Prepare For The Future

Genesis 41:28
“This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do.”

On a night that probably started out like every other night, Pharaoh’s life was suddenly interrupted by the Divine. While sleeping, he had a dream, so vivid, he realized it must be a message from God. After unsuccessfully searching for the meaning, he was introduced to Joseph, who, under the influence of the Spirit of God, was able to explain the meaning of his dream. Without going into the details, we find that God revealed the future to Pharaoh. He was told what was coming and given the opportunity to prepare in advance.

Pharaoh is not he only one whose life was interrupted by the Lord. Years later, the king of Babylon saw the finger of God write a message on the palace wall. He was being warned of what was coming that he might prepare in advance. Instead of responding to the message, the king ignored the warning and lived as though it was never given.

What would you do? How would you react if God suddenly interrupted what you were doing and told you what was coming? Would you act like Pharaoh and change your living in preparation for the future, or would you act like Belshazzar and ignore the warnings of God?

The reality is, God has gone to great lengths to reveal what is coming. He tells us, this life is temporary, and designed to prepare us for the life that is eternal. He explains that if we trust in Christ for salvation, our sins are forgiven, and we are thus prepared to face death. He goes on to explain, we can daily live for Christ and the things that matter to Him, and by doing so, we can store up treasures we will enjoy for all eternity.

Let’s take a page from Pharaoh’s book and prepare for what is coming, by living for Jesus today.

Pastor Jim

 

Eyes Wide Open

Genesis 40:6-7
“And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, ‘Why do you look so sad today?’”

We cannot be sure how much time Joseph spent in prison. We know it would have taken some time to prove himself trustworthy enough to be placed in a position of authority, and we know that after the events recorded here, he remained incarcerated for another two years. While we cannot know how long his sentence lasted, we do know what led to his deliverance; faithfully interpreting the dream of the chief butler was the key to his release. What strikes me about the story is what led to interpreting that dream in the first place. We read that Joseph, a wrongly imprisoned man, noticed that others around him were sad. The fact that his eyes were open to notice the needs of others, opened doors of ministry, and ultimately set him free from his own bondage.

We all have good reason to focus on ourselves, and could even justify neglecting others because our life’s situations have become so pressing. However, it is when we take our eyes off ourselves and our own problems, and fix them upon others, that we will not only find ample opportunities to serve, but these opportunities will ultimately lead to our own freedom. The life of self-sacrifice modeled by Jesus, and taught to the disciples, actually leads to a life of freedom and of great spiritual reward.

Take some time today to notice the needs of others around you, and prayerfully consider how God may want to use you to help others.

Pastor Jim

 

Double Standard 

Genesis 34:14
“And they said to them, ‘We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a reproach to us.'”


If this verse were standing alone in Scripture, it would warrant our unwavering obedience. One of the great pitfalls for Israel, and for us, is when we get involved in unhealthy and ungodly relationships. This has been the downfall of godly men and women throughout the ages, and we would do well to consider ourselves and make sure we are not becoming unequally yoked together with unbelievers. That being said, this verse does not stand alone. The same voices that uttered this statement, also, devised a plan to wipe out the people of Shechem, because their sister had been mistreated. They are willing to justify a murderous rage, while at the same time, keeping a level of religious activity.

As a believer, it is important to read the Bible, pray, go to church, worship, give, and share the love of Christ with others. However, these actions were never designed to undo sinful behavior. We cannot justify sin by doing a charitable act or by following a religious principle. If you are involved in an ungodly relationship, it is not justified by going to church or singing louder than everyone else during worship. Our time with Jesus should include a time of examination. We should allow the Lord to probe into every area of our life and make whatever changes He sees as necessary.

Perhaps it is time to allow God to examine your private life or your marriage. Perhaps it is time to make some long overdo changes in the way you are living, rather than holding on to a religious principle, or activity, as the justification for misbehaving.

Pastor Jim

 

United

Genesis 11:1
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.”

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Unity is a hot topic today, in the church and in the world. Many economists see global unity as the best solution for prosperity. Many politicians see unity as the only hope for peace, and within the church, many see unity as the only way toward the advancement of the gospel. While I believe unity is important, I also recognize that it is critical what we unite over. There was no time in human history where there was a greater sense of unity that in the days of Babel. We read, the people congregated together with a single language and purpose. Tragically, that purpose was opposed to God, rather than submitted to Him. One can only imagine what could have been accomplished by these men if they had used their unity to be submitted to the ways of God.

Paul spoke of the unity that we have in Christ when he wrote,

Ephesians 4:4-6
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

One thing is certain, as believers, we do not need to create unity. We are united in Christ. Attempting to lay aside essential doctrines or practices for the sake of unity, is to fail to see that God has already united us. As the world moves toward Babel, we must remain faithful and true to the teaching of the word of God. More than ever, the world needs people who will be committed to God.

Pastor Jim

Finding Grace

Genesis 6:8

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

The story of the flood is a story of judgment and redemption. Mankind had turned its back to God. Moses is careful to describe the condition of the world at that time,

Genesis 6:5

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

People were living in open defiance against God. The line between the godly and the ungodly had become so blurred that the sons of God were marrying the daughters of men. The men of renown, the leaders of the ancient world, wanted nothing to do with the things of God. There was open demonic activity taking place among men and Jesus described a spiritual apathy that even when Noah preached of coming judgment the people continues on with their lives as though they would never have to give an account to the God who created them. After of 100 years of warning the sky suddenly became dark, the rain began to fall and the earth began to rumble and split open. The judgment of God broke forth on the very people He had created to fellowship with. In the midst of this we read,

Genesis 6:8

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

As much as this is a story of God judging sin it is also a story of God redeeming man. Noah was the recipient of the grace of God that rescued him from wrath. Nothing has changed. God is still Holy and will forever judge sin, but He is also gracious providing a way for sin to be forgiven and and men to be delivered. We receive the grace of God when we choose to accept the pardon for sin that He has provided through the death of Christ upon the cross. When we receive Christ all our sins are washed and we are rescued from wrath.

We see in Noah a picture of how this grace affects a man. We read that Noah “walked with God.” Walking with God is a common idiom found throughout the Bible and used to illustrate a person who is living a life that is well pleasing to the Lord. We read of three distinct things about Noah’s walk. First he obeyed the Lord. Four times we read that “Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him” Not all that was commanded seemed to make sense, instead of arguing, rationalizing, complaining or disobeying Noah did as the Lord commanded. Secondly we read that Noah’s faith impacted his family. Unlike Lot, Noah lived out his walk with God for others to see and won his family members to the Lord. Too often our best Christianity happens at church and we fail to live for Christ within the home. Finally we read that upon exiting the ark Noah offered sacrifice to the Lord. He realized that salvation was not based upon his good work and he accepted the pardon that God provided.

Jesus told us that the times leading up to His return would be like the days of Noah. With evil increasing we must walk with the Lord all the more.

Jim

  

Jim Gallagher

Genesis 6:8
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

The story of the flood is a story of judgment and redemption. Mankind had turned its back on God. Moses is careful to describe the condition of the world at that time;

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

People were living in open defiance of God. The line between the godly and the ungodly had become so blurred that the sons of God were marrying the daughters of men. The men of renown, the leaders of the ancient world, wanted nothing to do with the things of God. There was open demonic activity taking place among men. Jesus described a scene of such spiritual apathy that even Noah’s preaching of coming judgment, did…

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Offering

Genesis 4:2-5
“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

As the drama of Genesis unfolds we are introduced to two sons of Adam and given a glimpse into their lives and occupations. Abel the younger was a shepherd while his older brother Cain was a farmer. It was not their occupations but their character that determined their destinies. We read that Abel brought an offering of the flocks while Cain brought the fruit of the ground and that God respected Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. The question we must answer is why? What was wrong with Cain’s offering?

Two things stand out to me from the story. First off, back in the garden God had already shown that He rejected fig leaves as an acceptable covering for sin. Instead He established a system of substitutionary sacrifice. This system will be further developed throughout Scripture but will never change. We will see it in the levitical system established at Sinai and it will have its ultimate fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Never will the work of our own hands be a sufficient covering for sin.

The second aspect of this story that stands out is the reason a substitute is necessary. Cain brought the fruit of the ground because he did not understand the far reaching effects of sin. He looked at his crops that represented hours of care and labor and thought they were an acceptable offering. This was because he failed to see that they were grown in fallen dirt. As good as those vegetables may have been, at their core they bore marks of the fall. The same is true with all works. My very best efforts are always tainted with sin.

From the beginning God established a way for sinful man to have relationship with Him and from the beginning men have been trying to come their own way. The way to God is paved for us by the cross, entrance is a simple as trusting that Jesus died in our place. Isn’t it time to trust in Christ instead of clinging to your own goodness as a means to access God.

It has been and always will be about His amazing grace

Jim

  

Jim Gallagher

Genesis 4:2-5
“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

As the drama of Genesis unfolds, we are introduced to two of the sons of Adam and given a glimpse into their lives and occupations. Abel, the younger, was a shepherd, while his older brother Cain was a farmer. It was not their occupations, but their character that determined their destinies. We read, Abel brought an offering of the flocks, while Cain brought the fruit of the ground; God respected Abel’s…

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In The Beginning

Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The first verse of the Bible introduces us to its main character; God. This verse is not a philosophical statement but an axiom upon which all other statements will be based. As we venture through the Bible together we will read of the great exploits of God. We will hear of Him speaking to men, parting sees, knocking down walls, vanquishing enemies, stopping time, raising the dead and providing salvation for mankind. If this first statement is true, if God spoke and the worlds were formed, then we should have no problem believing that there is nothing that He cannot do. If we accept this first sentence of Scripture we will have no problem accepting all the miracles that follow. We will have no problem accepting that there is nothing too hard for God and we will live with an expectation of Him accomplishing great things in the life of all who live surrendered to Him. 

J.S. Baxter in his commentary on Genesis points out that this one statement is also a basal pronouncement that undoes all false religious philosophies.

“In the beginning God…” – denies atheism with its doctrine of NO god

“In the beginning God…” – denies polytheism with its doctrine of MANY gods

“In the beginning God created…” – denies fatalism with its doctrine of CHANCE

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth…” – denies pantheism with its doctrine of making earth god

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth…” – denies materialism which asserts the eternity of matter

This first testimony of Scripture is not only a declaration of divine truth but is also a repudiation of human error. As we read though the Bible together we will will be further introduced to the God of creation. We will see that He is also the God of salvation who desires an intimate and personal relationship with all of us. It is my prayer that you will take Him up on His offer of eternal life and walk closely with Him today. 

Pastor Jim 

  

Jim Gallagher

Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The first verse of the Bible introduces us to its main character: God. This verse is not a philosophical statement, but an axiom upon which all other statements will be based. As we venture through the Bible together, we will read of the great exploits of God. We will hear of Him speaking to men, parting seas, knocking down walls, vanquishing enemies, stopping time, raising the dead, and providing salvation for mankind. If this first statement is true, if God spoke, and the worlds were formed, then we should have no problem believing there is nothing He cannot do. If we accept this first sentence of Scripture, we will have no problem accepting all the miracles that follow. We will have no problem accepting that there is nothing too hard for God, and we will live with an…

View original post 203 more words