How to Develop New Vitality in Living: Part One

Colossians 1: 9 – 11

Jesus prayed for you. John recorded Jesus’ prayer in the 14th chapter of his gospel.  If He prayed for us, we should pray for one another.  What should we pray for one another? Paul prayed what might be considered a model prayer for one another. In writing this I first prayed a prayer like this for all my Facebook Friends also. 

This prayer embodies two great requests which we should frequently make of the Lord.

(1) For an understanding of God’s will.  (2) For the power to do it.

Prayer is not so much trying to make God listen to us as it is us trying to listen to Him.  A ship docking illustrates this. The mooring rope is thrown over the docking post on the wharf not to draw the wharf to the ship but to draw the ship to the dock.  Prayer is not to convert God to our will, but to draw us to His will. After all, Christ taught us to pray: “Thy will be done…” not “Thy will be changed…”

Paul prayed for God’s will to be revealed. (Vs 9)

His will is revealed in His Word.  Knowledge is God’s will for our general moral conduct.  Right knowledge is the root of right conduct. Spiritual perception of spiritual values and priorities is basic to a Christ pleasing life.

Wisdom, as used, is a knowledge of the best way of attaining God’s will.

(Socrates and youth who professed to want knowledge: Socrates held his head under water until he nearly drowned.  Then he said, “When you want wisdom as bad as you do air then you shall have it.”)

Understanding is the ability to apply first principles. It is the conversion of comprehension into conduct. A coach may instruct a player in exactly what to do. The player may comprehend, but only in play does he convert comprehension into conduct).

Knowing God’s will comes first. The power to do it is next. (Vss. 10-11a)

Our “walk” (peripateo) means “to conduct oneself.” It is a summary for lifestyle. Let your lifestyle be “worthy” (axios). When used with a genitive as it is here, it means “having the weight of another thing.”  The picture is of a set of balancing scales. Christ is the counterbalance against which your life is to be measured.  If you do this, you will be “fully pleasing to Him.”To do this you must be “strengthened” (dunamoo). This is inherent power to do, to make strong.  To accomplish this He gives “power” (kratos), the manifested power of His glory.

You have certain inherent strength which is motivated by His manifested power.

Therefore, don’t just hope for the best and think the worst.  Prepare your mind to receive.  Your thoughts are the architects of your deeds.  God Himself wants to be the builder.

Adam or Eve: The Child in All of Us 2/22/98

Genesis 3:1-7
Page 1 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST, a literal historical figure, is called “the second Adam.” The first Adam was also a literal historical figure. There was an actual historical homo sapien named Adam who had a helpmate named Eve.

The word “Adam” is used in the Book of Genesis generically for “mankind,” such as in Genesis 5: 2. However, it is also used as a name of the individual man first created by God.

Gay Rights Activists try to twist this verse to imply unisex. As used in this verse, it is a generic term for mankind. God created them Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

The name “Adam” meant “of the earth,” a reference to God making him from the earth. Adam gave a name to his wife (3:20). He chose “Eve” which means “life” or “life giver.”

Scripture says God “formed” Adam from the “ground.” The Hebrew word for “formed” is YASAR (2:7). It describes the work of an artist. Mankind was made from the earth by a divine plan. The Hebrew word for “ground” is ADAMAH (3:17). The Hebrew word for “man” is ADAM. Thus, man, ADAM, came from the ground, ADAMAH.

The Lord God took approximately fifty- eight pounds of oxygen, two ounces of salt, fifty quarts of water, three pounds of calcium, twenty-four pounds of carbon, some chlorine, phosphorous, iron, sulphur, and glycerine from the earth and made Adam.

The average person has enough fat to make seven bars of soap,
—Enough iron to make a medium-sized nail.
—Enough lime to whitewash a small building.
—Enough phosphorus to make 24 hundred matchtips.
—Enough magnesium for a single dose of “Milk of Magnesia.”
—Enough potassium to explode a toy cannon.
—And a little sulphur added.

The chemical components of a rocket scientists, brain surgeon, migrant laborer, or third world peasant are worth approximately $10.00. That will deflate your ego.

Skeptics scoff at the idea of God creating. Some conscientious inquirers are confused over the complex arguments opposing this concept. I believe, and I believe with reason — God created.

The intent of this message is not to deal with the concept of creation vs. evolution, but I want to share one simple reason why evolution is impossible.

Creditable evolutionists say for life to evolve from non-life over 30 billion years would have been required for the simplest life form to evolve: 30 billion years. They speculate it took over 250 million years for human beings to evolve after that. An old earth is essential for evolution to be possible according to studious evolutionists.

Consider our sun. It burns up about four billion tons of itself every second. Knowing its mass and this rate of consumption scientists estimate it will burn out in about five million years.

Using this same rate and reversing this process by adding four billion tons a second the size of the sun can be estimated. It would have been twice its size one million years ago. With a surface temperature of 6093 degrees Celsius, that would have boiled any primordial soup on earth. Remember 30 billion years would have been required for life to evolve from non-life and another 250 million years for human beings to evolve.

If four billion tons per second were added to the sun, 250 million years ago it would have been one Astronomical Unit (AU) larger. That would have made it large enough to fill the space between where it is now and where we are on Earth.

The clock of time has run out on evolution. This is but one of many indications the universe is not old enough to support the theory of evolution. There is no way to prove creation or evolution. Either concept has to be accepted by faith. Though creation not evolution can be proven scientifically there are ways to disprove evolution.

One basic difference in creationists and the evolutionists is that a creationist believes what he reads in the Bible and an evolutionists believes what he thinks.

The Lord God placed His created human beings in a Garden named Eden. Eden is a Hebrew word meaning “delight.” Eden was a place of absolute delight. God gave them an ideal environment.

In our consideration of what happened to Adam and Eve in this setting we will see mirrored our own nature. The drama of their lives is a representation of your life.

God’s first commandment is recorded in Genesis 2: 16. As with all subsequent commandments, it contained a negative prohibition and a positive blessing. God, thus, made man by special design with the capacity for moral decisions.

The “serpent” is identified in Revelation 20: 2 as Satan in disguise. The word of God brought life and harmony. The word of the serpent brought chaos and death. God spoke and produced the cosmos. Satan spoke and it resulted in chaos. Satan came in a disguise. Temptation always does. Satan is a liar (John 8:44) and his big lie is that you can sin and get away with it.

The story begins with – – –

A. It starts with a questioning of authority. The Bible does not indicate Adam had any contact with the tempter. The serpent that beguiled Eve was not a slithering snake in the form we know them today. The Bible describes the creature used to beguile Eve as beautiful. In Genesis 3: 1 the serpent is described as “cunning.” The Hebrew word literally means “prudent.” The New Testament notes “the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety” (II Cor. 11:3). With trickery he cunningly out smarted her.

In three gospels Christ gives us signs of the end of the ages. We are impressed with such things as Israel’s return to the land, earthquakes, wars, the rise of Russia, etc. However, the first sign mentioned by each of the gospel writers was “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4; Mark 13:5; Luke 21:8).

Three things are definite about the serpent: 1) it was created by God, 2) it was intended to serve man, 3) Satan used its brilliance for his own nefarious purpose of deception.

The tempter began by questioning the authority of God’s Word. “Has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (3:1).

A loss of respect for the Word of God is a principle cause of the erosion of respect for any and all authority today.

Satan has the authority of the Bible under constant attack. He began with an assault on Genesis, and he is still keeping up his pressure on it. There are those who declare the first seven chapters of Genesis to be a mere allegory.

B. The second aspect of this anarchy was Adam doubting God’s sense of justice. God demanded of Adam and Eve justice. In effect He said, “You take the Tree of Life and I will take the Tree of Knowledge.”

In creation God made every creature to operate in a limited sphere. To the birds He granted the sphere of the atmosphere with the limiting boundaries of the stratosphere and the solid earth. To the fish He bequeathed the waters as an environment limited by the shoreline. Adam and Eve had a virtually unlimited boundary but there was nevertheless a boundary. Adam and Eve questioned the justice of such limitations. Adam and Eve questioned God’s sense of fair play.

The fact was the tree didn’t belong to Adam and Eve. Much of mankind’s misery today begins at this point. A lack of respect for property rights creates much misery.

C. The third factor involved in this anarchy was a lack of obedience.

This questioning of God’s Word resulted in a – – –

A. They added to the Word of God.

Eve said God said of the tree “…you shall not touch it…” (Vs. 3). Not so! They could have climbed up in it, tied a rope to it, and made a tire swing from it and God would not have cared. God simply said “don’t eat of it.”

The Bible P-L-U-S anything as a final authority is wrong.

B. They altered the Word of God.

God has said they would “surely die” if they ate of the tree. Eve said God said, “lest you die.” The expression means “you may die.” God’s “surely” was changed to a “maybe.” The serpent picked up on this at once and took it a step further saying “You shall not surely die.” (Vs. 4). This promise was a lie that never came true.

C. They omitted part of the Word of God.

God’s “surely die” was now omitted from the record.

Minimizing the result of sin is an encouragement to sin. The least doubt about the consequence of sin makes one more bold to sin.

A. An appeal to the body – “the tree was good for food.”

B. An appeal to the soul – “pleasant to the eyes.”

C. An appeal to the spirit – “to make one wise.”

This appeal to be like God has always been an allurement to mankind. The New Age movement today is capitalizing on it. It is the primary thesis of their beliefs. Genesis 3: 5 “…you will be like God” is the ground of their philosophy. This lie never came true. Satan’s promises never do. Wisdom is never obtained by disobeying God’s Word.

By restricting one tree God is revealing there must be a limitation to the gratification of the senses. As servants, our senses are blessings. As sovereigns, they are a burden.

We should be cautious about any organization, institution, or event that appeals primarily to the senses. Satan always has a connection with it.

The fact our senses yield pleasure is an evidence of the goodness of God. Monitor our body and enjoy the many normal pleasures you most often overlook, such as, a warm shower, the first sip of cool water, taking off your shoes, sitting down after standing for sometime, etc. Seeking our primary source of pleasure through our senses is an evidence of depravity.

There are two words in our vocabulary that often get confused. “Affect” means “to act upon.” “Effect” means “the end result.”

The affect of Eve’s decision, that is, how it acted upon them is distinct. It affected their – –
A. Head
“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2: 14).

B. Heart
Having been deceived they now developed a wrong impression of God. They thought He hated them so they sought to hide. Satan promised them they would be gods, but their disobedience actually caused them to flee and hide from God.

Mankind’s heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17: 9).

C. Hands
They sewed fig leaves together to make coverings for themselves (Vs. 7). Ever since then man has been trying by his works to make himself worthy of being in God’s presence.

Notice verse 21, “the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” That verse is hard for animal right’s activists to explain. Animals don’t have rights, they have worth.

This provision of clothing is symbolical of the spiritual truth noted in Romans 3: 21 – 26 where we are told that based on the atoning sacrifice of Christ He clothed believers in righteousness.

Remember, “effect” means the result.
A. They died spiritually immediately.
B. They died soulfully progressively.
C. They died bodily ultimately.

When God saves us He saves us:
Spiritually He justifies us immediately.
Soulfully He sanctifies us progressively.
Bodily He glorifies us ultimately.

To do this there is required a – – –

What followed in Eden is a picture of Calvary.

A. Salvation is a gift of God not a labor of man’s hands.

“We conclude that man is justified by faith without the deeds” (Rom. 3: 28).

B. Salvation is by the substitutionary death of an innocent sacrifice. “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53: 6).

C. Salvation is by blood.

“The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1: 7).

It is important to observe the Word of God came to Adam. The prohibition by God was spoken to Adam before Eve was made.

Satan came to Eve. She only had the Word of God second hand. It was not personal to her.

With a first-hand knowledge of the Word of God in mind Satan knew he could not successfully tempt Adam. Without it he knew Eve was vulnerable.

I Timothy 2: 14 notes an important fact: ‘And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

Adam was not deceived but knew what he was doing. Why did he do it? After disobeying God Eve was a fallen sinner. At this point Adam was not. Thus, sin had separated them as it had Eve from God.

Redemption of Eve, as is true for all humankind, must come from the seed of woman. Therefore, Adam willfully and with full knowledge took the fruit from the hand of Eve and ate. He took part in her sin that he might be a party in providing the redemptive seed of woman which ultimately was Jesus Christ.

Likewise, Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, on Calvary willfully and knowingly took our sin.

Exercise Your Comeback Capacity

“8 We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;
9 We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed.”

(II Corinthians 4:8, 9 “Amplified Bible” with bracketed inserts for clarity.)

Knocked down, but not knocked out, does that sound like a summary of your biography? 

It is not whether we will find ourselves in a spiritual battle, but when. Scripture tells us how our predecessors responded and how we should.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2).

Paul knowingly says it’s part of our privilege as believers. “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29)

Often even a molehill will morph into a difficult mountain to climb. Little surprises become big “hits.” You have been there, right? The fact you have been there is reason to know you are very likely to be there again.

The term “struck down” refers to the sudden emergency, the unforeseen incident, the crisis that seems to come out of nowhere, the catastrophe that overwhelms us, the earthquake of trouble that rocks our world.

Mike Tyson famously remarked, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” If you live long enough, you’ll be punched in the mouth more than once. Sometimes you’ll see the blow coming. More often it seems to come out of nowhere.

Compounding this is we have a combatant who specializes in sucker punches that floor us.  Only because of Jesus we are not crushed, despairing, forsaken, or destroyed by Satan. 

Our adversary wants to cause pain and suffering to the effective witness of every fruitful disciple. Satan is he who seeks to crush and perplex our work and witness. He wants to contain us and force us into every ungodly mold. He uses whatever method he can to persecute and perplex us, to oppress and embarrass us and bring us to the point of desperation.

When down, be encouraged by the fact “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Even Jesus was once down, crucified, and buried and, for a time, the enemy surely rejoiced. But Jesus got up on the third day. Here is good news, the same power that raised him from the dead is at work in you as a believer. So, get up. 

It is remarkable how resilient that Jesus can help us become. We will always have ups and downs in life. Be assured He will enable us to have one more “get up” than “knock down.” Remember, Who your Trainer is and that He is in your corner.

He is a Master of recovery. Talk to Him. Seek His advice. He loves you.

You Can Experience His Resurrection Power: Part Three

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” (Ephesians 1: 18)

Help is needed to receive and respond to Jesus’ calling of our lives.


The resurrection power which brought Christ back from the dead is available to His followers today.  He who exalted Christ has guaranteed our inheritance. We can presently know His power by what He has done in the past.  To know the power of atomic energy look at Chernobyl. To know the power of God, look at the empty tomb. 

Paul’s prayer is worth praying: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection….” (Philippians 3: 10)

Jesus Christ rightly said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15: 5)

Paul, knowing this and availing Himself of the power of the resurrection wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4: 13)

In verse 19 note the first word “power.” It translates “dunameos,” the word from which we get dynamic, dynamo, and dynamite.

Note the second word translated “power.” It comes from the Greek “ischuos,” which means “might or strength force.” 

God’s dynamics work in the believer to provide strength that exceeds all other power that might threaten our inheritance.

The word “working,” “energeian,” the ability to do. Jesus wants to energize the believer.  As a mechanical toy needs an energizer, so does the believer. Christ in you is that Eternal Energizer. This energy is essential to salvation and service.

It was the resurrected Christ who said, “All power is given to me in heaven and earth….” (Matthew 28: 19) He is our energy and power.

This Little Light of Mine 2/21/99

Matthew 25:1-13
Page 1451 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ was a master story teller. He utilized everyday common events to illustrate uncommon truths. Once He used the common event of a wedding to teach.

We have the advantage of knowing where the story is going from the beginning. It had an immediate application to His presence with the people to whom He was speaking. Messiah had come and they were unsuspecting.

It has application to our day also. Jesus is coming again. Are we prepared?

Consider the customs of a mid-eastern wedding. It has been our good fortune to see several. There are several stages to such a wedding. In a village near Bethlehem we saw the phase of the wedding utilized in this parable.

The bride and her party were walking along a narrow street celebrating. Some were playing a tambourine, some flutes, all were singing, giggling, and smiling. They were on their way to the place of the rendezvous with the groom. They were wearing their most colorful clothes. It was a happy group.

Friends of the bride stay with her and celebrate the coming of the bridegroom. This may go on for some time. Villagers in that land are not time conscious like we are.

Reflecting this attitude one once said to me, “With so many centuries why be concerned with minutes?”

The bride and her entourage know about when, but not exactly when the bridegroom will come. It is his big moment and he often tries to get the most out of it. By the time he gets there the bridal party may be exhausted. In this parable they were even asleep.

There were ten friends with the bride when the groom came at mid-night. All ten had oil lamps. However, only five had oil in their lamps. That is about as impractical as having a flashlight without batteries.

Having failed to prepare for the event by purchasing oil they tried to borrow from those with oil. To do so would have meant no one would have had enough. They were sent to purchase oil. In going to do so they missed out on the party. Bummer!

This is the setting for teaching an important lesson. Three sad sayings are involved in this celebration.

The ten virgins represent the church. Five had oil which is symbolic of the Spirit of God. The other five did not. This depicts some “profess” Christ don’t “possess” Christ. That is, they have all the external trappings of a believer but internally they have never really been born again. They have lamps but no oil. They have church membership and maybe even activities in the church but have never been saved. They are among the legion who will say, “Lord, Lord…” only to hear Him say, “I do not know you” (Vs. 12).

This parable seems to be directed toward those who are content with hearing the word but don’t do it.

Jesus doesn’t just solicit a confession of faith, but a conduct of faith.

He desires not only a profession of faith, but a practice of faith.

There are many to whom the preaching of the gospel is as music in the ears —- of a corpse.

Talk without practice is an enticing form of temptation. It is tempting to others to model the same external motions without internal change. It is tempting to talk about repentance without repenting. To say “I believe” without believing. To speak of Christ as Lord without submitting to Him as such.

May it not be said of us: “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (II Timothy 3:5).

Jesus said of His followers “You are the light of the world.” In our spiritually darkening world we need to let our little lights shine.

In America annually 2,000 new churches are started. Unfortunately 6,000 close each year.

Every week 50,000 people walk out of church never to return.

For the church to survive and perform as the Lord has instructed there must be love within the body.

A man long shipwrecked on a deserted island was found by a rescue party. They said, “Get the others and let’s go.”
“Others, what makes you think there are others?”
“There are three houses, what are they?”
“Well,” he said, “one is my residence and one is my church.”
“What is the third?” they asked.
“Oh, that’s my former church. I got mad and moved my membership.”

Individually and collectively we must let our lamps be trimmed and full of oil.

It is not pushing this parable too far to identify the “oil” to the Holy Spirit in the life of individuals and the church. He is the empowering agent within each.

Daily resupply your oil. This is done through prayer and Bible study —- daily. The Holy Spirit is a renewable resource Who renews us.

God is patient but He is also punctual.

It was too late and they resorted to impossible appeals: “Give us some of your oil.”

There are things you can’t borrow. You can’t borrow on the spiritual account of your parents or friends. Your faith must be your faith.

In the parent child spiritual relations there are two common errors.

One is the parents feeling their children will share their beliefs and faith spontaneously without them modeling and teaching them.

A second is the child thinking he or she will get by on the faith of the parents.

The parable teaches us there is a time when opportunity has passed us. We live with deadlines but fail to realize the importance of being ready for the ultimate deadline —- no pun intended. That deadline being death.

History is replete with stories of unusual death occurrences.

Attila the Hun, the fierce Mongolian warrior, died an unusual death. He wasn’t given to overeating and drinking but on one occasion in 459 AD he did. That night in his drunken stupor he developed a nose bleed and drowned in his own blood.

Aeschylus, a Greek playwright around 500 BC died a most unusual death. An eagle dropped a turtle on his head and killed him. Eagles were known to drop turtles on rocks to open them. One eagle mistook Aeschylus’ bald head for a rock and cracked it.

Sir Francis Bacon was one of the most influential men in all history. He was a statesman, philosopher, writer, and scientist. He died stuffing snow in a chicken.

While watching a snow storm in 1625 he began to wonder if snow could preserve meat like salt. He went outside and tried to stuff a chicken with snow. He never got the chicken frozen but he froze instead.

Jerome Irving Rodale, founding father of the organic food movement, creator of “Organic Farming and Gardening” magazine made an appearance on the “Dick Cavett Show” in January 1971. In that interview he said, “I am going to live to be 100 unless I get run-down by a sugar-crazed taxi driver.” Part way through the interview he dropped dead. The show was never aired.

Jim Fixx, author of the best selling “Complete Book on Running,” and father of the modern running craze was visiting Greensboro, Vermont when he walked out of the house to go jogging and died instantly.

I hope you and I live to be 140 and are having so much fun they have to dispatch us with an overdose of chocolate. However, the day will come when time will run out and the door will be shut.

Now is the day of salvation. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you should have done yesterday.

Today the door is open. Take full advantage of the day to prepare to enter it.

The parable concludes with one of two responses that are applicable to each of us. There is an appeal by the unprepared maidens for admission to the celebration. This remorseful plea is comparable to the inevitable day when the Lord shall have no valid appeal for admission to heaven. “I never knew you.”

There is another potential response to a different plea found in concluding the next parable regarding faithfulness: “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord'” (Matthew 25:21).

There is a legend that Satan was interviewing three apprentice demons just before sending them to earth. He asked the first what he would do to keep people from making a decision for Christ.
“I will tell them there is no God.”
“That’s good but only a few will be foolish enough to ignore the many evidences there is a God.”
The second said, “I will tell them there is no hell.”
“Good, but not good enough. People know justice demands there be such a place.”
The third demon said, “I will tell them they should trust Christ, but there is no reason to hurry. Take your time, do it later.” “That is genius,” exclaimed Satan, “that will damn millions.’ I want to ask two questions using the same words.

Are you a Christian? Here the word Christian is used as a noun meaning have you trusted Christ as Savior.

Again: “Are you a Christian?”

Here the word is used as an adjective meaning is your conduct that which the behavior of a born again person should be?

It is not too late to respond in such a way as to answer “Yes” to both. There will come a time it will be to late.

The clock is running on the opportunity to obtain oil. Let me illustrate this. I have a calling card that allows 15 minutes of free conversation. At intervals a voice comes on saying you have a certain amount of time remaining. When the 15 minutes is up, it is up. There is an abrupt stop.

In essence, our Lord has given us each a calling card called a time in which to call on Him.

The parable concludes with an encouraging exhortation: “WATCH,” that is, be faithful, be prepared.