The Unknown: #6

Unknown #6 – Hairy Scriptures…

In 1 Corinthians 11:4-15, we find a controversial topic for some denominations, that of hair length:

 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.

7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.

For me, it’s simple. I like to follow the guidelines set forth and as God designed us:

Men should have short hair

Women should have long hair

It’s natural that men’s hair is generally thinner (and eventually balding for some), while women’s hair is generally thicker. This is generally accepted in society. While I won’t argue the point doctrinally, that was a practice that Paul formally documented for the church in Corinth as shown above.

Now, one more appearance related Proverb you may not be familiar with:

Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained in the way of righteousness.Proverbs 16:31

Moral: Don’t be ashamed of your gray hair, it’s a natural sign from God that you might just be wise.

 

The Unknown #5

Unknown #5 – God turned back time!

10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. 2 Kings 20:10-11 (NIV)

In different translations, the details of the text and interpretation is varied (steps, sundial, or degrees). Regardless of translation however, if you read the full story of Hezekiah’s ill health (2 Kings 20:1-11) and the resulting sign from the Lord, it is clear that the Lord moved the sun (or turned back time) resulting in the shadow reversing its course.

Moral: The Lord has said He can do anything. The Lord can do anything, and He will!

Unknown #4

Unknown #4 – Dinosaurs in Biblical times? Yes!

Yes, Dinosaurs did exist (the scientists got this one right).

God speaks in Job 40:15-18 (NIV) about a “Behemoth” as follows:

15 “Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,its limbs like rods of iron.

Later in Job 41:1, 8-34 (NIV) a “Leviathan” is also described:

1“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope?   . . .
If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
Any hope of subduing it is false;  the mere sight of it is overpowering.
10 No one is fierce enough to rouse it.Who then is able to stand against me?
11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.

12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?  Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?
14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth,ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15 Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another;they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;  its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,and flames dart from its mouth.
22 Strength resides in its neck;dismay goes before it.
23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;they are firm and immovable.
24 Its chest is hard as rock,hard as a lower millstone.
25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;they retreat before its thrashing.
26 The sword that reaches it has no effect,nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27 Iron it treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood.
28 Arrows do not make it flee; sling stones are like chaff to it.
29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw;it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30 Its undersides are jagged potsherds,leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
31 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it;one would think the deep had white hair.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal—a creature without fear.
34 It looks down on all that are haughty;  it is king over all that are proud.”

Some people have argued that these verses describe an alligator, hippopotamus, elephant, or even a whale. This is a pretty good comparison of Job and living creatures of today. But if you recall from Job 40:17, the first animal God is describing has a tail that sways like a cedar. One could presume that a cedar tree was quite small during Biblical times, except when one recounts the following passages:

Psalm 92:12 – The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon

Isaiah 2:13 – for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan,

Amos 2:9a – … I destroyed the Amorites before them, though they were tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks.

Because cedars (even then) were described as extremely tall, I don’t agree that any current day animals compare to the animal described in Job 40 as the Behemoth.  The Leviathan described in Job 41:18-21 has flames coming from its mouth. I don’t know of any current day animal that fits this description either, except for dragons which don’t exist today (did they in Biblical times? It sounds like it).

So, why is this important. Well, if God used these creatures as a comparison to Job, it would stand to reason that God believed Job had knowledge of them. Whether they were called dinosaurs, dragons, behemoths, or leviathans, man apparently knew of their existence and stature. Does this mean scientists were wrong about man and dinosaurs co-existing? It’s possible.

Moral: Don’t believe everything science tells you. (After all, there used to be 9 planets, now there are only 8).

By the way, these 2 animals are also referenced elsewhere in the Bible such as Isaiah 27:1, Job 3:8, Psalm 74:14, and Psalm 104:26.

The unknown: #3

Unknown #3 – Not all sins will be forgiven!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” – Mark 3:28-29

The unforgivable sin or eternal sin . . . is this a contradiction to what we’ve learned in church?

Let’s break this down. How will God forgive any sin, but not sin against the Holy Spirit?

Kimberly and I have our own conclusion, despite how experts try to explain this. I think our explanation is rather simple. It goes like this:

If you believe in Christ and follow His teachings (as a Christian), then you will be forgiven for ANY sin.   However, if you are not a Christian – that means you have rejected, talked down to, blasphemed the Holy Spirit (or whatever other evil word you want to use). That would mean that you have essentially rejected God. Therefore, that sin (rejecting the Holy Spirit) will NOT be forgiven. Why? You have not been saved, you have rejected God. God will not forgive a lost person, until He is saved.

You have the choice to accept Christ and be forgiven all sins (past, present, and future). However, if you don’t accept Christ, you have sinned against the Holy Spirit which has called you to Him – and are therefore NOT forgiven.

Moral:  Very simple – accept Jesus! Not so you can sin, but so that you can be forgiven!

The unknown: #2

Unknown #2 – God makes a covenant with the animals . . . ?

Almost everyone knows the story of Noah’s Ark. And almost everyone knows that the rainbow in the sky signifies the covenant that God made with Noah concerning never again flooding the earth.

But did you know that the covenant was not just for man?

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” Genesis 9:8-17 (NIV)

Moral: God loves us, but He also loves the animals He created!

The unknown: #1

It seems that most bloggers (myself included) just continue to write on the same subjects time and time again. So I felt like doing a series on “unknown verses” of the Bible. Not “fearing the unknown,” but true verses that are little known to many people, even those who read the Bible daily.

If you don’t believe any of the messages I write, I ask that you open your Bible and see for yourself. If I have in fact taught improperly, please contact me so that I may clarify and/or correct any mistakes.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. – 1 John 4:1 (NIV)
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. – 2 Tim 4:2

Now, onto the unknown.

Unknown #1 (note: this series will be in no particular order)

As Elisha was performing work for the Lord, “some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him ‘Go up you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead.’ So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths” (2 Kings 2:23-24 NIV).

Moral: Don’t mock the Lord or His work – or suffer the consequences!

History – does it repeat?

Someone once said “History repeats itself.” Since then, many people have modified the quote into a variety of forms; George Bernard Shaw stated “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”

We all know intuitively that while knowing history may be beneficial, it does not repeat itself. Some of you would probably still disagree; therefore, I’ve put together some proof for you:

1)      Man and earth were only created one time*

2)      Noah only saved the animals once (only one flood – a promise from God in Genesis 9:11)

3)      Jesus was only born once, crucified once, resurrected once; He is only returning one time to gather Christians worldwide

Ok, maybe still some skeptics . . .

4)      There was only one American Revolution

5)      Technology doesn’t regress to historical levels

6)      You can’t go back in time and repeat a day of your life

Despite how hard we claim that knowing history is beneficial so that we don’t repeat it, we just can’t repeat it, no matter what we do. It’s not going to happen. Therefore, we don’t need to study history! (Can you tell I’m not a history buff?)

That said, we MUST study history! Why? Not so we don’t repeat it, but so that we can learn from it.

For example:

1)      Jesus died for us

2)      He told us He is coming back for us

3)      Our lives before Christ were corrupt and we must change for the better

If we didn’t know what happened in the past, we couldn’t predict the future. While history will not repeat, it does forecast what may and will happen in the future. Jesus came (historically) to tell us about a day in the future that God will create a new Heaven and new earth* (ok, so some things repeat themselves – sort of).

This new Heaven and earth is a place where God “will dwell with [men] and they shall be His people… God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be nor more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-5 NKJV).

Unfortunately, some people will never learn from history and they will continue their wicked ways. They shall “have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev 21:8). Do you know anyone that needs to learn from history and the knowledge of the future?

* Genesis 1 describes the first creation of Heaven, earth, and man.

1 Corinthians 15:40-49 describes the future resurrected body (man).

Revelation 21:1-2 describes the new Heaven and new earth replacing the first.

Locked out!

Ever get this message: “Your account has been locked out!”

Most employers now install some amount of security on their company computers; this software then requires you to log on. And with most companies, your password changes about every 30 days, causing you to either keep endless amounts of password lists (which are normally forbidden), or causing the unfortunate and infrequent message of being locked out of your account after you’ve forgotten your password. Of course, a similar message can be received from any website that requires your password once you’ve incorrectly logged on a number of times.

Even though this is a common and accepted practice among security departments worldwide, there is one very secure site that has no “lock-out” feature. Once you get invited to the site, there is no password. The only requirement is that you accept the invitation to gain access, and pass security.

Considering all the sites worldwide that have been created by genius IT professionals, this site still reigns supreme in terms of security and access. There is no way to “hack in” to it, despite your technical ability. And once in, you’ll never get locked out again.

In fact, there is no 1-800-number to call for help. There is simply a prayer of a salvation that grants access to Heaven, the most secure and ultimate site that you will ever want to enter.

The process is a simple one. And although some people will simply say going to Heaven is easy, it’s not the way everyone thinks. For example, do you think that believing in God will get you into Heaven? The problem with this thought is that the Bible does not say this is how to get to Heaven. In fact, the devil, satan, believes in God, but I’m confident that he won’t be in Heaven EVER again!

So what does the Bible say about being locked out, or invited into Heaven?

It can be found in Romans or John, or a variety of other books.

First, admitting that we need God is the first step (most denominations refer to this as confessing or admitting our sins (1 John 1:9, Romans 3:23, 6:23) The second part involves the belief – believing that Jesus is the Son of God and died to pay for our sins (John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8, John 8:24). The last and final part involves in declaring that we will follow Him (confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives)(Romans 10:8-10).

These three steps are summarized in Baptist Belief as the “ABCs”:

1)      Admit you are a sinner

2)      Believe in Jesus as the Son of God and that He died for us

3)      Confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life

While this opens the door to Heaven, I believe a 4th step is imperative. And if we follow Baptist Doctrine, it therefore must start with a D to be the “ABCD’s” of being a Christian. The fourth step is to “DO” what God commands. Sure, you have secured your life in Heaven if you have done step s 1 through 3. But if you truly have done step 3, confessing him as “Lord” of your life, then step 4 is just a follow up and reminder that you will DO what God says to do.

Don’t be locked out of Heaven! Admit your need for God, accept Jesus into your life, and get free access for the rest of your life to what Jesus has prepared for you in Heaven. Once you become a child of God, there is no account for you to be locked out of. Why? It’s on account of Jesus that you made it in to begin with. You don’t hold an account, Jesus holds it for you, and He has paid it in full!

Camping: how do you like your tent?

What do you think about living in a tent?

As a camper, I love the great outdoors. I love nature, the sights and sounds, and especially the fresh air. But I really hate it when it rains and leaks inside the tent. I moan and groan, and am really an unhappy wet camper. I dread having to soak up drips, dry off supplies, pack-up wet items, and then take them back out and set them back up at home to dry out. It’s really a nuisance to me.

But to think that in the days of Moses, a tent was considered a pretty luxurious item to have in the desert. In fact, throughout Exodus 35-40, we can read about the beautiful portable tabernacle (tent) that was constructed for the Lord to fill (Exodus 40:34-38).

So, is a tent really that bad? (Consider first that the Lord’s Tabernacle tent was constructed of wood, animal skins, and outfitted with beautiful apparel, bronze, silver, and gold. Now that sounds pretty nice!)

In 2 Corinthians 5, we find that Paul refers to our bodies as “tents.” He also mentions that living in our tents (bodies) causes us to “groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor 5:2). Do you moan about your body?

My guess is that you do. BUT, do you moan because you would rather have a better body? Are you wanting that “perfect” body advertised by the world? Or is it because you want your resurrected body given by Christ?tent

It’s not abnormal to be ashamed of or to want to improve your “looks.” In fact, it is a good thing to have a desire to want to improve your health, not only for your and your family’s sake, but because your tent/body is God’s dwelling place (1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16, Ezekial 36:27, 2 Tim 1:14, Romans 8:9-11) . [I always told the youth – if the Bible repeats something over and over, it must be extremely important.]

How important is it to you to be reminded that God dwells inside your living tent? Is there anything we should do differently knowing that? Is it raining on your tent where God resides, and do you need to repair some leaks?

 

note: pic borrowed from http://devotionalonjesus.blogspot.com/2010/04/4910-2-corinthians-51-5-more-than-tent.html?

Living life

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…. – Romans 12:1-2a (NIV)

A very common Scripture preached fairly often by Pastors worldwide, but what does it really mean?

Do you allow your mind to be influenced by the world? What about others? Do you listen to what they say, what they do? Do you watch endless amounts of TV, or spend hours on Facebook, watching the latest comical routine or pet blooper videos? Do you allow TV commercials to influence your actions and tempt you into buying needless “things?”

We all have weaknesses when it comes to being influenced, even by our best friends. So how do we combat these weaknesses without offending others? I think it’s a fine line between being political and being cordial. Yet, God’s Word tells us very specifically that we must not be conformed to this world.

Paul further appeals to us, saying to “present our bodies as a LIVING sacrifice” (emphasis mine).

It’s one thing to not be conformed to the world, it’s purely another to LIVE as a sacrifice for God.

So how do we do this? First of all, I think it’s important to note that God does not want robots in this world. He did not create us all alike, and did not program us to be identical in any manner whatsoever. He does not force us to all be the next Billy Graham, John Wesley, Rick Warren, or Martin Luther.

That’s a good thing. He gave each of us unique gits:

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

How will you live your life? Will you use God’s gifts as a living sacrifice to and FOR Him?