What did the following women have in common:
After you've taken a minute to think about it, scroll down to read the rest of the post.
These women all shared a miracle. They all received a miraculous gift. They all became Mothers in unnatural ways. They each had miracle babies. They each needed God to make this happen, because quite frankly, Sarah and Elizabeth were too old. Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Mrs. Manoah had female problems. And Mary was, well, too single.
But, they all found themselves surprisingly pregnant, and delighted to hear the news. Hannah and Mary broke into singing. Sarah laughed. Mrs. Manoah ran for her husband she was so excited. Elizabeth's baby leaped in her womb. Rachel praised God. And, poor Rebekah didn't know what to say, because of the distressed pregnancy, so she prayed for God to tell her what was going on inside her. Supernatural prayer gave her the results she couldn't obtain before ultrasound- "Sit down sister, you're carrying twins!"
Sarah's son was a Mamma's boy. Rebekah gave birth to the twins: one was an unbeliever and apostate, the other so deceptive that his own family despised him for years. Manoah and his wife both spoiled their son, and he was a party animal and immoral; sleeping with whores and tying foxes tails together just to set them on fire and watch them run through his enemy's cornfield. Rachel's son was thrown in prison, after being accused of rape, and Mary's son was sentenced to die as a terrorist. Elizabeth's son was thrown in jail for "hate speech" and afterwards executed. Hannah's son once became so angry that he chopped a political prisoner to death with a soldier's sword.
There the stories diverge, and we must remember that Sarah's, Rebekah's and Mrs. Manoah's sons turned to God later in life, after "sowing some wild oats." But, the sons of Rachel, Elizabeth, Hannah, and Mary were all upright and honest men, with a zeal for serving God that would explain their odd behavior and imprisonment, and even executions.
Sarah was the mother of Isaac, one of the Patriarchs who redug the old wells of his father, a Spiritual symbol for us today. And, he married Rebekah, who was the mother of twins Esau and Jacob. Esau never repented and turned to the God of his father, but forgave his conniving brother Jacob in midlife. Jacob raised a family of more than 100 children and grandchildren, establishing the nation of Israel in their worship of the one true God. Mrs. Manoah gave birth to Samson, the mighty man of valor, who repented after years in confinement and prayed for God to use him one last time. And, God did. Rachel gave birth to the honorable judge Samuel, who served his whole life without mention of sin, until it came time to raise his own sons, and they didn't turn out so well. It seems he let them get away with whatever they wanted to do in his house, just like Eli had before him. Elizabeth gave birth to the wildman John the Baptist. After his parents died, John lived as a Bedouin in the desert, eating locusts and honey. He preached salvation to Israel to turn their hearts to God, and prepare for the coming of the Messiah. And, his 2nd Cousin Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Messiah and Savior for the whole Earth. John and Jesus were both imprisoned and executed, but one came out of the grave. Because that baby was born, you and I today have been saved. This birth brought about the salvation of the whole Earth.
Never forget the importance of a single prayer.
Time can be said to be like a staircase, and invariably we find ourselves moving up or down in one direction or the other. Jacob in the Bible dreamed a dream of a ladder reaching from the rock he laid his head on that night, to heaven. Messengers from God were ascending and descending. Most of us, like Jacob, are goal oriented and are looking for the right path that will take us to our goal. This is, in essence, what the ladder represented: access to God.
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The Cosmos makes its own pendulum clicking sound, like clockwork ticking. You can't tell that from this video clip. It produces a very satisfying rhythmic sound. It is mesmerizing.
Realistically though, life is neither orderly, nor linear. The staircase model is rather the product of our subconscious desire for things to go as we plan, according to our will. What we are presented with is something like this cosmos kinetic motion desk sculpture I have. I like this and other motion gadgets like Newton's cradle because of the sounds and the motion. But, real life presents as quite erratic. Some things are heading one direction, while others in our lives are headed in a totally different direction. And, we can't control this. Life is going to appear erratic to us from inside the sphere.
I use the definite article "the" rather loosely here, seeing that this gadget is composed of multiple spheres. You have the fulcrum half-sphere the whole thing hinges on, the external wire in the shape of a sphere, the middle wire sphere, the third interior wire sphere, and the solid sphere inside which all those spheres revolve around. Then you have the two internal black spheres. Then the weighted spheres, which are magnetic, three in all. So, there are multiple spheres. I like to think of myself sitting on one sphere, the middle wire sphere. That sphere is "the" sphere, the one I see everything else in relation to. Pardon the dangling participles, but I have granted myself permission to leave them hanging tonight. Sometimes Grammar must be sacrificed in the interest of Science.
From where I sit on this one thin wire, I see flashes of wires across my horizon. I feel myself going up, then I am going down. I am rising and falling. But, from here in my chair outside the whole darn contraption, I realize that it's just perspective that makes it seem that way. From out here, I know that my life is not rising and falling, but revolving around the center, in a logical pattern. It fits.
Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body being fitly joined together and knit together by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
I believe life is like that. When life seems to fall to pieces, it's all an illusion of perspective. Things are really falling "into place." In the same manner, dancing is falling. When you dance, a woman at least, you fall continually into your partner's arms. It doesn't seem that way, but you do. His arms are catching you. You just don't notice the falling. You think of it as gravity. But, what is gravity? Gravity doesn't exist. It is a name for something that we can't explain. For some strange reason, objects near a sphere are drawn towards its core, unless they resist, with muscular strength.
If we resist too hard, we do not make good dancers, for dancing is falling. The best thing in this life that we can do is to fall deeply and madly in love with the will of God. As long as we are spinning around Him, we know that we are on the right path. Good night. Sweet dreams!
We, our Fathers, our children, and their children, not to mention the 1500 years that had passed, some forty generations since the days of Jacob; all of these were to hear the Word of God, according to King David.
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Mysteries & Parables
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We learned them in Church & at home.
We will not hide them from their children, We passed them down.
showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, We let them see us praising God.
and his strength, We demonstrated His strong power.
and his wonderful works that he has done. We showed them all the miracles He has done in our lives.
For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, He wrote the Word way back then.
which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: They told their children.
That the generation to come might know them, even the children who should be born; For generations to come...
who should arise and declare them to their children: A never-ending Word of God.
That they might set their hope in God, Give our children Hope!
and not forget the works of God, Don't let them forget!
but keep his commandments: Help them remember God's Word!
And, there is so much to tell...where should we start? We should start where we are right now. Don't let the candle of God's Word go out before we light a fire in the next generation.
1 Samuel 3:1-4 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was lying down in his place, and his eyes had begun to grow dim, that he could not see; And before the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was lying down to sleep; That the LORD called, Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
Everybody wants something. None of us are immune to "wishery." If you've ever bought a lottery ticket, entered a contest, or tried to become pregnant, then you know what it means to wish. Prayer is different from wishery, as I like to refer to the practice of wishing. When we talk to God about our wants and our needs, we are involved in a conversation and God listens as well as speaks. Wishery is missing one vital ingredient, hope. Hope likewise requires reason. Without both reason and hope, it does no good to "name it and claim it." No, I am not very much into the name it and claim it camp. You guessed it right.
I have known cases where children wanted to pray for God to "let them win" a Bible competition, after not studying. I reminded them that the other team was praying to the same God, and they studied. I told them I thought God would let the team win that studied His Word the best.
In prayer, a meeting of minds takes place, so to speak. But, sometimes we find it easier to manipulate or convince God to give in to our petitions. Superstition and witchcraft are specifically related to rebellion in the Bible. 1 Samuel 15:23 God wants Christians to come to Him for their needs.
Genesis 30:14 Leah and Rachel were sisters in the Old Testament. Rachel was beautiful. Leah was plain to look at, but the oldest child. Abraham's grandson Jacob met Rachel at a well outside her father's ranch, and it was love at first sight. He followed her home and struck a deal with her dad Laban to work seven years as a dowry for the right to marry Rachel. Seven years seems like a long time, but he was in love. At the end of the seven years, the family throws a wedding and Jacob gets married. But, Laban covered Leah's face with a veil until after dark, to trick Jacob into thinking he was marrying Rachel. In the end, Jacob had to agree to keep Leah, and work another seven years in order to marry Rachel.
This trick may have helped Laban out by giving Leah a husband, but it certainly didn't help Leah's relationship with Jacob, who wasn't interested in her to start with. But, as it turned out, Leah gave birth to one boy after another, while Rachel remained childless. Still, Jacob loved Rachel the most. It seems that both women began to wish. Rachel wished for children, and Leah wished for Jacob to love her. After a few years the two experimented with the idea of surrogacy, but this didn't bring them satisfaction, even though they were both successful in their plan.
One day, Leah's oldest son Reuben found some mandrakes growing in the fields and brought them to his mother. Mandrakes have roots that are shaped in the form of a man, as pictured below.
Not only was the form of the root seen as erotic to people in the middle east, but it's fruit was a potent hallucinatory drug, slightly poisonous and considered an aphrodiasiac to many people. The fruit was also called the love apple. Many believed superstitiously that the fruit, like the root, had magic properties that would cause fertility and sexual drive and desire. Rachel believed this superstition and thought that if she gave some of the drug to Jacob, she would get pregnant. Mandrakes are also mentioned in Song of Solomon 7:13.
The Bible records that she asked her sister for some of the mandrakes. Her sister would have known what she wanted them for, and made a lewd joke about the fact that Rachel had Jacob's love. Genesis 30:15 "And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that you have taken my husband? and would you take away my son's mandrakes also?" This was an insult, but Rachel had no pride at this point apparantly. She quickly offered Leah the chance to have Jacob spend the night with her, in exchange for some of the mandrakes, which she planned to use later with Jacob herself, in order to conceive a child. Leah accepted the deal.
Though the drug acted as a stimulant temporarily, it would leave him unconscous for two or three days. This didn't stop the woman from her plan to use the drug on Jacob. From there, we find that Leah conceived that night and gave birth to a son. But, Rachel did not get pregnant... not for at least three more years. We know this because Leah had three children after that exchange before Rachel finally conceived Joseph. Rachel's wishery led her to try superstitious nonsense to get what she wanted, instead of turning to God for what God apparantly wanted her to have.
We may find this story humorous and silly, thinking that these women were superstitious and ignorant. But, how often do women today follow what we refer to as "old-wives tales?" Even "love potions" and aphrodiasics are common usage. Nothing has really changed in the last 3000 years. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Genesis record continues to be credible in our day. The record provided by Genesis is verifiable on many counts. The New Testament contains over 200 references or allusions to Genesis, indicating that the Apostles and Disciples, as well as the Pharisees, Saducees, Jewish leaders, and Jesus Himself accepted the validity of the text.
Science lends credence to the creation account. Evolutionists contend that things of greater complexity derived from things of less complexity. This is purported in the development of intelligent Homo Sapiens from higher primates of the animal kingdom, which in turn developed from lower primates, reptiles, fish, down to a single-celled organism. This single cell developed from a “soupy Sargasso Sea” that formed from gases that appeared from nothing. This line of reasoning is in direct contradiction to the laws of Science. Science shows that intelligent life comes from intelligent life. All creatures reproduce “after their own kind,” as in the Genesis account.
Furthermore, the Big Bang theory supposes that a colossal explosion hurled the planets into their orbits. Of course, it wasn't supposed to be a fast explosion, just some unknown force moving things apart, as the Universe is thought to be ever expanding. Opponents of the theory first called it the "Big Bang" and the name just stuck. We know now that not all the planets or their moons orbit in the same direction, which would defeat the idea of the planets spinning as a result of an explosion. The idea of chance producing a complex universe is as absurd as the idea of a Mercedes Benz being created in the aftermath of a tornado going through a junkyard. Theoretically it could happen. But, would there be gas in the tank to make it go? I think not. In the same way, wildflowers can grow in a field, as fragile objects of beauty deriving apparently from nothing. But, in a hundred years the field of wildflowers will not remain, unless tended by human hands and caused to continue their growth. Living things decay. The earth changes continually, seemingly at the whims of nature. A garden continues to grow because it was planted. The universe continues to spin because it was constructed and hung in space by the Creator.
The universality of the Deluge in Genesis is a fact, based on Non-Biblical evidence (i.e. dating of oldest living things at post-Flood time, marine fossils found on crests of mountains, sudden extinction of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.)
Further, 87 important Biblical words were first mentioned in Genesis, providing strong internal evidence of the validity of this collection of ancient books. The words life, atonement, command, glory, just, impute, mercy, love, light, salvation, and righteousness all appear first in Genesis. This supports the idea that Genesis was the foundation work of the other 65 books of the Bible.
I think the most compelling reason to believe the Genesis record is the stark plainness and simple honesty of the recorded events. The polished omissions of a story weaver are not there. We read succinctly about Jacob’s lies, Sarah’s laughter, Eve’s deception, Noah’s drunkenness, Lot’s incest, Tamar’s adultery, Dinah’s seduction, Miriam’s outrage that her brother married a black woman, and Leah’s lewd accusation to Rachel concerning the mandrakes. These character deficits are not the usual list of accomplishments of a nation’s heroes or the founding fathers of a religion. You never read in the history books about what a drunk U. S. Grant was, but only about his military prowess. The detailed record of such foibles in Genesis, (as well as the accurate list of birth records) gives undeniable credence to the Genesis account.
Furthermore, if we expect to believe that God is capable and willing to redeem us, then we must first believe that He created us. If we cannot accept the accuracy of Genesis miracles, such as creation, then we have no basis for belief in later miracles, such as Jonah and the whale, water into wine, Elijah in the chariot, etc. This is one of the primary reasons Atheists try to deny the credibility of Genesis. They seek to tear out the foundation for the cross.
The Genesis record is important as the foundation of our salvation plan. Genesis 3:15 is called the protoevangelium, which means “the first good news.” Now that man has sinned, God’s grace is evident in that He promised a Messiah who would come later and bruise Satan, destroying his power. There are many types of Christ in Genesis; including Isaac and Joseph. There is no purpose for the cross work of Jesus if Genesis is discredited. This would destroy all our Christology and Soteriology Doctrine. Without a Fall, we would not need a Savior-Hero.
There is evidence that God could have created a universe with “age-dating factors” already in place to support life? After all, it is stated that Adam and Eve were created as adults, not babies. It is reasonable the earth would have appeared aged at Creation. There are fossil records dating back billions of years, as well as human attempts at “carbon-dating” that indicate an aged terra, well beyond the age indicated by creation and the Genesis account. This, as well as the existence and extinction of the dinosaurs indicate an apparent conflict in dating. However, one theory is that God created the earth fully mature, as he did Adam and Eve and the animals. Therefore the mature earth was created with fossils intact, sufficient to support plant life. Another theory conflicts with this idea. This theory contends that the earth was perfect after creation, according to God, and could not have contained death within the earth. The fossils only appear to be so aged because of the devastating effects of the worldwide flood. Both are viable options. Why should they be less viable than current evolutionary thought?
When Enoch was 65 years old, his wife had a son. Enoch named this first son Methuselah, meaning literally, “man of the dart.” That can be interpreted as meaning “God’s Judgement comes next” or “When he dies, Judgement” for two reasons. First, Enoch was a prophet, according to Jude 14, 15. He prophesied of the Second Coming of Christ. Second, the Flood began the year Methuselah died; indicating God seemed to have a promise with Enoch concerning the life of his son. So, it seems Enoch was prophesying of the Flood when he named his son. We know that God relates longevity to adherence to his laws because of Exodus 20:12 and the fact that Enoch (and Elijah) was translated not to even see death because of his walk of faith. Methuselah lived 969 years, the oldest recorded. He must have had a good relationship with God. Its interesting to note that God stayed his hand of judgement for 969 years in loving compassion, just as He now tarries so long before the final judgement. As Peter said, God is “longsuffering,” not willing “that any should perish.”(II Peter 3:9) This lays a foundation of our escatological doctrine. Escatology, the study of things to come, is meaningless if there is no resurrection from the dead.
The Patriarchs were a part of the Genesis Record: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees, 19 generations after Adam. Terah, his father moved the family to Haran, possibly to separate his family from the prevailing idol worship. Abraham moved the whole family to the Promised Land, after Terah’s death. The word patriarch means “rule by the father,” so these men were the ruling fathers who formed the roots of the nation of Israel. Pulling Genesis out from under the Biblical Canon would quickly unravel the whole Gospel.
A dispensation is a period of time in which God deals with humans in a very distinct and unique way. It refers to the geographical concept of time and place. It includes the different groups of people who were treated in a different way from other people, or people of a different time. The seven dispensations can be broken down the following way:
1st Innocence Gen.1:28 One rule, close (perfect) communion with God
2nd Conscience Gen.3:10,23 Do your best, communion through sacrifice
3rd Human Government Gen.8:20 Man governs for God, communion through government
4th Promise Gen. 12:1 Blessings tied to the land, communion through bloodline
5th Law Exo. 19:4-8 10 Commands and many laws, communion through strict adherence
6th Grace John 1:17 Love brother as self, communion through blood of Jesus
7th Kingdom Ephesians. 1:10 Rule by Jesus Christ, perfect or Messianic communion restored
We live in the dispensation of Grace. Genesis establishes reason and evidence of God's plan through the ages for a redemption of mankind from the curse of death. Paradise was lost in Genesis. Paradise will be restored in Revelation. Unless, of course, Paradise never existed. Where would we be without Genesis? There is so much more to look at when considering the Genesis record, and I have not scratched the surface. But, there is more than enough evidence to convince a thinking person that the record of Creation has been retained through the generations intact. I believe in Creation by an omnipotent Creator God. I believe Genesis was inspired by Him, and outlines not only His work of the ages past, but His plans for the ages to come.
A child extends his arms with his hands turned back to back, intertwines his fingers, folds all his fingers down at the knuckles, and begins to recite, "Here's the church..." He raises his two pinkies into an apex and continues, "Here's the steeple." He opens his thumbs, folds his fingers outward and invites, "Open the door and see all the people." But, where is God? I often wondered as a child where God was in the equation. Is that all there is to church...so many people? And, why are they there then? It seemed easy to spot the Pastor...the Sunday School teachers...but, how to find Jesus...? And, how do I meet this man who loved me so much? He sounds wonderful! He must be looking for me too.
I did find Him, in a life changing explosion of peace when I was 14. Wrapping my heart around his Word, I began to notice that I could take Him with me everywhere, not just in church. He belonged to me, and I belonged to Him. When you are following Jesus, you walk in step with leaders who help guide your steps. But, if they lose their way, you've got to look around them to your destination. Sometimes people in church let go of God...and not always just temporarily. I firmly held onto the fact in my heart that it didn't matter what anybody else did, my deal was with God. Afterall, if you are following a person, and he falls, you have to keep walking, with or without him. You can't give up just because someone else tosses in the towel. I tried hard to hold onto Jesus, and keep my eyes on Him. Even when I strayed, His love would draw me back.
Though my early years had been in a couple of different denominations, since the age of 14 I had been in one single organization. But, I knew that a denomination won't assure your track to heaven, since the true church is the larger body of Christ, and not an earthly body. I began to hear teachings that weren't Biblical in the last few years. One such teaching was that you could have no anointing from God seperate from what came from your pastor. The illustration that was used to teach this was the fact that when Aaron was anointed with oil, the oil flowed from Aaron's beard downward. So, it was supposed that this meant that anointing flows downward in a chain from God, to the pastor, then to the Christians in the church. I never believed this, since I knew from personal experience that God spoke to me, often, and in many cases without telling my pastor, like when I felt a desire in my heart to go to nursing homes and read the Bible for elderly residents with failing eyesight. That never came through my pastor, or any other person. Like it or not, every individual has direct access to God, and this is the whole reason for Jesus' death on the cross, so that we could boldly come to the throne and ask God, and hear from God. Jesus is our High priest. Otherwise, we might as well break up the altars in a church. Why even pray to God. Pray to a man I suppose instead.
A troubled man fell asleep with his head on a rock one night. He had family problems. His brother hated him with good reason; they had competed for everything. While sleeping, this man Jacob dreamed a ladder reached from him to heaven, and angels of God were ascending and descending. I love that scene because of the picture of access it paints to God. We cannot be restrained from the doors of heaven. In the business world, we hear people complain of glass ceilings, where they can see the "top" but can't seem to climb the ladder. It shouldn't be like that in church. An old testament prophet saw messengers from God coming from between mountains of brass.
Zechariah 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. These mountains were not only barriers... they were brass. But, God can bend brass...Isaiah 45:2-5 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel...I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
It really never mattered in the scheme of things, which way the oil flows, since I usually follow, and the oil was flowing on me, too. I only cut my own trail when the path is blocked. I found myself at a cut off point though, over a year ago when I began to visit the church that my husband and I attend now, with him. We were attending both churches for a total of 3 services on Sunday while we dated. We believed that God would lead us to a decision together if and when we should commit to choosing one. But, Aaron's beard got in the way...or rather out of the way. I was advised in counseling that if I went to a church that taught different doctrines than those my church taught I would be commiting the "sin against the Holy Ghost." This errant teaching, along with other factors only made the choice of churches easier. You have a choice...do you attend the church with the brass ceiling, where only certain people can reach the oil of the spirit, or do you attend the church where the oil flows freely on all?
And, therein lies the problem...the problem of brass ceilings. Do you really believe that God is limited by a denomination, or a doctrine or creed? Do you think that access is restricted, and that we need to get our hands stamped at the door when moving from one "organization" to another, in case we need reentry at a later time. Do you believe in God now...or do you believe in Aaron's beard? The answer is always Jesus. I refuse to allow people to tell me I can't have God without membership in a particular orgainization...which is what you have done if you have sinned against the Holy Ghost, (you've been denied belonging to God any longer.) The door didn't hit me on my way out, which has to be the attitude of a Christian. You can't run fast enough from false teaching.
Where am I today, for those who wonder? I've broken through the brass ceiling. I am standing under the free-flowing oil of the Spirit of Pentecost!