Archive for the ‘Wednesday Evening Sermons’ Category

The Heart of a Godly Leader

Monday, April 19th, 2021

The Heart of a Godly Leader

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / 1 Kings 3:5–15

One morning the young new president of a bank made an appointment with his predecessor to seek some advice. He began, “Sir, as you well know, I lack a great deal of the qualifications you already have for this job. You have been very successful as president of this bank, and I wondered if you would be kind enough to share with me some of the insights you have gained from your years here that have been the keys to your success.”

The older man looked at him with a stare and replied: “Young man, two words: good decisions.”

The young man responded, “Thank you very much, sir, but how does one come to know which is the good decision?”

“One word, young man: experience.”

“But how does one get experience?”

“Two words, young man: bad decisions.

Often it takes the pain of trial and error in order to gain wisdom. What if you could get the wisdom without having to endure the errors? Would you desire wisdom like that if it were offered to you?

If a miracle was to happen, and you could have what your heart desires the most, what would it be? If the miracle happened while you were sleeping this evening, how would you know that it did when you woke up? Ponder these answers in your heart. Everyone will have a different answer. These answers will help us discover what we view to be the most important things in our lives.

God asked David’s son, Solomon, the new King of Israel, this kind of question. God gave Solomon a blank check of blessing and let him fill it in. The young king could have asked for anything. His answer revealed much about his heart. Tonight we will study this answer and see what lies in the heart of a Godly leader.

Humility

1 Kings 3:6–7 KJV

And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

 A. Acknowledge God’s mercy – you did not get what you deserved.

 B. Acknowledge God’s kindness

  1. That protects you from evil

  2. That provides you with blessings

 C. Acknowledge your own weakness.

  1. Do not count on your own strength.

1 Corinthians 1:26–29 KJV

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 

That no flesh should glory in his presence.

  2. Be aware of your own frailty.

James 4:7–10 KJV

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Matthew 18:4 KJV

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

A man approached a speaker and said, “You Christians are all brainwashed.” The speaker replied, “I think we are all brainwashed to a degree. The important thing is that we Christians choose what we want to wash our brains with.”

Accountability

1 Kings 3:8 KJV

And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

 A. These are God’s chosen people.

 B. You are accountable to God for these people.

Acts 20:26–27 KJV

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

1 Corinthians 4:1–4 KJV

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 

For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

An ancient Persian proverb offers the following excellent advice on developing leaders.

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool—shun him.

He who knows not, and knows that he knows not is a child—teach him.

He who knows, and knows not that he knows is asleep—wake him.

He who knows, and knows that he knows is wise—follow him.750

Total Dependence

1 Kings 3:9 KJV

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

 A. Cry out to God for what you need.

  1. Wisdom

 James 1:5 KJV

 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

  2. Boldness

  Acts 4:29 KJV

  And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

  Ephesians 6:18 KJV

  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

 B. God blesses the selfless servant.

 1 Kings 3:10–14 KJV

 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 

And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; 

Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 

And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. 

And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

  1. Gives you what you ask for in order to serve Him better.

  2. Adds extra blessing when your heart is in the right place.

  Philippians 2:1–4 KJV

  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

 An important rule of leadership “Don’t allow the patient to prescribe the medicine.”

 C. Always remember the price that was paid for your sins – don’t get too proud.

 1 Kings 3:15 KJV

 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:51 PM April 19, 2021.

Armed to the Teeth with a Sling Shot!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Armed To The Teeth

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge

Have you ever felt out gunned by the forces of darkness? Have you walked into a situation feeling like you are charging Hell with a squirt gun or perhaps facing a 9 foot tall soldier with nothing but a sling shot and 5 stones? Fear is a crippling force that causes us to underestimate the power of the weapons in our possession. Believers often shrink away from the victory for which we have been equipped and prepared because our trust is in the physical tools and skills we possess rather than the God that enables us and empowers us to use those tools.

The name of the message tonight comes from an ancient idiom. The phrase originated in the 14th century and referred to knights who wore head to foot armour. However, it became popular in the mid 1800s, and was used for weapons only at first. Now it is also used figuratively.

According to one another thought the idiom was actually generated in Port Jamaica in 1600’s and was associated with the pirates of that time. They were supposed to be armed with maximum weapons to fight with their rivals. To be well equipped they also kept a small knife in their teeth which helps them during the fighting.

Source: theidioms.com

For the next few minutes let us examine how in the world David could have the confidence to face Goliath. Let us discover together how this 17 year old shepherd boy could face a 9 foot tall warrior unafraid. How could David stride out into battle when everyone else ran? How could David face Goliath like this shepherd boy was armed to the teeth?

Personal Armor

Familiar Armor

1 Samuel 17:32–37 KJV

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 

And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 

And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 

And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 

David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

Psalm 18:16–17 KJV

He sent from above, he took me, He drew me out of many waters. 

He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

Psalm 63:7 KJV

Because thou hast been my help, Therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

Psalm 138:3 KJV

In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, And strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

Not someone else’s armor

1 Samuel 17:38–39 KJV

And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 

And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

Hosea 1:7 KJV

But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

Zechariah 4:6 KJV

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, Saith the LORD of hosts.

Prepared Armor

1 Samuel 17:40 KJV

And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

God can use anything as a weapon when He empowers the one that wields it.

 • The Shepherd’s staff – that protected from wolves and wrangled wandering sheep.

 • Smooth stones – God had been preparing those rocks, smoothing out the rough edges for years just for this moment.

 • Sling – the weapon he knew

Judges 3:31 KJV

And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.

Judges 15:15–16 KJV

And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. 

And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, With the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

God’s Enemies will make fun of your faith and your weapon.

1 Samuel 17:41–44 KJV

And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. 

And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. 

And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 

And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

Powered Armor

 • Power in the Name of the Lord

1 Samuel 17:45 KJV

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

 • The Lord will deliver

1 Samuel 17:46 KJV

This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

 • I will cut off your head

 • I don’t need a sword to do it

 • Everyone will know the Battle is the Lord’s!

1 Samuel 17:47–50 KJV

And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands. 

And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 

And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

Death was handled differently in the ancient world. An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the curator of a prestigious natural history museum.

“I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed.

To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.”

A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?”

“Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath’.”

The moral of the story: Don’t bet on Goliath and his huge broadsword when God has send David armed to the teeth with a sling and 5 stones.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 5:11 PM April 6, 2021.

A Slippery Slope

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

A Slippery Slope

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Judges 3:5–7

A hunter went out into the forest to shoot a bear. With winter fast approaching he planned to make a warm coat out of the bearskin. Soon he saw a bear coming toward him, he raised his gun and took aim.

“Wait,” said the bear, “why do you want to shoot me?”

The hunter replied: “Because I am cold.”

The bear replied “But I am hungry, so maybe we can reach an agreement.”

In the end, the hunter was well enveloped with the bear’s fur, and the bear had eaten his dinner.

The point: Disobedience (even partial) is sin, and we will always lose out when we try to compromise with sin! It will consume us in the end.

___

This week, in our 2021 Bible Reading challenge, we have been reading about the cyclical fall, judgement, repentance, and deliverance of the Children of Israel. It is easy for us to sit back and wonder how a people could be so thick as to turn from God so quickly. But the reality is it only takes a generation to completely change directions. Tonight we are going to look at three signs that one is on the Slippery Slope of Wickedness.

Become Comfortable With Carnality.

Judges 3:5 KJV

And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words To Dwell

yashab (??????, 3427), “to dwell, sit, abide, inhabit, remain.”

Starts By Stopping the Good

Deuteronomy 6:4–9 KJV

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Continues With Being Fascinated With Sin

Genesis 13:12 KJV

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Proverbs 23:17 KJV

Let not thine heart envy sinners: But be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

Completes With Comfort

Psalm 1:1 KJV

Blessed is the man That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

walk, stand, and sit. This verbal progression depicts a regression from moving—to stationary—to sitting. Perhaps the idea is that sin is a temptation that one first tries out, later becomes accustomed to, and finally becomes a habit or lifestyle. Many have noted that the verbs walk, stand, and sit also call to mind the positive commandment in Deut. 6:4–9 that the person of faith is to keep the commandments of God in mind while at home and away, while coming and going. 

Become Comfortable With Compromise

Judges 3:6 KJV

And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

Genesis 6:4–6 KJV

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 

And GOD 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. 

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Exodus 34:16 KJV

And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

Deuteronomy 7:3–4 KJV

Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

2 Corinthians 6:14–17 KJV

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Become Comfortable With Corruption

Judges 3:7 KJV

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

 • Did evil

 • Forgot God

 • Served Baalim

When we compromise with the world we lose our fellowship with God. A former Dean of St Paul’s, W R Inge, famously observed that any church that enters into a marriage with the spirit of the age “will soon find itself a widow in the next”.

How in the world does a people go from worshipping God to sacrificing to idols in one generation? How can churches that once preached the Gospel now reject the authority of Scripture? It happens when we allow ourselves to become comfortable, first with carnality, then with compromise and finally with corruption. That it the Slippery Slope.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:06 PM March 23, 2021.

Now Therefore Arise!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Now Therefore Arise!

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Joshua 1:1–5

Years ago a certain Englishman moved to the United States. Soon after he arrived he dropped out of sight. One day his uncle in England died and left him about a five–million dollar estate. Scotland Yard went about trying to locate the man whose last address had been in Chicago. They searched for him but never found him. Later I heard that he was found one morning frozen to death in an entryway of a cheap hotel. He could not afford twenty–five cents for a room although he was heir to five million dollars! He did not claim what was his. He did not lay hold of what belonged to him.

Although God gave Israel the Promised Land, they never possessed all of it. As a matter of fact, Israel got very little of the land. Many Christians today are like Israel in that they are blessed with all spiritual blessings and yet they die like bums in a doorway without claiming those blessings as their own.

 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: History of Israel (Joshua/Judges), electronic ed., vol. 10 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 14.

This must have been a terrifying time for Joshua. The leader who introduced God to him, who taught him the law, who he followed loyally for 40 years was dead. It was now up to Joshua to take this often rebellious and idolatrous crew into the promised land. He had to face giants and incredible odds without the leader he knew and loved. He had to do it as an older person. Surely there was a high level of anxiety and self doubt. On top of all that Joshua was probably grieving heavily, and you don’t feel like getting out of bed much less going to war when you are buried in grief. It was at that moment, at the point where Joshua could have been paralyzed with grief and fear that God came to him with a specific command.

Joshua 1:1–2 KJV

NOW after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

Moses my servant is dead – therefore arise. This had to be a difficult command. That should have been enough. God does not need to talk us into obeying. However in his loving and gracious way, He gave Joshua reasons to cast aside his fear and sadness and rise up to the task to which he has been called.  

There comes a time after an intense trial, loss or other dark valley that God wants us to move on and move up. We are allowed to grieve from time to time. We are allowed to hide ourselves from evil. We are allowed to take a rest, to come apart alone. But there comes a time when we need to get moving again. There comes a time when we need to get back to the ministry… to get back to church.. to get back to serving the King. God would be completely within His rights to just demand that we “BUCK UP BUTTERCUP”… but in this passage God gives Joshua and to us who studies these words the truths he needs to strengthen him, and the truths that we need in order to enthusiastically respond to the command “Now Therefore Arise!” 

The Outcome Is Already Settled

Joshua 1:3 KJV

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

 God didn’t give Joshua explanations as to how He would accomplish these things, because God’s people live on promises and not on explanations. When you trust God’s promises and step out by faith (v. 3), you can be sure that the Lord will give you the directions you need when you need them.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24.

 God has given them the land. The land is theirs, but their enjoyment of it depends upon their taking possession of it. That part of the land upon which they walked would belong to them. Comparatively speaking, we have been told in Ephesians 1:3 that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. Unfortunately, very few Christians lay hold of the spiritual blessings that belong to them.1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: History of Israel (Joshua/Judges), electronic ed., vol. 10 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 14.

Ephesians 1:3 KJV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

 God had already given them the land; it was their responsibility now to step out by faith and claim it (Josh 1:3; see Gen. 13:14–18). The same promise of victory that God had given to Moses (Num. 11:22–25), He reaffirmed to Joshua; and He carefully defined the borders of the land. Israel didn’t reach that full potential until the reigns of David and Solomon.

  The lesson for God’s people today is clear: God has given us “all spiritual blessings … in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), and we must step out by faith and claim them. He has set before His church an open door that nobody can close (Rev. 3:8), and we must walk through that door by faith and claim new territory for the Lord. It is impossible to stand still in Christian life and service; for when you stand still, you immediately start going backward. “Let us go on!” is God’s challenge to His church (Heb. 6:1), and that means moving ahead into new territory.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24–25.

The Boundaries were already set.

Joshua 1:4 KJV

From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

the Lebanon Territory north of Israel, roughly corresponds with modern-day Lebanon.

the land of the Hittites The Hittite Empire was centered in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) but controlled territory north of Lebanon (and north/northwest of the Euphrates). However, some ot references to Hittites are most likely referring to a group of native Canaanites, descendants of Heth, son of Canaan (1 Chr 1:13), and not to the Hittite Empire (see Gen 23:10; 27:46). The Canaanite Hittites are most likely meant here (compare Deut 7:1; Ezek 16:3). See note on Josh 3:10.

great sea The Mediterranean Sea.

in the west The west (where the sun sets).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Jos 1:4.

The Pattern Has Already Been Established.

Promises Made in the Past

Genesis 12:7 KJV

And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Genesis 15:18 KJV

In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Deuteronomy 11:24 KJV

Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

Past Promises Kept – As I Was With Moses

Joshua 1:5 KJV

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Exodus 14:31 KJV

And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

 • Joshua

Genesis 28:14–15 KJV

And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

 • Gideon 

Judges 6:16 KJV

And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

 • Jewish Exiles

Isaiah 41:10 KJV

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 43:5 KJV

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, And gather thee from the west;

A wise leader doesn’t completely abandon the past but builds on it as he or she moves toward the future. Moses is mentioned fifty-seven times in the Book of Joshua, evidence that Joshua respected Moses and what he had done for Israel.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 23.

No Man Will Be Able to Stop You

Romans 8:31 KJV

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:37 KJV

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Personal Promises Have Been Made

Joshua 1:5 KJV

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

I Will Not Leave You

John 10:27–30 KJV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 

I and my Father are one.

Matthew 28:20 KJV

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

I Will Not Fail You

cast, to throw, i.q. ??????, ?????, whence pr.n. ?????? (casting forth, throwing down), specially—

(2) to cast down, to let fall, especially the hand, die Hand fallen lassen, see Piel, Hiphil. In Kal intrans. to decline as the day, i.e. to draw to a close, Judges 19:9; used of hay in the fire, i.e. to sink down, Isai. 5:24; followed by ???? to relax, to desist from any person or thing, Ex. 4:26; Jud. 8:3; Neh. 6:9.1

1 Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003), 776.

to grow slack, release, let go; (Hi.) to abandon, desert, leave in the lurch; let loose, release from (45)1

1 George M. Landes, Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary: Learning Words by Frequency and Cognate, vol. 41, Resources for Biblical Study (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001), 86.

I Will Not Forsake You

?azab (??????, 5800), “to leave, forsake, abandon, leave behind, be left over, let go.” This word occurs in Akkadian and post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. Similar words appear in Arabic and Ethiopic. The word occurs in biblical Hebrew about 215 times and in all periods.

Basically ?azab means “to depart from something,” or “to leave.” This is the meaning of the word in its first biblical appearance: “[For this cause] shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife …” (Gen. 2:24). A special nuance of the word is “to leave in the lurch,” or to leave someone who is depending upon one’s services. So Moses said to Hobab the Midianite (Kenite): “Leave us not [in the lurch] I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes” (Num. 10:31).

The word also carries the meaning “forsake,” or “leave entirely.” Such passages convey a note of finality or completeness. So Isaiah is to preach that “… the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (Isa. 7:16). In other places, the abandonment is complete but not necessarily permanent. God says that Israel is “as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit.… For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee” (Isa. 54:6–7). In Akkadian, this word carries a technical sense of “completely and permanently abandoned” or “divorced.” Isaiah employs this sense in 62:4: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; … but thou shalt be called [My delight is in her], and thy land [Married].…”1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 87.

Charles Spurgeon tells this story:

I have heard of a certain captain who had led his troops into a very difficult position, and he knew that the next day he should want them all to be full of courage. So, disguising himself, at nightfall he went around their tents and listened to their conversations until he heard one of them say, “Our captain is a very great warrior, and has won many victories, but he has this time made a mistake; for see, there are so many thousands of the enemy, and he has only so many infantry, so many cavalry, and so many guns.” The soldier made out the account and was about to sum up the scanty total when the captain, unable to bear it any longer, threw aside the curtain of the tent and said, “And how many do you count me for, sir?”—as much as to say, “I have won so many battles that you ought to know that my skill can multiply battalions by handling them.”

And so the Lord hears his servants estimating how feeble they are, and how little they can do, and how few are their helpers; and I think I hear him rebukingly say, “But how many do you count your God for? Is he never to come into your estimate? You talk of providing, and forget the God of providence; you talk of working, but forget the God who works in you to will and to do according to his own good pleasure.”1

1 Charles Spurgeon, 300 Sermon Illustrations from Charles Spurgeon, ed. Elliot Ritzema and Lynnea Smoyer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:37 AM March 17, 2021.

Straight Ahead

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Straight Ahead

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Deuteronomy 17:18–20; Deuteronomy 28:14

A little boy was riding his tricycle furiously around the block, over and over again. Finally a policeman stopped and asked him why he was going around and around. The boy said that he was running away from home. Then the policeman asked why he kept going around the block. The boy responded, “Because my mom said that I’m not allowed to cross the street.”

The point is clear—obedience will keep you close to those you love.9271

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 253.

Our 2021 Bible Reading Challenge has taken us through the Pentatuch, the Books of the Law. In them we have been introduced to the main players in the battle of good and evil. We have learned about satan, about sin, about death and about forgiveness and restoration. Most of all we have learned about who God is and how we can relate to Him. One of the things we have been taught is that God knows better than we do.  He gave Moses the 10 Commandments not the 10 suggestions. We saw fire come from the altar and kill Aaron’s two sons because they did not follow God’s commandments regarding incense.

While doing this week’s devotions, a repeated phrase jumped out at me.

Deuteronomy 17:20 KJV

That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

I was reminded of the words of our Savior also refering to the way of truth being a very narrow and specific pathway.

Matthew 7:14 KJV

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

God knows better than we do. God loved us enough to give us the truth. We should not turn to the right and add what we think God really meant. We should not turn to the left by taking way what He did say. We would do well to follow the advice found in the law and repeated by our Savior. We should stay right on the path He put forth and go straight ahead.

The Straight Path Delivers Leaders From The Snare of Pride.

Deuteronomy 17:15 KJV

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

Deuteronomy 17:18–20 KJV

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 

That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

 • Godly leadership is always submissive to the Word of God

 • Godly leadership is always learning

Psalm 131:1 KJV

LORD, My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

 • Godly leadership must guard against pride.

 • Godly leadership does not invent new scripture

 • Godly leadership does not ignore existing scripture.

Isaiah 55:7–11 KJV

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts. 

For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The Straight Path Delivers From False Doctrine

 • False gods… idolatry

Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

 • False and deceptive teaching

Ephesians 4:11–14 KJV

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The Straight Path Delivers From Crippling Fear

Joshua 1:7 KJV

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

Joshua 23:6 KJV

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;

The Straight Path Delivers From Past Mistakes and Leads to Revival.

2 Kings 22:1–2 KJV

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. 

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

Jeremiah 6:16 KJV

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

We learn a lot about who God is from reading the Books of the Law. He is a God that loves us and knows all. He has revealed His truth to us in His Word. We do not need to add to it (turn to the right) nor dilute or take away from it ( turn to the left). We need to go straight ahead!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:24 PM March 9, 2021.

The Lord Hears You

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

The Lord Hears You

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Deuteronomy 1:34

Will Smith and Gene Hackman star in the 1998 movie, Enemy of the State. The concept is that whether you deserve it or not, the Government has immense capabilities to spy on every minute detail of your life. As unnerving as the film was, technology has only grown more sophisticated. Satellites, GPS, cameras, email, smart phones, Alexa, and Siri all can be hacked and monitored. Later there was a hit TV series, Person of Interest, that featured a fictional machine that could intercept all the metadata out there and flag dangerous behavior and situations. in 2013 Edward Snowden leaked classified information revealing our government’s unconstitutional monitoring of private citizens routine phone calls with no specific probable cause. The Government really is like the fictional “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s novel 1984. About a year and a half ago I was involved in a passionate political debate with a ride share customer and I quoted a statistic… all of a sudden my phone interrupts the conversation by saying “Actually the real numbers are…” Not only was my phone listening, it was actively involved in solving a political debate! We would do well to realize that in America there are very few places where we can have private communications any more.

As unnerving as that seems, there is an even more invasive listener than Uncle Sam. You see what ever we say in public, on Facebook, in private texts, even whispered in dark corners of the world, God hears! Let that sink in… there is no privacy setting, no mute, no encryption code that will stop this. Whatever you are saying, the Lord Hears You.

The Lord Hears You Murmuring and Complaining

Deuteronomy 1:27 KJV

And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

Deuteronomy 1:34–36 KJV

And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, 

Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, 

Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.

Exodus 16:9 KJV

And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.

Exodus 16:12 KJV

I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.

The Lord Hears the Whispers of Bigotry

Numbers 12:1–2 KJV

And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 

And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.

The Lord Also Hears When You Need Him

The Lord Hears Cries of Affliction

Hagar

Genesis 16:11–12 KJV

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. 

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

Leah

Genesis 29:31–35 KJV

And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 

And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 

And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 

And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 

And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

The People of Israel

Deuteronomy 26:7 KJV

And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:

Exodus 3:7 KJV

And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

His Children

Psalm 18:6 KJV

In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of his temple, And my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Psalm 120:1 KJV

In my distress I cried unto the LORD, And he heard me.

Psalm 3:4 KJV

I cried unto the LORD with my voice, And he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

Psalm 6:8–9 KJV

Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; For the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. 

The LORD hath heard my supplication; The LORD will receive my prayer.

Psalm 34:4 KJV

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

The Lord Hears Our Prayers

Psalm 116:1 KJV

I love the LORD, because he hath heard My voice and my supplications.

1 Peter 3:12 KJV

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

The Lord Hears Prayers for Healing.

James 5:15–16 KJV

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

1 Kings 17:17–22 KJV

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 

And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 

And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 

And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 

And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 

And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

The Lord Hears The Humble

2 Chronicles 33:11–13 KJV

Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 

And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 

And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.

Psalm 10:17 KJV

LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

Jonah 2:2 KJV

And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; Out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

It is sobering to realize that someone may be on the other side of our smart TV listening and watching what we do as a family. It is maddening to realize that in spite of guaranteed 4th amendment protection from random search and seizure, Big Brother is constantly encroaching on our freedom. It should be more sobering to realize that every word you spoke against your brother or sister in private gossip was not private. It should be empowering that when you whisper a prayer of supplication, a cry for help in the shadows of life, or a statement of humble surrender…God is about to take action because the Lord is Listening!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 5:32 PM March 2, 2021.

By Name: The Personal Personal Nature of Salvation

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Numbers 1:17–20

Jeff Greenfield is a news correspondent for ABC News. He lives in Salisbury, Connecticutt and has attended the same Memorial Day observance in his community for the last 15 years. He writes:

“At 10 a.m., the parade begins moving down Main Street. It is a small parade: two vintage cars, bearing the region’s oldest war veterans; the men and women who served in the military; the Salisbury Town Band; the Scouts; the Housatonic Day Care Center; the fire trucks from the volunteer fire departments in and around the Northwest Corner. We fall in line behind the fire trucks, and follow the parade to the cemetery. There’s a hymn, and a prayer, followed by a Scout who reads the Gettysburg Address, haltingly, shyly. Then come the names of the men who died in the World Wars, in Korea, in Vietnam. A minister recites the 23rd Psalm, a bugler plays taps (with another bugler far away playing the echo), the flag is raised from half-staff, and we all walk the few steps back to the Village Center. It is as artless, as unaffected a ceremony as can be imagined. There are no speech writers, no advance men measuring the best angles for TV (there is no TV) and by the end of it, I—along with many other allegedly sophisticated urban types, are in tears.

The men whose names have been read indeed gave what Lincoln called “the last, full measure of devotion”—some in wars whose purpose no one could doubt—some in wars whose purpose will never be clear, some for the folly and arrogance of the men in charge. When they fell, their deaths were a small part of a bigger story. But every Memorial Day, the lives they never got to live, and the people they left behind, are the only story that matters. That is why it matters that their names are uttered aloud before people who never knew any of them. That is why it matters that we were there this year—and will be there the next and the next and the next.

SOURCE: Jeff Greenfield. ABC News InFocus, May 28, 1997. 

Our 2021 Bible Reading Challenge has taken us to some material that could cause our eyes to glaze over. We read a census inspired by God. How can this get me closer to the image of Christ? Tonight we will discover that God is not just interested in the crowd and the nation, He is interested in each individual. He is an intensely personal shepherd. His Love is personal and intimate.

The Individual Is Expressed By His Name

Numbers 1:17 KJV

And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:

Numbers 1:18 KJV

And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

Numbers 1:20 KJV

And the children of Reuben, Israel’s eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:22 KJV

Of the children of Simeon, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:24 KJV

Of the children of Gad, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:26 KJV

Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:28 KJV

Of the children of Issachar, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:30 KJV

Of the children of Zebulun, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:32 KJV

Of the children of Joseph, namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:36 KJV

Of the children of Benjamin, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:38 KJV

Of the children of Dan, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:40 KJV

Of the children of Asher, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

Numbers 1:42 KJV

Of the children of Naphtali, throughout their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

 • Each name expressed an eternal soul

 • Each name expressed relationships

 • Each name expressed passions

 • Each name expressed human drama

 • Each name expressed joys and sorrows

 • Each name expressed hopes and dreams

 • Each name expressed failure and faith

 • Each name expressed sin and forgiveness

Psalm 103:14 KJV

For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.

His Sheep Are Known By Name

John 10:14 KJV

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Matthew 10:29–31 KJV

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

3 John 14 KJV

but I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

His Sheep Are Called By Name

Acts 9:36 KJV

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

Luke 4:25–27 KJV

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 

But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

His Sheep Are Given a New Name

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 KJV

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Genesis 32:28 KJV

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Revelation 2:17 KJV

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 3:12 KJV

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

It is easy for us to see the crowd but not the individuals. Tucked away in this Old Testament passage is the truth that God sees us as individuals, loves us personally, and called us intimately. The Sweet Savior knows and loves you by name.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:28 PM February 17, 2021.

The Long Way Around

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

The Long Way Around

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Reading Challenge 2021 / Exodus 13:17–18

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once commented that race horses must be incredibly confused: the jockeys whip and kick them, obviously in a hurry, but they take the longest possible route, all the way around the track, to reach the finish line! In our lives, we face many detours that may seem pointless, but God always has a wonderful purpose. 

Sometimes as we follow the loving leading of Jesus, our Great Shepherd, it seems like He is taking us in the wrong direction. We would think that the most direct route is the most logical, yet God seems to take us through detours, potholes, and winding dirt roads on our pathway to Christlikeness.  

In our 2021 Bible Reading challenge this week I found a couple of verses tucked in the narrative before the Israelites even escape slavery. These verses give great insight as to how much God knows his children. God knows His people like a Shepherd knows his sheep. He knows what we are ready for and what we are not.  If need be, He is willing and able to make sure we take the long way around.

Exodus 13:17–18 KJV

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 

But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

God Leads With Love And Precision.

Psalm 107:6–7 KJV

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, And he delivered them out of their distresses. 

And he led them forth by the right way, That they might go to a city of habitation.

Psalm 23:3 KJV

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalm 25:4–5 KJV

Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: For thou art the God of my salvation; On thee do I wait all the day.

God Knows What We Are Ready For.

Exodus 13:18 KJV

But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

 • This is not a leading away from trials

 • It is a leading to the trials we need right now at this level of our maturity.

 • The Israelites needed to see God work

Exodus 14:11–18 KJV

And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 

Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. 

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 

And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

God Knows What We Are Not Ready For

Exodus 13:17 KJV

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:

 • God knew how they would react to the spy’s report, so He knew they were not ready for war… YET

Numbers 14:1–4 KJV

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 

And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 

And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 

And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

The road through the Philistine country is a reference to the major route that ran through the Fertile Crescent from Egypt to Babylonia and is known as the Great Trunk road. It went along the coast of the Mediterranean, which took it through Philistine territory in southern Palestine before moving inland through the valley of Jezreel just south of the Carmel range. Along the north of the Sinai peninsula the Egyptians referred to it as the Way of Horus, and it was heavily defended since it was the route used by armies as well as trade caravans.1 

1 Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Ex 13:17. 

God Lovingly Prepares Us For What We Are Not Yet Ready For.

Exodus 13:18 KJV

But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

Learn About God’s Deliverance

Psalm 107:6–7 KJV

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, And he delivered them out of their distresses. 

And he led them forth by the right way, That they might go to a city of habitation.

Leviticus 11:45 KJV

For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Learn About God’s Laws

Nehemiah 9:13–14 KJV

Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: 

And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:

Learn About God’s Justice

Exodus 20:5–6 KJV

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Learn About God’s Mercy

John 3:14 KJV

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

Learn About God’s Provision

Nehemiah 9:15 KJV

And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.

Learn About God’s Enablement so they could face War.

Joshua 24:17–18 KJV

For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 

And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

Babbie Mason wrote these words, “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. When you don’t understand and can’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, TRUST HIS HEART.” 

So fret not, Brothers and Sisters when the way seems long and convoluted. Keep following the Shepherd. He knows best, even if He takes us the Long Way Around.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 8:34 PM January 26, 2021.

Blind Passion

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Blind Passion

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Reading Challenge 2021 / Genesis 25:29–34

A fly was buzzing along one morning when he saw a lawn

mower someone had left out in their front yard. He flew over and sat on the handle, watching the children going down the sidewalk on their way to school.

One little boy tripped on a crack and fell, spilling his lunch on the sidewalk. He picked himself up, put his lunch back in the bag and went on. But he missed a piece of bologna. The fly had not eaten that morning and he sure was hungry. So he flew down and started eating the bologna. In fact he ate so much that he could not fly, so he waddled across the sidewalk, across the lawn, up the wheel of the lawn mower, up the handle, and sat there resting and watching the children.

There was still some bologna laying there on the sidewalk. He was really stuffed, but that baloney sure did look good.

Finally temptation got the best of him and he jumped off the handle of the lawn mower to fly over to the baloney. But alas he was too full to fly and he went splat!!, killing him instantly.

The moral of the story: Don’t fly off the handle when you are full of baloney.

There’s a dark side to us, that’s as reckless as the fly. It does not matter what the costs are, you just got to have it. Humanity is like that, so full of baloney, they can’t see it and they fly off the handle, thinking they can handle it all, and be satisfied only to end up splat.

_____________

The Bible is full of warnings about fleshly lusts… natural desires that seek to be fulfilled outside the boundary of God’ s will.

1 Peter 2:11 KJV

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

1 Corinthians 9:27 KJV

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1 John 2:16 KJV

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Like that poor fly, we can have have cravings, often physical desires, that attempt to rule our lives. This week during our 2021 Bible Reading Challenge, we read about Esau and how he gave up his inheritance and religious privilege as firstborn son in exchange for red lentil stew. What would lead him to make such a foolish choice? Tonight we are going to learn a very important lesson.

 Succumbing to the seduction of immediate gratification can blind you to the gravity and severity of its long term consequences.

Lust Can Be Triggered.

Genesis 25:29–30 KJV

And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 

And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

 • Sometimes it is triggered by your senses… something in your environment… the smell of cooking

 • It can be triggered by physical need.

 • It can be triggered by physical neglect.

 • It can be triggered by fatigue… Esau had been hunting all day and got nothing

 • It can be triggered as a learned response.

It is possible to identify some of those triggers and avoid them.

Romans 13:14 KJV

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

And he was famished: famished means to be weak and faint from having gone without food for a long while. This idea is sometimes expressed idiomatically; for example, “hunger held him by the throat” or “hunger burned his stomach.”1

1 William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Genesis, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1998), 585.

Let me eat some of that red pottage is literally “Let me swallow.…” The narrator is depicting Esau as a greedy glutton. njv expresses the thought well with “Let me gulp down.” In some translations the feeling is expressed by “Give me that red soup of yours. Hurry!” Red pottage is literally “this red, red” (Hebrew ’edom, a word that sounds like “Edom”).1

1 William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Genesis, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1998), 586.

Gratification Comes At a Price

Genesis 25:31 KJV

And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

BIRTHRIGHT — a right, privilege, or possession to which a person, especially the firstborn son, was entitled by birth in Bible times. In Israel, as in the rest of the ancient world, the firstborn son enjoyed a favored position. His birthright included a double portion of his father’s assets upon his death (Deut. 21:17). Part of the firstborn’s benefits also were a special blessing from the father (Gen. 27:27) and the privilege of leadership of the family (Gen. 43:33).

The inheritance rights of the firstborn were protected by law, so the father could not give his benefits to a younger son (Deut. 21:15–17). The firstborn himself, however, could lose the birthright. Because he committed incest with his father’s concubine (Gen. 35:22), Reuben lost his favored position (1 Chr. 5:1–2), while Esau sold his birthright to his younger brother Jacob for a stew of lentils (Gen. 25:29–34), or for “one morsel of food” (Heb. 12:16).

Jesus was both the firstborn of his heavenly Father (John 3:16), and his earthly mother, Mary (Luke 2:7); so he enjoyed the rights and privileges of the Jewish birthright. All Christians are His brothers, sharing in His spiritual inheritance (Rom. 8:17). They are counted as “firstborn” by God’s grace (Heb. 12:23).1

1 Ronald F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, and R. K. Harrison, Thomas Nelson Publishers, eds., Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1995).

Hebrews 11:25 KJV

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

 • Lust could have you give up your family

 • Lust could have you give up your marriage

 • Lust could have you give up your job

 • Lust could have you give up your life’s savings

 • Lust could have you give up your health

 • Lust could have you give up your life

James 1:13–15 KJV

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The severity of the lust masks the severity of the consequences.

Genesis 25:32 KJV

And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

**Canvas Slide**

Esau exaggerates not only his hunger but the imminence of his death as well, unless one understands his hinn?h ??n??î hôl?? l?mû? as an idiom of hyperbole, akin to our “I’m starving to death” or “I’m dying of thirst.” When Esau first spoke about his hunger (v. 30), he used the exact phrase that the narrator had used in the previous verse: narrator (v. 29): “Esau … starving (??s?w … ??y?p?); Esau (v. 30): “I am starving” (??y?p? ??n??î). Here he exaggerates “I am starving” to “I am on the verge of dying.” If he really believes that he is dying, then does he think a bowl of stew can arrest the inevitable? But given the choice of retaining his special status or getting something to eat, he opts for the latter.1

1 Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 184–185.

Philippians 3:18–19 KJV

(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 

Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Hebrews 12:16–17 KJV

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

The third “lest” clause is v. 16: “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright” (AV). Because the OT has no explicit reference to immoral behavior by Esau, it is hard to know whether “fornicator” is to be understood literally or metaphorically.2 In nonbiblical Jewish literature Esau was accused of being a womanizer and one who not infrequently engaged in immoral trysts with married women (Gen. Rabbah 65:1; Jub. 25:1, 8). More than likely Heb. 12:16 reflects that tradition.

The incident to which the writer of Hebrews clearly alludes illustrates a misplaced sense of values more than it does sexual immorality. To prostitute oneself, as in Esau’s case, means to be bereft of any spiritual values, to put the needs of the immediate moment ahead of any other considerations, to put feeling ahead of conscience, to give away much (“sold his birthright”) and receive back little in return (“for a single meal”). This, says the writer to the Hebrews, is what Esau did, but what those who pursue peace and sanctification will avoid. Note that Heb. 12:16 describes Esau as both pórnos and béb?los (“profane” [AV]; “irreligious” [RSV]; “degrade religion” [JB]; “worldly-minded” [NEB]); “defiled” [Buchanan]; “unclean” [Attridge]). In the LXX béb?los is associated with cultic matters (e.g., Lev. 10:10; Ezek. 4:14; 21:25; 22:26; 44:23). But in the NT it is always an ethical/religious term, applied either to people (1 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 12:16) or to things (1 Tim. 4:7; 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16)1

1 Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 188.

Succumbing to immediate gratification of lust shows contempt toward the gifts you already possess.

Genesis 25:33–34 KJV

And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 

Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

The story concludes by expressing a feeling of disdain for Esau: Thus Esau despised his birthright. Despised is used here in the sense of careless indifference or disregard. For Esau the birthright is a worthless object. reb translates “Esau showed by this how little he valued his birthright,” spcl “Esau … left, without attaching any importance to his rights as oldest son.” These and tev are satisfactory translation models.1

1 William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Genesis, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1998), 588.

Certainly the profane nature of Esau was a warning for Israel. It is wrong to sacrifice spiritual provisions to satisfy one’s physical appetites. This is a question of priorities. Esau saw only food; and he did whatever was necessary to get what he wanted (cf. Eve and the food on the tree, 3:6).1

1 Allen P. Ross, “Genesis,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 70.

Psalm 106:24 KJV

Yea, they despised the pleasant land, They believed not his word:

Matthew 22:4–5 KJV

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 

But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

So what does this little story tucked away in Genesis tell us? Physical desires can be triggered into a monstrous lustful desire demanding immediate satisfaction. We must take care not to feed those desires and to avoid making provisions for their existence wherever possible. We have learned that  sinful lust comes at a much higher level of long term pain than the short term pleasure it affords. We have learned that lust can blind us in the heat of the moment so it is wise to avoid the heat of the moment. We have learned that in the end, when we give in to lust, we show great contempt to the important relationships and privileges we already enjoy. We have learned that we must keep our face in the Book, our eyes on Jesus and do what it takes to stay away from Blind Passion.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:17 PM January 13, 2021.

Different By Design

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021


Different By Design: Exploring Transgenderism From a Biblical Perspective

Pastor Don Carpenter

Bible Reading Challenge 2021 / Genesis 1:27; Romans 1:24–28; Matthew 19:4–5; Psalm 139:13–14

A Biblical Overview of the Transgender question

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture Introduction: Transgenderism and Christian Ethics

On April 24, 2015, Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner revealed he self-identifies as transgender. In an interview with Diane Sawyer on the television program 20/20, Jenner claimed God gave him “the soul of a female” and boldly asserted, “I am a woman.” On June 1, 2015, Jenner announced via Twitter that he is now “Caitlyn” Jenner and said, “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world, Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.”2 On the very same day as Jenner’s Twitter announcement, Vanity Fair released its July 2015 edition with Bruce Jenner provocatively dressed as “Caitlyn” on the cover. Just a few weeks later, on July 15, 2015, Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Award at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles. Wearing a white Versace gown, Jenner said in his acceptance speech, “I trained hard, I competed hard, and for that people respected me. But this transition has been harder on me than anything I could imagine, and that’s the case for so many others, besides me. For that reason alone, trans people deserve something vital, they deserve your respect.” Jenner went on to advocate on behalf of transgendered children who are bullied and consider suicide. Jenner had facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation surgery, and had been taking female hormones for some time, and in 2017 underwent genital gender reassignment surgery.

Jenner’s announcement is all the more stunning since he is remembered as the masculine, athletic man who won the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, setting a world record by amassing 8,616 points in the competition. His photo was famously emblazoned on Wheaties cereal boxes as he represented the “breakfast of champions.” Jenner was the portrait for American virility and good looks, but his life began to take very strange turns. Divorced twice, in 1991 he married Kris Kardashian, the former wife of Robert Kardashian, one of O. J. Simpson’s defense attorneys. Jenner and Kardashian became famous as their family was showcased on the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which debuted on October 14, 2007. The show seemed to have no other purpose than to promote the self-absorbed and narcissistic personalities of the Kardashians, with accompanying sexual immorality and lewd behavior. With this background in mind, it is hard not to see Jenner’s announcement as part and parcel of someone who has leveraged nothing more than celebrity status into a revenue stream.

The case of Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn Jenner illustrates several key themes common in current transgender discussions:

  1.   Embracing transgender identity should be celebrated.

  2.   God is actually behind one’s transgender identity.

  3.   People claim to have a female soul trapped in a male body, or a male soul trapped in a female body.

  4.   If you love children, you will agree with the avant-garde stance regarding transgenderism.

  5.   It is a noble and brave thing voluntarily to go through extensive surgery to transform one’s gender appearance.

  6.   Such an experience is liberating.

The following was published by the:

Am J Public Health. 2017 February; 107(2): e1–e8.Published online 2017 February. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303578PMCID: PMC5227946PMID: 28075632

Transgender Population Size in the United States: a Meta-Regression of Population-Based Probability Samples

 We used data from national surveys to estimate the population size of transgender people in the United States. Estimates of the number of transgender adults significantly increased over the past decade, with a current best estimate of 390 per 100?000 adults. That is about 1 in every 250 adults, or almost 1 million Americans. These numbers may be more typical of younger adults than of the entire US population. We expect that future surveys will find higher numbers of transgender people and recommend that standardized questions be used, which will allow a more accurate population size estimate.

____

For those of us raised with Biblical norms and values, the concept of transgenderism or gender dysphoria is completely foreign. The truth is that this philosophy is becoming very mainstream in our society and we as believers need to have a loving but Biblical response to both the philosophy and those who genuinely struggle with this very difficult issue.

As we begin tonight we need to understand some terms and presuppositions commonly taught in society today.

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture Sex and Gender

Still, for most people, the words “sex” and “gender” are synonyms, but in modern transgender discussions they mean very different things. “Sex” is used in reference to biological and anatomical traits such as obvious differences between genitalia, bone structure, DNA, hormones, and internal reproductive anatomy. In contrast, gender is used to describe the subjective psychological, social, and cultural aspects of being male or female. To be clear, from a secular perspective, gender is a feeling-based concept and is disconnected from biology. To keep the differences clear, authors

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture Transgender

 Transgender is an overarching term that describes and unites a broad category of people for whom their current gender identity is different from what is commonly expected of their birth sex. In other words, their body is one sex (male or female), while they identify as the opposite gender (masculine or feminine). There are many different subcategories under transgender, including transsexual, transvestite, gender-variant, gender fluid, genderqueer, and cross-dresser. 

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture Gender Dysphoria

 In gender dysphoria, one’s psychological and emotional gender identity does not match one’s biological sex, and this leads to mental health problems. It should be emphasized that one can only be diagnosed with gender dysphoria if he or she expresses significant distress or problems functioning related to the gender conflict. Thus, from a clinical perspective, not all transgender people are necessarily suffering from gender dysphoria. What this means is that if a person experiences the sense of being “a woman trapped in a man’s body” but is not disturbed by this and it does not impair his daily functioning, then he does not qualify for being diagnosed with gender dysphoria. In informal conversation, gender dysphoria is sometimes used in a nontechnical way as a synonym for transgenderism. The term “gender dysphoria” is of somewhat recent origin as a clinical diagnosis, and the story of its development underscores some changes in perspectives within psychiatry and psychology regarding transgenderism.

___

So our society is rapidly embracing the concept that one’s gender and one’s sex can be different and that we should help people accept and embrace that difference. This concept is being pushed everywhere from the college campus to the elementary classroom. Time does not permit us to delve into all of the intricacies of this issue, but let us sort out some of this confusion by looking at God’s perfect Word. As we study the creation account, we will discover that God made mankind after His image with two distinct sexes. God also designed marriage as a contract between a man and a woman to enjoy each other physically for both procreation and pleasure. Sex within marriage is blessed. Sex outside of marriage is sin. That is the design.  

God Made Mankind in His Image

Genesis 1:26 KJV

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 Made Male and Female

Genesis 1:27 KJV

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 5:1–2 KJV

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 

Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

God Designed Them to be able to Procreate

Genesis 1:28 KJV

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

God’s Design Starts in the Womb

Psalm 139:13–14 KJV

For thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvellous are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well.

Psalms, Volume 3 Psalm 139

13. For thou hast possessed my reins. The word here rendered possessed means properly to set upright, to erect, and hence the derivative of the verb is applied to a cane or reed, as being erect. Then the word means to found, to create, Gen. 14:19, 22,—as the heavens and the earth; and then, to get, to gain, to purchase, etc. Here the word seems to be used in its original sense, to make, create, etc. The idea is, not as in our translation, that God possessed or owned them, but that he had made them, and that, therefore, he knew all about them. The word reins means literally the kidneys; and then, it comes to denote the inward part, the mind, the soul, the seat of the desires, affections, and passions. Jer. 11:20. See Notes on Ps. 7:9; Job 19:27. The meaning here is, that God had made him; that the innermost recesses of his being had been constituted as they are by God; and that, therefore, he must be able to see all that there is in the very depths of the soul, however it may be hidden from the eye of man.

Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. The word here rendered cover means properly to interweave; to weave; to knit together, and the literal translation would be, “Thou hast woven me in my mother’s womb, meaning that God had put his parts together, as one who weaves cloth, or who makes a basket. So it is rendered by De Wette and by Gesenius (Lex.). The original word has, however, also the idea of protecting, as in a booth or hut, woven or knit together,—to wit, of boughs and branches. The former signification best suits the connexion; and then the sense would be, that as God had made him,—as he had formed his members, and united them in a bodily frame and form before he was born,—he must be able to understand all his thoughts and feelings. As he was not concealed from God before he saw the light, so he could not be anywhere.

– BARNES NOTES

It Was Not Good For Man To Be Alone

All of creation was good.

Genesis 1:4 KJV

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:10 KJV

And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:12 KJV

And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:18 KJV

And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:21 KJV

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:25 KJV

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:31 KJV

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2:18 KJV

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

God Made A Point To Show Adam He Was Missing Something.

Genesis 2:19–20 KJV

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

God Instituted Marriage Between A Man and a Woman.

Genesis 2:24–25 KJV

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Matthew 19:4–5 KJV

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Hebrews 13:4 KJV

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Unbelief Causes Perversion of God’s Design.

Mankind has to actively suppress truth evident in creation.

Romans 1:18–20 KJV

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

This Suppression Results in Heterosexual Perversion.

Romans 1:24–25 KJV

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

This Suppression Results in Homosexual Perversion.

Romans 1:26–27 KJV

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Leviticus 18:22 KJV

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

1 Corinthians 6:9 KJV

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

This Suppression Leads to Confusion

Leviticus 18:23 KJV

Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon ???????

†??????? S8397 TWOT248d GK9316 n.[m.] confusion, violation of nature, or the divine order

Gender Dysphoria is a Lust of the Flesh Fed By Unbiblical Thinking.

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture :

No One Knows What Causes Gender Dysphoria

At the same time, for many people the experience of gender dysphoria often emerges early in life, is indeed real, causes anxiety and distress, and is a struggle for which the person did not ask. In other cases, gender dysphoria and the accompanying transgenderism are fueled by impure thoughts and sexual practices related to cross-dressing fetishes. Cases in this second category are usually related to gender dysphoria emerging in adulthood.

Since the causes of gender dysphoria are clouded in mystery, a Christian response should always be expressed with a tone of mercy. While this book has focused on the biological and genetic influences suspected in transgenderism, other factors related to dysfunctional homes and childhood abuse are certainly at play in some cases. According to one source, a distinguishing mark of difference between the mental health of transgender people and the general population is the surprisingly high level of emotional neglect during childhood among transgender children. Furthermore, among all people, the age of sexual debut, the context in which it occurred, and the age and gender of the person with whom it occurred all have strong influences on later gender and sexual identity. Considering all these factors, we do not know the painful journeys that lead people to adopt a transgender identity. To add to their confusion, the world has lied to them about the malleability of gender and convinced them their subjective feeling of dysphoria is more important than God’s design for the body.

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture

Gender Reassignment Surgery Is More Akin to Bodily Mutilation

Gender reassignment surgery does not change someone’s sex. Instead, males and females surgically mutilate their genitals in order to look like those of the opposite sex, usually with the hope of playing the part of the opposite gender in sexual intercourse. In these surgeries, perfectly functioning urinary tracts are drastically rearranged. The surgery makes a male into a eunuch with mutilated genitalia and gives a woman a body with awkward appendages intended to imitate male genitals. In both cases, perfectly functioning organs are removed based on the subjective desires of the patient. Postoperative problems are common, and even though most patients seem initially satisfied with the basic appearance afterward, there is evidence that the mental health outcomes of postsurgical transgender people are not significantly better than those who do not have the surgery.

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture

Transgenderism and the Local Church

As we attempt to develop effective ways in which to relate and minister to transgender people, we should not allow psychological categories to blur clear Christian thinking: We are basically dealing with a temptation to reject God’s design and embrace a gender identity separate from one’s birth sex. Seen in this light, transgenderism has much in common with all other temptations; mainly, what we feed will grow. Gender dysphoria can be daunting, but the more a person surrenders to cross-gender behavior, the more compelling the desire actually to be another gender can become.

Repentance and Faith is the Answer.

1 John 1:9 KJV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 KJV

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

God has made us by His perfect design. We need to teach our children to embrace the way God has made them… that they are perfect as designed and should endeavor to honor Him that way. When we run into that poor soul who has been duped by the world the flesh and the devil that God made some kind of mistake, we must lovingly understand their struggle and embrace them with the Gospel of truth. God has made us male and female and we are different by design.  

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 10:35 AM January 6, 2021.