Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Life of Thankfulness or a Life of Frustration?

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
God created man (in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;  and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
Imagine this setting from the first chapter of Genesis.  God had created everything for the joy and the benefit of the choicest of His creation.
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."  Genesis 2:16
The vast forest of trees were give to man with only one single tree being set aside as unavailable to them.
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8
In addition to all of man's physical needs being met, God's presence was consistent and obviously available.
How is it that our world has ended up where is has when so much was provided to the advantage of maintaining the spiritual nature of mankind?
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"   Genesis 3:1

OK, so here is the real question.  Adam personally knew his Creator; had an intimate relationship with his God but, nevertheless, listened to the liar!
How did this happen?
A better question perhaps is: if Adam couldn't resist what chance do I have?
It is vitally important for us to see the entire picture painted in the beginning chapters of the history of God's dealing with man.
What do you think enabled Satan to "get a word in edgewise" with one so aware of God's presence and provision?
What more could Adam have wanted if totally left by himself, with no outside influence?
Allow me to bring this home personally.
Adam had acres and acres of provision. 
How often do you thank God for the things and the people he has given you?   Adam had lost his gratitude for the things and the people that he had had.  This left a huge opening for the enemy to present additional options.
Adam had immediate and real access to the Living God on a current basis.  He grew in-sensitized to the ready presence.
When was the last time you treated your God like He was treasured and that His current presence made a difference for you?
Adam listened to the enticing discussion.
What do you listen to the most?  Do you ever hear from Him?  Are the enticing invitations of fame, wealth, success, happiness, security louder than the sweet, soft voice of the Great Lover of your soul?
Adam choose to try the tree!
What is your tree?  God has given you acres and acres of permissible "trees" but there is always that one!  
I encourage you to hear His voice, walk with Him continually and offer to Him the thanksgiving due!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Answered Prayer

He simply could not understand.

For months; no, for years now, he had been asking God to do something! His frustration with the things he continued to see had grown unbearable. Day after day he had prayed; day after day things grew worse.

How long, O Lord, will I call for help and You will not hear?

I cry out to You, "violence", yet You do not save!
Why do You make me see iniquity and cause me to look at wickedness?

Yes, destruction and violence are before me;
Strife exists and contention arises.
Therefore, the law is ignored and justice is never upheld.

For the wicked surround the righteous;

Therefore, justice is perverted.

Honestly laying out his frustration brought brief relief. The intensity of the burden was lessened even though the problem remained.

The moment of peace was quickly shattered by what God had to tell him in response to his pleas!

Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days –
you would not believe if you were told

"Finally", he thinks. Results; things are going to get done. "Stand back and watch my God at work"!

God continues:

For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
That fierce and impetuous people
Who march throughout the earth
To seize the dwelling places which are not theirs,
They are dreaded and feared.
Their justice and authority originate with themselves.
All of them come for violence
They will sweep through like the wind and pass on.
Surely, I didn’t hear You correctly, he thought!

D-d-d-d-d-did you say that you are bringing hordes of violent, Godless peoples to do Your will?

He again prays ( a bit more timidly this time):

Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One?
We will not die.
Your eyes are too pure to approve of evil,
And You cannot look on wickedness with favor.

Why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously?

Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?

How does this make sense?

The Chaldeans are far more unrighteous than the people that You use them in judgment against.

Maybe you haven’t considered that we aren’t so bad after-all. Maybe, I was a little hasty with my calling for You to fix the state of Your people’s sin.

This clearly wasn’t what I had in mind!

God responds:

the righteous will live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 1 & 2)

So there it is… the good news and the bad news:

The good news? God answers our prayers. Yea!

The bad news? He has chosen to remain God and answer our prayer His way!

The bottom-line good news? He never leaves us guessing; but teaches us in the process!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sorrow or Life?

I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.”

I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good,
And my sorrow grew worse.   Psalm 39:1-2 

Does this sound like most Christians today?  "I will guard my mouth...while the wicked are in my presence"?
How often are we intimidated by the worldly way of those around us and fail to interject any positive comments?  We have the words of hope for the world and we remain silent in the face of ignorance!

The Psalm reveals to us the results of our timidity: "My sorrow grew worse".

Faith is fueled by facing the giants of fear and not backing down.  We dwell in the routine and hum-drum of life when Jesus came to give us "life to the full." 

The choice is yours.  Will you choose life or choose comfort and worldly acceptance?