The Story of the Flood

Noahs Ark

In light of the upcoming movie “Noah” I felt it would be helpful to write an article concerning different historical and theological aspects of the flood so as to dissipate any confusion that may exist or be caused by Hollywoods attempt. I also want to stimulate your mind concerning this time in history as the Flood carries a lot of scientific questions and statements as well as theological truths that can resonate with today. Along with the direct information that God’s Word gives us, many educated Bible scholars and scientists have proposed different theories. These theories attempt to connect the dots about what we do know and in this blog I will include speculation so please remember that.

Article outline:

  1. What does the Bible tell us?
  2. Common misconceptions
  3. The Flood in other cultures
  4. The times of Noah
  5. Why did God do it?
  6. The Promise

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Proving God

Recently while driving to my hometown (a 6 hour drive), I listened to podcasts of debates between prominent Christian and Atheist authors/speakers and it got my gears turning. I’ve been involved in many debates and the big question “Can you prove God exists” often comes up along the way. Eventually the Christian is stumped and the Atheist thinks they’ve solved one of man kinds most ancient mysteries. But I wonder, is the question correct to begin with? Can the God of the universe be proven like some science experiment of theory?

Is God something to be proven or experienced?

The real proof, if any, of the living God of the Bible resides in the believers life. But can you bring your personal stories, testimonies, and experiences to a debate and argue them with a determined atheist as proof for God? Probably not. Sadly, it’s just not always effective using your experiences to try and convince others when, if they had the same experience, they would not be arguing with you. For the Christian your testimony is the best evidence they have on a personal level towards God. Sharing your testimony and stories of what God has done can change lives but to those who’ve already made up their mind it can be difficult.

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Paying Your Tax to God

Giving Back

Luke 20

22 “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

23 But He detected their trickery and said to them,

24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.”

25 And He said to them “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Jesus not only encourages the following of civil laws, such as paying taxes, but uses it to demonstrate a bigger principle: to also give to God what legally belongs to Him. But what is it that belongs to Him which we are to give? If by looking at a coin we can see the identity of it’s authority, who’s identity do we find by looking at ourselves?

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Being Eternity Minded

Things Above

Colossians 3:1 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 – Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Being “Eternity minded” or “Kingdom minded” has been one of the biggest revelations for my life in Christ. It has helped me be conscious of the bigger picture of God’s plan and activity and because of this my actions have changed too.

It’s so important to take our eyes off of ourself and look around, but more importantly to look up. What is God saying about today? What is He seeing and feeling? What does He want to happen today?
It’s all too easy to get caught up by life and just focus on the temporary things around us, our bank account, our image, our stuff, our job security, or political problems. If we don’t watch it the concern of the world will slowly squeeze us dry and pry us apart from God, but only if we let it.

Mark 4:7 – “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
Mark 4:14 – “The sower sows the word.
Mark 4:18 – “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
Mark 4:19 – “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

We Died

Colossians 3:3 – For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:5 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Think of it this way: we were born in to our physical bodies on this planet, here we are primarily subject to our sinful tenancies. But what happens when someone dies? The body decays and comes to nothing while the spirit ascends to heaven. Similar to this picture we who have accepted Christ have died to our carnal self. So our sinful life died yet our spirit remains and is perfected by God and serves God. If we go back to sin we are bringing back from the grave that part that we left behind when we turned to Christ.

Romans 6:4 – Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Christians are not to live in a way that obeys their natural desires the moment they occur for we died to that part of our self. Now not all desires are bad of course but we need to check our motives before we act, and on the more questionable decisions go to God first instead of acting before thinking.

So when you are tempted to sin, remind yourself that “I have died to this thing, I don’t live for me anymore, I live for God”. That is being Kingdom minded because it puts your will in the backseat and God’s will in the drivers seat.

Phlippians 3:20 – For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Eternal Reality

Do you ever imagine what the eternal result will be of your decisions? It’s kind of a scary thought, especially if you’ve been making careless decisions without considering the long term effects. So think of your relationships – what effect will you have on their eternity? Will they be able to look back and say “you loved me and helped me get closer to God” or “You were nice but you didn’t really do anything, you never told me about God”?

These are weighty questions but important ones none the less. Thinking this way helps me keep my focus on what really matters – God and His Kingdom coming to Earth (Matthew 6:10). You only have one chance at this Earthly life, don’t waste it like the unfaithful servant did, but invest your time and reap a harvest that will last an eternity.

The Joy of Hard Times

1Peter 4:12-13

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Lately God has been giving me a lot of insight on the subject of  “why do bad things happen to good people” lately. I don’t claim to be an expert or to have it all figured out but I can’t help but share it with you all here.
I have discovered that a common misconception in America is “If I am a Christian and I am living right, bad things should not happen to me” and “If a bad thing happens to me I either did something wrong or God’s love has failed me”. This is sort of an expansion of the previous blog “Seeing Christ in the Fire”.

Rom 5:3 – And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
Rom 5:4 – and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Perseverance is the ability to endure until the end regardless of opposition or even failure. You keep faithing it out until the thing is done, quitting mid-race ruins the game and is a display of your limited faith in God. As you persevere through hard times you mature in character and faith, this is God’s goal in our lives. When you look back at the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 or look at more recent believers who changed the world – you find people who persevered through intense trials, who trusted God despite all facts and odds were against them. For more on enduring till the end check out Side Stepping Maturity.

“Christianity Saves You from Everything!”

As I said earlier “being saved does not equal a trouble free life”. In fact when you become a Christian your name is automatically added to Satan’s hit list! When you became a friend of God you became an enemy of the Devil. So why do we expect to have an easy ride in this world that is so subject to the Satans will? Now, some people are set free from prior addictions, habits or even demonic attachments upon Salvation.  But salvation and obedience to God does not guarantee smooth sailing! After all “They gave our Master a crown of thorns – Why do we hope for a crown of roses?” – Martin Luther.

Act 14:22 – strengthening the souls of the disciples… and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

Mat 10:22 – “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Mat 24:9 – “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

God’s Purpose in Hard Times

So why does God allow it? How can we call God all loving when we encounter unfair situations? And how can we call Him all powerful when He does not use His power to stop something heading our way? Unfortunate circumstances such as death, failure, divorce, being fired, theft, heart break, or family problems do not lessen God’s love or power just because He does not intervene when we would like. It simply means He does not work how we want Him to work, He does not fit in to the box we want Him to fit in. So we must conclude that God is still loving even though He allows Satan to afflict is through various means. And we must also believe that He remains all powerful no matter how tough life becomes.

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Seeing Christ in the Fire

Since I moved to Austin for ministry school there have been numerous trials, most of which involving money and the non-existence of a job. I have learned a lot about what it means to go through a trial or a test of your faith.

I don’t believe hard times are always from God, but even when they aren’t (such as if they are your own fault, or if it’s an attack from Satan) God can use them to mature you and bring you closer to Him. They are opportunities for you to grow and to hold on to God’s hand like never before.

Today on the radio I was listening to Woodrow Krull from “Back to the Bible” and he explained the scene of the firey furnace in a way that I had never thought of before.

Here are some of my new thoughts on the matter and what we can learn from it.

Dan 3:15 – “…But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
Dan 3:16 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
Dan 3:17 – “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 – “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Dan 3:19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.

When you live right before God you will encounter hardships that might have been avoided if you lived contrary to God’s Word.

God With Us

Dan 3:21 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:23 – And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
Dan 3:25 – “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Because the three young men did not compromise, fight back, or fear their situation but rather trusted God, He honored their faith by saving them from death. When we trust in God through our “fire” He will always be faithful. If God does not seem faithful in the end, it’s our failure to be faithful through the trial because God never changes and never fails.
Nebuchadnezzar described the fourth man in the furnace as THE Son of God, else where in the Old Testament angels are called sons of God, but we don’t find this singular use anywhere else. I believe it was Jesus, the manifestation of God Himself long before being born in Bethlehem (about 550 years before Christ was born) showed up to these faithful Jewish men at the moment of sure death. If it was Jesus it provides a beautiful picture of how Christ is with us even in the hardest of times, and He Himself endured tests and trials.

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Do You Qualify to be Used by God?

In a previous blog I wrote about how most of America doesn’t expect much from teenagers and as a result those teenagers don’t try to achieve much. Well if you are a young adult take hope and be encouraged because not only can you do great stuff at your young age but God has an excellent track record of using young people, average people, misfits, unqualified people and sinners for great things that changed Biblical history.

God chooses to use people not based on their qualifications but based on their willingness to be used.

The common denominator among all of these people is that they trusted the Lord and obeyed, even with one simple decision as small as hiding two prophets in your house (Rahab), moving camp (Abram), going up a mountain with your dad (Isaac), and not forgetting about God (David).
I hope you read these short biographies and are inspired, God does not play favorites, as long as you are alive and have some faith, you have everything you need.

David – A 17 year old sheep herder who was the least of his brothers, even his dad did not see him fit to be picked by Samuel for the future King. However God called him to be the next King and he was anointed by Samuel. He defended his fold of sheep from a bear and a lion and later defended Israel against an evil giant. David did not have a clean record though, he eventually crumbled in fear of Saul, committed adultery with Bathsheeba, killed her husband to clear his tracks, disobeyed God’s commands on marriage and did not raise his children very well. Yet David’s character was one that was moldable in God’s hands, he knew the importance of repentance, and humbleness. God continued to use David even though he messed up and came from humble, unlikely beginnings. His intimate relationship with the Lord is evident in the authorship of numerous Psalms.

Josiah – After his father died he became king at 8 years old and reigned for 31 years. His passion for Judah to obey the scriptures held off the wrath of God for the peoples earlier idolatry. He removed all the pagan and idolatrous priests and objects from the temple. Josiah is one of the few Kings of Judah/Israel that is not recorded to of sinned against God by worshiping other gods.

Rahab – A gentile prostitute living in Jericho before it was destroyed. She protected 2 Israelite spies when they scoped out the land in defiance of her evil government and in turn was saved along with her family from the destruction of the city. Rahab later married one of the spies she housed earlier and in turn became David’s Great-Great-Great-Grandmother. This means Rahab was an ancestor of Jesus Christ and she wasn’t even a Jew!

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