How many ways are there to God?

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When God gave Noah the “plan of salvation” for the people of his day, He told him to build only one boat. God did not design one boat for the Buddhists, one for the Taoists, and one for the Muslims. He only gave one plan of rescue. God ordered Noah to build only one door. God did not designate one door for the Baptists, one for the Mormons, and one for the Pentecostals. God only offers one way of escape.

How many ways are there to God?People often say God will take anyone and everyone who tries to come to Him. Yet God has an inflexible plan. His ark of safety only has one door: Jesus Christ (John 10:9). We must notice the kindness of God to build a boat big enough to save all humanity. Yet we must also recognize that thousands of people died in torment and agony because they tried to do it their own way. Men and women clung to logs and treetops crying out to God for a second chance. Noah could not give them a second chance–God had shut the door and no one could enter. When Jesus comes back, we will have no second chance. Many people will wake up at the return of the Lord, but will have missed their chance. Contrary to the popular book series, no one will be rescued after being “Left Behind.” Right now we have the opportunity to get on the boat.

Did the worldwide flood really happen?

Did a worldwide flood actually happen?Every culture tells a story of a worldwide flood. Different pagan cultures and oral traditions give different names to the man and woman on the boat and to the God who warned them to prepare for a worldwide deluge. Aside from history, archeology turns up fish and shellfish fossils all over the earth–even on the tallest mountains. At one point the whole of creation was submerged beneath water. This raises various questions in some people’s minds.

Where did all the water come from?

God possibly created the earth with a band of water several thousand feet above earth’s surface (Genesis 1:6-7; 2:5-6). Some Creation scientists support this theory. When the rain fell for forty days, this vapor barrier would have disintegrated while the underground water sources burst forth (7:11-12). This suspended water theory does not seem to contradict Scripture and has been shown to be possible on certain planets such as Venus.

Is there enough water to cover the whole earth?

Earth may not have had a lot of water on the surface if most of it orbited in that water “ceiling.” Earth’s surface, today, does have enough water to cover all the land—if all the land were level. If we could fill the seven mile deep chasm in the Pacific Ocean with that nearly five-mile high Mt. Everest, and we leveled out every mountain and canyon, Earth would be covered by over a mile and a half of water. We know the Himalayas and other tall mountain ranges developed by the shifting of Earth’s plates. These and other locations most likely emerged after the deluge of water changed the pressure on earth’s tectonic plates.

Could one boat rescue all the animals on earth?

Noah’s Ark could have been as long as two foot ball fields end to end and three stories high. With good management, Noah and his family could bring on board two to seven of each land-dwelling animal. They may have brought onboard young animals that would not eat a lot nor breed until they left the ark. Many mammals hibernate in the winter, and being at the bottom of a giant barge in the cold and dark, they may have hibernated for five months. Since 90% of earth’s species can survive in water, not every species had to board the ark.

Why did people live so long back then?

How did people live so long?Chapter 5 and other early passages of Genesis tell us of people who lived over 900 years. Noah seems to be the last one to live a long time. After the flood, people started dying at 600, 400, then 300 years or so. Abraham died at a young 175. Moses only lived to 120. And King David made it to 70 years old. Something changed after the flood that caused mankind to not live as long. Could it have been bacteria and environmental pollutants that now could thrive in the humid environment? Some have speculated that if a water ceiling did hover over the earth at one time, oxygen levels could have stayed at 90% (near the level it needs to be in human blood) and would have provided health and rejuvenation. Whatever the case, something changed and people ceased to live as long after the flood. See information by Arlo Molenpah on this.

What happened to the dinosaurs?

How did the dinosaurs all disappear? Were dinosaurs on the ark?Dinosaurs may still be alive, if they survived until Noah’s day. Many sites on earth show fossil evidence of dinosaurs dying together in the flood, just like all the other animals did. This would indicate that they had to have been some of the “all living creatures” that Noah put onboard the ark (probably young so they would be smaller and not eat all the others). Of course dinosaurs and many other animals have become extinct since the flood. If some survived until today, they would still live among us, but we may miss dinosaurs every day because we are looking for the wrong thing. Reptiles (which would include dinosaurs) grow every year. Iguanas for example only live for 25 to 30 years and grow about six feet long. If mankind was living to almost 1,000 years old, before the flood, animals probably had extended lives as well. If an iguana grew every year for 400 years, it would be the size of a house. Perhaps that is the fossil we have labeled “Iguanodon.” Many dinosaurs have look-alike reptiles alive in our world today that may not get as big as their ancestors did, because they do not live as long. Learn more on this from Steve Grohman.

Does God play favorites?

How do I find God's Favor? Does He play favorites?In genesis chapter 6, God decided to destroy the human race (6:5-7). However, out of everyone, He favored Noah. Ever feel like God plays favorites? Cain did. He stewed over God’s special favor toward Abel. So why Abel and Noah? As we saw in Abel’s story, God favors the one who honors Him.

It’s pretty simple: make God glad, and He smiles upon you. Noah lived above sin and honored God with his life (Genesis 6:9). If we want God’s special attention, we need to start doing what makes Him happy. Those who intensely seek to please God will have His favor. Those who just want blessings from God are usually in search of every other kind of freebie as well. We need to serve God because we love Him, not just to get His blessing on our lives.

We should not mistake God’s favor to mean that we will never have a problem. Even though Noah escaped the destruction on the world, he spent long years building a giant boat. He suffered the rejection and loss of family and friends. And he had to spend five months in a place full of stinky animals.

Discovery of Noah's ark. God favored them by providing a way of escape!

How do I stop sinning?

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How do I stop sinning? Principles from Cain and shutting the door to sinWe learn about Adam and Eve’s first two children in Genesis chapter 4 as they come to give God an offering. Cain’s begrudging attitude brings God “just something” from his crops when he could “get around to it.” Abel, however, promptly brings God his best sheep. God favored Abel.

Our attitudes and motives determine how God treats us. A person can obey God with a grumpy spirit. Another can clean a toilet with a beautiful attitude. God favors those who favor Him.

Cain grew angry when he saw God honoring Abel. The Lord spoke to him about his mindset, but Cain refused to admit his error. Cain got his feelings hurt in the act of worship—at church, so to speak. Many people try to look holy before God at church, yet they harbor bitter feelings toward the others who come to worship the same God. The Creator speaks to Cain about his dangerous attitude problem.

God explains how to prevent sin from destroying our lives. He tells Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (4:7, New King James). Like a child with a clean bedroom getting special privileges, so an obedient believer gets God’s favor. Then He says, “If you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” If we stop trying to please God, we need to know that sin crouches just outside the door.

How do I stop sinning?

Let’s say I am sitting at home on a nice day, but the house needs some fresh air. It’s too warm for the heater but too cool to run the AC—I just want a breeze. So I go around and open all the windows to get the air moving. That helps a little, but I want more airflow, so I open the front door. That gets me what I need to chill out for a while. After a few minutes, I see a cat wander up by the door and look in. I jump up from the sofa and scare him away. I plop back down and nearly doze off when I hear the cat again. He saunters through the doorway into my house! I pick him up, set him out in the yard, and tell him to go home. Just as I’m all comfy again, I see him dart through the door and head toward my kitchen. I pick him up and throw him outside (sorry cat lovers). Now, let’s say you show up to visit me, and I start venting about how this stupid cat keeps coming in my home. You would probably say, “Then shut the door!”

Shut the door on sin, how to stop sinningWe come to God griping, “Help me, Lord; tell this sin to go away.” But sin never goes away; we must keep the door closed so it cannot come in. Sin lurks just inches from every heart, ready to pounce. People sin because they opened the door. Cain opened the door by letting his feelings get hurt. A person gets into sexual sins after opening the door of lewd thoughts. We let theft in our hearts by wanting what others have, rather than “doing well” and learning contentment. We can prevent every sin if we know how to shut the door on it. The doors to sin in your life will be a little different from those in others’ lives.

Rather than look for some big nuke to destroy sin, let’s find the little back doors where it gets in and close them all. Watching violent movies breeds fights and aggression. Hanging out with the wrong crowd invites all kinds of sins from substance abuse to sexual sin. Looking at another person’s faults will open the door to gossip, slander, and lying. Little sins open the door to bigger sins until a monster is sucking the life out of us. By not doing the good that we know we should do, we are letting sin into our lives (see James 4:17).

God finished His sermon to Cain by saying, “And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (4:7). Sin salivates at the thought of getting into your life. Every sort of wickedness lurks nearby, hoping to feast on your reputation. How do we keep sin out? Do well. Live right. You will not steal when you are giving. You will not curse people if you specialize in blessing them. You cannot insult a person at the same time you are strengthening them. We shut the door to sin by doing good. Just as you cannot climb and fall at the same time, so you cannot live for both right and wrong.

So did Cain get the idea? No, he was not listening when the Lord was preaching. Cain murdered his brother. Cain did not wake up that morning saying, “I want to be the world’s first murderer.” Yet by day’s end, murder crept into his life through the little door of hurt feelings. He got up and set out to go to church, but there at the altar of sacrifice, someone got on his nerves. His hurt feelings opened the door to anger, anger welcomed rage, rage held the door for vengeance, and vengeance ushered in murder. Scripture tells us that we can stop the devil in his game (Ephesians 4:27; James 4:7).

Did Adam and Eve die?

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God said they would certainly die the day they ate from the tree. They did not die, however. So, did God lie? change His mind? forget what He said? No, no, no. Remember, death ends life. God breathed life into Adam—His own Life. But the day Adam and Eve sinned, they lost that life—they died. Sin is the active manifestation of a dead person. God is righteous; humanity is sinful. God is life; humanity is death.

Did Adam and Eve die when God cast them out of the garden?Jesus said He came to bring life. Adam and Eve lost Life when their wrong actions kicked them out of the garden. God drove them out so they could not eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in their sinful condition (Genesis 3:22). After the failure of Adam to obey, humanity’s relationship with God changed to mere form and ritual since intimacy had been lost.

Now, everyone born in the line of Adam is sinful (Romans 3:9-18). This does not mean we are guilty for Adam’s sin. Every person knows truth—at least the basics of right and wrong—yet we choose to go against the simple truth we know. God’s wrath comes against those who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-21). A desire for wickedness is the judgment of God against those who do not take Him seriously (Romans 1:22-32).

Sin is organically ingrained in our words, thoughts, and actions (Romans 1:13-17). In our flesh, we cannot do righteously (Romans 3:20), so it is only through Jesus Christ, the second Adam, that we can be righteous (Romans 3:21-26). In Adam we lived in sin; in Christ we live in righteousness. In Adam we have death; in Christ we have life (Romans 5:12-17). In Adam we were judged; in Christ we are justified (Romans 5:18-21). Sin becomes an active principle in the human’s life, causing him to sin even against his own will (Romans 7:14-21).

People try to jump start their lives with sex, drugs, alcohol, and crimeLike a car with a dead battery, people go through life trying to get a boost from one thing then the next. We try to jump start life with alcohol. We try to get a lift from pornography or drugs. We hope to jolt some life force by making more money or spending it. None of these things, however, really recharge us. They leave us dead within hours, looking for another high.

When God gives us His Spirit we get long term power that meets the need. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

Does the devil have power over us?

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Does the devil have power over us like he tempted Eve?The beautiful creature (the devil) argued with Eve, convincing her that God was holding out something very special from her. If she would just eat, she would be like God. The enemy works the same today with drugs, sex, and crime. We think that if we just tap into the unknown we will find fulfillment. Finally, Eve decides it cannot hurt just to try. So she takes a bite and everything seems fine. Adam, standing there with Eve, takes a bite, too, at her suggestion.

Now, they feel nothing and see nothing, but everything has just changed. The devil trapped them into obeying him. He knew that “whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness” (Romans 6:16). He took them as slaves and they were now under his control. Any children they had would be under the ownership of their master, Satan. The whole world now lies under the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19).

Perhaps you can understand how this works by thinking of a child at grade school. When the bully comes up and says, “Give me your lunch money, or I’ll bust your face,” the child can resist or submit. Resisting might be painful, but will keep one from being owned. Submitting to evil authority (the bully) will make one a forever slave.  Everyday that bully will take the child’s lunch money. Adam and Eve submitted to the bully, and we all lost our lunch.

Humanity came into bondage to the evil oneThat’s why a good God’s world can be so full of evil. We had authority over the whole earth, but because of our curiosity for sin we submitted ourselves to Satan’s authority. Now he rules the world system with wickedness, perversion, and death (John 10:10).

The whole earth hates the evil upon it (Romans 8:22). God grieves more than we do over the death of innocent ones, disease, and wickedness. God’s work ended on the seventh day, but Jesus finished this work on the Cross. Since the Lord gave us this world, He has now given us power to take it back. We must throw off the yoke of the enemy by realizing our death to sin in Christ. You will learn how to start doing this in the next lesson. You can be free and get the devil out of your life for good.

Where did the devil come from?

 

The angel lucifer became the devil, having lost his power.Before God created Earth, He had angels serving Him. It appears that the most beautiful angel became too big for his position and wanted to be as high as God. When Lucifer rebelled he fell from his place of power, losing all rank and authority. He had rebellious spirits following him as well. Basically think of this as a military general having all his insignia ripped off his sleeve and chest. The devil went from supreme commander of the universe to low ranking civilian. But he chafed to be in charge again.

One day Eve and her husband were strolling by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve spotted a beautiful creature in the tree and went closer to take a look. The living thing spoke to her, inviting her to have a piece of fruit. She argued back and told him she could not because God had said not to touch it. Here, she misquoted God who had said not to eat of it. While her misquote appears trivial, it indicates that she may not have know
n God very personally—at least she did not know His Word.Life! Discovery

Where humans came from

Humans came from God's creating them from dirtGod called on the angels to help Him (Genesis 1:26) when He created Adam in His own image (1:27) by forming him out of dirt and breathing Life! into the man (2:7). He provided all the food he needed and gave him a job to do. God gave Adam all kinds of fruit to eat, but warned him not to touch one tree. He said if Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would die that very day (2:16-17).

God created a wife for Adam so He would not be alone in his life purpose. Adam told his wife about God (as men should still do today) and warned her about the tree. God had created them to rule the earth (Genesis 1:28). Adam tended and guarded the Garden of Eden with his wife by his side.

How did we get here?

How did we get here? Genesis 1:1 says God created in the beginning.Read through Genesis chapter 1. Our questions of “Where did I come from?” and “Is there a God?” are both answered in the first verse of the Bible. The rest of the first chapter tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, the water, sun, moon, stars, the sea animals, the flying animals, the land animals, and on the sixth day he made humanity. God created everything by His spoken word.

On day one, He made a distinction between darkness and light, night and day.

Day two, He divided water on the surface of the earth and water in the atmosphere.

seven days of creationDay three, He divided land from water and plants emerged.

Day four, He separated between the sun vs. the moon and stars.

Day five, He separately created birds in the air and fish in the waters.

Day six, He separately created animals and then man.

He rested on the seventh day.

The Bible is our Map for Life

Let’s say you were going to my old hometown of Hutchinson, Minnesota. When I hear that you are going up, I say, “Hey, you have got to check out my favorite restaurant there.” You agree, so I draw you a map on a blank piece of paper. Of course, I love detail so I draw in the car wash, the laundromat, a bank, and a post office. At the end, there’s my favorite restaurant, the Happy Chef. When you arrive in Hutch, you look at the paper I’ve drawn and follow the map across the bridge and down Main Street. Then, things go weird. Where I’ve drawn a car wash you see a pet store. Where the map shows a bank, you see a bar and grill. Suddenly, a horrible thought shakes your hungry body: “If the landmarks on this map aren’t right, how do I know the restaurant will be there either?”

The Word of God is your map for Life!God has not given us a book about science or history. In fact, all these proofs we read about are interesting, but they will do you no good when you get out of bed tomorrow. They only help confirm the truth of the Bible. These medical discovers, fulfilled prophecies, and archeological discoveries serve as landmarks in this Map for our daily lives. Just as we don’t read a map for the landmarks, so we don’t read the Bible for those side issues. When the Bible proves itself on little things like stars, blood, and ancient civilizations we know it will steer us correctly in how to live.

God’s Word gives us direction in how to live, how to handle finances, how to get along with people, and how to avoid common pitfalls of human experience. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable:

  • for doctrine,
  • for reproof,
  • for correction,
  • for instruction in righteousness,

that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17). You can open the Life Map with confidence knowing you will arrive at God’s intended destination for your life.

Next time…

We will answer the question: “If God is so big, wise and powerful, why do bad things happen to innocent people? Why does He let evil people hurt others? Why doesn’t He stop this mess?” Make sure to move on to the next level!