Archive for ‘Old Testament’

February 7, 2013

Who, Me?

by pastortimfowler

moses

In Exodus We meet Moses. I would never have hired Moses to do what God wanted him to do. I mean, he was going to represent God to royalty and this guy was a convicted murderer and, by his own admission, a lousy communicator. He flat-out said that he didn’t want the job, so who in their right mind would hire someone like that? God.
I love God’s response to Moses when he was telling God how he could not talk well. Exodus 4:11-12 …11 The LORD asked him, “Who gave humans their mouths? Who makes humans unable to talk or hear? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? It is I, the LORD! 12 Now go, and I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Notice God did not say, “Oh never mind. I will find someone else.” Instead He reminded Moses of who He is and assured Moses that He would help. God wants to help us. He knows our faults and knows our fears. He knows us. And, what He wants of us is to know Him. When we know Him we know His power and compassion and we can overcome what we think is disqualifying. My old pastor use to tell me that God does not call the worthy, but He does make worthy the called.
Way too often I hear people say that God can’t or won’t use them and I remind them of the story of Moses. I remind them that God gives us the power to overcome all of our flaws. He knows that we are needy and God has what we need. Grace and forgiveness and power. I know these things well because I to am not worthy or able to do what He has called me to do. But with God all things are possible. Even for someone like me, a totally unworthy and failing man who God called to lead and incredible church for what God wants to do.
So when God calls you, don’t think that He has made a mistake. He knows who you are and you don’t need to ask, Who, me? Because just like I would have never hired Moses, Moses would have never hired me. But God did. He will hire you too if you let Him.

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January 22, 2013

Liar Liar

by pastortimfowler

liar

Genesis Chapter 12:10-20 is a strange story in the Bible. Abraham is going to the place that God will show him and he comes into Egypt where he thinks that something bad will happen to his wife so he lies about her and calls her his sister. He does not have to lie, for a couple of reasons. One, he has God on his side and two, his thoughts were unjustified, as we see when we read the story.
Lying is a common place in our lives. We have this idea that if we are lying for a good reason that it is justifiable. I think that all of us have lied about stuff at one time or another. Those of you who are now saying that you have not done this are now lying. Lying is one of the first sins that humans commit. We don’t have to be taught to lie, it comes natural.
The Bible says that the truth will set us free. It also tells us the Satan is the father of all lies. But, we think that lying is a tool to help us not hurt feelings. So that brings me to the purpose of this blog. If lying is so appalling to God, why do Christians think it is okay?
Abraham is the father of faith. He trusted God to go to a place that he would be shown. Trusted God to make him the father of many nations, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. But when facing the present perceived threat to his family, he lies. What I think happened is that he was in a place that was so ungodly, that He dismissed God’s protection for self-protection. When you can’t see God it is easy to turn to self for what we think is best.
Faith is about trusting even when we can’t see or don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is remembering that God is truth and truth never changes. Faith is knowing that when we are in a situation that God has put us in, we can continue to be godly, even when no one else is.
God does not want us to remove ourselves from the things of this world. Jesus lived and ate with sinners. The difference is that He never forgot to be holy. He loved those who were sinners but taught them to not sin. So God wants us to influence others as well. As soon as we give in to the temptation to lie, we give away the ability to allow our faith to shine through. We also limit our ability to show how God works through the tough situation that makes Him the one who solves our problem and not ourselves.
Lying is never the answer. It may feel better, but it will not set us free. Feelings can often be our worst enemy.
God is gracious and will never stop being the God of truth. He often works around our failures and in spite of our sin. But never confuse His love and grace for acceptance of our lack of faith and feeling as if we need to lie. Often our feeling of the need to lie is not justified, even to those who don’t believe. In Abraham’s case the ungodly king was the one who reminded Abraham that God was who He was. I think far more people who claim to not be Christians still know in their hearts that there is a God. They are just looking to see if those of us who publicly say that we believe will allow our faith in action to match our words.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that lying is okay. Tell the truth and live it and watch how God is faithful and true. Jesus said, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

January 9, 2013

Flood Damage

by pastortimfowler

noah

Chapter 6 of Genesis is the beginning of the most popular story in the Bible, next to Christmas and Easter. It is the story of Noah and the ark that saved his family from the great flood. It has taken on the status of great fairy tale rather than historical literature. We live in a day where science feels it must disprove the Bible and comes up with some things that are as difficult to believe as the miraculous stories that fascinated us as children. We are told of past catastrophes that wiped out most life on the planet, and are told of future events that will do it again and we are to tremble in awe of the stories. Yet, we are told of a God that judges the world with catastrophic events and we are told that we are fools for believing them. Again I will rely on facts and common sense, as well as my belief that the Bible is accurate to argue my point.
I scuba dive as a hobby. We often dive in what is known as black water in rivers that host alligators and bull sharks in search of fossils. The Megalodon shark is an extinct giant shark that used to rule the oceans. We find their 4-7 inch teeth in the bottom of the river right next to civil war relics. Many say that they are there due to erosion, and the fact that the oceans used to cover so much more of the earth. I think these massive sharks came inland during the flood in search of easy meals of drowned dinosaurs and other large animals. That would explain how the sharks quickly died when the waters receded like the Bible describes, stranding them so far from the oceans that would normally support them. It would also explain the mastodon tusk and teeth and bones that we find, many with gashes from what looks like sharp teeth. These same teeth have been found in the deserts as far inland as Utah and some even in mountainous regions.
Dinosaurs are not hard to explain. I was told by a scientist that reptiles continue to grow as long as they are alive. Lizards come in many different shapes and sizes, most well under a foot long. But there are a few, like alligators and crocs, who grow to be nearly 20 feet long. Those extremely large reptiles are close to 100 years old. Geckos, they rarely live longer than 10 years and don’t grow to be more than a foot long. So if humans in that day lived 900 years, what would happen if dinosaurs lived that long?
Fossils are interesting scientific anomalies. Something organic is transformed into something similar to a rock. This requires something to quickly cover and encase the object. If we are to believe that an asteroid hit and killed off everything, we must account for something the size of a Brontosaurus being covered very quickly and its bone preserved. That would mean that nearly 40 feet or so of sediment all over the earth falling in a constant pattern.
A massive flood would definitely have that effect. Years ago we had a flood that put 2 feet of water in our downstairs and there was at least a half-inch of mud on the flood when the water went away. A flood the scope of the one described in Noah’s day would easily cover the largest of animal or its bones with mud. I know that some will argue that over millions of years things get buried very deep, but in less that a year, it is hard to find anything left of an animal that dies in the woods. Bacteria and worms do a great job of cleaning things up.
I know that this is not pure science and that there is some opinion in here, but it is a blog, not a scientific dissertation. All I want to say is that for people who believe the Bible and those who don’t, there are other logical explanations for fossils and Noah’s flood is a good one.
One last thing. Next time you are flying over the earth in a plane, especially over land, look out the window and notice the way the earth shows signs of a great flood. It is the same patterns that scientists claim to give evidence of water on Mars at on time. This Earth shows lots of evidence of flood damage.

February 16, 2012

Ezekiel Bread

by pastortimfowler

Did you know that the Bible tells people to eat bread made with human excrement? If you believe what the makers of Ezekiel Bread say, you may have even tried it. They actually make bread that uses human dung. The problem is that the Bible does not teach that the bread should be made with human excrement but would be cooked over it, and if you read the full details, it was not meant for anyone other than the prophet. And, God told him that he could substitute cow dung for the fuel for cooking this bread. I will explain the implications in a minute.
This was asked of me in a Bible study that involved several people who were unchurched, but became interested in a conversation that I was involved in. We were talking about weird food trends and I mentioned Vegans, because I know a few. They know I think that they are weird, but most of all, they know I love them and kid with them a lot. Some in the vegan culture believe that God wants us to be vegetable eaters and never eat meat. This is not biblical and from the time Noah got off the ark, God gave the okay to eat meat. Personally I just don’t think that there are enough vegetables that I could find that I would be able to sustain myself. I have never been much of a veggie eater. We mentioned a few other weird foods and that was when I was asked what I thought about Ezekiel bread.
This is a great example of how the Bible can be used to “prove” anything. If you do not read it all and you look for a few lines, you can make a case that the Bible says a lot of stupid stuff. But that is wrong and yes, stupid. There is no other book on earth that is used so out of context to prove so many points. I love it because even those who do not believe in the God of the Bible want to use the Bible, that is God’s Word, to prove their points to those who do believe.
Ezekiel is a book of prophesy to Israel warning them of impending judgement of God. God often used his prophets to give very vivid and visual examples of their sins. The law of Moses was very clear about the things that Israel could eat, and use in food preparations. They were given great details of things that they could not even come near or touch and human excrement is one of those things. So when God told Ezekiel to make this bread, it was made from basically weeds, to show the spiritual famine as well as the physical famine that God sent. Ezekiel was told to bind himself up and have this bread mixture prepared to eat in front of Israel and to cook it over his own dung in order to show His disgust toward Israel’s sinful ways. Ezekiel pleaded with God that he had not committed these sins and had always followed the food laws of Mose, so God said, okay, you can use cow dung. FYI, cow dung is a common fuel used by people in areas where resources are limited. This recipe and way of preparation was not given because it was healthy or pleasing to God, but rather because God was angry with the sins of the people and wanted them to see a visual image of how disgusting it was to Him.
My advice for people who want to follow a fad diets is that you check with your physician first. Many fad diets are not good for you and are derived from poor information that people get from places like the Bible in an attempt to give them validity. God is not as concerned with what you eat as He is with what you believe. He has given us the okay to eat a large variety of what He created. There are some things that we are allowed to eat that may not be as healthy as some may think, but remember this; God wants our souls healthy first and foremost. Even those who have the best of diets and exercise habits eventually die. If they have the perfect body but have never received forgiveness of their sins, when they die, all the healthy diets in world will not save them from judgement.
If you want to eat the bread that will save your soul, you must eat the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. And that is not literal eating, it is for sure, spiritual.

September 22, 2011

Stuff That Falls From The Sky

by pastortimfowler

On the news for the last week I have been hearing about a satellite that will fall out of its orbit and hit earth in the next couple of days. It is said to be about the size of a school bus and weighs 6.5 tons. NASA says that they are not sure where it will hit, but are pretty sure that it won’t hit you. I feel better now that I know my tax dollars are being used well.
They say it will break up in the atmosphere and that there will be only about 26 large pieces that make it to earth. They do not say what constitutes a large piece, but I feel good knowing that a scientist can be at least as specific as this. There is a 1 in 3200 chance of a person getting hit by some of this debris. That sounds high, but you have worse odds of getting struck by lightning, bit by a shark, and winning the lottery. I don’t know about you but I fell much better now.
When I was in the Navy, we had a message that came through and it was a bit strange at first and due to many of the unknowns it had been classified secret. It said that a Japanese fisherman had been killed by an object that fell from the sky while his boat was about 200 miles out in the Sea of Japan. As the day went by and the messages kept coming in, it got weird. Next it said that a fisherman was killed by a cow while his boat was about 200 miles out in the Sea of Japan. A few days went by and we got the summary of what had happened. A Soviet cargo plane was flying back from an undisclosed destination and one of the crew had purchased a cow and they brought it on board the plane. The cow apparently experienced some sort of panic or discomfort at 15000 feet and began to thrash around and broke its restraints so the crew lowered the loading ramp and pushed the cow from the plane. The cow fell, hit and killed a Japanese fisherman on his boat about 200 miles out in the Sea of Japan.
Once I was camping in my back yard under a tree and I had a pecan fall and hit me in the head and it woke me up, but that is the closest thing I have to a story that is personal when it comes to stuff falling from the sky.
About now I am thinking that I need to stay inside for the next day or two, or maybe do a lot of driving on curvy roads. If one of the large pieces falls and hits the building I am in, I am not sure that it will help me, but the insurance will at least pay for the building to be fixed and if it just happens to be my house, we need a new roof. If I am driving on a curvy roads it will be like running away from someone who is trying to shoot you. They say you should zig-zag as you run and it reduces the chance of getting hit.
I just had this funny thought of cops pulling all these cars over for the next few days thinking that they are all drunk drivers, but everyone telling the cop that the are reducing their chances of getting hit by something that falls from the sky.
I am not worried about this satellite or even a cow hitting me as it falls from the sky. I do still hate it when pecans hit my head as they fall from the tree. We have a pecan tree in our yard now that has really large pecans and they do hurt if they are falling from the top few limbs. But I don’t think they will kill me and if so, someone else will have to promise me that they will do a follow-up blog to this one and tell the world of my freakish death.
I was reading in the Old Testament book of Job this morning and this is what it says: Job 14:5 If the number of his days and the number of his months are determined by you (God), and you set his limit, then he cannot go past it. That means when it is our time, God will take us home. Nothing can change it and we should not live our lives as if we have forever. We should live for God and for His purpose that He has set for our lives. Live it fully and not worry about tomorrow because we are not promised tomorrow. God has great things for each of us to do and for some He has spectacular endings in store for us! You just never know what God has in store for the stuff that falls from the sky.

August 11, 2011

Makes You Go Hmmm

by pastortimfowler

As you read through the Old Testament you can run across some stuff that will make you scratch your head and wonder. Some things seem cruel, some things are just bizarre, and others like what I read today, just makes you go Hmmm. That would make a great song wouldn’t it, “things that make you go Hmmm”?
In 1 Chronicles, we are given a summation of King David’s life. Toward the end, David begins to prepare his son Solomon to take the kingdom and to build the temple. Part of doing this is designating the priests’ assigned duties. There were thousands of them who made sure that the temple was maintained and ready for worship. This is what I found that made me go Hmmm. David appointed almost 2000 priests with the sole purpose of giving thanks in the morning and in the evening. Hmmm. See? Did it again.
My first thought is that this would be a really easy job and where do I apply. Imagine this as your workday: Alarm goes off at 6:30am and you eat breakfast, shower and shave, although the priests did not shave, fix your lunch, and head down to the temple. Once there you clock in, walk into the office, say “Thanks”, tell the boss and your fellow priests, “see you later”, go prop your feet up on the desk and play Angry Birds until 4pm, walk in say “thanks” and clock out. Then go home and tell the wife to keep the kids quiet, you have had a rough day. Sounds pretty cushy, doesn’t it?
Here is the catch. These guys had to spend their days looking for and recording the things that they would offer thanks for. I wonder how hard that must have been some days. You know the days I am talking about. When you get up on the wrong side of the bed and so does every one else. The kids don’t want to eat their breakfast and they don’t want to wear the clothes you laid out for then and you don’t want to wear the clothes you just put on. The coffee maker broke, the toast burnt and that re-heated cup of coffee from yesterday just spilled down the front of your white shirt. You get to work and your boss lets you know that everyone that helps you has called in sick and everything that they did needed to be done by noon. You call to have lunch brought in and once they finally get there, your order is wrong and you left you wallet at home and the person who you usually can borrow a few bucks from is one that called in sick. On the way home you have a flat and its raining and the spare tire was never fixed from the last time you had one of these days, and your cell phone is dead from using it so much at work. Once you finally make it home, you don’t feel like cooking so you decide to go out but realize that there is no money in the bank because the mortgage is due and you received a note from the IRS today in the mail saying that they made a mistake and you owe them $1500 more.
With all of this you finally make it to bed and you realize that you have not stopped to pray or read your Bible all day. So quickly you grab your Bible open it and decide that you will read where ever you open it too and this is what you see: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. Isn’t that just like God to ruin an already sucky day by tell you to be thankful?
Don’t you know that those priests had days like that too? But that did not stop them from having to fulfill their duties and it was their duty to give thanks in the morning and the evening, daily.
What do you do on a day like that? Here are a few things that we can always give thanks for:
~ You were alive to have such a bad day.
~ You have a job
~ You have a home and a family
~ The perseverance that you show will encourage others
~ God loves you
~ You have a brain that works because of things that make you go Hmmm.

April 13, 2011

You can trust him

by pastortimfowler

Today I started reading the Old Testament book of Joshua. One of the saddest events of the Bible happens just before this in Exodus as Moses dies without going into the Promised Land. It was really incredible to read that Moses was well over 100 years old when he died but the Bible says that he never lost strength nor did his eyesight ever go bad. I would be happy with either one of those even right now.
For 40 years, Moses lead Israel through the wilderness. He was the greatest prophet ever and talked to God in person. Don’t even ask me to explain his favor with God, but that statement makes me want to study how he lived his life to so win that favor. Moses was allowed to see incredible miracles of God, and incredible rebellion from his people. He interceded for them over and over and at one point told God that if He would not forgive the people the he (Moses) would prefer to be stricken from God memory. That is one incredible leader.
So Moses dies and Joshua is appointed the leader. I feel for Joshua. What huge shoes to fill. On top of everything else, the people he was to lead were not the same that followed Moses for 40 years, they were the children and they had heard all the stories of the great things Moses had done. Sure they knew that God was the power behind it all, but still, they knew Moses was the instrument and not Joshua. But now they were going to have to trust this new leader and they were about to go into a land that they had not seen and about to go to war to take the land.
People always say that trust is earned and this was not different. I have read all this before and I know the great leader that Joshua becomes. But putting yourself in the position of the people at that time, it had to be scary. Joshua had not earned their trust. But…
God had earned their trust, over and over again. He rescued them from captivity on Egypt. He parted the sea and destroyed the pursuing army. He had given them endless food and endless water without them planting and digging. He had defeated enemies that they encountered during the journey. He showed Himself in pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke. At the end of the journey we are told that their clothes and shoes never wore out. They knew that they could trust God.
So why the problem trusting the leader that appoints? Sure humans can and do make mistakes but when the will of God is at stake and the people of God seek Gods will, God will ensure that the right leader is in place. Matthew 6:33 says: But let your first care be for his kingdom and his righteousness; and all these other things will be given to you in addition. God wants our trust. Trust Him and you have nothing else to worry about.
You can trust Him on that.