“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
Over the last several posts we have explored how man’s need for God translates into man’s need for the indwelling life of Christ. We have discussed man’s need for God both individually and corporately, though, we have barely scratched the surface, especially that of the latter. We began our discussion in the early chapters of Genesis, the earliest origin of man’s account in Scripture. Going as far back in time as possible, we discovered the basic tenets of God’s eternal purpose for man have been there from the beginning. God’s purpose has always been for man to possess the abiding life of Christ, so God could share His fellowship with mankind. God’s plan has endured only by God’s endless pursuit of fallen man, to redeem for Himself a people with which to dwell.
The “law of Adam” exposed the sin within the hearts of Adam & the woman God had given him. They both sought to be like God, in knowledge and strength, apart from Him. Their story is an account of how man, apart from the help of God, fails to keep the first great command, to love the Lord your God with all heart, soul, mind and strength. The story of Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel, reveals how man, apart from the help of God, fails to keep the second great command, to love our fellow person as our self. Truly nothing new under the sun has taken place from the first days of creation until now, apart from Christ.
As people multiplied upon the earth the civilization of man apart from God proved no more virtuous or loving. In judgment, Cain was cursed to wander the earth a lonely soul, isolated from the righteous faithful. Eventually Cain built a city and his descendants proved just as hard and callous as their patriarch. As antiquity continued to unfold, the daughters of men mingled themselves with the sons of God, seeking greatness apart from God. Self-exalted demi-gods were born bringing destruction and oppression to the world. Again, God’s merciful judgment brought salvation to the few faithful righteous, and the world was cleansed of sin by a torrential water baptism (the Flood.)
Mankind, under the tyrannical rule of Nimrod, built another city apart from God, the city-state Babylon. They established themselves under this false demi-god, Nimrod or Marduk, and built a tower unto heaven (a religious epicenter) for the purpose of the false worship of idols. (See our previous series: Another Brick In the Wall.) The military industrial complex of earliest Babylonian origins was thwarted by God’s merciful judgment. God reveals his patience towards mankind by separating their language, thus impeding mankind’s ability to lean upon their own humanistic acumen. Dividing the collective knowledge of mankind served to preserve God’s plan of sending a promised Deliverer (Gen 3:15). Eventually the grandeur and splendor of God’s plan would be revealed to his faithful chosen.
“I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me— Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush— and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” (Psalm 87:4)
We have spent much time looking back as it were, but the same archetypal themes echo throughout history into the present day as civilization continues to ignore the life of Jesus Christ and live instead apart from His abiding. In our next two posts we will turn our heads, looking forward into the New.
For now, just as the same story of fallen man and fallen civilization repeats itself, so does the story of God’s remnant faithful. The message of hope for mankind echoes greater! Following the devastating murder of Abel, Adam & Eve continued to hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises. Seth was born, and then Seth had a son, Enosh.
“At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26)
As men were awakened to the depravity of their own heart and increasingly looked for the promised deliverer, men in faith began crying out to the Lord in prayer. God would preserve for Himself as time passed on a faithful remnant of men who walked with God. Enoch walked with God and was taken. Noah walked with God and was saved, both he and his family. Abraham believed God, and his faith was imputed to him as righteousness. To Abraham the covenant was given. Through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the scarlet thread of Hope would continue until through Moses the promised Deliverer would be revealed along with the powerful blood of the Passover lamb. God, through Moses, would make for Himself a great nation upon the earth.
Through Israel the picture God was painting would be made clearer. God longed for fellowship with His people. The Ark of the Covenant, the Law of God and the Temple were established for the kingdom of Israel, these all pointing to God’s desire to abide with man and extend His fellowship. With an obstinate heart, Israel would turn from God, be punished, return to Him, only to quickly turn again from their God. Scripture calls them a stiff-necked people. Israel proved even the best attempts at outward obedience cannot hold a candle to the life of Christ abiding within, but the time of the messiah had not yet come. Despite Israel’s unfaithfulness, God would preserve for Himself a remnant of faithful servants to fulfill His plan.
External artifacts of religious ceremony and outward attempts at representing heaven here on earth were only weak examples of what God had in mind. Eventually a new work would be done under the Son. The promised Deliverer, faithful and true, would make a way for all nations to be made new in Him. Today, we are living in that day. Today, there is no longer a temple built by hands. Our bodies are living temples and the Law of God is written on our hearts in Christ Jesus.
In the coming posts we will look at the power of corporate worship of God in and through Jesus Christ.
We ended last time with Adam’s newfound faith. Adam believed the promise of God that through the seed of woman a deliverer would come, and as testimony to this he named his wife, Eve.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It really is too simple. All God asks is that we trust Him, and to trust Him is simply to acknowledge Him. This is not so much an action as it is a gesture. God just wants us to turn our attention to Him and to acknowledge Him and abandon our own methods and ways for Him. Previously we have discussed the need to have the life of Christ indwelling. We must eat of this Tree of Life. To eat of this tree, we must exchange our knowledge for His understanding. If, on the contrary, we refuse to acknowledge Him and instead ignore Him, we will prove just how sinister this heart of ours can be.
After the fall but prior to the birth of Cain, God issued merciful judgment upon Adam & Eve by casting them from the Garden of Eden lest they eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen condition. God’s judgments are always merciful. This may never be proven more true than with the life of their firstborn son, the would-be messiah, Cain. Many scholars agree, Adam & Eve believed the birth of Cain to be the very fulfillment of God’s prophetic foretelling of a deliverer to come (Genesis 3:15). God did say the deliverer would come through her seed. With great significance and unprecedented hope, the story of Cain begins.
“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.’ (a) Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.” (Genesis 4:1-2a)
In light of God’s promise for a deliverer Eve names her firstborn son, Cain, meaning Acquired! The birth of Abel in relation to Cain is a sidebar. Notice, in contrast to Cain, the birth of Abel is almost an afterthought. Eve makes a proclamation at the birth of Cain, but “Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.” Before we’re even told Abel’s name we’re reminded he is Cain’s brother. See how insignificant Abel is in comparison.
These two brothers would mature and choose a path.
“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.” (Genesis 4:2b)
Cain continued in his father’s footsteps, a farmer, while Abel grew up to become a shepherd. Remember, God originally placed Adam in the garden to work the soil and manage the garden. Cain no doubt considered this to be a God-ordained vocation. This statement is proven true in the next few verses as it came time for both of them to present an offering before the Lord.
“In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” (Genesis 4:2b-5)
If you’re searching for why Cain’s offering was rejected, know this — There is no instruction given by God prior to their offering to make clear what would please Him. That Abel chose to raise sheep and Cain chose to farm seems of no great significance, either, in view of this story; except that God had previously cursed the ground, declaring, “You will eat from it by means of painful labor.” Concerning what God would require in terms of sacrifice nothing was said. The simple truth is Abel’s offering pleased the Lord and Cain’s offering did not. This seems cruel, but this often is where the story gets misconstrued. Let’s continue.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’” (Genesis 4:6-7)
We must see, though God was not particularly pleased with Cain’s sacrifice, he did not reject the person of Cain. Rejecting the offering is not the same as rejecting the offeror. In other words, this was not personal. God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34.) God was not showing preference for Abel. Why God rejected Cain’s sacrifice is of less significance here. God makes clear to Cain what is most important; there is a way to be accepted!
Just as God looked upon lonely Adam and promised him a helper
Just as God looked upon sinful Adam and Eve and promised them a deliverer
So also now did God look upon sad Cain and promised him acceptance
“Now, Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’
“‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’”
“The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’” (Genesis 4:8-10)
In anger and frustration, Cain failed to acknowledge a rather obvious point. The offering was not about Cain; the offering was about bringing pleasure to God. Therefore, whatever was found pleasing in God’s sight should be all that matters. In acknowledging God in this way Cain would have grown in his knowledge of God. In considering Cain’s offering, notice God wasn’t rejecting anything as much as He simply looked with favor upon one offering and not the other. God looked with favor upon, “The fat-portions from some of the flock.” He was not pleased with, “fruits of the soil.” Remember, the soil was cursed from sin. In other words, God rejected the produce which came from laboring under the curse of sin and death. Instead, he found pleasure in that which was offered in exchange for man’s blood, sweat and tears; the sacrificial blood of a lamb.
When God cursed the ground he said, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.” (3:19a) Some translations render the word for “food” here bread. Jesus, the Living Bread, showed us a new way.
“‘Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’
“Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’
“Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’” (John 6:27-29)
What receives God’s seal of approval is His Son. The only labor God requires is trusting faith in Jesus Christ. This is how we eat of this Living Bread. Abel is a Christ-type here, but he is also a foreshadowing of one whose worship was found acceptable and pleasing unto God. Cain ignored his brother’s example and consequently failed to acknowledge God. The indwelling life of the Son within us is the only thing the Father finds pleasing in our worship to begin with; therefore, let us acknowledge God, eat of the Bread of Life and acknowledge the life of Christ within all the priesthood of believers.
We will continue in the coming posts to explore mankind’s corporate need for God.
a) See former post: The Making of a Monster
Today begins a series that is much larger than the writer singularly. I will do my best to speak to the concepts chosen as the focal point, but know from the start the subject-matter is bigger than any one man. The subject of this series is the riches of the indwelling life of God for mankind in plural form. In a previous series we discussed the need each person has individually for the indwelling life of Christ. We ended that discussion talking about worshipping God as we abide in Christ. In this new series we will begin sort of where we left off with Adam & Eve, fallen. Adam & Eve transform from a singular unit (even in marriage they are one) and begin to grow and multiply into a truly plural state. As a body of believers we mature in our knowledge of Christ in love and multiply. In the same way, Eve matured in the knowledge of Adam, and as they knew one another so also did they multiply into a family.
From Genesis chapter one we understand God made man in His image. The word for man in the original language is ‘adam, which we also recognize as the first man’s name, Adam. The word man or ‘adam can be used as both a singular or plural reference and is not gender specific. God further makes these distinctions, lest we misunderstand the linguistics, in a statement He makes concerning their creation.
“So God created mankind (‘adam) in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
A thorough study of this passage will reveal the NIV over the KJV translation provides the best understanding of this verse; that God created mankind (gender and quantity neutral) in His image. Mankind was created with male and female distinctions, but both individually and corporately they reflect the image of God. How often have you heard teaching that makes this point clear? We most often are told something to the effect: you and I (individually) were created in the image of God. Much teaching revolves then around how you and I (individually) should relate to God. But there is a higher understanding of the image of God that we must consider to truly fellowship with God and to properly fellowship with one another in Christ.
The Godhead itself is a relationship. Father, Son and Spirit make up God. The Life of the Father flows as Spirit through the Son, and the Son returns His Life in love to the Father. The Spirit is the material of Life within the Godhead. What an amazing truth to discover! This truth alone is a subject we have no time to scratch the surface of. It is covered in length in Milt Rodriguez’s book, The Temple Within as well as in Frank Viola’s book, From Eternity to Here.
Just as there is relationship in the Godhead, so also there is relationship within humanity. We are both of singular and plural form. Sometimes we refer to this relationship as community or a lesser meaningful term, civilization. Where in Genesis 1 we were created to reflect the image of God, by Genesis 3 this image was unrecognizable. Mankind in fallen state and apart from the indwelling life of God does not properly reflect the image of God. Unfortunately, the body of believers in redemptive state often does not reflect the true image of God any better, stemming from a lack of knowing Christ in spirit and in truth.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
To know God in spirit and in truth, in heart and in reality, is to love God with all our being. Again, we covered some of this in the final post of the former series. However! One thing we did not discuss in our study of the word worship was that the word literally means to draw in for a kiss. The concept is of bowing or pulling one’s hand towards a kiss. The question of who draws who is not as clear in the word as is the emphasis on humility towards this act of love. Like the words in a popular worship song, So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss the real heart of a worshippers abandon themselves to Love Himself. Worship is the act of loving.
The act of loving can be ridiculous. The phrase “sloppy wet kiss” was met with a lot of reaction when the worship song I mentioned, How He Loves Us, first came to the masses. In fact, some artists changed the words to “unforeseen kiss” feeling it would make a more palatable lyric. I don’t mean to be overly critical of the recording artists, but the truth is “sloppy wet kiss” seems to best convey what God has in mind. Either way, the imagery of a kiss was left intact. Just that idea alone to many, of kissing God (sloppy wet or unforeseen), seems a bit ridiculous for us to imagine and undignified for God.
True worshippers often are met with ridicule. One example of this is when David danced like a crazy man before the ark of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:15-17.) David was despised and ridiculed by his own wife, Michal. You see, there is a false notion of worship that creeps into the heart of many people. It is from this deception that many seek to ridicule and even eradicate the undignified among us. This arrogant spirit can be impossible to detect from outward appearance.
As Jesus was speaking to his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane he encountered a false worshipper. Judas, who brought the Roman soldiers with him to seize Jesus, identified his lord with a false act of love.
“While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” (Luke 22:47-48)
Peter, later that evening, would be too afraid to acknowledge Christ, but Judas, on the contrary, was more than willing to identify Jesus and even approach him as a worshipper! Judas drew in for a kiss but not with the true heart of worship. Judas sought self-glory. Peter was afraid. One heart was unyielding to love; the other would later be healed by it.
True worship requires humility, and if mankind is going to reflect the image of God, a corporate body of worshippers must learn to worship and serve one another together in humility. Jesus showed us the way in this, and as we continue in our study I hope the image will become clearer and clearer.
We left off last time with Adam and Eve in a very negative state, the fall. Adam, not living in God, was made in His likeness and possessed the capacity for fellowship with God and yet rejected that life. After the fall, God came to Adam and Eve in their nakedness and shame with several judgments and one particular promise; a promise that through woman a deliverer would come. The story of Adam begins to take a positive direction, though; it will get worse before it truly gets better.
As a testimony of Adam’s faith in the promise of God he names his wife, Eve, meaning “life” or “living.” This is where we will begin our next post.
Last Monday I began a 5-part series on man’s need for God. Next Monday a second 5-part series will complete our study. Today’s post is an excerpt taken from James Boice’s unparalleled study of Genesis concerning the birth and naming of Cain that contains important teaching for understanding some of what we will discuss next week.
In one form or another, every parent has that hope for his or her child. But in the whole history of the human race there has never been a greater measure of hope for any child than the hope of Adam and Eve at the birth of their first child, Cain.
Proof of this statement is by taking the reaction of Adam and Eve to Cain’s birth in conjunction with the promise of God to send a deliverer (Gen. 3:15). The first man and woman had expected to die as the result of God’s judgment on them for their sin in eating of the forbidden tree. God had said, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But they did not die, at least not then. Instead, God promised a deliverer to be born of the woman (Gen. 3:15). Adam and Eve believed God’s promise, and Adam showed his [new found] faith in God by naming his wife Eve, meaning “life” or “life-giver.” She was the one through whom the promised salvation would come.
All this happened before Eve had produced any children, as we have seen. In fact, it happened even before she became pregnant. So, later, after they left the Garden of Eden, when Eve did become pregnant, the event was wonderful beyond description. Neither the man nor woman had ever seen a pregnancy or birth before. So the wonder of birth was increased many times in their experience. Not only was there to be new life. It was to be the promised life, the One who should destroy the work of Satan and restore people to Paradise once more.
Adam and Eve must have counted the months, weeks, and days. Nine months, eight months, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, two weeks, one week… At last the child was born, and Eve held in her arms the one whom both she and Adam thought was the deliverer. How delighted they were! They did not know that they actually held in their arms a little murderer and that the tragic history of the human race, written in blood, had begun.
This much of the story is evident from the parts of it we have already considered, but it is expressed in particularly poignant terms at the start of Genesis 4. The story says, “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (v. 1). This translation unfortunately does not give the full force of what Eve said. We need to notice two things. First, the word “Cain” either sounds like or is actually based on the Hebrew verb qanah, which means “acquired.” So when Eve says that she has “brought forth” or “acquired” a man from the Lord, she is either punning on the name Cain or actually explaining why that name was given to her first child. In view of the promise of a deliverer, the name probably means “Here he is” or “I’ve gotten him.” Eve called her son “Here he is” because she thought the deliverer had been sent by God.
Second, Eve did not actually say, as the New International Version and most other English versions translate, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” The words “with the help of” are not in the Hebrew text but are merely an English way of rendering what the majority of translators think the text means. Actually, they translate the Hebrew participle or preposition ‘eth. This word is usually the mark of the accusative, though it can also mean “with,” the idea the translators followed when they rendered it “with [the help of]” the Lord. If it is the former, ‘eth makes the word following it the object of the action of the sentence. In this case, the sentence would mean “I have brought forth… the Lord.” In my judgment this meaning should be preferred for linguistic and theological reasons, because ‘eth also occurs in the front of the word “Cain” earlier in the sentence, which puts the two parts in parallel construction. Together they read, “She bore ‘eth-Cain, and she said, ‘I have brought forth a man, ‘eth-Jehovah.’”
If so, Eve would not have been claiming to have given birth to God but rather would have been using the word [Jehovah] in a broader sense meaning perhaps “the one who brings into being,” “gives life,” or “delivers.”
In this case, the best translation of Eve’s words would be, “I have brought forth a man, even the deliver.” Yet she had not, as we know. She had given birth to a killer rather than Christ.
— Genesis: An Expositional Commentary, vol. 1, chpt 34
Next week we will begin the new study.
This is the final post in this series on man’s need for God singularly. A second, related series is scheduled to begin Monday, February 25th, and will focus on our need for God corporately.
We covered a lot of ground over the last four posts. Today we will rap everything up in our discovery of true worship.
As we saw in yesterday’s post, ritual worship, otherwise known as religion can exist in a pure form. Religion pleasing to God takes place when we lovingly fellowship with and embrace the least of these among us. Visiting and ministering to those in need is true religious devotion to God. Religion fulfills the lesser of the Great Command, being, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Today, we will crescendo with a discussion of the worship that fulfills the greater aspect of this Great Command, being, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”
The most commonly used word for worship in the New Testament is proskyneō (προσκυνέω.) This word for worship is used by Jesus in response to satan’s temptation and in his conversation with the woman at the well.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:8)
To the woman at the well: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24)
Like the biblical definitions for love, faith, wisdom and religion, we are also blessed with a simple definition of this word worship in Romans 12:1.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”
To worship God in spirit and truth is to offer our entire being; physical body, mental faculties, inner soul and reborn spirit as a living sacrifice. This is the Abiding Principle, “Abide in me; and I in you.” It is not enough to be in proximity to God, as we’ve seen with Adam. It is not sufficient for God to make the gift of grace available to us. This gift requires a response that involves the surrender of our whole life as a living sacrifice to Him.
Just as there is pure, undefiled religious worship, so there is a fake, corrupted form of religion that seeks to take root in the heart of men. Adam & Eve exercised this false religion when they took the flesh and ate of the tree of the knowledge of high-brow moral philosophy and conflict. Equipped with a cynical view of God, seeded from the deceitful speak of the serpent, they believed this forbidden knowledge would make them like God. Foolishness in that Adam and Eve were both created already in God’s likeness. For those of higher education it is often difficult to see the dignity in those not as highly educated. For instance, seminary education sets many church leaders up to be unable to even recognize that common men within their congregations possess spiritual gifts necessary for the body. Higher education is not bad, but it must surrender first to the headship of Christ. Self-made demi-gods, however, seek superior knowledge on things like ethics, philosophy, the art of war, and science to replace the need for Christ. God warned Adam this way would lead to death, but Adam despised his lowly estate as a farmer in God’s garden. As a result mankind’s need for a Helper was magnified one thousand times that of his original need.
Adam’s response to satan should have echoed Jesus’ words, “Away from me, satan! Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” But these words always come up short from a man seeking his own glory. Knowledge apart from God and false religious devotion are the precipices for an evil civilization. In our next series we will develop the subject of the tree of knowledge taking deeper root in corporate form, but we will leave it here for now. Spiritual death took its root with Adam’s sin, and mankind was separated from his chance to eat of the tree of life.
Mankind has proven his experiment with the fruit of the tree of knowledge a failure. It has produced nothing but turmoil, war and oppression. Slaves to sin and death mankind is in need of a Helper like never before. In the tree of knowledge forgiveness does not exist. The power to forgive is found only in the Living Light of Love. The atonement for the sins of the first Adam can only be found in the sacrificial death of the second Adam. To worship God in spirit and truth now requires of man the fruit of repentance.
Jesus taught his disciples that to gain life one must be willing to surrender their life.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26)
This is true worship, this is the fruit of repentance, and this is how one loves God. To worship God is to love Him, and to open our hearts to God’s love is to worship. We cry out as the Psalmist, “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray,” and again, “Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.” God promised a suitable helper before man ever found his way into trouble.
The story of Adam is contrasted with the story of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Daniel and others who all learned the importance of crying out to God for help. These men of faith are testimonies to the strength found in the Rock of Help. One final story I think best illustrates man’s need of a helper. It is the story of the Ebenezer stone.
Before Israel ever demanded a king and before the kingdom ever fell into captivity they were ruled by judges appointed by God. The last judge appointed to Israel was the prophet Samuel who was used by God to deliver Israel from bondage. In the book of First Samuel chapter seven we find the children of Israel once again having strayed from Jehovah. They are under captivity to the Philistines as punishment for their sin.
“When [the Israelites] had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, ‘We have sinned against the Lord.’ Now Samuel was serving as leader of Israel at Mizpah.
When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, ‘Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.’
Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.
While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites.
The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.”
Samuel cried out on behalf of the Israelites, offered a sacrificial lamb as payment for their sins and the Lord God was faithful to deliver them from their oppression. Upon this great deliverance Samuel worshipped the Lord God and erected a monument to God’s honor.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”
Today, we can call upon the name of Jesus, not Samuel, with whom we can make direct intercession. Today, the atonement for our sins has been made through the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Today, we can pray directly to Christ for salvation from the oppression of our sin. We can surrender our lives in loving worship to the God who saves and rest in the arms of our Helper. In this true spiritual act of worship we are accepted as a living sacrifice, acceptable unto God, made to be an Ebenezer stone to the testimony of God’s help.
This is God’s promise to mankind today. A passage that has been so violated by false teachers that it has lost its meaning. Read it in light of Romans 12:1.
“Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.
Many teach that this passage has to do with God wanting you money, and that is scary because this passage is actually the direct words of God Himself. To twist this passage is no little issue. According to Romans 12:1, the whole offering God is asking for here has nothing to do with your money. God doesn’t want your money. God doesn’t want your empty religious sacrifices.
The message of God here is, “I want you! Bring the whole offering into my storehouse. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Do not rob God. He wants you.
This post is the fourth installment in a series where each post builds upon the other. If you haven’t read the first three I highly recommend you do so.
I am very happy with what we’ve covered so far. The blessing of God revealed in the law of Adam (Genesis 2:16-17) has been discussed in some length. To briefly recap, the first words of God given to Adam proclaimed the free gift of God found in the tree of life received by faith and trust in God and warned against the corruptible wages (that which is only earned through labor) found in the labor-intensive tree of moral philosophy and conflict. Following this blessing God then further promised to appoint a helper suitably fit for Adam. In the last post we discovered how the final mention of and best interpretation for the helper, or advocate, is none other than Jesus Christ revealed in 1 John 2:1.
We have also previously discussed the fact that from the words of Jesus and New Testament understanding we can surmise that Adam did not dwell in the light of God. He did not eat of the body and blood of the fruit of life. Therefore, Adam stumbled over the same stone that makes all men stumble. Adam fell over the same rock that makes all men fall. Not to be misunderstood, Adam’s sin was breaking God’s command to him, but the law of God exposed the rebellion in his heart. Though, the question often arises, “How could Adam have sinned against God?” The same question is often asked concerning Judas, too. “How could Judas have betrayed Christ?” Both questions come from the same root, and the answer to the underlying root question is given to us in the New Testament. Here are a few select verses, as an example.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 John 5:18)
“Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” (1 John 2:10)
“By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:17-18)
One can be in very close proximity to the divine and still not abide in Him. One can know of God and still prove to not truly know Him or be known of Him. We can taste of the things of God, Adam likely ate of the other trees and provisions God made available to him; we can enjoy the pleasure of a quaint and peaceful life and still never truly know the life-giver. We can do the work God has given us to do and yet sadly only see Him as taskmaster.
The last verse above states there is no fear in love. You see, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but the love of God is the conclusion of it. Mature love then casts out fear. Like children to their parents in a loving household, where fear and reverence for mom and dad grows up into a mature love and admiration for the same people; so as children of God, our fear and reverence for the moral lawgiver and creator and sustainer of life should mature into a mutual love and admiration for the God of Love who graciously frees and forgives our trespasses and offers an abundant life in Christ.
The words of the lazy servant Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25 could very well have belonged to Adam. Interestingly, the servant speaks like one who has been working a garden.
“Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” (Matthew 25:24-25)
Adam prior to the fall seems neither to possess the beginning of wisdom or a mature understanding of it. Again, the Bible tells us wisdom starts with the fear and reverence of God. This is where religion begins, and this is a good place for the subject of today’s post to begin, as well.
Religion is a taboo word these days. The textbook definition of the word is simply, “the worship of a god or gods through ritual or devoted service.” For many, it is the idea of ritual that puts people off. A lot of people have grown up equating the idea of religious devotion with the need to sit through a worship service or other congregational assembly where a person in strange clothing gives a speech or performs a set of acts to God. We are not going to discuss Worship Services or institutional ritual in this post. For more on church practices and their origins I would highly recommend a book by George Barna and Frank Viola called, Pagan Christianity. We are, however, going to discuss the base elements of religion, the idea of worship and the ritual God does accept. Please do not let these words scare you.
It is a great blessing when scripture gives us simple definitions. Some concepts in scripture, even with the Holy Spirit guiding, can be difficult to grasp. Then there are other concepts that the Bible uses plain language to help us understand. The syntax with “is” between subject and complement creates a simple definition. A few examples are listed below.
“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” – A simple statement to help our understanding.
“Faith is the evidence of things hoped for” – A resource study of the word faith will reveal that faith is a word vast in meaning and hard to nail down, yet the Bible gives us tremendous aid with this very simple definition.
“God is love” – Very easy to read, though, truly impossible for many to believe.
The Bible helps us also understand what God wants in terms of our worship, too. Religion is defined for us in a simple definition made by James.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is… to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep [oneself] unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
The Greek word for religion is the word threskeia (θρησκεία) meaning the “fear of the gods.” The word appears only a handful of times in the entire Bible, only in the New Testament and most often describes the Jewish religion. It is used once by Paul in reference to the “worshipping” of angels in Colossians 2:18. The worshipping of angels Paul forbid among the church, a practice that sprung from the notion it was more fitting for men to pray to angels, lower beings, as “intercessors” than directly to the Throne of Grace. (a)
The word religion, then, has more to do with ritual worship. It is not bad, though, there is definitely a distinction from this word for ritual worship as compared to the more commonly used word for worship in the New Testament, proskyneō (προσκυνέω.) We will discuss this word in our final post of this series tomorrow. For now it is enough to know there is a difference between ritual worship and other forms of worship.
Ritual worship is not bad. We know this because James tells us there is a pure form of it, undefiled before God that does exist. What God accepts as pure and sincere ritual, however, has nothing to do with most church traditions. The ritual pleasing to God according to James surprisingly does not even benefit Him directly, and for this reason it often eludes us. What God accepts is not bringing to Him a sacrifice, a spiritual gift, or a performance to be celebrated. Pure religion or ritual worship is simply visiting our neighbor in their affliction. What is the affliction of orphans and widows? A widow has lost her companion in life and orphans are parentless. Orphans and widows are lonely souls. They are in need of a friendly face and a warm hug.
The first aspect of ritual worship pleasing to God then is simply serving as helpers to others in need. Making it a habit to visit the widow down the street or adopting parentless children both qualify, as do ministering to the sick, visiting those in prison, shut-ins and ministering to homeless. Creativity allowed, helping those in need of help qualifies as the first aspect of good religion.
The second aspect of ritual worship pleasing to God relates to the first, but it also reiterates that the help we offer to those in need be done in love. Good religion must be unspotted from the world. Spotted, worldly service becomes a jaded expectation. When we reduce our neighborly service to just another token sacrifice made “for God” it no longer qualifies as good worship. Remember, we can give all we have to those in need, but if it isn’t done in love it is just another hollow imitation of the real deal. True love does not exist apart from God, and we don’t have it to give unless we are abiding in Him. Helping those in need with sincere, loving motives qualifies as pure religion undefiled before God.
I believe the affliction of orphans and widows is the same affliction God saw in Adam when He observed, “It is not good for man to be alone.” This statement is sure to challenge many and is where I am likely to be labeled a heretic by some. To suggest Adam was afflicted upon creation is taken by some to mean failure is placed at the feet of Adam’s creator. Of course, I do not believe God failed with the creation of Adam. In the first chapter of the book of Genesis (a panoramic account of creation) after God finished creating all things He looked upon His creation and declared, “It is good.” But this was only after creating man, both male and female. The distinction to be made in chapter two (a personal account of creation from man’s perspective) is that God looked at lonely Adam in his affliction and declared, “It is not good.” But God quickly solved the problem. God did not abandon Adam in his lonely state. With the creation of Eve God provided a companion for man, the capability for mankind to multiply, and the base element for ritual worship… Adam and Eve now had the wonderful opportunity to fellowship.
Bad religion took place the day Adam approached his bride lacking the love of God within him. Adam did not possess love and therefore could not truly love Eve or serve her as a mutual helper. Obviously, Eve did not possess love, either, and therefore became the first to fall and then “helped” her husband fall with her. You see, the crafty serpent brought forth a cynical view of God’s nature. Adam and Eve, unequipped with the weapons of spiritual warfare, were unable to vanquish such a foe. In naivety, lacking the beginning of wisdom, their minds were like fruit, “ripe for the picking.” Adam became spotted and defiled, and Eve, too.
In tomorrow’s final post in this series we will discuss true worship.
a.) from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament, 1966, pg. 272, “RELIGION – I.”
In the previous post we discussed the need to eat of the tree of life. In today’s post we will discuss two types of helpers.
From Frank Viola’s blog I take the following excerpt, which was sourced from T. Austin Sparks’ principles for interpreting the Bible.
The final mention of any particular matter in the Bible is usually a key to all its meaning. That is something that we must think about! We find certain things mentioned again and again in the Bible; but when we come to the final occasion where that thing is mentioned, we usually find the key to all that has been said about that matter before. If you take a particular matter, where it is mentioned for the last time, and then note the setting and the context and the relationship, you will get the full meaning of all that has been said about that before.
Now that is a statement that I have made, and you will need to think and to work on that, but I will help you by taking just one illustration. In the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation twenty-two and verse two, we have the last reference to “the tree of life.” Now
when we go right back to the beginning of the Bible, we have “the tree of life” mentioned, but we are told nothing about it – it is just referred to as something that exists. We have no explanation, we are not told what that tree is, or what it means; it is just referred to as “the tree of life.” We have to go to the end of the Bible for the explanation, and when we come to this last chapter of the Bible, by the context and relationship, we have a very large explanation
This principle also works in discovering the meaning of helper in Genesis 2:18.
As we mentioned last time, after God created Adam He placed him in the garden and gave him the basic tenants of the law of God. God blessed man with all Life had to offer and He warned him concerning spiritual Death, lest he seek to sustain his life on the basis of moral ethics. In the very next statement God makes an important observation concerning Adam’s present state.
“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
God then created his highest form of creation and man’s counterpart: woman. As many scholars point out, each stage of creation progresses with the creation of more complex creatures, woman being the final entry. Adam certainly agreed. It was love at first sight when Adam first met Eve. He broke into poetic prose…
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
Let’s not forget, however, that when Adam met Eve he was not eating of the tree of life. As we discussed in the last post, Adam was not eating the flesh and blood of Life, therefore he was not abiding in God. Adam was in proximity to God but did not truly know Him. Adam was not in the light. Adam was in proximity to the light-giver, but the light was not in him; he did not dwell in light. Adam never partook of God’s blessing for him. This was not an act of sin, but to answer the question my children at times have asked and I have often asked with them, “Why did Adam sin?” The answer is that Adam did not eat of the flesh and blood of the tree of life. Adam lacked faith in God. He did not trust God’s word, and therefore did not eat of life. This is unfortunate for Adam, and it was also unfortunate for Eve.
My entire life the term “help meet” was synonymous with women. “Help meet” is the King James Version’s interpretation of ‘ezer, or helper. In fundamental circles this term is often used in reference to biblical womanhood, especially for wives. The problem with this is two-fold; one, the understanding of the term helper is often relegated to servitude and two, there is a final mention of the word helper that must be considered. Thus, women are burdened by a misunderstanding of God’s purpose for their lives and improper expectations from their husbands to meet all their needs.
The first problem has been addressed in previous posts concerning ‘ezer. To recap, the word is never used again in reference to woman. Even in Genesis chapter two it is only inferred that Eve is the suitable helper God had in mind. Throughout the rest of scripture the word is used either in direct reference to God as in a “sure helper in time of need” or in reference to military deliverance. A derivative of the word is used as the name of a servant of God, Ezra, who restores the Mosaic Law upon Israel’s return to the Promised Land from captivity. It is never used to describe or obligate women as servants to their husbands.
Therefore, there is a higher interpretation of Genesis 2:18 that we must consider. The ultimate helper, comforter or advocate (Paraclete) from John’s gospel and epistle, has its final mention in 1 John, chapter two.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate (Paraclete) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)
This word Paraclete is best interpreted as helper and the idea of the Hebrew word for helper, ‘ezer, is best illustrated as an advocate. Therefore, just as the final mention of the “tree of life” is revealed to be Jesus Christ, so also the final mention of “helper” is revealed to be none other than Jesus Christ.
Where God states He will make a helper fit for man the word “make” can also be translated as “to fashion” or “to appoint.” The Hebrew word for “make”, asah, in the Greek Septuagint is the word, poieō in Genesis 2:18. This word is also the same word found in the book of Hebrews concerning Jesus.
“Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:1-4)
In the beginning, Adam thought only like a natural man. Despite being in the very presence of God he did not identify his lord as his Lord, “Soul of my soul; Spirit of my spirit.” Eve was the perfect design God had in mind to be Adam’s counterpart, but the fact he identified with her only as “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” reveals Adam assessed her with only his basest natural faculties.
“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)
As a result Adam lacked faith in God. Adam did not trust God but instead obeyed the words of his co-equal, Eve. They did not love God and consequently sought to appease their appetites for knowledge with a rebellious, self-centered pursuit of ethics, sciences and philosophy. Adam and Eve chose not to dwell in the light and therefore stumbled in sin. The love and grace of God can be seen, though, in that before the fruit was tasted the Lord promised to appoint a helper for them.
God made a way for Adam and Eve’s rescue by banishing them from the garden of God and separating mankind from Himself. This, too, was an act of love. How can banishment be an act of love? Without separation from God man could never truly possess righteousness by faith. You see, faith is the evidence of things hoped for, but hope that is seen is not hope. Therefore, God separated mankind from Himself and slowly faded away to be revealed again in a way Adam and Eve could never have dreamed possible. The pangs of desire for that which was lost in the garden, Love and Light and Life, could begin to fester and grow like a vacuum within the heart of man.
You see, life, no matter how ethical we live it, does not work apart from Christ. Marriage, no matter how helpful our spouses may be, does not work apart from Christ. The greatest thing standing in the way of our liberty from all that burdens us is the pride keeping us from asking for the Help promised from the beginning. Will you yield to God’s love? Meet Jesus.
In the next post we will discover two types of religion.
Previous posts have been written on the subject of the Hebrew word ‘ezer. Here, here, here and here. This blog series will not rehash these concepts but instead build upon the groundwork already laid with them. The use of this word for helper, the fact helper may be the best word for Paraclete (a title used by John in reference to the Holy Spirit) and the fact the Psalms use the Hebrew word for helper only in reference to God has all been covered before. We have also laid the groundwork with the biblical concepts of faith, hope and love. All of which will be used throughout this series.
The focus of this series will be two-fold; one, man’s need for God singularly, and two, mankind’s need for God corporately. The answer to Adam’s need was Ebenezer, stone of help. The answer to Israel’s need was the Temple, understood as the dwelling place of God built upon a large stone. Both singularly and corporately, Jesus Christ is the answer. Let’s begin with the story of Adam.
God created Adam, set him in a garden and gave him all Life had to offer, literally. Two trees in the garden among all other breeds and varieties of trees and produce were presented to Adam as a choice. The tree of life was present, of which Adam could eat freely, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of which Adam was told not to eat. In this first recorded statement to Adam God reveals the basis of God’s Law. We might call this first statement then the law of Adam.
“‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
This is the basic understanding of the Law of God presented to us for the first time. Notice God’s words are positive. “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,” the main thrust is a blessing. Every tree most assuredly included the tree of life itself. The tree of life is immortality, but it is also love. This tree is spiritual. Notice how available God made this opportunity to Adam. Life, light and love are frequent parallels in scripture. As such, the tree of life coincides with the two greatest commands of the Law of Moses; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and Love your neighbor as yourself. Life, light and love are the fruit of the tree of life.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)
“Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” (1 John 2:10)
However, as with God’s Law so it is with God’s first command to Adam, there is a big “but” to consider. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.” The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents spiritual death. This tree in contrast to the tree of life is judgment, reason and philosophy surrounding the dualistic nature of the universe, the cosmos. The fruit of the knowledge of good and evil is ethics, moral philosophy, mathematics, the elements of war; it is condemnation, conflict and strife. The knowledge of good and evil is death because ultimately natural elements prove an unreliable solution to themselves, however spiritual we try to make them. The Taoist yin-yang philosophy relinquishes good-bad moral distinctions as merely perceptual, not real; being members of a whole. This is not completely false to the Hebrew scriptures, as the knowledge of good and bad is from one source; but relegating moral absolutes to nothing more than perception is not a true answer. However willingly we seek to wrap our understanding around this tree or promote the idea that moral distinctions aren’t real, ultimately we find ourselves striving against it in our deepest desire to see good vanquish evil. Creation under tyranny pines for liberation; freedom and oppression cannot truly co-exist.
Also, we should be careful to not mistake the tree of ethics for the tree of goodness. This is the tree of the knowledge of how good and evil relate. Pure Good is only found in One; the Life-giver himself.
The word of God to Adam was negative concerning the tree of knowledge. Here, the “you shall not” statement appears for the first time. This is the negative aspect of the Law of Moses, too; that often gains our greater attention. Notice what the Lord God is warning Adam, “For in the day you eat of it [the tree of knowledge] you shall surely die.” God’s purpose with the “you shall not” indicative is to preserve life. The Lord God would that none perish. (2 Peter 3:9)
In Him, who is light, there is no cause for stumbling. Jesus told his disciples, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” Jesus is the life, the light and love. Abiding in him there is no cause for stumbling. Adam did not abide in the light. He was in proximity to it, but Adam did not truly partake of the Life of Christ (at least, not before the fall.) Adam did not abide in him, the light, and as a result Genesis chapter 3 exists.
Many still seem to come to the tree of knowledge hoping in it to find life. There is nothing wrong with the knowledge of good and evil. Ethics is not a worthless study; it is hugely important. However, the real answer ethics seeks to find is only discovered in Jesus Christ. Knowledge is not evil; it is simply that the pursuit of the knowledge of God, eating of the Life found in Jesus Christ is greater. It can only be found by faith. Adam lacked faith in God’s word to him, and such he God did not abide in him. We will seek in our coming posts to explore the fate of life lived apart from His abiding.
In our very next post we will explore two types of helpers.
The word Help is difficult for many of us to say, especially when it comes to asking someone else for it. As we get older, it seems, we learn gradually how to ask. It is easier to ask a friend for help than it is someone you don’t know. It is harder to ask someone who is an authority figure than it is someone you know has been in your position before. Sometimes, in a close enough community, you don’t necessarily even have to ask. My granddad working on his house always seemed to have neighbors show up to lend a hand. Why? Because they knew my granddad, and he had either helped work on their houses or given them so much produce from his garden that they probably thought it was the least they could do. It was the way the community interacted together.
Raising kids will teach you a lot about life and a lot about yourself. My wife and I share many memories, and not to bore you with personal anecdotes, but one time on a trip to Chicago my wife and I had sort of lost our way. We weren’t lost, but we weren’t exactly sure where we were, either. My six-year-old son at the time, overhearing our discussion from the back seat and becoming increasingly frustrated with our seemingly lack of direction chimed in and said, “Mom… Dad… hand me the map.” He was determined at six years old to get us back on track. He couldn’t see over the back seat, but he knew better than we did. Or so he thought. I laughed, but I also handed him the map letting him search until he had something to offer. I don’t remember what he said next, but I do know my wife and I shortly had the map back in front of us.
We often think we know better. We want to be handed the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and be left to our own devices. That’s when we often discover we don’t know as much as we thought we did.
Watching my kids grow up has also had its share of spills. The feat of children pouring glasses of milk from gallon jugs is a fun one. I often stand by, giving them enough lee-way to problem-solve but also waiting to see if they need my help. With my more stubborn children sometimes it comes down to me having to finally ask in their obvious frustration, “Can I help you?” But I cannot point fingers. I am the most stubborn of them all and sometimes I still have problems remembering to ask for help, most often, it seems, when I need it the most. I am learning in my old age what the Beatles sang, “But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured, now I find I’ve changed my mind; I’ve opened up the doors.”
God has given me a specific revelation of Jesus Christ as ‘ezer, something I refer to over and over again in this blog. The title of the blog comes from two Hebrew words, Eben and ezer, when combined form the funny-sounding word Ebenezer which simply means Rock, or Stone, of Help. This Rock of Help, Jesus Christ, is the central message with the blog Ebenezer Post. My pursuit of testimonials, creative writings, and various articles is to reveal Jesus Christ as Helper. Over the next several posts I’m going to attempt to paint the broad picture of the vision I’ve been given.
Concerning that last phrase, “the vision I’ve been given,” my intention is not to sound mystical, nor is it meant to manipulate any sense of authority. I simply mean that there is a picture in my head; one I feel God gave me. I would like to help paint this picture for you. I think it is pretty cool. I don’t think I have a corner market on God concepts, nor am I inerrant. I am learning every day what the vision God has given me really looks like, and He is little by little completing the canvas for me. At times I have become off-centered focusing on only a small part of the picture, whereas at other times the shadows have hidden the true detail of what I thought I understood.
There are many great writers, blogs and other media online and in book stores on the subject-matter of God and His eternal purpose. You can find a few links to some in the blogroll on the home page.
This series will focus on two major themes: