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Start Your New Week with a Word of Edification, Exhortation and Comfort from Daniel Botkin

Welcome to the Gates of Eden Blog ~ New posts weekly at 8PM following Shabbat

March 29, 2020

"Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied." (Acts 9:31) It was the winter of 1973-74, just two years after I had made my decision to follow Jesus and be a disciple. I was living alone in the country, about twenty miles from town, in an old dilapidated house that I rented for $35 a month. (That might sound like a bargain, but if you had seen the house, you probably wouldn't think so.) The Christians with whom I fellowshipped met on Friday nights and Saturday nights, so every Friday afternoon I drove to Peoria and stayed with some other single brothers for the weekend. I got my fellowship on Friday and Saturday evenings, and went to my third-shift job in Peoria on Saturday and Sunday nights from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I worked just sixteen hours a week and earned around $65 a week after taxes, which enabled me to live quite comfortably in my primitive...

March 22, 2020

We live in a world inhabited by two sorts of intelligent beings: visible and invisible. There are two categories of visible beings: children of the light and of the day, and children of the darkness and of the night. There are likewise two categories of invisible beings, commonly called angels and demons. Some misinformed people think of angels as cute little Cupid-like cherubs, naked little babies with wings. And they think of demons as cute little horned imps with pitchforks living in the dark, fiery underground caverns of hell. There are some "angels that sinned" and "kept not their first estate" who are now "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness" in Tartarus. (See Jude 6 & 2 Peter 2:4.) But these eternally-chained fallen angels are not the ones who make trouble for mankind. The demons we have to deal with are not in hell. They are in this world. I find it curious that we read very little about demonic activity in the Old Testament Scriptu...

March 15, 2020

I have often heard people use the words spirit and spiritual when talking about art and art-related topics, but I have rarely if ever heard anyone explain what the somewhat vague adjective "spiritual" actually means when it is used to describe art. As an artist who makes his living primarily by writing articles on theological subjects and teaching the Bible, I would like to share some things which validate the idea that art and the creative process are, indeed, spiritual. We are created in the image of God. There are several aspects of God's nature and character which He imparts to His human creatures, and one of those aspects is His urge to create. As a matter of fact, the very first thing the Bible says about God is that He created: "In the beginning God created..." In the Hebrew text the verb "created" actually comes before the subject "God," thus emphasizing the importance of the creative urge and the creative process.

March 8, 2020

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." ~ Psalm 34:8 I grew up in the 1950s and 60s in Peoria. Peoria is not a big city like Chicago, but it's not a small town, either. Kids growing up in a moderate-sized city in the Midwest during the 1950s and 60s ate simple foods—cereal, eggs, or pancakes for breakfast; sandwiches, soup, and fruit for lunch; meat, potatoes, and vegetables for supper. At least those were the kind of things most of the kids I knew ate. Most of the food we ate was good, but rather bland and boring. The most exciting spice I remember from my childhood was chili powder, and that was used sparingly. Exotic ethnic foods were not as widespread and available as they are today. You may find it hard to believe, but I didn't even know what a taco was until after I was out of high school. I remember my mom telling me that some new neighbors had moved in across the street, and they had cooked some Mexican food. "...

March 1, 2020

"Happy is that people that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is Yahweh." (Psalm 144:15) Every loving father wants his children to be happy, and our heavenly Father is no exception. But happiness does not come by pursuing happiness; happiness comes by pursuing holiness. Many people seek happiness in money and material possessions, but Yeshua said "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). True and lasting happiness does not come from worldly riches, worldly fame, or worldly power. It comes from a life of holiness. God wants us to be happy, but He wants us to be happy about the right things and for the right reasons. And we do have a lot of reasons to be happy. God has given us His Son so that we can have forgiveness and eternal life. He has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can sense the wonderful presence of the Lord and experience God's comfort, joy, peace, and power. He has given us...

February 23, 2020

You have probably heard the old worn-out cliché about God answering prayer: "God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says Yes, and sometimes He says No." If we are honest, we have to admit that we get a lot more "no" answers than "yes" answers, at least when praying for things like miraculous healings or other supernatural manifestations. For every sick believer who has experienced a genuine miraculous healing (a permanent healing that involved no medical treatment and could be attributed to nothing other than supernatural Divine intervention), there are thousands of sick believers who prayed and did not receive a miraculous, supernatural healing. They just had to wait for the sickness to run its course, or they died. Don't get me wrong. I know there are some occasional genuine miracles among the many bogus claims. I'm thankful for all the "yes" answers to prayer, and I do not wish to deny or minimize all those positive answers to p...

February 16, 2020

What is the Jethro model? For readers who may not be very familiar with the Bible, we are not talking about television's Jethro Bodine of "The Beverly Hillbillies." We are talking about Jethro the priest of Midian, who was the father-in-law of Moses. After the Exodus from Egypt, Jethro came to Mount Sinai where Moses and the Hebrews were encamped. Moses told Jethro all about the recent Exodus from Egypt, and all that Yahweh had done for the Israelites. Jethro rejoiced, blessed Yahweh, and offered sacrifices to God. Then he sat down to eat with Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel. The next day, Jethro saw that Moses sat to judge the people all day long, from morning to evening. Jethro asked Moses why he did this. Moses explained that the people came to him to enquire of God, and to have Moses make judgments between them, and to explain God's laws to them.

February 9, 2020

"Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear." Isaiah 59:1 [Click and drag to move] ​​ If you are saved, how saved are you? When the word saved is used in a Christian context, many people think of salvation in terms of being saved from hell and damnation. Being saved does indeed save a person from hell and damnation. However, eternal damnation in the lake of fire is not the only thing from which a saved person is supposed to be saved. The angel of the Lord told Joseph, "Thou shalt call His name Yeshua, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). The primary thing from which are supposed to be saved is from our sins, not just from the penalty we deserve for our sins.

February 2, 2020

Compromise can be good or bad, depending on the situation. It can be good when trying to make a decision that will satisfy everyone. For example, if your wife wants to spend three hours at the zoo and you want to spend only one hour there, you can compromise and spend two hours at the zoo. That way you will both be disappointed and miserable, but at least you will be equally disappointed and miserable. Compromise can be good when a buyer and a seller are haggling over the price of an item. If the seller wants $300 but the buyer only wants to pay $100, they can compromise and settle for a price of $200. That way they will both feel like they were deprived of $100. So compromise can sometimes be a good thing. However, when God makes strong, sure demands—“Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not"—compromise is out of the question. When Yahweh said to Pharaoh, "Let My people go," there was to be no compromise, no haggling over the

January 26, 2020

About 25 years ago the pastor of the congregation I attended preached a sermon telling Bible believers why they should not celebrate Halloween. Afterwards I told the pastor that it was an excellent sermon, and I commended him for taking a bold stand. Then, as respectfully and as lovingly as I could, I told him that all the good reasons he gave to urge Christians to shun Halloween were the very same reasons I shun Christmas. If the pagan origin of Halloween traditions makes Halloween un-kosher for Christians, then should not the pagan origin of Christmas traditions make Christmas just as un-kosher as Halloween? Why is it that so many conservative Christians are willing to shun Halloween because of its connection to pagan superstitions and idolatry, but are not willing to shun Christmas?

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