God Running

Genesis 3:20-24 — he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 20-24

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (v. 20) Interestingly in January of 1987, three scientists, Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking, and Allan C. Wilson published an article in the journal Nature that announced that everyone in the human race descended from one mother. They called her Eve. Now they’ll argue about when she existed, and where she resided, but isn’t it remarkable that even science today recognizes that all of the human race is descended from one mother? I believe that over time, as scientific methods improve, science may ultimately confirm the accuracy of the bible.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (v. 21) God, in His grace and mercy, clothed Adam and Eve, not for His benefit, for Hebrews 4:13 says, Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. But God in His grace clothed Adam and Eve for Adam and Eve’s sake. Close your eyes and envision with me that your going out into the woods, finding fig leaves or leaves of any kind for that matter, and attempting to clothe yourself with them. Obviously it was a pathetic attempt made by Adam and Eve then, and still today, whenever you or I attempt to cover our sin in our own energy, it’s feeble at best.  God had to do it, God had to clothe Adam and Eve after their sin. God offers to clothe us today. He provided His Son and offers Him to us so that we can be clothed with His righteousness if we but ask. (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:20)

Now close your eyes again and imagine with me what Adam and Eve saw when they turned to look back as they left the Garden. There at the East side of the Garden they saw the bloody remains of the animals that were sacrificed so that they could be clothed, and they saw cherubim standing over the sacrifice. It’s interesting that later we see the same picture of cherubim and sacrifice in the tabernacle, and then again in the temple, and then again at the empty tomb where two angels would stand post over the slab stained with the blood of Jesus Christ. Animals were sacrificed to clothe Adam and Eve and Jesus died died for your sin and for my sin because, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22) Sin requires sacrifice.

And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (v. 22-24)

Thank God for driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden and blocking the physical way to the tree of life. Can you imagine what it would be like to live forever in this world polluted by sin? Apparently God could. His grace and mercy continues in that He found a way to limit the pain from all of the sin, guilt, shame, and destruction that all of humanity would endure after the fall of man. Because Adam and Eve no longer had access to the tree of life they would, mercifully, die after a time and enter into their rest.

Since the fall, the way, the physical way, to eternal life with God has been cut off.

But in His grace God provided another way. Only one way, and not a physical way, but a way none the less. Jesus said,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Jesus is the way. Find Him and you’ll find the way to eternal life with God.

Go to Join Christ’s Family to learn how.


 

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

In Christ Alone

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Chuck Missler

Nature.com

Jon Courson

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven — Matthew 6:20

Heaven and Time

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20


Self discipline with your time: (continued from October 6, 2010 post)

“In most cases, time is the only finite resource,” my son Nate informed me the other day. He was sharing something he learned while working on his degree in economics. He went on to explain that you can lose all your money, but if you work hard and invest wisely, you may be able to recover it, you might even gain far beyond what you lost. But once you’ve spent time, you can never get it back.

How we spend our time is one of the most important areas of discipline there is. Showing up on time, spending our time preparing properly, and scheduling are all important areas of self discipline that are keys to success in life.

But right now I’d like you to think about time as a resource. As something you spend. As a resource you invest. I believe that when we enter into heaven, the answer to the question, how did you invest your time, will be of the utmost importance.

Imagine with me if you will, that you’ve just died in a car wreck and you find yourself at the gates of heaven.


You are welcome at my house,” the angel said. (Judges 19:20) Was he an angel? What is it about him? Or is it Him? He threw His arms around me and kissed me. (Luke 15:20) I all but disappeared in his (His?) giant embrace.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said warmly. Why this tremendous being is interested in me, I can’t fathom.

“Well,” I started tentatively. “I feel like I’m kind of young to be here.”

“I get that a lot,” is all he said. “Where have you come from? (Job 1:7) Tell me about your life on earth.”

“I, um, I grew up in…” I spent an hour or so sharing with him all of my life story. The longer I spoke, the more I became aware of a loving quality about him. By the end of my story it seemed that his love was palpable, I could feel it exuding from him. Just then the thought entered my mind, And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

It was Him. I was sure of that now.

After I thought I had told Him all of my life story, at the end, after the description of how I died in the car accident, that’s when he asked the big question.

“So how did you spend your time on earth?” He asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked right back. “I just told you my life story.”

“Yes, of course you did,” He didn’t react at all to my defensive tone. “You grew up, you had to work to support yourself, you had certain obligations to family and friends, you needed time for rest, you died. Your time on earth is a finite resource, I understand. Since the fall, that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s the rest of your time that I’m interested in.”

“The rest of my time?” I asked. Just then the thought As for man, his days are like grass…” passed through my mind. (Psalm 103:15)

“Yes, the rest of your time. How did you spend it?”

“Hmmm, let’s see, on Sunday mornings I went to Your house, to church.”

Thou hast well said.” (John 4:17 KJV) You did go to my house, to a church that teaches My word, My whole word from cover to cover. Good choice. And you were there on many Sunday mornings. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:18)

I swallowed hard. Many Sunday mornings, He had said. That was a generous way to put it, I knew. In reality I was there mostly when a close friend, who was much more devoted than I, talked me into going. I had attended church on Sunday less than half of the time.

“How else?” He asked. “How else did you spend your time?”

“Well, socializing, I said. Visiting with friends and family.”

“Ah,” He smiled widely, a great and wonderful smile. “Socializing, with a generous dose of loving people. Truly an excellent use of your time – loving people.” His smile made my heart soar. I was filled with joy to the point where I thought my chest would burst. The look of pleasure on His face was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen by far. I heard the words in my mind, God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6)

“And how else?”

I thought for a moment but couldn’t come up with anything else I’d done that was of, well, of any value to anyone in this place. I heard in my mind, What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15)

Suddenly without warning I heard myself saying out loud, “Watch TV.” I didn’t want to say it, I didn’t mean to say it – it just seemed to come out. And it was true. Most days I spent at least a couple of hours watching TV.

“You’ve answered well again. And what did you watch?”

I didn’t answer. I didn’t have to. The expression on my face must have said it all, for nearly everything I watched had no redeeming value.

I wasn’t ready for what happened next. A look of sadness washed over His face. His face, looking like that, looking so very sad. I suddenly felt altogether unhinged – I felt sick. I averted my eyes. “Anything but,” I thought. “please, anything but that look. I don’t ever want to see that look again.” I was reminded of how I felt when I saw the look of disappointment on my best friend’s face, that day I betrayed him. But as bad as that was, this was much more painful. My sorrow was so great that it hurt. The pain was so intense that I thought I would perish, but somehow I knew that couldn’t happen here, not in this place. I was struck by how One so magnificent could look so hurt. He looked wounded. The words entered my mind, “these are the wounds I was given at the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)

Very softly, very gently, He asked, “What else, my child?”

“The computer,” I said, barely audible.

Without warning the images and sounds of every television program I had ever watched, every website I had ever visited, every song I had ever listened to, every thought I ever had was before me. And before Him. He was showing me how I spent my time. I said, O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” (Psalm 139:1)

I don’t know how I got there but I suddenly found myself at His feet. I was sobbing with my face pressed into the ground. “Mercy, mercy,” I was repeating over and over and over. “Mercy,” I thought. I was completely and utterly at His mercy. Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” I thought. (Job 13:15)

Then God’s hand touched me and instantly the words came into my mind, A hand touched me and set me trembling…” (Daniel 10:10) He wiped every tear from my eyes and gently turned my head to see Another coming. (Revelation 21:4) And when I turned I saw …someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:12, 13, 16)

“My child behold, your Champion,” God said of the Other. “My Son and My lamb.”

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)

Then my eyes were opened and I recognized him who came. (Luke 24:31) It was Jesus. I felt my heart swell because I was at once very afraid yet filled with joy that was almost unbearable. (Matthew 28:8)

In an instant, and without knowing how, I was walking next to my Lord. He was telling me, graciously and gently telling me, how the time God gave me on earth was one of His most precious gifts, and how I chose to use it was of the greatest importance.

“Time,” He said. “Use it well. Store up for yourself treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

Invest your time in eternity.


References:

Bible Gateway

Photo from Inside Out

Jon Courson

2 Timothy 1:7 — Discipline — For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

David Smith, a friend of mine, asked me today, “What’s the value of discipline as it relates to success in life?”

Thank you for the question David, I hope you don’t mind receiving your answer in a blog post.

I would start by saying that the Bible in Proverbs 6:23 says that “…the corrections of discipline are the way to life…” I don’t think it’s a stretch to extrapolate from there, that self discipline is one of the keys to a successful life.

An old New York City Deputy Fire Chief once told me that he noticed a pattern in the successful leaders at FDNY. They either rose earlier than most and spent time working in the early morning, or they spent time working into the evening. We see this pattern in our Lord, in the book of Mark it says Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35) And we see in Proverbs 31:18 that the virtuous woman’s lamp does not go out at night. Thomas Edison said that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Hard work and persistence born of self discipline are certainly keys to success in life.

For the Christian, self discipline is a gift from God. Self discipline is born of the Holy Spirit as we see from 2 Timothy 1:7 where God’s word says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Of course the Holy Spirit is holy, so for the Christian man or woman, self discipline also means holiness. With that in mind we should maintain self discipline in the following areas.

Self discipline with your mind:

In Matthew chapter 5, speaking on murder, Jesus admonishes us not to be angry with our brother. (Matthew 5:21-26) In the same chapter, speaking on adultery, Jesus instructs us not to look at a woman lustfully. Mark Twain once wrote, “What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history.” (Reader’s Digest [1/93], p. 155 as cited in The Christian’s Thought Life by Cole). I wouldn’t go as far as Mark Twain and say that our actions and words play such a small role, but the point is, based on Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 5:21-30, the Lord cares very much what our thoughts are.

All of our actions and words begin with our thoughts. Self discipline with your mind is essential.

Self discipline with your money:

Proverbs 22:7 says, The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. CH Spurgeon said it another way, “Money is the servant of the wise, and the master of fools.” Have integrity with your money. It’s a very novel way to look at finances in our culture today, but God would have us live within our means and avoid credit. By the way Tom Rath and Jim Harter cite a study in their book Well Being that found, when it comes to finances, a sense of well being is not associated with how rich you are, rather a sense of well being is found in those who carry little or no debt. Not surprising at all in the light of scripture.

Self discipline with your eyes:

Job said, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. (Job 31:1) and David said in Psalm 101:3, I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

Make a covenant with your eyes. Avoid that TV program that you know is wrong for your you. Avoid that website that you know is damaging to your mind. Ladies, avoid spending time on Amazon, eBay, or craigslist. Improve your self discipline with your eyes and your thought life will improve, your self discipline with money will improve, your walk will improve.

It’s amazing how much easier self discipline is with your mind, your money, and your Christian walk, when you have self discipline with your eyes.

Self discipline with your word:

Jesus said, “…let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37) Say what you mean, and do what you say. Maintain the integrity of your word.

In closing, I’d just like to comment on how all of this relates to your work life. As someone who’s involved in the hiring process in my own organization, I can tell you with certainty that, every employer is looking for the person with the qualities described above. Think about it: what employer wouldn’t want someone who works hard, is not distracted by financial problems, won’t cause trouble by entering into inappropriate relationships at work, and keeps his or her word. I think it’s obvious that discipline in all of these areas will result in success at work and in success in your life in general.

As usual, God’s way is the best way.

(You may have noticed that one of the most important areas of self discipline was not discussed in today’s post. I’ll address self discipline with your time in the next post Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven—Matthew 6:20)

References:

Bible Gateway

Steven J. Cole

Spurgeon

Rick Warren

Photo by tpuyol – Creative Commons

God First

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 14-19

In the last post we learned about three of the consequences of sin: self centeredness, separation from God, and the blaming of others. Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God after their sin. Of course that didn’t change anything. You can’t hide from God. (Jeremiah 23:24, Psalm 139:7-12, Isaiah 29:15-16, Amos 9:2) Unfortunately, those three consequences were just the beginning of the repercussions that resulted from the sin in the garden. In fact the very next verse after where we left off ends with God saying, “Because you have done this…” (v. 14) Additional consequences include…

Affliction

“Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” (v. 14) In the beginning, the serpent wasn’t limited to slithering. In the beginning, the serpent didn’t have to eat dust every day. In the beginning, the serpent didn’t look like a snake. In Matthew 18:6 Jesus said that, “…if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” The serpent caused God’s original children to sin, and he paid dearly. Even in the millennium described in Isaiah chapter 65, after the world is restored to a Garden of Eden like condition, the serpent will continue to eat dust. (Isaiah 65) Sin is debilitating. Sin changes the way we walk. When we sin, rather than walking uprightly, we crawl around. Afflicted by sin we slither, snake, sneak, and squirm. We worm, wriggle, and writhe our way. Sin changes the way you move through life.

Enmity

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (v. 15) Sin causes enmity. The most common casualty of sin is a relationship, between a husband and wife, between friends, between family. This verse also speaks of the struggle that would ensue from this point forward between good and evil. Most importantly this verse refers to Eve’s seed. This is a rather curious reference because women of course don’t have any seed, women receive seed from men. Normally when God refers to seed in the Bible He’s talking about the seed of a man. Of course every woman needs the seed of a man to conceive a child. Every woman except one, Mary, the one, the only one, who miraculously conceived without the seed of a man. This verse is a prophetic verse that speaks of Jesus’ glory and victory. Mary’s seed would ultimately have victory over that evil one. Mary’s seed did ultimately crush the head of Satan when Jesus defeated Satan on the cross.

Pain

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (v. 16) As a result of Eve’s sin, birth, the very act that brings joy into our lives, and the very act that continues the human family can now only come with pain. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Sin causes pain — the pain of regret, the pain of guilt, the pain of shame. Things God never intended to cause pain, things God intended to be nothing but a blessing are broken by sin.

Toil

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. (v. 17) First of all this is a great reminder that as men, it can be so easy sometimes to listen to our wives, other family, or friends, to go along to get along, even when we should really be listening to God. Before we listen to our wives, before we listen to anyone, we need to listen to God and put His word first. Also notice that Adam’s work changed at this point. In the Garden of Eden he was blessed with the work of tending a garden that responded to his touch in ways that we can only imagine. But as a result of his sin Adam had to, and you and I have to, earn our way through painful toil. Because of the fallen state of the world, everyone now must deal with thorns and thistles in their work life. (v. 18)

Death

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…dust you are and to dust you will return.” (v. 19) And there it is, Satan was wrong after all, Adam and Eve and the rest of the human race would from that point forward return to dust. As God said in Genesis 2:17, “…you will surely die.” (see previous post You will surely die) But even before their physical death, Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death the moment they sinned against God. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, when the son repents and returns to the Father, the Father says in Luke 15:24, For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. When we sin, from God’s perspective, we experience a spiritual death. And no one’s perspective is more important than God’s. Of course sin also causes the death of relationships — the death of a marriage, the death of a family relationship, or the death of a friendship.

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

The mess sin makes in the end. Self-centeredness, separation from God Himself, blaming behavior, affliction, enmity, pain, toil, and ultimately, death result every time — spiritual death and the death of relationships. Sin isn’t bad because it’s forbidden. Sin is forbidden because it’s bad. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for me. Because God loves us He has identified for us what sin is and He forbids us to engage in it. God forbids it because He is for you. And he wants to save you from its destructive power against you.

And He doesn’t stop there. Even beyond His efforts to keep us from sin, God loves you so much that He’s provided a way for you to reconcile yourself to Him in spite of your sin. Did you know that the only place in the entire Bible where God is seen running is in the parable of the Prodigal Son? In Luke 15:20 Jesus said, “…while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Perhaps you’ve recently decided to change your life but you’re still “a long way off.” God earnestly desires reconciliation with you. He’s given His only Son as a sacrifice for every sin you and I have ever committed, are committing, or will ever commit.

Accept Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for your sins. Go to this link: So Your Life Is Falling Apart.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Newly released book by Kurt Bennett, now available on Amazon!

Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.

Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:

  • Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
  • How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
  • The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
  • How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
  • How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
  • How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
  • How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
  • How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
  • How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.

With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.

A life of loving like Jesus.

(Kindlehardcover, and paperback now available on Amazon.)

Genesis 3:7-13 — They Realized They Were Naked

sin consequences

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:7-13


At first it would seem Satan was right, the fruit was good to eat, and the fruit brought knowledge of good and evil. Indeed after eating the fruit Adam and Eve did gain the knowledge of good and evil. And there was no immediate evidence death was upon either one of them. This is how it was with the first sin, and this is how it is with all sin. The bible says sin brings pleasure for a season (Hebrews 11:25) But then “…the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

Sin is a package deal and the second part of the package is inescapable. Lets have a look at the second part of Adam and Eve’s sin.

Self Centeredness:

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;” v. 7 After eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve became self conscious. Before their sin their focus was on the animals of the earth, on tending the garden, on each other, and on their relationship with God. After their sin their focus shifted to themselves. They became aware of, and embarrassed about their nakedness. God didn’t design us to be focused on ourselves. People who sin become self absorbed, and people who are self absorbed tend to be unhappy. God’s design for us is to put Him and other people before ourselves in life. Talk to someone who’s entangled in sin and you’ll find the conversation is all about him, or her. Like the self centered man who after talking at length about himself to a friend said, “Enough about me, let’s talk about you. Tell me–what do you think about me?”

Separation From God:

…and they hid from God among the trees of the garden. v. 8 Sin separates us from God. Adam and Eve had a wonderful relationship with God in His spectacular garden. Intimacy with Him, closeness with Him, regular communication with Him was a regular part of their lives. After their sin, all that changed. When they heard the sound of His coming they were filled with guilt and shame, so they hid themselves, from Him. Their sin affected their relationship with Him, and a relationship with Him is the most important relationship there is. Your sin and my sin will affect our relationship with Him in the same way.

The Blame Game:

The woman You put here with me… v. 12 Adam says. The serpent You put here with us… v. 13 Eve says. God first of all, You were the one who put this woman here with me, Adam was saying, and she did it, it was Eve’s fault. (Stedman says, “He took it like a man, he blamed his wife!”) God You were the one who put the serpent here, and it’s his fault, Eve said. The blame game, finger pointing. This is the first account of that game and its been played by every member of the human race ever since. Notice God is implicated here, the woman You put in my life, the serpent You put here. Whenever you or I blame someone for something we’re ultimately blaming our Father in heaven, for putting that person in our life.

Your Most Important Line of Communication:

You may have read about the fire that destroyed 11 homes in Ashland, Oregon last month. I happened to be running a division at that fire. One of our tactics was to use helicopters to drop water on the burning homes. When the helicopters began operating it was important to keep them from dropping water on one particular house, where firefighters were working inside. That’s because a helicopter water drop pushes fire in all directions, in dramatic fashion. This could cause serious injury or death to those fighting fire inside.

“Command from Oak Knoll Division,” I said on the radio, “direct the helicopters NOT to drop on the house directly across from 8106.”

Command responded, “Copy, send a helicopter to drop water directly on the house across from 8106.”

Of course this was exactly what I didn’t want. “Negative, negative,” I said, “DO NOT drop water on the house across from 8106. There are firefighters operating inside.”

No response.

“Command from Oak Knoll Division, DO NOT drop water on the house across from 8106.” I repeated my request.

* Still no response.

Just then a helicopter approaches the area and appears to be lining up for a drop on the house next door to the one we want it to avoid. Hoping that the pilot can see me I encourage him to drop on the house next door by pointing and nodding. (Yes, kind of ridiculous I know, but I didn’t have my radio on the helicopter pilot’s frequency.) He’s low over the house next door and things are looking good, but then, before I know it, he’s passed it. Suddenly it becomes obvious he’s setting up to drop on the house with the firefighters inside. In desperation I’m jumping up and down, waving my arms frantically, trying to communicate to the helicopter pilot not to drop on top of the firefighters. In the midst of all the chaos, a friend of mine, Tyler McCarty, who works for Oregon Department of Forestry, walks up to me just as calm as can be and says,

“Kurt, would you like me to tell that helicopter not to drop on that house?”

“YES!!!” I shout, “yes I would!”

Tyler, who’s already on the helicopter’s frequency, radios the request directly to the pilot. The helicopter flies off, and the firefighters operating inside are saved.

The point is I rarely speak to helicopter pilots because my Fire Department is primarily a structural fire department. My friend Tyler works for a Wildland Fire agency, he talks to helicopter pilots all the time. His radio is on their frequency, and communication is easy.

It’s the same with God. When we’re in constant communication with Him, our relationship is easy. When our prayers are rare, when our scripture reading is only occasional, when our church attendance is sporadic, our relationship with Him suffers. We find ourselves on a different frequency.

Like Adam and Eve before their original sin, focus on God, your family, and the work God has set before you. Avoid sin to avoid separation from God, self-centeredness, and the blame game. Keep your line of communication with God flowing,

Don’t hide from God.

Talk with Him in prayer.

Listen to Him by reading His word.

Fellowship with Him by attending a church that teaches through the entire Bible.

Seek Him.

The day will come, when you’ll be glad you’re on His frequency.

Notes:

* An Incident Commander at a fire like this is completely swamped with all types of communication including face to face, cell phone, and radio communication over multiple frequencies. Not receiving a response for awhile or misunderstanding a radio transmission is not at all uncommon for any fire department operating on a large scale incident.

I believe God’s hand was with the firefighters that day. Within a few minutes of the arrival of the first engine 11 homes were burning. Across the street another 30 homes were threatened. A man who lived across the street from the fire was quoted in the newspaper as saying, “I’m not a religious man, but I know a miracle when I see it.” I agree, that fire should have jumped the street and 30 or so more homes should have burned that day. (Damian Mann, Mail Tribune, Ashland Fire Likely Worst in 100 YearsAugust 26, 2010)


References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

Medford Mail Tribune

Genesis 3:1-6 — “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

Genesis 3:1-6

This is like breaking down the game plan of an opposing team. There are some very basic plays in Satan’s play book and once these are understood… don’t kid yourself, you’re still susceptable to them, but, it can be helpful to see the simplicity of his tactics.

The Tactics of the Enemy:

1) Calling God’s word into question:

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)The enemy said, “Did God really say that?” Did God really mean this? Is all scripture really inspired by God? Come on now, all of it? You don’t really believe that the Red Sea was parted do you? Is all scripture really without error? What about that part of the Bible that just doesn’t seem quite right to you — I don’t think that part is inspired. Calling God’s word into question is one of the basic tactics of the enemy.

Notice also that the enemy twisted God’s words for God of course never said that Adam and Eve must not eat from any tree in the garden.

2) Denying the existence of judgment or consequences:

…the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4) There are no consequences,” the enemy says to you and says to me. You won’t die a spiritual death — because there is no hell. Your marriage relationship won’t die — if you have sex outside of marriage. You will not surely die — if you don’t accept Jesus as your savior. Denying the consequences of not abiding by God’s word and will — a second tactic of Satan.

3)  Misrepresenting God’s nature:

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) God doesn’t want you to eat from this fruit because he wants to hold you back. He doesn’t want you to advance to the point where you have knowledge of good and evil because he’s jealous, in the worst sense of the word — He wants to keep you down. Of course God knew the consequences of eating the fruit and forbid Adam and Eve from doing so for their own benefit. God always wants what’s best for you and for me. Satan always portrays God in the opposite light. How could a loving God allow people to suffer? People suffer because the world is in a fallen state as the result of what happens in the next few verses. How could a loving God allow people to go to hell? God says that if you’re bound and determined to go to hell, you can, but, you’ll have to do it over My dead body, over the body of My Son, Jesus Christ. (see previous post on Eternity)

Only 3 plays left in his playbook — the final three tactics of the enemy:

1 John 2:16 says: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

4) The lust of the flesh:

The enemy’s 4th tactic is to try to appeal to the lust of your flesh. Genesis 3:6 says that, When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food… When the woman saw that this fruit would feed her flesh, that it would taste good, that it would please her flesh… When the alcoholic sees that a drink will please his flesh, when a man or woman sees that an extramarital relationship will please his or her flesh, when the businessman decides to cut a corner so he can make money that will purchase things that gratify, sin is at hand, life altering consequences are at hand.

5) The lust of the eyes:

The 5th tactic is to try to appeal to the lust of the eyes. Verse 6 also says that when the woman saw that the fruit was pleasing to the eye… When the woman was visually attracted to the fruit, when the woman was drawn to the fruit because of its visual appeal… When the man is visually attracted to pornographic images on the internet, when the woman is visually attracted to clothes that will break the budget, when the man is visually attracted to that thing that he covets that he can’t afford, sin is at hand, lives will be damaged.

6) The pride of life:

The 6th tactic is to try to appeal to the pride of life. Verse 6 also says that when the woman saw that the fruit was desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. When the woman thought, I can advance, I can be wise like God, I can have some of the same knowledge that God has… When the New Ager says that you too can be a God. Or when the cult says that, like God, you too can rule your own planet. Or when the intellectual says that scripture is for those who need a crutch, anyone with intelligence is above all of this Bible nonsense, sin is at hand again, eternal consequences are in play.

The Enemy’s Enemy

We see the enemy attempt to use the same final 3 tactics again in Matthew 4. But, this time Satan is playing his game against Jesus.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:1-3) Jesus was hungry, Satan attempted to use his old standby, number 4, the lust of the flesh. But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:4)

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

” ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
” (Matthew 4:5-6)

Prove you are who you say you are, prove you are God’s Son! Come on, prove it! Old standby number 6 was used here, the pride of life. But Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’(Matthew 4:7)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9) Look at all the splendor before you, just look at it, look! Old standby number 5, the lust of the eyes. But Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’(Matthew 4:10)

Jesus said that Satan was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44) As I said earlier, understanding the enemy’s tactics can be helpful in avoiding his pitfalls. However the real power for protection from Satan’s devices comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why not ask Him into your life now? What do you have to lose? Click on this link and do what it says to be saved: Save me.

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Bob Davis

Jon Courson

Marriage, and Mom and Dad: Genesis 2:24-25

Marriage, Mother and Father -- two one fleshFor this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. -Genesis 2:24-25

Cleaving Without Leaving

Many young people today are attempting the first part of Genesis 2:24, becoming one flesh, but leaving out the second part of the verse, leaving their father and mother. I believe many marriages suffer unnecessarily, or even fail, because without the second part, leaving father and mother, the first part, becoming one flesh, doesn’t work very well. Independence from mom and dad is a huge key to a healthy marriage. A husband and wife must form a team of three: the husband, the wife, and their God. When a dad and/or mom is involved it becomes a team of 4 or 5. Or if both sets of parents are involved, a team of seven! God’s way is the best way, and it’s up to us as parents to allow our kids to separate, to leave. Because if they don’t leave, emotionally as well as physically, then they won’t cleave. The parents I see who fall into the trap of over involvement are the same parents who cause problems in the marriages of their kids and in their kids relationship with Jesus too. Too much involvement in our adult kids’ marriages makes things worse instead of better. Young married people, especially you husbands, insist on independence. Guard your marriage from your parent’s over involvement, in a loving and gracious manner, but with tenacity. For you to be successful in your marriage your spouse must come before your parents, and your God must come before your spouse.

Just Friends

And in case you’ve already successfully left your parents, be sure to leave others as well. Friendship with those of the opposite sex, the kind of friendship that involves time alone together, even small amounts of time alone together, is nearly always found at the beginning of an adulterous relationship. Don’t do it. Don’t invest in that relationship at work or at the gym, even if you don’t feel an attraction. As you invest your heart will inevitably follow as Jesus said in Luke 12:34. And as God says to us in Proverbs 6:27-28Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?

Jesus on Divorce

Jesus quoted from Genesis 2:24 when the Pharisees came to trap Him with a question. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (Matthew 19:3) They probably thought, “If we can get Jesus to say that divorce is not permitted, not God’s will, then we can quote the law of Moses and, BOOM, the trap is shut, we’ve got him.” But Jesus went back to the beginning, to God’s original plan for marriage, before the law was given to Moses. Jesus from Genesis 2:24,

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Perhaps at this point the Pharisees, realizing that they’d been out maneuvered, asked the following question, as a last ditch effort to salvage their trap…

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Matthew 19:7)

But Jesus replied,

“Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9)

Divorce Reality Check

Today we’ve seen a rather large cultural shift from divorce being such a negative to a new perception of divorce as a liberating, freeing, positive experience. A single parent household, a man and woman living together unmarried perhaps with children, these are seen as acceptable alternative lifestyles. What’s being completely ignored is the well being of the children of divorce. The vast majority of children from divorced families surveyed say they’d like to see their original family back together. Have you heard that statistic before? Probably not. Five years after divorce more than a third of children experienced depression. Even at 10 years and 15 years after divorce, many of the children involved had significant problems. Children from divorced families were found to be less successful in life than children from intact families, particularly in the areas of relationships and careers.

Most of the time the custody of the children goes to the mother. What’s not a part of the public discussion is that about half of all single mothers live below the poverty line. And this desperate economic circumstance is not for the short haul — on average it lasts for six years after a divorce. For African American single mothers it’s much worse, 10 years after divorce only 33% of African American mothers were remarried, the rest continued in financial distress. (McLanahan-Garfinkel)

So don’t close your eyes to the devastation caused by divorce. Build your marriage on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His word. Invest in your wife, invest in your husband and your heart will follow. Follow His ways, in life, and in your marriage.

Sex a Gift from God

Finally notice in Genesis 2:25 that God provided that The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. God very specifically tells us in Hebrews 13:4 that His plan for the marriage bed is for it to be undefiled. Sex inside of marriage is a gift from Him, and shame has no part in it. When you invest in your wife, when you invest in your husband, do so in all areas including your physical relationship. For God tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:4-5

The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.



References:

[Image via: Maria Rosaria – Creative Commons]

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

The Atlantic

Single Mothers and Their Children, Sarah McLanahan and Irwin Garfinkel, 1986

Genesis 2:19-23 — But for Adam no suitable helper was found. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man.

Adam and Eve

Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (first half fourth century)

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Genesis 2:21-22

Notice that Adam didn’t settle for less than what God had in mind for him. As the animals were brought before him to name, Adam obediently named each creature but, because for Adam no suitable helper was found (Genesis 2:20) Adam didn’t take any of God’s creatures to be his help meet. Today it seems men and women try to find their future mate in the energy of their flesh — visiting bars, clubs, or subscribing to an online dating service. The results are usually dismal. Many of these who marry find themselves heartbroken later. If your single, make your requests known unto the Lord, during this single season of your life, with thanksgiving. (Phillipians 4:6-7) Don’t settle. As Matthew Henry said, “If we graciously rest in God, God will graciously work for us and work all for good.”

Men should take notice that while the man was created from the dust of the earth, the woman was created from the rib of the man. (Genesis 2:21-22) The woman is double refined and the very last of God’s creations on earth. Could it be that God saved the very best for last? While Adam is the first creature to be created in God’s image and the leader or the head, one could say that the woman is the crown that is to be worn upon the head.

Women should take notice that the man, while assigned to be the head, will never be everything you want him to be. As my pastor says, “A rib was taken from Adam and men have been missing something ever since!” The only man that will never let you down is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Give your man a break, don’t put an expectation on him to fulfill your every need because he can’t. Put your hope in Jesus. The first Adam was commanded by God to name the animals, the last Adam was named “Jesus” when Joseph was commanded by God to do so in Matthew 1:21. The Hebrew form of the name Jesus is Yeshua which is a contraction of the Hebrew name Yahwehshua which means “Yahweh is salvation.” Your husband can’t completely satisfy or save you but Jesus can. Put your hope in Him.

Jesus said

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)



[Image: Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (first half fourth century) by jimforest – Creative Commons]

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Matthew Henry

Jon Courson

Chuck Smith, Living Water, p. 38, Word for Today, 2007

Genesis 2:18 — It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) Here we are in only the second chapter of the Bible and already God is declaring that it is not good to be isolated. God in His wisdom of course knows that isolation is associated with all kinds of problems. In fact, according to the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, isolation as a predictor of mortality is comparable with cigarette smoking — your risk of dying increases by 2 – 3 times if you’re isolated vs. if you’re socially connected. Besides mortality — depression, illness, and a host of other problems accompany isolation.

Your spiritual life is also very connected to the dynamic of isolation vs. social connection. Just watch the lives of those who attempt to walk their Christian walk apart from attending church vs. those who do attend. Pick someone you know who says that their way of connecting with God is through the enjoyment of nature, or by hanging out with Christian friends, or by self study. Of course there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but, at the same time pick another who you know attends church, say, 2 or more times a week. You’ll find the difference in the depth of relationship with God between these two to be striking. By and large, you’ll find the church goer to be happier as well. According to author and speaker Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, those who attend church regularly are 40% more likely to be happy than those who don’t. (See previous posts: Congregate and Rest)

“I will make a helper suitable for him.” God’s desire for Adam was to make a helper for him because Adam alone can’t live the blessed life that God has in mind for him without Eve. Furthermore man can’t execute his part of God’s plan for mankind here on earth without women. God gave Adam His plan and agenda, but both Adam and his wife Eve are to work together, as a team, to live out God’s plan and to advance God’s agenda. Adam, the husband, has been put in a position of leadership and Eve, the wife, has been put in a position of service. Not that Adam wouldn’t serve Eve because any great leader will serve those he leads. (Traveler and the Chaplain, p. 56), But Eve has been formally appointed, by God, to be Adam’s helper. In the world’s view this certainly has a negative connotation, but in Gods view, in Christ’s view, the helper is esteemed highly for Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said,

“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:33-35



References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

David Guzik

J. Vernon McGee

Jon Courson

Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine

Kurt Bennett, Traveler and the Chaplain, p. 56, Enoch Publishing 2009

Genesis 2:10-15 — God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:10-15

The second two rivers mentioned, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, we know of today. We know their location, in fact, you can go to Bing Maps right now and find the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates, just to the North of Basrah, in Iraq, which I’ve marked on the map with an orange push pin. Interestingly, the headwaters of these two rivers are not very far apart — both are found in East Central Turkey. Although we don’t know the location of the other two rivers, perhaps, the location of the Tigris and Euphrates headwaters gives us a clue as to the location, or former location of the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 2:15 we read, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” I was reading an article recently on stress that listed the top 10 stressors in life. Guess what? Retirement made the top 10! Here in Genesis 2:15 we see that God has created this perfect environment for Adam and notice that, included in the perfect environment, is work! God has designed us to work. Over the years as I’ve watched friends deal with unemployment and retirement I’ve seen all kinds of problems as a result of leading a life without it, without work. According to the American Journal of Public Health men who are unemployed experience more somitization (similar to hypochondriasis), anxiety, and depression than those who are employed. The unemployed also take more medications, visit their doctors more, and spend more time in bed sick even when the unemployed and employed receive the same number of diagnoses.

In Mark chapter 1 Jesus saw some of the disciples working, they were fishing to be exact. As he passed by them He called to them and said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17) Perhaps God has blessed you in such a way that you’re in a position where you don’t have to work. That’s great! God is good. He’s given you time that most others don’t have. I want to encourage you to use it for His glory. I know of a number of people in this position — several use their time volunteering at a dump in Mexico, they minister to the impoverished people there, several others I know have dedicated themselves to helping in their church. Use your time to influence people for God’s kingdom. Use your time to fish for men!

If you are perhaps younger, and you have to work to provide for your family, as I do, then give thanks to God for your job if you’re employed. And if you’re not employed, I want to encourage you to work as God desires you to. A number of years ago a friend of mine worked a job in a cabinet shop for less money than what he would have made had he collected unemployment. Some said that he was a fool to take less money, just so he could continue to work, but during this time, I could see the Lord doing a work in this man. His attitude and his work ethic were growing. Conversely, I’ve watched friends take their unemployment and enter into a downward spiral of inactivity. Their initiative eroded away. If you can’t find work for pay, then work for free. Help in the children’s ministry, find a widow or someone fatherless who’s in need and help them — these are things that are pure and faultless in God’s sight. (James 1:27)

As with everything God directs us to do, we’ll be at our best, at our healthiest, and at our happiest when we’re in the flow of God’s will.

God wants you to work.



References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

American Journal of Public Health

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

When I was in high school, in Wauconda, Illinois, there was a boy named Carl Shook in my class who had some type of debilitating disease that left him crippled. It also effected his ability to speak. Being the mush for brains high schoolers that we were, we loved to tease Carl about his body, his speech, and anything else we could think of. Carl was an easy target. In October, a month before elections would be held for Student Council government, I got the brilliant idea that it would be hilarious if I talked Carl into running for Class President. What a great joke on Carl, and on the Student Council system, if a cripple who had trouble speaking, were to run. Of course he could never win, but at least he’d campaign and the thought of Carl campaigning struck me as funny.

Carl, whose mind was not effected by his disease, and who was actually very intelligent, loved the idea of running for office. So I became his campaign manager and we filled out the proper paper work to get him on the ballot.

As I spent time with Carl I got to know him better and better. And as I got to know him, as I recruited others to help in his campaign, as I designed and created Carl’s campaign posters, something interesting began to happen. Carl’s desire, not just to run, but to win and serve as Class President, became my desire also.

God’s hand was on that election, because, amazingly, Carl won! And after he was in office he took the job seriously. Carl Shook turned out to be one of the best Class Presidents Wauconda High School ever had.

When you spend time in close fellowship with God, when you delight yourself in Him, you begin a cycle of prayer that results in Him giving you the desires of your heart.

Why? Because as you spend time with someone you become more like them, you begin to share the same feelings, the same thoughts, the same desires.

As you spend time in fellowship with God, the desires of your heart become the same as the desires of God’s heart!

You get to the point where there’s nothing you want more than the same things that God wants for you.

Do you want your prayers answered? Spend time with Jesus.

  • Go to church
  • Read God’s word
  • Pray
  • Hang out with Christians
  • Worship Him, sing praise songs and hymns to Him
  • Take communion
  • Meditate on His word
  • Serve Him
  • Invest your life in Him

Hang with Jesus and watch what happens — “He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) For where you invest yourself is where your heart will be found. Jesus tells us:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21

Invest yourself in Him.



References

Bible Gateway

Chuck Smith, Living Water, p.84-85, Word for Today, 2007

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