Month: September 2022

Eve – Punished But Not Forsaken

The story of Eve

The sun was just beginning to rise as Eve strolled through the garden looking for something to eat. The morning dew glistened off the flower petals as the birds sang their good morning tune. Drinking in the fragrance of the air Eve thought, “What a perfectly glorious day!” Then, from the corner of her eye, she spied a very ripe and ruby colored pomegranate. And as she reached out to grab it, there was a rustle in the grass beside her.

Eve looked down and saw a serpent who had positioned himself on a rock to bask in the sunshine. Eyeing the fruit in her hand, with a low hiss the serpent asked, “Isn’t it true that God doesn’t want you eating from the trees of the garden?” “Not true at all!”, exclaimed Eve. “God allows us to eat freely of every fruit! Well…. except the fruit from that one,” she said pointing to a large tree in the middle of the garden. “But that’s God’s special tree. And not only can’t we eat from it, we can’t even touch it. Because if we do, we shall surely die!”

“Ha!”, cried the serpent. “You won’t die! God only tells you that to keep you away. Because He knows if you eat its fruit you’ll become like God Himself, knowing good and evil.” Eve rolled his wicked words around in her mind, and for the first time, she began to doubt the goodness of God. The fruit it so temptingly dangled truly was beautiful to behold, and Eve could almost taste its sweetness. Why would God withhold such a delight? Surely it must be good to eat, and wouldn’t her Father be pleased at her desire for wisdom? So Eve pulled the fruit from its branch, and ran back to her husband.

Finding Adam, she broke off a two pieces of the forbidden fruit. Handing one to her husband, Eve quickly gobbled up the other. The taste was like nothing she had experienced. But instead of the glorious sweetness she expected, the fruit filled her with the bitterness of shame and guilt. She felt dizzy, nauseous, and threw the remaining fruit on the ground. She looked at her husband in desperation and was horrified to see him staring back her with the same bewildered look. Both of them truly seeing each other’s nakedness for the first time, ran and hid amongst the trees. And gathering together a few fig leaves, they fashioned themselves some coverings.

While they were trying to process what was happening to them, they heard God walking in the garden. But instead of joyfully rushing into the arms of their Father as they usually did, they continued hiding. It was only when they heard God shout out, “Adam where are you?”, that her husband, afraid and ashamed, came, with Eve in tow, to face God and confess what they had done.

With her head hung in shame, Eve couldn’t bring herself to look at God. She knew the disappointment and sadness in His eyes were more than she could bear. Her Father had given her everything, and this was how she repaid Him. Oh how she wished she could turn back time and undo her great mistake. The sorrow in her heart filled her eyes with tears. And as they ran down her cheeks, Eve tasted for the first time, the salty bitterness of regret.

God’s punishment was swift and severe. They were banished from the garden. Forever banned from its life of ease, beauty, and perfect peace. There would be no more walks with God in the cool of the morning, nor shielding from the sting of death.

As Eve walked out the garden towards her new life of toil, she took one look back at the paradise lost to her forever. Even though there was pain and remorse in her heart, there was also hope. She turned and smiled gently at Adam. “What is there to smile about?” he asked his wife. Taking his hand and placing it on her belly where a new life was growing inside her Eve replied, “Because even though God has punished us, He hasn’t forsaken us.”

September 22nd – 2 Timothy 2:15

2 Timothy 2:15

Paul was all about winning souls for Jesus. Though he was imprisoned, shipwrecked, stoned, and left for dead, Paul never lost his faith, or desire to please God. I want that kind of boldness. To have the heart of a lion, fearlessly responding to God’s calling regardless of the circumstances. Because sadly, there have been situations when instead of sharing the Gospel, I remained silent from fear of being ridiculed, rejected, or challenged. Other times I’ve shared the Gospel too aggressively or pompously. I looked down my nose at those who didn’t agree with my beliefs or immediately want to reconcile themselves to God. But not Paul. Even though he was bold, he was also kind. Because Paul understood the importance of representing Jesus. Meaning sharing the message of God’s redeeming love with courage, love, grace, and humility. And that’s how I want to share the the Gospel. In a confident, loving, respectful way, doing all for God’s glory!

September 21st – Acts 13:22

Acts 13:22

Did you know the word “beloved” appears nearly 120 times throughout the Bible? It’s a word reserved for those who are adored, cherished, treasured, and greatly loved. Just as God called David beloved, so He calls us. He created each of us intentionally, purposefully, and lovingly. He calls us beautiful, valuable, wanted, and His. And unlike the world who turns away when the shine fades from our star, we never have to fear losing God. His love never falters, never fails, and never grows cold. So the next time you find the Enemy whispering lies of inadequacy in your ears, remember this. You are a child of the most high God, and heir to the kingdom. There is no Hollywood trophy, no social media following, nor worldly accolade that could compare with the value of knowing one day we will spend eternity dwelling and reigning with the Lord. So wear your crown proudly! Have a heart longing to serve God, and never forget how much you are loved!

September Psalm 3:3

Psalm 3:3

In 1927 a submarine of the Navy was accidentally rammed by a Coast Guard destroyer, and quickly sunk. Heroic efforts were made to rescue six known trapped survivors. They exchanged a series of signals with the rescue force, by tapping on the hull.  As the trapped men used the last of available oxygen in the sub, they sent a morse-coded message. “Is there any hope?” That’s a question king David must have asked as well. His son Absalom was attempting to seize his throne. Forced to leave Jerusalem and flee across the Jordan river, David didn’t know friend from foe. But He did know the goodness of God. David saw firsthand the awesome might and strength of God and how He cares about the troubles of those who love Him. God fought for David, and Absalom’s armies were swept from the field. And as God was David’s mighty Shield, so He will be for us. So when the question is asked, “Is there any hope?” we as Christians can give a resounding yes!  Through faith and the glory of God, though evil surrounds us, it won’t prevail!

September 19th – Psalm 46:1-2

Psalm 46:1-2

Often it’s not the happy times when we feel closest to God, but the darkest. Because the storms in our lives show us just how weak we are and how desperately we need the saving grace of Jesus. A grace that provides the courage and peace no storm can shake. But that requires a deep and trusting faith. You’d think with all the disciples had witnessed with Jesus, they’d have that kind of faith. Yet when facing a raging storm, even they gave into fear and doubt with each crashing wave. The way we weather our storms reveals the depth of our faith in God. At the first sign of trouble do we fall to our knees in hopelessness and despair? Or do we fall to our knees in prayer to the Lord? Do we cry out to our Father in panic? Or  do we listen for His calming voice? God is our refuge, our safe port in every storm. And when we place our trust and faith in Jesus, we experience peace no matter what comes our way. Because just as Jesus calmed the sea and rescued the disciples, He will rescue us.

September 18th – Esther 4:14

Esther 4:14

Esther was a young queen in over her head. Told by her cousin Mordecai about the prime minister’s plot to kill the Jews, the fate of her people laid heavy on her small shoulders. Yet Esther knew where to go; straight to God. For three days and nights Esther sheltered in His presence through prayer and fasting. And as she grew closer to the Lord, Esther received the wisdom and courage she needed to save her people. Life is hard. And trying to do it on our own is near impossible. But thankfully, as Christians we never have to face anything alone. Because God is there welcoming us to come to Him. To spend time in His presence, bathing in His strength, mercy, and guidance. A place of refreshment, the arms of the Lord is where we experience His perfect peace. Where we find the answers we seek, the wisdom of God’s counsel, and the warmth of His unconditional love.

September 17th – Ezekiel 3:9

Ezekiel 3:9

In times of old, watchmen were placed on city walls and in towers overlooking fields. Always at their post, these watchmen were ready to sound the warning bell when danger was near. God called the prophet Ezekiel to be a watchman for the unrepentant house of Israel. A call He gives to us as well. We are to be on constant guard, blowing the trumpet of warning to an unrepentant world. Cautioning all about the danger of rejecting God’s gift of salvation, choosing instead to live in rebellion and disobedience. Not a popular message in today’s society of “if it feels good, do it!” But a message desperately needed all the same. God gave Ezekiel strength harder than flint to see His will done, and the courage to deliver His message. And when we walk in obedience, God will do the same for us. Because the Lord never asks anything of anyone without providing the means to accomplish the task at hand!

September 16th – Luke 21:28

Luke 21:28

Throughout history people have argued about the meaning and timing of the signs that would signal the soon return of Christ. But along with signs, Jesus also gave warnings about the approaching end times. First He warns us not to be misled. Many false prophets will come in His name saying, “I am He” and deceitful date setters will cry, “The time is near”.  By knowing what the Word of God says, we can be protected from wrong teachings. Next the Lord says prepare to be persecuted. Christians may experience betrayal, hatred, and death even at the hands of those we love. But we needn’t fear. For even if we lose our physical lives, we can rejoice knowing the reward of eternal life awaiting us. Finally Jesus tells us to be on guard. In patient anticipation of the glorious return of the Lord, we are to watch, pray, and most of all, guard our hearts. (Luke 21:36) I truly believe that the season of the Lord’s return is upon us. So, “straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!”

September 15th – Ephesians 3:8

Ephesians 3:8

Paul was a man who tried to destroy God’s people. Yet not only was he pardoned, but given the great privilege of spreading God’s message and building His church. But the assignment came at a high price. Paul was beaten, stoned, jailed, shipwrecked, and robbed, among other sufferings. Still, regardless of the set backs, Paul faithfully carried out his task. Throughout the world he fearlessly preached and wrote about the inexhaustible riches and generosity of the Lord. Jesus promised that all who follow Him in faithful obedience, will suffer. (2Tim. 3:12) Does that mean we’ll experience troubles and hurt along the way? Yes. But God’s grace will comfort and love us through. Paul didn’t want the Ephesians to feel sorry for the tribulations he endured. Because he was being used in a way greater than he could ever imagine. If we let Him, God will us too in great ways. And the rewards awaiting our obedience, far outweigh any troubles we experience in the Lord’s name!