Friend,
We should read something God recorded for us at face value the same as we read each other’s writings. We can tell when we are writing allegorically or poetically and when we are not.

To disbelieve parts of God’s Word is to do what the world does –pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe.

Jesus warned that if anyone is ashamed of Him and His words, He will be ashamed of that person when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38) Genesis is Jesus’ words because He is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6) and God in bodily form. (Col. 2:9) “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching…” (2 Tim. 3:16) and its accuracy is not reliant on the time frame it was written in. Believing this is what it means to believe God’s every word is true and flawless (Ps. 12:6 // Pr. 30:5) –not to be added to or subtracted from. (Pr. 30:6 // Rev. 22:18,19)

2 Pe. 1:20,21 contradicts what you are saying about Genesis being allegory and what the website you mention says. I did go to that site earlier and could not see why you would take what a follower of Judaism –many who do not believe Moses’ writings (John 5:46,47)– believes when they are those who reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah and cannot even interpret Isaiah 53 correctly. I also skimmed an article there where the writer is not even emphatic that one needs to believe in God to be in Judaism, so why would we esteem the views of this “scholar”?

So, 2 Pe. 1:20,21 say, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” These two verses (and 2 Tim. 3:16 above) should give us great assurance that Scripture does not have error, while the following verses assure us that it will always endure:

“The Word of the Lord stands forever.” (1 Pe. 1:25)

“All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.” (Ps. 119:160)

“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Jesus’ statement in Mt. 5:18)

“My words will never pass away.” (Jesus’ statement in Mt. 24:35)

I submit to you that it is not just the Old Testament that you are doubting, at least in part, but also the New Testament. The latter confirms the former’s record of events, over and over. 1 Pe. 3:20 says, “…who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water…” Jude 1:11 says, “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” And in verse 7: “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” Verse 5 mentions the deliverance from Egypt, verse 9 the body of Moses, and verse 14, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam.”

Why would you doubt what God, through Moses, wrote down for us when the New Testament upholds it? Jesus expects us to believe Moses’ writings. As He said in John 5:46,47, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But since you do not believe what He wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” For you to say we’d have more success evangelizing if we’d teach that Moses’ writings are not what they seem to be saying –well, this is foreign to what Jesus taught us. Wouldn’t a sensible person reason that if parts of God’s Word are inaccurate, then none of it can be entirely trusted and we’d just as well throw the whole thing out?

I could go on with how the New Testament confirms that the Old Testament’s record is accurate, for it quotes from all of them except Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Hebrews chapter 11 mentions the names of many Old Testament saints and what they did to show their faith, and Jesus refers back to people like David, Jonah, the Patriarchs, Noah, and Lot and his wife. We also see Jesus confirm events recorded in Genesis such as in Luke 17:26-29 when He says, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.” I cannot see how you can allegorize what Jesus treated as history.

Why do you keep saying that you are not letting men’s interpretations form your views of what God’s Word says when you often send me the quotes of men regarding how you interpret God’s Word?

As far as saying science says this or that, and so it is a fact, that is just incorrect. It is not fact at all. So much of “science” has proven false, has changed its claims, and cannot be observed or experimented on, which is what science must permit for it to be real science. We know very well that the “billions of years” theory does not permit this, so being that it was God, not men, who has always existed and knows all things, I choose to believe what God has said about His creation. If we believe God’s Word, we can study the sciences and the earth, the seas, and the heavens around us, and understand much better what we observe.

Sincerely,

with love,

Rachel

 

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The Wise Seek Him

December 25, 2017

Friends,
There is a Christmas saying stemming from the account of the wise men who traveled a far distance to worship the baby King Jesus. It is, “Wise men still seek Him.” In other words, even in our generation, those who are wise do seek Christ.

So… do we? Do we seek Jesus –He who is the Truth, the Way, the Life, Immanuel, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father? (Isa. 9:6 // Mt. 1:23 // John 14:6) If we are wise, we do.

But how fervently? Is ours a true search, or are we merely half-hearted about it?

Ps. 119:2 says, “Blessed are they who… seek Him with all their heart.” And a few verses down, we read, “I seek You with all my heart.” (v. 10) But… do we? That is the question.

Jesus taught that His Kingdom must be sought after and valued above all else. (Mt. 13:44-46 // Luke 14:26-33) Do we follow His command on this? If we are wise, we do.

Ps. 119:30 says, “I have chosen the way of Truth.” Have we sought the Truth with intensity and are we walking consistently therein? If we are wise, we have and we are. Jesus says that all who live by the Truth come into the Light (John 3:21), so if we continue seeking to know the Lord better and better, and continue learning the secrets of His Kingdom and His Truth, Christ’s Light will grow brighter and brighter for us and we will be walking in Freedom. (Ps. 119:32,45 // Pr. 4:18 // John 8:31-36)

Those who walk in the Lord’s ways do nothing wrong. (Ps. 119:3) They are blameless (v. 1) and rejoice exceedingly in following God’s statues. (v. 14) They love God’s commandments and so reach out for them (v. 48), recite them (v. 13), meditate on them (v. 15), delight in them (v. 16), and their “soul is consumed with longing for God’s laws at all times.” (See v. 20) Does this describe us and our desires? If we are wise, it does.

Let’s seek to be wise. Let’s seek Jesus, His Word, His Kingdom, His Truth, His Light. And let us seek with all our heart.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
God’s Word is authoritative. It is to be believed, and believed because it is trustworthy and flawless. It is not to be apologized for nor is it to be twisted to fit into men’s philosophies. What God’s Word states is The Truth, and this includes what it says in regard to the history of mankind and the earth itself.

Surprisingly though, there are many who, even while believing God’s Word concerning Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, disbelieve what God’s Word states concerning creation and a literal world-wide flood. Trusting in men’s interpretations of what is observable to us, they accept that the earth is billions of years old. Often they point to what they see in rock layers, yet it seems strange that they do so in light of what we’ve observed after recorded earthquakes, flash floods, tsunamis, and particularly volcanic eruptions, such as that of Mt. St. Helens. Due to that eruption it has been observed that canyons were formed there in a matter of months, or even a single day –as was the case with “Little Grand Canyon”, and that rock layers and coal-creating deposits were formed in a day or a few weeks. And what about those petrified tree trunks we see in various places throughout the earth which stand vertically amid hundreds of layers of sediment? If those rock layers were each formed over millions of years, how could the tree not have decayed before a new layer formed to cover it? Does not logic and observation teach us that fossils are formed only by rapid burial?

Then there are those “old-earthers” who, while believing in Christ, or at least in God, believe that He created everything using evolution (meaning macro-evolution). However, though these people may consider themselves to be God-honoring individuals, how can they be –when God has told us differently of how He created the universe and everything in it? Moreover, there is zero evidence of simple things evolving into complex things or of one kind of creature evolving into another kind of creature. Zero. Zero in the fossil record and zero from breeding programs and experiments (such as those done on the poor fruit flies).

Some “old-earthers” believe in a literal Adam and Eve, yet these believe this while also accepting that God created this couple after there had been eons of violence, disease, suffering, and death on earth. But the Word of God tells us, such as in Rom. 5:12, that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men.” Verse 14 makes it clear that “death reigned from the time of Adam [not before] to the time of Moses…” and since Moses was a literal man, we must understand that Adam was as well. The same logic applies when we see Adam and Jesus compared in v. 15-19: Jesus was a literal man; so then was Adam. The same can apply when we read Jude 1:14: If “Enoch, the seventh from Adam” was a literal man, so then was Adam.

What does God, who has always existed and who has been around to observe all the universe’s history, say about creation? In Ex. 20:11 He says, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day…” Hebrew scholars tell us that the Hebrew word for day (yom) is never used for meaning anything apart from a 24 hour period if it is used next to a number. Furthermore, when Gen. ch. 1 keeps repeating “And there was evening, and there was morning –the ____ day”, should we not accept this as emphasizing six literal days?

Gen. ch. 1 shows us that God created by His will, using the water and dust He created, and His command, and Ps. 33:6-9 teaches us this: “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth… He gathers the waters… For He spoke, and it came to be, He commanded, and it stood firm.” In other words, God did not need (or use) evolution to help Him create.

2 Pe. 3:5,6 teach us about these things as well when it says, “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word, the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and with water. By water also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.” That the whole earth is being referenced here is revealed by the next sentence, for it says, “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (v. 7) This chapter not only tells us that everything in the heavens and the earth will be burned up (v. 10-12) and that God will create a new heavens and a new earth (v. 13), as Isa. 65:17 and Rev. 21:1 also state, but that God formed the earth using water and also judged and destroyed the world using water.

Let’s believe God’s Word. Let’s revere it as the authority that it is. Let’s take it literally, using the same rules of interpretation we’d use for any other written work. And let’s read and study God’s Word first and foremost, not the imaginations of men.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Hell: A Real & Horrific Place

December 12, 2017

Friends,
Who wants to believe in Hell? I sure don’t. But I do believe God’s Word and it speaks a lot about the reality of Hell. It tells us that it is a horrific place to be thrown into and, contrary to those who wish it means annihilation, it reveals that those who exist there are conscious beings. Believing in Hell is about believing God’s Word above men’s words. Believing in Hell propels us, or certainly should propel us, to warn, to go, to preach –to spread the Good News of salvation-from-condemnation across the earth, just as Jesus commanded us to do.

Jesus has warned us repeatedly about Hell. In Luke 12:4,5 He says, “I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him [God] who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.” Jesus is making it clear that we are to fear God because He is the One who throws people into Hell, and that being thrown into Hell is way worse in comparison to anything that can be done to our life or our body here on earth.

Jesus says it is better to gouge out our eye if it causes us to sin, than for our whole body to be cast into Hell. (Mt. 5:29) He warns that it would be better to enter Life maimed-in-body than to be thrown into eternal fire. (18:8) He warns that those servants who turn wicked (careless / unfaithful) will be cut to pieces and assigned a place with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (24:45-51) If people are annihilated as punishment for being unrepentant, then how would they weep and gnash their teeth? Jesus says that when He sends away those who won’t make it, including those who ate with Him and listened to His teachings (Luke 13:23-27), “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth…” (v. 28)

When Jesus tells us about the rich man and Lazarus existing in the afterlife, He focuses on what the rich man is experiencing –asking for water to cool his tongue “because I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24), the knowledge that he is there because of his choices on earth and that there is no relief available (v. 25,26), and concern for his five brothers to be warned “so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” (v. 28) Does this sound anything like Hell being “a punishment of annihilation”? Not quite. And would Jesus give us this account if he was not warning us of an actual abode of the damned? Yes, the Lord loves everyone, but if a person deliberately keeps sinning against the Truth he knows, that person is casting off God’s love from himself and is incurring Hell. (Heb. 10:26,27)

Jesus has made it clear that we abide in His love through obedience to His commands. (John 15:10 // 1 John 2:5) If we are outside of His love, then we are under His wrath and remain condemned with the unbelieving world. (John 3:19-21 & 15:6)

So yes, God’s Word tells us that God is love (1 John 4:16), that He loves the world (John 3:16), and that while we were still sinners, He paid all people’s ransom. (Rom. 5:8 // 1 Tim. 2:4-6 // 1 John 2:2) This He did by becoming a sin offering for us (2 Cor. 5:21), thus buying us back, forgiving us, and reconciling us to Himself. (v. 19) Therefore, “how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” (Rom. 5:10) Unification with Christ in His death –AND in His life– is what saves us (ch. 6), and this means living our life completely devoted to God / doing what He commands 24/7 / pleasing Him in every way. (2 Cor. 5:15 // Gal. 2:20 // 1 John 2:6)

But, if we refuse to walk in this dedicated obedience to God, then we are rebelling. Continued rebellion prompts a person to deny the Truth and deceive himself (Ja. 1:22) –which incurs more delusion (2 Tim. 2:18 & 3:13), a return to vomit (2 Pe. 2:20-22), a shipwrecked faith (1 Tim. 1:19), and thus condemnation from God. (2 Thes. 2:10-12) Truly, it is God’s love which causes Him to hate sin and to punish those who refuse to live out the Gift of Christ’s holy Life.

Listen to Jesus’ words in Mt. 25:30 regarding the Master’s lazy servant: “And thrown that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And in verses 41 & 46 concerning those who neglected others: “‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ …Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Jesus is definitely contrasting eternal punishment (in the eternal fire) with eternal life. He is stating that there are two destinations, two places of eternal existence. And that where the Judge sends them is based upon what they have done.

Hell is a real place. It’s a place of torment. Yes, it was prepared for the devil and his angels, but because most people are following the devil instead of Jesus, the people will wind up there as well. It’s their fault, not God’s fault, due to their resistance to walk in God’s love.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Surprise Blessings

December 4, 2017

Friends,
I had the sweetest surprise blessing last Friday. On a whim, on my way home from my parents’ house, I decided to run into Aldi to get a few groceries and when I was standing in line with my cart of at least 20 items, a lovely-looking blonde woman about my age came up and got in line behind me. Since she only had milk in her hand, I invited her to go ahead of me. She declined, but I insisted, so she took me up on it. I asked her if she’d had a good day and she said she had. She then said I’d see why she had hesitated to go ahead of me. I didn’t know what she was talking about so I just smiled confused-like and said “Oh” and continued putting my groceries from my cart onto the belt. I didn’t notice anything more about her or even when she left, maybe because I’d turned my attention to a young man in line behind me who was buying only one item also —some kind of salsa.

“You have only one item,” I said to him. “So go ahead of me.”

“No thanks,” the guy said.

“Please do,” I insisted, but he absolutely would not, said that he was in no hurry, and went to viewing his iPhone.

So, the cashier rang up my items. But when I was about to pay, she said, “Wait a minute. I have to deduct $18.50 from your cost because the woman ahead of you paid that toward your bill.”

I was shocked and deeply moved, for I realized it was the Lord who had determined to bless me, and this in spite of the fact that the odds were against me being the recipient. I mean, the woman’s hesitation to go ahead of me must have meant I didn’t look the part of who she had planned to bless, and then, on my part, I’d tried to get the young man to go ahead of me also.

“Wow, that was a sweet blessing!” I said aloud. Then pointing at the young man, I said, “If you’d gone ahead of me, you’d have received that $18.50!” The guy just shrugged like he could care less, which seemed weird in itself. But I was happy. “I sure wish I could have thanked her,” I said to the cashier.

The cashier told me that the woman had told her that she planned to do the same thing for a stranger every day this month and hoped the spirit of giving would transfer and multiply. I told the cashier that I would definitely help spread the giving spirit and that my mom and I had actually bought some things earlier that day for the treat bags we hand out downtown at the bus stops.

Speaking of the bus stops, I had another very special blessing the day before (on Thursday) while evangelizing with my signs and tracts. Truly, I had many very wonderful conversations and encounters, but one was truly an extra, extra special one directly from the Lord. I’d been down there about four hours and figured it was about time to go, and I happened to see a guy talking to another guy (Matthew) who I’d spoken with earlier. “That sure looks like Darrell,” I thought. Right then he looked at me, but then, surprisingly, he just went back to talking to Matthew, so I decided it couldn’t be Darrell or he’d have recognized me.

After a bit I went across the tracks to check the street clock, but deciding I had a bit more time, I came back. A few minutes later I suddenly saw Darrell approaching me. “Darrell, is that you?” I asked. It was him and he came over and gave me a hug and we were so excited to see each other. He said he thought that might be me, but then I’d disappeared from the corner and then reappeared. We laughed and we were so glad that the Lord hadn’t let us miss talking with each other, since it’d been about five years or more since we’d last seen each other.

“It is always such an extra special blessing to see you,” I told Darrell. “I mean you being the very first person I ever witnessed to down here.”

“Yeah, when was that?” Darrell asked.

“January of 1996,” I answered. “And I didn’t use anything —no signs, or tracts, or even a Bible.”

Darrell and I talked for a while about that day we first met, trying to figure out if it’d been two or three or four other times that we’d seen each other since, and about the Lord and His Word. I encouraged him with several Scripture verses and one thing he said that gave me a surprise blessing was his words, “You seem much stronger in the Lord now. And you’re quoting all these Bible verses.”

I took it as a compliment. I don’t feel any stronger than in January of 1996, but I hope I am, because we should, definitely, always be progressing. I took the compliment as coming from the Lord, and I took the blessing of seeing Darrell as God affirming that my ministry work has indeed been His will, that it’s been for His glory, and that it is a privilege to partner with God in what He is doing in people to bring them deliverance and salvation.

In fact, my husband and I had the privilege today to help another downtown friend. He is living in a tent in someone’s back yard and we brought him blankets and a week bus pass to help him launch his rededication to walking victorious in Christ’s will. We are interceding for him as he begins this new chapter and I ask others to please, please pray for him as well.

So, God has given me many sweet surprise blessings just in the last week, but I can’t go on and on right now. Suffice it to say, when we work for the Lord, He is never lax in sending us all sorts of things to bless and amaze us.

Sincerely,
With love,
Rachel