SoulfeltExpression

"Life Right Now…" thought-provoking and inspiring

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

“Life Right Now” (May 14, 2012) Something about Noah…

BLOG 3 –May 11, 2012

*CORRECTION to 5/5/12 post:  Enoch was Noah’s “great”-grandfather not grandfather.

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“The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

Even though Noah gave God the priority in his life, he did not disregard the value of family and friends — human relationships.  Noah had brothers and sisters (Gen 5:30)  Through siblings we begin to learn how to co-habitate peaceably or maybe NOT so peaceably — take it from one who knows (smile)– with others.  Children learn through family relationships how to respect or lack respect for others.  Parents, guardians and siblings have a major influence upon what the what values their children stick to as adults.  Family relationships can point a child to great hope or great hopelessness!!  Noah grew up and became a husband and father.  He had a wife, 3 sons and daughters-in-law.  Through knowing God, despite the “hot mess” of a society he lived in, Noah built a family who came to embrace God’s standard for life.  Although we don’t have details of Noah’s day to day family interactions, as we read further in Genesis, we know that Noah’s family trusted him enough to follow the plan God laid out for him and enter that ark believing that God was real and would protect them.  I tend to think that Noah must have invested in establishing “right” relationships with his family or they would have ignored him as others did.  
[SIDE NOTE: It is true that sometimes family and friends will ignore you even if you are a genuinely good and credible person.  They have their OWN agenda and it ain’t God’s!! Thankfully this was not the case with Noah’s family!]  

Let’s pause right here though: How is your track record with your family or those who have known you for years?  It has been said that when dating someone or even when making new friends in general, pay close attention to how they interact with their parents and other family members. People will “tell” you anything to make you like them.  If they do not have stable relationships with parents or siblings, you should wonder why—and it is wise and right to ask “why”??!!  If you trust them with yourSELF and invite them into your life, then you better know their history – just as they have a right to know yours!  Virtual realities  are imaginary – we can BE whoever we want the world to think we are! I want to know “REAL”ity!!  I don’t want to be fed bits and pieces just like the media uses sound bites.  PLEASE let’s be sure you DISCONNECT FROM OUR AVATARS and STEP OUT FROM BEHIND OUR LATEST FACEBOOK mini-series!!           Hmmm…SO what is his or her family relationship like? Do I even know? Listen, if you are not even INVITED around their family – I’m talking about your homegirl or homeboy, this is not only about dating relationships? WHOA if you are not invited around their family, what’s up with that?!  And if you don’t care — then hey, you must not value your own self enough to properly screen your friends!!  ** Now in all fairness, there are some of us with troubled family situations where sinfulness and wrong motives discredit their opinion – they carry no weight because they are not living right.]  However, in general it is wise to observe how a woman or a man you are getting to know, interacts with those who have been a part of their lives much longer than you!  What kind of friends do they hang around??    It may also help you to understand some things about that person. 

OKAY SO — Genesis 6 says that because of how evil the world was, God was sorry that he had created us!  YET, God wanted to preserve Noah to start over again!!? WOW! That is an extraordinarily high compliment from God!! But the point is that God’s favorable view of Noah was not ONLY based on how Noah dealt with God, but how Noah dealt with others– Noah obviously valued humanity and personal relationships.  Based on the Scriptures Matthew 22:37-39, God holds each one of us accountable for how we deal with others. Obviously, Noah was a man who got this! He had a character unlike those in his society. God would not have chosen Noah if he was a person who enjoyed tearing down and abusing others.  That is a character flaw and NOT of God– that is a spirit of darkness that uses people to to kkeep others down, cause conflict, and hurt -DRAMA!!  If you claim to know Jesus Christ, PRAY FOR LOST PEOPLE OR FIND A WAY TO HELP them find God!  Don’t pretend to be have spiritual concern when you are actually just a gossiper! What does that say about you?!  If you enjoy adding more negativity to people who are misguided then you are NOT led by the Spirit of God but rather an ungodly spirit is functioning in and through you!  Is Jesus Christ truly the Lord of your life?   When? Only on Sunday or mid-week prayer service?

God’s nature is “self-giving”.  What does that mean to you? Being self-giving?  Does that make you feel vulnerable or uncomfortable?  I just turned someone off by that question.  I understand that some of us have very real wounds and lingering pain of being taken advantage of; under-appreciated; oppressed or even abused by people they hoped would love them.  On the other hand you may just have a strong, “driven” personality, a go-getter!; striving to make “your” mark and accomplish greatness in your lifetime — there is no room for being “self-giving.”  The thought of being more self-giving or the concept of selfLESSness is HUMBLING.  Society says it is about “me, myself and I.”

Hmmm…..BUT THE BIBLE tells me:  “For God so loved the world that HE GAVE his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  Remember Jesus’ statement from my last post? “Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matt 22:37-39)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (I John 4:20) Throughout the Bible both Old and New Testament, we see God paying close attention to how people treat one another.  If you claim to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ then you character MUST reflect self-giving and selfLESSness — which simply means people see more of Christ’s character as one who “came to give Himself as a ransom for many!”  (Mark 10:45)  Whether it be your husband or wife, children, your employees, your students, your congregation, even your friends… are you a giver of yourself or must everyone cater to you?

I believe God’s favor was with Noah because although the Commandments and the person of Jesus Christ came way after Noah’s existence, Noah LIVED out the heart of God.  Noah understood the value God placed on His creation and Noah would not compromise even being immersed in that God-opposed society.  Noah chose to se to learn and live from a Godly worldview.  What’s stopping you from being more self-giving?  Your own harsh or unfair life?; your selfishness and arrogance?; the 21st century ideal of IMAGE, IMAGE, IMAGE?; the academic or career grind that you are caught up in.… receiving Christ as your Lord and Savior and allowing the Holy Spirit of God into your heart can heal your character and make you that person God intended you to be.  But you have to ask yourself whether you want to be God-made than “man-made.”  If you have already accepted Jesus Christ, then maybe you need to re-examine your life and reflect on what happened to that first love that drew you to God in the first place!

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)

Stay encouraged!!

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Life Right Now: Wisdom from Noah’s story (Pt 2)

What exactly does the Bible want us to “get” from the concept of Noah walking with God?  Coincidentally, the Bible said Noah’s grandfather, Enoch, also walked with God (Genesis 5:24).  We can see that this meant that first of all that realized that they were  spiritual beings created by and connected to God; secondly, this led them to humble themselves accepting that they were actually dependent on God and third, they trusted God. They understood the value of the relationship with God.  It wasn’t some on and off commitment based on whether life was going well or whether they were in the mood to “be spiritual.”  For them, knowing God was the MOST VALUABLE relationship they had.  And they had it right, it is the most valuable relationship anyone can have!  God does not depend on us but we certainly need God! As quiet as it’s kept, God is crucial to human existence!  The funny thing is that humans have to get sick of that empty God sized hole within them to accept the truth that without relationship with God we are actually not whole — we are suffering a deficit– spiritually poor!!  Even further once we do recognize and submit that we need God, we still need to be TAUGHT HOW to “be” in relationship with God.  We can be sure Noah learned through his grandfather what a relationship with God was all about.  The Bible does not make mention his grandfather’s faith for no reason.  **PAUSE HERE and think seriously about how we will and are influencing  the generations that follow us.  If you are spiritually dead you will not be of any help to others with regard to the most important aspect of their life! (think of your siblings, children/future children, grandchildren or others in your sphere of influence)  In the Exodus story, a MAJOR ASPECT of Moses’ calling was not only to free the people from bondage but to teach those diverse peoples HOW to “be” with this God who redeemed them. (By the way, this group of people were not only “Israelites”! God of the Holy Bible is not a “national God.” See Exodus 12:37-38

Finally, we see the same concept through Jesus Christ– God incarnate who took on  a human existence  to teach and model how humans are  to relate to God and one another.  What Jesus did is called “discipleship” A true disciple of Jesus Christ not only hangs around on the perimeter but owns the identity he or she is claiming and is proactive in learning the ways of godliness.  But the key is that this is done because they have experienced God’s presence and received the love of God in their hearts for real!  Passion to live a godly lifestyle starts with a “personal” and “genuine” love for God that is top priority.  Being conscious of living in a way that is pleasing to God governs your attitude and your motives.   Are you trying to love God with your mind ONLY?  Or maybe you are trying to show your godliness by “DOING” stuff but inside you’re a spiritual mess? It starts with coming into agreement with God –a softened heart toward God which allows His Spirit to be the guide and not your human ways that never quite get it right.

Consider God’s instruction through Moses:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

Now hear Jesus’ words:

“Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Matt 22:37-39)

The Ten Commandments and other laws in the Old Testament were given to teach humanity how to exist in a fallen world – an  environment of sin which focuses on the love of SELF!  BUT what’s SO interesting is that Noah and his grandfather, Enoch, lived prior to the written law – they learned directly from God, the Creator.   They were in tune with God’s presence, they heard the voice of God.  Noah responded. He didn’t “ignore God OR pretend not to hear but rather he  invested in his spiritual “inner man”; he nurtured it.  He embraced the reality of being made flesh and spirit and understood that he had a spiritual responsibility as much as worldly responsibilities!  In that   “anything goes — do what you feel —  right or wrong is relative” society in which Noah lived, he was spiritually self-aware and consistent with God –not following the fads or  the crowd.  Noah decided to walk with God not away from God.

Do you profess to know Christ? Then ask yourself: “Does my life reflect that I am spiritually  self-aware and sensitive to the presence of God or do I just feel good carrying the label of Christian?  ?  Am I really doing my part to be a true disciple or am I just a “follower” in the Christian crowd?  

More to come… God bless you !

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