Day 3: A Close Look at the Negative

Lamentations 1:10-14 :

The adversary has spread out his hand on all her pleasant things;
for she has seen that the nations have entered into her sanctuary,
concerning whom you commanded that they should not enter into your assembly.

All her people sigh.
They seek bread.
They have given their pleasant things for food to refresh their soul.
“Look, Yahweh, and see,
for I have become despised.”

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look, and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
which is brought on me,
with which Yahweh has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.

“From on high has he sent fire into my bones,
and it prevails against them.
He has spread a net for my feet.
He has turned me back.
He has made me desolate and I faint all day long.

“The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand.
They are knit together.
They have come up on my neck.
He made my strength fail.
The Lord has delivered me into their hands,
against whom I am not able to stand.

I have noticed that my culture has chosen to avoid anything negative. My perception is that this culture believes that there are no sins accept the sin of pointing out sin. Once again, this is irrational because they exempt themselves from their own rule. Passages like these remind us that sin is real, and as a result, the anger of God is justified.

In my culture, anger itself is negative. They must assume that the Christian God is wrong then because in this passage, God is said to have “fierce anger.” Whenever the world thinks that God is wrong, you can bet that the idea came from Satan. I believe that the underlying force behind avoiding negative things is Satan. He knows that the source of all of these negative things is the sin that he introduced into our world. In light of this, let’s consider what God is having us study here.

Much of this book is a close look at the negative. Here it teaches us that once we are subject to God’s fierce anger, we suffer greatly. We learn that we end up suffering all day long as we use up our nice things to simply buy food. We watch our strength waste away as we lose to our enemies. We watch as the good is overrun by evil right before our eyes. This reminds us that sin is real and it has real consequences that we will feel. If we avoid the negative, we fail to understand the seriousness of punishment which causes us to not see the seriousness of our sin. Sin is negative but the greatest negative is the fact that Jesus, who was perfect, was tortured to death. If we avoid that negative thing, we will live negatively for eternity in Hell. Let’s not be deceived by our culture. The only way for things to get positive, will be for every one of us to take a close look at the negative.

Day 181: A More Complete Picture of Jesus

Jeremiah 46:13-19The word that Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah the prophet, how that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon should come and strike the land of Egypt:“Declare in Egypt,publish in Migdol,and publish in Memphis and in Tahpanhes;say, ‘Stand up, and prepare,for the sword…

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The Most Important Message

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
– The Bible (John 3:16)

God’s Message to Us

The Bible is not a normal book. It claims to contain a message that God wants man to know, and there is no reason to not believe what it says. It tells us that God created the universe, and when He did, He made it to be a perfect place. There was no death or suffering. All of the good things we see in nature and more existed at that time. On the new earth, God placed all kinds of the creatures as well as the first two humans. He made a garden for them to live in, but He also gave them a test. He put a tree in the middle of that garden and commanded them to never to eat from it.

Satan’s Story

God also created angels, and at one point, some of them rebelled against God. The leader of the rebellion was the most beautiful creation that God ever made named Lucifer. Not long after man was created, Lucifer, now called Satan, decided to see if he could convince man to go against God too.

Satan took on the form of a snake, and tempted Eve to eat from the forbidden tree by causing her to doubt God and think independently of Him. God had warned Adam and Eve that if they ever did choose to eat from the forbidden tree, they would die. Satan was successful in tricking Eve into eating from the tree. Even though Adam wasn’t tricked, when Eve ate it and gave it to him, he decided to go along with her and eat it too. The perfect world that God had created was then cursed by God because of what Adam and Eve did. That’s why things are so bad for us today.

Man’s Fall and Future Hope

God had put man in charge of the earth, but man decided to disobey God and as a result, God kept His word and brought death into it, but instead of killing Adam and Eve immediately, God killed an animal and gave Adam and Eve clothes and allowed them to die slowly. He said that even though Adam and Eve would get old and die, He was going to save mankind and heal the whole earth someday through one of their descendants. Adam and Eve believed and started having kids!

Our Separation from God

The Bible goes on to tell us that as the population of mankind grew, they began to sin so badly that God was disgusted and decided to destroyed the whole world with a flood, but, keeping His promise, He reserved one good man and his family alive to repopulate the earth. Even after that, their descendants kept disobeying God to such a degree that God forced them to separate from each other by confusing their languages. This divided the world into different cultures. The resulting genetic separation is probably what caused such widely different looking humans. In all of this, God was still following through on His promise to Adam and Eve, but the child who was to save mankind had not yet been born.

God’s Plan to Save Us Could Not Be Stopped

Satan, however, was doing whatever he could to stop God’s plan from happening. He may have thought he defeated God when Adam and Eve sinned, but God had a plan and went right around him. He may have thought he won when God decided to destroy the world with a flood, but God saved Noah. He may have even thought that he won when he made Noah’s descendants go against Him, but God still worked it out.

Then the Bible follows the history of Israel. God decided to pick out three men: Abraham, his son Isaac and his son Jacob. Out of these men, God literally generated a new country that He named after Jacob, whom He had renamed Israel. He also chose a piece of real estate in a land called Canaan, destroyed the existing evil descendants of Noah who lived there and put Israel’s descendants in their place, but Satan could see what was happening and got right to work. By his scheming, he tempted Israel to become just as evil, if not worse, than the Canaanites were before them. Once again, God punished them, but once again, God went right around the problem.

God’s Plan is Revealed

Unexpectedly, after Israel had been occupied by the oppressive government of Rome, God sent an angel named Gabriel to a poor Israeli girl named Mary, telling her that she was going to have the promised child. Gabriel explained to her that this was not to be a typical child, but would actually be God Himself, and to prove it, she would get pregnant without the help of a man. That’s exactly what happened, and she gave birth to Jesus. To spread the word, thousands of God’s Angels were sent to announce the coming to the most unlikely segment of Roman society, Jewish shepherds! God was aware of what they were capable of, however. They went and told everyone what they saw and didn’t rest until they found this promised child. God knew what He was doing. Satan, however, got the leader of the time to kill all of the Jewish children in the region, but God gave Mary’s husband, Joseph a dream, and they immediately left to Egypt, once again escaping Satan’s attempt to stop God’s plan.

What Jesus Did for Us

You can imagine the life that Jesus must have lived after that. He would do something, but Satan would try to kill it, only to have Jesus go right around it. The Book of John in the Bible is important reading at this point. It tells you some of the details of this time in history. The fight to secure the salvation of the human race was coming to a critical moment.

Jesus lived in a way that made every other human look bad. He followed God’s commands, the ones that He gave to Israel’s children when He formed their nation. Unlike all the rest of them, He didn’t fail and on top of that, He pointed out the failures of others. Jesus wasn’t trying to just make people feel bad, He just knew that a person who doesn’t want to be saved, can’t be saved. If you are happy with the fact that you are sinning and don’t care that you are going to be punished for it, you won’t be willing to accept your way out of punishment. God had given man free will up to this point and He continues to do that now. If you don’t admit that you do things that God hates, you won’t be thinking clear enough to accept your salvation!

Without really understanding what they were doing, the Romans and the Jewish leadership conspired to kill Jesus. I really think that Satan thought he did it this time. Not only did Jesus die, He was tortured to death by God’s own special people, along with the leadership of the Roman government. Once again, however, this was all part of God’s plan.

God Wins

Jesus did die and for three days He was put in a tomb in Israel, but on the third day, He resurrected Himself and walked out of His tomb, never to return. When you look back at the Bible, you discover that God had planned this from the very beginning. The concepts were symbolically placed in the history of the Bible. Israel had prophets that predicted it, and Jesus himself even predicted it. Jesus, by his obedience to God beat death itself by coming back from the dead.

The Bible says that it was God’s plan to win back all of mankind by taking the punishment for Adam and Eve’s sin Himself. He did that as Jesus. If you are willing to admit that you are part of the problems we have on earth and simply believe that Jesus has already paid the price to keep you from punishment, you will not suffer that punishment.

What Jesus Saves Us From

That brings up the issue of punishment. What is the punishment that Jesus was saving people from? For that I need to quote something that Jesus hasn’t said yet. You heard that right. The Bible speaks of things that haven’t happened yet. There are things in it that are still happening. Jesus is still getting around Satan and Satan is still trying to stop Him. You and I are now in the middle of this. This is what Jesus will say in the future:

He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.” He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son. But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
– The Bible (Revelation 21:5-8)

That lake of fire that burns is what we call Hell. That’s God’s jail and it’s permanent. The death we usually talk about today is just the first one. After that, those who haven’t accepted Jesus will have to go to court and then it will be too late to change. This is why this message is so important.

Your Choice

If you will believe in Jesus now, before you die, you will be saved from the second death. The section of the Bible called “The Book of Revelation” that I just quoted from, also tells us that we aren’t at the end yet. When the end comes, God will change the whole earth, transforming it from what it is today. This world will contain only the good things again and none of the bad things. God will destroy all of the bad things. If we don’t accept God’s way for a human to become good, we will have to be destroyed with the rest of the bad from the old world. So, please take this seriously and choose to depend on Jesus now because you don’t know when you will die.

If you have chosen to trust in Jesus’ payment for your sin by his death, I encourage you to do these four things:

1) Tell God right now. Pray to Him by just talking and telling Him you accept what He has done for you. He is everywhere and can hear you.

2) Tell someone else that you believe. Start by just telling them, but I encourage you to make it “official” by getting baptized. Have another Christian perform this ceremony in order to show others that you have accepted this.

3) Read the Bible and pray as often as you can. God has provided us everything we need to grow as Christians in the Bible and Satan is here and he will be after you now. God’s message is like a weapon against Satan. Just like we need to believe the Bible about being saved from Hell, we need to believe it about everything God has said. Satan will try to stop that in order to keep you from influencing other people, so we need to stay focused on the truth. Get an e-copy of the Bible’s book of John right here.

4) Get together with other Christians on a regular basis. The Bible says that we were meant for each other. Although there are many troubles, even between Christians sometimes, a whole life of joy awaits us as we experience God’s love together. We will not accomplish God’s work alone.

If you trust in Jesus in this way, you are a Christian. You have nothing to worry about because God has forgiven you and you will be with me and all of the other Christians on the New Earth someday. Thank you for listening to this message.