I Believe in the Extraordinary

THE EXTRAORDINARY

Today we struggle to overcome atheism, apathy, and sexual issues, but in Elijah’s day, he fought idolatry. elijah and fire from GodUnfortunately, Israel was worshipping the false God’s Baal and Asherah (Baal’s fertility goddess).  This was because the evil queen Jezebel had promoted idol worship and her husband; King Ahab (king of Israel) allowed it and bowed to the idols too.

Elijah was one of the few in Israel to be completely faithful to God refusing to bow to the idols.  He made a challenge to prove to God’s people who the real and true God was.  So, Elijah, the prophets of Baal and Asherah, and the people of Israel assembled on Mt. Carmel for the contest.  The idol’s prophets cried out to their god and he failed to respond.  Their sacrifice lay on the altar rotting.

Elijah built an altar to God, had wood and the sacrifice placed on the altar.  He had a ditch dug and gallons and gallons of water poured over the sacrifice: to make it more difficult for God? No, he did it to enhance the understanding of God’s power when he would burn the sacrifice.  God sent fire from heaven and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the altar and licked up the water.  Pretty extraordinary!  1 Kings 18

We expect healing, we expect, the sun to stand still, we even expect donkey’s to talk, but we don’t always expect the extraordinary.  I believe in the extraordinary.

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I Believe in the Overwhelming

THE OVERWHELMING

The battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans held off the Persian army of well over 100,000 is pretty fantastic.  The movie I saw didn’t show the 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans, 1400 in all that fought the battle, but 1400 is nothing compared to a massive army bent on overwhelming and destroying.

Yet, that is exactly how God used Gideon and the Israelite fighters.  There were 300 iimages (30)n all and they saw the army of the Midianites, Amalekites and other peoples from the east, an army of 120,000 beaten.  Only 15,000 of them escaped alive.

God used faith, fear, and confusion to overwhelm and overcome an army that was about to reek destruction on Israel.  Gideon started with 32,000 men.  By most standards, 32,000 is still too small to fight 120,000.  God said, this is too many, send every home that is scared and 22,000 left.  Still too many, so they went down to the water and the ones that drank by putting their face in the water were told to leave.  Only 300 remained.

And God, almost 1,000 years before the Spartans fought off the Persians, thwarted the army of the Midian and her allies.

I believe in the overwhelming.

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I Believe in the Bizarre

THE BIZARRE

Talking dogs are all the rage.  Well, if TV shows and cartoons are any indication, some dogs can talk.  I’ve heard of YouTube videos where dogs are supposed be talking and sometimes it seems like they are speaking English.  I think Mr. Ed’s voice was a human voice recorded to make it sound like a horse talking.  I’m being silly now, but when we think an animal talks, it is probably just the natural aspect of sounds and phonetics coming together to sound like words.  It happens when you listen to a recording backwards, sometimes the phonetics and sounds come together and sound like words (this is without purposeful back masking).

Do you believe that a donkey talked?  There was a bad prophet of God who believes that a donkey talked.  Balaam was a bad boy.  He liked money and Balak the king of Moab hired him to curse Israel.  God wouldn’t let him curse Israel, so whenever he spoke to curse, blessings from God came out of his mouth.  Of course this upset Balak, so Balaam didn’t get paid.

Numbers 22:21ff, record Balaam’s donkey talking to him.  In fact, he responded to Balaam angrily beating him for pinning his leg against a rock wall.  The donkey actually saved Balaam’s life, but what thanks did the donkey get, a beating.

Animals do not naturally speak in human language, but God, being all-powerful has the ability to make them talk if he so desires, Balaam’s donkey talks and makes a fool of Balaam, and Balaam was a greedy fool who helped Balak seduce Israel into sin and then Israel received the consequences for their sin.

I believe the bizarre because God does.

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I Believe in the Fantastic

THE FANTASTIC

Phenomenon embraces this earth with so many fantastic natural circumstances that superstitious people believe the supernatural has happened.  Sometimes, something fantastic takes place and that is the simple fact of nature.  Phil Madeira in his book God on the Rocks, Distilling Religion, Savoring Faith (Jericho Books, New York, ©2013) tells about a time when he and his “southern woman” are sitting by a lake in springtime watching the sunset and a cross appears inside a circle formed by the susunn.  “…she and I, wondering at creation’s constant declaration of glory” (pages 20-21).  Fantastic things happen in natural circumstances.

But fantastic things happen at God’s supernatural hand.  He destroyed the world with a massive world-wide flood, and mixed up the languages at the tower of Babel, and so many things that are “wow!” to our weak human abilities.

Joshua 10:12-13 (and Habakkuk 3:11) records that the sun stood still for about a half a day at Joshua’s request so that Israel’s armies would have daylight to fight a battle to victory.  Hard to believe something that fantastic could or would happen.  Did it happen?  There is a false story that NASA discovered the missing day in their research but, even knowing about this famous tale did the sun stand still for a half a day and Joshua reports?

Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s book World’s in Collision addresses many wonders of the world as reported by ancient texts, religious and otherwise, among other natural events.  He has concluded that the record in Joshua 10 must be true because the effect of the sun standing still (or rather the earth failing to rotate for about 12, or 13 or 14 hours would be found in other histories of the time.  Guess what, there is world-wide evidence, dozens of cultures and places around the world confirm the Biblical record (Why the Sun Stood Still, Reader’s Digest, http://tmgnow.com/repositiory/secret/velikovsky2.html).

What seems so very fantastic in the Bible that it is beyond human reason to believe that it literally and actually happened, is again found to be true!  I believe in the fantastic, do you?

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I Believe in Impossible Things – The Creation

I am beginning a new set of devotional thoughts about believing in impossible things. I pray that they will bless you.

THE CREATION

It is amazing how deeply divided the world is about our origins. I sometimes wonder about my family’s heritage. I know my father’s side of the family goes back to Ireland, but know nothing before 1794. My mother’s family comes from Norwegian backgrounds. But we go back further, I suppose, and I don’t know anything before the first of my ancestors that came to America.

Genesis 1:1 boldly declares that God created the world (John  1:1; Revelation 4:11).images (29) He made the planet, he divided light from darkness, he split the sky from the land, he made day and night, sun and moon, plants, animals, birds, sea creatures, and human beings. Pretty impressive! Every day the earth and the natural things in it “declare the glory of the Lord!” (Psalm 19:1; 57:5; 108:5; 4:11).

Then there is the belief that science has explained the origins of the world as accidental and natural, or some outside intelligence (God or someone or something else) is responsible for the initiation of an evolutionary process that developed and evolved over millions of years; one thing becoming another thing, evolving and adapting over time to become what we know of humans and animals now.

Which track is true? I personally have never, ever doubted that God created the world. I have never once believed that evolution (other than macro-evolution; which as I understand it is basically environmental adaption) has had a single thing to do with the beginnings of this world and how it continues to exist.

In a modern and a post-modern world, where evolution and skepticism is normal, I believe in the impossibility that God created the world as we know it, with plants and animals and humans and everything pretty much the same as when he created but has also been effected by the poison and cancer of sin.

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Been Awhile

Wow, I didn’t realize it had been so long since I had posted. I have unfortunately been quite busy, working in the Spirit to bring healing and growth to a church that almost died; I had a complete tear of my quad tendon.  Went through surgery and still in physical therapy to bring strength back to my leg. There have been a number of things that have taken me away from here.

I am back, and ready to share again. May God bless you as you love him with all your being.

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Where Does Faith Come From?

Ken was from Connecticut, blind, raised in a foster home with a foster dad who abused his wife. He has lived in poverty most of his life. He always wanted to go to Oklahoma, be a social worker and work with native Americans. He was accepted at a junior college in Oklahoma and one day, in the lunch room, the lunch lady who usually helped Ken get to a table was unable to assist him, so she asked a couple of students to help Ken and they gladly did. They were friendly and a part of a Christian campus ministry. They invited Ken to a pizza party and he agreed to attend.

Ken admits that the only reason he went to the party was for free pizza (he believes it is one of the foods on the basic food group). He made some friends, he played volleyballible, pretty good for a blind guy (you should see him play basketball), and agreed to return for their regular Bible studies. After attending several Bible studies and events with the campus ministry, Ken was invited to a weekend retreat and accepted Christ and was baptized.

Where did Ken’s faith come from? Where does your faith come from? Where does faith come from?

I have read and heard countless stories and every one of them has one element that is the same, the word of God. Ken, and you and I and every person encountered God’s word and it effected our hearts and mind and we believed in and obeyed Jesus.

I found an interesting blog relating many stories of people coming to faith in Jesus, http://tony-tate.com/whats-your-story/. The stories with enough detail show God’s word at work.

The word of God is the common denominator in every conversion. Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” God’s word produces faith.

Remember the Gideon Bibles you were given in fourth grade at school, or were in the drawer in a motel room. A lot of people picked up the Bible and read some of God’s word for the first time and were brought to faith. Remember the campus ministry Ken encountered. Their goodness and kindness was God’s word in action and coupled to some Bible studies, Ken, like many others came to faith through the word he witnesses in their lives.

God’s word is related in so many ways, reading, hearing, and seeing faith in action.

There are times I want a particular food or flavor and only certain foods provide the taste I desire. God’s word is like that too. When a person that actually wants that taste, and is looking for it, the only thing that fulfills the desire is God’s word, and many times, it ultimately leads to that person’s salvation.

The faith that is produced comes from God’s word being read, spoken, shared, exhibited, felt, experienced etc. That is one of the ways that God’s word is living and active Hebrews 4:12). It is not just words on a page. It is truth that is lived.

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