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No Words Can Express September 20, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Alright, let’s go back and review:  those that were followers of God decided to marry those that were not followers of God.  And at that point the Lord said man’s days would be 120 years.

Even though God was being beyond patient, things were getting bad.  Really bad.  Worse than really bad.  Extremely bad.

Evil was all over the place.

And God saw it all.

He “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  (Genesis 6:5)

Only evil continually.

Imagine…

If you had been God, at that point in time, and you had gone through the heartbreak of man not remembering your simple rules, and you had to remove them from the garden created just for them, simply to protect them from an eternal life of pain and suffering…

…and then you had to watch as they grew more evil with each passing day… hurting each other, hurting themselves, filled with evil thoughts and imaginations, not caring about how they were acting, hateful, spiteful, boastful, proud… the list goes on and on…

What would you have done?

Would you have turned your back and said, “Aw… it’s okay…” and just let it continue?

Or, would you have done something to stop it all?

In all honesty, God could have allowed His pain to turn to anger.  “I’m DONE with all of you!  I’ve had enough!!!”  And then wiped every single person off the face of the earth, out of His anger.

But… He didn’t do that.

In the next moment, we see the heart of the King of Kings.

He repented… of making man, and He was grieved in His heart.

Let’s look at what those two words mean, to get a clearer picture of the emotion the Lord was feeling.

“Repented” means “to be sorry, to regret, to move to pity, to suffer grief” and a lot of other meanings close to these.

“Grieved” means “to be in pain, to be pained, to be grieved, to vex, to wrest, to torture” and a lot of other meanings close to these as well.

Can you see what the Lord was going through?  It wasn’t anger at all. It was deep, deep, deep pain.

So He spoke of the pain in His heart:  “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

There are no words to adequately express the pain the Lord felt, that day.

Man tossed God’s Love aside.  Man didn’t care about God at all.

But God cared about man.

So He looked.

And looked.

And looked.

He scanned the heart of every single man, woman and child on earth, to see if there was anyone at all who had not forgotten about the Lord.

Tomorrow night, we will discuss what He found, and what He did about it.

Sleep well.

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One Little Comment Can Mean So Much September 19, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Welcome back!  For those of you that haven’t read any of our bedtime stories yet, these are built on the greatest story ever told, starting with Genesis.

We now focus on one little comment in this entire story that is so full of meaning, it’s hard to find words to describe it all.

At the end of the “generations of Adam,” the story states that Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  Noah was 500 years old when he had these sons.  Or… at least had the first one.  We don’t know if they were triplets or not.  We just know Noah became a dad at the ripe old age of 500.  (Can you imagine being 500 years old, and changing your kids’ diapers??)  🙂

After this, the story says that the “sons of God” began to marry the “daughters of men.”

This is a sad statement, really.  What this sentence means, is this: the people who called themselves “followers of God” began to marry those that weren’t followers of God.  And apparently, they didn’t care who they married.

And then… the Lord makes a very interesting comment.  He says, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

Just what exactly did the Lord mean by that comment?

There are a lot of different thoughts about this comment.  Some say that the Lord was saying, “I’m only going to be patient with you humans for another 120 years, and then… that’s it!”  They say that He was fed up with man’s wickedness, which resulted from Seth’s descendants marrying Cain’s descendants.

Then there are others who say that God was reducing the life span of all men to a maximum of 120 years.  Let’s face it, mankind had been living a lot of years up to this point.  Why, did you know that Methuselah lived for 969 years, and Adam was still alive when his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson Lamech was born???  (Talk about a big, yearly family reunion!)

Still, others say that this verse actually foretells how long man will be on the earth.  The idea is, when the Lord said “days” He meant “time” and when He said “years” He meant “divisions of time.”  This, they conclude, is a foretelling of the institution of the Jubilee year, and God was saying man would live on this earth for 120 Jubilees, and then the end of time will come.

You know what?  We could speculate and speculate, and stay up all night, wondering which explanation is the correct one.  They could all be wrong, and then again, they could all be right, at the same time.  Because with God, that’s possible.  He could have been talking about all three situations, at one time.  After all…. He’s God.

But the point is this:  God was stating His Love for mankind.  He was willing to extend His patience even with the wickedness going on, because He loves His creation, man included.  He was also willing to shorten man’s lifespan, because when man lived for hundreds of years, he had more time to get into more trouble, you know?  Likewise, God was willing to give man a clue as to how much time he might have on the earth, before time ran out.  Because God doesn’t want anyone to be left behind, when time runs out

He loves us.

So the important questions, from this curious statement He made, are these:

— Are you involved in wickedness that is trying God’s patience?

— Are you banking on living a really long time, which is causing you to put off a decision to follow the Lord with your whole heart?

— Are you thinking that life on this planet will last forever, and nothing will ever change?

As you go to sleep tonight, think about your own life.  God, Who is loving and patient and kind, and Who loves you with a passionate love, doesn’t want you to run out of time.  He wants to make your life the best it can be.

Are you making Him wait?

Why would you do that?

Talk to Him tonight, as you go to sleep.

Names, Names, Names September 15, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Well, Adam and Eve had a third son, to take the place of Abel who was murdered by Cain.  This third son was named Seth.  So even though Abel was dead, and Cain was gone, there was still a son to carry on the family.

(Oh… just so you’ll know… Cain had kids too!  Isn’t it nice to know that God not only protected Cain from being killed, but also allowed him to find a wife and have children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, and even more beyond that!  Isn’t God’s Love wonderful?  He’s gives us more than we can ask Him for, don’t you think? None of us are deserving of His blessing, and yet… He blesses us anyway.)

So why does the storyteller in the Bible take the time to tell us all about the descendants of Adam and Eve?  Why did God feel this information was important, not only to remember but also to pass on to future generations?

Because names are important.

There is deep significance to each name in the ten generations of Adam, and when they are listed together, they tell their own story.

Here are the names of the generations of Adam’s family, through his third son Seth:

Adam

Seth

Enos

Cainan

Mahalalel

Jared

Enoch

Methuselah

Lamech

Noah

Now, here are the meanings of those names, in order:

“humanity, humankind”
“placed, put, granted”
“feeble, frail, mortality”
“a fixed dwelling place”
“praise of God”
“a descent, go down”
“to initiate or discipline, dedicate, train up”
“man of a dart”
“a blow, by implication, a wound; figuratively, carnage, also beaten, slaughter, smote, stripe, stroke, wound, wounded”
“rest, bring rest, quite peace”

And these meanings can be written as the following message:

Mankind
Is appointed to
A feeble, frail mortality
In a fixed dwelling place.
God Who is praised
Comes down
To instruct
As a man sent forth
To be beaten, smitten, and tortured
Bringing rest, a quiet peace

Another reference has translated the names to say the following:

“Man is appointed mortal, frail, and unto sorrow. The Blessed God shall come down to teach. His death shall bring to the despairing rest.”

Of course, we know that the “Blessed God” is Jesus, the Lord.  And His death and resurrection brought to all men the hope of His coming again, and also the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

So God had His eyes on the future, when each man in Adam’s generations was born, didn’t He?

And He has His eyes…. on you.

Rest in sweet sleep, everyone.  Good night.

“humanity, humankind”
“placed, put, granted”
“feeble, frail, mortality”
“a fixed dwelling place”
“praise of God”
“a descent, go down”
“to initiate or discipline, dedicate, train up”
“man of a dart”
“a blow, by implication, a wound; figuratively, carnage, also beaten, slaughter, smote, stripe, stroke, wound, wounded”.
“rest, bring rest, quite peace”

New Life, Lost Life, Troubled Life September 12, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Uncategorized.
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Now let us turn the page, and peer into…

Life After the Garden.

Adam and Eve had a son and named him Cain.  And Eve acknowledged the Lord was still with her, even though she had messed up so badly, when she said, “I’ve given birth to a son, with the help of the Lord.”

That says a lot, you know?

Well, guess what!  Adam and Eve had another baby!  And they named him Abel.

But babies, as you know, grow up to become adults.  Cain and Able grew up, each learning their own trades:  Cain, a farmer, and Abel, a herdsman.

Well, the time came for an offering to be made to the Lord.  So Cain brought produce from his garden, and Abel brought the “firstlings” from his flock.  The Lord liked the offering that Abel brought, but He didn’t like the offering that Cain brought.

Hmm. Why didn’t He?

Well, there are two possible reasons why this was so.  One reason could be that Cain’s offering was not an animal, while Abel’s offering was, and God expected the offering to be an animal.  But another reason can be seen in the way their offerings were… well, offered.

It says that Abel brought the “firstlings” of his flock, but it doesn’t say that Cain brought the “first fruits” of his garden.  Is it possible that Abel brought what was asked of him, the first and best of his animals, while Cain just brought whatever he wanted to bring?  If this is the case, then it’s pretty easy to see why God wasn’t impressed with what Cain had brought.  There was an attitude involved in Cain’s offering that wasn’t pleasing to God.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: what matters more? What we do?  Or the attitude with which we do it?

And you know, since the Lord had sacrificed an animal (or more than one) to make the coverings for Adam and Eve, this reason for God’s dislike of Cain’s offering could be a combination of both these reasons.  Perhaps, Cain didn’t make his offering the way the Lord requested it to be made, and he didn’t think it mattered how he did it.

When the Lord didn’t like his offering, did Cain humble himself before the Lord, and say, “I’m sorry.  You’re right.  I didn’t do what You requested.”

No, Cain got so upset that he killed his brother Abel.  Cain expected to be treated better because he was the first-born, so he got jealous of Abel when Abel was treated better by the Lord.

Once again, the Lord asked Cain the same thing He asked Adam and Eve in the garden:  “What have you done?”  Once again, the heart of the Creator of all living things had been broken.  For once again, one of His children had not followed His rules, and now He was going to have to do as any good parent would do: deal with the situation.

So the Lord had to lay out the consequences for not following the rules:

“Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”

Was Cain repentant even then, after the Lord said these words?  No.  Cain complained;  he told the Lord that this was too much to bear.  “Someone will find me and kill me, now that I am cursed from the ground and also driven from Your sight!”

Yet… because of His Love, the Lord provided for Cain.  He somehow created a warning so whoever found him would know:  Do not harm this man.

Isn’t that amazing!  Even in his troubled state of being a vagrant and wanderer, Cain was still protected by the Lord.

Children, even when you disobey your parents, they still love you.  They still do things to make sure you’re safe.

And when God’s children disobey, break His rules, do things to cause Him pain, He still, still, still… loves His children, and works to protect them.

All because of Love.

Think on His Love as you rest tonight.  Sleep well.