Food For Substantial Thought

Food For Substantial Thought

Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so.”–Genesis 1:30

While your actions may be your own, the end results can have long-lasting consequences on those around you. In last week’s verse, we saw how God intended for us to live on the herbs and fruits. We also saw how God put His original intentions on hold because of sin. (We cannot confuse man’s choice to go against God’s law as a mistake on His part. Had Adam and Eve obeyed God to begin with, we would not need the meat as we do now.)

In today’s verse, we discover man was not the only species designed by God to be vegetarian. God designed the birds, the animals, and every creature that creeps on the earth to subsist on a meat-free diet. Although it is hard to imagine a pack of hungry wolves wandering into a garden for a lovely tossed salad, that was God’s original intent. We need to remember, however, God neither gave up on nor abandoned His initial plans. He has prepared for us a world where blood would not be necessary for us to survive. In Isaiah 11:6-7, we find the prophecy of the day we get back to what God intended all along.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” [Just a quick side note: These verses show the lamb and the wolf lying down together, not the lamb and the lion, as many often quote.] Not only will the need for animals to kill to live be taken away, they shall live in unity as was God’s goal all along.

Everything we do—good or bad—is going to affect someone, or something, else, just as we will be affected by the actions of others. A few years back, before we did anything, we were to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”. While I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, perhaps we should start asking ourselves “How is this going to affect others?”

In today’s post, my original intent was to show simply this; what we do affects others. God’s intentions, however, was to show me even more. He has shown me how, even when something interferes with my original goals and I have to put them on hold, I shouldn’t abandon or give up on them. He has also shown me the necessity of preparing for changes in my plans. Most of all, He has shown me to trust in Him in all things because He knows the outcome.

As you read these posts, if God shows you something I don’t touch on, feel free to share with us. We could all use a little food for thought

Have a blessed day.

Mistakes By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Mistakes By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

God sent us here to make mistakes,
To strive, to fail, to re-begin,
To taste the tempting fruit of sin,
And find what bitter food it makes,

To miss the path, to go astray,
To wander blindly in the night;
But, searching, praying for the light,
Until at last we find the way.

And looking back along the past,
We know we needed all the strain
Of fear and doubt and strife and pain
To make us value peace, at last.

Who fails, finds later triumph sweet;
Who stumbles once, walks then with care,
And knows the place to cry “Beware”
To other unaccustomed feet.

Through strife the slumbering soul awakes,
We learn on error’s troubled route
The truths we could not prize without
The sorrow of our sad mistakes.

Fourth Day Of Creation Has Passed

Fourth Day Of Creation Has Passed

So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”–Genesis 1:19

We have come, again, to another of what I call “skip over verses”. When we read these, we tend to give them only the briefest notice because they seem to have no meaning or value. We often see this attitude whenever we read the Biblical genealogies; upon seeing the word “begat”, people tend to cringe. Yet all of these verses, no matter how insignificant they seem to us, are an important part of God’s Word. So, you might ask, what is the significance of this verse? This verse is important because it shows us both an ending and a beginning.

The obvious ending—and one of the reasons it’s value seems lessened—is it tells us the fourth day is completed. God completed three days of creation before this, so it is just following a pattern…right? Wrong. The end of this particular day means that God has finished preparing the world to support life. He has provided the food, light, guidance, and protection the living will need to survive. With all of these things set in place, it is the beginning of our world as God intended for it to be.

Every day God gives us is important, whether it is our first day of life, or our thirty-five thousand, two hundred and sixty-second day of life. (This is not a random number. It is the number of days my grandmother lived, and on that last day, she finally got to see her Savior face to face.) Each day is given to us by God, so no matter what it brings, we need to treasure it.

If you are lost, today is your fourth day. Everything has been prepared; even the price for your sins has been paid. All you need to do is confess your sins to God, ask for His forgiveness, and accept Jesus as your savior. Only then will you see the life that awaits you.

Third Day Blessings Repeated

Third Day Blessings Repeated

“So the evening and the morning were the third day.”–Genesis 1:13

Each verse in the Bible has a purpose, even when they are repeated. Today’s verse is no different. Another day has come and gone, marking the end of the third day of creation: it was a good day. But why go through the trouble of telling us each time a day ends? First, it shows that God wants us to know and remember each day of creation. We keep track of important historical dates (i.e. Christmas, Easter, etc.) as well as days of personal importance—birthdays, anniversaries, and so forth. In God’s eyes, the creation of the fruit tree was an important day. Were the individual days of creation not important, the Bible would say, “God created everything,” then move on to Adam and Eve.

The second reason is because everything God does is applicable to our lives. On day three, He gave us the grasses, the herbs, and the trees; the food we would need to live. This includes wheat, barley, rye, and so forth. The third day gave us apples, oranges, grapes, etc. If it grows (and isn’t something recently bio-engineered), God gave it to us on this day. From the aforementioned grasses, we make flour and, following that, our bread. From the fruits, we produce jams, jellies, and even wine once it ferments. You may be beginning to see where this is going.

The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was, in a sense, a spiritual affirmation of the Creation. He was born to be the Light of the World, but a darkness kept the whole world from seeing Him. On the day of His death, the temple veil ripped in two from top to bottom. The darkness of tradition no longer hid the Light, He was now available to all men. Some believe that on the second day, He descended into Hell, while others (based on His promise to the repentant thief) believe He was in Paradise. Regardless, Christ became our firmament, our protection against the forces of darkness. He became the barrier that, with the confession of our sins, keeps our soul safe.

Over the past couple weeks, we focused on how God created the food to sustain life once it appeared. On that third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, it was as if the seed bearing grasses, herbs, and trees burst forth from the ground once again. He is our True Vine, our Bread of Life, and our New Wine. Jesus is the Firstfruits and the Living Bread. He is the spiritual food we need to live—not just in the here and now, but eternally.

In Psalm 78:19, a question arose; “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?” In truth, it is the wilderness of our lives that He sets the table before us. Christ is all these things and more, all we need to do is come to the table and accept what is put before us.

Seed, Herb, And Fruit Tree

Seed, Herb, And Fruit Tree

“Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself’; and it was so.”–Genesis 1:11

Over the past couple weeks our focus has been on foundations, both physical and spiritual. God has been developing the earth for what begins to occur in this verse. He filled the void and shaped the world to best prepare it for its purpose, then set protections in place. Once this was done, He gathered the waters to reveal the earthen foundation upon which He would begin to build. The first thing He intended to place on the barren land was grass, herbs, and trees. This was to be the food for what was to come. He also made sure the herbs and the fruit contained seeds which would yield more herbs and fruit.

Looking back at verse 1, we saw how God created us with a purpose; He reiterates this here. If God had no intention of nurturing mankind, He would have had no reason to create self-replenishing food. What good is it to build a beautiful house, install state-of-the-art security, have children, but neglect supplying them with food to help them grow? God’s intention was to have everything ready when He began creating life. In addition to the dry land plant life, He placed vegetation beneath the waters. Every living thing would have a food supply.

God’s nurturing aspect extends into the lives of those who accept Jesus as their personal savior. As new Christians, we are viewed as children in the ways of the Lord. We require spiritual nutrition to grow in Him. God has given us His word as our main source of spiritual nutrition, but we have so much more available to us. We have prayer—for ourselves and others, fellowship, the singing of psalms and hymns, and charitable works. I’m sure if you examine your own lives, you will see other things that help you grow in God. If you do all these things to the glory of God, they, too, like the trees mentioned above, will bear fruit.

What we do in this life—the people we encounter, the places we go, the words we speak—determine the fruit we bear. If it is good fruit, if it is godly fruit, then seeds will be planted. When the seeds bear fruit in others, then we have truly begun to fulfill God’s great commission.

Firmament In The Waters

Firmament In The Waters

“Then God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”–Genesis 1:6

After God named the Day and the Night, He declared that next He would divide the waters from the waters. To do so, He planned to create a firmament as the division, but what is this firmament? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, this firmament is the vault or arch of the sky. This was to act as a barrier—a form of protection—separating inner space from outer space. Within this firmament we have the atmosphere, one of the main physical necessities of life. Having already known what lay ahead in His plans of creation, God was preparing the world for what was to come.

We must remember that at this point on the creation timeline, the earth would have appeared as a water world to anyone seeing it from space. It bids the question, why didn’t God go ahead and fully create the world before separating it from the heavens? It wouldn’t have been beyond His power to do so, obviously. This shows us that God wanted this world He was creating to have His protection from the very start. He wanted the atmosphere in place and protected from the start, before He began adding the smaller details.

So, for what reason did God announce His intention to create this firmament, this barrier of protection? He did so as a sign to us, to let us know that His protection surrounded us as well. Before God sets us about the work He has for us to do, He wants us to know His protections are already in place. Some might bring up those martyred for the cause of Christ; where was their protections? At no point did God promise the protection of the body to those working for Him. The protection prepared for believers is the protection of the soul.

The firmament is described as a vast expanse that surrounds the world. This vastness, however, cannot compare to the love and the sacrifice of Christ. Just as God created the firmament before continuing His work on the earth, this protection of the shed blood was put in place before the foundation of the world.

In this age of space travel, man has learned how to go beyond this barrier God put in place. To do so requires man to be outfitted with special equipment that provides everything man needs to live. Without the suits, the spacecraft, the supply of oxygen, and the food supply, man would die shortly after leaving earth’s atmosphere. Choosing to leave the safety of God’s forgiveness will also bring death. In this case, we only have the mercy and grace of God to keep us until we return to Him, and, like the supplies of the astronauts, these will only take us so far before they are exhausted.

God took the time to place the firmament as a reminder that His protection will only extend so far. My He grant us the wisdom to never go beyond that point.

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Heavenly Father. On this day set aside for giving thanks, we thank You for the many blessings You have bestowed upon us. As we go about our day, keep us safe from harm while we travel here and there. Let our time with family be joyous moments filled with wonderful memories. May we be thankful for the food set before us and bless those who prepared it.

We pray, dear Lord, for those unable to be with their loved ones this Thanksgiving. Be with those in the hospitals and the nursing homes as well as those unable to leave their own beds. Be a comfort to them today. Ease their pain and let them know that You are with them. Bless those who are working today to care for them, and bless the families of those caregivers.

Keep safe those who protect us as we go about our day to day routine. Be with the police officers and the firemen and give them an uneventful day. Although they are easy targets for our anger and our frustration, Lord, we appreciate all they do to make sure we stay safe.

Be with our service men and women, both stateside and abroad, as they are away from family today. We pray a special prayer for those who are down range in harm’s way. Build a hedge around them, not only of Your love, but of our love and respect as well. Be with those military spouses who’s loved ones are deployed. We know many of them are separated not only from their spouses, but also from the rest of their families. Bless them for their sacrifices as well.

Above all else, O God, we are thankful for Your sacrifice. We thank You for the shed blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And it is in His name we ask all these things. Amen.

Corruptible Food Nor The Pleasures Of Life

Corruptible Food Nor The Pleasures Of Life

I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David, and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.”–Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch, a student of the apostle John, was born around 35 AD. Many of the earliest writers believed Ignatius was the child Jesus held in Mark 9:35. He was the first writer in Christian literature to use the expression “catholic church”. The expression referred to the whole church as one and the same wherever there was a Christian congregation. He was also a friend to Polycarp. Ignatius death came in the arena where two lions devoured him.

Overcome Evil With Good

Overcome Evil With Good

(Understanding Overcoming)

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”–Romans 12:21

We all face problems or situations that seem to hold us back from our goal from time to time.  It is never easy to overcome obstacles. In fact, failure is often the result of the attempt. The key to success is to never stop at a single attempt. Our God believes in second chances. From the beginning, mankind has struggled with overcoming obstacles.

In the book of Genesis, chapter 3, starting with verse 1 we read about mankind’s first obstacle. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

“Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

The serpent—that is, Satan—promised Adam and Eve they would gain so much if they simply ate the fruit of the tree. The truth was far different than promised. We know that the serpent was very cunning. When he approached Eve, he used partial truths. Satan kept his promise:  her (and Adam’s) eyes were opened. What they saw was not the wisdom equal to God’s, but, rather, they saw their own nakedness.

For most of my life, I have taken this discovery at face value. Adam and Eve realized their nakedness.  There is so much more they saw than just their lack of clothing. Their nakedness represents the fact that they now had nothing. In seeing their own nakedness, they saw everything they no longer had. Eden now was a paradise lost to them. Eternal life now had an ending.  The infinite now became finite. A veil cut off communication with God the Creator. They saw sin. Sickness would come. They would know death. The loss of all of this had to be overwhelming.

Mankind failed in its first attempt to overcome. As I have already said, however, God believes in second chances.

Time passes, and all the while mankind deals with the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin. Floods, famine, plagues, wars, slavery, disease, death, all manners of calamity because they couldn’t overcome the temptation. Let us jump from the first book of the Old Testament to the first book of the New Testament.

Matthew 4:1-11 shows us mankind’s second chance. “Then Jesus was lead up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

Adam and Eve’s first temptation was with food. They knew no hunger, yet, when Satan pointed out the forbidden tree, they saw it bore good fruit. How often do we let things we don’t need become a stumbling block? How often do we create our own obstacles?

Continuing in Matthew, we read what Jesus did when tempted with food. “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Seeing he failed in his first attempt, Satan continues. Verse 5 tells us, “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. And said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

Satan promised Jesus death would not be a consequence of this action; Adam and Eve received that same promise. Verse 7 tells us what happened next.

“Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

Another failure and Satan still refused to give up. He decided to make one final attempt at causing Jesus to sin. In verses 8 and 9, we read what the devil did next.

“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give to You if you will fall down and worship me.”

Adam and Eve were promised knowledge like God; the devil offered power to them. Jesus, received the same offering. Satan offered Jesus a chance to rule the world, but the world was not his to give. It already belonged to God.

In Matthew 4:10, we see the authority Jesus has is already beyond what the devil has offered. It read, “Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Adam and Eve saw the food, the promise of continued life, and the promise of power to be like God, and they couldn’t resist. Their failure meant mankind lost everything. Yet, when Jesus faced these same temptations—food, life, power—he resisted, and by doing so, prepared the way for mankind to regain everything it had lost. There is a paradise waiting that is greater than Eden ever was. There is a life that is more abundant than ever before. Sickness, pain, and sorrow will be no more.  And the veil between man and God? Removed when Jesus died for our sins. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.

In Revelation 2:7, Jesus tells us, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

In verse 11, He tells us, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

Revelation 2;26 says, “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations…”

Overcomers also receive white garments, rulership with Christ, and we are made pillars in God’ temple. We receive a new name. Christ will confess our names before God. We will even sit with Christ on His throne.

Is it ever easy to overcome the obstacles in our path? Usually not. But, is it worth the struggle, the pain, the hunger? In every single instance, it is a resounding “Yes.”

Remember this; we never need to face our obstacles alone. There is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. God said He would go before us and make our paths straight.  If we follow the Word, we will be overcomers. This is God’s promise to us.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”