Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Flood: Part 7

When Noah stepped off the ark, everyone that was left on earth loved God. But, that didn't mean they weren't sinners anymore. In fact, it didn't take long for things to start getting rough again.
Noah's children had children, and pretty soon there were a lot of people around. When people get together, they always look for someone to lead them. Sometimes, the leader is good. But sometimes, the leader is bad.
Genesis 10:8-9- And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
Do you remember the men of renown before the flood? They wanted to be worshipped as a god. Nimrod was kind of like those men. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. He set himself up like a king. And he started to build a kingdom.
Genesis 10:10- And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
It is important to remember that only one family was on the ark- Noah's family. And, like most families, they all spoke the same language. You speak the language your parents speak. Everyone on the earth spoke the same language. So, it was easy for them to get together and come up with a plan for their newly formed kingdom.
Genesis 11:1,3-4- And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
First, I want to point out that God put rulers and kings on this earth to teach us to do right and to punish those who do not obey the laws. It is very important to do what the government says! Paul even tells us that a Christian should obey the law.
Romans 13:1,7- Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
It isn't a Christian's job to overthrow the government. They can vote. They can help in government positions. But, they are suppose to uphold the laws of the land. When a government starts doing wrong, who's job is it to correct the government? God's job!
Nimrod's kingdom planned to do something wrong. They planned to build a tower to reach unto heaven. Perhaps they thought they could find God and take control. We only know that they didn't want to be separated.
But what was God's plan? Did he want all the people of the earth to live in just one spot? No! He made the whole earth full of beautiful wonders for us to see. He meant for people to live all over the world!
Genesis 11:5- And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
God came down to see what these people were doing. But God didn't stop watching them afterwards. He is still watching what people are doing today. And, just like back then, He will judge them and even punish them if He has to.
Genesis 11:6- And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
God gave people the ability to figure out problems. We have the imagination to design amazing works of art, and beautiful buildings, delicious meals, and even lovely landscapes. God wanted us to create things. But, sometimes the creative ability of people can be used to create bad things, like weapons. And God knew that what the people of earth were trying to create in this kingdom was not for the good of mankind.
Genesis 11:7- Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
Imagine! One minute your asking your friend for a hammer, and the next he's speaking Spanish! The man shakes his head and asks again, but still, he doesn't understand his friend. SO he asks the lady walking by if she understand his friend. She replies back to him in Chinese! That must have been confusing!
There are hundreds of languages around the world today. And we have even found languages written out that no one speaks anymore. Since people couldn't understand each other, they couldn't work together to get things done.
Genesis 11:8-9- So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
They called the city Babel. That's what we say a baby does when he speaks baby talk. It was called Babel because to each other, they were babbeling and not speaking correctly.
There are many nations across the earth because of this. And not all of them have heard about the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm sure many of them wonder where they came from, or what they are on earth to do, or perhaps they are wondering why people speak different languages. God watches over all the people around the world. He died for everyone! Wouldn't it be nice if someone learned their language and told them?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Flood: Part 6

Genesis 7:11, 24 -In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
Noah and his family were in the ark for 150 days! Can you imagine how the ark smelled after that long? Think of all those animals! Have you ever been to a farm and passed the pig pen? I bet it must have stunk!
Genesis 8:1-4- And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
The ark had floated around until the water got low enough for it to touch earth again. The ark set down on top of a mountain! This Mount Ararat is in a country we now call Turkey. But, just because the ark set down, didn't mean that it was time for Noah to get out of the ark.
Genesis 8:5- And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
It took three months before the tops of the mountains could be seen. I bet the ground was still mushy and soggy! But you know Noah needed to find out? He needed to find out if there were plants growing again. You see, they needed to be able to get food for themselves and all those animals. So Noah decided to do a test.
Genesis 8:6-7 -And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
First Noah sent out a raven. A raven is a black bird. But the raven eats meat from dead animals. The raven saw plenty of food and wasn't interested in coming back to Noah.
So Noah sent out a dove.
Genesis 8:8, 9- Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
A dove is a white or grey bird. The dove didn't want to land on dead bodies. It could only fly so far before it started to get tired. So it flew back to Noah and the boat.
Noah could see the tops of the mountains, so he knew the waters were drying up. He waited a little bit and tried it again.
Genesis 8:10, 11- And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
This time the dove was gone all day! She could find a place to rest among some of the trees that had started to bud again. And she brought Noah back a present. She brought an olive leaf to show Noah that the trees had started to grow leaves again. That was a very promising sign to Noah!
Genesis 8:12- And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
This time the dove didn't come back. Noah knew that meant the dove had found what she needed to build a nest, eat, and survive outside of the ark.
Genesis 8:13, 14- And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
Noah took the top off the ark and looked around. He could see that the ground around the ark was dry. The grass was probably growing and the flowers were probably blooming. I can see Noah taking a deep breath of fresh air and enjoying the sunshine hitting his face!
Genesis 8:15-17- And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
God told Noah that it was now safe to leave the ark. The earth would be able to feed them and give them a place to build thier homes.
I'm sure it was an amazing site to see all those animals run off the ark. I can see them running around in the open space and playing- there's not much room to play around on a boat! Now, they had ground to run around on, the sun to bask in, and fresh air to breathe. I believe they were very happy and in their own animal way they were praising the Lord!
Noah also wanted to praise the Lord. But how? He would praise God the way God had shown Adam and Eve to do so long ago.
Genesis 8:20- And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Do you think that Noah's offering pleased God? Let's see what the Bible says.
Genesis 8:21-22- And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
God was very pleased with Noah's offering. So pleased, in fact, that he made a promise. He promised to never again flood the entire world. He promised there would always bee summer and winter, spring and fall, and day and night. And then to make sure that no one would ever forget his promise, he put something special in the sky to remind us of his promise. Do you know what it was?
Genesis 9:11-13- And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
God made a rainbow! So whenever you're going through a storm and it's dark and scary outside. Remember that God has promised never to flood the entire world again. And when the storm has passed, if your parents say you can, go look in the sky for the sign of the promise that God left!

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Flood: Part 5

Noah had never seen rain. No one had ever seen rain. That was a new word with an unknown meaning to them. You see, it didn't rain in Noah's days.
Genesis 2:6- But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
When Noah started telling people that drops of water were going to fall from the sky in such abundance that it would cover everything on Earth, people probably thought he was going crazy!
But, God had told Noah what He was going to do, and He told Noah to prepare an ark to save his family and two of every kind of land animal. And Noah believed God and obeyed Him!
Genesis 7:1-4- And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
How do you suppose that all those animals got to the ark? Do you think Noah had to go hunt them down, capture them, and carry them back to the ark? I think that God told the animals to go the ark.
Genesis 7:9- There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
You see, everything obeys God- the wind, the seas, even animals. Only man disobeys God. And remember, every time we disobey God there are consequences.
Genesis 7:5- And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
Noah and his family were saved because Noah obeyed God! Do you think God would have saved Noah if the ark never got built? Do you think God would've said, "Oh well, I guess I'll make Noah float!" I don't know what would've happened, but I'm sure glad that Noah obeyed!
Now, the boat was all ready. There was food inside for the long journey ahead. All the animals were tucked neatly into place. Noah and his family were on board. What next?
Genesis 7:16- And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
The Lord closed the door of the ark. When the Lord closes a door no one can open it, and when the Lord opens a door no one can shut it. Noah had preached to the people of the coming flood for 120 years! No one listened or obeyed, so God shut the ark up tight and wouldn't let anyone else in.
Genesis 7:6, 11, 12- And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
I wonder how the people felt when the first drops of water began to fall. Perhaps they felt it hit their faces, and looked over at the ark. The door was shut. They had been told for a long time what would happen and yet they didn't listen. Now, they were doomed! God always gives us time to see our sins and to ask for forgiveness and stop sinning. But, when we don't listen He has to punish us. And sometimes, it's too late to do right anymore!
Genesis 7:17, 19-22- And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
That's so sad! Everyone had the opportunity to be saved, yet only 8 people took the offer! God will always provide a way out, but it's up to us to take it!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Flood: Part 4

It didn't take long for sin to make the world a terrible place to live. Everywhere God looked sin prevailed.
Genesis 6:11-13- The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
The earth had gotten so filled with evil that God could only see one way of helping it out. God was going to wipe out all flesh- all land animals, and all mankind.
But, God is a just God. He always gives man a chance to ask for forgiveness. If a man does wrong, and asks God to forgive him, God will forgive his sins and won't punish him as harshly.
Genesis 6:14- Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
God told Noah to build a big boat. Do you know why?
Hebrews 11:7- By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
God told Noah that he was going to do something that no one had ever seen before. You see, God had made a mist to come up from the earth to water the plants. There had never been rain before! God was going to send rain to destroy all the living things. But how?
Genesis 6:17- And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
God was going to send so much rain that the earth was going to flood. It would be so much that it would cover even the tallest mountain! That's a lot of water!!
But, wait. Was God going to kill everyone? What about his promise to Adam and Eve? Oh, God is so much smarter than that. He had a plan- just like he always does.
Genesis 6:15-16- And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
God told Noah to make a 3 story high boat! He was very specific in how to make it. Do you know why Noah needed such a big boat?
Genesis 6:10,18-21- And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
God's plan was for Noah's family to take 2 of every creature onto the ark- A boy and a girl. He would also take food for him, his family, and all the animals. Have you ever been to a zoo? Can you imagine all those animals in a boat!?! That's what Noah had- a floating zoo!
But, do you know the main reason God saved Noah and his family?
Genesis 6:22- Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
God spared Noah because Noah was obedient to what God told him. God would rather have us obey him than give him all our money. God wants us to what he tells us rather than what we think we would like to do. God is pleased when we put his choices for our life before our desires for our life. That's how you get God's blessing! And that's how Noah escaped the judgement of God that destroyed the rest of the world!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Flood: Part 3

After so many people were born on this earth things began to get ugly.
Genesis 6:1,2,4- And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
The angels in heaven began to fall. They came to the earth and got wives and had children. But angels are different from humans, and so their babies were mutants. The Bible says they were giants and calls them might men of renown. Do you know what that means? Let's see what the Bible says.
Joshua 24:14- Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
Joshua said that they were worshipped as gods. Not only did the people worship false gods, but they starting doing very wicked things.
Genesis 6:5- And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
I wonder if the people of Earth thought that God wasn't watching them anymore? But God saw it all. He knew what they were doing and thinking even if they were trying to hide it.
God hates sin. He has to punish sin. He punished Adam and Eve when they sinned. He punished Cain when he sinned. But now, God was going to have to punish all the people of the world.
Genesis 6:6-7- And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
God was so upset by all the wickedness that he was going to destroy all people and land animals on the entire Earth! But God made man for a reason! Was there anyone whom God didn't have to destroy? Do you know?
Genesis 6:8-9- But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
Noah was spared by God for 2 reasons. First, he was perfect in his generations- that means that none of his parents were married to angels, they were all humans. Second, Noah was a just man who walked with God- that means he tried to always do what pleased God.
Do you remember Enoch? Well, Noah was Enoch's great grandson. And guess what else! Noah was a preacher!
II Peter 2:5- And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Noah was a preacher of righteousness. I'm sure he was warning the people that God was upset with their sins. But the people didn't want to listen. People like to sin. They don't like people to tell them they're doing wrong. You don't like it when your mom or your teacher tells you that you're wrong, do you? No one liked that Noah told them they were doing wrong. So they ignored him and went about their business.
But, Noah was right. God had prepared the consequences for their sin. But, he had also prepared a way for Noah and his family to be saved from those consequences.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Flood: Part 2

After Cain's banishment, Adam and Eve had more kids.
Genesis 4:27-28- And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
So, Adam and Eve had more children, and their children had children, until there were a lot of people on the face of the earth. These people began to call on the name of the LORD. Probably offering sacrifices and praying.
Seven generations down, a man named Enoch was born. It's very important to know about him, because something special happened to him that only happened to one other man.
Genesis 5:21-23- And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
Boy! Did they live a long time! In fact, when the earth was new people lived much longer than they do today. Do you know how old the oldest person was when he died? Methuselah, Enoch's son, lived to be 969 years old.
But, we are talking about Enoch. What do you think made Enoch different from the other people that were living on the earth?
The Bible tells us in Genesis 5:24a- And Enoch walked with God:
Enoch and God were friends! I bet Enoch talked to God about everything! God likes to hear from his children.
Philippians 4:6- Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Psalm 86:5- For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
So, what's the special thing that happened to Enoch?
Genesis 5:24- And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Enoch didn't die!
Hebrews 11:5- By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Enoch was such a friend to God that God decided to take him straight to paradise.
Did you know that? Do you know the one other person that God took straight to paradise? Elijah!
But, did you know that it's all going to happen again?
I Corinthians 15:51-52- Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
I Thessalonians 4:16-18- For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
One day, all the saved will be caught up into the air and will go to heaven to live with God! Some people won't have to die! Do you think you'll be one of them?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Flood: Part 1

After they were kicked out of the garden, Adam and Eve had to learn to live in a world that wasn't perfect anymore. They had to learn to live with a spouse that wasn't perfect anymore. And they had to learn to raise children who wouldn't be perfect.
Genesis 4:1-2- And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Adam and Eve had twins! The very first children on the earth. Can you imagine? I wonder how Adam and Eve felt when they started fighting, or when they cut themselves and hurt themselves, or when they were untruthful. I'm sure it was a little sting to them every time their children committed a sin.
Not only did Adam and Eve have to learn to live in this new world, but so did their children. Abel and Cain seemed to be two totally different people. Cain liked the dirt. He loved to plant seeds and watch them grow. He enjoyed harvesting the fruit of his labor. Abel liked the animals. He was a keeper of sheep. He spent his days protecting them, guiding them, making sure they had enough to eat. Totally different!
Not only were they different in their professions, but they were different in their approach to God.
Genesis 4:3-4a- And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
Here they both bring an offering to the Lord. The Bible doesn't tell us if Adam and Eve offered to the Lord, but their boys learned from somewhere how to do this. But God has his own way of doing things, and He has his own rules that He goes by.
Genesis 4:4b-5- And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
God had shown Adam and Eve in the garden that a sacrifice of blood was required to cover their sin- remember the lamb? God had a certain way for man to ask for forgiveness, and He expected his way to be followed. This made Cain very mad!
Genesis 4:6-7- And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
God didn't want Cain to get mad! God wanted Cain to learn from his mistake so he would grow- it was another life test! God told Cain that there was a proper way for Cain to ask for forgiveness. But, he also warned Cain that there was a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. You see, when we sin we get the consequences of sin laid on us, and they don't go away. They get into every area of our lives and slowly ruin us until either we repent or we die.
What was God's way of asking for forgiveness?
Leviticus 17:11- For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
You see, the blood that flows through our veins gives us life. If we lose too much blood we can die. The only way to cover sin is with blood- blood gives life. That's why Christ had to die for us. He had to shed his blood so we could get our sins covered and receive life.
God told Cain all he had to do was bring blood and he would be accepted. Do you think Cain listened?
Genesis 4:8- And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
I wonder what Cain and Abel talked about. It always makes me curious- was it peace talks, was it about the exchange of goods, what was it that made Cain so mad? I don't know. But, I do know that Cain got so upset that he killed his brother.
This was the first human death in the Bible. A brother killing his twin. And guess who knew? God! God sees everything, remember?
Genesis 4:9- And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
Did God really lose track of Abel? Nope. Again, God was giving Cain the chance to confess his sin, just like he did with Adam and Eve. But Cain hadn't learned that lesson either.
Genesis 4:10-12- And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
Oh no! The consequences of sin. The punishment of sin. Cain lost what he loved. He liked dirt, planting, growing things. Now, the earth wouldn't grow things for him. He also had to leave his parents. He lost everything!
Do you think he knew he would lose everything? Probably not. We don't always know what the consequences of our sin will be until we start reaping the punishment. I can guarantee you this- sin always costs us more than we want to pay. It destroys our lives. It destroys others lives!
Think of poor Adam and Eve! They lost both their sons! Abel was dead and Cain was a fugitive. I bet they didn't think they'd have to pay that much for disobeying God. But they did. Sin always hurts us for a long time!
Oh, now Cain was sorry! He was afraid of the consequences.
Genesis 4:13-14- And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
God's punishment for Cain was for him to live with the guilt of what he had done. He had to learn a lesson. And it would be a very hard lesson to learn!
Genesis 4:15-16- And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
God put a mark on Cain. It was a mark that everyone could see, and that everyone would know what it meant! What do you think it was? Many people think God turned his skin black- like a birth mark. The Bible never tells us what the mark was, but I do know that it was on him the rest of his life. How do I know? Because that's how long the consequences of sin can effect us!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Mother's Heart

Once upon a time, two harlots who lived together stood before Solomon. They had each had a child around the same time. One of the women rolled over on her baby as she slept and smothered him. During the night, she swapped her dead baby with her roommate's baby.
These women came before Solomon so that he could pass judgment as to whose child this was. Solomon said that they should cut the baby in half and each woman could have a part. The Bible says that the woman whose the child was said to keep the baby alive and let the other woman have it.
By this act of love, giving up her beloved baby so that he could live, Solomon knew which was the true mother.
This woman had a mother's heart. The heart of someone who would sacrifice what she wanted for the good of her child. A heart that would do whatever was best for her baby, even if it meant that she had to walk away and leave her baby.
There's been too many stories in the news lately about women who couldn't care less about their children. It's so saddening to think of these precious souls in need of a mother's love and there isn't any for them.
But, there are other women out there who have a mother's heart. They love children that are not only born from their bodies, but children that came from someone else. These women are true mother's and they are the ones who will find a special blessing from the Lord in time to come.
Proverbs 31:10, 26-30  - Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
To all those mother's out there, for all you've done- Thank you!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Believer's Heritage- How The South Became The "Bible Belt"

The term “Bible belt” was first used in reference to the Southeast United States by H. L. Mencken in the 1920’s. Some today use the term in a derogative sense, attempting to paint southern people as ignorant, right wing, religious fanatics. National politicians, especially liberal ones, have lost elections at times largely because they failed to win the southern vote. In the 2000 Presidential race, for instance, Senator Al Gore failed to carry his own home state of Tennessee, simply because he was just too liberal for his fellow Tennesseans. The south is unlike the rest of America, and one reason is its Biblical heritage. In spite of our many faults and sins today, the southeast United States does have a history worth knowing.
No doubt, there are many factors that contributed to the South’s coming to be known as “the Bible belt.” The Holy Spirit’s work during the first and second great awakening (1720-1835) is likely the largest factor. It was during this period that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, were converted to the Lord Jesus Christ under the preaching of men like Gilbert Tennent, John Wesley, George Whitfield, Peter Cartwright, James McGready, and others. Such good traditions as the camp meeting and the mourner’s bench became as much ingrained in southern culture then as fried chicken and grits are now.
But there was one preacher in the above list that stood head and shoulders above the rest, at least when it came to God’s plan for America. That man was George Whitfield, God’s “Elijah” for our country.
In the mid 1700’s, sometimes over 20,000 people would gather in open air meetings to hear the Spirit–filled preaching of Whitfield. Although he was an Anglican, he was not a conventional one. His preaching was very lively and dramatic, and extremely loud. Benjamin Franklin claimed that he could hear Whitfield’s preaching a mile away, and that was without microphones and PA systems. He was just too much for most “official” churches, so he resorted to open-air preaching in public. Thousands were converted to Christ as he preached this way in the New England colonies, in Georgia, and in South Carolina. When many of his converts began to study the Scriptures, they realized that infant baptism was found nowhere in God’s word, and they soon learned that immersion, not sprinkling, was the proper mode of baptism. Consequently, many of Whitfield’s converts became Baptists. Whitfield saw what was happening and commented, “All my chickens have turned into ducks!”
However, when the great evangelist preached in the back country of North Carolina, he did not see the favorable results to which he had grown accustomed, so he prayed that God would send a preacher “like John the Baptist” of old to preach in the wilderness and convert the thousands of lost souls. Little did he know that God would call one of his own converts to do the job.
That man was Shubal Stearns. If Whitfield was America’s Elijah, then Shubal Stearns was his southern “Elisha.” Stearns and his brother-in-law, Daniel Marshall, were converted to Christ in 1745 when Whitfield preached in Connecticut. Stearns was baptized in 1751 by Wait Palmer. Feeling the call of God on his life, he moved to Virginia and began laboring to reach the lost.
At this time, “Christianity” in the South was monopolized by the Church of England. It was normally illegal to practice any other faith, and being a Baptist was even worse since the Baptists refused to acknowledge infant baptism and would re-baptize any converts who had formally been sprinkled. The Baptists were firm believers in baptism by immersion only for true adult believers only. This was unpardonable in the eyes of the established state religion.
Shubal Stearns, known as a Separate Baptist, received a letter from some friends in North Carolina in 1755 which stated the desperate need of the gospel there and the spiritual hunger of the people. He was informed that people would travel forty miles (by horse and buggy, or even by foot) to hear a single sermon. This burdened his heart until the summer of 1755, when a group of 16 Christians left Opekton, Virginia, for western North Carolina with Stearns and his assistant Daniel Marshall leading the way.
They chose the crossroads at Sandy Creek for their settlement, a national crossroads between the North and the South. The Sandy Creek Baptist Church would be the first Separate Baptist church in the South, and this church would become God’s headquarters for His southern strategy. No one knew it at the time, but Whitfield’s prayer was about to be answered.
The Sandy Creek Baptist Church grew from 16 members in 1755 to over 600 members in only eighteen months.
By 1759, three independent Baptist churches were in existence from the Sandy Creek Baptist Church, and their membership exceeded 900. God was clearly using the church at Sandy Creek as a “headquarters” or “training base” much like He used the church at Antioch in the New Testament. In the years ahead, the Lord would call 125 men and their families out of the church at Sandy Creek to preach the gospel. These men and their converts would literally invade the South for the Lord Jesus. The following is a brief breakdown of some of the first churches that were started, when and where they were started, and also the name of the preacher:
Sandy Creek: 1755, NC, Shubal Stearns
Abbot’s Creek: 1756, NC, Daniel Marshall
Grassy Creek: 1756, NC, James Read
Deep River: 1757, NC, Joseph Murphey, Phillip Mulkey
New River: 1758, NC, Ezekiel Hunter
Dan River: 1759, VA, Dutton Lane
Black River: 1760, NC, John Newton
Fairforrest: 1760, SC, Phillip Mulkey
Trent: 1761, NC, James McDaniel
Southwest: 1762, NC, Charles Markland
Haw River: 1764, NC, Elnathan Davis
Congaree: 1766, SC, Joseph Rees
Stephens Creek: 1766, SC, Daniel Marshall
Upper Spotsylvania: 1767, VA, Lewis Craig
Staughton River (Blackwater): 1768, VA, William Murphy
Fall Creek: 1769, VA, Samuel Harriss
Goochland: 1771, VA, William Webber
From these churches and others, the Holy Spirit would direct the gospel of Jesus Christ into Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and eventually states further west such as Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. By 1812, largely due to the Baptist revivals and church plantings, there were over 2,100 Baptist churches in America with over 172,000 members. Most of these were and still are to be found in the south.
Throughout the 1800’s and the early 1900’s, the south would also be flooded with such false teachers as the Campbellites (Church of Christ), Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Charismatic groups (Assemblies of God, Pentecostals, etc.), but it was the old-time Baptists who endured many hardships, fought for and won religious liberty, and then flooded the southland with the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ. May God help us to learn more of them and teach others, and may we wear the Baptist name with honor until Jesus calls us home.

Recommended Reading: Interested readers should purchase America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (2004). This book by pastor James Beller runs over 500 pages and is well documented. It may be purchased at the link above.

-James L. Melton

Saturday, May 6, 2017

This Is Not A Game (audio sermon)

This is an audio sermon by Evangelist Dave Spurgeon, which he preached at a Revival in Covington, Louisiana in early 2017.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Bacon, Spinach, and Tomato Pie recipe

2 lbs bacon, chopped and cooked
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 large can green chilies
4 cloves minced garlic
2 packages cream cheese
1 small container sour cream
2 cups grated monterey jack cheese
2 cups parmesean cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 diced tomatoes
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon peel
4 pie crusts with tops

Preheat the oven according to pie crust box directions.
Saute spinach, onion, chilies, and garlic in bacon grease.
Remove from heat and mix with the cream cheese, sour cream, cheeses,whipping cream, tomatoes, cayenne, and bacon.
Stuff into pie crusts and put the tops on. Crimp the edges with a fork, and then poke a few holes in the pie crust top with the fork.
Bake according to time indicated on the pie crust box.

NOTE: If using homemade pie crust, bake around 350* for 30 to 35 minutes.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Jesus Only (poem)

I'm going to live for Jesus, And fling the world away,
I'm going to give to Jesus My life and all to-day.

I've done it, Hallelujah!  And now I pray the prayer
That I may follow "Jesus Only," everywhere.

I'm such a great big sinner, And still a bigger fool;
I must keep close to Jesus And never leave His school.

My heart's so full of rapture, I know not how to live;
For the joy of being Jesu's I wish I'd more to give.

I think I'll copy Levi, Who gave a dinner once,
To give a chance to Jesus To save another dunce.

Oh, won't it be just "ripping" To never leave His side,
To walk and talk with Jesus, And all in Him confide?

There is no Friend like Jesus, So loving, strong and true,
If I had not His friendship I don't know what I'd do.

No soul in all creation Can ever take His place,
But I love all others better, Since I have seen His face.

Oh! the joy of knowing Jesus, It takes all care away;
I would so love for Jesus To fling my life away.

And yet I'd sooner serve Him On earth, and suffer loss,
Than have a throne in Heaven, For there, there's not a cross.

I love to fight for Jesus And every risk to run,
If there was naught of danger It wouldn't be half the fun.

Such as neglect Christ's ord'nance To fight in lands afar,
Know not the joy of Jesus Like those who go to war.

I loved Christ's ordination, Its grand simplicity;
He asked no abstruse questions, But only "Lov'st thou Me?"

He asked that once of Peter, Who'd just denied Him thrice;
Then gave him his commission To preach His sacrifice.

The Gospel of Christ's salvation Is, only His blood can atone;
The secret of walking on water Is to look to Christ alone.

The secret of power is simple, I must obey God, not man;
It's naught but incredible folly To adopt any other plan.

Christ commissioned His Spirit To be Captain of His host;
 I need no other guidance Than that of the Holy Ghost.

He'll brook no interference; God is a jealous God;
Christ woo'd and won, and bought me, He only is my Lord.

I'll walk in His blest freedom, And follow Him everywhere;
 I'll trust His word and presence And fight without a fear.

Some Christians call me foolish, The world declares I'm "fey;"
I'll wait a little longer To see what Christ will say.

"He hadn't any talents, His speech perhaps was odd;
But he did what I commanded, He rendered all to God."

I'd like to hear Him say that, Tho' there's little chance of such;
But I don't care a blow for the mud folks throw, 'Cause I'm not like a parson in church.

Some stay at home with good reason And some without a cause;
But that coward's the worst, who stabs in the back The man who's gone to the wars.

But Christ was kissed in the garden By the man who had been His friend;
So some I presume will do the same Till this world's come to an end.

There are some who when told to go By the great Physician Himself,
Run off to a fallible medical man Who puts them on the shelf.

As tho' they know better than He! Or their words were of greater worth!
They forget that the place where Jesus is Is the safest spot on earth.

Some want to live too long, Tho' one cannot die too soon;
A day with the Son is worth millions more Than a million on earth or moon.

For Jesus is my life, And death my greatest gain;
Heaven means joy without alloy, On earth we must have pain.

If we really did believe The words that Jesus said,
We'd have no fear for the future, Nor for our daily bread.

Who knows Christ as his Master Is such a splendid fool;
He leaves an earthly Paradise And "runs away" to school!

I know very little myself, But Jesus knows everything;
So merry of soul I laugh and sing Underneath His wing.

Oh! it's good to belong to Jesus, It's the only life to live;
It's glorious fun, it's heaven begun, When you've got no more to give.

Away with hesitation! Man! take the plunge, and try!
Give heart and all to Jesus! Then take your wings and fly!

Fly with Christ's salvation To some dark heathen land;
No cause for trepidation, Jesus will hold your hand.


Come forth, ye men of Britain, In brave Crusader bands;
Up! let us take possession Of our Saviour's promised lands.

-C. T. Studd

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Eyes Of Lot

2 Peter 2:4-10  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;  (5)  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;  (6)  And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;  (7)  And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:  (8)  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)  (9)  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:  (10)  But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuousare they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
                Last evening, during our Sunday Evening Church Service, my Pastor used these verses as a means of illustrating a point, and my mind digressed to the concept of "The Eyes of Lot."  I apologize to my Pastor for my inattentiveness, and in the future, I will listen to the message.
                My thoughts considered Lot, a man who is referred to as "just."  In Biblical terms, he was saved, and at God's appointed time, he would finally arrive in Heaven.  Yet, here is a man, "a Christian" who turned his eye away from the immorality of the world, and saw it "as normal."
                Today, the world is redefining morality, and removing sin from our vocabulary.  (We as Christians are to do the right thing: separate ourselves from the world, and stand firm on our Christian convictions.)  However, we are not standing firm.  We have so many Christians that are living in sin, (outside of marriage being involved in fornication, alcohol, drugs, sodomy, and adultery.)  Our eyes have become the "eyes of just Lot."  We see, and we know it is wrong, yet, we still "approve."  We also "approve" of killing babies (abortion) and try to think of it as a form of contraception.  We "approve" of our daughters' bastard children, and place no shame on them for their sin.
                "Christian, what have we become?  Where are we going?"  We scream and yell at our President and our Congress for their lack of morality and their lack of following The Constitution.  Yet, are we encouraging our Leaders to do more by not removing sin from our lives as "eyes of Lot?"
                We, as Christians must get back to the basics, (back to "our" Constitution,) The Holy Bible.  God's Word directs us.  It guides us through our myriad of temptations and our immorality in which God disapproves.  Our Bible speaks to us saying:
2 Chronicles 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
As a Christian, review where you stand.  Compare it to "The Way" God wants you to stand.  With a humble heart, repent, seek God in prayer, and beg for the forgiveness you need.  With that humble repentant heart, we must turn from the immorality that we have allowed in our lives.  Repent, repent, and beg for His Mercy.  Not tomorrow, do it now.  Not later, now.
-Bro John R. E Chastain, Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas