Friday, August 6, 2010

Enjoying the garden of Eden

A friend sent this comment.

Adam & Eve had the perfect marriage. He didn't have to hear about all the men she could have married and she didn't have to hear about how well his mother cooked!

Oh the joys of being in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve the perfect marriage. Enjoying fellowship with God, and each other. Such a perfect place. Maybe they somehow even communicated with the animals, they didn't seem surprised that a serpent was talking. They had thousands of fruit trees all around them to enjoy the fruit from. Imagine all of the varieties of fruit drinks one could make. Something within us cries out for that perfect life, the way it was, the way it is supposed to be. We all long for that utopia in the depths of our heart.

But why? Why would they eat of that one tree they were told not to eat from? My son says they should have stayed at least 10 feet away from it at all times, good advice for all of us. In my imagination, I sometimes visit the Garden of Eden. I would certainly have placed that tree in one far away corner of the garden, that way we could all be careful just to avoid it and enjoy all of the other areas. The garden was hundreds if not thousands of miles wide. If it was locked far away, maybe we could have stayed out of trouble; However, the Bible tells us that God placed it in the midst or middle of the garden. (Some versions say center.) Could it be that God was showing us from the earliest of times that at the center of all blessings, at the center of healthy relationships, rich abundance, and fellowship with God is one thing---- Obedience to his will?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Matthew 8:28-34 Herds of Swine

When Jesus cast out demons and commanded them into a heard of swine two men were set free, but the people begged him to leave their region. They were afraid he might destroy the rest of their income possibilities. Please note: they were raising pigs an "unclean animal". This community rejected Christ, and he left. Very sad. These were the descendants of the tribe of Israel who did not enter the promised land. Their forefathers were happy in the wilderness and chose to stay. Over the generations they had gone from raising cattle, to raising pigs. They were the first to be conquered and ruled by others. Evidently the Lord was still trying to reach them. Oh the heart of our Lord, to continue to reach out, always seeking to save the lost sheep. The scriptures say, "They begged him to leave." What started as a remarkable deliverance ended with Jesus never making it past their shores. Jesus left and the story ended as quickly as it began.
As we reflect on these things, lets look at our own actions and attitudes. What do they say about us? If they were to be held up to the light, would our actions and attitudes be begging the Lord stay? or begging him go? What herds of swine do we choose over the visitation of the Son of God? Lets repent from our NO, and beg him YES. Lets open our hearts and homes and beg him stay and continue in our personal towns and villages, into the secret places of our heart. Let the Lord destroy our pigs, and continue setting us free!
The Lord was begged to leave. He is eager to save and to heal us, he took initiative to visit us in our hour of need. With our attitudes and actions, lets open our doors and beg him stay. He is willing to do so. If we beg him go, he will go, leaving us in our shame.
Lord grant us true repentance, what you have begun on our shores please continue in our homes and the deepest parts of our heart and relationships. Give us grace to welcome you into every area of our lives.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Did you say Dust??

God spoke everything into existence except for man. With man it says He made us. "Male and female he made them." We are not told how he made us, but we know the substance that he used, DUST. He took the dust of the earth and made man. We are told we are made in his image and after his likeness. We have the highest honor to be made like him. This is so assuring and comforting to me. How often I feel insignificant and ordinary. How often I look at my life and say, "Its all just dust." I am full of sin and pride, and lets not look at the decisions I have made. I am just dust, worth only to be swept away. But the Lord graciously shows us that he uses our dirt. When he made us he did not use silver and gold, but the with the dust of the earth he made us his most honored creation. Imagine, out of dust he made a human being able to walk, live, taste, smell, see, enjoy life, and fellowship with him. It's amazing. Out of dust he made a living being to be like himself. He even called the disciples who are made from dust like us his friends. So lets give to him the dirt and dust of our lives (our very selves) and allow him to make something special out of us.
Another thing to consider. Dust is everywhere. We cant get rid of it its so everywhere. Ever feel like there are people everywhere, and that you are just a face in the massive crowd. We see outstanding individuals from time to time and think, oh look at how they are being used by God. How I wish I was used also in such a special way too. Let me assure you, that God is in the business of using nameless, faceless, ordinary dust to advance his kingdom everyday. We are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works. If your feeling unwise, not powerful, not of noble birth, weak, low, and despised---we are the type of Dust God likes to use. 1 Corinthians 1:26-30

Let there be Light

There is something wholly unnatural about darkness. Even children naturally fear darkness. It's darkness where everything from the imaginary monster, to ghosts, and goblins dwell, themselves afraid of the light. We somehow instinctively know light protects us. In introductory science classes we learn that the sun will one day "burn out." All of life will cease in the freezing darkness, and the universe will continue on without us in infinite time. We often think darkness is the norm, and we are lucky to have some light while it lasts. However, as we look at the truth of God's word and even science we realize quite the opposite. "Let there be light." What we have learned is that light is interwoven throughout all of creation, and that there may not be any such place without it. Light is the norm! If we were to go into the darkest cave and seal ourselves in, our eyes may not detect it but there would still be light around us. Scientist's in Denmark discovered that even the human body has measurable light. Amazingly, we can measure the speed of light, but no such claim exists about what we call darkness. Take heat for example. Our thermometers measure "heat" not cold. What we call cold is merely less heat. When its cold outside there is still heat just not as much as we prefer. There is a place scientist call absolute zero. That would be no heat at all. We hypothesize that it is there but we have yet to get there. Scientist are able to cool things (remove heat) to within fractions of a degree of absolute zero, but so far we are always fractions of a degree away. There is so far always some heat to measure.
Now I write this not to make a profound point, because I am not that smart. This is all to big for my little mind. I have written it to add a little to our contemplation of God's Word. Many verses come to mind about light.
"Let there be light." Genesis 1:3
"In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4-5
"The true light, which enlightens everyone was coming into the world." John 1:9
"God is light, in him is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5
"but if we walk in the light, even as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7
"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:16-17
"You are the light of the world" Matthew 5:14
"Send your light and truth, let them lead me." Psalm 43:3
"If I say, surely the darkness will cover me, and the light about me be night,even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." Psalm 139:11 -12
"in him we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28
Maybe all of this is to say God is sure- darkness is not. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is true and proven--all else is vanity. Now i might also add, "God is love." "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God, anyone who does not love, does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4: 7-10
If God is light and love?? Then His love is all around us all the time!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our Introduction to God

Where it starts.
I think its so amazing that Genesis Chapter one, starts out with God letting us know that before anything was He was. "In the beginning God." Before light was, before the stars, and planets---before anything was, He was! The next amazing thing He lets us know, as He introduces Himself is how He created everything. He did it all with His Word-- by speaking! God speaks! What an introduction! From the first pages of the Bible, God says to us---Everything you see, touch and feel, and all that you can't was created by me as I spoke my Word! Look around you, the sun, the stars, plants, and animals are all there because I spoke them into existence. So here we are thousands of years later, and all creation still stands. The sun rises in the morning, the birds fly in the sky, the trees produce fruit, daytime and night time, spring time and harvest continue as God spoke it long ago. Could it be that in God's introduction of Himself, He is saying ever so clearly. Hello, I am God, I speak and what I say is trustworthy. You can trust my Word, what I say I do, If you have a doubt-- look around you! I keep my Word forever! My Word sustains everything! Everything owes its existence to me! The sun will rise tomorrow, because I said it so! Now that I have your attention, listen to what else I will teach and tell you, and what I tell you--- you may believe with certainty.

Wisdom from Plants and Fruit Trees

It is interesting that in Genesis chapter one, on the fourth day God created the sun, moon, and stars, yet the plants and fruit trees were already flourishing having been created previously. How could that be? Don't all plants need the sunlight? Here again, the Lord points us to true life. What we truly need to live and flourish is God's Word sustaining us, just like the plants. "Let the plants, seed bearing, and fruit trees bring fourth after their own kind," God said it and it was so. Even before the sunlight, or water, or nutrition from the soil--- the plants and trees owe their existence and survival to the spoken Word of God before anything else God gave them. Jesus teaches us the same, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."