More To Know

Sep. 1, 2019

Something that the Bible is full of is INSTRUCTION. Instruction is an order, a command, a decree, a directive. An instruction is NOT a suggestion which is open for individual preference or tweaking. Whatever the Word instructs is what the Lord means. Some have used B-I-B-L-E as an acronym for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.


If we are reading the instructions for putting together a lamp or a desk or a chair the instructions must be followed. The manual directs that "part A is to be inserted into part B" but we may view the instrictions as 'optional' . In that case we might decide to do something different and so will not achieve the results that the manufacturer intended. What we end up with will not look like the picture on the box. The manufacturerer put the picture on the box so we know what the end result will look like IF we follow the instructions provided.


Looking at a portion of Psalm 34, the writer David offers some biblical instructions. The first part of the psalm has to do primarily with praise. Then there is a section of instruction.
Again, a picture of the final product is helpful. If you have ever tried to put something together with just parts or pieces and written instructions but no picture, you know how frustrating that can be. If we have a picture we can refer to it to see if what we are putting together matches it. If it does we can be confident that we are on the right track.
For this journey of life the picture on the box is Jesus. He is our example. The finished product of this life should look like Him. We should mirror His holiness, His righteousness, His peace and His love.


I John 3:2 AMP
Beloved, we are [even here and] now children of God, and it is not yet made clear what we will be [after His coming]. We know that when He comes and is revealed, we will [as His children] be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is [in all His glory].


As stated earlier, the Bible is full of instruction. It would not make sense for God to expect something of us but not let us know how to achieve it.


II Peter 1:3 AMP
For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.


This scripture lets us know that through a full and personal relationship with Jesus we have access to all of the necessary instructions. Access and application of the information requires relationship with Him. Through Him we have all the parts, all the pieces, all the instructions and an image of what the finished product should look like. This does not come through mental understanding alone. There has to be a full and personal involvement with Jesus. Knowledge alone will not produce the results that God intends for His children. God provided it alll through His Son.


Bible readers know that the same information is often provided in more than one passage. The Bible will convey the same message or instruction in different ways. That is like getting the instructions from IKEA for putting together your new dresser or chest of drawers. When you look at the booklet the same instruction is written in English, Danish, Swahili, Arabic and French! That's what the Lord has done. He may say the same thing in Isaiah that He says in Psalms that He says in Acts. We don't all understand the same or process information the same or learn the same. So God has made it so we all can find instructions in His Word that we can understand and apply. We all have the opportunity to receive what He has provided.
Let's look at the instructions that David recorded in Psalm 34.


Psalm 34:11 AMP
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you to fear the Lord [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience].


In this verse David invites his audience to do three things: 1) to come or to draw close as if he is about to share someting very important 2) listen, as in pay close attention to what is about to be shared 3) be taught - which involves active listening. It also implies that they are to listen with the intent of applying the truths and principles that are being taught
David wants the listeners to understand that they are not to simply memorize the information just long enough to pass a test so they can get a good grade. This is about more than looking good in the eyes of the instructor. These are teachings that should become life-long applications.


All of us have been in settings where we heard what was being said but the information had no long-term significance. Our lives were not made better by what we heard. We were not inspired to do anything differently or to strive towards anything greater. David did not want his audience to have this type of empty experience. He wanted to convey to them that this was vital for their spiritual health, spiritual growth and spiritual vitality.


Psalm 34:12 AMP

Who is the man who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?


David asks a question here that he is about to answer. The question is, What can a person do who desires a good life and a long life?
He already gave the basic or overall answer in verse 11.
1. Revere the Lord. Honor, respect and highly regard Him.
2. Have a worshipful and reverential fear or awe of the Lord.
In the following verses David offers detailed instructions. He also tells why some of these commands are beneficial. Giving the reason 'why' is important. Only issuing directives without citing the benefits can yield minimal results. People are much more prone to gladly implement an order when they know that doing so benefits them. In this journey there are some things we do by faith. We don't have all of the information as to 'why' it is necessary. But there are many more biblical instructions where the 'why' is provided. If we know what the outcome of our obedience will be we are more likely to be motivated to comply.


Psalm 34:13 AMP
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.


David doesn't share any explanation here as to why this is vital for the believer. But in the New Testament Matthew records where Jesus explains why this command is so important.


Matthew 15: 10-11, 17-19 AMP
10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said, “Listen and understand this: 11 It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that defiles and dishonors him, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles and dishonors him.”
17 Do you not understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But whatever [word] comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what defiles and dishonors the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts and plans, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, slanders (verbal abuse, irreverent speech, blaspheming).


Jesus highlights here that changing behavior only is not sufficient. The heart must be changed. According to Matthew 12:34 whatever the heart is full of is what the mouth will speak. This truth is declared again in Proverbs 4:23.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 10:11a also speaks on this subject.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life and his words of wisdom are a source of blessing...


Psalm 34:14 AMP
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.


Verse 14 offers a four-part instruction.
1. Turn away from evil. The inference here is not only to separate from evil but to treat it like a highly contagious, assuredly deadly disease. Evil is contagious. We are not to pitty-pat with it or flirt with it. We are not to become attracted to evil or allow its deadliness to entice us.
2. Do good. We can't really follow this part until and unless we employ the first part: avoid all evil. Until we depart from evil any positives we do are tainted. God doesn't just look on the outward appearance. He doesn't just observe the deed. He looks at the heart. The heart determines the motive. Many people have been taught that they can erase ungodly acts by doing an equal amount of good. The Bible does not teach that. The heart (the spirit) of a person must be transformed from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. The transformation can only be accomplished by surrendering fully to the Lord.
3. Seek peace. This is not a passive activity. We are to diligently and persistently go after peace. It is required that we put our all into seeking, craving and desiring peace. Peace is not just the absence of chaos. Peace is power. Peace can get things done by making the path smooth. Peace quiets ungodly resistence.
4. Pursue peace. Have you ever chased something that you had a deep yearning for? This means more than just casually looking around for peace. It means going out of your way to attain and maintain peace. The directive here is to hunt it down. Use your energy, creativity and resources to chase and implement peace.

The rest of the chapter of Psalm 34 tells of the Lord's stance or view concerning those who practice wickedness. In contrast, the Lord's care and protection of those who honor Him is also stated.
The Bible speaks of many who will expect a reward on judgment day. But instead of joy and gladness there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth because they failed to heed the given instructions. As the Lord opens our understanding and provides opportunities for learning, let us adopt all of His principles. It is also a blessing to help others to do the same.


Thank you for reading. Please stop by again!

Aug. 5, 2019

In ancient and modern times, women have had a profound influence. Some modern influences aren’t readily apparent until some time has passed. An impact is more accurately measured through the benefit of hindsight. One striking example is of the female atheist who successfully campaigned to have prayer banned from public schools. Although the downward spiral is clearly evident, due in part to this decision, no Herculean effort has been put forth to reverse it. It seems that despite the devastating results of disallowing God and His power in schools, we are, for the most part, content to keep Him out. The reasons are varied and seemingly valid. Some have determined that they can provide as much spiritual guidance as their children need through weekly organized worship gatherings. Others depend on home studies and rituals to bolster spiritual nutrition. Many feel no obligation for the spiritual development of any young folks outside of their home or family. There seems to be a consensus that each household is only responsible for their own inhabitants and no more. The parental schedules are tight and there just isn’t time or energy to pursue such a daunting task for the entire school district, city, state or nation. Hence the protection and persuasion that once prevailed through prayer is no longer there.

There are many women mentioned in the bible who were instrumental in the outcomes of various critical circumstances.  Judges 4 details one such instance. In this chapter there are actually two women featured. Deborah, who is a prophetess and judge of Israel and Jael who is the wife of a man named Heber, a man of some prominence.

During Deborah’s tenure as judge, Israel was greatly oppressed by Jabin, king of Canaan. (Judges 4:3). The children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the affliction. In response, God gave a battle plan to Deborah. Deborah delivers the Lord’s instructions to Barak who appears to be the commander of the troops. Barak hears the battle plan and agrees to implement it only if Deborah goes with him. (Judges 4:8-9) Deborah quickly affirms that she will accompany him but lets him know that God will use a woman to ultimately clinch the victory. Barak doesn’t flinch. He precisely follows the plan and for his faithfulness is mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11:32.

As God said through Deborah, the captain of the Canaanite army wearily stumbles into the tent of Heber. Heber’s wife, Jael, offers him sanctuary from the battle that he is fleeing. He falls asleep and she kills him. (Judges 4:21) Because of the courage of both these women the bible says the enemy was defeated and Israel had rest from war for 40 years.  (Judges 5:31)

Another occasion of a woman having a significant role in wartime matters is related in II Samuel 20. At this time David is king of Israel and is establishing his kingdom. David sends Amasa on a mission. But Amasa previously rebelled against David with Absalom who was David’s son. David determines that Amasa is taking longer than necessary to complete the assignment. Since Amasa’s loyalty to David is not certain, David concludes Amasa may be negatively influenced by Sheba. Sheba was also one of the leaders of the revolt of Absalom against David. In order to squelch any further disruption of his leadership, David sends Abishai, one of his most prominent warriors, to pursue Amasa. Abishai is joined in the pursuit by his brother Joab. Joab catches up to Amasa and kills him. But Sheba is also on the run and seeks refuge in a town called Abel. Joab and all the men with him begin to attack the city walls with the intent of tearing them down and destroying the city, if necessary. But a wise resident of Abel has a conversation with Joab to determine the reason for the assault. The wise woman is told that Joab and crew are only after one man named Sheba. The bible says the woman exercised wisdom and reasons with Joab. She proposes that Joab call off the attack against the city. If he does, she will see to it that Sheba is killed and his head will be thrown over the wall to Joab. Joab agrees. The wise woman talks to the residents of the city and Sheba’s head is thrown over the wall as promised.

 

The deaths in both these accounts are rather gruesome. We don’t usually think of the average woman using a tent spike to nail a man’s head to the ground. It is not customary in our time to imagine that a sweet, wise, elderly woman would orchestrate a plan to behead a person. But these are unusual occurrences and not normal in modern times. However, these incidences do highlight the fact that one woman can make a huge difference. In our current society we are more likely to wield our power through prayer and fasting, petition and promotion or preaching and teaching.

Each of the three women mentioned had a major impact on the community. Deborah and Jael were instrumental in bringing 40 years of peace to a troubled group of people who cried out to God for help.

The unnamed woman of Abel saved a city through wise reasoning. Her prudence also helped rid David of a revolter and helped establish his kingdom.

You have influence. Don’t waste or compromise the power God has given you. Be sensitive to where and how God wants you to release your potential. Use what you have to bless those around you. Exercise your authority in ways that honor God, glorify Him and make your community a better place to live.

Thanks for stopping by this site!

Jul. 9, 2019

The book of Exodus records God's mighty hand in delivering the Hebrew people from the bondage of Egypt. The Hebrews had been in bondage 490 years so none of them had any experience with any other type or way of living. Being free requires an entirely different set of principles to live by. That is one reason why many people who have been incarcerated for decades aren't successful living outside of that environment. The skills required to live independently must be developed through practice, through experience. Incarceration and bondage, slavery all diminish those skills. Slavery, confinement and detention minimize a person's opportunity to develop creative thinking. Imprisonment restricts normal social development and interaction. Slavery of any kind is not normal or desirable. It greatly reduces opportunities for expansion because it inhibits the way a person thinks and affects the way they process information.

God knew all of this when He sent Moses to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. God knew the people would experience fear of the unknown. None of these people, except Moses, had ever lived in freedom. They had no point of reference for what liberty looked like, felt like or required. Freedom is much better than bondage but it necessitates a vastly different way of thinking and behaving. 

God knew that even though the people were joyful when leaving Egypt, they would become paralyzed with fear at the first obstacle that presented itself before them. They were used to being under subjection. They were not used to solving problems, making decisions or trusting God with every step they took.

God knew their mindsets were heavily influenced by imprisonment and what they had seen and experienced in Egypt. That's why God spent considerable time after He got them out of Egypt, getting Egypt out of them. It was a process. The book of Exodus is filled with the specifics of how God wanted them to live, think and worship. God's instructions are very detailed. There is no room for private interpretation. The Hebrews were to stick to God's script. It was like a Prison Reform Re-entry Program. The wilderness was the Halfway House. They had to stop there for a season before God could introduce them to all the blessings and avenues of prosperity He had for them in the Promised Land.

Exodus 30 is part of the instruction manual God gave to Moses for the people to live by. This chapter pertains to worship and the order in which the information is presented actually spells the word WORSHIP. Notice the following:

W - What to do, why, when and who - Verses 1-8, 10 (What not to do - Verse 9)

O - Offerings - Verses 12-16

R - Reverence, Respect and Regard - Verses 18-21 (Prepare to meet with God. Don't approach Him casually or without honoring Him)

S - Spices - Verses 23-25

H - Holy - House - Holy - Verses 26-33 (All are to be consecrated and purposed for the Lord)

I - Incense - Verses 34-35

P - Pure Perfume Powder - Verses 36-38

Humanity has a tendency to 'tweak' God's instructions. Sometimes because we think we have a better idea. Sometimes people alter what God has said because it is more convenient to do it a different way. Other times people are just plain obstinate and want to follow their own mind instead of following the mind and heart of God. Whatever the reasons are for disobedience, it is still just that: disobedience. There is no good reward for not following God's instructions. Whatever He has said, we are to obey. No tweaking, no altering, no adding, no subtracting.

Worship the Lord as He requires. Adhere strictly to His specifications. He is the author and object of worship. He designed it and desires it. Worship is not worship unless it is as He has said. Some of what people do, they may call worship but if God hasn't ordained it as such He does not receive what is offered as worship.

Only those who are in relationship with Him can worship. Worship acknowledges and honors God for who He is. He is the only one who fully knows what He requires and desires. If we want Him to accept our worship, we must do it His way.

Be Blessed! Thank you for visiting this site.

Jun. 6, 2019

The teachings of Jesus are so profound! It is no wonder that people were willing to follow Him all over the countryside to hear and see Him. The story He tells about the ten virgins is part of a much longer teaching. This part of the teaching is in response to questions the disciples asked Him about the end of days.

Matthew 24:3 New Living Translation

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?[a]

As part of His response to those questions, Jesus shares this story as recorded in Matthew 25:1-13 NLT

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

 

These ten virgins are attendants to the marriage feast. The virgins are not the bride but are likened to what we know today as bridesmaids. The marriage of the Bridegroom or the Lamb of God is spoken of in Revelation 19:6-8.

These ten virgins seem to represent the Jewish people. They are not the bride of Christ but do have the opportunity to participate in the festivities of the marriage feast. The Church is the Bride of Christ.

Matthew 25:1-2 NLT

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

The numbers given in the story are probably not an authentic representation of how many will actually attend the marriage feast. This possibly is to simply represent two types of people not to indicate that only half of them will make it in.

Matthew 25:3 NLT

The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps,

There is a “waiting” period between the time the virgins start the journey to meet the Bridegroom and the call announcing the final phase of preparation. The ones who were foolish did not adequately prepare for the “wait”. They failed to look ahead. It is important to keep the anticipation of His arrival on ‘high alert’.

Matthew 25:4 NLT

but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil.

The wise knew to take along more oil than they expected to need. The bible calls it ‘extra’ oil. It may seem ‘extra’ (more than you need) until you need it. Then it is no longer ‘extra’ but it is ‘essential’.

Christian believers can take a cue from this passage: Stay Ready.

The oil is that which allows us to see when it is properly used in the lamp. The oil facilitates illumination. Life challenges and time may cause the lamp to dim if the oil isn’t refreshed regularly. Following God’s instructions through prayer, godly meditation, biblical study and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit all help to refresh the oil in our lamps. The lamp is the life we live. When we ‘see’ better spiritually we will live wiser lives and minister more effectively.

The story that Jesus shares suggests that all ten virgins had the same information and the same opportunities available to them. But only one group chose to make adequate preparations.

The wise group was not alerted any sooner than the foolish group that the Bridegroom was coming. But the wise stayed prepared. They did not allow the oil to get low or the light to become dim. The lamp may represent the life of a person and the oil can represent the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit living on the inside, a life has no light. Just like a lamp, as described in the story, has no light without the oil.

Jesus doesn’t share in the story why the foolish ones didn’t prepare better. Maybe they thought there would be more time. Perhaps they didn’t want to put forth the effort required to keep oil burning brightly in their lamps. Maybe they just figured they could rely on someone else’s oil to light their lamps as stated in verse 8.

Matthew 25:5

When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

This verse seems to support the premise that this parable refers to the Jewish people. It is an indication of their sleeping (basically being unaware spiritually as the Lord deals with the Gentiles and the church age). The Jewish people started on their journey to meet the Bridegroom, the Messiah, many years ago. But because of their rejection of Jesus when He came to them, the Church Age was ushered in. For the most part, the Jewish people have been set aside while God interacts with Christian believers. At some point in the future, God will again focus on the Jewish people.

Matthew 25:6-7

“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps.

Through verse 7, all the virgins seem the same. The hearers and readers of the story have been told that there is one difference between the two groups that make up the ten. But no difference between them has been evidenced yet. They were all virgins. They all had lamps and oil. So they all knew what they needed to have with them. They all slept. They all heard the announcement of the Bridegroom’s coming. They all knew what the declaration meant. They all responded immediately and appropriately. But that is where the similarities end. There may be people around you who look and act the part but are not prepared to meet the Lord. Meeting Him in joy and peace requires preparation in this life. He has provided all of the information we need to see His face in peace when this phase of life is over. Don’t be like the five foolish and wait until the last minute to get what you need. Do it now. Keep your oil refreshed and your lamp (your life) burning brightly for Him.

Although the virgins all seem the same up to this point, verse 8 begins the distinction between the wise and the foolish.

Matthew 25:8

Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

When those who are unprepared realize it, many will seek to depend on the wisdom and preparedness of others. The foolish have no problem asking those who were prudent and diligent to sacrifice their oil. The foolish don’t mind putting the wise at risk of running short by asking for their oil.

Matthew 25:9

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

The wise know that each person must seek the Lord for themselves. No one can give the Holy Ghost in them to another person. The wise advise the foolish to do what they should have done long ago: get your own oil. Every day we should be preparing for our spiritual future. It is unwise to live life haphazardly or ill prepared until the last minute.

Matthew 25:10-11

“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

In verse 10, the foolish virgins did the right things but did it too late. All the virgins made it right up to the finish line but only some of them crossed the finished line. Only some of them, the ones who stayed ready, went in to the marriage feast.

In verse 11, the late comers, the foolish ones, thought they should still be welcomed in even though the door was shut.

Matthew 25:11-12

“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

The ending of this parable relates that there is plenty of time to prepare but there is only one opportunity to go in. Thus, we are to stay prepared. We are to always live our lives as if this may be the day. We should not hesitate or procrastinate about any of the Lord’s instructions. Everything He tells us is for our own good and enrichment.

The Lord does not want us to be fearful about His coming. He wants us to be READY! Christians do this by developing and maintaining the relationship that He desires to have with each one of us. How do we do that?

1.   You must be born again. John 3:3,5

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,[a] you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.

 

2.   We are to love one another. John 13:34-35

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

 

3.   Walk or live according to the spirit of God and not according to the flesh. Galatians 5:16

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

~~Thank you for stopping by this site~~

Apr. 30, 2019

Every person on the ark was married.

Genesis 6:18 and 7:7-9

18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 

After creation the next, most impactful event concerning the existence of mankind was the flood. Humanity had severely deviated from the plan and heart of God. God was grieved by the wickedness that had corrupted the earth.

Genesis 6: 5-7, 11-12 NIV

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 

God’s way of doing things is always the best. That is one reason He can always be trusted. His initial way of planting humanity on the earth was through one man: Adam. God’s plans, purposes and execution are never faulty… just the material He uses sometimes needs a little tweaking! He started with one man, Adam. This renovation of the earth also started with one man. One married man: Noah.

God didn’t utterly destroy everything He had made and begin from zero. He reserved for Himself a remnant. That remnant represented what God wanted to see implemented in the earth. Among other characteristics, God wanted to see agreement, harmony, unity and partnership demonstrated in the earthly realm. So this renovation started with people and creatures that represented and illustrated His desire.

Genesis 6: 17-20 NIV

17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

Obedience to the Word of God, of course, was key to the success of this mission. Noah was totally unfamiliar with most of what God was calling him to do. He had no Ark-Building on his resume or Wildlife Daycare experience. Noah didn’t know anything about ‘rain’ or how it would behave. Naturally, he knew about water but nothing about ‘rain’ and the volume of the expected downpour.

Many people would, and many do, use that set of circumstances as a reason not to obey the Lord’s commands. Or they modify what the Lord has said until they feel comfortable. They want more information about the assignment than the Lord may give. People often cite their lack of experience as a reason not to accept the assignment. Or they worry that they and their ministry will not be well received. The bible does not record that Noah offered any of these reasons to refuse. Most folks use their level of comfort as the indicator as to whether they will obey the Lord’s instructions. If they feel comfortable then it must be God. If they have no confidence in their abilities and no level of comfort, then certainly this simply can’t be the Lord. But this was Noah’s response:

Genesis 6:22 and 7:5 NIV

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Noah didn’t hammer the Lord with a lot of questions or excuses. He just obeyed.

Some people may opine (hold to this opinion) that they are too old to obey such outlandish instructions. What will the neighbors think??? Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. If he can do it, you can do it.

It is noteworthy that all the inhabitants of the ark were either married or selected in male-female pairs. Every creature on board was a living, breathing testament to God’s emphasis on marriage and family. During all of the horrific emotions and effects of the flood, God safely and securely preserved marriage and the family. The measures that were taken to perpetuate God’s design for humanity and the earth are monumental!

When the remnant disembarked from the ark, God wanted the earth covered with the spirits of unity, harmony agreement, partnership and obedience. He had cleansed the earth of the corruption of violence and wickedness.

Marriage is blessed by God with a unique grace that isn’t present in any other human-to-human relationship. Marriage Grace supports, strengthens, protects and bonds those who are blessed by it. Some people call it love but it is more than that. Many who operate within that shield of Marital Grace aren’t even aware of it. I have no words, intelligence or exact spiritual awareness to fully explain it. But if you have married according to the will of the Lord, you have experienced it. Marriage Grace softens your mate’s flaws in your eyes and magnifies your appreciation for their strengths. What may be considered intolerable about your spouse by onlookers is just a slight annoyance to you, barely noticeable. Grace covers. Grace doesn't expose shortcomings...or complain about them. If you are thinking about all the grace you have extended to your spouse, turn it around and look at all the grace your spouse has extended to you. You may not be as easy to live with as you suppose.

This is what God wanted the spirit of earth to be when the inhabitants left the ark. He wanted agreement, not disagreement. He wanted unity, not disunity. He wanted harmony, not disharmony. He wanted every creature to be bonded with their partner in ways that can only happen with time, understanding, cooperation and obedience to the will of God. There were many rooms in the ark (Genesis 6:14, 16) but there was no room for self-indulgence. No room for selfishness. No room for laziness. No room for “I want things my way.”

The water prevailed upon the earth five months (Genesis 7:24 and 8:3). Five months is a long time for eight people and a boatload of creatures to cohabitate. God gave all of them a spirit of cooperation. The assignment would not have been successfully completed without that element of agreement. God had five months to develop a unified mindset among the four married couples on the ark. They had to work together in order for everything to run smoothly and for all the daily tasks to be accomplished.

Each married couple found out that having shared goals and working together to reach those goals strengthened the relationship. Even small tasks, done in cooperation and agreement, foster impenetrable bonds. No device of the enemy can divide a couple who work and pray together in sincerity and cooperation.

Whether married or not, all of us can and should keep developing the spirit of unity with the will of God. We do that through prayer, hearing and obeying what He says, cultivating an obedient spirit and yielding our will to His when there is a conflict.

Marriage is a vital factor in God’s plan for humanity. God puts major emphasis on marriage and the family. If you are married review your commitment to your spouse in light of agreement, unity, cooperation, understanding and obedience to the will of God.