Civil War in Heaven and Creation of Man

♥ Civil War in Heaven and Creation of Man Audio via Podcast

Several times recently, I have had the discussion of why angels rebelled against God. To be fair, there was more to the question than just that. It was assumed that the interpretation of one-third of the angels rebelled against God, with Lucifer/ Satan leading the rebellion as the correct interpretation of scriptures in Ezekiel 28:14 and following, and Isaiah 14:12ff. This view indicates a civil war in heaven that has flowed over to earth and has come to involve all mankind.

Foundations First

Lets’ set up a few foundational beliefs and go from there. The first would be: the Bible is the Word of God and is to be believed. The second would be that Jesus is the Son of God and His word holds as much weight as God the Father. Another would be that there are varying views that are open to interpretation and some things are black and white. The varying views are usually where arguments and debates come in.

sky-space-dark-galaxy.jpg   Regardless if you hold that Lucifer was the highest archangel created, and he led this rebellion against God with the idea that he would become higher than God or not, there are some things the Bible states clearly. In the Book of Revelation, John said he saw the dragon, which he identified as Satan, sweep a third of the stars from heaven and there was war there (Revelation 12:4-9). Further, the Devil was cast from heaven. Jesus said he looked up and saw the devil fall from the sky like lightning (Luke 10:18). Some say both were using symbolism or in the future tense. Maybe.

It is pretty clear that Satan is in rebellion against God and he is not alone. It begs a question: why? And why the ages long attack on mankind? Part of the answer lies in one’s view of when the rebellion took place. Was it before mankind was created or after? Both views hold implications on why the man was created and why when he sinned, God came looking after him with redemption.

Rebellion Before Man’s Creation

michelangelo-abstract-boy-child-73805.jpeg When Satan rebelled, the devastation was cataclysmic and cosmic in scope. It affected more than the earth. It was quite possible that it happened even before the earth was formed. That is pre-Genesis 1:1. Therefore precipitating God to implement a plan to redeem all the universe. He responded by creating the earth and all that was in it for the main purpose of bringing forth a new creature called Man. This creature would have a second unusual creature called Woman. Part of the purpose of mankind is to battle Satan. Through mankind would come the Redeemer, who would sacrifice His life to redeem, not just mankind (John 3:16-18), but also all creation (Romans 8:18-22 and 2 Peter 1-3). Subsequently, man and Satan are at odds and in combat. Unfortunately, after the sin of Adam, mankind, as well as creation needed redemption.

Rebellion After Man’s Creation

The scenario: God creates man and calls him His greatest creation, partly because this new creation, born of dust was created in the image of God. He is a creator God and creates because it brings Him joy. He created the heavens and the angels, and now He creates this man. God turns to the angels and tells them to minister or serve this new creation. Can’t you see some of the angels becoming indignant? Aren’t they good enough? Suddenly, they are not God’s highest creation? He needs to create more beings to fellowship with? Rebellion ensues and war is declared against the Creator of the Universe and his new creation. The new creation falls and now has to be redeemed, so a savior must come through them. Meanwhile, Satan and his envoys are steadily trying to usurp God and despises this dust-born, pathetic, created image of God.

 My View

I tend to hold to the first view of Satan rebelling before the creation of man. I don’t think redemption was an afterthought to God. If He knows everything, then He would have known man was going to fall, you might argue. True, but even in the fall I think God had redemption at the forefront of creation and ultimately fellowship with His created beings. It was all good when God created it. Satan was bent on destroying it and man. There is a third scenario that blends both of the other in that Satan rebelled after the creation of the world, but before or after the creation of man.

A Sidebar

We don’t know how long the Serpent (Satan) had been in the Garden of Eden. I don’t think he just happened upon Eve one day and deceived her. She wasn’t that weak. I think he tempted her repeatedly over time and slowly wore her down. I think he was working on Adam too. Is this not the tactics he uses against us? He pushes and prods, looking for the chink in your armor, waiting for the right moment. I believe this is what happened in the garden. I think Satan was already working on corrupting the earth just like he had corrupted the rest of creation. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy like he always has and Jesus has come to bring us life and that more abundantly, like he always has.

Extending Grace in the Workplace

dogsIt’s An Attitude

It has been said those who extend grace are weak. Such an attitude embraces a “dog eat dog” world and mindset. You have to look out for number one you know. If you don’t who will. I beg to differ. It is easier to take the “me first and foremost” approach. It takes a much stronger person to keep themselves in control and to offer grace. It’s not natural or usually our first reaction, but it can pay huge dividends, immediately and in the future.

It Happened to Me

pexels-photo-567633.jpeg  I remember one time when I was promoted to a position two levels above where I was currently. Someone higher up the chain believed in me and spoke up for me. I didn’t know this until years after I was promoted. The set up was a little different than I was used to. I have two people I answered to. One was my direct boss, and the other was more of a functional boss. That is, one was local and managed the local business, and the other was corporate and managed the support department that I was now in.

Very early on I found out some things were happening that seemed to be wrong. It fell more into the technical side than the local side. It even appeared like the local administration was privy and allowed the practice. I found out later that this was not true. The corporate boss went around my local boss and told all the local subordinates to desist all work involved until an investigation into the matter was conducted.

I did not know the action the corporate boss was going to do and my local boss was furious. He called me into his office and asked me to close the door. We had a long discussion on how he felt I had “thrown him under the bus.” He asked me why I did not come to him so we could investigate the matter. The truth was, I didn’t know him good enough to trust him at this point. Regardless, I handled it poorly and the disappointment was warranted.

He patiently explained to me that he expected me to come to him in the future if there were any issues. Further, he expected me to be honest with him even if I thought it would make him mad. He said he forgave me for leaving him out of the loop and for the embarrassment. I could tell it hurt him deeply and that he felt betrayed. I think we have all been there. Later I found out that he was the one who had put in a good word for me to get the position. Talk about feeling like a heel.

Our relationship survived those early days, and he has been one of my strongest supporters, and I have gone out of my way to make sure he was not blindsided by anything that had to do with my department. He had every bit of authority to fire me. Maybe not right then, but at other times when I messed up (but not to that degree), he had plenty of opportunities. Instead, he offered grace, and he also gave me advice and encouragement.

What Grace Does

Here’s what a person of grace does, and I believe he did:

  1. They try to understand before being understood. Why did this happen? There are always two sides to a story.
  2. They acknowledge that there was a wrong and extend forgiveness while holding others accountable.
  3. They confront in a non-judgmental way. Grace says, “Hey, you hurt me. You want to tell me about that?”
  4. They remember times when it was extended to them.
  5. They know there will be a time in the future when they will need grace again.
  6. They seek the better outcome for all.
  7. They know that there are times when separation is needed, but they handle it with grace. There are times that the best outcome for all is to let someone go.

Being gracious is not being weak. Ponder this: would you rather work with someone who is gracious, but firm or someone who is ungracious and wishy-washy. Graciousness goes two ways though and even when others are not extending grace we should. We don’t know the story of others. You may be the only one who shows them grace, and that may be just what they need to make it through.

Luck?

My Irish Heritage

I remember growing up and having an interest in my genealogy. My mother would answer my questions of what nationality we came from with this: “You are half German, a quarter Irish and a quarter Mohawk.” Knowing me, that was probably the easiest answer to give. Subsequently, I wanted to visit Germany, Ireland, and the Land of the Mohawk to see where my forefathers had lived and died. Nobel thought, huh? I thought so. We lived in Washington State at the time so I was fortunate to see how the Nisqually lived in that day and to visit the reservations. So I had some idea of how all Native Americans lived.

When I was ten years old, we moved to Florida where my grandparents had moved to several years before. I was excited to finally spend some time with them and get to know them. One day I asked my grandmother about our Irish heritage since she obviously knew more about them. She quickly responded in a heavy New York accent, with “I oughta smack you in the puss.” Several things happened at once. First, I froze as I wasn’t sure what part of my body she was about to smack and second, I wondered what I had said wrong. She explained that we were more Spanish than Irish. It wasn’t that she denied the Irish heritage, it was that she was proud of the Spanish more. Her maiden name was Ricardo. That was something new to me.

So faded my affinity to have the Luck of the Irish and to be heavily affiliated with that magical land. I would never have a pot of gold anyway. Not that I believe in luck anyway, especially as I got older and my relationship with Jesus grew.

I don’t believe in luck

I believe in God. I see people who are superstitious with luck charms (not the cereal) hoping and praying for favorable outcomes; while cursing the gods when things go wrong. I see people playing the lottery and gambling hoping to one-day strick it rich. The last ones are really some that I avoid. I play cards and Yahtzee with my wife and consistently kicks my butt. So, no Vegas or Atlantic City for me.

Why gamble when you can be sure?

Like you, I work too hard for my money to just be giving it to the government. They take enough of it without my permission anyway and take more and more each year. Plus, I am not impressed with how they handle what they get now. Why would I want to give any more to them? Yes, we could debate back and forth how several states use the lottery to fund education, and how our state’s money is going to some other state. I could counter with 95% of people who win the lottery are bankrupt and worse off than when they won and could quote statistics from other states who have to pay for the washout of addiction. I think this debate misses the point. When you boil it all down, the question is: what do you believe, or more plainly, where is your heart?

The One Sure Thing

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills the bible says. So, couldn’t this same God give me a million dollars if He really wanted me to have it? Is that what my relationship with Him is all about? It has to go much deeper with Him.

Jesus told us to worship God the Father with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. When He blesses me, what is my reaction? Well, I deserve this. I work harder than most folks. I am more favored. Can’t you tell by how well I am blessed? Or, look at me. I am all that and a bag of fries baby! Supersized at that.

If God chooses to take everything from me, what would my reaction be then? That’s not fair! Hey, I worked hard for all that! Why are you picking on me? Why I am losing all this and those people over there aren’t even working at all and have more than me? Notice these are all heart issues? Many I have had to deal with before and maybe you have to. Would to God I would have the attitude rather of David and Job.

God said David was a man after God’s own heart. Job said after all he had lost, that even if God chose to slay him, He would still be his God. God is a present help not only in times of trouble (thank you, Jesus) but also in times of plenty. How we handle all times is based on how deep our relationship is with Him.

God loves you if you play the lottery and if you don’t. He loves you when you seem to be doing well and when you are not. What He is after is your heart in order to have a deep, meaningful relationship with you. He wants the best for you and to be a vital part of your life.

Are you, like David, after God’s own heart? Put another way, are you seeking what God’s heart seeks. God further said of David that “he will do what I want him to do.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” and “where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” Where your heart is, is where you will spend the most time, talent, effort, energy, and money. On what do you base your future and look to for direction; luck, chance, fate, crossing your fingers, the stars, horoscope? I don’t believe in luck, I believe in God. I still want to go to Ireland and Spain now.

You Are Called

This last week a young man came to me at our church to ask what it would take for him to become a deacon. I smiled and asked why he would want to be a deacon. He said he wanted to be more committed to God and the church. I remembered when I felt called to go deeper in my commitment to Christ. I went to our pastor and asked. I remember our pastor loved me enough to tell me that I was not ready to be in the ministry or even licensed to preach. I was hurt. I thought this was the next steps when God calls you.

Back to the young man. As I was trying to figure out how to answer him without crushing his spirit, I told him he had to be married. I was stalling. “You’re making that up,” he said. I took out my bible and turned to I Timothy 3 and showed him the qualifications of a deacon. “Look, you’re supposed to have children too,” I pointed out. He said, “Well, what does it take to be an usher?” I began to laugh. I told him that I admired his desire and for him to study the passage in the bible and we would talk again.

The Main Question

The main question here would be: is everyone called? I think the answer is yes. Too often we associate our call with some kind of church work or missionary endeavor. I don’t believe the bible shares this point of view. Here’s why. If God only called people to church vocations then who would farm? Who would teach? Who would enforce the law? Who would do any vocation? God is sovereign. The world, though now fallen was created perfectly by Him and He didn’t just walk away afterward.  What did he call the first man and woman to do? To tend the garden. The bible further shows how God called kings as well as prophets. It tells how He set times, peoples, and nations. He is a God of order.

Our Race

pexels-photo-618612.jpeg    In the bible in the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, we are instructed to run our race. That race is different for all of us. The main problem with the world is that mankind thinks they know better than God. Again, look at the Garden of Eden. If we all did what God called us to do then the world would function perfectly. We, mankind, are flawed and subsequently, our ways are also flawed. Still, there is within all of us a calling. Some call it a passion. Either way, it is there.

pexels-photo-696573.jpeg    I had a chance to talk with this young man again on another day. I explained to him that he indeed had a calling. God did not create us first and then think, “Hmm, what could I have him do?” No, God had a purpose in mind when He created each of us. That is our race. God had the race first and then He created someone to run that race. The young man asked me how to find his calling. I asked him what he was passionate about. He told me his dreams. I told him to start there. I also told him that he could do a process of elimination. I.e. did he feel led to farm, police work, or teaching. He said, “No.” Then I said he could rule these out. I told him to try different things and if he failed not to see these are failures, but as learning opportunities to find his purpose.

Are you looking for your purpose? Here are five things you could do, just like I told the young man and others to get going in the right direction:

  1. Know that without a doubt you were created for a purpose and that God wants you to know it. Hebrews 12:1 and following.
  2. Read the bible for examples where God called men and women from all walks of life.
  3. Read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and start with the five things that God has called us all to do.
  4. Eliminate what you know for sure you don’t have any interest in doing. I would suggest, if possible by trying it first.
  5. Seek out the things that do interest you and try them. Once you try them, you might find out you really weren’t as interested as you first thought.

 

 

Keep Moving: Seven steps to face the storms of life

I am reminded in my darkest and saddest moments of several Bible scriptures that say “and it came to pass.” To be honest, this phrase is speaking of something that has happened, or of something previously foretold that came true. However, I picked up somewhere that things usually don’t come to “stay,” but they do come to “pass.” In essence, they don’t last. That is true for most of the good, bad, and ugly of life.

Constants

There are only two constants: change and the unchanging God. The temporal and the eternal. I have heard it said several times that all of us are heading into a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm. That would mean storms are an intrinsic part of this temporal world. They are a fact of life, and we all have to deal with them. Granted, they come in varying degrees and lengths. Some last for a moment and are intense. Our response is quickly taxed, and our energy quickly spent. Some tend to linger on and slowly drain our energy and reserve.

Our Actions

I have noticed in the business world that there are two kinds of leaders: those that are reactive and those that are proactive. I am sure you have seen both of these. One takes the approach to wait and see what breaks and then we will fix it. They wait until the storm comes and then they react to it. They know the storm is coming, but somehow they hope to dodge it or maybe it won’t be that bad. “Let’s brace ourselves and hope for the best” is their mantra. They bark orders as things start to fall apart.

startup-photos.jpg   Then there are those who know the storm is coming and they prepare. They brace for the storm, true, but they have processes in place that are designed to lessen the damage or better, to face the storm head-on. Their mantra is “We knew this was coming so let’s face this as we practiced.” Will the plan always go as planned? No, but there will be a cohesiveness with the proactive that will not be found with the reactive, especially if the plan has been rehearsed to the point of being second nature. Take, for example, fire or evacuation drills. Those who have been trained in these are more likely to survive because they knew what to do. They have a plan.

Handling Storms

In life, we too can have a plan. Simply put, keep moving. Let’s break it down:

  • Be realistic. What is the worst thing that could happen? Uh, you could die. True, but it hasn’t happened yet and what is the likelihood of it happening today. It could, but the probability is that it won’t. So keep moving.
  • Don’t panic. Panic is not a sound, workable plan. Look around you. What are the facts? Have you survived worse than what is happening to you now? Will you survive this? More than likely. It’s not the end of the world. Well, if it is, worrying won’t change anything. Keep moving.
  • pexels-photo-210182.jpegChange your speed. My wife was with me on a trip as I traveled through Atlanta. I won’t say it was rush hour because I think it always is. Once we hit I-85 north from the south side of Atlanta, I turned my music up and merged (sped) into traffic. My wife began to complain more than usual about my driving. I told her to please remain calm and let me drive. The fast-paced, seemingly erratic nature of my driving and those around us unnerved her. I told her that here “you either run or get runned over” Do you need to speed up or slow down? Either way, keep moving.
  • Face it head-on. Like the traffic of Atlanta or where you might live, face it head-on. I have seen my share of accidents, several while wearing an EMS uniform. I tend to believe the squeamish, overly cautious driver is as bad as or even worse than the aggressive driver. I have taken both offensive and defensive driving courses. I drive offensively and defensively as the situation dictates. Either way, I keep moving.
  • Know where you are going. If you have a destination in mind, then you have a purpose in your movement. Any dead fish can float downstream. Watch the salmon on the Columbia River as they swim upstream to their breeding grounds. They are determined to make it. They have a goal, a destiny, and a passion. Let the setbacks come. With passion, keep moving.
  • pexels-photo-901236.jpegModerate your self-talk. Listen, read, and watch positive messages. There is a difference in what you feel and what you know. Tell yourself what you know. Speak the facts, not the emotions. Have you ever watched athletes as they are walking the tunnel to the field? Many of them are wearing headsets or earphones. Why? Watch the fans of the opposing teams in the tunnel as they taunt and jeer at the athletes. The athletes can’t hear them because they are listening to a different voice. That voice is telling them how they are a winner, a champion, to ignore the detractors, and to keep moving.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded. Find a mentor or two that will challenge you when you are slipping and who will applaud you when you are succeeding. Read, listen, and watch people who have succeeded before you. Hear their stories and learn from their lives. They are rich in knowledge and experience. Let them motivate you to keep moving.

Summary

The storms are going to come to all of us, but they don’t have to stop us. If you get knocked down, don’t just lay there. If you can’t get right back up, then crawl until you can. You can’t keep a good man or woman down. Prepare for the storms so when they come you will be ready.

Twenty-Four Hours

What if in twenty-four hours, your life was going to end?

How would you spend your last day, on this earth my friend?

Would you throw the grandest party, going out in style?

Or sit quietly with loved ones, your last emotion, just a smile?

Would you attempt the wildest things, your money could afford?

Would you sit in contemplation, reviewing your life before the Lord?

What about selling everything you own and giving it to the masses?

Or take stock of what you have, waiting, hoping this crisis passes?

Would people reminisce how you cared for only stuff and things,

And would they cringe and remember cuts, and jabs, and stings?

Would they remember your helping hand, no matter what the cost,

Would you be missed immediately, with tears and heartfelt loss?

What if in twenty-four hours, your life was just a memory?

Would you be quickly forgotten or would you leave a legacy?

Life seems to fly by quicker than the fastest eye can blink.

Live, laugh, and love, it goes by quicker than you think.

 

 

 

The God Principle

Quantum Mechanics?

pexels-photo-197293.jpegI have looked casually into what is the study of quantum mechanics or physics. From what I could find it is where scientist study beyond the atom. That is, we know the atom makes up all matter and then there is the matter of anti-matter, but what makes up the atom. If you remember from some of your high school science days, the atom contains three notable parts: the nucleus (the thing in the middle everything revolves around), the protons, and electrons. The protons and electrons revolve around the nucleus much like a planet revolves around the sun. However, what holds the electrons and protons in orbit like the planets around the sun? It’s not gravity. It is an invisible force that scientists have yet to identify. The study of that force is what quantum mechanics is about (in a simplified definition).

The God Particle

You may have heard the term “God particle” before.  It would take way too long to explain this, but in a nutshell, it is what gives matter mass. It includes photons, protons, etc. and was given the name due to the long drawn out process to find out how atoms (unseen) make up matter (the seen). Way too short of a description as to what it is.  Okay, you say, so what is the God particle? Believe it or not, there are sub-atomic particles. These are particles that exist before the atom; further down beyond the atom. The God particle is sub-atomic, smaller than the atom.

Sub-atomic

nuclear-weapons-test-nuclear-weapon-weapons-test-explosion-73909.jpegQuantum mechanics studies the sub-atomic. It asks questions like what holds the atoms together? What is beyond the atom? What are the forces at play at this level? Generally speaking, it is metaphysical or do I dare say supernatural. All on our side of the atom is physical things. For the most part, we can see it (even if with a microscope), touch it, taste it, smell it. Everything beyond the atom is not physical because atoms are what make up the physical. So it is non-physical or metaphysical. It is not what we would call part of the natural world, but supernatural.

Here is the God Principle

What holds all that we know together has been a conjecture of man for ages. As is so common, the answer is right where it has always been. The problem comes where many say the answer is unacceptable or too simplistic. The answer is in the Bible. Specifically:

“And He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 NSV

Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 says that God/ Jesus created all things. He spoke them into existence. Before the atoms knew what to do and before the creation of even atoms, there was God who is supernatural or spirit. What is the force holding the sub-atomic particles and atomic particles in place? It is Jesus. “And in Him, all things hold together.” He is the force holding it all together. He is the force that holds the electrons and protons in orbit around the nucleus. He is the one who, at the speaking of His word can also let it all go.

earth-planet-front-side-back-41950.jpegSince God is the Creator and Sustainer through Jesus, then He is also the One who knows how it all works and is supposed to work. One day this world as we know it will end. That is when Jesus will set all things right. Peter says of that day “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”  2 Peter 3:10. On that day all the elements will be rearranged and put back in the correct order. One translation of the Bible says there will be a “fervent heat.” Nuclear fusion. The Book of Revelation says there will be a new order, new heaven, and a new earth. The same Jesus who holds all the atoms and matter together, who can and will rearrange those atoms, is also the same Jesus who can hold your life together. Even when it seems it is all out of control and you don’t understand it, you can know that the Creator God of the Universe also can hold you and rearrange your life. But He will not force that upon you. You have to ask. He is more than willing to start today.

You can know the Creator of the Universe today. Click on the link below to find out more.

To Be Born Again.