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God’s Eternal Existence:

 

Please find below short elaboration on God’s Eternal Existence related to audience discussions about article “Did God Create Our Universe from Nothing? No“. These below questions touch briefly upon scripture passages testifying to God’s the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’s involvement in creating Our Universe.

Question #1: Who existed eternally prior to Our Universe Creation? God Existed from Eternity Past and Exists in the Present and Exists into Eternity Future. The Bible confirms  “from everlasting to everlasting you are God”. This implies both God’s eternal nature and eternal supremacy.

Psalms 90:2 (English Standard Version – ESV): Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Question #2: Besides God the Father, who else existed prior to Our Universe Creation? God’s Son Jesus Christ, known as “The Word” participated with God the Father to Create Our Universe. God’s Son Jesus “The Word” is also God. Like God the Father, Jesus also creatively involved in making Our Universe.

John 1:1-3 (English Standard Version – ESV): In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:14-17 (English Standard Version – ESV): And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Question #3: Besides God the Father and God the Son, who else existed prior to Our Universe Creation? God’s Holy Spirit also existed prior to Our Universe Creation and found active during Our Universe’s Creation.

Genesis 1:1-2 (English Standard Version – ESV): In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The net result that a brief look at Biblical Scripture reveals God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all existed prior to God Creating Our Universe, and all involved in God’s Creation of Our Universe. See related articles and presentation materials for further details.

Related Articles:

(1) “Words Creating Worldshttps://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/words-create-worlds/

(2) “Did God Create Our Universe from Nothing? No” https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/did-god-create-our-universe-from-nothing-no 

(3) “Bible Genesis Creation Account Universe Tools Paradigm & Comparison & Literal Creator Dayshttps://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/bible-genesis-creation-account-universe-tools-paradigm-comparison-literal-creator-days/

(4) “Bible Genesis Creation Account” Presentation At SlideShare at http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/bible-genesis-creation-account

 

Ecclesiastes_1_14

1.0 Life Under the Sun Filled with Vanity

King Solomon as the Wisest Person who ever lived, reflected upon life “under the sun” from an Earthly perspective.

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:2-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/ecc.1.2-3.esv

2.0 Vanity (Hebrew Word Hevel ) Defined

The definition of vanity available on several word meaning websites shows English word vanity (Original Hebrew Word Hevel הבל) includes descriptions like breath, emptiness / empty, fruitless, futility, hollowness, valueless, vapor, and worthless / worthlessness.

3.0 Activities Inherently Vain

From the Earthly perspective of things, peoples activities inherently as vain as chasing the wind. Picturing a person chasing the wind, it appears an non-ending lifelong effort in futility & busy-ness.

“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/ecc.1.14.esv

4.0 Pursuing Wisdom & Foolishness Like Chasing the Wind

The situation is so dire that even pursuing wisdom & even foolishness also is like chasing after the wind too.

“And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/ecc.1.17.esv

5.0 Jesus Greater than King Solomon

Jesus the Savior lived on the Earth and is greater than Solomon. Jesus shares both Earthly and Heavenly perspectives.

The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

Luke 11:31 English Standard Version

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+11:31&version=ESV

Jesus shared a way to create lasting value in our lives & the lives of others. Jesus is co-creator of our Universe with God the Father & the Holy Spirit. Jesus left Heaven to come to Earth as a human and returned to Heaven after his death & his resurrection.

6.0 Earthly Treasures Not Ultimate Aim

People’s lifelong pursuits often encompass striving to obtain money & possessions. When looking to find treasure, Jesus revealed worldly wealth & possessions are not the ultimate aim in life.

“”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mat.6.19.esv

7.0 Aim Life Towards Heavenly Treasures

Ultimately, Jesus instructed people to aim their lives pursuit of treasure away from Earthly treasure and instead towards lasting treasure in heaven as more important & more permanent than Earthly treasures.

“but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mat.6.20.esv

8.0 Treasures Valued Reflect Heart Values

Earthly treasures ultimately may get stolen or lose value or get damaged. Earthly treasures left behind when life over.

Heavenly treasures are a lasting gift for this life and the next life in the New Heaven & New Earth.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mat.6.21.esv

The things individuals treasure (value) provides insights into their character as reflected in references to “The Heart,” which reflects what ultimately is important to a person.

  • To the degree our possessions & wealth & power & position get valued above people, it reflects our sinful nature & our need to reach out to Jesus to redirect Our Hearts.
  • To the extent our faithful obedience to Jesus & love for God dominates us inwardly & gets evidenced in our lives externally through our love for others exhibited in our actions, then reasonably expect our heavenly treasure to accumulate.

9.0 Heavenly Treasures & Righteousness

What hints does the Bible’s Holy Scriptures provide about what constitutes these heavenly treasures?

One hint provided to find out what constitutes heavenly treasures is in what God says is our first priority in life.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mat.6.33.esv

Seeking God’s Kingdom and his righteousness is the first priority.

  • To clarify, people don’t automatically understand what’s important to God, so people need to learn from Jesus the Son of God which behaviors & characteristics God desires us to live out.
  • Even with a partial understanding of what’s important to God, people don’t always pursue what’s important to God.
  • People don’t always engrain what’s valued by God into their personal character at “The Heart” of their innermost self.

10.0 Heavenly Treasure Types

What other types of treasures get stored up in Heaven?

God provides another hint through the lives of apostles & disciples who followed Jesus’s teaching in their lives after Jesus resurrection & later ascention into Heaven.

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/1th.2.19-20.esv

Early Apostles & Disciples like Paul, Silas & Timothy cared deeply that others came to know & believe in Jesus “The Christ” & attain eternal life. The treasure in Heaven in this context corresponds to people getting admitted into Heaven. These believers build up their own heavenly treasure troves, being transformed inwardly into the image & character of Jesus. These believers live out that reality while still in their mortal human bodies.

Even misguided people with misguided theology get converts to their religious beliefs, and this does not provide them nor their converts heavenly treasure.

11.0 Heavenly Treasures & Seeking God’s Heart

What additional hints does God provide on what leads to treasure in Heaven?

God’s looking for people who will follow his will by pursing a heart like God’s. The Apostles point back to King David whose inner character God highlighted as striving to align with God’s heart, even though King David also needed to seek forgiveness for his sins too.

“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭13:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/act.13.22.esv

King David’s Son Solomon, as the next appointed King of Israel, affirmed the character attributes God valued in King David. God wishes to see these values in all people walking a life in faith towards God with a proper heart reflecting these values. This involves exhibiting a righteousness aligning with God’s views, consistent with seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.

“And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/1ki.3.6.esv

12.0 Righteous Live By Faith & Evidential Works Follow

God provided many examples recorded in scripture of people in history who followed him & set their heart towards God through faith. The righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus “The Rock” & living that faith results in evidential works.

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall,
    and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.

Romans 9:30-33 New International Version (NIV)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+9%3A30-33&version=NIV

13.0 Jesus’ Nature The Divine Nature

Ultimately, all these examples point to God’s Son Jesus “Emmanuel / God with Us”, who reveals God’s heart & what God expects from us & points us to store up treasures in heaven.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews 1:3-4 (English Standard Version):

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+1%3A3-4&version=ESV

14.0 Does Heavenly Treasures include Material Rewards & Companionship Rewards ?

Reason infers heavenly treasures is not money and not material possessions, though possibly heavenly treasures include material possessions also. Of course, for those who make it to Heaven, expect God to provide needs wonderfully. Scriptures mention receiving hundredfold (or manifold / many) more fields/lands/houses for those faithful followers who left lands/fields/houses for Jesus’ name sake. The same likewise true if needed to leave for Jesus’ name sake sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, and children.

  • Do you think these material rewards mentioned awarded on Earth or in Heaven or both?
  • Likewise, do you think companionship of sisters / brothers / fathers / mothers / children awarded on Earth or Heaven or both?

Positions of authority & power & judgement getting awarded to the Apostle Peter in the New World, along with other faithful Apostles in Jesus’ time.

Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Matthew 19:27-29 (English Standard Version)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+19&version=ESV

15.0 Divine Nature Path &  Life of Godliness Path to Accumulate Heavenly Treasures 

Reason suggests treasures in heaven encompass wealth that is spiritual in nature & pertains to how well our inner nature approaches God’s Divine nature & our resulting outward accomplishments mirror God’s will for our lives. The path to accomplish accumulating treasures in heaven through individual faith in Jesus Christ God’s Son.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1:2-4 (English Standard Version)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter+1&version=ESV

Starting in our mortal bodies, a life of godliness rooted in Jesus is the key to our sharing in God’s divine nature & to accumulate heavenly treasures for eternity.

16.0 Pursuing God’s Image Path to Heavenly Treasures

As God created humankind’s original mental brain capabilities in his image, God’s original intention for his people to aspire to grow further into maturity in godliness into God’s image, as knowledge of God increased & people learned from lives experiences under God’s mentorship & tutelage & friendship.

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 New International Version (NIV)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1&version=NIV

17.0 Richly Accumulate Heavenly Treasures

Knowing that Jesus points the way to treasures in Heaven, does God in the scriptures share if there exists a way on Earth to now accumulate greater wealth in Heaven? Yes.

2 Peter 1:11 (English Standard Version):

For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter+1&version=ESV

18.0 Character Attributes to Accumulate Great Treasures in Heaven

What specific additional guidance does the scriptures contain to accumulate great treasures in Heaven in our Faith Walk with Jesus?

  1. Faith supplement with Virtue
  2. Virtue supplement with Knowledge
  3. Knowledge supplement with Self-Control
  4. Self-Control supplement with Steadfastness
  5. Steadfastness supplement with Godliness
  6. Godliness supplement with Brotherly Affection
  7. Brotherly Affection supplement with Love
  8. Love

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

2 Peter 1:5-7 (English Standard Version)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter+1&version=ESV

What benefits result from adding the above traits to our character as follow Jesus Christ in Faith? The beneficial results enable each person to become productive in their personal faith walk as their own character improves.

19.0 Lacking Character Attributes to Accumulate Great Treasures in Heaven

What if an assessment accurately shows these qualities not improving? If not improving, then lose effectiveness, so need to refocus on faith in Jesus & again work on those character traits in the spirit of first seeking God’s Kingdom & righteousness.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

2 Peter 1:8-9 English Standard Version

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Peter+1%3A8-9&version=ESV

20.0 Your Chances to Succeed at Accumulating Heavenly Treasures

In the business arena’s pursuit of worldly wealth, it’s known that seeking monetary & material wealth is not guaranteed to result in success due to both foreseen & unforeseen risks & events.

In our religious pursuit of heavenly treasures, what’s the chance to succeed in accumulating Heavenly wealth of eternally superior value? Success comes when diligently done properly as these traits become embedded into our character in living out our faith walk in Jesus.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

2 Peter 1:10 English Standard Version

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Peter+1&version=ESV

21.0 Accumulating Heavenly Treasures a Lifetime Lifestyle

Is this a lifetime pursuit, or something you do once & then move onto something else? This a lifetime pursuit & process & a lifestyle that encompasses each person’s entire life.

In Heaven, Jesus’ true faithful followers in a privileged situation to become like Jesus in nature after more fully then comprehending God’s character & heart that Jesus reveals.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3 (English Standard Version)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John+3&version=ESV

22.0 Accumulating Even More Abundantly Heavenly Treasures

In business, it’s known that acting wisely with good advice increases chances of business success, and also improves likelihood that succeed even more abundantly.

Likewise, to increase your chance in eternal matters, in faith ask God for Wisdom, so you can better understand & discern & navigate & live out a life that abundantly stores up treasures in Heaven.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:5-8 (English Standard Version)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+1&version=ESV

23.0 Challenger Bonus Rounds to Accumulate More Heavenly Rewards 

When people play challenging games & doing well in game, then sometimes presented with challenging bonus rounds where can accumulate more points / rewards.

Likewise, in some cases real life provides “bonus rounds” where believers face intense opposition & persecution.

  • It’s important this persecution not due to a believers poor mistreatment and/or disrespect of opposition
  • It’s important this persecution related to opponents rewarding good behavior with persecution

Preparation for bonus round includes previously mentioned heart-work & character attributes overlaid upon individual faith & love. Basically need own heart in proper position where you love God & secondly love all people. The involves care & consideration towards others.

As it’s important your own faith exhibits a great depth to best prepare to endure & succeed past bonus round, please later review below materials too:

What scriptures highlight these challenging bonus round to achieve Great Bonus Rewards in Heaven?

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:11-12 New International Version (NIV)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5&version=NIV

  1. Does above scripts imply all persecution bonus rounds result in great heavenly rewards?  No, not all, since scriptures listed terms / conditions.
  2. Why Not? On several occasions people claiming to follow Jesus & Christianity actually very inconsiderate & disrespectful & uncaring towards others. When persecution a responsive byproduct of improper treatment of others, then above great heavenly rewards mentioned by Jesus not necessarily guaranteed.
  3. Why? The great heavenly rewards Jesus mention apply when the persecution because of Jesus. If persecution not due to Jesus, then not necessarily get these great heavenly bonus rewards. As per above Bible verse, the persecution to fit into conditions where “people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of” Jesus.

To handle this challenging bonus round to earn great heavenly rewards difficult, as it involves a character that responds in love & prayer towards persecution & persecutors especially when mistreatment undeserved & unwarranted based upon believers conduct & care towards others.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48 New International Version (NIV)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A43-48&version=NIV

24.0 Recap Path to Successfully & Abundantly Accumulate Heavenly Treasures

To summarize, our lives already filled with vanity & chasing after the wind. To add lasting value, people need to leverage faith in Jesus Christ to store their own eternal treasures in heaven & guide others to store their own eternal treasures. In Faith, ask God for Wisdom to abundantly increase your treasures in Heaven & become a blessing in the world.

Accomplish this by first seeking God’s righteousness & Kingdom & and then internally working on a living faith exhibiting the identified character traits in increasing quality to become successful. Ultimately our Faith in Jesus leads us to properly share & exhibit the Love God intended & even commanded people to exhibit.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:36-39 (English Standard Version)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22%3A35-38&version=ESV

Wishing you a fruitful journey as your explore the scriptures to understand God’s Character to solidify your faith in Jesus to live out your life as a blessing to others.

As it’s important your own faith exhibits a great depth to best prepare to endure & succeed past bonus round, recommend review below materials too:

25.0 Key Points Fill in the Blank:

  1. Life “under the sun” from an Earthly perspective filled with ___________ and a striving after the ________.
  2. Jesus instructed people to aim their lives pursuit of treasure away from Earthly treasure and rather towards lasting treasure in ___________.
  3. “For where your treasure is, there your __________ will be also.” (Matthew‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬)
  4. To accumulate great treasures in Heaven due to our Faith Walk with Jesus, enhance your Faith by adding _________, enhance _________ by adding knowledge, enhance knowledge by adding ____-________, enhance ____-________ by adding steadfastness, enhance steadfastness by adding _________, enhance __________ by adding Brotherly Affection, enhance Brotherly Affection by adding _____.
  5. God’s looking for people who will follow his will by pursing a heart like ________.
  6. To increase your chance to succeed in eternal matters, in faith ask God for _________ to better understand & discern & navigate & live out a life which abundantly stores up treasures in Heaven.
  7. Accumulating Heavenly Treasures a _________ pursuit & process & lifestyle.
  8. “Therefore, brothers, be all the more ___________ to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never ______.” (2 Peter 1:10 English Standard Version (ESV))
  9. If _______________ traits not improving then lose effectiveness, so need to refocus on faith in Jesus & again work on those _____________ traits in the spirit of first seeking God’s Kingdom & righteousness.
  10. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your __________ in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12 New International Version (NIV) )

Matthew_6_19-20

26.0 Credits:

  • Special Thanks for Earth Globe Courtesy Microsoft Office used in Visual Graphics, Microsoft Corporation, https://www.microsoft.com/

27.0 Related References:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life's Eternal Way

The Christian Reformation Insights to Faith & Works:

The date 31 October 1517 celebrated as when Martin Luther posted “The 95 Thesis“, which marks a critical juncture in The Reformation Movement 500 years ago. The Catholic’s Church hypocrisy & power players felt “scared” by this document.

The challenges to prevailing assumptions at that time lead to deeper understandings of God’s Word. Faith’s primary role emerged from careful study of God’s Words in the Biblical Scriptures.

Acknowledging nuanced interplay between Faith (being) & Works (doing) as subtle yet important, created a visual with accompanying explanations to showcase the process from God’s intervention to each person’s eternal life.

While this visual & explanation focuses upon the “sunny day” path for true believers who reach heaven & eternal life with God, Biblical scriptures also contain much about the destination of unbelievers & people who presume they’re true believers incorrectly.

Life’s Eternal Way Summarized:

God intervenes to instruct people who hear God’s word to initiate a living faith resulting in a new Godly Creation (i.e. new internal character) leading to willful obedience showcased by evidential works used in divine judgement to determine an individual’s destination in an eternal home where true believers fellowship continues forever with God & The Church as Christ’s Bride.

God Instructs People:

God intervenes to instruct people who hear & read & experience God’s word, which serves to to initiate a living faith in Jesus our Savior.

Romans 10:17 (ESV): “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

While some people believed in God’s Word and Jesus God’s Son, others did not believe & did not obey God’s Word.

Romans 10:16 (ESV):But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”

For those uncertain, recommend follow examples of those of Berea, who searched God’s Word to ascertain eternal truths.

Acts 17:11 (ESV): “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. “

God recognizes the value of those who search for God’s righteousness to understand what God expects & to know God’s character & what God expects in our personal character.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV): “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Seek God’s Righteousness a lifelong process to better understand Jesus’ character which the exact nature & image of God.

Hebrews 1:3 (ESV):He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, …”

The goal our of searching for God’s Righteousness & God’s Kingdom to enter into a living faith.

Living Faith:

A living faith more than simply an intellectual acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is Son of God & came to restore people to God.

Romans 1:17 (ESV):For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Even Satan’s Demons & Satan knows God & knows Jesus is The Christ. This evidences that intellectual knowledge itself insufficient. Many people unable to even realize that knowledge in their lifetime.

Luke 4:41 (ESV): “And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.”

A living faith impacts how one makes decisions & what risks take as learning what God expects & seeking to follow Jesus’ example. See Hebrews 11 for examples of those who lived by Faith & even risked their lives.

A living faith is not a counterfeit faith. A counterfeit faith where people try to follow rules without pursuing fixes to their underlying character. In Jesus’ day, the highly regarded religious Pharisees obeyed all types of man-made rules & even God’s rules like the tithe, yet their inner hearts far from what God expected, even rejecting & seeking to kill Jesus & lying about it too.

Galatians 2:16 (ESV): “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”

A living faith results in a new Godly creation, where a person “born again” spiritually.

John 3:3 (ESV):Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The living faith that comes leads to receiving of God’s Holy Spirit, rather than following any specific law whether human-made or divine law.

Galatians 3:2 (ESV): “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”

A New Godly Creation:

A living faith a way of life rather than mere intellectual accent, which results in a new transformed Godly character.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV): “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

This new Godly character a spiritual reality rather than merely something which comes about via any external religious traditional, even traditions instituted by God.

Galatians 6:15 (ESV): “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”

Because of a changed internal character, then a person looks for opportunities to do good to others.

Galatians 6:10 (ESV):So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

As a new Godly creation, then a desire to follow God’s Word and do what is right via willful obedience to God.

Wilful Obedience to Christ:

While it’s important to obey God, it’s even better when do it cheerfully & willingly because you get to participate & help out, as God desires willful obedience.

2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV): “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

When people desire to obey God and do what’s right, then know they will often do even more than asked.

Philemon 1:21 (ESV): “Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.”

Our role to focus on the spiritual & the good character God wishes to see inside each of us, so as to get victory over our sinful nature.

Galatians 5:16 (ESV): “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The Apostle Paul exhibited such a willingness in the inner being to follow God, so as to even exhibited heightened awareness to his failings in doing all God desired.

Romans 7:19-20 (ESV):19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

God wishes us to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit in our walk with God in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV):22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Evidential Works:

A living faith resulting in a new Godly character ready to willfully obey God will naturally live life doing good works as a by-product of the new inner self.

James 2:18 (ESV): “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

What each person does evidences their faith or lack or faith. Because of this, God able to judge & justify people by looking at their works.

James 2:24 (ESV): “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

If good works that proceed naturally don’t exist, then person must evaluate whether possess a living faith rather than a dead faith.

James 2:26 (ESV): “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

Divine Judgement:

The evidential works of each person who followed Jesus used on Judgement Day, based upon record keeping God put in place.

Revelation 20:12 (ESV): “12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”

Even those who did not follow Jesus judged also by their works.

Revelation 20:13 (ESV):And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Eternal Home

God sent his son Jesus for all people to get opportunity to spend eternity with God.

John 3:16 (ESV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God plans to create a new Heaven and a new Earth for those who followed him with a living faith with their names written in The Book of Life:

Revelation 21-1-2 (ESV): Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Even before the new Heavens & new Earth created, know God prepared a paradise for believers. How much more a paradise the new creation!

Luke 23:43 (ESV): “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” “

Fellowship Continues with God:

Those who exhibit a living faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God and Savior of the World desire to fellowship with God & become more & more like God. God plans to fulfill this desire in true believers for eternity by dwelling with people.

Revelation 21:3 (ESV):And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

Once in Heaven with God, then true believers will become like Jesus in matters of character in fulfillment of their aspirations.

1 John 3:2-3 (ESV): “2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

A deeper mystery concerns God’s Church as the Spiritual Bride to Jesus the Christ as the Bridegroom (i.e. groom or groom to be), which expect spiritually consummated in Heaven. This also consistent with God’s condemnation of God’s people the Israelites as unfaithful in the Old Testament.

Ephesians 5:31-32 (ESV): ” 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” “

Life’s Eternal Way Wrap-up:

Shared scriptures showing God instructs people who hear God’s word to initiate a living faith resulting in a new Godly character leading to willful obedience showcased by evidential works used in divine judgement to determine an individual’s destination in an eternal home where true believers fellowship continues forever with God & The Church as Christ’s Bride.

For those interested, Biblical scriptures also contain much about the destination of unbelievers & people who presume they’re true believers incorrectly, which you welcome to research further.

Additional References:

 

The Golden Rule

the-golden-rule

The Golden Rule sets a high standard of conduct in our treatment of others in raising the bar as high as we raise our expectations of others treatment of us.

The Golden Rule (ESV): Matthew 7:12 (ESV): 12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The Golden Rule (NIV): Matthew 7:12 (NIV): 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

A shallow surface understanding misinterprets treating others how’d we’d like despite others preference on treatment.

  • A better understanding embraces others’ treatment preferences, just as we ourselves prefer others to take into account our own preferences.
  • At a high level, people move in maturity from only operating from their own understanding & preferences to embracing how others prefer to get treated.

The Golden Rule best understood in  context of Jesus’ Command to “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”.

Mark 12:31 (ESV): 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

When you love your neighbor as yourself, there exists a greater desire to respond in an appropriate way taking into account social & situational factors in context of individual considerations.

In practicality, often people’s responses represent a best effort governed by group norms & limited by our own understandings & misunderstandings, in efforts to live peaceably & in harmony with others.

Romans 12:18 (ESV): 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Each of us may come into contact with others quick to misunderstand & take offense, especially under strained situations & poor timing, where hope able to identify misstep to avoid situation in future & perhaps to find a good way forward.

When find ourselves more likely to take offense, recommend to consider the wisdom to pause & overlook offenses so much as depends on us.

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV): Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Parents with children also know that to properly raise their children, sometimes need to say no to their children’s preferences so their children to understand deeper truths & handle life better.

God’s treatment of others even beyond our limited abilities as God knows truly what people need to improve, even if that not their own treatment preference. God likewise also takes into account broader implications to entire community.

Hebrews 12:7-9 (ESV): 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

When God allows tricky circumstances into our lives, recommend to take a step backward & ask God to help identify what expect us to learn & how expect to move forward.

James 1:2-10 (ESV): 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Recognize wisdom & comfort gained from above in our handling tough circumstances also meant to help others as they face trials in life.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV): 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

The few points presented today represents just a handful of numerous references of how expected to treat others when consider what The Golden Rule means in practice.

In summary, Jesus’ example & Bible scriptures contains so much more about love & friendship & helping others that must take into account when understanding & applying The Golden Rule.

Recommend search the Bible to identify so many more ways to show kindness to others, seeking continual improvement in our interactions with others as mature in life.

The Greatest Commandments

Mark 12:28-34 (ESV): 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Contribution Credits:

  1. Microsoft PowerPoint for Trophy Image
  2. Wall Paper Cave Gold Backgrounds  at http://wallpapercave.com/gold-backgrounds

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Additional Links on The Golden Rule by Other Authors:

 

 

 

 

Divine Logos God Father Son Holy Spirit Image

The Word Logos Greek Origins

The Bible’s Gospel of John Chapter 1 reveals fundamental truths about God’s Nature describing God as “The Word” and explains “The Word Became Flesh and dwelt among us”, referring to Jesus Christ the Son of God entering Our World as a human.

John 1:1-5 (ESV):  1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:14-18 (ESV): 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known

The Greek Language original word “Logos” typically translates to “The Word”, yet scholars reveal a more accurate historical understanding of “The Word” refers both to “Word” and “Reason”. (Reference: Bible Study Tools Encyclopedia, Logos, http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/logos.html )

Logos Word & Reason in Technological Content

Let’s view the “Logos” concept embodied in the combination of “Word” & “Reason” through our modern programming technology lens (a lens focuses our ways of seeing & perceiving). Let’s view our own mind’s capabilities as integrated programs combining words & reasoning, and likewise God’s mind similarly. Today’s programming tools only augment our mental capabilities, as much of our minds capabilities still mysterious. Our human reasoning severely limited compared to God’s in Heaven.

Isaiah 55:6-11 (ESV): 6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

In the digital electronics context, programs conceptually use words eventually implemented via underlying logical machine code detailing what to do in certain order & circumstances. Likewise, our ability to reason & understand limited by the mental cognitive abilities inherent in our brain’s physical platform implementation, which also designed with reliance upon God for proper living.

Proverbs 3:1-6 (ESV): 3 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths

Trinity Integrated & Distinct Three in One

Programmers who design & codify programs often create new programs by integrating distinct programs together. As a technical analogy, think about The Trinity encompassing God the Father, God the Son (Jesus The Christ), and God the Holy Spirit as distinct minds / persons each programmatically manifesting the divine character nature & operating together as a unified integrated whole.

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV): 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 12:28-32 (ESV): 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.

The Logos Word & Reason Dwelt Among Us

Christian Gospel writers eye-witnessed Jesus Christ personally in our world and recorded witnesses of others too, in their report of Jesus’ words, actions, obedience, love, grace, truth, and sacrifice to die on the cross for our sins.

John 1:6-7 (ESV): 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (ESV): 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

When God created humankind (male & female) in the image of God, God effectively created a mental physical platform capable of housing the essence of God’s character, even though that character became corrupted by sin. Because of God created people in his image, Jesus Christ the Son of God, able to come into the world with a human mind platform as an infant & grow into an adult.

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV): 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

1 Corinthians 15:22 (ESV): 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Jesus’ mental programming, the Logos of Jesus, implemented the essential reason & character of God, though limited physically by processing capabilities of just a few mere pounds of brain material. Jesus embraced human restricted capabilities yet with the divine nature, so Jesus increased in wisdom & knowledge as aged in years. Jesus likewise subjected to human weaknesses & even temptations & handled without sinning.

Luke 2:52 (ESV): 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV): 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 2:17-18 (ESV): 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Jesus’ divine character never corrupted by sin, and Jesus came to lead us back to God, as the living example showcasing God’s love, holiness, and character.

Colossians 1:13-20 (ESV): 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

God ensured the physical incarnation of the Son of God received the divine mind character programmed into the brain of Jesus known as “God with us” (“Immanuel”) & “Son of the Most High” starting before birth though the Holy Spirit’s Divine Power. With Mary’s consent, the child in the virgin Mary not conceived by physical relations with God, since  Mary remained a virgin until after the child’s birth (References https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/pointed-ponder-virgin-pregnancy/  and https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/pointed-ponder-virgin-birth-and-in-vitro-fertilization-ivf/)

Luke 1:30-33 (ESV): 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Matthew 1:20-23 (ESV): 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Children of God

The Bible reveals the way people become Children of God through Jesus the Christ who is the Way, The Truth, and the Life.

John 14:6 (ESV): 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 8:14-17 (ESV): 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Jesus followers embrace reprogramming our minds willingly by God the Father, God the Son (Jesus The Christ), and God the Holy Spirit, according to God’s Word in the Scriptures, and ongoing guidance by the Holy Spirit, as a new creation.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV): 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Galatians 6:14-16 (ESV): 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

A signature mark of true Christian followers of Jesus that even non-followers can recognize is exhibited by followers demonstrated love for one another, which witnesses becoming born as a new creation by God’s will.

John 13:34-36 (ESV): 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 1:9-13 (ESV): 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

1 John 2:10-12 (ESV): 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[a] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

The Temple of God:

As new creations, the followers of Jesus the Christ through faith individually & collectively are God’s temple inhabited by the Holy Spirit with responsibilities as service workers for God temple with divine help from God.

1 Corinthians 3:9-17 (ESV):  9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV): 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

The Word of God:

Delve into The Word of God starting in The Bible’s Book of John Chapter 1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+1&version=ESV):

 

John 1:1-18 (ESV):In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known

 

 

 

Creation Common Sense

Creation Common Sense:

Modern technology replying upon physics accomplished a lot via explanatory & inferential tools. Though great, physics is limited to what it can explain by itself. Physics itself feeds into many present day people’s common sense understandings & misunderstandings of Our Universe. What physics accomplished in combination with engineering led us to compute platforms, typically exhibited by Android, Apple, Microsoft, and Linux-Unix Devices. Understanding these compute platforms allows us to explain & model much more about how Our Universe works fundamentally. These compute platforms enable a more scientifically sophisticated common sense understanding of creation.

Compute Platforms:

Compute platforms power “virtual worlds” with many types of programmed physical “rules”. Think of Our World as powered by a grander compute platform, where God designed, engineered, and programmed Our Universe, which God oversees via interventions. The compute platform model explains how God intervenes in numerous ways recorded in the Bible, in ways highly interwoven into the history of people & nations. To better understand Our Universe requires going beyond the two extremes where people either (i) just disregard evidence too quickly as unbelievers or (ii) just accept supernatural interventions as believers. As Christianity is reasonable, achieving greater maturity pushes people to ponder God’s interventions in context of the compute platform paradigm (also known as Universe Tools Paradigm).

Evidences to Consider — Yes, Really!

  • Genesis Account: When you examine the Genesis Account, event sequences fit more closely from a compute platform perspective than from a purely physics model, though physics clearly involved. (Genesis 1 & Genesis 2)
    • Agile / Iterative Design & Development: Programmers use Iterative Software Life Cycle (SLC) methodologies to build software capabilities in stages. Think about God’s Genesis Account showcasing the iterative cycles God used over seven “Creator Days” to form Our Universe, the Planet Earth, and its’ inhabitants.
  • Exodus Interventions & Miracles: God controlling nature from compute platform perspective makes it easy for God to defeat the great Egyptians.
    • Parting the Red Sea: God used winds overnight to create dry ground over which Israelites crossed in their escape from the Egyptians (Exodus 14)
    • Water from Rock: God controlling the data in compute platform, made it easy for water to come out of rock (Exodus 17).
    • Pillar of Cloud & Pillar of Fire: God speaking to Moses in a Pillar of Cloud next to Moses on Earth where Israelites observed Moses talking with God makes sense from a platform perspective rather than a physics perspective (Exodus 33:7-11). God guiding the Israelites with a Pillar of Cloud by Day & Fire by Night makes sense from platform perspective. (Exodus 13:21-22Nehemiah 9:12-21)
  • Oversight & Interventions:
    • Heard Prayers: When looking at prayers being heard, a platform perspective shows this corresponds to looking at underlying data to understand thoughts in our minds.
    • Prayers Answered: God the Creator intervening periodically in Our World in response to our prayers, either by guiding thoughts of others or intervening in nature itself
    • Prison Deliverance: Angel releases Peter from Prison in response to Church Prayers (Acts 12)
    • Counting Hairs: God counting our hairs & not allowing even one to fall out outside of God’s consent, makes sense under a platform model. (Matthew 10:26-33)
    • Daniel in the Lions Den: God shut the Lions mouths when Daniel thrown into the Lions Den, only to allow the Lions to feast once Daniel’s underhanded adversaries thrown into the Lion’s Den. (Daniel 6)
    • Walking in the Furnace: Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego thrown into Furnace by orders from the King without any harm to themselves, even though the guards throwing them in their burned up by the Furnace heat. God’s Angel walked in the Furnace with them until they came out of the Furnace by the command of the King. (Daniel 3)
  • Various Miracles: When examining miracles, often they appear to contradict physics, yet from a platform model, miracles make perfect sense, as creator controls underlying programming (“rules”) & data.
    • Healing People & Curing Diseases: God applies intervention based upon how biology operates at cellular & molecular levels.
    • Raising the Dead: God raised people from dead on multiple occasions (Elijah Raises Child – 1 Kings 17:17-24, Bodies Falling on Elisha’s the Prophet’s dead body come back to life – 2 Kings 13:20-25, Jesus raises Lazarus – John 11, Jesus from Heaven Raises Earthly Body Back to Life – Matthew 28John 10:17-28Luke 23:39-43)
    • Controlling Water / Nature:
      • Walking on Water (Jesus & Disciple – Matthew 14:22-33)
      • Speaking to Waves to Calm Storm (Jesus with Disciples – Mark 4:35-41)
      • Controlling Waves (Storm at Sea Calms once Disobedient Jonah thrown Overboard – Jonah 1)
    • Coin in Fish: Jesus instructed disciple to go fishing, and that fish caught contain a coin, so able to pay taxes / tribute, so as to cause no offense. (Matthew 17:24-27)
    • Curing Blindness: Jesus heals man born blind since birth (John 9)
    • Moses & Abraham on Mountain with Jesus & Disciples: God is God of the Living. (Matthew 17:1-132 Peter 1:16-21Malachi 4:5-6)
    • Ascend into Clouds: Jesus taken up into Clouds (Acts 1:1-11)
  • Special Effects:
    • Chariots of Fire: Elijah taken up to heaven in horses & chariots of fire predates “Hollywood” style special effects, in God’s “Holy-World” interventions. (2 Kings 2)
    • God’ Angel After Prophesy: The Angel of the Lord went up in flame of the alter, in way representative of Hollywood-style special effects. (Judges 13)

Clues Evidence Fits Proper Model:

God shares clues into the nature of Our Universe throughout the Bible. God does not tell us how’s it’s done to an infinitessimal degree. Rather, when our understanding of Our Universe is more accurate, then God’s miraculous interventions increasingly make more sense. God provides historical accounts, poetry, prophesy, and revelation. The proper model shines much explanatory power both into what God does and into what God reveals.

Who, How, What:

Some people assert that God’s Genesis Account really just about the “Who”, yet this provides an incomplete picture. Clearly Genesis Account not just about “Who”. It’s also about “What” & “How”. The brief Genesis Creation Account does not cover every detail and does not describe all creation (Genesis 1 & Genesis 2). The clues God provides throughout the Bible enable us to delve deeper into “How”.

Time Scale:

Which Time Scale really referenced in Genesis Creation Account? The compute platform model views time scale in God the Creator’s Realm outside Our Universe. From the Compute Platform view, Our Universe really just represents computation applied to data via rules, which can be implemented at different speeds, just like compute platform speeds different. This provides a decoupling of time scales “inside Creation” from “outside Creation in Creators Realm”, even though relationship exists between both. The time the Creator spent in the Creator’s World called “Creator Days’ in this compute platform paradigm. Important not to jump immediately to conclusion that (i) seven days of creation necessarily 24-hour Earth days or (ii) seven days inconsistent with science’s millions to billions of years. Why? Clearly something special happening in creation itself when Our Universe created.

Physics Alone an Obstacle:

The World of Science leverages the tool of physics frequently, due to its’ explanatory power, and tried to use that as pinnacle of knowledge to explain the Creation of Universe. Physics itself a brick way. Powerful, yes — but incomplete. Physics itself led to compute platforms, which ushers in much better explanatory power. Physics alone is weaker. Physics plus the compute platform is powerful since provides a much better understanding. Physics provides insights into default rules implemented in the platform. The platform helps us understand the Creator’s Power to control waves, heal people of sickness, appear in one place & disappear, ascend into the clouds (Acts 1:1-11), sending horses & chariots of fire, to go up like a Hollywood Event as disappear out of sight. So much readily explained easily from the Compute Platform Perspective. The Compute Platform Perspective enabled by applying physics together with engineering & understanding of language.

Creation Account Elevates the Word:

The Genesis Creation Account elevated the “Word” as a key participant in creation with phrases like “Let their be Light”. The “Word”, a form of logic & control, points us to a tools type of programming. This enables us to understand how God can speak and things happen. Consider modern day digital assistants like Apple Siri, where its’ common sense to tell digital assistants to do things & it does. God asks creation to do something and it does.

Distribution to Billions of People:

Modern advanced technology tools like Smart Phones / Smart Devices (compute platforms) used by recent generations point to God. Billions of these devices getting distributed to Billions of People over time. Many devices designed to fit into our hand & place into our pockets & bags. These provide witness in our generation to the creative power of Our Creator, and to the creative power God placed into people, who God created in his image & likeness.

God’s Ultimate Design:

God creating Our Universe goes beyond “what” God created & “how” God created into “why” God created. Part of God’s ultimate design is to present the Church (The Bride) with Holy & Good & Loving & Caring Character like God (Ephesians 5Revelation 19) to Jesus, The Son of God. God foreshadowed this plan by creating humankind in his image, and starting them off as a married couple (Genesis 2). While people started off like God being made in God’s image, that image got corrupted through the decision to sin & do wrong (Genesis 3). God provided people a free will and an eternal soul. God points our soul towards the proper character that Jesus, The Christ, the Son of God demonstrated, and to which the Bible scripture testifies in Old Testament & New Testaments. God showcases the fallen nature of people and how it contrasts to God’s will for our character. God stresses the importance of love & caring for others.

Limits of Knowing How:

You can understand “how” God made All Creation & how miracles work, yet if lacking love, then missing bigger picture of God’s plan for our lives (1 Corinthians 13). While hope explanations enable you to understand bigger picture of “how” God Created Our Universe, recommend embrace what’s more important than “how” God created Our Universe too.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (ESV)1. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Did God Create Our Universe from Nothing? No

Carefully reading the Bible reveals God did not create Our Universe from nothing. God created our observable Universe from things we do not see. Creating Our Universe from things we do not see differs greatly from creation from nothing.

Hebrews 11:3 (ESV): 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Historical Theological Views:

If you ask many Christians today, several will share a contrary inaccurate theological viewpoint asserting God created Our Universe from nothing, as stated by the thoughtful Westminster Short Catechism.

“Quest. 9. What is the work of creation? Ans. 9. The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.(1) (1) Gen. 1; Heb. 11:3.” Reference: http://www.westminsterconfession.org/confessional-standards/the-westminster-shorter-catechism.php

It’s reasonable to infer that if our Westminster Catechism human authors were still living today with sufficient time & energy to research this finer subtle point more closely, that they’d graciously agree to reconsider & update the Westminster Catechism accordingly. As these authors passed away already, how do useful references like this that people study get updates? As Commentary?

Earlier Technology Era:

Prior to modern technology showcasing words creating worlds via programming languages on physical hardware platforms, it is reasonable to infer creating via words appeared to many like God was speaking our world into existence from nothing and/or simply by supernatural divine powers.

New Lens:

Modern technology provides a new lens (way of seeing & perceiving) to view God’s inspired word as divulging Divine hints into Our Universes’ underlying technical & engineering architecture.

Related Reference: “Words Creating Worlds“, https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/words-create-worlds/

Understanding Our Universe architecture this way explains God’s capabilities, miraculous interventions, and how God knows even our unspoken prayers.

Modern Electronic Era:

Today billions of people hold in their hands modern electronic platforms where words are creating worlds (i.e. words of programming languages & tools for example). These modern electronics include mobile smart phones, tablets, and computers, where game designers create game-play worlds & other virtual worlds to explore. Reason infers that God controls much more robust platforms & capabilities at a much grander scale used to create & sustain Our Universe via underlying data & rules. The platform implements many underlying Universe “physical laws” like gravity, conservation of matter & energy, electricity & magnetism, among others. God’s Universe platform enables God to inspect & control underlying “data”, and even “rules”. Just like a “Game World” on modern electronic devices have a beginning, so too “Our Universe” had a beginning. Just like “Game Worlds” can implement different rule sets, likewise God chose which physical rules to put into operation. Scientists attempt to understand these rules more precisely. Our Universe’s beginning did not violate any rules of physics, yet rather implemented physical rules under which Our Universe operates. Likewise, matter being created is similar to specifying certain types of “data” in the underlying Universe Platform.

Related Reference “Bible Genesis Creation Account Universe Tools Paradigm & Comparison & Literal Creator Days” “https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/bible-genesis-creation-account-universe-tools-paradigm-comparison-literal-creator-days/

Disappearing Matter:

Once you understand God ‘s Universe Platform Paradigm (also known as Universe Tools Paradigm), you’ll understand how God can make people & matter even disappear from Our Universe.

Genesis 5:24 (ESV): Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

The way to think about this is parallel to how “data” can be arbitrarily changed on electronic platforms, since God has access to underlying data, rather than to think about this as constrained by “Conservation of Matter & Energy”.

Reasonableness:

Even reason itself supports our Universe originating from something rather than nothing. If nothing was all there was, then nothing is all there would be forever. Everyone can observe Our Universe exists, so it is reasonable to conclude something existed for all time. Christians assert that God has existed for all time, with the Bible’s documentary evidence showcasing God’s character & existence & interventions.

The Word of God:

Learn more about The Word of God starting in The Bible’s Book of John Chapter 1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+1&version=ESV):

John 1:1-5 (ESV): 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Related Topical References:

1. “Did God Create Everything Out of Nothing?” by Hank Hanegraaff August 7, 2013:  http://www.faithgateway.com/did-god-create-everything-out-of-nothing/#.VWetcmDdVFI

2. “When God made something out of nothing” http://creation.com/when-god-made-something-out-of-nothing-day-1

3. “Creation out of nothing” http://www.theopedia.com/Creation_out_of_nothing

4. “DID GOD CREATE THE WORLD FROM NOTHING?” http://booksnthoughts.com/did-god-create-the-world-from-nothing/

5. “Creation out of Nothing” http://www.catholic.com/tracts/creation-out-of-nothing

6. “Ex nihilo”, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo

7. “Did God Create the Universe? No” Discovering Religion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r2eE5tHRlA

8. “How could God create a material world out of nothing?” http://evidenceforchristianity.org/how-could-god-create-a-material-world-out-of-nothing/

9. “Did God Create Everything Out of Something or Out of Nothing?” http://churchofchristarticles.com/blog/administrator/did-god-create-everything-out-of-something-or-out-of-nothing/

10. “A Universe from Nothing?” by Jake Hebert, Ph.D. http://www.icr.org/article/universe-from-nothing/

Many Non-Believers & Believers Agree that the Statement “God Said It. I Believe It. That Settles It” is fundamentally Wrong! Why this agreement? What’s Wrong with the statement? The statement incorrectly assumes individuals accurately understand & know how to apply what God communicated. The statement subverts further reasonable discussion on topics discussed by implying incorrectly that further discussion must be due to lack of belief and/or an inherent underlying abundant clarity. God’s word can sometimes be tricky to understand & apply properly, yet is open to reason using our God given mental capabilities.

Misunderstanding:

The Bible is very often misunderstood, which is acknowledged by the Bible itself. The Bible is misunderstood by both believers and non-believers.

2 Peter 3:14-17 (ESV): 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Believers do periodically misunderstand God’s Word & even share these misunderstandings. At times non-believers misunderstanding is the reason they do not believe the Bible, and speak against God, God’s Word, and God’s People. For this reason, it is even more important that believers take extra care to understand God’s Word, for the sake of non-believers, as well as themselves, and believers.

Jude 1:10 (ESV): 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

James 3:1-2 (ESV): 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Misunderstanding Scenario: Revised Quotation:

God Said It. I Believe It. I misunderstand it! That Surely Doesn’t Settle It

Misapplication & Out of Context:

Even when Bible statements seem clear, people misapply them, typically out of context, or in a substantially different context than intended. Satan vainly attempted to trick Jesus into misapplying one part of God’s Word to get Jesus to sin. Jesus knew this was a misapplication, because Jesus knew what God instructed in the other scriptures, to properly understand contexts under which scriptures apply.

Matthew 4:5-7 (ESV): 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

While the Bible is known as God’s Word in Christian Circles, the Bible also contains words of others, which are put in their for our instruction, even if other peoples’ words are sometimes inaccurate & even untrue. People may inaccurately think the statement “God Said It. I Believe It. That Settles It.” applies to anything in God’s Word, rather than just what God had spoken. One illustration of this is Job’s friends, who made several statements that sound correct on the surface, yet were not.

Job 42:7-9 (ESV): 7 After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite:”My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

Misapplication & Out of Context Scenario: Revised Quotation:

God Said It. I Believe It. I misapply it! That Surely Doesn’t Settle It

The Solution:

God also provides others who sharpen our ability to correctly understand & properly apply God’s Word.

Proverbs 27:17 (ESV):  17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

When properly understood & applied, Wisdom from Above is open to reasonable dialogue respectfully & considerately with others.

James 3:13-18 (ESV): 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

God provides many types of instructors & guides so we’ll understand God’s Word better, so as to properly apply it, and gain salvation leading to eternal life.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV):  11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Christians are to ask God with unwavering faith for Wisdom to understand God’s Scriptures.

James 1:5-7 (ESV): 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Seek God & his righteousness & pray that God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, via your faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God, will share with you the intent of each scripture passage.

1 Corinthians 2:11-14 (ESV): 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Recognize there are limits to what our God given minds are able to understand in this lifetime.

2 Peter 1:16-21 (ESV): 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

It’d seem reasonable that God is even able to use non-believers speculations in the right dosages to strengthen believer’s discernment, as believers turn more deeply to God to understand & apply God’s Words as revealed in The Bible.

When you do find God’s Words in the Bible, you can acknowledge that “God Said It’, and then use your mind to seek to understand it, look to apply it properly, and be reasonable & respectful when sharing it. Recognize that often you’ll find it beneficial to learn from others (i.e. preachers, teachers, …) who have spent time analyzing areas of scripture of which you are focused.

1 Peter 3:13-17 (ESV): 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

While some things are useful to build people up, others are controversial & divisive & unhelpful, and are best avoided.

Titus 3:9-11 (ESV): 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

When subjects are discussed, be respectful and courteous toward all people. It is profitable for believers to discuss the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to deliver us from our sins, and transform us into godly people who do good works as faith is lived out.

Titus 3:1-2 (ESV): 1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

Christians Believe & Trust God, despite gaps understanding portions of Scriptures. What God says is truthful. This brings us to a better way to think about scriptures than “God Said It. I Believe It. That’s Settles It – Wrong” mindset. Bring a mindset that seeks to know & understand & follow God properly that is respectful of others.

God Reveals. Seek Understanding. Live Faithfully. Courteously Discuss.

Related Articles:

1. “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”, http://www.dictionaryofchristianese.com/god-said-it-i-believe-it-that-settles-it/

2. “God Said It, That Settles It!”, http://www.sermons4kids.com/that_settles_it.htm

3. “GOD SAID IT, THAT SETTLES IT”, http://lifehealingministries.us/newsletters/god-said-it-that-settles-it-2/

4. ““God Said It; I Believe It; That Settles It” by Jarrod Jacobs, http://knollwoodchurch.org/yr2014/b05_settles_it.html

5. “People Wrote It, You Believe Them, That Settles…Nothing”, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/09/people-wrote-it-you-believe-them-that-settles-nothing.html

6. “GOD SAID IT . . . AND THAT UNSETTLES IT” http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/3677/god-said-it-and-that-unsettles-it

7. “Is The Bible Reliable?- Part 5”, http://www.woodburypres.com/sermons/Reliable%205.htm

8. “God Said It; I Believe It, and That Settles It!” by Ernest Angley, https://www.ernestangley.org/read/article/god_said_it_i_believe_it_and_that_settles_it

9. “You Have Heard It Said: “GOD SAID IT. I BELIEVE IT. THAT SETTLES IT.””, http://yhhis.blogspot.com/2014/04/you-have-heard-it-said-god-said-it-i_1.html

10. “Claim CH100: God’s word, the Bible, must be our ultimate authority. The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it”, http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH100.html

11. “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it (Talk.Origins)”, http://creationwiki.org/The_Bible_says_it,_I_believe_it,_that_settles_it_(Talk.Origins)

Computer Science is the primary field where language is used to create & design, where words can be used to literally type/speak things into existence. This parallels God speaking things in our populated Universe into existence in an orderly fashion.

Hebrews 11:3 (ESV): 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Technology advances led to our current reality where words create worlds via computer programming & engineering design. Our Universe’s Creator used words to bring into being the Stars within Our Universe.

Genesis 1:14-15 (ESV): 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. Isaiah 40:26 (ESV):  26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

Before God’s words were spoken to create Stars in our Universe and other objects, God had already made Our Universe platform.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

iPhone 6+ BibleOpiaThe initial creation of Our Universe platform can be viewed similarly to creating a hardware & software platform under which applications operate via computer languages (words). Think about how hardware & software platforms for smart devices (i.e. phones & watches & other consumer devices) are engineered to support a myriad of application & capabilities, typically with built-in initial applications. Add-on applications are powered by words that encompass both programming languages & standard engineering design document formats. There are numerous computer languages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_language) that include C, C++, C#, Java, Swift, Visual Basic, JavaScript, Assembly/Machine (Binary Codes / Microcode) Languages , Fortran, Cobol, and many more. Applications powered by computer programming languages are available via web sites, and via downloadable / installable apps. One currently popular engineering design firm is AutoDesk (http://www.autodesk.com), which makes programs like AutoCad (Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AutoCAD ), where product advancement is accompanied by document format upgrades. People are working to make it so that more digital designs can eventually be rendered directly into physical objects, as exhibited in a Ted Talk on 3d Printing (http://www.ted.com/talks/joe_desimone_what_if_3d_printing_was_25x_faster?language=en). While our planet Earth can be viewed as an initial application, God reveals each essential subsystem underlying our eco-system, from water to land to plants to animals to people (Reference: Genesis 1 (http://biblehub.com/esv/genesis/1.htm). The Bible reveals that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were all involved in creating Our Universe.

Genesis 1:2 (ESV): 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. John 1:1-3 (ESV): 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. Colossians 1:16 (ESV): 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.

Repeatable scientific experiments reflect rules written into the programming & engineering underlying Our Universe. These physical rules are reflected in observations in sciences like physics and chemistry. These rules are subservient to the Universe’s Creator, who is able to directly “program” what happens in Our Universe & directly operate externally on objects in our Universe. The Creator has access to the underlying programming beyond what normal physical rules permit to which we as people are able to wield via natural processes. Periodically people recognize God’s interventions and call them miracles: sometimes correctly, and sometimes incorrectly. Real miracles revealed in the Bible are not a violation of Universe rules, so much as tapping into the underlying environment under which Our Universe rules are operational, to which the Creator has access. Likewise, worlds created in applications via software are able to implement diverse sets of physical rules, where the application programmer chooses how the world works.

2014 in review

Thanks to all the visitors in 2014! The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Prayer Partakers

Ultrasound

Prayer Partakers:

This Prayer Partakers articles reviews recorded cases in Biblical Scriptures where communication with God via prayers were answered affirmatively.

Pregnancy Prayer Partakers:

God instructed humankind to be fruitful and multiply to have children and populate our planet. What do you do when you wish to have children, yet there is no pregnancy? God has been very generous today to provide many medical & social & technological aids to help families in having children biologically & alternatively via adoption. Historically, before todays modern medical advances, primary solutions included time, prayer, & even surrogate parents. In Abraham’s son Isaac case, Isaac prayed for his wife Rebekah.  God granted his request and Rebekah his wife became pregnancy & birthed twins.

Genesis 25:19-26 (ESV): 19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” 24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

1 Samuel 1:1,5-6,11,17,19,20,26-28 (ESV): 1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. …  5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. …   11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” …  17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” … 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the LORD.” …  26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. 27 For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

Interesting Pregnancy Quotations:

“How you approach birth is intimately connected with how you approach life” Quote by William Sears (The Pregnancy Book: A Month-By-Month Guide). Courtesy GoodReads.com at http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/255094-how-you-approach-birth-is-intimately-connected-with-how-you

Pregnancy Prayers Key Points:

  • God made our natural process to be fruitful & multiply.
  • God hears & grants prayers for families to have children.
  • God has provided opportunities to grow families via medical advances & adoption.

Pregnancy Prayers Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Does God still grant prayer requests for children?
  • If a good friend wanted to children, under what circumstances would you pray for them, or guide them to pray to God?
  • If God wanted you to learn some more valuable lessons before having [more] children, how would you handle it?
  • What if children were not a dear friends future who wanted them? Elaborate. What if that applied to you?
  • Why is it important in this life on how people approach pregnancy, birth, and even adoption? Share your thoughts on the pregnancy quotation.

Life Prayer Partakers:

God ultimately has authority over when & where we & our loved ones live & die. God granted prayers to bring people back to life. Scriptures record few rare occasions that this was done. One time was when Elijah brought a boy back to life. Another time was when Jesus brought a girl back to life. When Jesus the Christ who is God (shares the same nature / character with God the Father and the Holy Spirit) informed us that the girl was sleeping, that set the expectation that when she returned, she would not be sharing stories about the afterlife.

1 Kings 17:17-24 (ESV): 17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” 22 And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”

Mark 5:35-43 (ESV): 35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Interesting Life Partakers Quotation:

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” Quotation by C.S. Lewis Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/37597

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” Quotation by Bruce Lee Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/4146

“A man’s life will not come again, once it has slipped through his teeth. And no power on earth can bring it back. This is the mortal law. Then no longer will his bones be held together by wet sinews. Then no longer the soul flutter in his mouth. But by Death’s blazing light, he is ground out and spent.” Quotation by Paul Pope (Escapo) Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1334716

Life Prayer Key Points:

  • God listened & acted to perform miracles to bring children back to life when asked via prayers & when asked in person.
  • God holds the keys to our life and death both in our earthly temporal life, and also for eternity.

Life Prayers Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Does God still perform miracles today, such as raising children back to life?
  • What comfort does God offer when the answer is “not this time” to miracle prayer requests?
  • Have you know any family or friends who have lost a young child to death?
  • How does God use the medical profession & technology advances to answer prayers?
  • Share your thoughts on the Life Quotations.

Wisdom Prayer Partakers:

God gave King David’s Son Solomon a dream. In the dream, God asked Solomon what he wanted. Solomon responded by asking for wisdom to rule God’s people. God recognized tremendous value in asking for wisdom. Wisdom can contribute to good eternal decision-making. God granted King Solomon his request, along with riches and long life. An even longer life was contingent upon King Solomon’s continued faithfulness. The Bible endorses our also asking God for wisdom. Wisdom is best when combined with a living faith, so we are to ask for wisdom out of our faith.  For an exploration of Wisdom & Faith & Love, consult The Three Guides articles & presentation materials later.

1 Kings 3:5-14 (ESV): 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 6 And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

James 1:5-8 (ESV): 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Interesting Wisdom Quotations:

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” Quotation by Isaac Asimov Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/4078

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
Quotation by Mark Twain (The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain) Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/4957

“I’m not young enough to know everything.” By J.M. Barrie (The Admirable Crichton) Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/120011

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Quotation by Confucius Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/83

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” Quotation by Jimi Hendrix Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/22276

Wisdom Prayer Key Points:

  • God instructs individuals having a living faith, yet who lack wisdom, to ask God for wisdom.
  • God was pleased to grant King Solomon’s request for wisdom, even providing much more than was asked.
  • God is also able to grant riches and long lifetimes.

Wisdom Prayer Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Under what circumstances should you not expect to get anything from God as a result of your prayers?
  • Explain why wisdom is best when combined with a living faith.
  • Have you asked, or do you plan to ask, the Lord God for Wisdom.
  • Share your thoughts on the interesting wisdom quotations.

Longevity Prayer Partaker:

While each of us does not know how many temporal years of life are allocated to us initially, God has shown us how to increase those years by honoring our parents. God left open options to answer his followers prayers for a longer lifespan. Followers are also referred to as Saints. God added 15 years (close to 5,500 days) of life to loyal & faithful King Hezekiah when he prayed to the Lord.

Exodus 20:12 (ESV): 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Deuteronomy 5:16 (ESV): 16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Ephesians 6:1-3 (ESV): 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Isaiah 38:1-5 (ESV): 1 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.

Phillipians 1:21-28 (ESV): 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

Interesting Longevity Quotations:

“Like anybody, I would like to have a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.” Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.  Courtesy of GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/16768

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” Quotation by Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/24547

“I want to live for a very, very long time, but it’s important that I take care of my body. When I am 851 years old, I don’t want to look it. No, I want to look 158.” by Jarod Kintz (Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life) Courtesy GoodReads.com at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/466989

Longevity Prayer Key Points:

  • God promises individuals longer life spans when they obey God’s commandment to honor their parents.
  • Saints of God are permitted to ask God for a longer life span. God may actively intervene to make this happen.
  • Tradeoff’s exist for Saints leaving this Earth to be with God versus staying to support God’s Mission.

Longevity Prayer Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Discuss to what age would you like to live. Are you inclined to ask God for more years of life? Explain.
  • Explore under what circumstances God is likely to decline prayers for increased longevity.
  • What are ways in which you & your family can honor your parents?
  • How could you support God’s Church, Mission, and Saints prior to your departure?
  • Share your thoughts on the longevity quotations.

Your Prayer Partaker Journey:

Our Prayer Partaker Journey is meant to provide us a lifeline to God for support through life events, whether related to family expansion, life & death, wisdom, or longevity. God documented specific circumstances where these request types were answered, as God cares deeply for the life of his true followers. God has heard & granted prayers for families to have children, and has setup a myriad of health specialists & technologies to support these request types today. Cultivate & establish a firm & stable faith to come to God with confidence with our prayer requests like when asking for increased wisdom. Reflect upon how long a life you’d like to live, since God has the power to provide followers a longer life. Remember to honor your parents as instructed in the Ten Commandments, as this is the first commandment including a promise of a longer & better life.

God’s scriptures recorded in the Bible on prayer touch upon many more topics & examples, so take some time to search the Bible (for example, on websites like https://www.biblegateway.com).

Credits:

The visual of an human ultrasound with this prayer article is Courtesy Microsoft Corporation.

Closest

Learning Prayer by Counter-Points & Points:

When we pray, we offer up our thoughts to God. Prayer can be done in public locations, in private locations, and silently in our inner beings in-between thoughts while going about our day to day activities. Prayers range from sharing our concerns with God, asking about the future, seeking justice, desiring discernment, pursuing guidance, appealing for help, and showing appreciation.

What does the Bible say about prayer as it is supposed to be done, and how it is not to be done?

Hypocrite Counter-Point Examples:

The Bible instructs Jesus Christ’s followers on how not to pray to God and on how to pray also. The ultimate aim is to show us how to pray in the context of a living faith. Since it is natural to come at prayer with many of our own & our culture’s assumptions & approaches, God’s inspired scriptures take extra care to showcase the prayer life God desires.

Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV): 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Hypocrite Key Points:

  • Prayer is not about looking good in front of others.
  • Prayer is about turning to God personally.
  • God created people as relational beings.
  • God desires each person to have a meaningful relationship with God.
  • God intends for prayer to draw us away from hypocracy.

Hypocrite Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Is it ok to lead a group in prayer? Explain.
  • Describe circumstances under which it allowable to be seen by others when you pray.
  • How is God able to see us when we pray in secret places? [Hint: Check out the Universe Tools Paradigm Presentation later]

Verbosity Counter-Point Example:

God already knows what you want, so there is little point in taking extra steps to inefficiently communicate what you want to God.

Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV): 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Verbosity Key Points:

  • Using many words to pray to God makes your prayers needlessly lengthier.
  • Be real with God, as God already knows what you need and want.

Verbosity Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Are shorter prayers always better? Why or Why Not?
  • Does God know what you need more than you yourself knows? Explain.

Lord’s Prayer Example:

Jesus provided a prayer, known as the Lord’s Prayer, which serves as a example of how to pray our own prayers, covering similar themes.

Matthew 6:9-12 (ESV): 9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Lord’s Prayer Key Points:

  • Joining the Christian Faith is like joining a heavenly family, where God is the Father
  • God’s name is to be honored, because of all God has done & continues to do
  • God desires us to seek our voyage on Earth to be in line with God’s will in heaven
  • God knows our daily needs and it’s reasonable to ask God to allocate provisions
  • Forgiveness of others is central to our faith & relationship with God
  • Because of personal weaknesses, we ask God’s intervention in keeping us away from temptation & evil

Lord’s Prayer Discussion Points / Questions:

  • How does our earthly father / family compare to our heavenly Father / Family?
  • List ways can we show honor to God’s name & reputation.
  • Even if you pray a lot, will God forgive your sins if you do not forgive others their sins?
  • Besides in a private location like our closest, how else can our prayers be private between us and God?

Persecuted Counter-Intuitive Prayer Example:

Intuitively, many people would normally be inclined to offer up prayers to God to punish their enemies, especially those who have caused them harm through persecution. Counter-intuitively, God instructs us to pray for our enemies out of love for them, which implies a concern for their reform & eternal well-being. Even personal human enemies are created in God’s image.

Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV): 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Persecution Key Points:

  • God instructs us to Love Our Enemies rather than Hate Our Enemies
  • God commands us to Pray for those who persecute us out of love for them

Persecution Discussion Points / Questions:

  • How willing are you to pray that your enemies will come to know God the Father, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit and repent of their sins and be transformed inwardly?
  • Discuss the good that would come into many nations in the world, if each resident were to come to know & follow Jesus Christ personally.
  • God provides sunlight for both righteous and evil people. Discuss how this informs behaviors of those providing products & services to others with different religious & moral beliefs.

Good Gifts Prayer Points:

Make a habit of coming to God in prayer about your needs, because God is already inclined to give good gifts to his children.

Luke 11:5-13 (ESV): 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Good Gifts Key Points:

  • As Heavenly Father, God wants to provide his children/followers what is good for them.
  • Ask God for the good gift of the Holy Spirit.

Good Gifts Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Is God providing a blank check when he says “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened”? Explain.
  • What would those who properly follow God under the Holy Spirit ask for, and not ask for?

Persistent Prayer Points:

When something is important to you, it is reasonable to expect you’ll come to God in prayer persistently about it.

Luke 18:1-8 (ESV): 1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Persistence Key Points:

  • Be persistent with God across different prayer sessions.
  • Pray during the daytime and evening too.
  • Remain faithful to God even as you Ask God for justice speedily, and wait for your prayers to be answered.

Persistence Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Does being persistent mean repeating the same words over & over again?
  • Provide examples of what is meant & what is not meant to ask God for justice.

Righteousness & Forgiveness Prayer Points:

Many people have trouble seeing their own sin, even though they find it easy to point to others’ sins & imperfections. In contrast, many other people see ways in which they’ve done wrong & need God’s forgiveness.

Luke 11:9-14 (ESV): 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV): 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Righteousness & Forgiveness Key Points:

  • Before God, all people except Jesus have sinned.
  • When we come to God, admit our sin.
  • Pray to God for forgiveness and to redirect your heart anew to repent and follow God.
  • Make sure you also forgive others so God will also forgive your sins.

Your Prayer Journey:

Our Prayer Journey is meant to lead us far away from hypocrisy to recognition of our sins, with a heart leading to repentance & forgiveness. Prayer is not meant to be an abundance of wordy verbose words, but instead sincere communication with God. Prayer is meant to recognize God’s Greatness, his ability to help us, and to direct us to desire God’s will to become increasingly more prevalent on earth, including the administration of justice. God is ready to provide good gifts like the Holy Spirit to all people who follow God the Father, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit. Prayer is meant to call us to be forgiving of others, and to love & pray for others, even enemies.

The Bible has much more to share about how to pray, so take some time to search the Bible (for example, on websites like https://www.biblegateway.com).

Credits:

The Closet image visual with this post is Courtesy Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft.com).

God’s Word supports both its’ reading and explaining its’ gist (or sense) of what is being communicated from the Divine so people will understand, as is done today with books, Churches, Bible Studies, with individual believers, online sermons, articles, audio, video, and blog posts. While explanations abound about scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit, recognize limitations to individual private interpretations to prophecies. To understand Divine Wisdom more fully, we are to aspire & to seek to advance towards spiritual maturity through learning, thoughtful reflection, and applied actions. It’s a process, so recognize the progress individually and collectively will vary.

Nehemiah 8:8-12 (ESV): 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. 9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

1 Corinthians 2:6-7 (ESV): 6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

2 Peter 1:16-21 (ESV): For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 1:24-29 (ESV): 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Hebrews 5:11-14 (ESV): 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Revelation 22:12-21 (ESV): 12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

The Bible Genesis Chapter 5 is primarily a timeline showcasing the first 1,656 years after Adam was created, and before the Great Flood on the Earth, providing a genealogy ancestry slice from Adam to Noah and his three sons Sham, Ham, and Japheth. Like any history with many dates and people, understanding and picturing this can be a challenge. The Time-Spans Timeline^2 Squared chart presented here shows the timeline in a novel way to how it is usually depicted. This one-page chart highlights the (1) birth years (2) father & sons, (3) longevities (ages), (4) relative years since Adam was created, and (5) overlapping lifespans visualizations.

Genesis 5 Timeline Squared One-Pager

Genesis 5 Timeline Squared One-Pager

You can use the above timespan chart to answer numerous timeline based trivia questions, like the following:

Genesis Chapter 5 Trivia: // Besides other sons & daughters
(1) Who was alive when Enoch was on Earth?
(2) Who could Jared not get to know?
(3) Who was Enosh’s Grandfather?
(4) Who lived a longer lifespan than Adam?
(5) Whose disclosed lifespan was the shortest?
(6) Who died 1,290 years after Adam was created?
(7) Who was Jared’s Great Grandfather?
(8) How long after Enosh was Jared Born?
(9) Who would have had no chance to know Noah?
(10) Who lived at right time to know all mentioned by name?

The Bible Genesis Chapter 5, while primarily a written recorded textual timeline, also contains a few special verses outside the timeline.

Genesis 5:1 (ESV): 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.

God re-iterated that humankind was created in his image, which means in the context of scriptures that people with God’s divine intervention, have the ability to be holy, loving, kind, generous, forgiving, and merciful like God. Jesus Christ who came as the Savior of the World, as the Son of God, who lived a perfect life, died to bear the sins of many people who are repentant and come to a living & enduring & growing faith. Jesus Christ is the way we come to know the truth about this life of ours, and come to know God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 5:2 (ESV): 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

Because God made humankind, starting with Adam and Eve, with the ability to reproduce, future generations of Adam and Eve are a result of the biological reproduction processes Our Creator established.

The Bible Genesis Chapter 5 lifespans illustrate an untapped scientific & behavioral opportunity to increase our lifespans to hundreds of years. At the time of this writing, many people considered to live a full life have lifespans ranging from 70 to 120 years. Whether humankind will find out the secret to longer life spans is presently unknown, yet God illustrated the potential exists. At this juncture, it is speculation on whether humankind in following God and searching the sciences will be granted access to this door to longevity.

Genesis 5:28-29 (ESV): 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”

The statement of Lamech who fathered Noah, foreshadows the the importance placed upon the birth of Noah. As history unfolded after hundreds of years, God sends a great flood upon the Earth. God spares Moses and his wife, and his sons, and their wives, and pointed to a brighter future for humankind.

Genesis 5:24 (ESV): 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

To better understand the mystery of how God took Enoch, please see the related presentation on the Bible Genesis Creation Account at http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/bible-genesis-creation-account and the related post at https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/bible-genesis-creation-account-universe-tools-paradigm-comparison-literal-creator-days/, which covers Genesis Chapter 1 & 2 in the context of scriptures, and answers question about the time Our Creator used in designing, rending, and operating Our Universe. The key point is how Enoch walked with God can be thought of as similar to how digital application programs are ported from platform to platform. God is likewise able to port people to Eternal Life or Torment Forever, depending upon a righteous judgement based upon the life each person has lived. Like Elijah later, Enoch was taken & did not die. One wonders if all humankind, before our fall into sin with its’ death penalty, was originally to have this option to graduate from life on Earth to be taken by God to have a close relationship with God in Heaven.

You are welcome to download the Bible Genesis 5 Timeline Squared Presentation PDF, at https://bibleopia.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/bible-genesis-5-timeline-squared-pdf.pdf which also contains the answers to the trivia questions posed earlier.

The initial stages of human embryogenesis.

The initial stages of human embryogenesis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Celebrate the World’s Savior:

Christians celebrate the coming of the Savior of the World, the Son of God, who is Jesus, the Christ.

Who is this World Savior Jesus?

Jesus is God and is the Son of God, and was with God the Father and the Holy Spirit when Our Universe was created.

John 1:1-3 (ESV): 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Genesis 1:1-2 (ESV): 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

World Savior’s Nature:

Jesus has the same character (the same nature) as God the Father.

Hebrews 1:3-4 (ESV): He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

World Savior Reveals:

The only way to know God the Father is through Jesus the Son, who reveals the nature & essence of God. God’s Bible scriptures testify to the eternal life that Jesus offers.

Matthew 11:27-28 (ESV): All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

2 John 1:9 (ESV): 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

John 5:39 (ESV): 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Savior Lights Our World:

Our Savior Jesus Christ shines spiritual light towards people, with the goal for us to walk a righteous life.

John 8:12 (ESV): 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Savior’s Virgin Birth Prophesied:

Many generations ago, prior to Jesus’ birth, Isaiah prophesied Our Savior Immanuel (God with Us) Jesus’ birth will originate via a virgin birth.

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV): Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Savior’s Virgin Birth:

God sent the Angel Gabriel to Mary, who admitted she was a virgin while she was formally engaged (betrothed) to be married. The angel Gabriel revealed this pregnancy would result from God’s Holy Spirit intervention in her womb.  Scientifically this bears similarity to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) techniques.

Luke 1:26-33 (ESV): 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

As per the Universe Tools Paradigm (see https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/bible-genesis-creation-account-universe-tools-paradigm-comparison-literal-creator-days/), it clearly follows God capabilities to make Mary pregnant while she retained her virginity. The virgin birth is the simple part, as even today’s science a couple of millennia later are able to create virgin births using techniques like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The challenging portion is creating a baby that will have the exact nature of God. This was divinely orchestrated by the Holy Spirit starting in the womb.

Luke 1:34-38 (ESV): 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Savior’s Purpose:

Our Savior’s purpose was live a perfect life without sin, and then to die as a payment for the world’s sins. This perfect life was unjustly crucified as the payment Jesus uses to pay for the sins of his repentant followers.

John 12:27-36 (ESV): 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

Savior’s Death:

The Savior Jesus laid down his life to die as a payment for the world’s sins. Consider this parallel to the love a Father has for a child, or that a husband has for his wife. It was the sin of the world that put Jesus in the situation of having to die on the cross, and the love of God for us, that brought Jesus with tears to be willing to die on the cross. Jesus’ death was a voluntary offering.

Luke 22:39-46 (ESV): 39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Savior’s Resurrection:

When Jesus was on the cross on a Friday, Jesus indicated that the repentant criminal would be with him that night in paradise.

Luke 23:39-42 (ESV): 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Using the Universe Tools Paradigm as a lens to examine scriptures (see https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/bible-genesis-creation-account-universe-tools-paradigm-comparison-literal-creator-days/), it follows that God the Father brought Jesus back to life in paradise (in Heaven) that very Friday night. Even before Jesus was in Heaven (in paradise) that night, Jesus knew he was granted the power to raise back up his physical Earthly body on Earth on the third day, that Resurrection Sunday.

John 10:16-18 (ESV): 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me,because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.This charge I have received from my Father.”

Acts 2:22-22+2 (ESV): “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God withmighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

On the third day, that Sunday, Jesus’ followers were not expecting Jesus to rise from the dead, despite God’s Son instructing them on this matter prior to being crucified & dead & buried.

Luke 24:1-8 (ESV): 1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

Jesus’ resurrection was back to a regular human body that could see, touch, taste, and eat.

Luke 24:36-43 (ESV): 36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

John 20:24-29 (ESV): 24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus appeared many more times to his disciples, even to more than 500 people at once, in which his resurrection was an eyewitness event that was recorded in history.

Acts 13:30-31 (ESV): 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.

1 Corinthians 15:3-9 (ESV): 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

As we remember Jesus’ coming into our world, recommend you use your reason along with the Universe Tools Paradigm as a lens to examine scriptures (see https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/bible-genesis-creation-account-universe-tools-paradigm-comparison-literal-creator-days/), to better understand what God was doing.

Further References:

John 1:1-13 (ESV): 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (see The Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%201&version=ESV)

Web References:

Does the Old Testament Predict the Virgin Birthhttp://www.patheos.com/blogs/joeljmiller/2012/12/does-the-old-testament-really-predict-the-virgin-birth/

English: Picture of the Abraham Lincoln statue...

English: Picture of the Abraham Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial. Italiano: La statua di Lincoln al Lincoln Memorial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world desperately needs freedom, the freedom they can only get from Jesus, the Christ, the Savior, the Son of God, the Word of God.

John 8:31-38 (ESV):

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

God's Will, Our Style

Bible’s Lessons:

The Bible records many distinctive ways people lived God’s Will, even though at times rebellion, sin, and disobedience surfaced. God’s Will allows for personal style consistent with God’s Commandments, and requires repentance in response to disobedience. As you live out God’s Will, distinguish between these:

      1. God’s Will
      2. Our Style consistent with God’s Will
      3. Our Way opposing God’s Will
      4. Our Sin & Rebellion

The key point is that as people are called to follow God, that God is also calling you to bring your essential individually, and then to seek God’s help to live it out without your inner sin.

God’s Will Generally:

The Bible emphasizes the importance (a) to have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, (b) to repent from sin, (c) pursue righteousness, (d) to love & obey God with all your being, and (e) to love your neighbor as yourself. When selecting what to do in life, evaluate your decisions in light of God’s Will generally.

God’s Will Specifically:

Complimenting the already available guidance in God’s Will generally revealed, is the further knowledge that God works to bring believers through situations to improve them & help others. This is a process where our character, skills, and faith is meant to grow beneficially individually & collectively as life’s challenges are faced.

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV): For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God’s preparing good works for people to perform is observable in scriptures in several instances. God prophesied to Abraham hundreds of years ahead of time the slavery & release of his people, in which Moses & Aaron played a critical role. The life of Queen Ester and Mordecai evidences God’s coordination of redemptive events to protect his people from genocide. What instances do you recall from your studies of scriptures?

God’s Will Directly Articulate:

On rare occasions, God’s Will is made crystal clear via direct communication. One instance is when God asked Moses to rescue his people from EgyptPharaoh (Exodus 3).

Exodus 3:10 (ESV):  10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

God’s Will and Our Style:

God permits the way in which God’s Will is lived out to incorporate our personal & collective styles to some extent. This is illustrated when God preferred Moses to directly deliver God’s Word and lead God’s people. Moses personality & style was inherently shy about speaking directly to his people, so God provided Aaron to Moses to work out God’s Will to deliver his people from physical bondage & slavery.

Exodus 4:10-17 (ESV): 10 But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

While God’s Will does permit Our Style, Moses’ illustration encourages people to also consider whether God’s Will prefers us to embrace a style that will grow our comfort with new skills God knows we’ll be able to handle with his help. God preferred Moses to grow skills speaking directly to God’s people, even though Moses feared it. Even today, it is often reported that people find public speaking frightful.

God’s Will Indirectly Articulated & Our Style:

People will often discover God’s Will in their specific situations is implicit rather than explicit. As an illustration, Queen Ester and Mordecai both recognized that Queen’s Ester intervention looked like God’s first & primary preference for intervention on behalf of God’s people.

Ester 4:12-17 (ESV): 12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Mordecai previously asked Queen Ester to petition the King to rescue their people. Queen Ester agreed to risk her life by going before the King without being officially summoned, and her style was to fast first before God prior to executing this bold maneuver. Mordecai respected Queen Ester’s stylistic approach to fast first. It is reasonable to infer God did too.

Our Way Opposing God’s Will:

When facing decisions in life, evaluate your inner desires, motives, and means, to ensure they are living up to the standards God set. While your conscience can provide guidance, as can good godly council, God’s revealed word in the Bible is the ultimate authority. As an illustration, when King David’s inner being became lustful for Bathsheba after seeing her bathing on her housetop (see 2 Samuel 11), King David needed to evaluate his inner desires carefully, even though typically King David’s inner being desired to know God’s Will and do the right thing.

While in some cases, a particular action is not in & of itself immoral in the general case of God’s Will, it is still immoral to do in instances when God specifically decreed that action was not permitted. For example, Jesus instructed certain people not to publicly reveal the healing he performed for their individual benefit. They disobeyed, which caused Jesus difficulty in his outreach mission in several geographic areas.

Mark 1:40-45 (ESV): 40 And a leperf came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesusg sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Our Sin & Rebellion:

When evaluating our situational liberty & latitude, evaluate decisions & desires in the light of God’s Will generally revealed to know when to repent & change. This analysis helps to distinguish Our Stylistic latitude from Our Wayward tendencies towards evil. In absence of accomplishing this effectively, sin & rebellion result. One sin has the dangerous potential to lead to many sins.

Consider how King David committed adultery, and then did not repent. This first sin lead to the first attempt at a “cover up” that did not work. King David still did not repent and instead resulted to murder in another “cover up” attempt (see 2 Samuel 11 and 2 Samuel 12). In King David’s case, God’s Will revealed adultery & murder is wrong, so King David knew these actions were not stylistic discretions, yet rather sinful disobedient rebellious actions against God. King David “cleverly by worldly standards yet unwisely by God’s standards” (cleverly yet unwisely) made plans to disobey God’s commandments not to commit adultery and not to murder. God severely punished King David by allowing evil enemies to obtain sufficient power to repay King David for his immoral actions.

In Conclusion:

Whether you receive God’s Will via direct commands or via God’s generally revealed will, carefully evaluate your inner being & decision-making process to ensure your thoughts & actions align with God’s Will. Just as God provided a lot of variety in nature, and this variety is consistent with God’s Will, so too God provided a lot of variety in people’s styles that are harmonious with God’s Will, Another way to understand it, is that in work positions, there are certain responsibilities & expectations that come with the role. Yet, within a given role, people find ways to contribute that brings out their own personal style, background, and vision through their contributions.

Review:

1. God’s Will allows for personal _______ consistent with God’s Commandments.

2. On rare occasions, God’s Will is made crystal clear via ________ communication.

3. People will often discover God’s Will in their specific situations is ________ rather than _________.

4. Consider whether God’s Will prefers us to embrace a style that will grow our comfort with new _________.

5. Evaluate decisions & desires in the light of God’s Will generally revealed to know when to ________ & ________.

6. Distinguish Our Stylistic _________ from Our Wayward _________ towards evil.

Related Articles:

Credits:

  • Special Thanks to Microsoft Office Images & Tools used in the creation of today’s visual.

God's Will, Our Style

Decision Point Do Right Do Wrong
One way God intervenes in our lives at times is by keeping us from sinning out of ignorance until there is a “Decision Point” where it is our choice to decide whether to sin or to do what is right. This class of Divine Intervention is clearly illuminated after Abraham and Sarah kept their marriage hidden, which almost caused King Abimelech of Gerar to sin by taking Abraham’s spouse Sarah as his wife due to this significant omission. Even though God in this instance revealed in a dream having leveraged this intervention type behind the scenes in King Abimelech of Gerar’s case, there is no requirement for God to reveal each instance when The Almighty intervenes in similar ways to protect each of us.

Genesis 20:1-7 (ESV): From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

God's Sovereignty Control Chance ChoiceAcross the world, people wonder how much is predetermined & predestined (see related Ephesians 1 Audience article). What must happen that we can do nothing about? What is fate? Where does our free will come in during this life? The answer to these questions significantly impacts one’s world view and even how God‘s own scriptures are understood. In the Christian community, people agree that God is Sovereign, yet what does that mean in terms of God’s control, our choices, and chance itself? While there are over-simplificiations out there, what does the Bible have to say?

Chance Under the Sun:

What does the Bible say about Chance? Does it exist? Even if it exists, is it marginal? Does chance impact people’s life?

The Wise King Solomon shares in our Biblical Scriptures that chance happens to people in many areas of life.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (ESV): 11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

The scripture shares from our viewpoint, from observing how the world works, that chance does exist, chance is not marginal, and chance impacts people’s lives.

Chance impacts the outcomes of battles within a war, who wins competitions, the food you have to eat, how wealthy or poor you will be, and whether you’ll be treated favorably in this life.

Chance Under the Son of God:

What did the Son of God say about Chance?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is one with God, who existed before Our Universe was created, who is greater than King Solomon, speaks to us about being a good neighbor, and about the presence of chance, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:29-37 (ESV): 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

The Son of God revealed God the Father‘s divine message, and God’s divine message recognizes chance. Clearly Jesus could have revealed any other message, like that by the Divine Providence of God, the Priest was made to pass by there. Jesus clearly acknowledges chance was the reason. The Divine perspective by the co-creator of Our Universe is that chance is real, that chance definitely exists, and that chance influences who is in & out of our lives.

Chance under God’s Sovereignty:

Do you find the Wise Revelations of King Solomon and the Divine Revelation of Jesus Christ the Son of God concerning the presence of chance as disturbing? Even the highly respected scientist / theorist Albert Einstein found it unpalatable, saying:

“God does not play dice with the universe.” — Albert Einstein, The Born-Einstein Letters 1916-55, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2669-god-does-not-play-dice-with-the-universe

Does chance undermine God’s Sovereignty?  How can God be Sovereign even in the midst of chance?

Let’s consider a thought experiment, which is a common tool scientists use to understand complexity. This thought experiment will illustrate how chance exists without undermining God’s Sovereignty.

Most everyone is familiar with the game of tic tac toe. Imagine you were playing a game with an opponent who is invincible. Even if you made random moves, you would still be unable to win. The game itself at best results in a tie when playing with an invincible player. Think about God’s Sovereignty in the same way. No randomness in the game play undermines God’s Sovereignty in any way by design.

Choice in Our Universe:

The Divine Word of God illustrates many choices people have, as already elaborated upon on the topic of “What Choice Do You Have?” .  To Summarize, People have Choices like the following:

God tells the truth and does not lie. God gives you legitimate choices. God wishes for you to pick blessings, but will let you pick curses. Pick Wisely!

Choice under God’s Sovereignty:

Does choice undermine God’s Sovereignty?  How can God be Sovereign even in the midst of choice?

Let’s consider the other side of that same thought experiment, except this time with choice rather than chance. A thought experiment is a common tool scientists use to understand complexity. This thought experiment will illustrate how choice exists without undermining God’s Sovereignty.

Most everyone is familiar with the game of tic tac toe. Imagine you were playing a game with an opponent who is invincible. Even if you use your intellect to makes the most intelligent move choices, you would still be unable to win. The game itself at best results in a tie when playing with an invincible player. Think about God’s Sovereignty in the same way. No deliberate choice in the game play undermines God’s Sovereignty in any way by design.

Control under God:

What are ways in which God institutes control in our world, to optimize the outcomes that result in the midst of chance, choice, and the fallen character & fallen culture of humankind?

The entire Bible’s testifies into the ways God has intervened with promises and with actions in the 66 Books of Bible. God promised to send his Son Jesus Christ into the world to bear our sins. Jesus Christ came and offers to bear the sins of all who become true believers & followers of his.

  • God intervened with the flood, saving Noah and his immediate family
  • God used Prophets to warn Kings
  • God intervened in battles & wars
  • God appointed & disciplined Kings
  • God sent Prophets who delivered God’s message and performed miracles to help people
  • God performed miracles to heal others, feed people in need, bring people back to life, and to teach deep theological lessons about forgiveness
  • God transforms the personal & eternal character of those who diligently seek him with all their heart, mind, body, soul, and strength
  • God reminds us of our choices & responsibilities
  • God determines the bounds of the length of our days & the locations of our journeys, though is open to change those bounds upon request, under the right circumstances
  • Jesus Christ came back to the Earth after his death to testify again to the Divine & Eternal Truth & Life found in The Way

Even though God rested from adding new physical rules governing Our Universe after the 6 days of creation (see Bible Genesis Creation Account), God still intervenes in Our Creation for the benefit of our souls.

The Wise King Solomon also acknowledges that although chance exists, God is able to intervene in chance.

Proverbs 16:33 (ESV): 33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

This verse does not preclude God from deciding that the outcome is to be determined by chance, yet rather asserts God’s ability & right to intervene in a way that looks like it was just chance.

This means that just as many people have seen God acting in the world through what seemed like chance fluke outcomes, that at least in some of those cases, it was God acting, even though it’d be difficult to prove at times.

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”, Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/14140-coincidence-is-god-s-way-of-remaining-anonymous

Even though much encouragement can be gained from observing these events, make sure your faith rests on the firm foundation of God’s Word. Likewise, looking back at the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus does not reveal whether the Samaritan was there by chance, or by God’s intervention.

Control under the Son of God:

The ultimate control over all is in the process of being handed over by God the Father to God the Son, Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 (ESV): 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

Because all people have sinned, except for Jesus, all deserve death for their wrongdoing. Jesus’ life & death provided a way for those who were enemies of God, to become God’s friends, and to obtain forgiveness of sins and everlasting life (reference Hebrews 2 (ESV) at BibleGateway.com and Romans 6 (ESV))

God is Sovereign in the Midst of Chance & Choice:

The analogy to use Tic Tac Toe provides a simple way for people to understand these very complex and robust concepts about God’s Sovereignty & Control in the midst of Chance & Choice in our life.

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am optimistic that many who are presently secular will be able to understand this mystery, since a very similar analogy is present in the 1983 science fiction movie War Games. The basic premise is that a self-aware computer gets the codes necessary to start nuclear war, and only by running several simulations of Nuclear War and Tic Tac Toe does the self-aware computer grasp finally that there is no guaranteed way to win.

In the context of religion, understand that there is no way to win against God, yet the way to win, is with God, through his Son Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 54:16-17 (ESV): 16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; 17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

God ran the necessary calculations & setup the appropriate controls & contingency plans ahead of time to ensure it, even though the calculations are more complex than Tic Tac Toe or Global Nuclear War scenarios. To understand more how creation & calculations are intertwined, refer to the Genesis Creation Account Universe Tools Paradigm.

Games like Tic Tac Toe and even more advanced games like Chess are generally understood to lead to ties, if neither side made any mistakes. Satan the Devil will  will face final defeat, having already made a mistake by rebelling against God (Ezekiel 28 (ESV), and by tempting humankind to fall away from God (see Genesis 3 (ESV)). God is Sovereign, and worthy to receive all the honor, power, and glory (see Revelation 4 (ESV))

For those who find chance and choice distasteful, rest in this assurance, that God is Sovereign whether or not you accept the realities of chance and choice. You can also comfort yourself, knowing you are in well-respected company, as even the honored scientist Albert Einstein found that concept distasteful, despite investigations of Our Universe pointing to the conclusion that God does play dice with the Universe. The thought experiments introduced complement scriptural illustrations to show God plays dice with the Universe responsibly. 

Each person has the responsibility to seek God and his righteousness to live in faith, being faithful to God.

Romans 5:1-4 (ESV): 1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Seeking always to do what is right out of faith is expected of everyone, regardless of your viewpoints on God’s Sovereignty, Chance, Choice, Predestination, Election, and Calling. While people might want to debate these Paradigms, never miss your own personal responsibility, so you’ll accompany fellow believers in the New Heaven and New Earth for eternity.

The Wise King Solomon recognized that many aspects in life are subject to time & _________________.

Jesus, the Son of God, revealed that ______________ exists in life.

You have the responsibility to ___________ good or evil.

You have a ___________ to seek God’s righteousness.

God plays dice with the Universe _____________.

There is no way to ______ against God, yet the way to ________, is with God, through his Son _______ _______.

Credits:

Stand Up Adam

Historically when Adam & Eve were in the Garden of Eve as husband & wife, they both ate fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, even though God had commanded them not to eat of it. God commanded this for their protection, since if they ate eat it, they would die, as they eventually did. To disobey God & sin was Adam & Eve’s own choice, and was contrary to the good image of God’s character already in them. The fall was not predetermined to happen, even though God planned for the contingency of this choice, and knew what they would do shortly before they did it. In the sovereignty of God, God set boundaries & limits on what Adam & Eve could do. Adam & Eve were not slaves to sin at the beginning. God made Adam & Eve good and made a very good world. It was their choice whether to obey or disobey God, so they had to bear the responsibility of their choice.

Genesis 3:1-7 (ESV): 3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

As Adam was married to Eve, what does God expect from husbands?

Husbands are expected to love their wives in ways that sanctify & protect them bodily & spiritually in Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-31 (ESV): 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

How does Adam‘s participation contrast to what is expected of husbands?

Adam was with his wife Eve, who was tempted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Adam also knew God informed them that eating of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil would lead to death, so Adam knew the serpent was endangering his wive Eve. Yet Adam did not “Stand Up” to correct Eve who was endangering herself physically & spiritually.

1 Timothy 2:13-14 (ESV): 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Did Adam sin also by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil?

Yes, Adam did sin.

Romans 5:12-13 (ESV): 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Was it God’s fault Adam & Eve sinned? Was God guilty?

The first thing that Adam did was blame God for providing Eve to Adam as the cause of the sin. This is the very same Eve that Adam longed for when naming the many creatures God created. This is the very same Eve that Adam called “flesh of my flesh”, that Adam happily received from God as awesome.

Genesis 3:8-13 (ESV): 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God was not guilty of deliberately disobedient choices Adam & Eve made. God made them good, enabled them to pick what is right, taught them good, showed them good, cared for them well, and cautioned them too.

Who did God punish?

God knew what had happened, and so punished the serpent first, since the serpent cleverly, yet unwisely, initiated the temptation that lead to the fall.

Genesis 3:14 (ESV): 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

Why did Adam sin and eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil too?

Adam loved & obeyed his wife more than he loved & obeyed God, and God’s command. This misguided love & obedience contributed to Adam’s sinning against God. In loving his wife more than God, Adam effectively loved his wife less than if Adam had loved God first and foremost, and loved his wife second. Why? Because if Adam loved God first, and his wife second, then Adam would have intervened in Eve’s decision to disobey God’s command & would have protected Eve his wife and their family together. Adam eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil was not noble in any way.

Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV): 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Ever since then, people have been dysfunctionally loving family, friends, possessions, and worldly ways more than God.

How could God help future husbands & wives to avoid the same dysfunctional love relationship of Adam & Eve?

God made it crystal clear that the husband was the head of the household, which means the husband is absolutely responsible to protect the life of his wife physically & spiritually in Christ. Previously Adam had blamed Eve for his poor decision to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil and to not stand up to his wife nor for his wife. No longer could husbands use that same excuse. God laid that responsibility squarely on the husbands.

Genesis 3:16 (ESV): 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Was God going to help Adam & Eve and all humankind in this fallen state?

God foretold  sending his own son Jesus Christ generations later. Jesus Christ would have the victory, confronting the hypocrisy of Adam & Eve’s descendants.

Genesis 3:15 (ESV): 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Why was Adam’s wife called Eve?

Genesis 3:20 (ESV): 20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Why did God put clothes on Adam & Eve?

One reason in context is that earlier Adam and Eve  indicated their discomfort without clothes.

Genesis 3:21 (ESV): 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Genesis 3:9-11 (ESV):  9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

In providing clothes for Adam & Eve, did God sacrifice an animal to forgive the sins of Adam & Eve at this time, as later done with the Jewish sacrificial system?

The Jewish sacrificial system was to remind people of the severity of their sins. It was to remind people that the wages of sins is death. The sacrifices of animals never took away sins. Only God the Father takes away sins through the sacrifice on the cross of the Son of God, who is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:1-4 (ESV): 10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Why did God cast Adam & Eve out of the Garden of Eden?

If Adam & Eve lived forever in their current condition, they would be marred forever by sin. Adam & Eve would also be tempted to eat of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Knowing they already ate from one tree that God commanded them not to eat, now it would be irresponsible to allow them to remain in a situation too harmful to their soul’s eternally. To spare them this risk of eating from the Tree of Life and remaining in a sinful condition forever, God kicked out Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV): 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

ICE Cubed

The next time you encounter ice, whether ice outside, ice in your beverage, or even an ice pop, take a moment to think about the I.C.E. acronym. The I.C.E. Framework acronym reminds us of many aspects pertaining to living out the Christian life.

ICE^3 CUBED SKI Categories

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Life Guide PostsThe Guide Posts are Integrity, Capability, and Eternity.

(1) Integrity points us to live life with a character seeking after God’s own heart, preferably in a way people respect & recognize.

Titus 2:7-8 (ESV): 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

(2) Capability reminds us to apply abilities in following God and in other areas of our life.

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 (ESV): 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

(3) Eternity focused means we need to ensure we are seeking & living out the faith & righteousness to be admitted into Heaven forever.

John 3:16 (ESV): 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Life Role Modeling: Life Role Modeling includes Imitate, Christ, and Equipped. Our Role Models are Jesus Christ and his followers for eternity. Likewise, Role Models are useful for skills to apply in our world.

(A) Imitate: Just as we are to imitate the Apostle Paul who imitates Christ by learning from his faith, love, and decision-making processes, we are likewise to learn from Jesus’ other followers too.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV): 1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

(B) Christ: Jesus Christ is Our Role Model and Redeemer. Jesus shows us the way to God the Father, and the way we are expected to live our lives with faith.

John 14:6 (ESV): 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(C) Equipped: Just like the fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, so too faith in Jesus Christ is the beginning of the Christian life. To live this life properly involves continually becoming increasingly more equipped to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and all people through studying & applying scripture lessons.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV): 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Life Monitoring & Correction: Our Life Monitoring & Correction includes Introspection, Confession, and Evaluation.

(I) Introspection: To properly look inside yourself introspectively requires looking into the diagnostic mirror that God provides via his words and often those God sends into your life. To look at yourself without these diagnostic tools risks self-deception or self-despair. Even in worldly matters, organizations often bring in outside expertise to facilitate the diagnosis and repair process.

James 1:22-27 (ESV): 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

(II) Confession: As a result of our Introspection, each of us is to confess our sins to God and repent of them, and turn away from doing those kinds of sins again. Additionally, we are to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our belief in him.

1 John 1:9 (ESV): 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 2:23 (ESV): 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

(III) Evaluation: Each of us is instructed to evaluate how our lives compare to living according to the Word of God, which can help to guide us in areas to correct. If we are remiss, and yet are true children of God, God monitors us to also help us to correct areas needing improvement.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (ESV): 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Besides applying this I.C.E. Framework to your Christian life directly, you can also apply the I.C.E. Framework to your worldly life domains supportively.

Galatians 3:23-24 (ESV): 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

The I.C.E. Framework (I.C.E Acronym) reminds us of many passages in God’s Word that pertain to our living our Christian life faithfully and fully. To keep the material brief & quickly digestible, only one or two supporting Bible quotes were selected for each area, though many more exist. You can search the Bible further at the Bible Gateway at http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Christ&qs_version=ESV or use a search tool of your preference.

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I.C.E. Framework Review:

I. The I.C.E. Framework encompasses several aspects pertaining to living out the __________ life.

II. Life Guide Posts are I________, C_________, and E_________.

III. Life Role Models are I________, C_________, and E_________.

IV. Life Monitor & Correct tools are I________, C________, and E_________.

V. You can also apply the I.C.E. Framework to your _______ life domains supportively.

I.C.E. Life Guide Posts Review:

A. Integrity points us to live life with a __________ seeking after God’s own heart.

B. Capability reminds us to apply our ___________ in following God in all our life areas.

C. Eternity focused reminds us to ensure we are seeking & living out faith & righteousness to be admitted into _________ forever.

I.C.E. Life Role Model Review:

1. Imitate the Apostle Paul & others who imitates Christ by learning from their ______, _____, and ______-______ processes.

2. Jesus Christ is Our Role Model and _________ who shows the way to God the Father and how to live our _______ with faith.

3. ________ in Jesus Christ is the beginning of the Christian life.

4. Christians must continually become increasingly more __________ to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and all ________.

I.C.E. Life Monitor & Correct Review:

i. To properly look inside yourself introspectively requires looking into the diagnostic _______ God provides.

ii. To look at yourself without God’s diagnostic tools risks self-_________ or self-________.

iii. Each of us is to confess our sins to God and _______ of them.

iv. Christians are to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our _______ in him.

v. Each of us must evaluate how our lives ______ to living according to the Word of God to help guide us in areas to ________.

vi. God monitors true believers to also help us to correct & improve areas needing _________.

Credits:

(1) Chilled Font from Font River at http://www.fontriver.com/font/chilled/

(2) Clip Art from Microsoft Office at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images

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What Choice Do You Have?

People have Choices:

You have choices: Pick Wisely.

Proverbs 27:12 (ESV): 12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

You have a choice: A choice to pick good or evil:

Deuteronomy 30:15 (ESV): 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

You must decide: A choice to pick blessings or curses:

Deuteronomy 11:26 (ESV): 26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.

You have a choice to flee sexual immorality:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV): 8 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

You have a choice to seek God’s righteousness:

Zephaniah 2:3 (ESV): 

3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
who do his just commands;
seek righteousness; seek humility;
perhaps you may be hidden
on the day of the anger of the Lord.

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV): 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

You have a choice to pick slavery in sin or freedom in the truth:

John 8:31-38 (ESV): 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

You have a choice to pursue light or darkness:

John 8:12-20 (ESV): 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

You have a choice to fellowship with those who follow God the Father, his Son Jesus the Savior, and the Holy Spirit:

Hebrews 10:24-27 (ESV): 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

You have a choice to tithe, to give 10% of your total income, one or more times annually. Yes, that would add up to more than 10%.

Malachi 3:9-11 (ESV): 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.

You have a choice to pay your owed taxes:

Mark 12:13-17 (ESV): 13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

You have a choice to serve God or money:

Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV): 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

You have a choice to make your calling & election sure:

2 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV): 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You have a choice to sow to the spirit persistently.

Galatians 6:7-9 (ESV): 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Choose Wisely according to the Greater Wisdom!

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (ESV): 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

God’s cheering for you to make the right decision!

2 Kings 17:13-14 (ESV): 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14 But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God.

Matthew 23;37-38 (ESV): 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate

God tells the truth and does not lie. God gives you legitimate choices. God wishes for you to pick blessings, but will let you pick curses. Pick Wisely!

The Savior Confronts:

When Jesus came to Earth, many confrontations were with the Pharisees, who criticized Jesus for disobeying their traditions. These religious leaders made additions & subtractions to & from God’s Laws, which were portrayed & marketed as designed to help people obey God’s Laws, such as laws pertaining to keeping the Sabbath Day.

Exodus 20:8-11 (ESV): 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

One of the difficulties in understanding the Sabbath Day properly was understanding what it means to “keep it holy”. The Pharisees focused on the prohibition on what not to do. Jesus focuses on requirement of what God expected his people to do. God expects his people to “keep it holy” by doing good on the Sabbath Day and actively demonstrates this requirement of God’s Law on numerous occasions. Keeping God’s Law encompasses commissions and omissions and the motivations behind them.

Additions & Subtractions to God’s Law:

Were the religious leaders treatises that created more restrictive laws in violation of God’s instructions to his people?

Deuteronomy 12:32 (ESV): 32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

God clearly prohibited the religious leaders from both adding and subtracting to God’s Laws, yet they did it anyway! When the religious leaders imposed human-made laws as if they were God’s Laws, they were guilty of violating God’s rules because they did this despite its’ prohibition by God.

Religious Leaders Add to God’s Law:

The religious leaders added to God’s Law and tainted God’s intent. God intended for people to use the Sabbath Day to do good and have rest from their labors. Religious leaders went beyond that when they prohibited all types of actions on the Sabbath Day that The Bible did not itself prohibit. These prohibitions were so extreme, they even opposed the miracles God the Father orchestrated with his Son.

Matthew 12:10-12 (ESV): 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” — so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

When Jesus was keeping the Sabbath Holy by healing people of oppressive physical conditions and forgiving their sins, they opposed Jesus because of what they added to God’s Laws.

Religious Leaders Subtract from God’s Law:

When Jesus was confronted about the disciples violating their traditions, Jesus confronted them about their traditions that were undermining & invalidating God’s Law.

Matthew 15:3-6 (ESV): 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God, 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.

Personal Responsibility:

Based upon your own strengths and weaknesses, you are called to look at what you personally need to cut out of your life.

Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV): 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Your eyes & hands really do not cause you to sin, so please do not harm yourself. It is the sinful nature inside us that causes us to sin. Jesus calls each of us to action. This call to action is understood via powerful language to emphasize & shock us into grasping how extremely important it is to personally assess & keep away from temptations obstructing our individual journey to gain & retain permanent admittance into heaven through a living redemptive faith. Be sure to guard your soul. Seek God’s assistance. Consult God’s Word. While it is important to determine guidelines that are needed for yourself because of your own weaknesses, be careful not to add or subtract to God’s Law.

The New Covenant:

While God clearly prohibits adding or subtracting from God’s Laws, God planned for a new covenant to transition from ritualistic rules to obeying the essential spirit & intent & motives of God’s Laws (see Hebrews 8 & Jeremiah 31).

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (ESV): 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

People’s Approval is Insufficient:

Even as religious leaders obey portions of God’s Laws in ways people admire, it is insufficient for God’s approval.

Luke 16:14-17 (ESV):14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. 16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

God’s Approval:

God’s approval comes through a redeeming faith in Jesus. A redeeming faith contains a proper heart, which will seek deep instruction in God’s Word, The Bible. The effort to study God’s Word in the Bible is to get to understand the character of God. Those with a redeeming faith will seek to follow the spirit and letter of the law as a matter of lifestyle. Even with a lifestyle that seeks to properly follow God’s Law through Faith and Works, the flawed nature of people means that forgiveness is needed occasionally from Jesus, the Son of God, who paid the penalty on the cross. Learning from fellow believers can also help to increase our individual understanding of the Bible and the Son of God throughout our lifetimes. There is much written in both the Old & New Testaments about the difference between rituals and proper trust & faith in God. These Biblical writings contrast outward sacrifices to obedience, outward circumcism to inward circumcism, and lip service to heart & hand service. These are useful to be aware of in your walk with God, so it is a true walk with God, rather than a counterfeit walk.

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Scan of a DVD 4.5 capacity disk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People in God’s Image:

God created people in his image to be able to aspire to become increasingly like God as people increase in knowledge & experiences throughout their lives.

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV): 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Computer Software Images:

Likewise when computers are setup physically or virtually, they are often setup from a software image containing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) provided operation system (O/S) & applications, or tailored configurations & applications for specific audiences & purposes.

Original Human Image:

The original image God provided for people’s mind & soul was not corrupted by sin & evil, just like buyers typically expect software images purchased & acquired to be free of viruses, malware, and other harmful programs. Our human image was originally an uncorrupted version of the image of God, and in the image of the Son of God, who came later as Jesus the Savior, who is one in essential character with God the Father.

Character Choice for Good and Evil:

Just like God has the choice of whether to choose good versus evil, so also people faced that same choice. God’s character, being solid, and unchanging, always chooses to be good, while people’s character had yet to be fully formed through their life experiences. Operating system platforms with included applications are typically very flexible. Likewise, God is very capable. So too people had a very capable platform in their mind & soul, which even supports upgrades, whether good or not.

Originally Narrow Path to Sin:

In the Garden of Eden, God mercifully setup a narrow path for people to limit their opportunities to sin, even though they could rebelliously & distrustfully choose that path. God narrowed this opportunity around whether to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God clearly instructed Adam & Even not to eat it. God advised the adverse outcome to be their death if they chose to eat it.

With Humanity & Choice, Comes Temptation: 

When Jesus the Son of God came to the Earth, Jesus was tested & tempted by the Devil, who is also known as Satan. God never subjects anyone to testing & temptations beyond their ability. While being tempted is not sinful, succumbing to evil is sinful. It is reasonable to expect that Satan had to secure God’s permission to tempt Adam & Eve, or negotiate terms under which they could be tempted, since this was similarly Job’s circumstance.

Limits to Human Wisdom:

It’d be wonderful if with freedom of choice also came perfect decision-making. King Solomon, the wisest person on Earth, even made poor decisions, despite having a multitude of counselors available & knowing advisors are valuable. The net result is there are limits to human wisdom. The Universe Tools Paradigm perspective is that Our Universe is being driven behind the scenes by computations. This perspective makes it apparent that the computation power of just a few pounds of material in the human mind is limited compared to city, county, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy, and cosmos size computational power. The net result is a proper character must underlie decision-making. This human character must be informed by God’s advice & involvement through faith.

The Decision & It’s Propagation:

Just like parents want the best for their children, and yet can not make the choices for their children as they mature, so too God had to permit people to make choices as they matured. While God provided good advice, it was disregarded deliberately, as was further consultation with God on that decision bypassed. When Adam & Eve decided to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil in midst of the Garden of Eden, it was a decision that corrupted their image. By analogy, this is like computer software’s image being corrupted so badly it can not be trusted nor easily rectified. When that corrupted image is duplicated to additional physical or virtual machines, the corruption is propagated. When Adam & Eve had children, this propagated the corrupted image.

You Reap what You Sow:

As people are aware today, there are so many ways to sin, that it is very easy to sin in thought, word, and deed, with the way to eternal punishment being a wide path. The original sin sown by Adam & Eve to disregard God’s voice reaped our human tendency to pick from a world full of sinful choices baked into our character. People are brought to justice when they use software in sinful ways, and efforts are made to eliminate that software. What is your recourse as a person, when your “mind & heart & soul image” is sinful and guilty? Even if your image were fixed, you would still be guilty of past offenses, and deserve to reap eternal punishment.

Ten Commandments Reveal Vulnerabilities:

The God-given Ten Commandments provide instructions on what God expects. Because our character has been corrupted, the Ten Commandments also serve to show that people have this corrupted image. To a certain degree, this is like intrusion detection software / anti-virus software identifying the signature of infections and viruses. The Ten Commandments reveal where vulnerabilities are, just like penetration testers often do with software & hardware platforms. While the Ten Commandments are strong in identifying corrupted images, they are weak as they justly sentence the entire individual image to eternal quarantine away from what is good & right.

New Incorruptible Image:

What is needed is an incorruptible image that is fully human, yet is fully righteous as God is, so that the compromised & corrupted image can be replaced with an updated incorruptible image. Jesus, the Son of God, as the Savior of the World, entered into humanity. God implanted this perfect image in the virgin Mary, who later married Joseph. The Holy Spirit worked diligently, even in the womb, to ensure the Son of God’s image was fully imprinted to meet this challenge. This perfect image was different, in that it was a fully developed character, the character of Jesus the Son of God, in the person of Jesus Christ.

Fully Tested Incorruptible Image:

Unlike Adam & Eve, Jesus’ image was proven incorruptible. Jesus’ character stood up to temptation, hypocrisy, threats, punishment, and death, even a brutally painful death on the cross. Satan, the Devil, like the ultimate penetration tester and ultimate hacker, yet with ill intent, fully tested out this incorruptible image as unbreakable. Just like updated software, applications, networks, and services are tested in the real world, so Jesus the Son of God’s image was tested. This image proved secure.

Incorruptible Image Available to All People:

Through Faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God, this incorruptible image from Jesus the Savior is available to all people. Like a wise person building their house on a sure foundation is able to weather life’s storms, so too building our lives on this secure foundation of Jesus’ image by seeking & listening & following Jesus’ words is wise. This image upgrade process starts in this life, and finishes in the next life. To secure your future eternally, enroll for the upgrade to the only incorruptible image God is offering. It is the only human image ever proven secure! It is the secure image of Jesus Christ! People are inherently unable to make themselves & their image secure. Only with God’s intervention through Jesus Christ the Son of God are each individual persons’ image secured.

Secure Image Released from Eternal Punishment:

Even after starting an upgrade to the only secure image available, how would one become released from eternal punishment from past offenses committed previously by the corrupted image? The answer is the deserved punishment and quarantine was placed upon that secure image as well, as God temporarily forsook that secure image too, when death was wrongly inflicted upon the perfect uncorrupted image of Jesus Christ. This punishment could not justly remain on the secure image forever, being undeserved. Our goal is to have as much of the secure image of Jesus Christ in each of us, with as much of the older corrupted image eliminated as possible. This way, when judgement comes, God sees and rescues from eternal punishment that secure image in you, integrated with you, and you.

Thanks to All Our Guests and Visitors in 2012.

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English: Square root of x formula. Symbol of m...

English: Square root of x formula. Symbol of mathematics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Christian theology, it is understood God is infinite. Jesus Christ as the Son of God came as a person as a Son of Man in bodily form.

Colossians 1:15-19 (ESV): 

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

In Jesus is the fullness of God, being one in character & nature with God. Since our brains weigh just a few pounds, a reasonable starting hypothesis is that people are finite. The question naturally arises as to whether the finite can embrace the infinite. The answer to this questions is found in mathematics and applied mathematics in the sciences. In mathematics reasoning, it is possible to represent the infinite with finite equations as is often done with Calculus, limits, and even simple algebraic equations. With proper reasoning and tools, the infinite is applied to decision processes. In science & engineering, while the answer can actually be finite, in cases where the answer  is infinite, for real world applications, the answers are approximated by the finite. This teaches us that at times there is an interplay between the finite and the infinite.

Colossians 1:24-29 (ESV): 

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ‘s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

This fullness of God is not meant to be limited to Christ alone, since God through his Son Jesus Christ is calling us to open the doors to our souls to welcome Christ within us. Embrace the Infinite! Embrace Jesus Christ!

Propitiation Past & Present Paid

Propitiation Past & Present Paid

Forgiveness was on Credit before Jesus paid the penalty, and was on Debit afterwards.

Romans 3:21-31 (ESV): 

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one–who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Genesis 15:1-6 (ESV): 

1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God , what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord , and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Mark 2:1-12 (ESV): 

1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.  3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd,   they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.  5 And when Jesus   saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  7 “Why does this man speak like that?   He is blaspheming!   Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them,   “Why do you question these things in your hearts?  9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the paralytic–  11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and   glorified God, saying,   “We never saw anything like this!”

Romans 4:1-12 (ESV): 

1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

1 John 4:7-21 (ESV): 

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 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. 18 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. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Hebrews 2:5-18 (ESV): 

5 Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.” And again,
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (ESV): 

1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you– unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Hebrews 9:11-28 (ESV): 

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent ( not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Galatians 3:15-22 (ESV): 

15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  24 So then,   the law was our   guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.  25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus   you are all sons of God, through faith.  27 For as many of you as   were baptized   into Christ have put on Christ.  28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave   nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

1 John 2:1-5 (ESV): 

1 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 with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but   also for the sins of the whole world.  3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we   keep his commandments.  4 Whoever says “I know him”  but does not keep his commandments   is a liar, and   the truth is not in him,  5 but whoever   keeps his word, in him truly   the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  6 whoever says he   abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Hebrews 11:1-21 (ESV): 

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

1 John 1:5-12 (ESV): 

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and   do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and   the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The Greatest Commandments

The Greatest Commandments

The Greatest Commandments:

Mark 12:28-31 (ESV):
28 One of the teachers of the law  came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus,  “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

The Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:1-18 (ESV): 

1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Further References:

Andy Stanley has an informative video on God’s Commandments applying on two levels: (1) One level is to love your neighbor, which is the horizontal, and (2)  the other level is to love God, which is the vertical level. The visual above reinforces this message using the imagery of the cross.

Do-Be-Do-Be-Do like JesusOur Life’s Purpose as followers of Jesus as Christians is to “Do & Be like Jesus & his true followers”, since Jesus is the Son of God and is like God the Father in character, as the Holy Spirit guides all believers who diligently seek him, his face, and his Kingdom.

Colossians 2:1-4 (ESV): For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

[Click this link at Do-Be-Do-Be-Do like Jesus PDF for PDF Version of above Visual]

How can our Christian Life Purpose be planned and purposed more deliberately & effectively?

Recently learned about another way to approach goal setting, which originates with a “To Be List” which is then used to drive a “To Do List“. Special thanks to Chip Ingram’s series on Balancing Life’s Demands at http://livingontheedge.org/group-studies/browse-all-studies/balancing-life’s-demands for presenting the approach of a “To Be List”. The Balancing Life’s Demands Bible Study  also goes over items like rewarding yourself, who/ what/ where you want to be, and many additional useful materials.

The “To Be List” driving a “To Do List” fits right into the goal to “Be & Do” like Jesus and his true followers. The idea of a “To Be List” is to describe a characteristic and/or role. Illustrations of a “To Be List” includes includes:

  • To Be & To Do Like Jesus ListRelational Roles like being a great friend, parent, spouse, pastor, and role model.
  • Roles & Responsibilities like being a great leader, follower, researcher, scientist, employee, writer, and more.
  • Character Qualities like Ethical, Thankful, Grateful, Compassionate, Patient, Considerate, etc.
  • Physical Characteristics like being in shape, healthy, muscular, and more.

All of these “To Be Lists” would first & foremost be consistent with the goal of Doing & Being like Jesus and his true followers. The illustrative chart included here can be used to get you started, while keeping the context in mind too. Just like a “To Do List” can be used to drive your calendar, so the “To Be List” can be used to schedule focused time.

[Click link at To Be & To Do like Jesus List PDF for PDF Version of above Visual]

As an example, “To Be” a “Great Parent” likely will involve a series of “To Do” items like “Spending Time Together”, “Learning & Applying Appropriate Techniques”, and “Instructing the Heart”. While only 3 “To Do’s” Fit on the upper portion of the chart to the left, feel free to add many more as appropriate, and even to use the bottom chart portion for additional “To Do’s” for the same “To Be’s”.

To Be & Not To Be like Jesus List

As people, besides knowing what we need to do & to be, we also need to know what not to do & not to be, to help keep us on the right path. The Ten Commandments that God gave to the Israelites served that purpose in providing concrete guidance on staying on the right path. Jesus also further clarified the Ten Commandments.

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV): 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire

Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV): 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

[Click link at To Be & Not To Be like Jesus List PDF for PDF Version of above Visual]

Here is an example to illustrate this concept further on being a “Great Parent”. One attribute on the “To Do List” was “Spending Time Together”. Part of spending time together could include being in the same room while your children play & work. You might be able to do this on several occasions and also get a few more things done like cleaning periodically when your children are younger. In contrast, a “Not Do List” could include “not time only” with your children, so that you’d set aside effort to talk & be more interactive with your children, so that being together goes beyond quantity to also high quality.

As people are complex and multifaceted, you will have many items to examine on your “To Be List” and “To Do List” and also on your “Not To Be List” and “Not To Do Lists” than illustrated here to provide the gist of the concept. As you read the Bible, perhaps at sites like http://Bible.Is and/or http://BibleGateway.com, you will see there are many “To Be Lists” and “To Do Lists,” as well as “Not To Be Lists” and “Not To Do Lists” as well.

Speak up if there is anything more you’d like to share to link Our Life’s Purpose in Christ to Our Life’s Plan in this World!

Next Steps:

To learn more what it means to Do & Be like Jesus, read the original article entitled “Do-Be-Do-Be-Do Like Jesus“.

 

English: Isaac Feels Jacob as Rebekah Looks On...

English: Isaac Feels Jacob as Rebekah Looks On, watercolor by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three Primary Authentication Factors:

Modern security measures depend upon three primary types of authentication factors to validate an individuals identity claims. The three factors are (1) something you know, (2) something you have, and (3) something you are. Examine each authentication factor when reading how Isaac authenticates & authorizes an impostor, his own son Jacob impersonating his twin brother Esau, for access to the prized blessing.

Genesis 27:14-25 (ESV): 14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” 20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him. 24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25 Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank

Part 1: Three Authentication Factors

Jacob claimed the identity of Esau his brother. Jacob previously anticipated his father Isaac would conduct an authentication / verification of this identity claim / identity assertion. Let’s examine the interaction looking at the three primary authentication factors presented earlier. Typical ways each authentication factor is assessed will be presented, along with a historical parallel to Isaac & Rebekah and their sons Jacob & Esau.

I. Something You Know

Jacob comes to his father Jacob knowing something. Jacob knew it was the day for blessing his brother Esau, and knew it was time to bring food. In security today with digital devices, often something you know is a password, pass phrase, or a cognitive password. Cognitive passwords typically are questions related to personal information. Just like information Jacob came knowing was available via other sources, so too one shortcoming of many cognitive passwords is they are often known & knowable by others. Jacob reasonably was unaware his own wife Rebekah previously overheard his conversation with Esau and shared this “something you know” information with their son Jacob.

II. Something You Have

Jacob comes to his father Isaac with something he had. Jacob had food prepared as Isaac requested & expected before the blessing was to be bestowed & received. Jacob had the food ready sooner than expected, and explained this unexpected quickly to alleviate his fathers concerns by crediting the Isaac’s God. With digital devices today, something you have is often a security token card. Security token cards typically leverage specialized mathematical algorithms on a compute platform. Usually the security token cards either (i) generate new tokens sequentially (i.e. after a code is entered), or (ii) are time-based & generate new tokens frequently, such as every minute. As none of these technologies were available to Isaac, Isaac relied upon his son brining food as a prerequisite “something you have” to secure access to the blessing.

III. Something You Are

Jacob correctly expressed concern to his mother Rebekah that his father Isaac would recognize the identity spoofing attempt, and curse him rather than bless him. Jacob’s basic objection was being caught rather than whether it was morally reprehensible to steal his brothers blessing. Reasonable security measures visibly in place to catch those doing wrong with adverse consequences are often an effective  deterrent as a preventative security technique. In Jacob’s case, his mother Rebekah alleviated those detective & punitive concerns enough for Jacob to attempt to deceive his own father Jacob, much like criminal colleagues encourage risky behavior leading many to do wrong & committing crimes, resulting in prison time and/or their death as a consequence.

Physical Features

As physical features are naturally used everyday to distinguish each person’s identity, Isaac implemented two physical ways to verify the identity claims. Because Isaac’s eyesight had faded with his aging, Isaac relied upon non-visual physical attributes. First, Jacob listened to the voice, and correctly determined it was Jacob’s voice using his still reasonably well-functioning voice recognition capability. Second, Isaac also felt Jacob’s arms to confirm it was Esau, since Esau had hairy arms, whereas Jacob’s arms were smooth, and incorrectly identified Jacob as Esau.

Biometric Readers:

Authentication techniques around “something you are” relates to biometric sensed data on carefully observed physical features, like with fingerprints / finger scans, iris/retina scans, hand/facial geometry/features, signatures, keyboard / signature dynamics, and voice recognition. Because biometrics technologies are imperfect, measurements are made of their false rejection rate (FRR, type I errors) and false acceptance rates (FAR, type II errors), with the crossover error rate (CER) / equal error rate (EER) being where the type I and type II errors are equal. Isaac improperly authenticated Jacob using the physical attributes of the skin hairiness, effectively being caught by a false acceptance rate (FAR, type II errors) caused by Jacob offering a different sample (Esau’s animal skin) to the biometric reader (Isaac’s feeling Jacob’s arms). History here shows us that when using a biometric reader (i.e. Isaac feeling Jacobs arms), that compensating controls must be enacted to ensure correct samples are obtained to counter incorrectly affirming fraudulent identity claims.

Biometric Reliance:

In this case, Isaac now had two different biometric results, one that indicated it was Jacob impersonating Esau, and the other indicating it really was Esau. Unlike biometric technologies today, where it is known which measurements are more accurate (such as iris/ retina scans), likely there were no statistics available to Isaac to show that the voice recognition technique he employed was more reliable than checking whether the arms were smooth or hairy.

Part 2: Multi-Factor Authentication: 

Reliance upon just one of the above authentication factors (i.e. just one category) is less reliable than reliance upon multiple factors (i.e. techniques in two or more categories). So when more assurance is needed, then there is often a requirement to provide two or more of the three factors (i.e. categories) of (i) something you know, (ii) something you have, and (iii) something you are. Even though Jacob had already provided some evidence of (i) something you know and (ii) something you have, there was still concern since there was contradictory evidence on (iii) something you are. As a result Isaac asked if the person claiming to be Esau really was Esau, and of course the impostor affirmed prior identity claims, leading to authorizing Jacob for full access to Esau’s blessings.

In hindsight, knowing that despite all the authentication methods Isaac employed to ensure the proper son Esau was blessed, and with detailed knowledge on how the identity spoofing was conducted, let’s speculate on how else Isaac could have validated / authenticated who it was.

III. Something You Are Revisited:

One the physical attribute checks, recognize that common biometrics today include technologies like fingerprints / finger scans, iris/retina scans, hand/facial geometry/features, signatures, keyboard / signature dynamics, and voice recognition. Of those technologies, if Isaac previously observed the two brothers hands or face were sufficiently distinctive in geometric size/shape rather than just texture, then that would have provided another opportunity to validate / authenticate. As they were twin brothers (likely fraternal twins), it is very possible significant similarities existed. While Isaac could have requested his wife Rebekah as a trusted identity authentication provider to assist, it is reasonable to conclude Rebekah would have confirmed the falsified identity claims.

II. Something You Have Revisited: 

It is unknown whether there was something distinctive that Esau would have carried around all the time, that Jacob might not have had, and might not have easily gotten.

I. Something You Know Revisited:

The hypothesis to be tested is whether it Esau or Jacob was present, based upon voice recognition results. Many movies show authentication of an individual identity claim leveraging a broader set of historical knowledge like distinctive events shared together.  Isaac would need to inquire about something only Esau knew, and that Jacob did not know. Likely it’d also need to be something Rebekah did not know either, to eliminate further identify spoofing tricks due to their collusion. Basically, a set of distinctive cognitive questions needed to be posed to further establish the identity claims validity.

What if the evidence continued to remain inconclusive? How else could the identity claims have been assessed?

Time-Based Access Controls:

In security, sometimes subjects are authorized to gain access only during specific times. In hindsight, one technique Isaac could have done was allow more than ample time for the “real” Esau to show up, if indeed it was Jacob who was there, as some evidence suggested.

Capability Assessments:

Just like high speed phone & telecommunications network claims are assessed with speed tests in various locations, so too Isaac might have tested which son was there based upon unique skills / capabilities each one had. Was Esau good at whistling or some other skill, while Jacob was poor?

Subtle Communication Differences:

Were there certain types of phrases / words that each brother preferred, that could have been observed via further banter asking about one thing, while listening for these hints? Was their humor different? Their laughs different?

State the Blessing is for Esau:

Another approach would have been to explicitly state the blessing is for his son Esau when bestowing the blessing, so that even if the person there was not Esau, the blessing only applied for Esau. Since God knows who is Esau and who is Jacob, even if their own father was uncertain, God would properly administer the blessings.

Ask God:

As this situation was beyond the ability for Isaac to determine for certain whether the it was Jacob or Esau, taking time to pray to God for guidance / assistance is another technique worth pursuing. God knew in detail what was taking place, and that both Jacob and Rebekah were behind the identity spoofing scheme.

Jacob’s Future:

God’s Word revealed in the Bible through numerous witnesses over thousands of years is very clear about who will enter the Kingdom of God. Liars will be excluded, of which Jacob was clearly a liar at that time in his life. God would honor the blessing of Isaac for Jacob and work to turn Jacob around towards greater integrity.

Revelation 17:6-8 (ESV): 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

God’s Patience:

Why does God allow certain people who are presently doing evil to remain in the world? Surely some people are like Pharaoh, who are allowed to remain as an illustration about what happens to those who wish prefer to be stubborn in the face of God’s power & grace. Yet, God allows certain people who are presently doing evil to persist in the world, since God is working towards several choosing to repent and turn to righteousness.

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV): 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Luke 13:5 (ESV): I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Personal Blessings:

After all this effort by Jacob to acquire access to God’s blessings, is this expected from you? Are these blessings only limited to some people and some family members? The answer: Jesus, the Savior of the World, came for all people and died for each person’s sins. Each person is to seek our Jesus the Son of God and his righteousness to come to have faith & believe & repent from (be sorry & turn away from) their sin with God’s assistance to secure God’s blessings. When in pursuit, seek to Imitate Jesus’ & his followers righteousness. Only mimic the determination of Jacob & Rebekah, yet not their immoral conduct.

John 3:14-16 (ESV): 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Matthew 6:31-34 (ESV): 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Seeking God’s Blessing while Imperfect:
Just like Jacob’s conduct & character was flawed when seeking God’s blessing, so too those seeking God have characters that God will need to transform. Jesus came to seek all people, so the lost & sick have a place to turn. Seek out that transformation through pursuing & understanding God’s righteousness lived out by Jesus the Redeemer of the World.

John 3:2-8 (ESV): 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Personal Repentance:

Is there any area of your life where you need to come to Jesus? Curious to know more? Learn about the Parable of the Sower and the Reapers Roadmap & your responsibility at https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower/ .

References:

(1) Read the Bible in Genesis Chapter 27 with Security in mind as watch Isaac’s plan to bless his Son at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+27&version=ESV

(2) Wikipedia article on Multifactor Authentication at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication and an article on Cognitive Passwords at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_password

(3) CISSP: All in One, 5th Edition,by Shon Harris, http://www.logicalsecurity.com/education/education_books.html

English: Isaac Feels Jacob as Rebekah Looks On...

English: Isaac Feels Jacob as Rebekah Looks On, watercolor by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many security principles are showcased in the Bible‘s historical account where Isaac‘s wife Rebekah persuades her son Isaac to collude with her to deceive his father Isaac into blessing him rather than his brother Esau. In security, typically once identity claims are presented, then an authentication process is applied before authorizing a person access to valuable resources. Identity is whom one claims to be, and is typically who you are. Authentication is the process of verifying who one claim to be.

Genesis 27:5-17 (ESV): 5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat,so that he may bless you before he dies.” 11 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.” 14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

Jacob’s mother actively persuades her son Jacob to collude with her to deceive Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau. Jacob is concerned his true identity will be discovered by his father Isaac with poor eyesight, and Jacob wishes to avoid the adverse outcome of being discovered in this deception. Rebekah and Jacob anticipate one way Isaac will verify / authenticate the false identity claims, and develop a risky & faulty approach to subvert Isaac’s authentication techniques.

One of Jacob’s rewards for receiving the blessing is that God will intervene in his life to start the process to transform his character. Jacob’s character is one which willingly deceives his own father, effectively steals the blessing intended for his brother Esau, and previously took advantage of his starving brother Esau.

Both Jacob & Rebekah knew the blessings from the God of Abraham & Isaac were valuable and worth pursuing, even in Jacob’s greedy, deceptive, and sinful condition. How many people are wise enough to recognize this and seek this? How many will pursue it the right way?

References:

(1) Wikipedia Identity Management at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_management and Authentication at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authentication

(2) Read the Bible in Genesis Chapter 27 with Security in mind as watch Isaac’s plan to bless his Son at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+27&version=ESV

(3) CISSP: All in One, 5th Edition,by Shon Harris, http://www.logicalsecurity.com/education/education_books.html

English: Esau Going for Venison, as in Genesis...

English: Esau Going for Venison, as in Genesis 27:1–4; illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Security considerations are very prevalent in the history recorded in the Bible, starting from Genesis, to the Israelites, to the Gentiles, and to eternal security. One concept in security is a trusted path / trusted channel for communications, which is the idea that communications can proceed without being “intercepted or changed”. Isaac was getting ready to bless his favorite first born Son Esau. Isaac insecurely communicated his plans to Esau, as the message was intercepted by his wife Rebekah, who’s favorite Son was Jacob.

Genesis 27:1-10 (ESV): 1 When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” 5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat,so that he may bless you before he dies.”

In hindsight, it would have been better for Isaac to setup a trusted channel / trusted path of communications with Esau, to know that the communication about the blessings was not intercepted. In absence of a trusted channel / trusted path and to eliminate the possibility of an eavesdropped conversation, it is reasonable to expect that Isaac would have been more successful if no advanced communication of the blessings event was disclosed.

Looking back with hindsight, it is known that Jacob already bargained with Esau for Esau’s birthright when Esau was exceedingly hungry and vulnerable. It was likely known in their household in advance that Rebecca’s favorite son was Jacob. Even so, it was quite unexpected to have Jacob make an attempt for the birthright. This brings up a point in areas like security that is it better at times to be over-prepared, than to be surprised, unprepared, and with no recourse remaining to reverse the harm done.

References:

(1) Wikipedia Trusted Path Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_path

(2) Read the Bible in Genesis Chapter 27 with Security in mind as watch Isaac’s plan to bless his Son at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+27&version=ESV

(3) CISSP: All in One, 5th Edition,by Shon Harris, http://www.logicalsecurity.com/education/education_books.html

The Bible contains a vast amount of content about secure & insecure principles showcased through people, their actions, doctrines, God, and even Satan. Typically the Bible is viewed via moral lenses, yet the security lens provides numerous insights too. Is security important? Yes, it is absolutely essential! Why? As God maintains security, God’s promises can be replied upon forever.

Accurately knowing an identity and verifying it is critical in many security areas. Satan is careful not to fully disclose his true identity or motives (intent) to avoid raising suspicions when Satan challenges Adam & Eve’s embodied in a Serpent’s form.

Genesis 3:1 (ESV): 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

The Serpents actions can be examined by looking at means (method), opportunity, and motive (intent), also referred to as “MOM”, used in security areas of forensics & criminal law.

Means(Method) Social Engineering:Satan’s means & methods mirrored many Social Engineering attacks today, which attempt to trick people into harming themselves or providing information to be used against them.
Opportunity Garden Temptation Encounter:Satan was granted the opportunity to test Adam & Even in the Garden, since Adam & Eve already had sufficient preparation to be able to choose to fend off Satan’s attack.
Motive(Intent) Despises God:Satan hates God, and so hated Adam & Eve, who were created in God’s image, leading to Satan’s motive (intent) to attack God by corrupting God’s created people.

God previously provided good advice to Adam for Adam & Eve on how to securely maintain their character and preserve their lives & character intact.

Genesis 2:15-17 (ESV): 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 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.”

Now the time was approaching where Adam & Eve would need to decide to practice the security lesson God shared earlier, to maintain their character and presence in the paradise God created in the Garden of Eden.

References:

(1) You can read more about means, motive, and opportunity briefly at Wikipedia.org at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Means,_motive,_and_opportunity .

(2) Read the Bible in Genesis Chapter 3 with Security in mind as view the temptation and fall of Adam & Eve when tested by Satan the Serpent at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%203&version=ESV

(3) CISSP: All in One, 5th Edition,by Shon Harris, http://www.logicalsecurity.com/education/education_books.html

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