Godly Desires

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My Musings – Living a Godly life should be the goal of every Christian. It is certainly something that God desires for us. Being Godly means aligning our desires with His. He has shown us what this requires, in the Old Testament no less. They are to love mercy, act justly and walk humbly. Not simply mercy, justice and humility. Those are mere nouns. God calls us to love mercy, to act justly and to walk humbly. Our mercy, justice and humility involve action. These actions saw their ultimate fulfillment with Jesus death, burial and resurrection. He humbly walked that path to the cross. His act of dying on the cross paid the penalty for our sins and satisfied what justice required. His resurrection demonstrated God’s loving mercy towards us in accepting the sacrifice Jesus made.

But loving mercy, acting justly and walking humbly are foreign to our sin nature. In our natural sinful state, we tend to be just the opposite. We love power, we act evilly, and we walk proudly (Micah 2:1, 3). These are all the hallmarks of worldliness. These two forces continue to do battle within us. But thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, God tread our sins under foot and is able to show us compassion if we accept His Son’s sacrifice. He in fact delights in showing us mercy (Micah 7:18, 19). As a result, we can aspire to God’s desires, we can act in obedience to Him and this can develop into a consistent lifestyle. We can be transformed from the worldly creature that is our nature, into a new creation with a Godly character.

To live Godly lives, it is helpful to better understand the nature and character of the God we serve. Of course, our finite minds can never fully grasp the awesome nature and character of an infinite God. After all, if the whole universe cannot contain Him, this short blog cannot either. But we can understand Him to the extent He has revealed Himself to us. Even then we are only able to see the “outer fringes” of His true glory. Indeed, what we see and hear is but a “faint whisper” of reality.

Some of the things that God has revealed to us about Himself fall into three broad categories, if we can indeed categorize anything about Him. At any rate these three categories are:

His Being
(Infinite, Unchangeable, Eternal)

His Nature
(Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient)

His Moral Character
(Love, Holy, Good, Truth, Just)

His Being and nature are absolute attributes that only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have. We cannot aspire to these at all. Satan aspired to them and he fell. We can aspire to His moral character attributes, however. Of course, only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have these attributes absolutely. But we can aspire to them in relative terms.

To aspire to what God desires, to aspire to Godliness, we need to grow in love, Holiness, goodness, truth and justice. As these characteristics grow and develop in our lives, we become better at loving mercy, acting justly and walking humbly. We become less likely to love power, act evilly and walk proudly. For in the process God is teaching us to say no to our worldly passions and to live Godly lives.

Love – “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8, NIV 1978). This is not emotion. It is His character. The text does not say God loves. It says that God is Love.

Holiness – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8, NIV 1978). Absolute in moral purity and rightness. Separate from evil, so much so that He cannot even bear to look upon sin. God has no “dark side.”

Goodness – “There is only One [God] who is good.” (Matthew 19:17, NIV 1978). Goes beyond the inner quality (His holiness) to the outward expression (His goodness), particularly in terms of His benevolence, loving-kindness and exercise of mercy.

Truth – “Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the God of truth; he who takes an oath in the land will swear by the God of truth.” (Isaiah 65:16, NIV 1978). Means more than no falsehood, but also includes certain, faithful, and reliable in fulfilling His promises.

Justice – “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just.” (Daniel 4:37, NIV 1978). Used interchangeably with righteousness. He is absolutely right and just in all that He says or does.

My Advice – Worldliness (following worldly desires) is the natural enemy of Godliness (following Godly desires), and something we continually must be on guard against and resist. But we must also be aware of another subtler enemy – compromise.  Compromise is the attempt to have it both ways, to gain Godliness while enjoying the pleasures of this world. It is a lie of the enemy.

Worldliness – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15, NIV 1978).  This is like chasing the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:11).  It results in discontent and suffering great loss (1 Corinthians 3:13, 15).

Compromise – “No servant can serve two masters. He will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:13, NIV 1978).  This can result in complacency, a sense that we have all we need (Revelation 3:15, 17). This is a great con, for we fail to realize that in reality we are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked, lukewarm-neither hot nor cold.” (Revelation 3:17, 16).

Godliness – “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11, NIV 1978).  This leads to contentment (Philippians 4:11) and great gain (1 Timothy 4:8).

You can pursue the world, you can pursue a lie (believing you can have it both ways) or you can pursue God.  Only “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6, NIV 1978).  Desire what God desires.

The Heavens Declare

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My Musings – God continues to bring order out of the universe that He created.

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Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky –The creation of the “lights in the expanse of the sky” on the fourth day parallels the creation of light in general on the first day. These lights produce another separation—day from night. On the first day, God had said, “let there be light,” and there was light. But this was a chaos of light, scattered and confused. Now it was collected into countless luminaries and made more glorious and serviceable. God is the God of order, and not of confusion. The creation of light on day one, was now being set in order in the various heavenly bodies. The atmosphere being purified by the vegetation, would make the sun, moon, and stars visible in the sky. They are described as being “in the expanse of the sky.” This is how they appear to the eye, though we know they are really at vast distances from it. These lights may be said to be “made” on the fourth day—not created, indeed, for it is a different word (meaning light bearers) that is used here, suggesting what had previously been created were now being ordered and set in place for their intended purpose.

To separate the day from the night – The “creation” of the lights in the heavens on the fourth day parallels the creation of light in general on the first day. These lights produce another separation—day from night. These terms are meaningless without the existence of the sun and the rotation of the earth.

Let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years – The lights were “signs” that mark off time periods (days, seasons, years). They were not astrological signs, correlating heavenly movements with events on earth. The worship of heavenly bodies is condemned.

The greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night – This refers to the sun and the moon, but the writer deliberately avoids the words “sun” (shemesh in Hebrew) and “moon” (yareach in Hebrew), as these correspond to the names of West Semitic deities: Shamash and Yarik. The Book of Genesis affirms that they are created objects, not deities. They merely divide (separate), govern, and give light in God’s creation.

The greater light – Many scientists believe that the sun and the rest of the solar system was “born” about 4.6 billion years ago, being formed from a giant, rotating cloud of gas and dust known as a solar nebula. As the nebula collapsed because of its gravity, it spun faster and flattened into a disk. Most of the material was pulled toward the center to form the sun.

The lesser light – The Moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite and was formed around some 30–50 million years after the formation of the solar system. The reigning theory is that a Mars-sized object impacted with a very young, still-forming Earth about. The planetary object that impacted Earth has been dubbed “Theia” by scientists because in Greek mythology, Theia was the mother of the moon goddess Selene. When Theia hit Earth, a portion of our planet came off and eventually hardened into the moon. This theory does a better job than others of explaining the similarities in chemical compositions of the Earth and the moon, however it doesn’t explain why the moon and the Earth are chemically identical.

He also made the stars – The Milky Way galaxy, is home to the earth’s solar system. Scientists say it was formed a little more than 13 billion years ago, just a few billion years after the Big Bang. The galaxy is estimated to be about 100,000 light years in diameter and 1,000 light years thick. It is part of a system of 50 galaxies known as the Local Group, which is part of the Virgo Supercluster. Containing as many as 50 billion planets and 400 billion stars, the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. It has a center “bulge,” surrounded by a flat disk comprising several loose arms that contain stars and their orbiting bodies, as well as gases and dust.

God “also made the stars” almost sounds like an afterthought. But scientists estimate that there are about 2 trillion galaxies in the universe and that each galaxy has about 100 million stars.  And yet still, “these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him!” (Job 25:14).

My Advice – The psalmist proclaims that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalms 19:1-4).  The whisper may be faint, but no one can claim that they do not hear it.  Do not just hear it, listen to it.  The heavens declare HIs glory and so should we.  One day, we all will.  Why not start now?

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  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. https://www.bighistoryproject.com/chapters/2#the-birth-of-the-sun
  3. http://www.openculture.com/2012/02/the_birth_of_the_moon.html
  4. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed., p. 53). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.
  7. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  8. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  9. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  10. 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. 29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  11. Lowery, K. (2007). The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 3). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  12. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  13. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:15–16). Biblical Studies Press.
  14. https://www.space.com/58-the-sun-formation-facts-and-characteristics.html
  15. https://space-facts.com/the-moon/
  16. https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/stories/4-theories-about-how-moon-formed
  17. https://someinterestingfacts.net/facts-about-milky-way-galaxy/

The Third Strand

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My Musings – Throughout the passage it speaks of two.  Two are better than one.  This can include marriages, business partners, or friendships. Regretfully, marriages do fail, partnerships can be dissolved and trust between friends is often broken.  But note, the passage ends with three.  Marriages, partnerships and friendships are not easily broken when God is the third strand.

My Advice – Whatever or wherever you venture, make sure that you include God.

Land Ho!

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My Musings – As we continue to compare the account of Genesis  with current scientific theories (setting aside the apparent time discrepancy), I continue to be amazed at what God commanded Moses to write (in simple enough terms for early man to grasp the essentials – I AM who I AM, and I created all this) is not contradicted by man’s “advanced learning” over the centuries.  Did I say amazed?  Not amazed at all.

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Let the Water Under the Sky Be Gathered to One Place (Seas) – In the beginning the water covered the whole earth. As the waters that covered the earth were ordered to retire (“let dry ground appear”), they “gathered into one place.” The waters, he called seas.

Until around 2.5 billion years ago oceans covered almost the whole of the planet. The oceans would have been devoid of fish, which had not yet “evolved” (of course, they were not created until the fourth day). Back then life consisted of nothing more complex than algae and bacteria. As the earth’s mantle cooled, land would have gradually appeared (initially 2% to 3% of Earth’s surface, compared to 28% today) as the oceans became deeper and regions of high relief on the continental crust formed.

Let Dry Ground Appear (Land) – As dry land emerges above the surface, the receding waters are collected to one place. Land was already there beforehand, but it was of no use because it was under water. This is one more work of separation, land is separated from seas, just as previously waters (above) were separated from waters (below), and light separated the darkness.

The first protocontinents (an actual or hypothetical landmass that might later be enlarged into a major continent or broken up into smaller ones) began to form about 4 billion years ago. During this period, plate building blocks known as cratons (giant rock cores) came together and causing them to rise to the surface (“let dry ground appear”). Over time, the first supercontinent (a hypothetical former single large continent) broke apart to ultimately form our current seven continents. The first supercontinent (if water gathered to one place, then land gathered to one place) was probably Columbia, which formed around 1.8 billion years ago. Scientists conjecture that breaking apart or supercontinents and coming back together of the subcontinents occurred several times over the Earth’s history.

Let the Land Produce Vegetation – God’s command for vegetation to grow is the first indirect command in the creation sequence. Previously, God has directly spoke each created thing into existence. This time He commands the Earth to produce plant life. The Hebrew word translated “vegetation” normally means “grass,” but here it probably refers more generally to vegetation that includes many of the plants and trees.

Scientists believe that plants first moved onto the land during the Ordovician period, although plant life (single-celled plant organisms and multicellular algae) had likely appeared in the oceans as early as 1 billion years BCE. It was not until the Carboniferous period that plant life expanded from the coastlines and edges of lakes and began to more fully resemble modern plants. The first trees appeared in the Devonian period. These trees did not produce flowers and in fact it was not until 135 million years ago (Cretaceous time period) that the first flowering plants became abundant. Perhaps in preparation of a certain garden?

While oxygen is essential for life on Earth, the atmosphere did not originally contain oxygen. The process responsible for producing most of the Earth’s oxygen is known as photosynthesis, the process in which plants and certain other organisms convert sunlight into oxygen. Land-based, plants — such as flowers, grasses, ferns, shrubs and trees — produce up to half of the planet’s oxygen. Rainforests, with their dense canopies and vast diversity of plant species, are themselves responsible for one-third of the Earth’s oxygen production. The rest of the world’s oxygen comes mainly from photosynthesis caused by the phytoplankton in the oceans. It stands to reason why God started His creation of life with plants. Oxygen was a precondition to life and plants were a precondition to oxygen.

According to Their Various Kind – The Hebrew word translated “kind” indicates that God was concerned with defining and dividing time, space, and species. The point is that creation was an ordered process, as opposed to “evolving” from disorder. And what God created and distinguished with boundaries was not to be confused. Kind refers to the broad distinctions between different types of plants. All created things (including animals and humans) reproduce within the parameters set by God. With respect to plants, there are an estimated 375,000 species, with more being discovered each year. Some 297,326 of these species of plants have been identified.

My Advice – Do not be too hasty in relegating the Genesis account to allegory or fairy tale.  When we are served a meal by a master chef, we do not need to ask how the “soup”was made. We simply enjoy that it was made especially for us.

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://palaeos.com/archean/archean.html
  3. http://odec.ca/projects/2002/food_for_life/history_of_plants.htm
  4. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. https://metro.co.uk/2008/12/31/early-earth-was-covered-in-water-274995/
  7. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  8. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  9. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  10. https://io9.gizmodo.com/a-history-of-supercontinents-on-planet-earth-5744636
  11. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  12. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  13. https://www.reference.com/science/did-plant-life-begin-appear-earth-d57a1645b8cf9459
  14. http://www.infobharti.com/how-and-why/plants-and-animals/when-did-plants-apear-on-the-earth.php
  15. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  16. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  17. https://sciencing.com/process-responsible-producing-earths-oxygen-19636.html
  18. https://www.wisegeek.com/how-many-species-of-plants-are-there.htm

 

Called Out Of Darkness

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My Musings – “The future ain’t what it used to be.”  (Yogi Berra).  It certainly isn’t.  Hopelessly lost and separated from our Creator, with no hope for reconciliation by our own efforts.  Facing an eternity apart from God in Hell.  No Exit. His righteousness demanded it.  That was our future.

Where there was no hope, God provided hope.  Where there was no way, God provided a way.  The possibility of being reunited with our Creator because He made it possible for us to be a new creation through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  His grace satisfied His righteousness.  The opportunity to spend eternity reunited with God in Heaven.  This can be our future.

My Advice – Which future do we want?  This should be an obvious choice.  Yet so many stumble over it.  Yes, Jesus is the only way, because His sacrifice was the only possible way to satisfy God’s righteousness.  But whoever calls on His name will be saved.  He’s calling us out of darkness.  Will we respond?

Keep In Mind

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My Musings – Jesus passes the love that the Father has for Him on to us.  In the same way, we must pass this love on to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  In this way the world will know that we are His disciples.  If, in seeing this the world hates us, it is because the world hates Christ (and by extension, the Father as well).  Why? Because although “light has come into the world, men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light.”  (John 3:19-21,NIV 1984).  As followers of Christ, we are to reflect the light.  So if they hate the light, they will hate us to.

My Advice – Walk in the light as He is in the light.  We can bear the hate of the world as long as we have the love of the Father.  Evenso, keep proclaiming the truth.  In so doing, some may ultimately come into the light.

 

Nor Could The Scroll Contain The Whole

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My Musings – If the cross is not enough to convince you of God’s love, and it should be, these verses should blow you away.  Friends may abandon you when you times are difficult and you are in need (trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword – the list is not exhaustive).  But God won’t.

It’s not that these things won’t happen. They will.  But, He loved us before, He will love us “in,” and He will love us through them.  For “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Sounds pretty all-inclusive to me!  No room for, “but what about this.”  There is no “this” that the above does not cover.  The only “fine print” is “anything else in all creation.”  That leaves only the Godhead (not in creation) as a possible exception.  But even “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13, NIV 1984).

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Even that screams the incomprehensibility of God’s love for His children.  Not just conquerors (one who is victorious), more than conquerors.  How can one be more than a conqueror?  They cannot.  It merely underscores the fact that no love can be more than the love God has for us. Love does indeed conquer all, if it’s the love of God.

“Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade;  To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.” (The Love of God ~ Frederick M. Lehman 1917).

My Advice – Don’t pass up this love.  No better deal will come around.  Now is the day of salvation.