Just A Closer Walk With Thee

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Enoch walked with God, then he was no more, because God took him away.  (Genesis 5:24, NIV 1978).

Musings of Others – “Walk” is the biblical expression for fellowship and obedience that results in divine favor.  (Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 36). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).

My Musings – There were no written scriptures to indicate what this “walk” should be.  What we do know, is that after the fall, Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord.” (Genesis 3:8, NIV 1978).  They hid because they heard Him, not because they saw Him.  There were many creatures in the garden that the sound could have been attributable to, but they distinctly recognized that it was God making the sound.  This implies familiarity, indicating that it was likely a frequent occurrence.

We are not explicitly told of what the fellowship between God and man was like before the fall, but somehow Enoch (the seventh from Adam) knew enough about it to learn how to walk with God all those generations later.  I am reminded of a TV mini-series from the ’70’s called “Roots,” from the book of the same name, that recounted the experiences of a family of African-American slaves that were carefully handed down and faithfully remembered over multiple generations. This is likely how Adam and Eve’s walks with God in the Garden were passed down.  And, of course, God “rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV 1978).  At any rate, “Enoch walked with God.

My Advice – “Then he was no more, because God took him away.”  We learn (also in Hebrews chapter 11), that this means that Enoch “did not experience death.”  God took him home with Him, “for before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”  God enjoyed his walk with Enoch so much he did not want to part with him.

A former pastor from my youth, as best as I can remember it, liked to tell it this way.  One day God and Enoch were on one of their walks together.  They were enjoying the walk so much that time got away from them.  As the sun sunk lower in the sky, and the shadows lengthened, God said to Enoch, “we’re closer to my house than we are to yours, why don’t you just come on home with me?”

Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a close walk with God?

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

A Father’s Point Of View

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The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”  (Genesis 6:5–6, NIV 1984).

The Musings of Others – Although “regret” is the customary translation of the Hebrew verb translated as “grieved” in the NIV, its basic meaning is to “be pained.” This is the sense here. As it hurts a loving parent to see the disobedience of his children, so it pained God to see how wicked men had become. (Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 15). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers).

My Musings – We often look at sin and its consequences on how it affects us.  Rarely, if ever, do we look at it from God’s perspective, other than it must make Him angry.  But this text suggests a much deeper affect, and reminds me of an experience I had in my teen years (old enough to drive, but still in High School).

A friend of mine was restoring an old (vintage) pick-up truck.  One front  fender was in much too bad of shape to restore, so it needed to be replaced.  Due to the age of the pick-up, not something you could order through a parts store.  My friend had located one at a junkyard miles away and asked if I could help him pick it up.  But we did not enter or leave through the front gate.  At a remote spot we went over the fence, retrieved the fender, hopped back over the fence and headed back.

I suppose I probably rationalized it in a number of different ways from my perspective (you can’t steal junk can you?), but deep down believed none of them. I was already feeling pretty guilty about it, but when I got back home I was confronted by my dad. He had found out what my friend and I were up to, and in no uncertain terms reinforced my guilt.  There was no yelling.  My dad had a presence about him that you knew when he meant business. He didn’t need to yell. I remember asking him if he was mad, which is what I expected.  His response was much worse.  “No Steve, I’m not mad, I’m disappointed in you.”  I would have preferred mad.  If you’ve read any of my blogs about my dad and our relationship, you can probably understand why his disappointment in me was the worst type of punishment I could have received.

When the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become…[t]he LORD was grieved…and his heart was filled with pain.”  I hurt my dad that day, and I’ve never forgotten how it made me feel, and how I knew I never wanted to disappoint him again like that.  It meant that much to me.

My Advice – Wouldn’t it be nice if we always felt that way about sin and How God is grieved every time we give in to sin?  Now that’s a relationship!

An Inconvenient Truth

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Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”  (Acts 24:24–25, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “When I find it convenient.”  We do know he sent for Paul frequently, hoping to be offered a bribe (verse 26).  So it seems likely that it was not the time that was inconvenient.  It was the truth. Perhaps, he never had any intention of finding a more convenient time for the truth?  Perhaps he kept putting the truth off, feeling he would some day have a convenient time? Sadly, we do not know if Felix ever found it convenient.

My Advice – Of course we know that for some, the truth will never be convenient and they will flat out reject it.  For others, they find the truth convenient (they are definitely interested), but for whatever reason, the time is not.  That is a mistake.  They may not have “two more jumps” (or even one) at the truth.  We have no assurance there will be another opportunity.  That’s the inconvenient truth.  “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”  (2 Corinthians 6:2, NIV 1984).  He’s “coming down here” and the time will not be convenient if we are not ready.

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

The Overflow Of The Heart

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For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34–35, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Sometimes we Christians will intentionally speak (post, tweet) maliciously and no amount of “thinking” can stop us.  In these cases the “overflow of [our] heart” is quite clear. The old man, the evil man is still controlling us and the overflow of our heart brings out the evil of our old sin nature.

At other times, it’s just a matter of speaking (posting, tweeting) without thinking.  It is then that the overflow of our hearts reveals how far along we are in our walk with Christ.  Is the old, evil, sinful nature still in control or are we being transformed into His likeness?  Are we being controlled by the Spirit?

My Advice – Think before you speak (post, tweet).  The truth is, of course, paramount.  But sometimes, we can use the truth to be hurtful not helpful, to discourage rather than inspire.  It is never necessary to lie, but it should never be used to be inconsiderate, cruel or unkind.  “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15, NIV 1984).   For  “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  (Galatians 5:24–25, NIV 1984).  Then the overflow of your heart (intentionally or without even thinking) will be “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Galatians 5:22, NIV 1984).

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Who Is His Equal?

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To whom will you compare Me? Who is My equal?” says the Holy One. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:25, 28, NIV 1978).

My Musings – Everlasting, without beginning or end.  Creator of all there is.   Unfathomable wisdom.  No one is His equal or could even come close.  Who could we possibly compare Him to?

My Advice –  He invites us into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.  What possible reason could we have for not accepting His invitation?

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Stop Playing With The Box

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You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”  (Matthew 23:23, NIV 1984).

You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”  (Mark 7:9, NIV 1984).

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?”  (Galatians 5:6–7, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Your children had been dropping hints (some subtle, some not so subtle) since Thanksgiving about this season’s must have toy.  In my childhood days, we dog-eared the pages and circled the items in the Sears Roebuck or J.C. Penney “wish book.”  How’s that for subtlety?  It was an exciting day for sure when those arrived in the mail.

More than once you made it to the store just in time to be told the last one had just been sold.  There were hopeful promises of one last shipment before Christmas, but you’d heard those before.  Checking availability on-line came up empty.  But finally, with shopping days left to Christmas almost over (and no shipping time left at all) you were able to track one down.  What a relief.  Christmas morning would not be a disappointment to your child.

Now the excitement of Christmas morning is over, family and guests have left and your child is in the family room playing – – with the box the must have toy came in.  You had to see that coming.  Didn’t you?

Sometimes we get distracted by the box that Christianity gets “packaged” in.  It may be in the form of tradition, rituals or “religion.”  Or maybe in legalistic “do’s and don’ts”  We were “running a good race” yet we allowed these things to “cut in on us,” when the real deal was what was “in the box.”  It’s not always that these things were intrinsically bad, but we “should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”  We should not have “set aside” the gift that was inside the box.

My Advice – God took great care to send us just the right gift.  It needed no “packaging” or fancy “wrapping.”  Let’s accept and enjoy it for what it is, appreciate who it came from and be thankful for the gift.  Let’s not let the excitement wear off and allow us to be distracted by the trappings.

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Becoming Like Children

“I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree,” said Charlie Brown. “Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I don’t really know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

“Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about,” said Linus.

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My Musings – That’s what Christmas is all about.  A childish belief to many.  Often hidden from the “wise” and “learned.”

He [Jesus] called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 18:2–3, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Choose to be “childish.”  Merry Christmas, and may God bless you one and all.

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”