How Can We Endure the Temptations and Chaos in The Last Days?

How Can We Endure the Temptations and
Chaos in The Last Days?

Are we living in the last days? Read the newspapers and the news sites on the Web, if that doesn’t tell you we are living in the last days then read the prophecies in the Bible about the way things will be in the last days. We are living in a day of chaos, temptation, blood and horror. Wickedness is pouring down upon all people everywhere. How can we endure the chaos of the signs of the times until our last breath?

The Prophet Isaiah speaks often about the last days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Through his prophecy and those of other Old Testament prophecies we get a glimpse of what things will be like during the Last Days.

In Chapter 40 there is a beautiful verse that is often quoted for its imagery and its teaching of hope, it is Isaiah 40:31 which reads:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

I love this passage of scripture as much as the next Christian. I want to talk about what makes this passage so special, and why it gives hope to us living in the Last Days.

Let’s look at verses 28-30 which sets up verse 31 and explains some of the meaning of verse 31.

While there are many in the Last Days that will faint with weariness and have no strength, our Lord, the Creator of all things, will have all strength and will never faint. Our Lord will be the one constant to which we can look to for energy as we start to fail. He will strengthen us when we get weary from the chaos and commotion of the wickedness of the last days.

wings_as_eaglesVerse 28 reminds us that “there is no searching of his understanding.” In other words, he is all-knowing which means he can help us better than any other source to which we may be tempted to look.

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths will faint and be weary, and the young men will utterly fall.”

Beautiful imagery. This all sounds great but it’s not as simple as those three verses alone may sound. Their meaning is dependant on what it says in verse 31 where it mentions an important phrase: “they that wait upon the Lord.”

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

For those who wait upon the Lord will be given power in the Last Days so that we may overcome temptations and have power to overcome the great wickedness and chaos of the end of times.

What does the word “wait” mean in this context? There are a few definitions that apply perfectly for this verse. “To be available or in a state of readiness; To eagerly look forward to; To attend upon (especially as a sign of respect); To perform the duties of an attendant or servant for; to call upon.”

Let’s reread verse 31 with some of these definitions in place of the word “wait” to see how it works.

“But they that are in a state of readiness upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Or,

how_can_we_deal_with_last_days“But they that eagerly look forward upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Or lastly,

“But they that that attend upon or perform the duties of an attendant upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

If we want the blessings of verse 31, and what Christian wouldn’t? We need to wait upon the Lord rather than go it alone in the perilous events of the last days. Always work on your faith that it fails not when needed the most.

What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus Christ?

What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus Christ?

I recently came across a kindly man who had converted to Judaism from Catholicism. He asked me the following question, “What does it mean to believe in Jesus? I’ve never found a Christian who could answer this based on the faith Jesus lived — Judaism.”

I am choosing to answer this question on my CallahanWriter Blog. I hope this is interesting to the rest of you. Maybe you might be able to use these thoughts sometime in your own Christian walk.

Jesus was born in the lineage of David which is also the lineage of Judah. This made Him a Jew. I think everyone knows that.

When Jesus performed miracles, He often told the recipient to go and give their offerings to the local priest at the temple. Sometimes he told the newly healed benefactor not to tell anyone about the miracle. At least one did tell of his miraculous recovery which caused The Lord to be inundated with throngs of people.

Sprinkled in His teachings were bits and pieces of the Mosaic law and many of His teachings showed a respect to the Mosaic laws. But He taught a higher law, higher than the basic Mosaic laws.

Sermon On The Mount

What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus?

What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus?

Case in point. At the beginning of His ministry Jesus taught one of His great sermons called the “Sermon on The Mount.” He referred to the Mosaic law, and the “Ten Commandments” when he said “Thou shalt not kill.” He went on to teach a higher law that we should not be angry with our fellows and whoever ever is guilty of being angry with his brethren shall be in danger of the judgment.

Similarly, He referred to the commandment of old, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” He went on to teach a higher law that we should not look on a person and lust after them.

This was His introduction to teaching higher laws than the Mosaic laws, the laws by which Jews followed.

He taught so many higher laws that a few times the Gospel writers mentioned Jesus as saying something to the effect, “I have not come to destroy the law, but have come to fulfil the law.” The fulfilment of the law was offering His sinless soul to pay the infinite price of sin committed by all who have or all who will live on this planet.

He observed the laws of Moses as much as He was able while teaching a higher law. There were times when He and His apostles were accused of some minor infractions of the law such as when they were traveling through a corn field and ate of the corn. He taught about the realities of life with the parable of a man getting his livestock out of a hole on the Sabbath which strict adherence to the Mosaic law would have forbidden.

Higher Law

Jesus did not live the life of a Jew the way the Scribes, Pharisees and Seduces judged the law. He respected the law that He came to fulfil while teaching everyone He could about a New Testament or new and higher law or gospel.

The faith by which Jesus lived was that of Christianity, not Judaism. He respected the law of ordinances and performances of the Mosaic law but believed, lived and taught a higher law, the gospel of Jesus Christ, not the law of Moses by which the laws and doctrines of Judaism are based on.

I love my brethren of the Jewish faith. We have so much in common. Our main point of difference, is, and it’s big one, is our belief in Jesus Christ, The Messiah.

As a Christian I believe in Jesus Christ as my Redeemer and Messiah. I know he was born Jewish and I know He tried all He could to teach a higher way than the laws of Moses. Like all Christians, I believe Jesus Christ to be the Messiah that most of the Jews refused to believe in.

Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved. May be used with permission by the author.

Should We Worship With Our Heart and Mind? Daily Devotional

Should We Worship With Our Heart and Mind? — Daily Devotional

There is a popular “self-help” idea that has been active on the Internet for several years.

This idea is called “positive affirmations” or “affirmational statements.” These are one sentence statements of truth that a person repeats to him or herself many times a day until the person feels like that truth is a part of her.

For example, I would repeat this affirmation statement “I am strong” countless times through the day. The idea being, that I can reprogram myself to believe that I am strong.

What I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it can be used as the yard stick by which we measure truth. When I first came to learn of this “affirmation statement” concept for self-improvement I kind of raised a brow and moved on.

Then I happened upon this phrase while reading in the Old Testament. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) Put another way, thoughts precede our actions. Then I remembered this “affirmation thing” on the Web and looked into it again.

sharper_thant_2_edfged_swordI concluded that for the most part, the affirmation concept for self-help is valid but it is not a new concept, thousands of years ago this idea was addressed in the Bible.

This concept of controlling your thoughts before they become actions was talked about in the Old and New Testaments.

During the Sermon on The Mount Jesus taught that killing someone is terrible but being angry with someone is also bad. Stop being angry with your brother and then killing isn’t an issue.

The same with adultery, it is a terrible sin but lusting after someone in their mind is also bad. It’s easier to repent from lustful thoughts and anger than it is to repent for adultery or murder.

So if we keep our thoughts under control we will act better and be better. Our thoughts are a big part of our worship. The thoughts and intents of the heart (or mind) are extremely important living the gospel.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Not only do our thoughts affect our wardout actions but God can and does discern the thoughts and intents of our heart. This “affirmation therapy” is rooted in doctrinal truth. We need to be clean that bare the vessels of the Lord. That starts with the thoughts and intents of our heart and mind. Let us fill our heart and mind with the love and joy of the gospel.

Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved

It’s Easier To Fix Small Things

It’s Easier to Fix Small Things

It’s easier to replace the oil in your car every three months than it is to replace a burned out motor. It’s cheaper to fix a small crack in your windshield than to replace the whole windshield.

It’s easier to repent of lust than it is to repent of adultery. It’s easier to fix the small things than it is to fix the big things.

Matthew Chapter 5 is best known for the Beatitudes, rightfully so. It is also the beginning of the famed Sermon on The Mount where wonderful and transcendent teachings were given by The Master himself.

Throughout the Sermon on The Mount (Matt. 5-7) there are many teachings and subjects talked about in that sermon. We will be looking at six verses that describes a concept called the “higher law.” Let’s read from Matthew 5:21-24, 27-28

21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:21-24, 27-28

“It was said by them of old time . . . thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not commit adultery.” That is a reference to two of the Ten Commandments.

The “higher law” so-called, has given us additional and helpful information on overcoming temptation. The essential message is rather than be concerned with killing someone, don’t let anger get that far. Figure out your issues before the anger leads to murder.

Rather than worrying about committing adultery, worry about not lusting after someone. If lust is kept in check, then there would be no adultery.

Who says the Bible doesn’t have the remedies for all of societies ills?

Lets go back to the issue of anger and killing and look a little deeper at this concept of anger management. Make no mistake, God will punish those who commit murder. Jesus said “whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.”

So now there is a consequence to being angry with your brothers or sisters. First it was don’t kill, now, after the Sermon on The Mount, it is don’t be angry. Nip anger in the bud and you’ll never have to worry about the commandment “thou shalt not kill.”

Like the passage of scripture says, if you have issues with someone go make it right or forgive him and stop being angry. If you’re not angry at anyone then you won’t be inclined to kill anyone. This is a great example of the higher law.

The second example of the higher law regards adultery. It’s a serious sin with serious consequences. To keep you away from the temptation to commit adultery, Jesus taught that we should not lust after anyone. Jesus made lust a sin. Repenting for lust is far easier than repenting for adultery.

It is easier to change your lustful thoughts or to change your anger than it is in dealing with the consequences of such terrible behavior. Change the oil in your spiritual life before it gets out of hand.

Troy Wagstaff

Is Your Candle Lit?

Is Your Candle Lit?

Luther climbs the steep steps to get to the pulpit. A little breathless, he composes himself and then starts to preach to the swelling audience. “My brothers and sisters,” he says, “I want you to look at me. See what I have done. Look at my righteousness and good works. I have fed the hungry and I have put a roof over the homeless. I have paid my tithes, I have fought Lucifer, I have read my scriptures, I have kept the commandments of The Lord . . . ”

This is a very dramatic example of what not to do when responding to the commandment to “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.”

Luther, this fictional, self-righteous man is seeking the approval of his people and doing a poor job at that. He is, in no giving light to all that are within his house. He is a vain and self-righteous fool.

Let’s read Matthew 5:14-16:

14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Let’s look at this verse line by line to see how to apply it to our lives.

As disciples of The Lord, we are among those that are the light of the world. Certainly we are a light to those around us.

Imagine a big hill with a city at the top, especially at night with the street and house lights all on creating a yellowish glow than can be seen for miles around by the valleys below. The city with its lights all aglow is a small town with its citizens walking about, living their lives, doing good to one another, coming and going. The lights in the city are powered by all of the good works done by her villagers.

This city is not boasting to the valleys below “look at me! Look at how great I am!” It’s just a city that chooses to live in light, not darkness.

Now let’s read again verse 15. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”

Be a good example

Let your light so shine

Why does one light a candle? There are many reasons, I can think of three. One is to create light in darkness. The second reason is ambience such as using a candle at the dinner table. A third reason would be to light a pretty candle to create a romantic dinner for two.

What would be the result of putting a bushel basket over the candle in any of these examples. It takes away the light of the candle. What good would it be light a candle only to cover it up?

This passage of holy writ uses the analogy of an uncovered light so that others may see. Verse 16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

I want to emphasis the phrase “that they may see your good works” not hear about them, or be told about them like in the example above.

The teaching of letting your light shine is a sermon on being a good example to others. Don’t tell them about all your good works, don’t brag about them, just do good-by keeping the commandments and living like Jesus would.

You don’t have to wait for an audience to gather before you do good works. Let the good you do, be the way you live your life.

Ask yourself this question “if someone were to follow your example, would that lead them to God?”

If one should ask “how can I be a good example?” The answer is easier than you think. Read the Bible, ponder and pray over what you have read and ask Heavenly Father to help you apply it in your life. Live the precepts taught in the good book and you will be a candle set on a hill providing light to those around you.

 

Troy Wagstaff

© Copyrighted, All Rights Reserved

Purpose In Trials

Purpose In Trials

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

How do we apply this scripture in our lives? If we are disciples of Jesus Christ then we are the branches that are bearing fruit. The branches that are not bearing fruit are everyone else that is not a disciple of Christ.

This paper will look at the branches that bear fruit, those of us who choose to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Meaning of purge is to remove or cleanse.

If you have a fruit tree, you want to harvest the fruit of the tree. That is the measure of its creation, to put forth fruit. You remove any and all branches that do not produce fruit. The branches left are the ones bearing fruit. With those fruit bearing branches you prune them after the harvest. To prune them is to strategically cut the branches back so that they will devote the energy of the tree to producing more fruit the next season. That’s also why you cut the worthless branches off.

Doing all this work to a fruit tree takes an average fruit tree and makes it far more valuable by making it produce much more fruit. Doing this yearly keeps the tree healthy and productive. Every year some branches will die off and new branches will grow. It becomes a cycle that will keep the tree alive for a long and productive time.

As fruitful branches of the tree we have to go through the pruning process, on a regular basis to be even more fruitful, and thus more valuable. Applied to us, we grow as we get pruned by the caring, expert fruit grower. Christ knows our potential and He knows how to guide us to that potential, through expertly crafted trials and tribulations.

Having said all that, not all trials and tribulations come from The Master. Some trials come from the consequences of bad or sinful choices. If we are humble and repent for those sinful choices we can learn from those consequences and become fruitful again.

There are other types of trial and tribulation that come to us through no fault of our own. We can grow and become more valuable and a stronger Christian through The Lords helps. It’s up to us to determine the source of the trial just as it is up to us to determine how we respond to the trial and whether or not we will allow ourselves to grow according to The Lords will or get tired and rebel against The Lord.

But rest assured that for whatever trial or tribulation we go through, we can make it purposeful and fruitful if we go through it with The Lords help and let His master hand guide to the right outcome.

The Rose Bush: Parables From the Rose Garden

The Rose Bush: Parables From the Rose Garden

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my mom and dad working in the garden. My mom loved to garden, she helped my dad in the vegetable garden but was an artist in her flower garden. She didn’t just plant flowers and watch them grow, she was an artist and the plants and bushes were her paint and the meticulously cultivated soil was the canvas.

She would accent the flowers with attractive landscaping rocks and used rose bushes as a back drop on one part of the garden and three huge Lilac bushes in the northeast corner of the garden. The beautiful colors of the garden bloomed all summer long as each flower plant was planted strategically so there were always several flowers blooming in all its majestic splendor.

Every winter my mom would plan her garden. Keeping in mind, the rose bushes and perennials she would decide how to fill in the gaps where the annuals would go. She would see in her mind what the garden would look like and work to achieve her vision.

lessons_from_the_rose_garden1Additionally, she liked to experiment in her garden. She would spend many hours in the winter and early spring going through seed catalogs deciding what kinds of flowers she would like to add to the garden. Every few years she would add a tree or two. She always seemed to want to experiment with nut trees. She never seemed to have much luck with the nut trees but she planted some beautiful flowering ornamental trees.

Even her occasional failures with the nut trees would have a happy conclusion.

One year one of the nut trees that she planted started to die sometime in early summer. She did all that she could do, to try and revive the tree making more than one trip to the nursery for information on products to use to salvage the tree. She pruned, trimmed and fertilized that poor black almond, all to no avail.

The tree gave up the struggle and died in the late fall. The air was getting chilly so my parents decided to cut it down in the spring.

With my moms inclination to try new things . . . Somehow the topic came up of cutting the tree down and use it for our Christmas tree. That black almond tree was only a few years old and wasn’t very large. My mom had a vision for that non-traditional Christmas tree.

Now the air was down right freezing, but my dear old dad cut down the black almond and flocked the tree in the spirit of trying something new, we didn’t know if the flock would stick to branches but it did. After stringing small clear lights and ornaments on the tree, it turned out to be the best Christmas tree we ever had. It was unique and natural and created an ambience that we didn’t expect, but certainly enjoyed.

One year she decided to create a small vineyard with two types of grapes. A seedless green type of grape for eating and a red variety of grape for grape juice. Dad built a fair size Arbor for the grapes to go on. This project lasted several years because of time grapes need to mature and produce fruit.

rose_bush_articleConsidering our climate, the grape project was relatively successful, more so for the juicing grapes than the eating grapes. When the grape project was fully mature, they managed to get about twelve quarts of red grape juice. Because there were so few jars of grape juice they were reserved for special occasions. One such special occasion was New Year’s eve. We would mix Sprite with the grape juice to add a little fizz and stretch the grape juice. To this day I’ve never tasted a better grape juice than the juice my mom’s vineyard produced.

For some reason my mom stopped the grape project and had my dad tear down the Arbor. This grape project took a lot of garden space. My mom decided that she would create a rose garden in that space.

This time the Rose Garden project stayed. That rose garden stayed there until after my father died and was still there when my mom sold the family home.

My mom always enjoyed decorating family graves with roses from her garden. She got very proficient at raising these roses and keeping them pruned so they were continually flowering all summer long.

My mom was a master gardener, not by any formal training although she read a book or two here and there. She gained her skill and knowledge by experience and through countless hours working in her garden. It was also a God given talent for her.

The years went by and my parents got old were not able to keep up with the size of the garden they had. Our family house sat on a plot of ground about 1/3 of an acre.

By now I was moved out of the house married and had a child or two. My dad was in failing health and unable to work in the garden at all. I would frequently get called to go help my mom in the garden by pulling weeds, moving rocks, planting a tree or cutting down a tree and all the other stuff she relied on my dad to do.

I would spend many Saturday mornings pulling weeds and helping around the garden. But as often as I could, I would talk my dad into going fishing on Saturday mornings, both because I love to fish with my dad and to get out of pulling weeds. I never have liked the necessary part of gardening.

It didn’t take much talking to get my dad to go fishing. We had a perfect spot on the river where it was easy for him to access. By the time we got back it was too hot to work in the garden is so we would have to put it off for another week. My mom didn’t get too mad because my dad was having fun fishing but the weeds would keep growing.

Slowly but surely I talked my mom into adding a linear foot of grass to the garden every year or two because it was easier to mow grass than pull weeds. She did not like the idea, but she conceded to the necessity of it. Growing older slows one down in garden work. However, by the time she sold the house the garden was only reduce by a third which wasn’t much considering how large the garden was.

Like I said, the rosebushes were an important part of the garden and keep in mind that she also had a part of the garden which was nothing but roses. Thinking back on it, I would guess that she had thirty-five or forty rosebushes throughout her garden.

Over time she started to modify her garden so that it would require less work and upkeep by letting her perennials grow larger taking more room and growing grass at my urging.

Then came perhaps the saddest point in her life as far as the garden goes when she couldn’t keep up with all of the roses. She asked me to trim the roses one spring Saturday. She was having to give up her dear child, the roses, to me. I was willing to do it but I didn’t know how. I knew how to use the pruning shears by cutting back other bushes in the garden but I knew there was a trick to pruning the roses.

I asked my mom “how do I trim the roses?” Her reply was just to cut them down a little bit and to cut off all the dead wood from the winter. Ordinarily those instructions might’ve been enough, but I knew my mom, and I knew if I didn’t do it right the first time that I would have to go out and do it again and again and again until I got right. I learned early on to get very explicit instructions so that I would do the various jobs to her satisfaction the first time, saving me a lot of aggravation.

I asked my mom again how do I trim the roses but I was more specific and said how many inches down should I cut the stems? She responded “use your best judgment.” Since I wasn’t getting any where with the detailed instructions I wanted, I went out to the Rose Garden and started trimming.

The rosebushes were about three to four feet tall and very thick. I experimented with the first Rosebush by cutting back all the dead stems. I also knew enough about gardening to realize that these bushes needed to be thinned out a little so the sun light could get into the middle of the bush. By the time I got done with the first Rosebush, it stood about four inches off the ground with about five or six stems coming from the base of the bush. Oops.

Never before had I done a job in the garden that didn’t require at least two tries. In her particular eyes there was always a little more that could be done to get it right. After contemplating this situation of a stubby, ugly rose bush I decided that the best thing would be to make all the other rosebushes look the same. I’m not sure why I thought that, but that’s what I did.

After cleaning up all the debris I took a deep breath I called my mom out of the house to look at the completed job. Mom came out at the back door and down the stairs onto the patio. She looked at the rosebushes and in confusion or disbelief, she walked on the grass getting closer to the Rosebush garden. I wasn’t sure what to think of that, but there wasn’t anything I could do now. And with some relief, I was glad that I was an adult and married and not able to be grounded. She got a little closer and then exclaimed with exasperation “oh Troy, what have you done to my rose garden?”

Hoping that I could persuasively make sense of it all in my explanation I said “I did what you told me to do, I use my best judgment.” That statement helped, but not to the extent that I had hoped for. She went on to say “don’t you know any better than that?” Easily I replied, “no, I don’t. You never taught me how to prune roses.”

I was surprised that the next thing she said was “well, let’s hope they grow back.”

lessons_from_the_rose_gardenThat’s not the end of the story of the rosebushes. A few months later I and my family were visiting my mom and dad and having a barbecue on the patio in the backyard. I looked at the Rosebush garden and was stunned by the vibrant growth that had occurred to every Rose bush. Not only had they grown tall, really tall, but the Rose Garden was a sea of variegated beautiful rose colors with blossoms and buds in an endless array of coloration.

As we were eating our dinner on the picnic table my mom said to me what do you think of the rosebushes? This is the best year I’ve had in the Rose Garden. I admitted that I was surprised they survived by trimming incident. They were gorgeous.

There is a moral to the story, as a result of the accidental but drastic trimming, the rosebushes performed better than ever fulfilling the measure of their creation.

The application of the story is that we can grow from the adversity that we face. Sometimes we have trials and tribulations that are like a skilled gardener expertly trimming the roses just right and like the rosebushes turning out bright and beautiful we can turn out better and more fulfilled than we otherwise would have.

I was not skilled at trimming roses. What I did to those roses was nothing short of a life altering event in each of the rosebushes lives. Yet, with my mother’s tender loving care to those rosebushes by properly fertilizing and watering them, they overcame that life altering event that I caused them and they became better, bigger and more beautiful than they ever had been before.

Sometimes the trials and tribulations that we will go through are deliberate and under the control of a loving, caring Creator. Other times we go through trials and tribulations as a consequence of our behavior.

Yet, at other times we go through trials and tribulations through no fault of our own, like drastic pruning. Sometimes these trials can be life altering events, but with the tender loving care of our merciful Heavenly Father we can become taller, bigger, brighter and more beautiful than ever before.

Let us not be afraid of being pruned by a master gardener or even cut back dramatically by reckless acts of mortality, in the end, with The Saviors help, we will truly blossom in all the glory possible.

Joseph And The Coat Of Many Colors

Joseph And The Coat Of Many Colors

To all good Christians who find themselves, through no fault of their own, plagued with all manner of affliction, pain,trials and tribulations; to all those humble Christians who may be prone to ask “do I have the strength to go on?”, “can I continue to fight?”, and “will anything work out?”. To all of you, I want to share one of my favorite stories from the Bible. This is the story of Joseph, known for his coat of many colors.

All we need to do is look to this great historical figure found in the Bible to find the answers to these questions which will also give a great deal of hope and peace for your inner conflicts and outward struggles.

This is a story of bad things happening to a good person. This story shows that Jesus can be with you always. It is amazing what can be learned in a story where a seventeen year old can be kidnaped, sold into slavery and be falsely accused of a felonious act which results in imprisonment only to rise to prominence in the King of Egypt’s court.

The story of Joseph of Egypt is a story of hope, faith and perseverance. It’s the perfect story to illustrate the doctrine of Romans 8:28 where it says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Joseph was around seventeen years old when his father Jacob sent him after his brothers who were tending their father’s sheep.

Joseph had numerous siblings, eleven of which were brothers. These eleven brothers hated Joseph. Every one of those brothers had sinned and some grievously. Their animosity toward Joseph was unfounded and based on sinful desires and unrighteous behavior, pride and jealousy.

These twelve brothers are the twelve tribes of Israel. Eleven of the tribes (or brothers) were gathered at their base camp keeping watch over their large flock of sheep when they saw Joseph approach from a long way off.

As they saw Joseph making his way to camp, they talked among themselves expressing a desire to kill him. Reuben voiced his opinion not to kill him.

As Joseph walked into camp most of the brothers over powered him and through Joseph into the pit.

They tore off his coat of many colors that father Jacob had made for Joseph and tore it into pieces dipping a piece of the coat into goats’ blood. They would show their father Jacob the coat and tell him that Joseph was killed and devoured by a wild animal.

Rather than kill Joseph, Judah suggested that they sell him to Middionites going towards Egypt.

These slave traders and merchantmen paid twenty pieces of silver for Joseph, the common price for a slave of Joseph’s age. Joseph was taken against his will to Egypt and sold to Potiphar the Captain of The Guard and an officer in Pharaohs court.

Joseph was now a slave to Potiphar. He was almost the victim of murder, he was beaten by his brothers whom he loved and he was kidnaped and sold into slavery by his brethren. Now he had to start his life over again as a slave.

God was with Joseph at all points in his life. All that Joseph did was favored of the Lord and everything he touched was blessed by the Lord and well favored. Potiphar didn’t take long to see that Joseph was very industrious and successful. The Captain of The Guards saw Joseph’s success and knew he was well favored of his God.

Joseph was promoted and eventually served as the head of the house hold of Potiphar. The evil seductress that was Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and tried to seduce Joseph. Being a just and virtuous man, Joseph refused to sleep with his master’s wife. Not only did he turn her down, he ran from the house as fast as he could to avoid any further temptation. Joseph also refuses the temptress’s advances out of loyalty to Potiphar.

Sadly, Potiphar’s wife grabbed a hold of his tunic as Joseph was running out of the house. She started making all kinds of noise and had Joseph’s tunic in her hands and showed Potiphar the shirt. She told Potiphar that Joseph and tried to rape her and while she was busy beating Joseph off, she managed to grab his tunic in the struggle. Needless to say, Potiphar was very upset and put Joseph in prison, the same prison where the Kings prisoners were held.

Now after all that Joseph had been through, and being unjustly accused of rape and being thrown in prison. Joseph didn’t get mad at the Lord, he accepted the will of the Lord and as a result found mercy from Him.

Part of that mercy was that the keeper of the prison started to favor Joseph and treated him kindly. After a time, the prison keeper entrusted Joseph with the responsibility of running the prison. The Lord was with Joseph again, and everything that Joseph did while serving the prison keeper as a prisoner was prosperous and efficient.

It is important to note that after every trial and every trouble, Joseph was blessed. This is a testimony to us that God is with us always if we continue to be faithful to Him.

While Joseph was in prison serving out his sentence, he came across the Kings Butler and Baker. These two men had been sent to prison by the Pharaoh.

After a period of time they both had dreams that they did not understand. The content of the dream vexed the Butler and the Baker and they couldn’t understand what the dream meant. Joseph was making his rounds through the prison and he came across the Butler and asks him why he looked so upset?

The Butler said he had received a dream the night before and he was perplexed about the dream and frustrated by it. The Butler felt like it was important to understand this dream but couldn’t figure out the meaning of it. The Butler told Joseph the dream and Joseph was able to interpret it.

Joseph told the Butler that in three days he would be released from prison and Pharaoh would restore him to his position as Butler. Needless to say, the Butler was very happy about the dream he had received. Joseph told the Butler when you find favor in the king’s eyes please tell him about me so that he might set me free. The Butler willingly agreed.

Joseph then interprets the Bakers dream. He told the Baker that in three days Pharaoh would take him out of prison, remove his head and place it in the tree where the birds would eat his head.

Three days later there was a birthday party for the king of Egypt. The Butler was taken out of prison and restored to his job and the Baker was taken out of prison, killed and his head was placed in a tree for the birds.

The Butler for whatever reason did not tell Pharaoh about Joseph in the prison. So Joseph continued to languish in prison serving the prison keeper and doing his time.

Sometime later, the Pharaoh had a dream and no one in his court could interpret his dream. The Pharaoh was troubled, wanting to know the meaning of his dream. The Butler then realized that he had forgot to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph who was in prison and who had interpreted his dream and the late Baker’s dream. After telling the King about Joseph in prison, Pharaoh called Joseph out of prison and told him his dream.

Joseph interpreted the dream saying that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph suggested a few things that the Pharaoh should do to take advantage of the seven years of plenty to prepare for the seven years of famine.

The Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of this program to store a portion of each year’s harvest for seven years. The king of Egypt made Joseph the ruler over all of Egypt. The only person higher than Joseph throughout the land was the Pharaoh, himself.

After the seven years of plenty there was a great famine, not only in Egypt but over all the face of the earth. People from all over the country would come to Joseph to buy grain. Eventually people from other countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph.

This is the quintessential story that illustrates that bad things happen to good people. Never once did Joseph complain or murmur. Never once did Joseph blame God for all his misfortune. Joseph could’ve given up. But just the opposite happened, Joseph loved God with his whole soul and refused to sleep with Potiphar’s wife to honor Gods commandments of chastity and keep his virtue. He is then rewarded by imprisonment.

Joseph is not bitter. Joseph loves God and wants to serve him and stay true to all of God’s commandments. Joseph was a four-time victim of wrongdoing and false accusations. Did Joseph ever play the role of the victim? Emphatically no! Every time Joseph’s life took a turn for the worse he was true and faithful to his Lord and each time the Lord blessed him.

The tribulation that is Joseph’s life is not yet over with. He is then faced with a very great challenge to choose to forgive or not to forgive his eleven brothers.

This last test almost seems harder than actually being kidnaped or sold into slavery or falsely accused. Joseph knows his God, and he knows the teachings of his Lord and he knows that he is required to forgive all men. To the credit of Joseph, he forgives his brothers and sends them back to bring his father and the rest of their family to live with him in Egypt.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Can God work with broken people, and surely Joseph was broken more than once, at least physically and mentally but not spiritually? God does work with broken people, he heals them or strengthens them and uses them for his own good.

Joseph didn’t know the end game to his life. But he did know that he was to be diligent, and to keep on serving the Lord in any way he could, always keeping the commandments of God and striving to be the best he could be.

For Joseph, the end game was to not only save his father’s house, the twelve tribes of Israel, and all of Egypt, but to save the whole world from famine and starvation. Joseph played a huge part in God’s dealings with his children during that time on earth.

Every one of us is broken, in one way or another. Each of us has been victimized in one way or another. Each of us have had trials and tribulations in our lives. And in some ways, we are like Joseph. Things have happened to us through no fault of our own, whether they are poor health, chronic pain, rape, or the victim of some other terrible crime or life-threatening illness. All of us have had or will have many difficult or trying episodes in our lives..

Because of Jesus suffering in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross on Calgary, he has felt our pain and carried our sorrow and paid the price of our sins. Through Jesus Christ, the parts of us that are broken can be fixed. We can be healed.

If we strive to understand God’s will for us and humbly submit ourselves to whatever the Lord wants us to do, we can be healed and given the strength to live out the rest of our life in peace.

Throughout all of Joseph’s tumultuous life he lived in peace. He had troubles, trials and tribulations which he always meet with grace and peace because he was always devoted to his Lord. So as we try to live out the rest of our life in peace, keep in mind that does not mean we won’t still have trials and tribulations, but we will have peace throughout our days on earth.

Understanding these principles taught by the story of Joseph in Egypt, we can truly understand the following verse: ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

By Troy Wagstaff

 

Joseph and Mary, Zacharias and Elisabeth Parents and People

Joseph and Mary, Zacharias and Elisabeth Parents and People

 

What Can We Learn From the Two Best Sets of Parents in The New Testament? – Joseph and Mary – Zacharias and Elisabeth

What can we learn from the parents of Jesus Christ? What can we learn from the parents of John the Baptist? Surely these two sets of parents are four of Gods greatest children, to be parents of Jesus Christ and John The Baptist.

What Can We Learn From Joseph and Mary?

MARY

Let’s look at the story of Mary, the mother of Emmanuel.

The heavenly angel Gabriel was sent from God to appear to Mary, a virgin, espoused to a good and just man named Joseph, from the house of David.

Gabriel’s salutation to Mary was “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.” Mary thought to herself “why would someone treat me like royalty?”

Sensing her uneasiness, Gabriel said “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God.” He went on to tell her that she would conceive a man child and carry him to full term and when the son was born, she would name him Jesus.

Gabriel went on to say “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Mary replied thinking out loud, how can that possible be since I have not been with Joseph or any man for that matter.

The heavenly messenger explained that “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

To help her understand this was possible, Gabriel told her that her cousin Elisabeth had conceived in her old age a son and was six months into her pregnancy. This is the same Elisabeth that was called barren. “ For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

One of the greatest statements in all of Holy Scripture is thus spoken by Mary to the Angel “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

Mary, a virtuous woman, was full of incredible faith to submit herself to Heavenly Father in that fashion. She had no doubts, just strong actionable faith on her part. Very few Biblical story’s equal the kind of faith Mary had!

JOSEPH

Joseph and Mary were espoused to each other which was a legal issue in their day. They were not married but their espousal was a legal arrangement. During this time of engagement Mary would have lived with family or friends. The only means for Mary and Joseph to communicate with each other was with a friend or a go-between. This situation made it difficult, if not impossible for Joseph and Mary to be together physically.

There could be no personal, one on one communication between Joseph and Mary. Joseph found out about her pregnancy through the go-between. He knew nothing about Mary’s very special role in Gods work.

With no information other than Mary was pregnant, he had to make a choice between a public trial or give her a letter of divorcement. If Mary was found guilty in the public trial there would be a good chance that she would be put to death. Joseph would’ve been legally justified in taking that course of action.

Joseph had a second option which was to sever the marriage contract before witnesses and avoid the public spectacle of a trial. We all know that Joseph opted for the second choice because he didn’t want to make a public example of Mary.

This experience teaches us a lot about Joseph, soon to be the stepfather of the Messiah. The Scriptures bear no record of Joseph being bitter or angry. The Scriptures do tell us that he was a just man and so it was natural that he would take advantage of one of the two options to sever their relationship based on her pregnancy.

Once Joseph had decided to put Mary away privily (he had not gone through with the process yet) he was still deep in thought about the whole situation when an angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream. The angel said “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

When Joseph awoke from his revelatory dream he did as he was told by the Angel and took Mary unto him as his wife. They refrained from physical relations until after Jesus was born.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM JOSEPH AND MARY:

What good is it to read and understand the stories and teachings of the Bible if we don’t learn from the people in these inspired stories? We need to ask ourselves what can we learn from that teaching or from that proverb or from that parable or from that teaching?

The first thing that comes to my mind is faith and the second thing that comes to my mind is obedience. Mary’s story and Joseph’s story happened as they did because each of these two figures had great faith to begin with and when their faith was tested, they exercised even greater faith and were obedient to the instructions of the heavenly visitor.

It’s one thing to say I have faith, but it is another thing to actually translate that faith into action. I have heard some people say that faith is a verb, or an action word. One cannot say I have faith and then sit back and do nothing. If Joseph said I have faith that what the Angel told me is true, but went ahead and filed for divorce would he really have shown faith?

If Mary was thinking to herself “I do have faith in God,” while Gabriel was speaking to her but then when he got to the part of her bearing a child that wasn’t from Joseph; if she had turned and ran away from the Angel, would that have been real faith?

For faith to be faith, it has to be followed by obedience. Both Joseph and Mary showed their faith by their works, by acting in obedience to the divine instruction they received.

This story of Joseph and Mary also shows a great love that they had toward one another. Both Joseph and Mary honored their love by being loyal to each other. Either one of them, or both of them, could have easily run away and refuse to take part in this wonderful, earth shattering event.

Imagine what their marriage was like with such a great love toward one another as they had, as well as their great love toward Heavenly Father, manifested by their faith and obedience to Him.

ZACHARIAS AND ELISABETH

Zacharias was a righteous and honorable priest, who was married to a righteous and honorable woman known as Elisabeth. It was said of them “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”

They both had lived their lives’ faithful according to the teachings of the gospel and were considered old and Elisabeth was barren, thus they never had children.

It is fair to assume that they prayed earnestly to have children through the years and as no children came, perhaps they prayed that they might have just one child, but they were not the thus blessed. Even though their righteous desires of children went unheeded by the Lord they remain true and faithful to the teachings and commandments of the gospel. They each endured to the end.

ZACHARIAS

As a priest, Zacharias had a responsibility to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

At the time of this story, Zacharias had gone into the temple to burn incense while a multitude of people were praying outside of the temple during the time of incense.

While Zacharias was in the temple, near the altar of incense, there appeared an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. A righteous man though he was, Zacharias was a little frightened and fear fell upon him.

The angel said unto the Zacharias “fear not for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”

The Angel went on by saying that many of the children of Israel will turn to the Lord their God because of the child Elisabeth would conceive and deliver. The son of Zacharias, who would be called John, would go before the Savior in the spirit and power of Elias preparing the way for the short, three year ministry, of The Messiah.

The Angel said “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

To all this Zacharias said to the heavenly messenger “Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” This must have been said with some doubt or disbelief because the angel’s reply was “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”

Meanwhile, outside of the temple, the people that were praying while Zacharias was supposed to be burning incense at the altar started to wonder what was taking him so long in the temple? Is he having a vision some wondered?

Finally, Zacharias came out the temple door and could not speak. He attempted to speak to the crowd gathered outside the temple door but could not.

Zacharias was a very diligent man but tripped up while engaging with Gabriel, the heavenly messenger, which lead to the consequence of being struck dumb or speechless for more than nine months. But even while he was in the “dog house” so to speak, he remained at the temple doing his work until the days of his ministration were over at which point he returned to his own home.

ELISABETH

It was sometime after that event that his dear wife Elisabeth conceived a child in her old age. However, she hid herself for five months after conception. I don’t know why she hid herself for five months; some say maybe she was unsure about her health and age combined with being pregnant. Some suggest maybe she was ashamed to be known to be old and barren and then suddenly pregnant. Others have suggested that it took her some time to adjust to the idea of being pregnant after a life time of being barren. She now had a new identity that she needed to come to terms with. No one knows for sure.

In the context with which the word “reproach” was used, it means shame for being barren or without children. Now at last she was with child and no longer carried with her the associated stigma of being barren. A great blessing for Elisabeth.

MARY AND ELISABETH

Jesus and John The Baptist knew each other in the Spirit World. Before they would be reunited on earth, the met up with each other while they each resided in their mothers’ womb.

Mary went to stay with Elisabeth for a while. When Mary greeted Elisabeth, the baby John leaped within her womb at the presence of the Savior in Mary’s womb. Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

While these two elect ladies were talking with each other, Mary expressed her joy to Elisabeth, the one who could understand her situation better than anyone else. She said “my soul doth magnify the Lord.” She went on to say “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”

These statements indicate that Mary was learning and coming to terms with what an important role she was involved with and just how important she was to the biggest event in the history of the earth.

THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

Mary stayed with Elisabeth for about three months before returning home. Shortly thereafter, Elisabeth gave birth to a healthy baby boy. It was around this time when Elisabeth’s neighbors and cousins had heard how the Lord had blessed her and Zacharias with this new baby boy. It was truly a time of rejoicing and her neighbors and cousins rejoiced with her.

The custom of the day required that the baby boy be circumcised on the eight day and given a name. During the ceremony they called the baby boy Zacharias, after his father, as was also a custom.

But Elisabeth said objected to naming the boy after his father. She said his name will be John.

It was the custom of the day to use a family name when naming a baby boy. Elisabeth’s objection did not make sense to the crowd.

Keep in mind that Zacharias was still mute but some in the crowd went to him to see what Zacharias wanted to call the boy. Zacharias asked for a writing table and wrote a message saying that the boys name is John! As the crowd was marveling at this event, Zacharias’s mouth opened immediately and his tongue was loosed and he spake and praised the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

All the crowds that saw and heard these things were talking and wondering among themselves, some saying what manner of a child will this be? Others were saying that the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zacharias being filled with the Holy Ghost stood up and started to prophesy saying “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.”

Zacharias went on talking and prophesying a little more before he turned his attention to his son John, when he said “Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

LESSONS LEARNED FROM ZACHARIAS AND ELISABETH

Some of the lessons learned from Zacharias and Elisabeth are very similar to the lessons learned from Joseph and Mary. However there are a few other points worth making as we review the great lessons from Zacharias and Elisabeth.

While Zacharias was in the temple performing his priestly duties, he was visited by Gabriel, a heavenly Angel. Gabriel told Zacharias that the prayers of Zacharias and Elisabeth were going to be answered by Elisabeth conceiving and baring a child and the child’s name would be John.

John expressed a little doubt that this could happen considering how old he and Elisabeth were. This display of doubt resulted in the consequence of Zacharias being stricken speechless. He was told that he would not be able to speak until their baby was born. At this time Elisabeth was not pregnant which implies that Zacharias was mute more than nine months.

Zacharias is an interesting character in the Bible. He was a very righteous man and a man of great faith. When put to a test of his faith, he faltered a little (similar to Peter faltering when walking on the water toward Jesus). What I find interesting about this is that it shows that even good, strong, and righteous people make mistakes. This is something we should all be able to relate to without judging.

Another point worth making about Zacharias was that even though he was struck dumb he continued his service in the temple until the event was over. Even after he was punished for his lack of faith, he didn’t just run away and feel sorry for himself, but rather he took his punishment and continued his Temple service. This is a good lesson for us to understand.

This same issue also points to the fact that Zacharias was a regular guy, a very righteous man, but was subject to mistakes and foibles just like we are. That concept gives me great hope, I make mistakes and I’m far from perfect, but I can be blessed by the Lord, and I can be used by the Lord according to his will.

Zacharias and Elisabeth had prayed to have children throughout their married life, but they never received their righteous desire. Elisabeth was beyond the years of bearing a child, which to us means that she was past menopause. For whatever reasons, Elisabeth felt a sense of shame for being barren throughout her adult life.

For however long they were married they were seeking a righteous desire to have children which were denied them. They were good righteous people, does that seem like a just reward, denying these two good people the blessing of children?

Throughout the Scriptures the same theme is taught over and over that if you ask in faith nothing wavering or if you have righteous desires and pray with faith that you will receive and finally the Scriptures teach that with God all things are possible.

So why didn’t Zacharias and Elisabeth have the children they desired? The moral to the story is that things happen in the Lord’s time frame, not our type frame. When they were allowed to have a child, they were blessed with one of the greatest prophets the earth has ever known. So when we are looking to God for blessings, we need to remember that often the answer will be in His time frame and not ours. We need to ask with faith, nothing wavering and with great patience.

Learning lessons from the lives of Joseph, Mary, Zacharias, and Elisabeth could fill a book with worthwhile teachings and analysis. Don’t let this short paper lead you to believe that that’s all there is to learn from these four great people.

Prayerfully read for yourself, the first chapter of Matthew and the first chapter of Luke, and ask yourself what you can learn from these great stories and consider what you might learn from these experiences that can improve your personal discipleship and increase your faith.

Troy Wagstaff
CallahanWriter

40 Facts About Noah and the Ark

FACTS ABOUT NOAH, THE ARK AND FLOODS AND RELATED EVENTS

At the time Heavenly Father spoke to Noah about building an ark and saving the Animal Kingdom and his family from utter destruction the earth was evil and corrupt with abounding wickedness. At the same time the population of the earth was involved in their own lives like every other day in spite of Noah preaching to them. Let’s take a closer look.

Condition of the earth and the population therein:

1. “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.” (Genesis 6:11-12) There were only eight righteous people on the earth that qualified to be saved. Noah and his wife. Their three sons and their wives.

2. No was a preacher of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:5) Therein lies a safe assumption that Noah preached to the people and the people had a chance to believe the word of God.

3. “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,” (Matthew 24:38, Luke 17:26-27)

4. God was longsuffering towards the people who live upon the earth. All the wicked had a chance for repentance while the Ark was being prepared. (1 Peter 3:20)

5. Noah was a great man, a prophet of the Lord and a man of great faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

6. Noah was a just man who walked with God. (Noah was not indecisive, he was a man of great faith and righteousness who was deliberate and confident in his relationship with God.) (Genesis 6:9)

7. In Genesis 6 verses 6 and 7 it uses the term “repenteth”. Consider the Hebrew meaning of that term. (Repenteth, Repent in Hebrew language: In the Hebrew of the Old Covenant two words are used in the concept of repentance, they are -1. NAHUM – to lament, to grieve. This word is describing the emotions that are aroused when motivated to take a different course of action. 2. SHUB – This word expresses a radical change of mind toward sin and implies a conscious moral separation from sin and a decision to forsake it and agree with God. The second meaning doesn’t apply.)

8. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 6:10)

9. The Ark was made with Gopher wood with pitch inside and outside of the Ark. (Genesis 6:14)

noah_meme10. The Ark had three stories and measured The length is 300 cubits. Breadth is 50 cubits and the height is 30 cubits. (Genesis 6:15-16) What is a cubit? You may want to research this one yourself. I’m not that concerned about it because it is impossible to know for certain but the average long Cubit is about 20 from a quick look on the Internet. This would mean the length of the ark was about 500 feet long or 1.7 football fields long. But then again, who knows for sure.

11. All flesh upon the earth was destroyed! Both Noah movies have people other than Noah’s family surviving. This is a flagrant error on the part of the writers of the movie, creative license or not. (Genesis 6:17)

12. Noah was commanded to store enough food for his family and for all the animals in the ark. (Genesis 6:21-22)

13. It seems all stories of the animals on the ark say “two by two”. But according to Genesis 7:2-3, it says that he needed seven of every clean beast, male and female. Unclean beasts a male and a female. Of the fowl of the air he had seven of every bird. Later on in the story one of every clean beast and one of every fowl was sacrificed by Noah to God. (Genesis 8:20)

14. Noah was 600 years old when he entered the ark before the flood. (Genesis 7:6)

15. It rained for forty days and 40 nights upon the earth. (Genesis 7:4)

16. Noah’s family and the animals were in the ark seven days before the flood. (Genesis 7:10)
17. Along with 40 days and nights of rain, fountains of water deep within the earth opened up to help flood the earth. (Genesis 7: 11)

18. HOW LONG WAS NOAH IN THE ARK? From the start of the flood their calendar says it was the 17th day of the 2nd month of the year. Noah was 600 years old. (Genesis 7:11) “And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:24). 4 And the ark rested in the 17th day of the 7th month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the 1st day of the 10th month. It was at that time the mountain tops were seen. (Genesis 8:4-5). In Genesis 8:13 it refers to the 601st year. This sounds like a comparison to Noah being 600 years old when he entered the Ark. It refers to the first day of the first year of the 601st year that the water was dried up from off the face of the land. On the 27th day of the 2nd month the earth was dry. (Genesis 8:13-14) This sounds like Noah was on the Ark one year and ten days.

19. The flood was so great that water covered every hill and mountain by at least 15 cubits. (Genesis 7:19-20)

20. It sounds like after 40 days and 40 nights of flooding the ark finally started to float. (Genesis 7:17)

21. Every living substance was destroyed by the flood. (Genesis 7:21)

22. The waters dried up in a continuous fashion, not all at once. (Genesis 8:3)

23. First a Raven was sent for to test for dry land. Then a dove was sent forth to test for dry land. The dove came back empty handed. They waited for another seven days then sent out the dove which then returned with an olive branch in its mouth. Seven days later the dove was released again to never return to the ark again. (Genesis 8:7-12)

24. After moving onto dry land, Noah built an altar and offered sacrifices of one of every clean beast and one of every fowl. (Genesis 8:21)

25. The Lord responded to the sacrifice with a promise to never destroy every living thing by water. (Genesis 8:21)

26. The Lord blessed Noah and Shem, Ham and Japheth and commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1)

27. The fear of man will be placed on every living animal. (Genesis 9:2)

28. The animals and vegetation are meant for the use of men. (Genesis 9:3)

29. If man commits murder then his life will be required of him. (Genesis 9:5-6)

30. In the image of God was man created. (Genesis 9:6)

31. The Lord made a covenant with men to never destroy the earth again by flood. As a token of that covenant, the Lord provided a Rainbow (bow) in the sky. (Genesis 9: 9-17)

32. Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth came off the ark, along with Noahs grandson Canaan. Ham was the father of Canaan. (Genesis 9:18)

33. The earth was populated by Shem, Ham (Canaan) and Japheth and their wives. (Genesis 9:18-19)

34. After the flood Noah became a husbandman and grew grapes and made wine. ( Genesis 9:20)

35. Noah and his family stayed together after the flood. (Genesis 9:20-29)

36. Noah was drunk from wine and was found naked in his tent by his son Ham. (Genesis 9:21-22)

37. Shem and Japheth took a garment and covered Noah without seeing Noah’s nakedness. (Genesis 9:23)

38. Noah considered Canaan his son. Noah was very upset and cursed Canaan for thing his clothes. (Genesis 9:24-25)

39. Noah lived 350 years after the flood. (Genesis 9:28)

40. Noah lived for a total of 950 years. (Genesis 9:29)

If you have seen either of the two movies about Noah, the one in 1999 or the one in 2014 and compare it to these basic facts, you can clearly see where the movies are in error and where they are true to the account in Genesis. Be aware of the errors in the movies so that you are not misled. Keep in mind the true biblical facts of the epic story of Noah and the flood.

With the successes of “Bible story” movies you can bet that more will be made. That’s a good thing if you compare it to the movies that are pornography hiding behind a r-rated movie. But a warning needs to be made about them. They are talk creative license from the Bible and they are written from someone’s perspective other than The Lord’s perspective.

I say, make the movies about great and epic bible stories but from a consumer stand point, make sure to do your homework and compare what you saw to what the Bible says about the story.

by Troy Wagstaff

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