Noah’s Hammer

by The Mad Preacher
noahs-ark-flood“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what
time I will come to you.” — Jesus (Revelation 3:3) [1]

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. (2Peter 2:4-9)

When God told Noah to build the ark, probably the first thing he had to learn was how to balance his schedule. Noah’s days consisted of building the ark, providing for his family and, then, preaching during his time off. It must have been quite a challenge for Noah. However, God told him that he had a limited time to reach as many people as he could before the flood. Judgment was imminent and God, being the merciful God that he is, wanted to give everyone a chance to repent of their wickedness.

Now as long as the people around him could hear the sound of Noah’s hammer ringing out across the countryside there was still hope for them. There was still time for them to repent and be spared the impending deluge. However, Noah’s friends, neighbors, and extended family chose to ignore his warning and thus eventually faced the judgment of God.

Then it happened. The sound of Noah’s hammer ceased and soon his plea ceased as well. Noah gathered his little family and joined the animals in the ark. Next, and it’s important to note this, the Bible says that God himself closed the door to the Ark. Soon, the heavens opened and a torrential rain began to fall. The waters began to quickly rise higher and higher. In a little while all, except for eight souls huddled deep within the belly of the huge vessel, would be lost. Those outside of the Ark had no hope of salvation from the ascending waters.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

I wonder what it was like being in the ark with Noah when the rain began to beat against the ark. Did the downpour and rising waters smother all other sounds outside the ark? Or could Noah and his family hear the screams of those who had once mocked and laughed at Noah’s appeal. They had ignored his plea. Now, he could not respond to theirs. What do you think went through Noah’s family minds and hearts as God’s unbridled wrath fell on the earth that day?

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming
of the Son of Man.” — Jesus (Matthew 24:37)

God announced his coming judgment to Noah by saying, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever…” (Genesis 6:3) The same scripture holds true for today’s generation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the end is coming soon. For once again the sound of Noah’s hammer is resounding throughout the land. You can hear it echoing in the events taking place around the world. You can hear it in the voice of God’s prophets and from others in his church. Judgment is imminent!

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

The hands on that great cosmic clock called “time” are slowing down. Please don’t be like those in Noah’s day who ignored the warning. If you’ve never truly repented and made Jesus LORD of your life, please do so now. Soon, God Himself will close the door of repentance, and the Book of Life will be closed to new members. Then no one will be allowed to enter.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)

God loves you, my friend. He doesn’t want you to… miss the boat. Give your life completely to Jesus. Repent of you past disobedience and ask him to forgive you of all of your sins. He will forgive you and accept you. God will then open the door of his heart to you. He will remove all of you sinfulness and give you his personal righteousness, or right standing. You’ll never be alone or have to feel guilt ridden ever again.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.(2 Peter 3:9)

Listen closely. Do you hear the sound of Noah’s hammer?

There will be a day
When we will be divided right and left
For those who know Him
And those who do not know
Those who know Him well
Will meet Him in the air Hallelujah
God is with us
Those who do not know
They will hear depart
I knew you not
For my friends you see
There will be a day when we’ll be counted
So know Him well, know Him well [2]

 

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

[2] People Get Ready, Jesus Is Comin’, written by Brian Ray and recorded by Crystal Lewis on her album, Beauty For Ashes, © 1996 Metro One (Admin. by Metro One, Inc.)

 

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Bitterness-the Slow Suicide—The Hard Copy

by The Mad Preacher

PoisonBottleGet rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV)

It has been said, “To harbor bitterness toward someone is like swallowing poison and then waiting for that person to die.” It seems that we’re a society made up of angry people. If you doubt it, just take a drive in heavy traffic. At large we are one stressed-out generation filled with rage and eat up with bitterness.

We’re angry with friends, family, fellow employees, employers and at life in general. Many of us are even mad at ourselves and exasperated over the results of bad choices that we’ve made. We find ourselves echoing the words of David, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” (Psalm 51:3 NIV)

Boy, can I relate to those words!

We’re bitter over the way we’ve been treated by those around us. Incredibly, we expect, and even demand, justice from an unjust world! And then we become all bent out of shape when we don’t get it.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.”— Jesus (John.16:33 NIV)

We seem to forget these words of Jesus. The phrase he used was “In this world you will have trouble.” He didn’t say, “Maybe you will…” or, “There’s a good chance that you will …” No, he said that we can count on having trouble in the world. Why? It’s simple; the world is filled with those pesky little things called … people. And as you know, people are anything but perfect. They will frequently let you down, disappoint you, sadden you, lie to you and break promises. That’s just the fallen nature! There are times when they will downright run over you. Of this you can be sure, but what do you expect—perfection from imperfection?

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. (1Peter 4:12 NIV)

Considering this fact; why should we be hurt and embittered when someone rattles our cage? Hey, Jesus warned us. We have little control over the cards life deals us, but as Christians, we do have control over what we do with the cards we’re dealt. I personally know of people who have virtually sacrificed their entire lives on the altar of bitterness. They have surrendered their will to the ghastly power of animosity. Bitterness is a deadly cancer that eats away hope and peace. It’s a self-ingested poison that destroys homes, marriages and devastates churches.

In Acts 8 Peter told Simon the Sorcerer when he offered to pay for the ability to lay hands on people and have them receive the Holy Spirit, “For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” (vs. 23 NIV)

Bitterness is a slow suicide lying to waste potential greatness in the Kingdom of God. It’s one of the ugliest forms of pride and is a slap in the face of the One who, “was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7 NIV) It’s little wonder that God’s WORD admonishes us to “Get rid of all bitterness.”

And furthermore:

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” — Jesus (Mark 11:25 NIV)

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. (Luke 11:4 NIV)

“If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.’ – Jesus (Luke 17:4 NIV)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

This bitterness you hide
It seeps into your soul
And it steals your joy
‘Til it’s all you know
Let it go

Will you forgive?
Will you forget?
Will you live what you know?
He left his rights
Will you leave yours?
You don’t understand it
Let it go *

*Let It Go by the Newsboys, from their album Take Me to Your Leader. Lyrics by Steve Taylor and Peter Furler. © 1996 Dawn Treader Music (SESAC) / Warner Alliance Music / Soylent Tunes (ASCAP), Dawn Treader Music admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing. Warner Alliance Music / Soylent Tunes admin. by I.C.G.

God is not surprised by anything that happens. He is Sovereign Lord of the universe. He needs no “Plan B” to fall back on. With him it’s always “Plan A”. This has been such a source of peace for me ever since God revealed this truth to me. He is in complete control over everything in my existence. He knew all the messes I would make of my life, and He also had the plan to get me back on course and make me the man He wanted me to be. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)

“There’s a place in our walk with the Lord where we must make a decision to submit to the sovereign hand of God even when we don’t have any real answers. What does God see when He looks at our circumstances?
He doesn’t see ruin. He sees revival.
He doesn’t see pestilence. He sees potential.
He doesn’t see death. He sees destiny.
He doesn’t see our falls. He sees our get-ups.” — The Mad Preacher

“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Can Crush Me!”

by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

Bobblehead_Skull___Headphones_by_hiddenmovesWe all know that God is ultimately responsible for giving us music. According to The Bible, what man is considered the father of music? Genesis 21:4 says“… Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute.” His name is where we get the word “Jubilation.”

The average teen listens to three to four hours of music a day. The Denver Nugget reported, “Music is the most powerful, and presently, the most destructive, force we have today. Who is a young person more likely to be influenced by concerning drugs, the President, a religious leader, or a rock star with ten platinum albums?”

When you listen to Christian radio station, like J103 the CCM station here in Chattanooga, you may notice that there’s something unique about their music. Yes, it has a contemporary sound, a good beat, some catchy tunes and phrases much like other music that you’ve heard. However there’s still something different about it. The difference lies in the lyrical content. It’s the message that makes J103’s music so different—so alive.

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround
me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7 NIV)

If we can be surrounded with songs of deliverance it stands to reason that we can be surrounded with songs of captivity. What determines whether what you’re listening to are songs of deliverance or songs of captivity? It’s not the type or beat of the music. It’s the message that the song carries.

Every song that we listen to has a message. Whether it’s rock, country, jazz or even classical it all has a message. And its message has the ability to tear down or build up. Whoever said, “Sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never harm me.” was full of baloney! Now, there’s some good secular music that has a positive message about love and friendship. However, too much of what you hear over the airwaves, on your stereo, or your MP3 player is anything but positive. All too often it offers messages promoting everything from drug and alcohol abuse, violence and illicit sex, to delving into deep depression over broken-heartedness over a lost love and offers little hope about dealing with the struggle and pain associated with these situations.

Let’s face it. Much of secular music is some pretty depressing stuff. I remember an experience I had some years ago that perfectly illustrates this point. I was going through a devastating divorce and the influence of the music I was listening to nearly cost me my life. I would sit in a darkened room desperately hurting and feeling very sorry for myself, which was quite understandable. But to make matters worse, I would listen to some mournful country song or rock ballad. Eventually, I became so depressed that I got a gun, sat on the side of my bed and tried to get the nerve to shoot myself.

You see, every song I listened to was telling me how worthless my life was because of my lost love. These singers were saying things like, “you can’t go on,” “there’s nothing to live for now,” and “your life is over because she said ‘Goodbye.’” These songs were all big hits, which would indicate that many people were listening to them. When I look back on that awful time in my life I can’t help but wonder how many people, who go through heartache like I experienced, don’t pull out of the depression. How many give-in to a message of hopelessness, then follow through and actually end their life.

I could have been one of them. I didn’t know at the time that I was being programmed, and this programming almost killed me. God intervened, though, and now I’m a living testimony to the power that music has over the lives of its listeners either to the good or to the bad. Indeed, programming is the name of the game if you’re going to sell music CD’s. A prominent New York record promoter once said “I can make the kids of this country like anything I want them to, and they don’t have a thing to say about it.”

Considering my experience with music’s programming, it’s little wonder that the number two cause of death among teens is suicide, followed closely by violent death. In fact, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, between 1970 and 1990 the suicide death rate for youths ages 15 through 19 nearly doubled. Why would young people with their entire lives ahead of them kill themselves?

Societal pressures as well as the influence of TV and movies are contributing factors. However, there’s a much more sinister influence involved. It’s found mainly in the music to which we listen.

The tongue has the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21)

The programming I received from those depressing songs nearly drove me to suicide. Experts will tell you that our minds are much like a computers, and like computers, they can be programmed. Indeed, our minds are being programmed daily. Not only by the obvious depraved music such as trash lyrics that are spewed out over the airwaves in the form of gangster rap, shock rock, death metal and full-blown satanic music. I don’t think I’ll get an argument from any rational thinking person when I say that this so-called “music” promotes hate, violence and even attempts to rob the listener of faith in themselves and in God.

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry makes this statement. “A concern to many interested in the development and growth of teenagers is a serious deterioration in the messages of some rock music, including best-selling albums promoted by major record companies. The following troublesome themes are prominent:
• Advocating and glamorizing abuse of drugs and alcohol
• Pictures and explicit lyrics presenting suicide as an “alternative” or “solution.”
• Graphic violence
• Preoccupation with the occult; songs about Satanism and human sacrifice, and the apparent enactment of these rituals in concerts.
• Sex, which focuses on controlling sadism, incest, devaluing women, and violence toward women. 1
The Parents Music Resource Center reports that American teenagers listen to an estimated 10,500 hours of rock music between the 7th and 12th grades alone — just 500 hours less than they spend in school over twelve years. (Entertainment Monitor, December 1995)
Entertainment Monitor reported that only 10 of the top 40 popular CDs on sale during the 1995 holiday season were free of profanity, or lyrics dealing with drugs, violence and sex. (Entertainment Monitor, December 1995.)
A survey by the Recording Industry Association of America found that many parents do not know what lyrics are contained in the popular music their children listen to. (“An Unbiased Voice in the Word War,” The Washington Post, November 8, 1995.)
In September 1995, Warner Music Group bowed to public pressure and announced it was severing its 50% stake in Interscope Records, home to Nine Inch Nails and controversial rap artists Snoop Doggy Dog and Dr. Dre. Rap artists simply turned to a different distribution network and their CDs continue to hit the stores with lyrics, which glorify guns, rape, and murder. (“An Unbiased Voice in the Word War,” The Washington Post, November 8, 1995.)

Let’s take it a step further, okay? There’s a greater danger lurking behind the lyrics of some seemingly innocent music that’s not quite as obvious as some of the hardcore, in your face music. It’s very subtle in its deliverance but deadly all the same. Like what happened to me, people are also being programmed by music that carries themes of discouragement, hopelessness and misery. One example that comes to mind is a very popular song that contains the lyrics, “How Do I live without you.” It’s a lovely melody and seems innocent enough, but music is so powerful! And the message it carries does indeed have the power of life and death.

“How do I get through one night without you
if I had to live without you,
what kind of life would that be?

Oh I, I need you in my arms, need you to hold
you’re my world, my heart my soul.
If you ever leave, baby, you would take away everything
good in my life.

And tell me now. How do I live without you? I want to know.
How do I breath without you, if you ever go? How do I ever, ever … survive? How do I. how do I… oh how do I live?

Without you, there’d be no sun in my sky.
There would be no love in my life.
There’d be no one left but me.
And I, baby, I don’t know what I would do.
I’d be lost if I lost you. If you ever leave,
Baby, you would take away everything real in my life.

And tell me now, how do I live without you, I want to know
How do I breathe without you, if you ever go?
How do I ever, ever survive?
How do I…. how do I.. oh how do I live!”
(Lyrics by LeAnn Rimes.)

The message in this simple tune is clear. “There is nothing to live for. There’s no hope for me if I lose you.” Not only does this fall under what psychologist term as co-dependency, enough of this sort of programming can give an impressionable teen thoughts of just ending it all. “After all, there’s nothing to live for now. My girl broke up with me” “My boyfriend broke up with me. How can I go on living?”

I know what you thinking. “Oh come on now, Rod! Your cheese has finally slipped of its cracker. That song’s just a pretty love song! I love it. What’s so bad about it?”

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

Put some rat poison in a nice cold bottle of soda. It may taste pretty good but it will still kill you!

Now, music like you hear on Christian Radio Stations like J103 here in Chattanooga, TN offers a different message. It offers something that secular music does not. It offers hope. It offers answers. Or should I say it offers THE Answer to life’s heartaches, disappointments and problems.

Much of the Contemporary Christian Music on J103 and other CCM stations deals with many of the same issues about life that you’ll find in secular music but there’s a big difference? Christian music doesn’t just leave you wallowing there in the mist of your pain and confusion. It offers direction and points the way to the One who has the answers. It shows the way to abundant life, joy and peace, by pointing to the Giver of all these things. It directs the listener to Him who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” It points to Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of all.

Now, it’s your decision. The choice is up to you. You choose what you will put in your mind. In fact, you what you chose may determine whether you walk in victory or defeat. There’s a war of conquest going on inside of you right. The Bible says that the mind is the battleground. Wherever the head goes the body will surely follow.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it
obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit
is life and peace. (Romans 8:6 NIV)

Again,

“The tongue has the power of life and death.” (Proverbs 18:21)

The next time you pick out a CD or listen to the radio, consider these profound words from the wisest man who ever lived. “It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:5 NIV)