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Friday, May 30, 2014

A Lost Dad Is Found

By Lisa Branton

When I was eighteen, my dad said he was done. Being done can be okay, but he meant he was done with me. I learned much later that he was going through a tumultuous time and did not want me to learn the details. Incredibly, he led me to believe it was my fault. Thankfully, I was plugged into a fabulous campus ministry and had a loving group of mature believers to tell me how God felt about me. I had discovered my Bible and quiet times in prayer, and my heart was brimming with truth. I knew I could not have deserved to be disowned, but I was devastated nonetheless.

The years ticked by and I healed and I thought about my dad. I would occasionally hear some piece of news about him and my step-mother and step-sister. God would prompt me to send a card periodically and I called once the first year Tom and I were married. He was unresponsive. I wish I could say I prayed for him faithfully. To be honest I spent years feeling it was hopeless. So I prayed on and off. Tom and the kids prayed for him. I was always grateful for the help.

About three years ago, in September, I received a birthday gift from my dad. Tom, the kids and I gathered around the mysterious arrival and studied the brief note tucked inside. It seemed to have a pulse and we wondered about its intentions. Would it grow and ask for entry into our lives. Would it stir a dormant pot only to leave again? The kids wondered out loud if they may get a grandpa. I cringed and cautioned their hopes back in place.

Two months later the phone rang and one of the kids whispered, “It’s some old man on the phone.” I already knew it was him. I had just spent the day wondering if he had gotten my thank you note and pondered with Jesus if I should follow up with an email or a call. I did not want to appear unresponsive. He had been unusually on my heart and in my prayers most of the day. We talked for about thirty minutes, and what I remember most were these words: “It’s your dad. It’s all my fault. I’m sorry. I take full responsibility. Could we get together?”

I learned God had been working in his life. He and his wife joined a church and met a strong Christian family. Last year was my dad and step-mom’s fortieth wedding anniversary. Dad surprised her with a trip to the church where this influential, Christian family was waiting. Without a dry eye in the room, he was baptized.

I still stand in awe. God is faithful. I believe He is moved by our prayers, even spotty ones. He pursued my dad and step-mom, loved them, and prompted them to restore relationships. Isaiah 30:18-19 says, “So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.

He waited for my dad to come and He showed him love and compassion. Let God know the cry of your heart. He will come for indeed, He is gracious and He is faithful.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Praying Psalm 25

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Psalm 25

Lifting up one’s soul while waiting upon God 

Key Verses: Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. 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. (Verses 1, 4-5 KJV)

O Father, I praise and worship you alone on the basis of your mercy and righteousness, for both assurance of secure salvation and sanctification are given to those who lift up their souls to you in faith. I rejoice in the promises made in the Old Testament concerning Christ and His work within our souls, knowing that our personalities (Isaiah 44:1-5; 53:1-11; Jeremiah 31:32-33), have been fulfilled by His coming. These promises are being fulfilled in the changing of my soul-life.

As David expresses himself in this Psalm, my will is also set upon trusting you. For my intellect is given to your instruction, and my emotions long for their fulfillment in your fellowship. How else can one take up his cross to be a disciple (Matthew 10:38, 39)? What great fulfillment is mine each time You pull my feet out of the net of my immaturity and see the growth of fruit glorifying You (John 15;8; Galatians 2:20).

But until the time of “more” and “much fruit,” let me abide in you by seeking your face through fellowship and exercise of soul, even as David did in this Psalm. Although I am justified in Christ and am being sanctified in Him by the ministry of your Holy Spirit, I must exercise my heart in needed response! Let my heart be ever seeking you upon the basis of your mercy and righteousness. May my seeking ever be according to your promises centered in Christ, encouraged to seek you according to your righteousness and mercy as David did. I thank you that thereby my spirit can join with your Spirit in this holy partnership of transforming my soul.

Bless the Lord, oh, my soul! 
He accepts my seeking heart, 
Blending it with His own 
So that as one 
They may beat together forever. 

Related reading:  

Introduction to Praying the Psalms
Praying Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous
Praying Psalm 2: Kiss the Son
Praying Psalm 3: God is My Shield
Praying Psalm 4: Let Me be Approved of Thee, O God
Praying Psalm 5: Renew a Right Spirit Within Me
Praying Psalm 6: When Weeping Leads to Victory
Praying Psalm 7: The Basis of Boldness
Praying Psalm 8: Worship in Admiration and Humility
Praying Psalm 9: Hope for the Oppressed
Praying Psalm 10: Deliverance from the Wicked
Praying Psalm 11: The Foundation of Life
Praying Psalm 12: Lamenting the Lack of Godliness
Praying Psalm 13: Faith's Triumph
Praying Psalm 14: Remembering We Are Sinners
Praying Psalm 15: Fellowship With God
Praying Psalm 16: God-Pleasing Godliness
Praying Psalm 17: Progression Sanctification
Praying Psalm 18: God's Power to Deliver
Praying Psalm 19: Witness for Worship
Praying Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival
Praying Psalm 21: Worship and Thanksgiving
Praying Psalm 22: The Hope of Christ - The Prophetic Vision
Praying Psalm 23: Daily Living with the Good Shepherd
Praying Psalm 24: Inspired by Creation, we worship the Creator

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Obedience of Faith, Part III

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

The question addressed in this series asks, "Is obedience of faith a universal principle?" The answer for men is yes. However, is it a principle that applies to all created beings before God? Again, the answer is yes. It has been, and will it be, the deciding principle concerning angelic beings before the creation of the world and later in the eternal estate. Is the persuasion leading to obedience of faith going on in heaven now? A good number of Scriptures indicate this is true.

In today’s “enlightened” world of reason and empiricism, too often neglect to consider that there might be interaction between what is goes on in earth and heaven. They cannot see that the “material” and the “spiritual” are intertwined. The Apostle Paul said: “…We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

In what is considered the oldest written book of the Bible, Job experiences involved a controversy between God and Satan. God states that Job was perfect and righteous before Him. Satan argues that Job was committed to God, only because of the great blessings that God had given him. God permits Satan to afflict him to demonstrate that God's description of Job was correct. In the accusations of Job’s three friends and of their fellow compatriot who said Job must be suffering because of secret sins, Job did not blaspheme God and demonstrated that Satan was wrong. God’s verdict declares that Job was righteous by “obedience of faith” in God’s Person, even though he did not have a perfect understanding of God. In Job’s despair, God taught that Divine purposes and works were greater that he could know. As a result, Job grew in his “obedience of faith, and was doubly blessed.

This was the same teaching point found in Ephesians 3:9, 10."To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God." While this passage specifically cites the church age, Paul says that the principle was a continuation from the beginning of the world. We must remember that Satan was a fallen being before the fall of man. Indeed, it was as a fallen being that he deceived Eve and used her to make Adam sin.
In Isaiah 14:1, God promises to Israel a restoration to their land after the Babylonian captivity. He speaks about the judgment with which He will humble Babylon and its king referring to the fall and judgment of Satan as the one who made Babylon's king to do what he did (Isaiah 14:12-14). Ezekiel 28:12-19, records much the same thing concerning the Prince of Tyre as one whom Satan controlled as if he was Satan himself. As such God addresses him as Satan in the description of the prince’s destruction of other nations. Then, God describes the fall and coming judgment of Satan. The Lord describes Satan’s reasoning and describes how he rejects the obedience of faith. Faith comes through being persuaded (Romans 10:17), and Satan refuses to be persuaded. In his case, he chooses to rebel with self occupation for the sake of self exaltation. Through taking his eyes off God, Satan becomes self occupied with his own beauty and wisdom; he assumes a role as a god.

When Satan becomes a rebel, he also persuades a third of the angels of God to follow him (Revelation 12:3, 4). Those who are not imprisoned (Jude 6) act as his agents. As demons, they assert his influence in the spiritual warfare on earth to oppose God’s works (Daniel 10:12, 13; Ephesians 6:10-20). Since our first parents (one of God’s creative works) who had God given sovereignty over the Earth, surrendered to Satan’s reasoning, Satan assumes the moving force among the affairs of men.
Mankind is prone to be disposed to be like Satan, and our first parents. It is now the natural bent of people to use their inherited intellectual ability to act as gods. They assume their self confident reasoning is absolutely correct. “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” (1 Corinthians 8:1 NASU) Proverbs 3:7 advises: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD.” Spiritual warfare centers in persuasion which brings either harmony with God, or satanic delusion. Harmony with God comes from obedience of faith as oppose to adherence to self assertion or self exaltation, defying conformity to God’s Words.

Deliverance from being arrogant and self deceptive is found in trusting in God and obeying what He commands. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19); “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”(1 Thessalonians 5:21); “…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5); and especially “…speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

To experience the blessing of obedience of faith requires the understanding that “…the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” and the choosing to cast “down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Satan bragged as he tempted Christ to sin, “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it." (Luke 4:6). The Lord Jesus modeled “obedience of faith” by addressing Satan’s proposal with God’s Word. In this way, he set the example of finding completeness (called “perfect” in many translations) for those who seek to have a right relationship with the Lord (Hebrews 5:7-9). He demonstrated the command, “…show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (interpreting) the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) This requires practiced obedience of faith, a spiritual maturation exemplified “…by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)

To expound on what is required to gain this skill is beyond the scope of this single essay. It is developing “a biblical lifestyle…a “Distinctive Discipleship.” However, to those who want to gain this maturity and competency, the Apostle Peter writes, “Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-7). “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

Truly the Greek word for obedience is best described by Jesus’ words: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Related reading: Obedience of Faith - Part IObedience is About a Personal Relationship (Part II)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Obedience is About a Personal Relationship

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

Obedience of Faith - Part II

The Greek word for "obedience" is composed of two words: upo meaning “under" and akohn meaning “hearing.” Upo (under) speaks of agency or the means which governs akohn (hearing.) It speaks of a faith relationship to Lord Jesus. Jesus described this in John 10:27: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" Hebrews 11 describes this lifestyle his listing of heroes of faith:
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he rewards of them that diligently seek him." (Heb 11:6). Another great illustration of this in Old Testament history is the example of Samuel when he was called by the Lord to be a prophet. He said: "Speak; for thy servant hears." (1 Sam 3:10)

Obedience of faith was not a legalistic term, but describes the dynamic of personal relationship. The nature of eternal life as Jesus defined it in the words:

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3). This is supported by the meaning of the Greek word "know" (ginwskw) which is defined as knowledge centered in personal experience.

The etymological meaning of faith is being persuaded to trust. The Greek word for faith (pistis) comes from the Greek word for persuasion.

According to Genesis, Abraham's faith developed through his successive experiences with God as God gave him promise after promise each of which were realized. These caused him to be obedient even to the sacrifice of his son Isaac. His had developed trust in God through practicing faith produced by his obedience. He developed the character summarized in the words: "obedience of faith." Because of his modeling of “obedience of faith,” Abraham has been called “the father of faith” (Romans 4:11. 12) by Paul. Paul’s inspired writings continually harmonize with ideas of apostleship, grace, and the whole sweep biblical revelation being given to produce in the people of all nations the character of obedience of faith.

Related reading: Obedience of Faith - Part I

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Costs and Benefits of Christian Discipleship

Greg Laurie

If ever there comes a time when the call of the highest earthly love and the cross of Christ are in conflict, the call of Christ must prevail. According to Jesus, a disciple is someone who loves God more than anyone else, even family and friends.

Samuel Rutherford said, "The cross of Christ is the sweetest burden that I ever bore. It is a burden to me such as wings are to a bird or sails are to a ship to carry me forward to my harbor."
"In every Christian's heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross, he remains on the throne. Perhaps this is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among gospel believers today. We want to be saved, but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of Man's soul and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar; but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility" (A.W. Tozer).

Jesus underlines the importance of counting the cost of discipleship. Many people make impulse purchases without even considering the cost, or they rush into marriage or a career. Sadly, some do the same in their commitment to follow Christ.

This point is illustrated in Luke 9:57, 58: "Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, 'Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'"

Counting the Cost

  • As a disciple of Christ, I cannot cling to a single sin and pretend that I am following Him. In the place of those sins, I can enjoy walking in fellowship and friendship with God, living a holy and happy life.

  • I must pay the price of this world's fellowship. In other words, I must no longer allow secular and worldly philosophy to color my thinking and living. "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold" (Romans 12:2 Phillips).

    As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I must pay the price of this world's friendship. I will be laughed at for my convictions, mocked for my beliefs, and scorned for trying to live by what the Bible teaches. At the same time, in place of the world's friendship, I will have God's.
    I must pay the price for the plans of my life.We all have ideas of what we want to do and who we want to be. These are not evil or wrong. Still, I must be willing to give them up if asked to do so by the Lord. And in the place of those flawed plans, I will have God's perfect plan for my life.

  • I must pay the price of this world's fellowship. In other words, I must no longer allow secular and worldly philosophy to color my thinking and living. "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold" (Romans 12:2 Phillips).

    As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I must pay the price of this world's friendship. I will be laughed at for my convictions, mocked for my beliefs, and scorned for trying to live by what the Bible teaches. At the same time, in place of the world's friendship, I will have God's.

  • I must pay the price for the plans of my life. We all have ideas of what we want to do and who we want to be. These are not evil or wrong. Still, I must be willing to give them up if asked to do so by the Lord. And in the place of those flawed plans, I will have God's perfect plan for my life.

Counting the Benefits

There is a cost to discipleship, but what we gain is infinitely better.
  • The disciple is the one to whom God reveals more as that individual drinks in His every Word, marking the inflection of His voice with the desire to obey.
  • The disciple is the one who lives the Christian life in all its fullness, receiving all God has for him.
  • To the disciple, each new day is a fresh opportunity to walk with God.
  • To the disciple, life has definite purpose and direction. It is life abundant.
  • To the victor comes final justification and eternal life.

It costs to follow Jesus Christ, but it costs more not to. If you are settling for anything short of discipleship, you are missing out.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Discipleship Comes by Listening

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

The Disciples' Fellowship – How?

Six implementations of Jesus’ command to “make disciples” can be identified and practically applied in a small group called “the disciple’s fellowship.”

1. The authority of the Greek New Testament should be restored as part of the study of God’s Word. There are many hidden spiritual keys to be found by looking into the basic meaning of Greek words in the New Testament. This is needed to put conviction into the practice of disciple making. The only place that making disciples is commanded is Matthew 28:16—20 (mistranslated in the KJV). However, when John 20:21 and 4:1, 2 are examined carefully, it is easily seen that Christ included New Testament disciple making as a part of following His example. Disciple-making characterized his ministry.

2. A strong desire to pursue a personal relationship with Christ must be the motivation for practicing disciple. In John 8:31, Jesus states, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.” Jesus is laying out the test of real faith as the continued living practice and proof of one’s being his disciple. The word “indeed,” found in some translations, means exactly what it indicates, putting into daily practice the teachings modeled by Jesus…showing them in deeds. Proof of discipleship is a changed life brought about by effective listening (John 10:27; Mat. 7:24).

Jesus’ teachings were designed to be fully understood only by committed disciples, (Mat. 13:10--17; 7:24; John 6:15 – 69). Also, in Mat. 11: 28--30, Jesus invites the follower to learn of him involved in a "yoke" relationship. Being “yoked” in the New Testament use of the word yoke speaks of commitment to be a disciple or practicing, producing learner. Just as a young untrained ox was yoked to a mature trained one in order to learn how to do its work, Hebrews 5:12—14, indicates being yoked with Christ will bring about a fully practiced and reproductive life.                                                                                                  
3. Each member of a disciples fellowship small group must have a deep sense that they are not their own, but have been bought with a price through Christ’s death on the Cross, and so now belong only to Him. This is the motivational foundation; commitment to discipleship consists of willful faith and worship accepted by Jesus and recognized by others. The man born blind and healed by Jesus was recognized by Jesus for his faith and by others for his loyalty and testimony to the one who healed him (John 9). A person cannot become what he does not set his heart and will to become. Although there are differing levels of discipleship, (referencing to my book, The Six Levels of Discipleship), this is where it must start.

4. Within a small group context, the seven relationships found in the early, simple New Testament church can be more easily applied and practiced. The first is developing Christ-like personal relationships (1 Thess. 2:7-11; Heb. 13: 7, 17), and serving one another in love (Acts 6). Another is the format of questioning and answering to increase understanding as exemplified between Jesus and his disciples (Acts 2). An imperative practice is the encouragement of each other by sharing testimonies of God’s workings and blessings (Mat. 28:20). Worshipful and focused prayer can be shared and practiced in the small group, consistent with their level of spiritual maturity and centered on their personal concerns (Acts 4, 6, 12 and 13). Developing a desire to serve others, called “missions” (Acts 9 and 10) and to reach others, called “evangelism” (Acts 13 and 14). Lastly, the humble explanation of God’s Word by those more thoroughly versed and experienced in practicing it to those less knowledgeable, or new in their faith (1 Cor. 14:24-26, 29-33; Heb. 10: 24, 25).

5. Development of good teaching practices that focused on the learners’ spiritual maturity level and needs can be practiced in smaller groups. John 21:15-17, shows Jesus doing just this with Peter after his three denials, and in John 16:12, He said, “ I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” The disciples' fellowship setting enables teaching situations that allow for the variance between each member’s learning styles and spiritual stages (Heb. 5: 12-6:1; 1 Cor. 2:14; 3:1-2).

6. By applying 1Timothy 2:2 to the structure of the Disciples' Fellowship, growth of each participant can be assured. Paul exhorts Timothy to be a pastor after Paul’s example for teaching and directing the learning activity, have an assistant pastor who assists and observes the disciple’s progress and help to coach them as they seek to practice what they have learned, and works with the new comers who accept the teaching and shepherding of the disciple fellowship pastor, assistant pastor (Timothy), and the encouragement of the present practicing faithful members of the fellowship.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Discipleship is not Refurbished Religious Ed

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

The Disciples' Fellowship – Why?

To successfully practice discipleship, there must be a conviction! A conviction must be something that is a response to the commands of Christ. The best place to implement these commands (and therefore, “make disciples) is a small group of committed believers called “The Disciples’ Fellowship.”

The basic meaning of the word disciple is “a leaner who applies.” Sound laws of teaching have little or no influence on many local church ministries. Most Christians are simply sermons tasters only. Too much confidence is put into people’s public professions of faith. Lecture/preaching is used nearly exclusively, even though only 4 to 7% if what is heard is retained. Emulating New Testament practices are largely neglected as churches become enamored with their image and use of technology. Although the word “discipleship” may be a buzz word among fundamental and evangelical churches today, when one views the statistics of cultural and immoral conformity among the young, divorce rates and church hopping among older, and just plain dropout, as the 70% of single men fifty and older, one must question if developing committed growing believers (disciples) is really happening.

If discipleship is just a renaming of a refurbished religious education program, it will eventually be discarded because it is not New Testament discipleship and will fail just as the old religious education programs have. If discipleship is simply a fad it will be discarded when another fad becomes popular. If discipleship is labeled, as it is by some, “anti-evangelistic,” any teaching that seeks for personal commitment/conviction will be ignored as unimportant regardless of the churches customs, practices, attitudes, theology or polities. Without personal accountability and/or responsible commitment to motivate the professed Christians in or out of the pew to apply and practice the commands of Christ, no true discipleship occurs.

The practices of the early New Testament disciples and the fellowships they developed basically sought to answer two questions: What were God abiding commands? What was their best implementation in the lives and culture of the believers? As Francis Schafer put it, “How shall we then live?”

Related reading: The Obedience of FaithBuilding a Disciple-Making Church; How to Build a Disciple-Making Church

Monday, May 5, 2014

Further Thoughts on Creationism

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

In their zeal for their “fundamental” emphasis, Young Earth Creationists have laid a stumbling block to many a young people. Their six 24-hour days doctrine has become a latent stumbling block, especially to young Christians that attend secular schools. In a Independent Baptist Church, it was announced that 75% lost their faith. In Jacksonville, Florida, Southern Baptists said that it was 89-90%!

It is a tool in the hands of unbelieving secular professors to discredit the Bible as the trust worthy Word of God in the light of scientific discoveries. This essay is a further look at key Scriptures that have been overlooked or disregarded by those leaders that promote the 6/24 hour view of creation of the Universe as well as the world.

There are a growing number Bible believers that have observed that God calls people to learn from revelation found in His creation (Ps. 19:1-6; Prov. 6:6; Job 38:9). These people assert that a proper understanding of creation and the Bible will be in agreement since they have the same God that made them.

Neglected or discounted passages of young creationists

Fundamentalists fume at astronomers when they propose that the earth was formed four billion years ago. Some even say that the planets and galaxies were formed on the fourth day of creation as found in Genesis 1. Their reasoning to arrive at about 6000 years ago stems from the work of a Church of England priests named Ussher and Lightfoot that used the Genesis genealogy of Adam. But then, because of their desire to have an early date for creation, they assert that the days of creation to be six successive twenty four hour days. Again to show that evolution is impossible.

Some have said that the way to hide something is to have it so obvious as to be overlooked. Recently, I found that this is what has happened in much of the discussions about the age of the earth from the biblical record. Genesis 1:1, 2 states that God created the universe, including the earth. To understand that this must be considered a unit in the creation record apart from the “days of creation” is seen that the first day of creation was a fundamental change in an already existing planet! The days of Creation, or rather steps of making the earth habitable, have a relative means of measuring their age. However, nothing in the Bible dates when Genesis 1:1 happened. In Job 38:4, God said that He laid the foundation of the earth and clothed it with a cloud. All this was before the first day of creation and was the beginning of change. All the days of “creation” are changes one after another. Therefore, the planet earth and the galaxies could be billions of years old, and the days of making the earth habitable for living things and man have a much later date, making they much younger than planet earth of Genesis 1:2.

In my earlier essay, I observed that God uses time terms as units of time to give relative time considerations other than their usual literal meanings. In ANY determination as to what words mean in an expression the immediate context must be depended upon to know what the word's meaning is in the place it is used.

The meaning of the days in creation MUST include Genesis 2. Most of the young universe - earth proponents neglect this in their head long efforts to maintain their interpretation that the days of creation are 24 hours!

There are three disregarded passages of Scripture that specifically state that days, when only God and His angels are considered, are longer periods of time than 24 hours. When I have brought them up to these people, they simply brush them aside without considering what these passages say.

Genesis 2:4: “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.” (NASU)

This has been overlooked or deliberately mistranslated. It is of key importance because it is a part of the creation account. Its influence should define whether the days of creation are 24 hour days or simply periods of undetermined time. In one book I read, the author argued that the Hebrew “in (a) day” (or “in the day” in many translations) should be translated by a word that disregarded its literal meaning. This showed that he argued his cultural orientation rather than Scripture. It showed that Scripture was not his governing authority.

Even worse, a professor with a PhD in Hebrew when faced with this verse only gave a grammatical term for the construction, but did not speak about what the words actually said in this verse. Apparently, he didn't want to change as he did not show that he tried to answer any of the other demands of interpretation of the multitude of verses I gave for consideration.

1. “For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by,” Psalm 90:4. This Psalm is attributed to Moses, the human author of Genesis. In this when, only God is involved, Moses says by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a day is “like” a thousand years. By writing “like” Moses is writing that with God a day is a very long period and not restricted to just a thousand years. Moses said "days" to God, when He alone is "as a thousand years" not a billion. Young earth creationists just mumble something of no significance and ignore the demands that this passage pertains to the days of creation.

2. They also ignore 2 Peter 3:9. It clearly states that a day with God is “like” thousand years. “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” They usually say that this only applies to the Lord's return.

3. The ways of God should affect everyone's interpretations, but not the young earth zealots. In my earlier essay, “A Latent Stumbling Block,” I detailed that through the biblical ages, God did nothing quickly. In fact, waiting upon God is considered not only a virtue, but a source of spiritual life: “. . those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength...” Isaiah 40:31

In conclusion, it seems so strange for those who hold so strongly to the Bible and the necessity that people must be saved from God's wrath, let their idealism hold a latent stumbling block that destroys the faith of so many!

And this, in spite of the Lord Jesus' words: “...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

Related reading:  The Science-Faith Question; Creation of the Universe: Examining the Evidence; Let's Ruminate About Evolution; Theories of Change and Constancy