a beautiful tail. Comets have little mass, so each close pass to the sun greatly reduces a comet’s size, and eventually comets fade away. They can’t survive billions of years.”

Could it be that the ice that forms comet tails came from earth during the Great Flood? The moon’s surface (the side that faces us) is covered with droplets of water. The energy coming from the underground super-heated water was three times the amount needed to overcome our gravity. Did the earth literally spray the face of the moon? Many meteors and asteroids are comprised of earth’s mantle, so why not water in comets? If so, then comets are around 5,000 years old.

The root of the matter lies in whether a person believes in a young or old earth and universe. God told us in His talks with Moses how He created the earth and how long it took,

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

God was giving us a pattern of work and rest. It’s been this way from the beginning,

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

If we can believe God for salvation, why is it so difficult for us to believe Him for creation? About the time I get to thinking that I am smarter and more knowledgeable than God, I read Job. Chapters 40-42 are about God asking Job where he was when Jesus was doing all the creating; He also asked him a lot of questions that only God could know. Here is Job’s answer:

42 Then Job answered the Lord and said:
“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know

Rather than letting the origin of comets burn brain cells, why don’t we give God glory for His creation, whether it was in the first creation or because of the Great Flood? All natural events find their origin in God. Let’s glorify Him.

Abba, because I believe that You created the universe and everything in it in six literal days, I tend to think about scientific mysteries from the standpoint of how You did it rather than how something came into being on its own. The neat thing is that inventions and discoveries are being made all the time that shed light on many of these mysteries and how they prove that You really did create everything! Thank You for being patient with mankind. May we all look to Jesus for all the answers concerning salvation and creation. Amen.

Proverbs 3-8-23

Robin and I went to a screening of the upcoming movie, “Big George Foreman.” It was excellent–with a few caveats.

21 All those who heard him [Saul/Paul] were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Acts 9:21

“This one thing I know: I was one way, and now I am completely different, and the only thing in between is Him (Jesus).” –Mary Magdalene from The Chosen

George Foreman, a heavyweight champion, has had a challenging and adventurous life. His dramatic conversion to faith in Jesus Christ was truly a life-changer for him. The entire title of the movie is “Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight of the World.”

If you like (or don’t mind) boxing, it is an excellent portrayal of George’s boxing career. It is violent– it IS boxing!–and shows some graphic hits, but this inspirational movie is based on George’s real life story. The change in George from before his conversion to after his conversion, and then when he took up boxing again after 10 years, is noteworthy. If someone is fighting rage and bitter anger, this movie would be a great one for him to see.

There are a couple of scenes where the ladies are dressed immodestly. There is a scene where George’s sister is in danger during childbirth and he prays. The line the sister says goes something like, “Mama said you prayed… worked.” It could send the wrong message about why we pray, which is to align our will with God’s will rather than make bargains with God or expect His will to align with ours.

The acting was believable, the story was excellent and follows George’s life very closely. There are historical shots of actual boxing matches, George’s family, his church, his boy’s gym, and other historical photos from his life. George, who is still living, continues to minister in Houston.

The movie is due to come out at the end of April. It would be a good one to invite a sports enthusiast to hear George’s testimony and to foster a spiritual conversation. And, if you haven’t seen “The Jesus Revolution” yet, GO SEE IT! It will bless your socks off.

Abba, I lift up the movie, “Big George Foreman,” to You asking that You use it to bring You glory. Amen.

Proverbs 3-7-23

Humility is being willing to change your conclusions when new information comes in. Science is always changing. So should our conclusions.

42 Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.
Job 42:1-2

“10 Best Evidences from Science That confirm a Young Earth,” by Answers in Genesis, has provided some super examples of science finally catching up to the Bible. Let’s look at number 7:

#7 Caron-14 in Fossils, Coal, and Diamonds

“Carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) is a radioactive form of carbon that scientists use to date fossils. But, it decays so quickly–with a half-life of only 5,730 years–that none is expected to remain in fossils after only a few hundred thousand years. Yet, Carbon-14 has been detected in “ancient” fossils–supposedly up to hundreds of millions of years old–ever since the earliest days of radiocarbon dating.

Even if every atom in the whole earth were carbon-14, they would decay so quickly that no carbon-14 would be left on earth after only 1 million years. Contrary to expectations, between 1984 and 1998 alone, the scientific literature reported carbon-14 in 70 samples that came from fossils, coal, oil, natural gas, and marble representing the fossil-bearing portion of the geologic record, supposedly spanning more than 500 million years. All contain radiocarbon. Further, analyses of fossilized wood and coal samples, supposedly spanning 32-350 million years in age, yielded ages between 20,000 and 50,000 years using carbon-14 dating. Diamonds supposedly 1-3 billion years old similarly yielded carbon-14 ages of only 55,000 years.

Even that is too old when you realize that these ages assume that the earth’s magnetic field has always been constant. But, it was stronger in the past, protecting the atmosphere from solar radiation and reducing the radiocarbon production. As a result, past creatures had much less radiocarbon in their bodies, and their deaths occurred much more recently than reported!

So, the radiocarbon ages of all fossils and coal should be reduced to less than 5,000 years, matching the timing of their burial during the flood. The age of diamonds should be reduced to the approximate time of biblical creation–about 6,000 [to 8,000] years ago.”

I remember back in the 70’s and 80’s the scientific world touting carbon-14 dating. Due to more advanced scientific methods, this method of dating has proven that everything that was tested for carbon-14 is less than a million years old–and probably less than 50,000! According to God, He created everything about 6,000-8,000 years ago. Since He was there, we can trust His word on the matter.

Tomorrow, #8 – Short-Lived Comets

Abba, thank You for requiring us to believe You by faith. You continue to unveil truth to us as science continues to delve Your secrets, O Lord. May we have the patience and humility to wait on You without making assumptions, and to be willing to change our conclusions based upon the unveiling of Your truths. Faith is “Forsaking All, I Trust Him.” We trust You, Abba. Amen.

Proverbs 3-6-23

In the last 100 years, God has provided mankind with the ability to look way out and way in. In both directions, they find WONDER!

11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
    you founded the world and all that is in it. Psalm 89:11

We are on number six of the “10 Best Evidences From Science That Confirm a Young Earth” by Answers In Genesis. I watched a video several years ago that talked about this one.

#6 Helium in Radioactive Rocks

“During the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium contained in rocks, lots of helium is produced. Because helium is the second-lightest element and a noble gas, meaning it does not combine with other atoms, it readily diffuses (leaks) out and eventually escapes into the atmosphere. Helium diffuses so rapidly that all the helium should have leaked out in less than 100,000 years. So, why are these rocks still full of helium atoms?

While drilling deep Precambrian (pre-flood) granitic rocks in New Mexico, geologists extracted samples of zircon (zirconium silicate) crystals from different depths. The crystals contained not only uranium but also large amounts of helium. The hotter the rocks, the faster the helium should escape, so researchers were surprised to find that the deepest, and therefore the hottest, zircons (at 387oF) contained far more helium than expected. Up to 58% of the helium that the uranium could have ever generated was still present in the crystals.

The helium leakage rate has been determined in several experiments. All measurements are in agreement. Helium diffuses so rapidly that all the helium in these zircon crystals should have leaked out in less than 100,000 years. The fact that so much helium is still there means they cannot be 1.5 billion years old as uranium-lead dating suggests. Indeed, using the measured rate of helium diffusion, these pre-flood rocks have an average “diffusion age” of only ~6,000 (4,000-to-8,000) years.

These experimentally determined and repeatable results, based on the well-understood physical process of diffusion, thus emphatically demonstrate that these zircons are only a few thousand years old. The supposed 1.5 billion-year age is based on the unverifiable assumptions of radioisotope dating that are radically wrong. Thus, all available evidence confirms that the true age of these zircons and their host granitic rock is only 6,000 (+/- 2,000) years.”

This one is definitely a case of “follow the science.” Rather than manipulate the findings to say what they want them to say, they simply reported what they found. Tomorrow, we look at Carbon-14 in fossils, coal, and diamonds.

Abba, the evidence is stacking up! Keep showing Your Word to be true, Amen.

Proverbs 3-5-23

The way we interpret facts is determined by our starting point, especially concerning creation. Science is finally catching up to the Bible!

Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! Revelation 10:5-6

Must a person believe in a young earth in order to be a Christian? No. Christianity is based upon these dogmas (a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true):

    • God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, three-in-one
    • Jesus is God the Son
    • Jesus died in our place to rescue us from the consequence of sin, which is death
    • Jesus rose from the grave and is now seated at the right hand of the Father
    • Jesus will return one day

    At the same time, I do believe that there is much evidence pointing to a young earth and a literal six-day creation. One of the those evidences is today’s topic from, “10 Best Evidences From Science That Confirm a Young Earth,” Answers in Genesis:

    #5 Rapidly Decaying Magnetic Field

    The earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that protects living things from solar radiation. Without it, life could not exist. That’s why scientists were surprised to discover that the field is quickly wearing down. At the current rate, the field and thus the earth could be no older than 20,000 years old. Several measurements confirm this decay. Since measuring began in 1845, the total energy stored in the earth’s magnetic field has been decaying at a rate of 5% per century. Archaeological measurements show that the field was 40% stronger in AD 1000. Recent records of the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, the most accurate ever taken, show a net energy loss of 1.4% in just three decades (1970-2000). This means that the field’s energy has halved every 1,465 years or so.

    Creationists have proposed that the earth’s magnetic field is caused by a freely-decaying electric current in the earth’s core. This means that the electric current naturally loses energy, or “decays,” as it flows through the metallic core. Though it differs from the most commonly accepted conventional model, it is consistent with our knowledge of what we know about the conductive properties of liquid iron; this freely decaying current would have started when the earth’s outer core was formed. However, if the core were more than 20,000 years old, then the starting energy would have made the earth too hot to be covered by water, as Genesis 1:2 reveals.

    Reliable, accurate, published geological field data have emphatically confirmed the young-earth model: a freely-decaying electric current in the outer core is generating the magnetic field. Although this field reversed direction several times during the flood cataclysm when the outer core was stirred, the field has rapidly and continuously lost total energy ever since creation. It all points to an earth and magnetic field only about 6,000 years old.

    Old-earth scientists project back into earth’s time pole reversals dating back 50,000 years to 780,000 years (see Earth’s Waning Magnet), but they don’t account for the world-wide flood and its devastating effects it had on our magnetic field. What does this mean for our future? Christians look forward to Jesus returning to earth physically and uniting His home with our home. When that happens, we need not worry about magnetic fields–or anything else, for that matter!

    As we worship today, let’s praise our Creator for His infinite wisdom and knowledge, His creativity and His sustaining power.

    Abba, You are the Intelligent Designer. You designed our universe and then spoke it into existence. That it looks old makes perfect sense: You created rock, which has all the qualities of an old rock. You used the same technique when You changed water into aged wine. You are truly amazing, Abba. Keep revealing to us Your hidden surprises about Your universe. Amen.

    Proverbs 3-4-23

    God loves us so much! The delicate nature of our existence depends solely upon Jesus holding the universe together!

    in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:2-3

    The balance between earth being an inhabitable planet and an uninhabitable planet is delicate. If we were any closer to the sun, we would burn up, the ice caps would melt and flood the earth, and CO2 would cause a green house effect (like Venus, which has an average temperature of 700 degrees) that would cover the earth. Any further from the sun, everything would freeze, our orbit would be longer, and we would lose the protection of Jupiter from extra-system objects and rays (see How Stuff Works).

    Our next evidence from science that confirms a young earth is:

    #4 Faint Sun Paradox

    Evidence now supports astronomers’ belief that the sun’s power comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium deep in the sun’s core, but there is a huge problem. As the hydrogen fuses, it should change the composition of the sun’s core, gradually increasing the sun’s temperature. If true, this means that the earth was colder in the past. In fact, the earth would have been below freezing 3.5 billion years ago when life supposedly evolved.

    The rate of nuclear fusion depends upon the temperature. As the sun’s core temperatures increase, the sun’s energy output should also increase, causing the sun to brighten over time. Calculations show that the sun would brighten by 25% after 3.5 billion years. This means that an early sun would have been fainter with the average temperature on the early earth 31o F less than it is today. The average temperature then would have been 28o F. That’s below freezing!

    But evolutionists acknowledge that there is no evidence of this in the geologic record. They even call this problem the faint young sun paradox. While this isn’t a problem over many thousands of years, it is a problem if the world is billions of years old.

    God hung the moon and stars in space. Read about it:

    When I consider your heavens,
        the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars,
        which you have set in place,
    what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
        human beings that you care for them?

    Psalm 8:3-4

    Let’s give praise as David did for God’s great gift to us: the universe!
    “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

    Abba, You are amazing! You created the heavens and the earth for Your glory, but also for us so that we would give You glory. We praise Your name! Amen.

    Proverbs 3-3-23

    The ability to take new knowledge and apply it to our perspective–and be willing to change our perspective–is a sign of maturity.

    10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

    ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3 (known as God’s phone number!)

    In our third installment of, 10 Best Evidences,” from Answers in Genesis, we look at:

    #3 Soft Tissue in Fossils– Evolutionary scientists determine the age of a particular section of earth by the bones and fossils they find in it. They also determine the age of the bones and fossils by the age of the earth in which they find them (circular reasoning).

    A recent discovery by Dr. Mary Schweitzer, however, has given reason for all but committed evolutionists to question this assumption [millions of years]. Bone slices from the fossilized thigh bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex found in the Hell Creek formation of Montana were studied under the microscope by Schweitzer. To her amazement, the bone showed what appeared to be blood vessels of the type seen in bone and marrow, and these contained what appeared to be red blood cells with nuclei, typical of reptiles and birds (but not mammals). The vessels even appeared to be lined with specialized endothelial cells found in all blood vessels.

    They have since found flexible tissue, fragments of protein collagen, and intact protein fragments in fossils supposedly dating around 65 million years old.

    An obvious question arises from Schweitzer’s work: Is it even remotely plausible that blood vessels, cells, and protein fragments can exist largely intact over 68 million years? While many consider such long-term preservation of tissue and cells to be very unlikely, the problem is that no human or animal remains are known with certainty to be 68 million years old. But if creationists are right, dinosaurs died off only 3,000-4,000 years ago. So would we expect the preservation of vessels, cells, and complex molecules of the type that Schweitzer reports for biological tissues historically known to be 3,000-4,000 years old?

    The answer is yes. Many studies of Egyptian mummies and other humans of this old age (confirmed by historical evidence) show all the sorts of detail Schweitzer reported in her T. rex. In addition to Egyptian mummies, the Tyrolean iceman, found in the Alps in 1991 and believed to be about 5,000 years old, shows such incredible preservation of DNA ad other microscopic detail. We conclude that the preservation of vessels, cells, and complex molecules in dinosaurs is entirely consistent with a young-earth creationist perspective, but is highly implausible with the evolutionist’s perspective about dinosaurs that died off millions of years ago.

    Why the hubbub? It all has to do with foundations. The foundation of our faith is what God has said about Himself, us, and His Son, Jesus Christ. God has said in His Word that He created the heavens and the earth in six days. If we don’t believe Him about that, then how do we believe Him about what He says about us and His Son? It’s important, folks, that we take Him at His Word.

    Abba, I believe You. For those who believe in You but do not ascribe to a Young Earth, I pray that You will open their eyes to the truth of what You say. They do not realize that their faith is built upon the foundation of what You have said. May Your Spirit do a mighty work in their hearts even as You have in mine, O Lord. Amen.

    Proverbs 3-2-23

    Believing that God created everything in six days is not difficult. He told us He did. Besides, there’s lot of proof.

    “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work..11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

    The Great Flood is another contested biblical truth. But, there is an ocean of evidence proving it really happened the way Moses wrote that it did. One of those evidences is found in the Grand Canyon.

    #2 Bent Rock Layers

    In many mountainous areas, rock layers thousands of feet thick have been bent and folded without fracturing. How can that happen if they were laid down separately over hundreds of millions of years and already hardened?
    Hardened rock layers are brittle. Try bending a slab of concrete sometime to see what happens! But, if the concrete is still wet, it can easily be shaped and molded before the cement sets. The same principle applies to sedimentary rock. They can be bent and folded soon after the sediment is deposited, before the natural cements have a chance to bind the particles together into hard, brittle rocks.

    Look at the photos of some of these layers at the edge of the Kaibab Plateau, just east of the Grand Canyon. The whole sequence of these hardened sedimentary rock layers has been bent and folded, but without fracturing.

    It supposedly took 270 million years to deposit these particular layers. Surely in that time the Tapeats Sandstone at the bottom would have dried out and the sand grains cemented together, especially with 4,000 feet of rock layers piled on top of it and pressing down on it. The only viable scientific explanation is that the whole sequence was deposited very quickly–the creation model indicates that it took less than a year during the global flood cataclysm. So, the 520 million years never happened, and the earth is young.

    Moses wasn’t the only one who talked about God creating the heavens and the earth in six days. Jesus did (Matthew 19:4, Mark 13:18-19), Paul did (Colossians 1:16), and the writer of Hebrews did,

    By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible [already existing]. Hebrews 11:3

    We can trust God gave an accurate account to Moses, and that Jesus would know about creation since He was the one creating and sustaining it.

    Tomorrow: #3 Soft Tissue in Fossils

    Abba, it is so obvious that scientists are misinterpreting the evidence. May You open their minds to the truth. Ours, too, Lord; we want to know more! Amen.

    Proverbs 3-1-23

    Assumptions are made. I get that. But when they have been proven wrong, those assumptions need to change.

    Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Romans 1:22

    Answers in Genesis put out a little booklet called, “10 Best Evidences from Science That Confirm a Young Earth.” We will be looking at those 10 best evidences.

    #1 Very Little Sediment on the Seafloor

    If sediments have been accumulating on the seafloor for three billion years, the seafloor should be choked with sediments many miles deep.
    Every year, water and wind erode about 20 billion tons of dirt and rock debris from the continents and deposit them on the seafloor. Most of this material accumulates as loose sediments near the continents. Yet, the average thickness of all these sediments globally over the whole seafloor is not even 1,300 feet.
    Some sediments appear to be removed as tectonic plates slide slowly (an inch or two per year) beneath continents. An estimated 1 billion tons of sediments are removed this way each year. The net gain is thus 19 billion tons per year. At this rate, 1,300 feet of sediment would accumulate in less than 12 million years, not billions of years.
    This evidence makes sense within the context of the Genesis flood cataclysm, not the idea of slow and gradual geologic evolution. In the latter stages of the year-long global flood, water swiftly drained off the emerging land, dumping its sediment-chocked loads offshore. Thus most seafloor sediments accumulated rapidly about 4,300 [-5,100] years ago.
    An additional problem for the old-earth view is that no evidence exists of much sediment being subducted and mixed into the mantle.

    Another assumption made is about the sediment from the 13 great rivers of the world. Where they dump into their respective oceans should be vast amounts of sediment built up over the ages. Instead, there’s enough there for about 4,300-5,100 years–and that’s all 13 rivers!

    Tomorrow: #2 Bent Rock Layers

    Abba, as we look at these clues into our past, may we see Your glory in them. Even when talking about the Global Flood, the glory is not in the flood, but in the fact that You spared this earth. It nearly split apart! Help us to keep open minds and open hearts so that we can hear Your Spirit speak to us. Amen.

    Proverbs 2-28-23

    Being objective is tough. When it comes to creation vs billions of years, a person must begin with one of two assumptions.

    14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

    Let’s do a little rephrasing:

    “Now BELIEVE the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the TIME gods your secular scientists worship in the laboratories and universities, and serve the Lord. But if BELIEVING the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the TIME gods your secular scientists serve in the laboratories and universities or the time gods in your textbooks, in whose classes you are taking. But as for me and my household, we will BELIEVE the Lord.”

    We all start with an assumption of either God creating the heavens and the earth or that time created the heavens and the earth. The mantra of an evolutionist is, “Given enough time, anything is possible.” But, is this true? Can information be added to DNA? Is macro-evolution plausible? provable? observable? repeatable?

    People thought that places like the Grand Canyon took millions of years to create–until Mt. St. Helens erupted and created a mini-Grand Canyon in 9 hours! All of a sudden, the time it was supposed to take to create the Grand Canyon dropped to days. Science is always changing and adapting. For instance, we no longer practice blood-letting, which actually weakens the patient rather than curing the patient.

    The Bible, on the other hand, remains fixed. Written over a period of 3500 years, by 40 authors in 3 languages, with one woven story from beginning to end, the Bible stands as the greatest literary and religious book in history. It has survived time and weather, burnings, copy errors, mistranslations, and erroneous interpretations. We can trust God’s Word for truth.

    Tomorrow, we will look at 10 evidences from science that confirm a young earth. We will also look at Genesis 1 and its wonders and mysteries.

    Abba, You are the Great Revealer of truth. Jesus is our revelation of who You are. You tell us that You never change (Malachi 3:6) and that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We can trust what You say about how the earth began, about salvation, and about how You will consummate the ages (the end of time). Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

    Proverbs 2-27-23

    Knowing God’s word is good, but it’s not enough. We must be willing, even eager, for Him to speak to us.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.
    Proverbs 3:5-6

    There was one more thing I wanted to say about James 1:19-21. Let’s look at the passage again,

    My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

    How does the word get planted in our hearts? We must hear/read it. The New Testament was built upon the verbal sharing of Scripture and teaching. Most people couldn’t read, and those who did usually read aloud so that others could join in. In our case, we have the golden opportunity to study our Bibles everyday and then, on top of that, get to hear sermons live on Sundays and online anytime we want.

    But, there’s more to it than just hearing. The message God wants us to hear must be activated by the Holy Spirit. Only then does the spiritual seed grow in us. But, there’s even more to it than that. We must humbly accept that word. It is then that it has the power to save us. From what does it save us? From temptation, from destruction, from heartache, from regret, and I’m sure there are others.

    Let’s listen to the Spirit today as He guides us and directs our paths.

    Abba, we are counting on You to lead us today. We need Your guidance. So, as we walk through our day, may You direct us in the way we should go. I am reminded of Isaiah 30:21, which says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” That’s Your voice! May we listen closely and obey immediately and completely. Amen.

    Proverbs 2-26-23

    The power of PRAISE. It’s in the music and the lyrics. It involves the whole person: Body, Soul and Spirit.

    15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

    The peace of Christ comes when we submit to His Lordship. We know that He knows what is best for us, and He knows what needs to be done for His kingdom. We simply need to trust Him.

    I like Paul’s command, “and be thankful.” For what? For everything! For life, for breath, for family, for friends, for brothers and sisters in Christ, for His Word, for prayer, for forgiveness, for adoption, for His Presence and Participation in our lives, for His promise to return, and for the security of knowing that when we die, we get to go be with Him. The list could go on and on…

    The message of Christ is wrapped up in our songs and hymns. Throughout history, most people either didn’t read or did not have availability to reading materials, so they learned their theology by singing it. Just this morning, I was trying to remember the second line to a refrain from a song that I sang consistently in concert for seven years when we traveled in college. Since I couldn’t remember, I “phoned a friend.” He bounced back pretty quickly with the words. How did we remember a song from nearly 40 years ago? Because music sinks deep into our long-term memory. The more parts a thought has, the more handles the mind has for remembering: The words, the notes, the rhythms, the harmonies, the memories, the feelings that are associated with the song…they all help us remember those songs.

    Another thing that music does is trigger emotions. It’s a type of confession every time I sing “He is Lord.” When we turn it around and sing, “You are Lord,” the Spirit in me confirms my confession with, “That’s right!” Many songs move me when I open my mouth and sing the words. Other songs call me to praise Him. Again, the Spirit in me urges me to do just that, so I do!

    I pray that you do, too, every time you get a chance. It’s why we sing in church. Today, SING!

    Abba, thank You for the gift of music. May we use it to its fullest advantage today as we meet together for praise and worship, fellowship and learning. “Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” Amen.

    Proverbs 2-25-23

    “The word planted in you”: a word picture of the mustard seed of faith growing inside of us.

    31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

    We started yesterday looking at James 1:19-21. Let’s look at our passage again,

    19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

    There’s an old adage that says, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen twice as much as we speak.” It’s actually pretty good advice. In the case of James and his flock, it was dangerous to speak too freely about their faith; it could get them arrested and even put to death. People knew they were different because of the way they lived. When prompted by the Spirit, people would ask them about their faith. It was at that time that they shared Jesus with them. At other times, they were ridiculed because of their “peculiar ways” (they didn’t participate in the temple sacrifices anymore).

    I can see how it would be easy to get angry at people as they made fun of Christianity, Jesus, and their family and friends. James instructed them to be slow to anger with the reason that human anger did not produce the righteousness that God desires. There is righteous anger, but it needs to be directed at sin, the tempter (the devil), and the marred relationship between God and man.

    How do we redirect our anger? By leaning on the word planted in us through instruction, the Bible, and especially the Holy Spirit. The word saves us from all kinds of pitfalls, temptations, hidden snares, and heartaches. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said in John 10:10,

    10 The thief only comes to steal, and kill, and destroy.

    Ah, but look at the second part of the verse:

    I came so that they could have life – yes, and have it full to overflowing.

    We have passed from death to life by entrusting our lives to Him (John 5:24), and we live in that life by trusting Him daily. How? By abandoning all that is morally filthy and evil, which is so prevalent among us (that part hasn’t changed). May we spur each other on to “good works” (becoming like Jesus) and meet together to encourage each other. It’s important.

    Abba, may You remind us often that we need each other. You have designed us to be social. May we seek each other out, confess to one another, hold each other accountable, and worship You together. Whether it be a large group or a small gathering of two or three persons, may You be lifted high among us. Amen.

    Proverbs 2-24-23

    Jesus’s half-brother, James, was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. Here is what he taught:

    19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

    The key to being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry is given in verse 21, “humbly accept the word planted in you.” What word? There was no New Testament at that time. The Old Testament? Maybe. James quotes from it in 4:6. More than likely, he is referring to what they have witnessed and talked about, and what James has taught them. Most of their teaching was oral anyway because writings were so scarce. More on that tomorrow.

    The gospels of Mark and Matthew may have been written by the time of James’ letter before his death around AD 62, but no one knows for sure. What we do have is some documented information about how James died. He certainly was “slow to anger!”

    This article is from Christian History For Everyman by Paul Palao. Here is his disclosure:

    I’m retelling the story in my own words, not quoting him. Eusebius gives three versions of the death of James: one from Clement of Alexandria, one from Hegesippus, and one from Josephus (yes, Josephus’ Antiquities was being quoted way back then!). This is Hegesippus’ version, which Eusebius judges the most accurate.

    After a while, James’ influence became so strong that even some of the rulers believed, which horrified the scribes and Pharisees. They became afraid that soon the people would be flocking to Jesus as the Christ.
    Somehow, perhaps because of his strict observance of the Law, the Pharisees thought they could get James to discourage the people from believing. They asked him to stand at the pinnacle of the temple on Passover and speak.
    Apparently, James agreed.
    They brought him to the top of the temple, and they shouted to him from below:
    “Oh, righteous one, in whom we are able to place great confidence; the people are led astray after Jesus, the crucified one. So declare to us, what is this way, Jesus?”
    Obviously, this wasn’t a very wise thing for them to do. James was ready to take full advantage of such a wonderful opportunity as this!
    His words are memorable:
    Why do you ask me about Jesus, the Son of Man? He sits in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and he will soon come on the clouds of heaven!
    The Pharisees were horrified, but the people were not. The began shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
    The Pharisees, realizing the awful mistake they’d made, began crying out, “Oh! Oh! The righteous one is also in error!”

    You can probably guess that this had little effect on the crowd. So the next obvious thing to do was to push him down from the temple, letting the people know exactly what happens to those who dare to believe in Jesus.
    They climbed the temple as the people shouted, reached the top, and threw James from the pinnacle of the temple.
    It didn’t kill him.
    He rose to his knees and began to pray for them. “I beg of you, Lord God our Father, forgive them! They do not know what they are doing.”
    This would not do! The Pharisees on the ground began to stone him as he prayed, while those from the roof rushed down to join the execution.
    One of the priests, however, a son of the Rechabites mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet (ch. 35), shouted, “Stop! What are you doing! The righteous one is praying for you.”
    It was too late. A fuller (i.e., launderer) took out one of the clubs that he used to beat clothes and smashed James on the head, killing him with one blow.

    I highly recommend going to the website Christian History For Everyman and reading the entire article.

    Abba, there is so much information out there from historical records and early church documents that I did not know was available! Thank You for making them available in English in the last several decades. May I take the time to learn all I can and pass it on to faithful brothers and sisters. Amen.

    Proverbs 2-23-23

    A Christ-follower wants to be like his Master. Is your daily desire to be more like Christ?

    17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 1 John 4:17

    My pastor made a statement today that made perfect sense. He said, “A justified man always longs to be sanctified.” These terms come from 1 Corinthians 6:11,

    11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    I underlined “washed” because it is the beginning of a process:

    1. We come to Jesus and He ceremonially washes us with His blood.
    2. We become justified, which means, “just as if I’d never sinned.”
    3. We are sanctified, which is the process of becoming like Jesus.

    Sanctification is both a state of being and a progression. We ARE like Jesus in that we are now pure and blameless,

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holycleansing her by the washing with water through the word27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27

    We have a similar description in Philippians 1:9-11,

    And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

    This description includes the fruit of righteousness. The 1 Corinthians passage gives credit to the name of Jesus and to the Spirit. The fruit that the Spirit produces in us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Ephesians 5:9 includes truth and righteousness in the list of fruit.

    Let’s get back to my pastor’s statement. Why would a justified person long to be sanctified? Because his desires have changed. He now has the desires of Jesus in him. We long to be like Jesus, which is our sanctification, our goal.

    The best illustration I can think of is “The Great American Hero.” It was a sitcom from the 80’s of a guy who was given superpowers, but no instruction on how to use them. He was constantly learning something new about his powers and how to control them. The illustration breaks down here because we have been given the Spirit as our Guide and the Bible as our instruction manual.

    For us, we would do well to get up each morning, acknowledge the presence of the Lord in our lives, and set our hearts on sanctification for the day. Our desire to be like Jesus is our first step to becoming just like Him. The fun part is that even the desire comes from Him!

    13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Philippians 2:13 AMP

    Abba, knowing that I am holy in Your eyes, blameless and pure, blows my mind! From my view, You’ve got it all wrong! But I trust You, and if You say I am, then I believe You. It makes me want to live up to what I’ve been given. May Your Spirit guide me daily to become just like You, Jesus. Amen.

    Proverbs 2-22-23

    The love of God calls us to love others. In trusting Jesus, His love flows through us to others. It really is that simple.

    “God is love.” “We love because He first loved us. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16, 19

    One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, which says,

    14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

    Christ’s love is our motivation for living for Him. He died and rose again–is that not proof that He is who He says He is, which is the Son of God, the Messiah, Lord of heaven and earth? Yet, He doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him. He is meek and lowly, “a bruised reed He will not break” (Matthew 12:20). He is humble and gentle at heart, and He offers rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

    Jesus loves us and the Father loves us,

    26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” John 16:26-28

    People who are afraid of Jesus don’t know Jesus. Let’s introduce them to Him, shall we? Let’s begin by treating each other (Christian brothers and sisters) like Jesus told us to,

    34 “A new command I give you: Love one anotherAs I have loved you, so you must love one another35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

    Jesus showed us how, now let’s get busy doing it!

    Abba, You told us to love like You. It’s difficult because we are afraid. Help us to remove our fear and to trust You in all things, for all things. Amen.

    Proverbs 2-21-23

    I learned a new definition of “integrity” today. Or, should I say, I added another definition to the word.

    36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:36-37

    My definition of “integrity” has always been: Who a person is when no other human is around (the implication is that Jesus is always with us). The definition I learned today is: When the person we are on the inside matches the person we are on the outside.* If there is a gap between the two, then there’s a problem with integrity.

    “The health of your soul determines your capacity for duplicity.”

    This statement identifies the inner person (the soul) as the determiner of who we are and what we do. Our motives tell the tale of why we do what we do, which reveals who we are on the inside. Here is a passage that has helped me to close the gap between who I am on the outside and who I am on the inside,

    22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

    When I turn away from who I was and focus on me being clothed with Jesus Christ–His righteousness–I begin to see myself as God sees me: A righteous child of God, dearly loved by Him, and being made holy day by day as I learn and grow in the Spirit. It’s this daily walk that is so difficult, but so important. Here are some good habits to safeguard our souls:

    1. Surrender your will to Jesus daily–the sooner, the better! I suggest between the time the alarm goes off and your feet hit the floor!
    2. Monitor your heart as you walk through your day. Make sure that you are thinking about the right things and not dwelling on the wrong things. Here’s a list of good things: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
    3. Open your hands and leave them open to whatever comes from the Father. John the Baptist is the one credited with this one: To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven” (John 3:27). We can trust the Father to give us what we need and what is good for us. Jesus said as much, ““Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11).

    May we be known as people of integrity as we follow Jesus our Lord.

    Abba, sometimes I just don’t care what people think about me, but then I hear Your voice saying that YOU care what people think about me. I am Your child, and representing You well is important, but You care because You love me and want the best for me. May I reconsider when I feel this way and understand that You and I both profit from having my integrity intact. Thank You, Abba, for being patient with me. Amen.

    *”Living With Yourself”

    Proverbs 2-20-23

    Many people say that God cannot be known, yet Jesus came from heaven to earth to reveal the Father to us!

    10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. John 14:10

    God is knowable through Jesus Christ. Is there a desire in you to know God? Here is something to help you discover Him.

    God is plural, three Persons in one. They are not separate, but they do have distinct characteristics. For us, we view Him/Them as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Take creation, for example. “In the beginning, God (Elohim-plural) created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1. As we read further, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” One of the names of Jesus is “Word of God” (John 1:1, 14). As we look at the creation, we see the Father as the initiator, Jesus as the spoken words, and the Spirit doing the work. They work in complete harmony with no division in their purpose.

    Let’s apply the Trinity to us. God the Father loves us (John 3:16); God the Son came down in human form to draw us to Himself (John 12:32); God the Spirit comes to live in us (Colossians 1:27). If we believe that Jesus is God the Son and came from heaven for us, then we experience the love of the Father. When we do, it is the Spirit who rejoices with us and has sweet fellowship with us (Romans 5:5).

    We can trust the Father; He loves us.
    We can trust the Son; He loves us, too.
    We can trust the Spirit; He loves us, as well.

    Abba, to think about the Trinity blows my mind! Between the three of You, there is complete unity. What I don’t comprehend is that You are in perfect fellowship and need nothing–yet, You invite us to join You in that fellowship! Gladly, Abba, gladly! Amen.

    Proverbs 2-19-23

    Want peace and joy in your life? Trust the Father. He loves you.

    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

    I was reading Psalm 139:23-24 the other morning and it occurred to me that I KNOW God loves me. Here’s the passage:

    23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
        test me and know my anxious thoughts.
    24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
        and lead me in the way everlasting.

    We who know Christ don’t have to worry about the wrath of God because of several things:

    1. Jesus introduced us to God as the Father. Here’s what He said, “In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
    2. We have passed from death to life and now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life(John 5:24). “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,(Romans 8:1).
    3. The Father is interested in training me in righteousness, not judgment. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

    It dawned on me that I know God loves me. This knowledge fills my heart with peace, and joy runs out the top! I am fully convinced that He has me in the palm of His hand and will guide/carry me all the way to His side–in Person, as opposed to Him being in me now. It’s thrilling!

    He loves you, too, so you can be filled with peace, and joy will flow out of you, too!

    Abba, I am so thankful that You love me! I love that You are gentle and humble at heart, just like Jesus. Your teaching, rebuke, correction and training is for my good and my holiness. It is Your righteousness that is being brought out in me. Have Your way in me, O Lord. Amen.