Mental shackles

Mental shackles

Amos replied, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet. I am just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’” – Amos 7:14-15

Job 42:1-6

 1 Job replied to the LORD:

 2 I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.

 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.

 4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’

 5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

 6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

Houdini is the best known and remembered of all magicians and illusionists. He challenged the world to bind him in shackles from which he could not escape. Houdini became widely known as “The Handcuff King.” He toured England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Russia. In each city, Houdini challenged local police to restrain him with shackles and lock him in their jails. The results are always the same, freedom from the shackles that bound him.

Among God’s creatures, human beings alone have the unique capacity to create limitations of their abilities. We shackle ourselves. We have self-awareness and we reflect, and we focus on our weaknesses and past failures. We convince ourselves that so many things are beyond our grasp and the mere pursuit of them can make us miserable. We shut down inside, settle for far less and limit our aspirations and stop looking forward to better days.

Amos was just an ordinary guy. He herded sheep and picked figs for a living. But he was called and commissioned by the Father, the Lord God Almighty, to be a prophet. Amos never looked back. His prophecies were bold, blunt, and direct. His most dire and darkest warning is once again being realized in our time.

Amos 8:11 “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD.”

We live in an age when access to the Word of God is greater than at any time in human history. Yet tragically, the plain, clear teaching of the Word of God is rapidly vanishing from our modern world. Believers without the light of the Father’s Word wander in darkness. Unbelievers put their trust in anything but the Truth of the Father’s Word. Paganism is making a dreadful comeback.

But we as children of the King are children of the light. It is time to believe it and act like it.

1 Thessalonians 5:5-8

 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.

 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

 7 Night is the time when people sleep, and drinkers get drunk.

 8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

REFLECT & PRAY

You are confined only by the walls you build yourself (Andrew Murphy).

Father, thank you that through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ I have been set free from the bondage of sin, doubt, discouragement, depression, and death.

INSIGHT

Perhaps the root of our disillusionment is either unrecognized conceit and ignorance or anger and disdain. Much of the truth which we believe is actually not His Truth. Sometimes we are too smart for our own good and we speak confidently about things of which we are woefully ignorant. We set expectations that do not come true and become angry and bitter.

So it was with Job until he was confronted by the Father Himself. Job’s words in Job 42 show the changes that knowing the Truth about the Father and His ways can produce in a person. Job was now aware, as never before that the Father, the Lord God Almighty, has all wisdom and all power. Job capitulated, repented, and expressed an attitude of awe and submission. Job had asked good and intelligent questions but now he recognized the folly of his ways. The Father always knows what He is doing, and it is indeed foolish to question His actions.

Job 42:6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.

Chains, shackles, and bondage have been the lot of mankind for thousands of years. The Lord Jesus Christ came to set the captives free.

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and . . . to set free those who are oppressed.

John 8:36 If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

The confident expectation for real freedom is based upon what the Lord Jesus Christ has done.

“The Son of God also has the authority to liberate spiritual slaves from their bondage to sin and its consequences. Real freedom consists of liberty from sin’s enslavement to do what we should do.”

“It does not mean that we may do just anything we please. We are now free to do what pleases God, which we could not do formerly. When we do what pleases God, we discover that it also pleases us” (Constable).

The downward cycle is broken. We need only to actualize the spiritual and emotional healing that is already in place. It is way past time to cast off our personal shackles, stop believing our doubts, and doubting our beliefs.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently (Henry Ford).

A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether (Roy H. Williams).

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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Running fast but getting nowhere

Running fast but getting nowhere 

If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? – Jeremiah 12:5

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

 6 Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need, and plenty left over to share with others.

 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

Far too often we feel mired, trapped in in predicaments where we try as hard as we can, and seemingly accomplish nothing.

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice was dismayed after much running to find she and the queen were still in the same spot. “Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else – if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.” “A slow sort of country!” said the Queen., “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that.”

If you’re running as fast as you can, how can you run any faster? Alone in the natural, fallen world you cannot. To run faster you have to get outside of yourself.

Perhaps this can be best understood by a negative. Although Cain and Abel were brothers, they were polar opposites of one another. Abel was compliant and obedient. He wanted to do the right thing in the right way. Cain on the other hand was rebellious and defiant. Doing things, the right way did not matter to him. He wanted to do things his own way.

Cain was limited by the selfish, self-imposed walls he had built around himself. He was disappointed and grew angry, sullen and dejected. Cain attacked Abel and murdered him. When he was confronted, the Father asked simply, where is your brother Abel?

Cain’s answer was brusque, defiant, and harsh, “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?

Although Cain was running as fast as he could, he was very slow.

One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others (Lewis Carroll).

Isaiah 32:8 Generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.

But if you get outside of yourself and ask what is best for others and then implement it, you will find yourself running faster than you could ever imagine. It begins when you put others before yourself. It is about focusing on others and fulfilling their needs.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father encourages us, but He also challenges us. He speaks soft words, but He also speaks strong words when we need to hear them.

Father You know the path that You have laid out for me, strengthen me to endure and overcome.

INSIGHT

Jeremiah was curious and a bit dismayed at the circumstances in which he found himself. The Father God did not console Jeremiah, nor did He answer Jeremiah’s questions. Rather, the Father used the situation as a teaching moment. He provided a bit of caution with His counsel. If Jeremiah could not cope with the current state of affairs, what would happen when really serious difficulties arose.

The Father sets forth a simple case of “from the lesser to the greater.” The lesser requirement involves a foot race with men. The point is, if mere men wear you out, and how can you contend with the greater demand of trying to keep up with horses. In other words, if a small problem takes the wind out of your sails, how can you possibly withstand an overwhelming difficulties?

The Father uses turbulence and trials to reveal where we are, and strengthen us and increase our ability to not only withstand but also to overcome. He does not use hard times to destroy us.

Romans 5:3-5

 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope.

 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment.

The Greek word translated endurance is hupomone. Hupomone literally means to remain under. It has the sense to persevere, to bear up under, having patience in difficult circumstances. It is associated with hope and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial (Zodhiates). Hupomone is like a muscle. It grows and develops over time as a result of the proper responses to the vicissitudes of life. The Father wants to develop in us this very special quality.

Ephesians 4:23 Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

As the Holy Spirit renews our minds and attitudes, we are able to rejoice in the face of difficulties knowing that his endgame is to develop confident hope, not disappointment

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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I am the LORD!

I am the LORD!

They did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor. – Exodus 6:9

Exodus 6:1-9


 1 Then the LORD told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!”

 2 And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh – ‘the LORD.’”

 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai – ‘God Almighty’ – but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.
 4 And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners.

 5 You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.
 6 “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment.’”

 7 ‘I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.’
 8 ‘I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the LORD!’”

 9 So Moses told the people of Israel what the LORD had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me’” (Billy Graham).

“Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement” (Joyce Meyer).

“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come” (James Whitcomb Riley).

When the Father promises to do something, children of the King can enjoy the absolute certainty of the fact that it will be done. Frequently, before a promise from the Father can be realized it is preceded by a change in the status quo. The Father makes waves. He has a way of shaking things up. When he appeared at Sinai, the earth shook. In the future He will shake both the earth and the heavens. His goal is to shake things until all the things that can be removed, are removed (Hebrews 12:26-27).

The same eternal Father God, in a similar fashion, but to a much lesser degree, also shakes His children. Of course, most of us do not like to be shaken or rattled. His touch is often viewed as an unwelcome intrusion or disturbance. In the short term, things often get worse, before they get better. 

Upon returning from Mount Sinai, Moses goes to Pharaoh and asks him to let the children of Israel go. Pharaoh rebuffs him. Moses fails and his failure brings sadness and add misery to his people.He blames himself and questions why the Lord who asked him to do it in the first place. It is easy for most of us to identify the failure of Moses. He starts with great enthusiasm and falls flat on his face. He complains and whines. He wonders if the Father made a mistake in choosing him. He seems so inadequate for the job at hand. But that is exactly the point, Moses is an adequate for the job. That is why he was chosen to do the job.

But the gloom and doom of pessimism is so often contagious. After 400 years of suffering and servitude making bricks for Pharaoh, what could be worse? Try making bricks without straw. The people were done listening to Moses and hoping in God. They did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage (Exodus 6:9).

The Hebrew word translated broken, despondency, discouragement is qotser. Qotser means shortness. When used in conjunction with the spirit it has the sense of impatience, dejectedness. They were beaten down, their spirits were broken, crushed. They were discouraged, exhausted. They had given up (UBS).

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.

“When we feel oppressed and our spirit groans, it is difficult for us to believe the good promises of God regarding our welfare” (Stanley). Instead of being long-suffering, they figured they had suffered long enough. They had had enough. All hope was lost.

REFLECT & PRAY

Physical suffering pains our bodies, but emotional suffering and discouragement brings a leanness to our souls and ravages our hearts.

Father, remind me again and again, and bring to my mind that no matter what my circumstances are or how gloomy and dire my situation seems to be, your answer always begins, “I am the LORD!”

INSIGHT

The irony is that initial failure lays the groundwork for ultimate success. Pessimism and doubt are the fertile soil in which promises are fulfilled.

Matthew 19:26 with God all things are possible.

The Scriptures are replete with examples of the Father doing the impossible after all hope is lost. But a few examples: the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the preserving of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, the miracle of the Red Sea, the angelic hosts guarding Elisha and Gehazi, and the greatest of all, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The problem is never been with the Father. The problem has always been with our discouragement and lack of faith. The Father wants us to know and believe that He is the answer to all our problems and circumstances. Every aspect of our physical and emotional well-being and eternal salvation depends solely on His character and eternal attributes.

Why did the Father allow Moses to fail at the very beginning of his mission when he went to Pharaoh the first time? Perhaps, if Pharaoh had released the nation of Israel the first time Moses asked, Moses would have been given most of the credit. Instead, his attempt backfired totally. As a result, he had to shoulder all the blame.

The people were convinced that Moses was incapable of leading them to the Promised Land. Only the Father could bring them out of Egypt by His mighty hand (Exodus 32:11). The longer Moses and Pharaoh quarreled and wrangled over the release of Israel from bondage, the clearer it became.

The Father was teaching His people to put all their trust in Him. In due time, they discovered that when all else failed, the one thing they could count on was the One who said, “I am the LORD” (Ryken and Hughes).

His answer is always the same, “I am the LORD!”

“Exodus is a God-centered book with a God-centered message that teaches us to have a God-centered life. Whatever problems we have, whatever difficulties we face, the most important thing is to know who God is. We are called to place our trust in the One who says, ‘I am the LORD.’ . . . When nothing seems to go right, and it is not certain how things will ever work out – even then he says, ‘I am the LORD’” (Ryken and Hughes).

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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What, Me Worry?

What, Me Worry?

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? – Matthew 6:27

Matthew 6:25-34  

 25 I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

 28 And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,

 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 31 So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’

 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Submarines were originally dubbed as “iron coffins.” At the end of the nineteenth century, they became much safer to operate. A picture was taken of John Philip Holland, an Irish engineer, emerging from the hatch of one of his submarines wearing a derby hat. In 1898, a cartoon was drawn from the photo with the caption. “What, me worry?”

In the early part of the twentieth century the phrase “What, me worry?” was used in an advertising campaign for painless dentistry which included a fictional character. When Mad Magazine was first published in 1954, Harvey Kurtzman claimed the character as the iconic cover boy for Mad. He was named “Alfred E. Neuman” by Mad’s second editor, Al Feldstein, in 1956. The phrase, “What, me worry?” soon became the motto of Mad Magazine. The two have been inseparable ever since. 

In the early days of the magazine the image of Neuman shifted a bit. It was finally standardized and set in concrete.

Feldstein hired Norman Mingo, an American commercial artist and illustrator to formalize the caricature. He told Mingo that he wanted the character to be loveable and have an intelligence behind his eyes. But to also have a devil-may-care attitude. He was supposed to be someone who could maintain a sense of humor while the world was collapsing around him.

Minus the mischievousness, the Lord Jesus Christ desires that all children of the King have the attitude of Alfred E. Neuman when it comes to the concerns of the world.

The Lord Jesus Christ asked a provocative, rhetorical question about worry: Can all your worries add a single moment to your life (Matthew 6:27)? Of course not.

What, me Alfred E Neuman?

If worrying about something does not actually help, why do it? Perhaps it is time to rethink this natural human propensity

REFLECT & PRAY

God doesn’t tell us to stop worrying over food and shelter and clothing because we don’t really need them; He knows we need them. We can stop worrying because He has promised to take care of the essentials (Stanley).

Father if birds and lilies have no concern regarding where they are going to find their next meal our how they look, but are totally taken care of by You, please encourage me to be like them and simply trust You.

INSIGHT

The propensity to worry seems to be part of human DNA. Fretting cannot lengthen life any more than it can put food on the table or clothes on the back (Matthew 6:27). Actually, worry really shortens life (Constable).

If worry accomplishes nothing helpful, our attitudes and emotions that fuel worry need to be revisited. God knows what we need and promises to supply it, why should we fret?

More importantly,  in Matthew 6 the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us not to worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life” (Matthew 6:25).

“So do not worry . . .” (Matthew 6:31).

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34).

In no sense does this mean that we should disregard planning and thinking about the future. Rather, it means that we should totally disregard the worry that so often accompanies them. Any carpenter worth their salt makes plans in advance, sketches out the final product, and acquires all the necessary materials and tools to build what is envisioned. What carpenters need not do is worry about what they are crafting. The Lord Jesus Christ knew this firsthand as a carpenter working for his human father Joseph in Galilee.

Sadly, for children of the King this is a reoccurring conundrum. He has asked us to have a single-minded devotion to Him, and seek first His kingdom. Being concerned about how things turn out is natural. But when worry dominates our thoughts, feelings, and activities, we become double-minded. We put first our own peace of mind and security. The Father gets the leftovers.

If we put our confidence and trust in the Father first, we can rest assured that He will take care of our lives and supply our needs

The Lord Jesus Christ supports His point with illustrations from the natural world of fauna and flora. It provides excellent object lessons from which we are able to observe and learn.

Birds seem to be almost tirelessly active and on the move. Yet in spite of their efforts they are greatly impacted by the forces of nature. But the Father sees that they are fed. Lilies, wildflowers, and grasses grow naturally. They do not really expend effort as animals do, yet they are beautifully adorned.

Matthew 6:28 Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin.

The Greek term, which is translated think about, observe, consider,is katamanthano. Katamanthano means to watch something carefully to learn from it. It is intellectual awareness that is gained through examination and reflection.

Flowers and grasses merely grow. They do not labor or strive. The Father adorns them for the natural environment in which they live.

If He takes care of birds and flowers, how much more will He take care of His children?

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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Drop your weapons

Drop your weapons

Be still and know that I am God. – Psalms 46:10
 
1 Kings 19:11-13

 11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Active listening involves more than just hearing someone speak. In involves fully concentrating on what is being said. It is quite natural to hear without really listening. Active listening redirects one’s focus away from their own thoughts to the words and thoughts of the one speaking. Our full attention is given to them. The goal is to comprehend, and retain what is being said. Then respond and act accordingly.

How often do children of the King seek to hear their Father’s voice? And when we do want to hear, what is our expectation? Sadly for many, very little communication actually takes place and we hear nothing. How does the Father speak?

“Only in the rarest of circumstances, and then usually in judgment, does God display His glory in blinding flashes impossible to ignore. Most of the time, we meet Him in the quietness of our hearts” (Stanley).

Psalms 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

The Hebrew word translated be still or cease striving is raphah. Raphah generally has the sense of to slacken, relax, decline, drop, let go, refrain, cease (NIDOTTE). We might say in modern colloquial English cool it or loosen up.

Raphah could well be translated, stop fighting, cease, be inactive, desist, do nothing, or drop your weapons (UBS). The traditional Be still is widely misunderstood as a command to be reverent and meditate on the blessings you have received (UBS).

The Hebrew word translated know is yada. Yada is used in the sense of acknowledge, recognize, admit, confess. Know that I am God can sometimes be translated “learn that I am God” or “see that I am God.

The Father desires that each of His children learn to hear Him when He whispers.

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

Gentle whisper has been translated various ways: gentle blowing, low whisper, soft whisper, and a still small voice.

REFLECT & PRAY

Quietness is essential to listening. If we are too busy to sit in silence in His presence; if we are preoccupied with thoughts or concerns about the day; if we have filled our minds for hour upon hour with carnal interference and aimless chatter – then we are going to have difficulty truly listening to that still, small voice of God (Stanley).

Father, enable me to develop and maintain an attitude of active listening before You. I want to be able to hear softest whisper.

INSIGHT

Elijah had been through a great deal of stress. He was discouraged and wanted to give up. He had run for his life. He was in hiding and despair. But the Father was gracious as always, He knew exactly what Elijah needed.

“All Elijah needed to get renewed for service was a fresh vision of the power and glory of God. First, the Lord caused a great wind to pass by, a wind so strong that it broke the rocks and tore the mountain, but no divine message came to the prophet. Then the Lord caused a great earthquake that shook the mount, but nothing from God came out of the earthquake. The Lord then brought a fire, but it, too, gave Elijah no message from the Lord.”

“What was God trying to accomplish in Elijah’s life by means of these awesome and frightening object lessons? For one thing, He was reminding His servant that everything in nature was obedient to Him (Psalms 148) – the wind, the foundations of the earth, the fire.”

“The wind, the earthquake, and the fire are all means that the Lord has used to manifest Himself to mankind. . . The pagan nations saw these great sights and worshiped the powers of nature, but when the Jews saw them, they worshiped the God who created nature. (Judges 5:4-5, Psalms 18:16-18, Habakkuk 3).”

“After this dramatic display of power, there was ‘a still, small voice,’ . . . When the prophet heard that voice, he stepped out of the cave and met the Lord. The mighty power and the great noise of the previous exhibitions didn’t stir Elijah, but when he heard the still, small voice, he recognized the voice of God.”

“God was saying to Elijah, ‘You called fire from heaven, you had the prophets of Baal slain, and you prayed down a terrific rainstorm, but now you feel like a failure. But you must realize that I don’t usually work in a manner that’s loud, impressive, and dramatic. My still, small voice brings the Word to the listening ear and heart. Yes, there’s a time and place for the wind, the earthquake and the fire, but most of the time, I speak to people in tones of gentle love and quiet persuasion.’”

“In this day of mammoth meetings, loud music, and high-pressure promotion, it’s difficult for some people to understand that God rarely works by means of the dramatic and the colossal. When He wanted to start the Jewish nation, He sent a baby – Isaac; and when He wanted to deliver that nation from bondage, He sent another baby – Moses. He sent a teenager named David to kill the Philistine giant, and the boy used a sling and a stone to do it. When God wanted to save a world, He sent His Son as a weak and helpless baby; and today, God seeks to reach that world through the ministry of ‘earthen vessels’ (2 Corinthians 4:7). Dr. J. Oswald Sanders states that ‘the whispers from Calvary are infinitely more potent than the thunder of Sinai in bringing men to repentance’’’ (Wiersbe).

When you ask to hear from the Father, what are your expectations?

Set aside times to “wait upon the Lord” in silence. You may find that late night or early morning is a good time of solitude and quiet for you. A noonday walk in the park may be a time when you can quiet your soul before the Lord. Ask the Lord to reveal to you a time and a place where you might turn off the cares and worries of the world for a few moments and listen to Him.

So often we spend our prayer time by talking to the Lord, without spending any time just waiting in silence to see what the Lord might have to say to us. Take time to intentionally be in silence before the Lord. Empty your mind of all other thoughts. Concentrate on His Word and His presence with you. Ask Him to speak to you (Stanley).

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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Disappointments are inevitable – discouragement is a choice

Disappointments are inevitable – discouragement is a choice

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! – 2 Corinthians 4:17

Romans 8:18-24

 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

 20 But with eager hope

 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

 24 We were given this hope when we were saved.

“Robert Louis Stevenson tells of an old farmer. Someone was sympathizing with him about his daily work amid the muck of the cowshed and asking him how he could go on doing it day in and day out, and the old man answered: ‘He that has something beyond need never weary’” (Barclay).

How we go through life is all a matter of our perspective.While disappointments are inevitable, discouragement is a choice.

The apostle Paul had a great attitude because he had a great perspective. He was not focused on the here and now. He was focused on the future glory that is the inheritance of each child of the King. In comparison to the glory that is coming and will last forever, anything that happens during our short period of time on earth, is but a mere trifle of no lasting importance.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

Glory is Pauline shorthand for all the blessings of our future inheritance in the age to come. In this sense, it is analogous to the Hope of our future with The Father.

Colossians 1:5 Your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven.

1 Peter 1:4 we have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

Of course when we are in the midst of our difficulties, it is hard to realize and believe that anything good could possibly come out of them. But what we experience is almost nothing compared to what occurred in Paul’s life. He learned to handle it, adapt, and overcome. Paul is attempting to help us and show us how to cope. He had learned that when in the middle of struggles, he could maintain a laser focus on the contrast between his present experiences and his future certain hope.

The differences were striking. His learned and practiced perspective got him through. On the one hand, his present difficulties were grievous, but on the other hand his rewards were pure glory. Thus, relatively speaking his difficulties were light while the rewards were heavy. His difficulties were short, momentary, while his rewards were eternal and everlasting.

2 Corinthians 4:17 could be translated:

“For our temporary lightness of affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory that is out of all proportion [to the affliction] (Kruse).

“For this momentary and light affliction of ours is producing for us to an utterly incomparable degree an eternal load of glory” (Harris).

REFLECT & PRAY

Our troubles are slight and short – lived (REB). The troubles we experience are small and they do not last long (USB).

Father let Your perspective become my perspective. Teach me to see things as you see them and respond appropriately.

INSIGHT

But there is more. While children of the King are undergoing difficulties on earth, they are being prepared for glory. An inner transformation has already begun.

Exodus 33:18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”

The Hebrew word translated glory is kabod. It is commonly used of the Father’s glorious presence. Kabod connotes something which is heavy, weighty, valuable, worthy, overwhelming, consequential, meaningful, momentous, portentous, significant, substantial. It is hard for us to wrap our arms around the idea. The Father’s glory is heavy! We might say today “supersized,” awesome, humongous, massive. Thus the presence of the Father is awesome and glorious.

Each child of the King is destined to be in His presence forever, that is our future hope of glory, our glory to come.

Paul’s choice of words the weight of glory was most probably influenced by the fact that in Hebrew, both weight and glory come from the same verbal stem KBD. Present suffering can be intense, brutal, and abusive, and in and of itself, it is not inconsequential. But in comparison to the coming future weight of glory it seems slight, even insignificant in the eternal scheme of things.

It is not so much that we are compensated for our present day suffering by future glory. Such an understanding and explanation is far too shallow. Rather, our future glory is the byproduct and outcome of our present difficulties. The more we grow and develop a right understanding and perspective, the more we are able to handle adversity appropriately. As a result, the greater the glory will be. The divine formula is straightforward and logical. As our proper response to suffering increases, so does our glory in the future.

We cannot begin to comprehend what the Father has in store for us. Imagine what it will be like to arrive and be welcomed into our eternal home. There the Father is standing, waiting. As you approach, He hands you a present. You unwrap it. You marvel at it. You ask, “is this really mine?” He answers yes dear one. You ask, “do I get to keep it forever?” He answers “yes.” You ask, “what is it for?”. He responds, “remember that time when you suffered so greatly? It is for that!” He continues, “and this large stack of specially wrapped gifts are for you also.” He smiles and says, “savor and enjoy sweet child of Mine, delight in your promised glory!”

Few and far between are children of the King, who through their lifetimes have learned the art and science of reacting properly to adversity. When you find one, they have a gentle and quiet spirit and confident outlook. As they have aged, these children of the King have developed a way of reacting to adversity that produces in them abundant glory in their lives on earth today. Any child of the King can do it. The opportunity is there and the choice is ours.

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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The short answer is Nothing

The short answer is Nothing

Long ago the LORD said: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. – Jeremiah 31:3

Romans 5:8-10

 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality” (Martin Luther King Jr).

Unconditional love is known as affection, positive regard without any limitations, or conditions. It has no bounds and never wanes or changes. The Scriptures do not use the term unconditional love explicitly. But it would be an excellent translation of the Greek word agape. Agape is indicative of the Father’s love for people irrespective of their love for Him. There are no preconditions or conditions to the Father’s unconditional love.

What must we do to qualify for the Father’s love, care, and comfor

The short answer is Nothing

The long answer is that the Father is love and He has chosen to love fallen, sinful creatures. His response to sin, my sin, is to love and forgive me through the death of His Son. Before we were His children, we were not neutral, innocent bystanders. We were His enemies and outcasts from His Forever Family.

How can we be certain of the Father’s unconditional love? How did He demonstrate it? The death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fact He died for us, is the quintessential evidence of the Father’s love.

But the wonder of the Lord Jesus Christ is that He died for us when we are weak, ungodly, undeserving sinners, in a state of hostility to God. Love can go no further than that (Barclay).

REFLECT & PRAY

If the Father loved us while we were alienated from Him and were His enemies, now that we are His beloved children, what can we expect Him to do?

Father it is almost inconceivable to accept the fact and believe that You love me just as I am. And yet, it is so. Thank You so much.

INSIGHT

The nation of Israel was chosen unconditionally. The Father selected Abraham to become the father of the nation of Israel. Then Isaac was chosen, followed by Jacob. And Jacob’s 12 sons became the 12 tribes of Israel. The Father sovereignly chose them out of love. They were not better than anybody else nor special beforehand.

Deuteronomy 7:7-9 

 7 “The LORD did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations!

 8 Rather, it was simply that the LORD loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the LORD rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

 9 Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.

But now everything is different. The Father has a special place in His heart for them.

Zechariah 2:8
For thus says the LORD of hosts. . . for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.

Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

 Can this everlasting relationship ever be abrogated? What would it take for the Father to sever His relationship with the nation of Israel and allow her to be destroyed?

Jeremiah spells it out very clearly.

Jeremiah 31:35-37 

 35 It is the LORD who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says:

 36 “I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”

 37 This is what the LORD says: “Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done. I, the LORD, have spoken!

The short answer is Nothing!

The Father has an everlasting relationship with each of His children. Can it ever be abrogated? What would it take for the Father to sever His relationship His children?

Paul spells it out very clearly.

Romans 8:35-39

 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?

 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The short answer is Nothing!

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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Staying power

Staying power

Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most enduring symbols of what the United States of America represents to hundreds of millions of people down through the decades since her creation in 1886. She is recognized as the universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tablet inscribed with Roman numerals “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776). She stands 305 feet tall including the pedestal. The copper statue itself is 151 feet high. She has stood tall welcoming newcomers to America for over a century.

Approaching its centennial, this icon of freedom was rapidly deteriorating. A French-American restoration committee was established in 1981. Substantial work was needed to be done to ensure the Statue’s preservation into the next century. There were thousands of holes pitting the copper surface caused by a century of salt-air exposure.

The most serious problems for Lady Liberty were the disintegration of the torch-bearing arm and the platform at the head level. Support girders in the center of the structure were significantly eroded. The insulating layer between the copper sheet of the statue and the iron bands had deteriorated. The torch was irreversibly damaged and needed to be replaced.

The renovation of the Statue of Liberty required $230 million in private funding. The copper skin was repaired and replaced where necessary. The flame and upper portion of the torch were completely replaced with an exact replica of the original torch.

On July 4, 1986, America threw a birthday party for the Statue of Liberty. President Ronald Reagan declared, “We are the keepers of the flame of liberty; we hold it high for the world to see.”

She has real staying power.

For children of the King, staying power comes from confident faith. Confident faith is a mindset, an attitude a stance of faith that each child of the King can have. Charles Stanley calls this “great faith.”

Our outward frame can grow old and waste away, but our inward self can be renewed, revitalized and strengthened every day. What happens within is not controlled by what happens without. From a spiritual point of view, life is climbing up a hill that leads to the permanent and eternal presence of the Father (Barclay).

REFLECT & PRAY

Yard by yard, life is hard! Inch by will inch, life’s a cinch (John Bytheway)!

Father I have finally begun to understand the staying power of ongoing day by day inner spiritual rejuvenation You provide. Thank You for Your wonderful gift.

INSIGHT

Why was Paul so confident? His indomitable outlook is driven by logic. If the Lord Jesus Christ had conquered the last enemy we face, death itself, then why be distressed with subordinate concerns? He truly had nothing to fear from life or death (Wiersbe). Death is swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54) and along with it anything of lesser magnitude.

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

The Greek terms translated do not lose heart, do not despair are ouk egkakoumen. The Greek verb egkakeo has a broad semantic range and can be translated: become discouraged, give up, shrink back, waiver, neglect one’s duty, grow lax, despair, behave badly, give in to evil, lose courage. In colloquial English, today we might say, “throw in the towel and give up.”

Although outwardly, Paul’s body was wearing out, his inner spiritual vitality was revitalized and growing from day to day. As Paul relentlessly pressed on to fulfill his service to the Father, his physical strength was being depleted and wearing down. Yet the more Paul spent himself physically for the gospel’s sake, the more his spiritual resilience grew. Awareness of this proportional paradox changes everything. We are able to grow weaker and yet stronger simultaneously. He was onto regenerative health way before it’s time in the 21st century.

A.W. Tozer stated that the invisible world described in the Bible was the only “real world.” The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, had staying power because they “saw the invisible” (Hebrews 11:10, 13-14, 27).

Paul wrote with eternity in view. Paul explained that while the “outward person” diminishes, the “inward person” undergoes daily spiritual renewal. The Father provides whatever grace, mercy, and strength we need when we need it (Hebrews 4:16). When we learn to live one day at a time, confident of the Father’s care, outward circumstances remain, but our inward stress and care are reduced. Though we weary outwardly we are continually strengthened inwardly.

Staying power and spiritual vitality are the Father’s gifts to each of His children. Inward peace and rest are now within our grasp.

Philippians 4:6-7

 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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The myth of impartiality

The myth of impartiality

Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. – Matthew 22:16

John 2:24-25

 24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men,

 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.

There is a myth circulating that it is possible to be impartial. Yet it seems everyone has their own personal opinions, preferences, or biases. When you go to buy doughnuts what kind do you purchase? How do you feel about others that do not like what you like? Individuality, diversity, and personal preferences are part of the fallen DNA. Humankind is essentially tribal and favors their own particular group or kind whatever that may be. Football fans can be intensely loyal to their team and intensely dislike others, particularly rivals.

What is bias?

Bias consists of attitudes, behaviors, and actions that are prejudiced in favor of or against one person or group compared to another.

What is implicit bias?

Implicit bias is a form of bias that occurs automatically and unintentionally, that nevertheless affects judgments, decisions, and behaviors. An implicit bias is an unconscious association, belief, or attitude toward any social group. Implicit bias may often attribute certain qualities or characteristics to all members of a particular group, a phenomenon known as stereotyping (https://www.verywellmind.com/).

It is there, but we are generally unaware of its presence. The 500 pound gorilla is that EVERYBODY has implicit bias including those that charge others of having implicit bias.

Who decides which group or groups are favored and which are not?? When wrongs are done, what appropriate action can be taken to right the wrong if any? But perhaps, the most telling question is if someone is in control of the process, then “Who controls the controllers?”

Implicit bias is analogous to the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The autonomic nervous system acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions. It oversees and controls heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, etc. It is there, but we are generally unaware of its presence.

A line between preference and diversity is crossed when it becomes disdain, prejudice, and outright hatred.

In the 21st century, the recognition of implicit bias became an engine to drive social and cultural change. Yet people are left somewhat dumbfounded by the charge because it strikes so close to home. Most are capable recognizing and acknowledging their conscious bias, so surely insidious implicit bias must be lurking under the surface. Further, most children of the King recognize the evil of blind, hateful prejudice and truly want it eradicated.

It is part of the collateral damage of the Fall. The entire human race is tainted by it. Is there any way to escape? The Father has shown the way.

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Has anyone ever lived that was totally free of bias toward any individual or group? There has only been one: The Lord Jesus Christ. Although these words were spoken by his enemies, they are absolutely correct.

Matthew 22:16 Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.

REFLECT & PRAY

Our soulishness and flesh along with the pressures of the present evil age, exert pressure for us to conform. We must resist and be transformed and renewed in our hearts and minds.  

Father help me to escape the evils of bias and prejudice through inner transformation and changing the way I think. Help me to know and carry out Your will and act in a way which is pleasing in Your sight.

INSIGHT

The Father God is truly impartial. On the one hand, He loves all of humanity equally. Therefore His love compelled Him to resolve the problem of the separation that existed between Himself and fallen humanity.

John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

The Scriptures make it quite clear.

Romans 2:11 For there is no partiality with God.

The Greek word translated partiality is prosopolempsia. Prosopolempsia comes from prosopon face and lambanein to lift up. This word is used only in Christian literature. It literally means to receive the face. That is, to accept somebody based upon their appearance or other external considerations. In addition to Romans 2:11, it is found in Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, and James 2:1. There is no “face-receiving” with the Father. Nor should there be with children of the King.

The source of “face-receiving” is probably the Old Testament where a similar figure of speech is used

Leviticus 19:15 You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.

The phrase translated you shall not be partial in the Hebrew is nasa panim. Nasa panim could literally be translated lift up the face. That is be partial, defer to someone based upon appearance or status.

Deuteronomy 10:17 For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.

And why is this so? Because God the Father is the one who created the human race and everything else that is.

Job 34:19 He doesn’t care how great a person may be, and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor. He made them all.

The Father is not concerned at all about a person’s appearance, wealth, social status, gender, or class. He is totally impartial. The King James version put it like this, God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). He does not show favoritism. He has no implicit bias nor explicit bias.

What are implications for children of the King. We are to strive to be impartial as our Father is impartial.

2 Chronicles 19:7 “Now then let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe.”

Romans 12:18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw everyone to Myself.”

Children of the King are to strive to draw all people to their King.

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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Nephilim

Nephilim

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days (and also after this) when the sons of God were having sexual relations with the daughters of man, who gave birth to their children. They were the mighty heroes of old, the famous men. – Genesis 6:4

Numbers 13:33 There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.

Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Numbers 13:25-33

 25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned

 26 to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land.

 27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country – a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.

 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!

 30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”

 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.

 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

The mythology of the Greeks and the Romans, as well as that of the Ancient Near East, tell tales and stories of superhumans and giants who were part human and part god. Consider Hercules or the Titans, such as Cyclops and Atlas. Hercules was the greatest of all Greek heroes. According to Greek mythology he was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. He was a half-god of superhuman strength.

Have giants really roamed the earth? Some translations of the Old Testament seem to indicate that that was indeed the case.

Enter the Nephilim. Who were the Nephilim and where did they come from? Are they the legendary giants of antiquity and folklore? This plural word is used only twice in the Old Testament Scriptures Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33. The precise meaning of the term is uncertain. Nephilim literally means “fallen ones.”

The actual Hebrew term is Nephilim. It is simply transliterated into English as Nephilim. When the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, was translated from Hebrew into Greek, Nephilim was rendered as gigantes in Greek. The English word giants is derived from this word. When the King James version was translated, Nephilim, itwas rendered as giants. Many modern translations use this term in Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33.

But the Scriptures do not refer to them specifically as giants as we would use the term today. What exactly do the Scriptures say?

Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God had sexual relations the daughters of men, and they gave birth to the children. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

According to Genesis 6:4, the Nephilim became mighty, fierce, and violent warriors. They were well known and famous in the antediluvian world.

Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan on a reconnaissance mission to find out if it was truly a land flowing with milk and honey, how well was it fortified, and what kind of people lived there (Numbers 13:33). The Scriptures state that Nephilim were present. It adds a detail that is not present in Genesis 6:4.Further that they were huge men. The spies declared, that compared to the Nephilim, they were as tiny as grasshoppers in their own sight (Numbers 13:33). Could this fearful exaggeration be a rationalization to attempt to halt the invasion of Canaan?

The most famous of the Nephilim was Goliath of Gath, a Philistine, who was six cubits and a span or about 9 feet 9 inches in height (1 Samuel 17:4).

If all human life on earth was destroyed except for Noah and those that accompanied him on the ark, the Nephilim were part of the human gene pool of the humans that survived. They were the descendants of Adam and Eve.

In modern times, very tall humans are seen quite frequently on basketball teams. Many are over seven feet tall. In addition, there are real giants among us in modern times. Many of whom are 8-9 feet tall. In childhood, their pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone (somatotropin) producing gigantism.

REFLECT & PRAY

Sometimes understanding the Scriptures is difficult. We choose to study the Scriptures, not because they are easy but hard.

Father thank You for giving us the ability to reason and the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of the magnificent Word of God (Ephesians 3:18).

INSIGHT

The Golden Rule of Interpretation states: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, give it no other sense.” When we seek to understand the Scriptures, we need to let them speak for themselves in the context in which they are found. We use a literal, grammatical, and historical method. It asks the question: what did it mean to person writing it or speaking it, what did it mean to those that heard it?

How does The Golden Rule of Interpretation apply to Genesis 6:1-4? In Genesis 4, the descendants of Seth and Cain are delineated. Seth and his descendants were noted for their godliness (Genesis 4:25-26, Genesis 5). While the descendants of Cain were noted for their ungodliness (Genesis 4:11-15).

Genesis 6:1-4

 1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,

 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God had sexual relations the daughters of men, and they gave birth to the children. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

Without reading in ideas from other parts of Scripture or Jewish or Christian traditions, the most obvious explanation is that the sons of God were the godly line through Seth and the daughters of men were the ungodly line through Cain. They intermarried. Some of them would have been Nephilim.

The earth was soon filled with wickedness and evil. As a result, the Father selected Noah, a righteous, godly man, to preserve male and female pairs of animals and eight human beings from the global flood.

No fallen angels are mentioned anywhere in Genesis 6:1-4. Further, living creatures reproduce “after their kind” (Genesis 1). If, as many suggest, fallen angels somehow transformed themselves into male humans, married female humans, and had intercourse with them, where did the DNA come from to produce offspring?

Sometimes the Scriptures are quite puzzling and leave us scratching our heads. But the same was true even of the apostle Peter.

2 Peter 3:15-16

 15 This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him

 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

It is incumbent upon each child of the King to study and research for themselves and find the best resources they can to help them better understand the Word of God. The King James Version puts it like this.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This reflection is a bit different, but it comes in response to a question that I was asked.

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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