Category Archives: Free Will

The Final Message

The final message at the end of Revelation should be worth our pausing to consider how it applies. What was the key message at closing of the Bible that YHWH had written through men?

He wants us to know about the prophecy or vision in Revelation. That means that we should spend time on it and try to understand it rather than just ignoring it because “it is too hard”.

YHWH knows some will continue to practice wrong and He will let us have that choice. He will not make us be righteous at the cost of our free will.

Further, when He comes, every man will be rendered reward (or judgment) according to what he has done. Our deeds matter, not just our thoughts or good intentions.

We are reminded that YHWH is the first and the last, all powerful and worthy of reverence.

We are not inherently righteous, but can wash our robes (be forgiven) at no cost to us by accepting Yeshua as LORD and submitting to Him, which means repenting of our sinful ways. We can see a list of a few sinful ways which are specifically called out here, but not assumed to be all inclusive. Note that loving and practicing lying is called out and in our society today we tend to make a lot of excuses about why lying is acceptable.

We are warned not to add to or take away from what is written with dire consequence stated if we do.

We are reminded of the grace of Yeshua.

It is a lot to take in. Dwell on it. Take your time. Reflect prayerfully.

Revelation 22:10-21

The Final Message

      10And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11“Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

      12“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

      14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

      16“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

      17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

      18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

      20He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

      21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Righteous Judge Holds People Accountable For Wrongdoing

There is a purpose to YHWH’s judgment and the coming times of suffering. YHWH has not suddenly lost His temper irrationally. He has given all of us a path to righteousness through Yeshua. Yeshua died for our sins and rose again. He extends the offer of salvation to those who would submit to Him, acknowledge they are in need of a savior because of their sin, acknowledge Yeshua as Messiah, and repent of their wicked and sinful ways.

For those who continue to do wrong and refuse to accept Yeshua’s death to pay for their sins. Some may ask, “why make it so long and drawn out… so painful”. That would seem important and worth celebrating. We can observe that Revelation 7 indicates a multitude who were saved by turning their lives to Christ after the initial suffering described earlier in Revelation. Clearly some will not repent regardless of what YHWH does. Ultimately, we must trust the LORD. He is in control.

We should remember however, that all will face judgment. Those who die before the tribulation and those who face death in the tribulation. All will face judgment before the almighty and He is a holy, just and righteous judge. A penalty must be paid for our sin. But He is also merciful and gracious. We can come before Him now and accept Yeshua as our savior. We can be forgiven.

Revelation 9:13-21

The Sixth Trumpet—Army from the East

      13Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. 16The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 19For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.

      20The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Do Things God’s Way Rather Than Your Own

No matter who we are, when we choose to do things our way instead of God’s way… there are consequences.

Moses was a faithful and amazing leader and had a very close relationship with our heavenly Father. However, the Lord knew that Moses understood and consciously choose to do things his way by hitting the rock instead of speaking to it. That is called rebellion against God, no matter who you are and what you have done before according to His will. There are consequences. After an incredible journey side by side with the Lord, Moses never got to enter the promised land.

Numbers 20:8-13

The Water of Meribah

     8“Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”

      9So Moses took the rod from before the LORD, just as He had commanded him; 10and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 13Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the LORD, and He proved Himself holy among them.

Numbers 27:12-14

     12Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. 13“When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was; 14for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)

We can have a debate about why Moses made this choice after such a close relationship with the Lord, but that is a matter for another time. Let us take heed that the closer our relationship with the Lord, the more clearly we understand His instruction, the more He expects us to obey and may hold us accountable if we choose to rebel and do things our own way.

Pray for the Spirit to help us hear and obey the Lord and do things His way rather than our own. Let us not make excuses for not doing things His way but trust Him and do as He instructs.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

What Do Your Build Your Life Upon?

We should each pause long enough from our busy schedules to prayerfully consider what we are building our lives upon. Take care not to gloss over this question. It is easy to just quickly declare we are living for the Lord and not really ask Him if to show us if that is true. Note that Jesus indicates the listeners are calling Him Lord, but not really obeying what He tells them to do. Many today make this very same mistake. Do we truly do what He says? Have we taken the time to study His word personally and pray to understand what He says? or are we only listening to what others tell us He says?

If we build our lives upon anything but Jesus Christ, then we will certainly fail… in this life and in the next.

Luke 6:46-49

Builders and Foundations

     46“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49“But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

I urge each of us to not ignore that many who declare they follow Jesus are actually not doing so… and many of those don’t even realize it. Don’t just glaze over this. Stop. Study. Pray. Listen.

It is not enough to say we follow the Lord and not do so.  Ignorance of His instruction is not an excuse for disobeying Him any more than it would be for a wife who never bothers to understand what her husband asks of her (or the other way around). The relationship is still broken and distant. The questions will remain… “Why did we not take time to study His word, ask for His guidance, listen and then obey? What were we so busy doing so as not to know and obey Him?”

Matthew 7:21-23

     21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Be A Joyful Servant of the Lord

Mary is an intriguing figure. Some make statues of her and pray to her, and this is clearly wrong. She is not God. Only God answers prayers. However, we should take care that we don’t dismiss her too quickly just because of how people have put too much emphasis on her. She is, in fact, a wonderful example of a servant of the Lord who submitted her life and her plans to the Lord, even when it was disruptive to her life and could have resulted in breaking up her engagement to Joseph and possibly disgracing her in the community and with her parents. This was a big deal in the culture at that time for an unwed girl to become pregnant. Only those to whom God revealed the truth would believe that she was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit and not her own indiscretion.

We can see how she is filled with joy and counts herself blessed over the situation as she visits Elizabeth during her pregnancy. Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord provided Mary with Elizabeth, who was also made pregnant with God’s help… though in a different way in that God “opened her womb” and allowed her husband to make her pregnant. She had previously been barren.

Let us also not miss that God provides us with a very clear example of the baby in Elizabeth’s womb being very much alive and responsive to the outside world… before birth. Some just can’t seem to grasp that obvious biological concept that babies are humans from the moment of conception and should be treated as such. Abortion is abominable.

Luke 1:39-56

Mary Visits Elizabeth

     39Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43“And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44“For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”

The Magnificat

     46And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,

      47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

      48“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

      49“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.

      50“AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.

      51“He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.

      52“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.

      53“HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.

      54“He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,

      55As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

      56And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.

I encourage you to pray for the Spirit to fill you with joy as you serve the Lord, even as He asks you to do something you feel is very hard. Check yourself if you find yourself complaining about how hard something is that He wants you to do. Trust in Him. He is able. Joyfully and willingly embrace what He calls you to do. If you are submitted and obedient, He will work through you with His power to accomplish what He calls you to do.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Thoughts and Motivations Matter

It is not only our actions that matter, but our thoughts and motivations as well. Jehovah always knows our intentions. We can not, and should not hide them from Him. We should just be open and honest with Him and ask for help where we need it. He cannot be fooled as people can.

Hebrews 4:12-13

12For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Our Father wants our heart, soul, mind and strength. That is why He gave us free will instead of just forcing us to do everything His way as if we were robots to be programmed. Will you give yourself to Him fully?

Mark 12:28-30

   28One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Christian Freedom… Freedom From What?

I hear many talk about “Christian Freedom” as if it is a license from Jesus to do whatever we want as if He is ok with any behavior. Some treat it like a “get out of jail free” card from Monopoly. It is used as an excuse to ignore God’s law and commands because we will be forgiven by grace through faith thanks to Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf… for our sins.

This view has some truth, but also some dangerous misinterpretation of scripture that can lead us to live our lives far from the path that God intends. Let us look closely. It is true we are saved by grace through faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

It is true that scripture discusses “freedom”. But we must ask ourselves… “Freedom from what?” It is not freedom from obeying God’s commands and law. It is not freedom from discipling ourselves after Christ in behavior and attitude toward obeying the Father. It is freedom from sin so we can follow Christ! It is freedom from seeking salvation through perfect adherence to the law, which is impossible for man! In fact, when we are set free from sin we are then free to follow and obey Jehovah through the example of Christ. Then, when we disciple ourselves after Christ, we want to follow and obey the laws and commands of Jehovah as He did!

Acts 13:38-39

38“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Acts 13 clearly confirms it is freedom from sin… freedom from all things which you could not be freed through the law of Moses… which is to clearly state that it is not “freedom from the law of Moses”.

Galatians 5:1-12

Walk by the Spirit

      1It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

      2Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

      7You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. 9A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. 10I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. 12I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.

Let us be cautious not to turn our “freedom” received through Christ into an opportunity to live our lives in sin, rejecting all that Christ taught us by doing what we want to do instead of what He tells us to do. The Law is really established by God to show us how to love Him and love our neighbors. To that end it is never obsolete. This does not mean we ignore the law and just say to ourselves “I have nice warm feelings toward everyone and accept all behaviors so I don’t have any conflict.” May it never be! God’s law shows us, by obeying it, how to love our neighbors and yes it results in conflict at times. God does not accept all behaviors and belief systems. We see this clearly demonstrated in Galatians 5 below… Paul speaks of loving our neighbor and then goes into great detail to explain examples of wrong behavior / attitudes to avoid and right behaviors / attitudes to embrace that are part of doing just that. Loving our neighbor and loving God is evidenced by our conscious consistent obedience to God’s laws and commands… not by “being nice or friendly” to people no matter the circumstance. Some need our loving correction, like children who do not know the right path to follow.

 Galatians 5:13-26 

     13For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

      16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

      25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

When we truly disciple ourselves after Christ, we are free from sin and free from the need to be saved through perfect obedience to the law of God. However, we are free so that if we truly follow Jesus as Messiah we will obey God’s laws and instructions rather than do whatever we feel like or whatever the world tells us is acceptable.

Pray that God would show you areas in your life where you are relying too much on “Christian freedom” as a reason not to repent of wrong behavior in yourself or as reason to accept wrong behavior in others around you. Look to God’s word for what is right and good instead of to man.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

He Who Listens To Correction Will Dwell Among The Wise

How do you feel when someone corrects you? Most of us do not cheerfully thank them. Instead, our natural tendency is to become defensive and try to deny we did wrong… even to ourselves we rationalize why we were right to do what we did. However, take care… that is not the path to wisdom but rather leads us to remain in our folly.

Proverbs 15:31 He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.

God provided wisdom to Solomon beyond that of anyone else and led Solomon to record much that can help us even today, if we are willing to listen carefully to this life-giving reproof and let it guide us to change our behaviors where we need to. So to it can be affirming and encouraging for those areas where we are living according to God’s word. As we read Proverbs 15, let us consider the wisdom as coming directly from God and applying to our lives today as much as it did to Solomon in his time. Human nature has not changed in all that time, despite advances in technology. Prayerfully consider Solomon’s wisdom.

      1A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.

      2The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.

      3The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.

      4A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.

      5A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
But he who regards reproof is sensible.

      6Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,
But trouble is in the income of the wicked.

      7The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
But the hearts of fools are not so.

      8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

      9The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness.

      10Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way;
He who hates reproof will die.

      11Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD,
How much more the hearts of men!

      12A scoffer does not love one who reproves him,
He will not go to the wise.

      13A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

      14The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on folly.

      15All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

      16Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
Than great treasure and turmoil with it.

      17Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

      18A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But the slow to anger calms a dispute.

      19The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns,
But the path of the upright is a highway.

      20A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.

      21Folly is joy to him who lacks sense,
But a man of understanding walks straight.

      22Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they succeed.

      23A man has joy in an apt answer,
And how delightful is a timely word!

      24The path of life leads upward for the wise
That he may keep away from Sheol below.

      25The LORD will tear down the house of the proud,
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.

      26Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD,
But pleasant words are pure.

      27He who profits illicitly troubles his own house,
But he who hates bribes will live.

      28The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

      29The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

      30Bright eyes gladden the heart;
Good news puts fat on the bones.

      31He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.

      32He who neglects discipline despises himself,
But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.

      33The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom,
And before honor comes humility.

I encourage you to prayerfully re-read this list a few times. Mark a few that seem to apply to you, both affirming things you do well as well as things that point you to changing your behavior and attitude. Then write them down and apply them in your life over the next week or so. Come back and revisit in a few weeks to see how you are doing.

For me, the first part of verse 28 resonates…

28The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

I often respond quickly without taking time to ponder how to answer in a way that may be most gratifying and honoring to God and the person with whom I am speaking. I have grown much in the last decade and a half with God and do not struggle as much with saying wicked things, but I want to do more than avoid wicked responses. I want to edify the Lord and honor Him and others with my words. I want to choose them more carefully because words bring the power to build up or to destroy.

I also gather encouragement from reminding myself how much God has changed me such that I accept His reproof through His word and embrace more and more living the way His word commands… even if it requires me to be set apart from others and their worldly behaviors or compromises in their faith. It was hard when I started down this path as I would try to rationalize my behavior rather than change it. I would compare myself to others rather than to God’s word. Glory to God I have come a long way thanks to His help in the Holy Spirit living inside me and guiding me… convicting me of my errors and need to change. But I must not let down my guard as our internal nature is to rationalize why whatever we do was right to do… even when it is not.

What do you need to work on? In what areas can you thank God for helping you get on the right path? Truly making progress is made possible with humility and prayer and made easier with an accountability partner… someone you can trust to help you identify the good and the “needs improvement” areas of your life!

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Noah Obeyed God Even in the Greatest Storm

Genesis chapters 6-9 takes us  on a dramatic journey through time starting with God’s broken heart over humanity’s wickedness, continuing through God’s choice to work through a small but righteous remnant in Noah, and God’s confirmation of His covenant with His people.

I encourage each of you to take time and read the entire scripture by clicking through the link at the top of this devotional.

1- God observes the wickedness of man and it breaks His heart. He is disappointed with the choices man has made given their free will to choose or reject God. But He also observed one righteous man in Noah.

[Genesis 6:5-7] The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” But Noah found favor with the Lord.

2- Starting in Genesis 6:13, God speaks directly to Noah, who walked in close fellowship with God. God explains His plans to send the flood and provides Noah with detailed plans for how to carry out God’s will and save his immediate family in the process.

Noah did not complain. Noah did not say what God was doing was too harsh. Noah did not say what God was asking was too hard. Noah simply obeyed.  Noah showed how obedience allows us to fulfill the plans God has for us and others.

I am sure many mocked Noah as he build the boat. He listened to God instead of to men.

[Genesis 6:22] 22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

 3- Again when God told Noah it was time to get in the boat with all the animals, Noah did not complain or say it was too crowded, or too smelly, or He did not want to get in yet. Noah obeyed God. He did not just obey some of God’s instructions, but all of them.

[Genesis 7:5] So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.

4- The rain lasted 40 days. The flood waters took much longer to recede. It was not until five months after the flood began that the boat came to rest on a mountain. It took 2-1/2 more months for the waters to recede enough to reveal other mountain peaks. All told, it took more than a year for Noah and family to get off the boat. This was not an easy task God had laid out for Noah.

[Genesis 8:13-14] 13 Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began,[k] the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. 14 Two more months went by,[l] and at last the earth was dry!

Noah’s consistent response to this time of great adversity and difficulty was to obey God carefully and consistently. Noah trusted God.

5- Once they left the boat and released the animals, Noah did not take time for himself… which would seem well deserved. Noah first built an altar to the Lord and honored God. This was pleasing to God.

[Genesis 8:18-22] 18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose.[m] 21 And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. 22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

6- God confirmed His covenant with Noah and his sons.

[Genesis 9: 8-17] Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11 Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”

12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”

The rainbow has great significance to remind us of our covenant with God. This is what the rainbow represents.

The scripture of “Noah’s Ark” is so simple a child can understand and remember. We as adults should be careful not to overlook the details because we feel it is such a familiar story. It is a dramatic journey that demonstrates God’s love and God’s desire to have personal relationship with those of us that walk closely with the Lord. It also clearly shows us the behavior and attitude of righteous men in the midst of great adversity.

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Disobeying God Has Consequences

As early in scripture as Genesis 3:1-19, God introduces us to the deception of Satan. Satan is not to be dismissed as parable but in fact is a real and powerful being that wants to deceive us and create separation from us and God. To do this, Satan does not need to convince us to serve him, he just needs to convince us to disobey or stop trusting God.

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man[a] and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”

14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this, you are cursed
    more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly,
    groveling in the dust as long as you live.
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

16 Then he said to the woman,

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
    and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
    but he will rule over you.[c]

17 And to the man he said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
    though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
    from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
    and to dust you will return.”

There is much depth to this scripture, all cleverly packed into a story even a child can understand.

  • Satan is real. He will come against us often when we are alone. You likely will not recognize who he is when he comes.
  • Satan knows what God has said and lies to convince us God’s word is not true.
  • When we choose to sin, we often have a tendency to get others to do it with us or to agree with our behavior, to help rationalize that our disobedience to God was acceptable.
  • We do not help others by accepting and agreeing to their sin. Instead we create separation for ourselves from God as well.  We would help them by pointing out their sin and guiding them to repent.
  • When we listen to Satan and disobey God, we interrupt the good plan God has for our lives and instead replace it with our own path. God will not force us to follow Him. That would not be love.
  • When we sin, we cannot hide from God. Better to come before Him in repentance and seek forgiveness through His grace.
  • There are real and tangible consequences to our sin. They cannot be avoided by blaming someone else as Adam and Eve did. All who did the deceiving and those who allowed themselves to be deceived and reject God’s instruction will be held accountable.

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