Category Archives: Articles

Six Days: The Gospel Truth

Yom - day
Yom - day
The Hebrew word “yom,” means “day”

Every couple of months someone identified with conservative evangelicalism feels it is their duty to exercise their theological machismo by deliberately contradicting the plain reading for Genesis 1. Today, it has been the turn of Justin Taylor, of The Gospel Coalition. In an article entitled “Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods”1, he claims that the text does not actually describe the creation days as literal 24-hour days.

Justin Taylor is determined directly to contradict what people like me say about Genesis 1.

Contrary to what is often implied or claimed by young-earth creationists, the Bible nowhere directly teaches the age of the earth.

Now, I have explained before why I am not a fan of the term “young-earth creationist”, because I can only be described as a young-earther by contrasting my views with an unbiblical deep-time worldview2. I consider the term “young-earther” to belong to an incorrect presupposition. Therefore, you would expect me, as a biblical presuppositionalist, to take the position that the Bible does indeed directly teach that the creation days were literal 24-hour days. The issue is actually one of hermeneutics – and, in particular, not interpreting one passage of Scripture so that it would contradict another. My book, The Six Days of Genesis3, contains more information on this subject, but, in brief, we should look at how the Hebrew word for day – yom – is used. In fact, yom is very similar in use to the English word, and it can mean a 24-hour period, or the hours of daylight, or a period of time. The context of the word tells us clearly what it means in each place. And of the 2,301 occasions in which the word yom appears in the Old Testament, it is only in Genesis 1 that people have any problem with what it actually means. So, it is worth looking at how the word yom is used elsewhere in the Old Testament.

For example, have you read Numbers 7 recently? It is one of those boring sections that you would rather skip over in your Bible reading plan, forgetting what 2 Timothy 3:16 says! Well, in Numbers 7, the tribes of Israel bring their gifts for the Tabernacle to Moses. In Numbers 7:12, we read that the tribe of Judah brought their offering on the first day. On the second day, the tribe of Issachar came (Numbers 7:18. Zebulun brought their offering on the third day (Numbers 7:24). Since a day with the Lord is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8), was poor old Moses sat there for 12,000 years, waiting for these offerings? Of course not! These were 12 literal 24-hour days. And the grammar of Numbers 7 is identical to that of Genesis 1. In fact, outside of Genesis 1, there is not a single example of the word yom being used with a number, where it does not mean a 24 hour day4. So, there is no reason to interpret Genesis 1 in any other way than to state that it refers to 24-hour days.

In his article, Justin Taylor claims five reasons for saying that the Genesis text does not require actual 24-hour days. I will now use his headings, and answer each point.

  1. Genesis 1:1 describes the actual act of creation out of nothing and is not a title or a summary

The reason for this distinction is so that he can claim that the creation of the universe out of nothing was not part of the biblical six days of creation. Justin Taylor rightly points out that the phrase “heaven and earth” is a merism – i.e. a figure of speech, referencing totality, and in this case referring to the universe as a whole. (English examples of merisms include “I searched high and low”, which, if you lived in a house with three floors, would not imply that you didn't search the middle floor). However, the fact that “heaven and earth” refers merismically to the universe does not help his case. He brushes off the fact that Exodus 20:11 makes clear that God's creation of the heavens and earth took place within the six days of creation. Moreover, he attempts to use Joel 3:15-16 to claim that the heavens “encompasses the sun, the moon, and the stars”. On the contrary – it is the merism “heavens and earth” which includes the sun, moon and stars, but this does not imply that those bodies existed in Genesis 1:1, because that chapter is about incomplete creation. God made the universe in stages, so that He could set the weekly pattern for us to use.

Justin Taylor uses a table to illustrate the well-used formula that there is a parallel in the six days of creation, showing that these cannot be real days. He links day 1 with day 4, day 2 with day 5 and day 3 with day 6. However, this linkage is not perfect. For example, God made the firmament of space, and stretched it out, between the waters above and below, on day 2, so this should be a parallel to day 4, cutting across this neat hypothesis.

  1. The Earth, darkness, and water are created before “the First Day”

This is a corollary of the first point. So, if the first point does not apply, then neither does this. We have seen, above, that the creation of the heavens and the earth must have occurred within the six days of the creation week.

Justin Taylor wants to make much of the two Hebrew words bara (create – implying ex nihilo creation) and asah (make – implying something being formed out of pre-existing materials). But this is a false dichotomy. For example, there are several verses in the Bible which use asah, yet clearly refer to God's creation of the Universe ex nihilo (out of nothing). See Exodus 31:17, 2 Kings 19:15, 2 Chronicles 2:12, and Isaiah 37:16.

  1. The Seventh “Day” is not 24 hours long

Justin Taylor uses the familiar claim that God is still in his “Sabbath-rest”. This is not the case. He argues that, for us to “enter into His rest”, then His rest must still be continuing (Psalm 95:11). However, that is not what Psalm 95 is implying, and it requires a considerable eisegesis to force the Scripture to say this. A normal reading of Genesis would suggest that God was setting the pattern for the regular weekly cycle, in Genesis 1, and that there must surely have been a Day 8, Day 9 and so on. Indeed, James Ussher showed that, if the events of Genesis 3 occurred on Day 10, then this would correspond to Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement!

  1. The “Day” of Genesis 2:4 cannot be 24-hours long

Justin Taylor is correct on this point. But the day of Genesis 2:4 clearly refers to a period of time, by context, because it does not have a number with it.

It is at this point that Justin Taylor suggests Hosea 6:2 as an example of a numbered day that was not literal. Let's quote this verse, so that we can examine it.

After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.

Justin Taylor has already acknowledged one Hebrew idiom – the merism. He now needs to notice another; the X / X + 1 construction frequently used as an indicator of inexactitude. Thus, in Hosea 6:2, the phase as a whole refers to a vague number of days, but only makes sense, because we know the exact 24-hour meaning of the word day, in the context of a number. Although this idiom may be unfamiliar to us, I would suggest that we use a remarkably similar construction in English. For example, if I am going on a short vacation, I might say “I will be gone for 2 or 3 days”. You would not necessarily call me a liar, if I actually stayed away for 5 days. The phrase “2 or 3 days” is vague, whereas neither “2 days” nor “3 days” are vague expressions. This construction does not just apply to days. I have 6 or 7 pens in my laptop case! How many pens do I have? If you opened up my case and found 9 pens, would you say that I had lied? The Bible uses similar formulae to Hosea 6:2 in other places. See, for example, Job 5:19, Proverbs 6:16, Proverbs 30:15, and Amos 1:3.

  1. The explanation of Genesis 2:5-7 assumes more than an ordinary calendar day

It is not necessary to spend much time refuting this, as we have already seen that Genesis 2:4 does not have to refer to an ordinary day. Justin Taylor's problem is that he assumes that the passage refers to a continuous sequence of events; i.e. there is no wild vegetation, because there is no rain, therefore God sent rain clouds. It is not necessary to read this sequence into the passage. He should concede that it makes at least equally good sense to assume that the passage is simply referring to the totality of God's creation. The other refutations of his ideas that we have given should stand alongside our interpretation of this passage. Even if we were to concede that his reading is a possible interpretation of Genesis 2:5-7 in isolation, it cannot stand alongside a plain reading of Genesis 1.

Justin Taylor began his article, and also finished it, with comments stating that great theologians of the past, did not hold to literal 24-hour days. This line of reasoning is, of course, fallacious, as it constitutes an argument from authority. Even if I accepted as true every other word that these scholars wrote, that does not mean that I have to acquiesce to their views on the days of creation, especially if the Bible clearly means something different from what the theologians say. In this matter, as in all matters, our most important plumbline is the word of God, and it is against that, and not against the words of theologians, however eminent, that we weigh our case.

When Exodus 20:11 reminds us that God made the heavens and the earth in six days, it is in the context of God giving a reason for His Commandments – the Law. It is only by the Law, says the apostle Paul, that we can understand sin, and that we are sinners. Therefore, it is only by the death and resurrection of the One who came to fulfill the Law that we can be saved. It is not an exaggeration to say that Exodus 20 shows that, if the six days were not literal days, then the Commandments cannot be literal either, for why would God expect literal adherence to the Law, if it is based on a non-literal timescale. So, if the Commandments are non-literal then they are not Commandments – they are merely Ten Suggestions. And if they are Suggestions, then it cannot matter if we re-interpret them to suit ourselves. So the breaking of these Suggestions cannot be classed as sin, so we are not sinners, and we do not need a Savior. And you thought this was just a minor argument about 24-hour days. It isn't. It is about the Gospel. A writer for The Gospel Coalition ought to know that.


1 Taylor, J. (2015), Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods, < http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2015/01/28/biblical-reasons-to-doubt-the-creation-days-were-24-hour-periods/ >, accessed 1/28/2015

2 Taylor, P.F. (2014), Not a Young-Earther, < http://justsixdays.com/j6db3/2014/02/not-a-young-earther/ >

3 Taylor, P.F. (2007), The Six Days of Genesis, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books)

4 Justin Taylor claims he has an example in his article, from Hosea. We will examine this shortly.

Creation Sundays

Creation Sunday

Guest Post by Tony Breeden

Paul's Note:
Tony Breeden, a pastor, creation speaker and author, developed the idea of Creation Sundays a couple of years ago, in response to the Evolution Sundays. Evolution Sundays, which fall on the nearest Sunday to Darwin's birthday (February 12th), were devised by the atheist Michael Zimmerman, with his infamous Clergy Letter Project, whereby he got signatures from well-known clergy, supporting the syncretism of Christianity with evolutionism. Tony decided that we could and should celebrate that Sunday, but that we could use it to explain to our congregations why they can trust the biblical account of creation. Accordingly, the Mount St Helens Creation Center will be organizing a Creation Sunday event, and are encouraging churches to do likewise. To see how your church can take part, read on…

Creation SundaySo how exactly does one celebrate a Creation Sunday?

It’s not as difficult as you might think. You don’t have to invite a special speaker, though you certainly can. You don’t have to put on an elaborate presentation.

All that’s required is a willingness to dedicate a service to the doctrine of Creation. If we’re honest, most churches do something like this at least 3 to 4 times a year. At Christmas, we dedicate a service to the Incarnation. On Good Friday and Easter, we dedicate a service to celebrate the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ Jesus. Many churches have a Gideon Sunday, where the emphasis is on missions. Most houses of worship in the United States focus on patriotism and our nation’s Christian heritage around Independence Day.

There are several areas where you can tweak your regular service to create a Creation Sunday celebration.

1. Scripture Reading. Many Christian traditions regularly incorporate Scripture readings into worship services. Some of these are responsive readings, where a worship leader reads one verse and the congregation reads the next in response. Some recommended Scriptures are:

  • Genesis 1:1
  • Genesis 1-2
  • Job 38-41
  • Psalm 8
  • Psalm 19:1-6
  • Psalm 104
  • Psalm 148
  • Proverbs 8:22-31
  • Isaiah 45:18
  • John 1:1-14
  • Acts 17:22-31
  • Romans 1:16-25
  • 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, 45
  • Colossians 1:14-20

2. These Scriptures could also be included in your church programs/bulletins.

3. Music. Many of the church’s hymns are expressions of worship of the Creator God. Some recommended selections include:

  • All Creatures of Our God and King
  • Fairest Lord Jesus
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God Almighty!
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
  • Morning Has Broken
  • My God is There Controlling
  • Our God is an Awesome God [by Rich Mullins]
  • This Is My Father’s World
  • We Sing the Greatness of Our God

4. A Sermon upon the Topic of God’s Creation. The Bible is our Authority! Any one of the Scripture texts provided above should provide ample fodder for a stirring message affirming God’s Creation. There are a lot of good ideas to incorporate at http://creationsciencemessages.org/. You might also find our Fact Sheets helpful!

Some of the points you will want to make are:

  • We do not follow cleverly devised fables, but rather the revealed Word of God. [2 Peter 1:16-21]
  • The Genesis record describes a literal 6-day Creation, as affirmed by the 4th commandment. [Exodus 20:11]
  • The Bible states that the Creator God is evident through His Creation [Psalm 19:1-6] , so that the world is without excuse [Romans 1:16-25].
  • The belief that the Earth and universe are billions of years old and man’s existence represents only the tiniest tail-end of that history contradicts Christ Jesus’ affirmation that God created man, male and female, “from the beginning.” [Matt 19:4; Mark 10:6]
  • The belief that Man is the product of evolution, an endless cycle of death and mutation, contradicts the Biblical standpoint that death is the wages [deserved earnings] of sin, that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” and that, rather than being a natural part of existence, Death is the Last Enemy which shall be destroyed [Rom.5:12; also 1 Cor. 15:22 & 15:26].
  • Doubting the historicity of the Fall [Genesis 3] undermines the foundational basis of the Gospel, for if the literal First Adam did not literally Fall there is no need for literal sin debt to be paid by a literal Savior. [1 Cor 15:45]
  • To call a literal Adam and Fall into question is to call into question Our Blessed Hope, for the Apostle Paul, in the quintessential chapter on the subject, stated, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” [1 Cor 15:21-22]

We will be bringing forth more information on how to prepare a Creation sermon in the very near future!

5. Show a Creation DVD. Answers magazine suggests “a church might show a DVD on the relevance of Genesis during the morning church service while the children watch a DVD on dinosaurs during the Sunday school hour. For an evening service, churches might show DVDs on dinosaurs and the origin of races. Participants then have an opportunity to discuss what they saw. At the same time, the church can make other resources available and show what’s available in the church library.” [Answers magazine. Jan-Mar. 2009, p.14]

Suggestions:

Adults:

Kids:

6. Invite a Creation Speaker. While any preacher with unction and a willingness to study up on the subject of Creation can deliver a Creation sermon, you may also want to consider a Creation speaker. A Creation speaker can offer presentations that capture the congregations attention and explore the scientific side of the Creation/Evolution debate, which is an awesome complement to a Biblical argument for Creation! This might also provide your church with a creation evangelism outreach opportunity, especially if you decide to hold a weekend Creation Conference!

Paul's Note:
The Mount St Helens Creation Center is developing links to creation groups in the Pacific North West and beyond. The links lists are incomplete yet, but keep calling back to get more info. You might also contact ministries like Answers in Genesis, The Institute for Creation Research or Creation Ministries International.

However you decide to put together your Creation Sunday Celebration, please let us know about your decision! Let the world know that your church stands for the historical, literal accuracy of a 6-day Creation as related in Genesis. If you’d like to add your church’s name to the Creation Sunday list, click here.

On behalf of CreationLetter.com & CreationSundays.com,

Rev. Tony Breeden
Founder, DefendingGenesis.org

Looking Back

Better Christian leaders than I have their end of year messages planned well in advance. Many have probably been edited before December 1st. Me? It's December 31st, and I thought I ought to get something out! So I will probably miss a lot – but what you get is genuine, even down to the typos.

One year ago today, where was I? My family and I were in Pensacola. I was working with an established Christian ministry. We had just moved into a new house. I had no knowledge that things were about to be radically different.

Within a month, a financial crisis had meant that I was out, seeking my own support for my family, with no regular income. God was good. Bookings did not pour in, but sufficient bookings emerged to keep the wolf from the door. I made some lovely new contacts. And during the first half of the year, iit turned out that I was needed to preach regularly at the church we were part of.

Early in the year, we experienced the worst ever storm I have ever seen, when over a month's worth of rain fell in 12 hours overnight. Although we were not badly effected, large areas of the city were declared a disaster zone. Geri joined the efforts of a Christian relief organization, bringing help to devastated families and communities.

As the year matured, we heard of the need for ministry here in the Pacific North West. The little ministry at the foot of Mount St Helens needed a transition, because the ministry's founders badly needed to retire.

So, to cut a long story short, in September, with all our boxes packed into a Penske truck, we made the 6-day epic journey, driving across the United States, from Florida to Washington State. Now we are living and ministering in a new community, with lots of new friends and supporters across the PNW.

The past 12 months have seen lots of events significant to our family and ministry. The Noah film produced a renewed interest in my book “Don't Miss the Boat”, and Kent-Andrew Hovind produced the DVD of my talk of the same title. My older 3 children – Gemma, Adam and Jack – came over from the UK to stay – an event which proved a spiritual turning point for at least one of them. My stepdaughter, Beth, got engaged to Josh. And the new ministry appointment was not just for me – it was a joint appointment for Geri and I, and Geri threw herself into the ministry wholeheartedly and effectively. One notable indication of this was Geri and Beth's planning and execution of a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend event at the Mount St Helens Creation Center. It was also great fun to sit in the stands at the local school, and watch my stepson, Joe, play his first game of American Football.

I love the scene, as I look out of the French windows of the little ministry house where we now live. It was through these windows, last Sunday, that Geri saw her first herd of elk, traveling across the valley. This morning, the frost leaves the air crystal clear, so that I can see the snow-capped volcano about 30 miles away. As the sun emerges over the mountains, and reflects off the swamp, I see the beauty of the scenery and know that He is good, and has great plans for us. I do not know what these plans are, but we are ready and willing to do His will, and part of His reward is to place us here in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth.


This article has also been published at Just Six Days.

The Christmas Star

Nativity Star

One of the most unusual events, celebrated at Christmastime, is the account of the Christmas Star. This is mentioned in Matthew 2. But what was the event all about? It seemed to involve a star, and a group of Wise Men or Astrologers from the East. What an unusual mix? What can we make of it?

Paul Taylor discusses these issues in a special Christmas talk.

Material for the production of the content of this video owes a great deal to:

Lisle, Jason, “What was the Christmas Star?” in Ham, K. (ed. 2008), The New Answers Book 2, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books), pp179-184

Fruchtenbaum, A. (1998), Messianic Christology, (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries), pp142-145

This blog has also been published on Just Six Days at: http://justsixdays.com/j6db3/2014/12/the-christmas-star/

Geri's Advent – Day 17

Advent

Day 17

Prayer changes everything. A few days ago I spoke on how we have to be careful what we pray for and yesterday how I, as a parent, need to help raise children in the knowledge of God. Teaching and learning how to pray effectively is important and after I had written those ‘pause for thoughts’, I was prompted to ensure I was doing all I could and should. As I prayed asking for clarity I suddenly felt that I was making it all to complicated, getting hung up and stressed out that I was teaching my children correctly. I was reminded of a time about 3 years ago when we decided that we would pray in the car going to school. The children found it difficult and didn’t know where to start, so I suggested we start with the Lord’s Prayer. My children knew the prayer well and so began our prayer journey. The Lord’s Prayer is infallible, perfect, complete and the inspired word of God spoken back to our Creator. Any time we are unable to think of the right words, The Lord’s Prayer has everything that we need. In fact any scripture spoken as a prayer is good.

Jesus was asked “Lord how should we pray?” He gave us the Lord’s Prayer for us to speak in the first person. It is filled with all the essentials for us to think on, expand on, and embrace. It starts with praise and worship, submission to His will, not our own desire, our request for our needs, forgiveness of our sins, and a commitment to forgive as we have been forgiven, protection against temptation and deliverance from the subtleties of satan.

If we think on the prayer and expand each line to give more praise and worship, lay down one by one our desires, submit our requests, and plead for forgiveness. If we consider what others have done simply only to forgive them and set ourselves free, if we put on our Armor and prepare ourselves for the day, then we will change the atmosphere, course and outcome of our day. Not because I said so but because Jesus instructed it so!

The Model Prayer

Luke 11:1

11 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

 

Matthew 6:5

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[b] And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Geri's Advent – Day 16

Advent

Day 16

By committing to something like a ‘daily post’ or a ‘pause for thought’, you find that you are not only focused on keeping your commitment, but also searching, seeking and asking God for what to write next. It is good to recall the times in your life when God has encouraged growth and maturity and this in turn helps me now to be further encouraged. Sounds a little messy when I write it down, but I know what I mean.

For a while now I have enjoyed the time spent with my daughter here in WA. I know it is a precious and limited time. It won’t last forever and I don’t want to look back on this time and have any regrets. Each moment is a chance for me to pour into her, and I have wondered how I can best do that.

As parents we have the perfect opportunity to nurture, encourage, cheerlead, pray for and over, protect, and lead our children in the ways of God, which will help them to become independent people equipped with all they need to find their own way.

It is my job and privilege to do all I can do, and let God do the rest.   I could not bear it if either of my children turned round to me and said, “Why didn’t you tell, teach, explain or share that with me?” They need to be ‘in the know’, and while I can’t teach everything, I can teach them how to find things out, how to pray and seek God for themselves, I can equip them and build a relationship that will keep the door open for them to come and ask and share at any time.

If only that were as easy to actually do as it is to write! My emotions often get the better of me and in my desperation and or frustration I can blow it. Does that make me a terrible mother? No, it shows me to be human, what actually counts more is what I do after I have blown it. How and what do I do? Getting our parenting wrong is not always a bad thing, it is how we put it right that sets us apart and builds heathy relationships. Learning how to put things right, say sorry, show forgiveness, and acknowledge we sometimes get it wrong can help young people to know that when they get things wrong there is a way back.

Showing this in a human way can also demonstrate how it is with God. When our young people get, way laid, distracted, slip, and fall short in their walk with God, they need to know there is a way back. That nothing is too big, bad or terrible that our Creator would turn His face away from them. We need to make it clear that if they go, genuinely, to Him, and say sorry, forgive me, restore me; that God will forgive, rejoice, and restore. It is this relationship that when cultivated will set them apart, helping them to develop a strong and healthy relationship with their Lord and savior. In time these young people will mature also and pass on what they have learnt to those coming after them.

Never underestimate the influence we have with our children and young people and never underestimate the effect that your commitment to pouring into them now will have on future generations. Spreading the Gospel, nurturing the young in the ways of God starts with you and me.

Proverbs 22:6New King James Version (NKJV) 6 Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Psl 32:8- I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will guide you with My eye.

Deuteronomy 6:6 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Geri's Advent – Day 15

Advent

Day 15 Getting what we want

Yesterday I briefly mentioned us as parents wanting to give our children what they want, in terms of presents at Christmas. Even as I wrote that, I knew that that would be the topic of today’s pause for thought.

Children see the adverts, listen to friends, spot what others have, and think about what gift would make life perfect. Sometimes they ask us for our opinion and we are able to guide some of their choices. Sometimes even though we are older and more mature, we often have the same mind set. “If only I had that dress, book, sofa, laptop, next generation phone, car, holiday, even house, then life would be complete. Therefore to follow on we in turn should ask our Father His opinion.

As I sit in front of the fire with Christmas approaching I decided to take a little time to think about ‘want’. I asked ‘what do I genuinely want?’ Joe often says, “Mum if money was no object what would you want?” Well there is the rub. I discover that some of the things that I genuinely want cannot be bought!

Some things, the most important things, don’t have a worldly price tag but are priceless.

The Bible says….. ‘Ask believing and you will receive’, and that Matt 18:19 says, ‘If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.’

But we have to be careful what we ask for, I know I have been guilty of asking for things that I think they are perfect for me, the truth is I have quickly and painfully discovered that are not perfect and actually detrimental.

Over the years I have read a lot on prayer, prayer partners and the power of prayer. This is the conclusion I have come to, hang on wait for it…… When you pray it is wise to tell God of your hearts desires, even though He knows them already, but then, lay that request down and simply say…”Your will not mine be done”. While the words are simple the commitment is not. When you lay your ‘wants, desires, and dreams’, at the foot of Jesus, you then have to let go of them and wait. Trusting God to answer in His time and at His will, because He knows what is best.

I have numerous examples to testify to this, but the most recent one, is both ongoing and challenging. For a long time I have wanted my own home. A place to call ours, where I don’t have to ask if I can paint the walls, that I can choose the flooring, and design the garden. I want to put our mark on something and know that the investment will reap us benefits. I tried so hard in Pensacola to buy a house and got close once or twice, but we couldn’t qualify. Now we are no longer in a financial place to buy and it appears, humanly that is, that buying a house is totally off the list. But that is not the whole story. If we had bought a house in Pensacola we would now be in a tricky position of having to be landlords for a house nearly 5000 miles away, with all of the implications that brings, not good. We would not have been in the position to move as He directed as swiftly as we did. We were able to leave and not have to worry about property. God knows my hearts’ desire and I have laid it down and earnestly said, “Your will not mine be done Lord”.

I trust that God knows best and believe that He will either continue to provide a home that is not owned by us, or He will miraculously provide the perfect and lasting home for us to settle in. Either way, I am good with that.

Be careful what you pray for and always seek God’s take on the request. Don’t ask and settle for good, when God wants to bless you with the BEST.

Geri's Advent – Day 14

Advent

Day 14

I can hardly believe it is only 10 days to Christmas Eve. People are posting photos Christmas events and parties they have attended, advertisers are bombarding us with enticing deals to buy things that we don’t really need, there are festive foods, clothes, toys, decorations, music, TV shows, films and so much more. It is a bedazzling time of the year and one that many find difficult because of the pressure the feel. Parents in particular, I know I am one, can frequently felt inadequate if they can’t give their loved ones all that they are asking for.

Since marrying Paul Christmas’ have taken a very different look and feel. I remember the first year we were married we were sitting at the table discussing the season and the issue of presents. Do we all buy each other a gift? Wow that worked out at a lot, 7 people buying 7 presents each. My mind began to swim.

After some thought and discussion we decided that a perfect solution would be ‘Secret Santa’ style option. We picked names out of a hat, and chose a night, we then all headed off to town, each people being given a specific amount of money to go and buy something for their chosen person. When the shopping was done we met to have a special meal somewhere.

It became a tradition and solved a great deal of headaches, in fact it became a time I looked forward to and really enjoyed. But this year we have moved into a different phase. Family is spread all over and doing that would be physically impossible. So it looks like we are going to just have to do the boring thing and give actual cash. I remember going through this in my own family as I was going up, and now here I am with my own family in the same situation. It is a sign of the times.

I am grateful that despite changes in family circumstances, geographical locations and number, the reason for Christmas never changes. It is reassuring to know that God is God, and because He so loved the world He sent His son, Jesus Christ. Today is the third Sunday of Advent- Joy- Today I am re-JOY-cing in the knowledge that while my family grows, moves and changes, two things remain steadfast, the reason for the season- the coming of Christ and Salvation, and the second, that no matter where my family is, or what they are doing, they are and always will be my family.

As with my faith, distance and circumstance does not alter the precious relationship I have with each and every family member. Wherever I am or they are, does not mean they are not thought of, prayed for and remembered. So it is with God. This year my view from my window is different, the church I attend is different, the people I meet daily are different, the roads I drive, the shops I use all different and unfamiliar, that does not alter, one jot, my faith.

Thank God that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and thank God that He gave me a precious family that will always be so too- regardless ……………..

 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. …. Because God is eternal and does not change, we can build our lives on Him and have a sure foundation.

Amen

Have a Blessed Sunday

Geri's Advent – Day 13

Advent

Day 13

Having to play catch up today because my laptop needed some maintenance.

I have mentioned our ‘tire snowmen’ and the display that we built some time ago, well I am pleased to say that yesterday they were finally finished and put the lights on. It has been a long journey and we have had some set backs.

One of the problems was the tree kept falling over in the wind. Even when we packed it with bricks and stood it in the tires it still blew over. Neither, could we get the faces right, things fell off and the weather soon found floors in our design.

I guess it is a lot like my faith. Like that tree I get blown by the wind, tossed about by life, nothing new there for any of us. Constantly picking up the tree was not enough, I needed to think of other ways to secure it. I done all I thought I needed to do the first time but sadly it was not enough. So I added to what I had not and tried again, it blew over again and again. Each time I could have simply picked it up and walked away, but the truth is, it would have fallen again. Instead I needed to think of something more effective each time, something that would withstand the weather and remain steadfast and secure. So it is with my faith. If I constantly have the same issue in my walk causing trouble there is no point only repeating what I have done before to fix it. The issue needs new thinking, a new strategy and a better more effective plan until the problem is conquered.

All too often we repeat the same mistake and try to correct it the same way we have always done. While it is hoped that we don’t repeatedly suffer the same ongoing issue, it must be pointed out that if we do, we should not beat ourselves up. Instead we need to go back to God, confess, repent, seek forgiveness and ask for guidance. Then when we hear the word we need to act on it. Sounds so easy, and the truth is it is. We – or should I say, I make it hard. A stubborn heart, a determined mind, pride, embarrassment, fear or any manner of things can step in and prolong the inevitable or worse damage our walk with God and relationships with those around us.

If you have an issue you just can’t seem to solve, if you are struggling with hearing God’s word on it, or fighting against following through, take heart you are not alone, and being alone can even be part of your battle. If you really want to conquer it, pray and ask God to bring someone into your life that will help. Someone that will come along side of your to support and hold you accountable, that will sustain you and hold up your arms. This person or persons can not do the work for you, that is yours and yours alone, but they can be part of the journey to freedom.

Matthew 18: 18-20

18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19 “Again I say[c] to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Do not be alone but seek God and His direction, pray for the right person to come in and along and share. Together I know that you and I can overcome all things, because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

Amen

Geri's Advent – Day 12

Advent

Day 12

Yesterday I spoke about a book being called, “You are what you eat,” today following on from that, and the theme of dealing with satan, my phrase is “You are what you speak.”

Do you find it hard to say good things about yourself? Do you find it hard to speak good things about others? Do you find it difficult to speak positively about situations, events, your life or even your day?

Remember the pastor that said, “I love my life.” Part of what she counseled me on, was to change what I said in regard to what was going on in my life.

If you get up and say, “I am having a bad day!” or speak aloud negative and destructive thoughts, it becomes a mantra and a mantel that you wear and eventually it alters your real identity in Christ. I have greatly struggled with this over the years. I have allowed the opinions of others to shape me and even convince me of what I can, or cannot do or be. Finding your identity is essential to allowing God to fulfill His plan for your life. Through Him we are a new creation, the old gone and the new given an opportunity to achieve great things.

What and who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see yourself as God created you or as the world says you are?

Your life and my life are not set in stone. We have the way with all to change our circumstances, by focusing on God, surrendering to Him. I have said this before but I just want this to be clear. Every area of our lives has to be systematically surrendered, and our words are one area that can impact our own walk as well as others. Accepting that I am God’s darling (Psalm 35:17 KJV) did not come easy to me. Feeling unconditionally loved and accepted didn’t either. In fact I would say I am still a work in progress. But one thing I have come to learn is that I become what I say out loud. If I say, I am afraid or fearful about something guess what, I embrace that fear and before I know it it is controlling me. If I say, I can’t- I begin to believe it to the point of it stopping me from moving forward and growing. Our minds are powerful and wonderfully made. Today I am once again reminding myself of the importance of speaking as God wants me to.

The words of our mouths reflect our hearts and that reflects our walk.

2 Chronicles 18:12-13

12 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.”

God does not speak ill of you, or others. He does not speak to demean, deceive or cheat. He speaks, light, love, hope, encouragement and salvation. Next time satan with a small ‘s’ tells you you are useless, a failure, bad, unworthy, shout out that God says different. Say aloud, “I am useful and have a God given purpose, I am not a failure but success in God who has a plan for me to prosper, I am bad and unworthy, but Jesus came and paid the price and now I am a jewel, a child of the living God.

Our challenge is to be as God would have us be. Hearing as He would hear, see as He would see and speak as He would speak. Next time you look in the mirror tell yourself you are loved beyond measure, next time you are challenged speak words of praise and truth into the situation and watch what happens.