For Thy Sake

Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Sometimes we read a Scripture that just doesn’t seem to make sense and may even seem contradictory to how we understand life.  One such verse is found in the above verse in Genesis 3:17.  It all seems okay until we get to the highlighted portion of the verse.  We expect God to judge man for his sinful acts of disobedience so the curse of the ground seems right, but the addition of the phrase “for thy sake” just doesn’t seem to fit.  It is because of what we do not know that makes it seem like a displaced phrase.  It would seem that if God wanted to do something for man that He would have made it easier, yet God did just the opposite and made it harder.

In order for the verse to make sense you need to put it in context with God’s plan for man.  Go back to Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  God did not intend that man would be completed by simply forming a body and breathing life into him.  His plan is far more complex and wonderful than that.  The making of man’s body was but a part of the creation of man.  Remaining was the completion of his soul and spirit.  Notice the different words used to describe His work.  First, He “created time and space” (make something out of nothing) and then He made man (fashioned a body out of the dust He had already created.  We know that because the Scriptures uses different words to describe His work (Created and made).  Further, we know that because of the description of the finished product.  Man would be made in the image of God, that in the similitude of God, or in a similar way.  The Bible teaches that God is a Trinity which means that God is known in three persons (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), yet there is only one God.  The best illustration that I know of a trinity is that we are also a trinity.  I have a body, but that is not all there is to me.  I also have a soul containing my mind and will, yet that does not include all there is to me either.  Thirdly, I have a spirit and yet that is not the whole of me.  It takes all three; body, soul and spirit, to describe the whole of the person I am.  I am body, soul and spirit, yet there is only one of me.  I am made in the image or similitude of God.

Secondly, God said that we were to be made in the likeness of God.  We know that Adam and Eve sinned and that event changed man from a man without sin to a slave of sin.  His will was no longer to serve God but it had been changed to serve himself because the very nature of sin is to reject the authority of God and to make ourselves the authority that governs our lives.   God is great enough to make a way when there was no way to redeem man.  The damage was done and now God had the task of redeeming fallen man and then to complete His image and likeness within man so that his conduct would be in complete agreement with the nature of God. 

To complete God’s likeness will require man to undergo a complete overhaul from a rebellious selfish being into a new creation of God (2 Corinthians 56:17).  Man now must be confronted with his sin and see it for what it is.  The truth of sin is horrible for sin is a degenerating, destructive, degrading, deforming, decaying, and deliberate attack on the authority of God. That nature must die in order for new life to begin.  We will not reject sin until we see it for what it is and reject it like a poisonous snake. 

At this point we are now ready to choose for ourselves who and what will reign over us.  Just as in the garden of Eden there are two choices, The Tree of Life (Jesus) or the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Satan).  You will choose one or the other as there is no other choice (Romans 6:16).  To choose Jesus you will follow Him by faith in Him and His Word.  Once this choice is made, God promises to lay all the charges against you on Jesus; you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide you and to teach you; and you receive the promise of New Life through this world and for eternity.

So getting back to the original question of why is the curse for our benefit.  It is because it is the problems of life that God uses to teach us His ways and His truth.  Without them we would have no way of discovering the consequence of sin and turning from it.  I learn more from my mistakes and failures than I do from my successes.  As I build my life on truth, righteousness and knowledge I begin to take on the appearance of my new life.  Without the struggles we would never let go of sin.

Video Conferencing

Greeting to all my followers:

I have been quite busy for the last couple weeks getting set up on Zoom which is a video conferencing program.  I  now have a license and we have been doing our Sunday Bible Study via Zoom for the past two weeks.  For those of you who are not familiar with Zoom or have little to no tech savvy, it is a program that does not require much knowledge of computers.  It is a means by which you can both see and hear each other as though you are in the same place, even though you may be thousands of miles apart.  Think of it as a telephone with a camera and multiple people can be on at the same time.  It has become very useful during this pandemic crisis.

I know that you have been impacted by the Coronavirus in many ways.  We are living through a life changing event that will impact us for some time.  Hopefully, you or your loved one do not have the virus, but even in that event, I know that there are many questions and few answers.  Life as we have known it may very well be changed permanently.  All of this is not bad news for there are some good things coming out of this event as well.  For example, we now have more time than we have ever had and can focus on those “other things” that we never could get around to.  We are forced to reevaluate our priorities and our attention is being placed on other things.  I know that there are many people that have been praying for revival all over the world for many years.  In order for revival to come, our grip on “things” had to be broken and this could be the time for real life changing revival.  When I had stage 4 cancer, I heard someone say, “don’t waste your crises”.  As a result I saw many wonderful things happen as a result of the cancer, and then came the amazing miracle of total healing from the cancer, now going on 8 years.

One of the benefits of this world wide crises is that video conferencing has become available for not cost.  I am now wondering if some of you would like to also connect via Zoom?  All you need is a computer, laptop or phone that is equipped with a camera and microphone as well as an email address.  If you will send me your email address and let me know that you would like to connect in a video conference, I will set up a meeting and we can see and talk with each other.  If you speak another language, we can chat because I have a translator.  My email address is  vball_one@hotmail.com .  If you will contact me I will send you and invitation to meet me on a video conference call and then I can walk you through the process as it is very easy to do and you don’t need to be an expert with the computer.  It will not be possible to use this service if your government has blocked you to the outside world.  I am also considering doing a weekly Bible Study video that you can watch but will not be able to participate with directly.  Please contact me via email or through this web site.  New things are ahead.  Life as we once knew it has once again changed.

Instructions On Life

Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him

My wife and I have two favorite Bible teachers that we listen to regularly.  They are Chuck Swindoll and David Jeremiah.  This morning we were listening to Chuck Swindoll and he was teaching on raising children.  He made the point that we need to not just know about our children but that we should really get to know our children on the inside.  After the program, we were discussing his teaching and my wife made the point that one of the reasons that we have difficulty knowing our children is because we don’t know who we are either. 

The conversation then turned to the fact that this is a precipitating characteristic, in that I know who I am partly because of my parents teaching and how I am understood.  If my parents did not know who they were and did not know what values were critical for life, then I would struggle in knowing who I am.  Further, this knowledge comes only from God and His Word.  Therefore, it is critical that we study the Scriptures (Bible) to discover who we really are and what that means.

Another observation we made is that the basics, such as the importance of repetition; respect of authority; consequences; values; relationships; etc., are not emphasized, and in their place we substitute social values (how I am seen) and worldly values of personal gain, enjoyment and position.  Happiness is not a goal, but it is the product of choices. 

A third observation we made is that just one of the great benefits of regular Bible study is that it regulates and directs our prayer life.  All of the answers for what life is about and who I am are in the Bible and if we do not spend time in Scriptures we will only be guessing what the real answers are.  I can never know how to live until I discover the giver of life, Himself.  It is then that I discover His plan for me and how and why I was made. 

Sadly, too many Christians are like the ones in Hebrews 5:12 listed above who are like the baby birds in a nest that always want to be fed but contribute little to securing their own nourishment.  They continually look for someone else to package it in a manner that is entertaining, conclusive and simplified, that requires little from them.  The picture in their mind is that they are the audience at a worship service and the service is for them.  However, the Scripture paints an entirely different picture.  The observing audience is God who sees us following His Word in our individual roles.  We are there to give God glory and honor in the exercise of our faith in Him.  Some will do that by exhortation, some by music, some by carrying out different roles of the service but the one that is least understood and possibly the more important is that of the assembly that we call the audience.  What is their role?  It is multiple and universal in that there are several ways you can demonstrate your faith in God which is the purpose of everyone present.  You can demonstrate your faith in God by your giving.  It is your physical demonstration.  You can demonstrate your praise of God through music which is the expression of your heart.  You can demonstrate your faith in God through your reception and application to your practice, that is take it personal.  God is instructing you.  The preacher is not making the application but it is God, Himself speaking to you through His word.  You can apply your faith in God by your response to His Word in changing the direction of your life to conform to His Word.  That may require a response to the invitation but it may also require you to follow up on how you make decisions, express your love, help, etc.  The worst thing you can do in a worship service is to remain unchanged by the presence of God.  He is worthy of your worship.

We concluded our conversation with the second Scripture in I John 2:27.  There is not excuse I can find that allows me to go on through life floundering because I don’t know how to live.  If my parents didn’t know me well enough, they did teach me what they knew.  No parent knows it all so all of us are to take what we are given and add to that what we can gain.  We shouldn’t blame them because of their failure, rather we should thank God for giving them to us for what we got.  We shouldn’t blame the church because of their failure to provide us with simple answers for life requires us to apply ourselves. The answers have been provided by God, Himself in His Word.  Look again at this verse in I John.  You don’t need anyone to be your teacher for The Holy Spirit is your teacher.  Everyone born of the Spirit has the personal teacher, the Holy Spirit.  It does not matter what kind of situation you come from, whether it was a terrible environment, physical handicap, or even persecution; you have what you need to know what God wants you to know.  Even if you were born to unbelieving parents, in a place where the Scriptures are forbidden, and there are no missionaries and limited means of substance; if you will follow the light you have in doing what is right, it will lead you to know Him.  Where are your choices taking you? The most important choice is to choose to follow Christ and be born again and you will receive the Holy Spirit to guide you.