Tag: Adam and Eve

Naked

Naked.

That’s what you and I are without the Glory of God.

The Glory of God with which Adam and Eve were once adorned.

Have you ever wondered what Adam and Eve looked like?

Mankind has been worried about their self image for a long time; I’d guess for around 6,000 years. They weren’t created to be self absorbed or self conscious, but things happen.

At one time, while they still had access to their Garden, all Adam and Eve could see was the beauty of God’s handiwork. Besides the trees, flowers, birds and animals, they saw the glory of God emanating from one another.

Adam had freedom to walk with God, and to understand what God showed him. I believe Adam steadily increased in wisdom and glory, from one degree to another. With unveiled face, beholding the glory of God not only as he looked at God, but when he gazed upon his wife’s beauty.

It’s the glory of God shining through someone’s life that makes them beautiful. Without it, all there is to see is flesh, hair, and paint.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 ESV)

There was a light that shone out of them; the brilliance of God pouring out of their inner most being. Out of their heart flowed the forces of life (Proverbs 4:23). Their heart, or spirit, was the candle of the Lord. In His light, they saw light.

Picture Adam and Eve, created in the image and exact likeness of God, with rays shooting from their fingertips.

“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.” (Habakkuk 3:3-4 ESV)

No wonder they never realized they were naked; because, in all actuality, they weren’t. They were endued, clothed, with power from on high!

The Glory of God!

In the Garden, Adam and Eve, clothed in glory, allowed their light to be snuffed out through disobedience. Now they could see what skin looked like without glory. They experienced the truth of God’s word when He told them, “don’t eat, lest you die.” They couldn’t explain it, but they knew things weren’t the same.

Naked people cannot know spiritual things.

Their covering of Glory was replaced with a loincloth of shame. Boldness and confidence in their God was trampled by the force of doubt and fear. Their life of “Shalom” turned into chaos, jealousy, rebellion, and murder.

And man began to be absorbed with his own self importance. As “Self” was lifted up to new heights, the worship of man and the religion of humanism was born.

But if any person be in Christ, they become a new creation; old things pass away (2 Corinthians 5:17). The power of God begins recreating and restoring His Glory within the life of the believer.

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:27-29 NKJV)

The life truly submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ will display the Glory of God.

And nakedness will once again be covered.

“Drop Kick Me Jesus…”

“Drop kick me Jesus…” A cute little song by Bobby Bare.

God NEVER intended for His people to barely make it through this life and into the next, without a testimony of His power and victory evident in their life. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”(Romans 8:29-30 NKJV)

The word “predestined” can toss you around if you’re not careful. It does not mean God has already decided who will and who won’t be saved. God’s not willing any perish or go to an eternal hell. Rather He IS willing, and made it possible, for ALL men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. So ANYONE and EVERYONE can become a new creation in Christ and spend now and forever abiding in His Presence.

“…He also predestined…” in the above passage could be paraphrased in this manner: “God knows who will come to Him through His Son, Jesus. And all who come to Him are destined to be changed into His likeness, His image. It’s an established plan. God won’t settle for any less.”

God desired to have a family, created in His image, after His likeness. Adam started out well, but ended falling way short. But Jesus, the Second Adam, brought mankind back to the place where fellowship with God is possible. Possible, through faith in Jesus. And our “destiny”, in Jesus, is to be changed into His exact likeness, His image; acting like Him in all ways, thought, word, and deed. As the Son is, so shall we be (see John 17 and Hebrews 1:1-3). “Pre” means “before” so think of it this way: God planned our destiny in Jesus before it was possible. He “prepaid” for our eternal hope and future.

I believe it’s time for us to see ourselves the way God sees us in Christ. Time for us to understand “this life” on earth is only separated from our “next life” by our earthly body. What God has, or hasn’t, accomplished in us while on earth will continue. “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” 

So, enjoy the cute song. Especially if you like country music. But look into God’s Word and discover what He has already accomplished for you in Christ. And don’t be satisfied with barely making it through life. 

You are not a football. 

The Spirit of Encouragement

Preached January 27, 2013 at First Assembly of God, Burlington, Iowa.

The Spirit of Encouragement

Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back…(Acts 11:25-26 NLT)

Barnabas, the son of encouragement, exemplified the spirit of encouragement.

I. The Spirit of encouragement seeks those in hiding.
A. Paul was in hiding, beaten down, bruised…
B. Barnabas sought him and found him.
1. Luke 19:10
2. Adam and Eve
3. Moses
4. David
5. Jonah
6. The Prodigal
C. The serpent fights to keep you down and away from God.

II. The Spirit of encouragement restores to wholeness and purpose
A. Seek and Save, power of God to salvation, gifts and callings!
B. Salvation – completeness, fruitfulness, God’s original intent!
C. See list of names above – ex. “that which was lost”
D. Barnabas helped “bring him back” to ministry (Galatians 6:1)

III. Encourage – to impart, give, inspire with courage.
A. Courage helps you do what you didn’t think was possible!
B. Courage helps you face what couldn’t be faced!
C. Courage gives you a hope and a future!

Close – Encouragement is crying out for you!
A. Come out of hiding – ADAM! GET UP! EVE! GET UP!
B. Be saved, be restored to God’s original intent…WHOLENESS
C. Face what you couldn’t face, believe what you couldn’t believe…
D. Respond to the Spirit of encouragement – BECOME AN ENCOURAGER

Encourage

God SO LOVES the World

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“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

“For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” (Romans 5:5-9 NLT)

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10 NLT)

There are so many things to discuss regarding the love of God. But as I sit and meditate on His love, one particular facet shines brighter than the rest…

He came looking for me. He wouldn’t let me lie in the mess I made, didn’t throw His hands in the air and say, “What’s the use?” He couldn’t bear the thought of me living eternally without Him, or He without me!

We were made for each other! I was created for Him, and He gave His best for me.

He came looking for me! I heard Him calling my name as I hid behind the lilac bushes.

“Adam!” “Adam!” “Where are you?”

I remember thinking, “why does He need to ask? I’m sure He could walk right to me.”

I stayed in hiding as long as I could. He kept calling, calling, calling my name, “Adam!”

At first I thought He was calling out my name in anger. Maybe my conscience was telling me that. Or, I could have been hearing the voice of the serpent who was hiding beside me, telling me God was going to beat me back into the dust for disobeying Him. Yes, now I’m sure it was the serpent’s voice.

But the more I heard God call my name, the more I heard something much different, much stronger than anger. I heard love!

I heard love! I heard Him shout my name in love. I heard Him whisper it, barely audible, but I heard it. And the more I heard His voice, the more I wanted to leave my place of hiding and find refuge in His arms.

I finally got up and left the serpent behind, still hissing his lies, accusations, and hatred.

Love came looking for me! I had to respond.

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4 NLT)

Some “Friendly” Advice

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I really miss watching Bob Ross on television. Besides being one super artist, he was fun to watch and listen to. He’d talk about “friendly” clouds, trees, streams…he was one of the most “friendly” guys ever to be on the tube.

That’s why I used his “likeness” when I decided to write about “friends”.

Friends. Not just Facebook kind of friends, mere “followers” or acquaintances, but friends.

Friends. The dictionary defines “friend” as “one attached to another by affection or esteem”. Another definition says, “a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another”.

Friends. One of the most valuable “things” a person can have. A person could have all the money, power, land in the world; in fact, they could even own the moon. But without a friend, who can they share it with? Who can they trust?

The Word of God has much to say about friends. Who would know better than God? After all, He created the heavens and the earth. Everything seen and unseen was created by Him and for Him. But after 5 days, He wasn’t satisfied. He had no one to share His handiwork with. Pigeons and elephants were great, fish were wonderful, and birds were something else!

But the animal kingdom couldn’t attach themselves to Him by affection or esteem. Not like someone created in His image. So He made man, His best forever friend.

Studying the friendship between God and Adam should give us some advice about how friends should treat one another.

For instance, God gave Adam free reign of the garden, with one exception. One tree. A friend will have boundaries and a true friend will respect them. Manipulating your “friend”, making them feel bad or coercing them, because they have something you want but can’t get, is violating your friendship. God never laid a guilt trip on Adam, even though He told Adam some tough things.

God allowed Adam to be involved in God’s business. He let Adam set up the garden, name the animals, and look for a friend he could connect with. I think Adam and God talked about this issue, with the discussion sounding something like this:

Adam: “God, You’ve really created quite a world. Everything is neat and orderly, so majestic and beautiful. You’re quite good, you know. All these friendly trees, and birds, and animals, and…”
God: “But you’re not happy, are you, Adam?”
Adam: “No, really God…”
God: “Adam, I can tell. All these things are wonderful to see, but you need something more. I know you, Adam. You’re too much like Me to want to live life without a friend.”
Adam: “Yes, Lord, You’re absolutely right. I need someone besides You, no offense, God; but I need someone else I can attach myself to.”
God: “I tell you what I’ll do. If you’ll show yourself friendly, I’ll make you a forever friend. Give of yourself and see. Release part of yourself, just a rib will do. Give and it will be given to you, pressed and formed together. Something that will capture your heart, mind, and body.”

Well, Adam agreed and the rest is history.

The Word says, “He who desires friends, must show himself friendly.”

Real friends stick together, through thick and thin. Loyal to one another, despite the peril one may be facing. Could this be why Adam ate of the tree, after seeing Eve succumb to the slimy words of the serpent? Did Adam watch Eve change from life to death and decide to stay with her? Is that why he ate the fruit? Just wondering out loud.

Friends aren’t afraid of the advice a friend gives them. Trust is the reason why. Friends confide in each other. Yes, because of trust.

Friends would rather take a beating, than give up on a friend. A true friend will even, if necessary, give their life so a friend can live. Friend, I’m not just referring to Jesus!

Friends guard what they say about their friends, and defend the honor and reputation of their friends when necessary. The words they speak to and about their friends are healing, uplifting, guarding, and redemptive words.

As with the paralytic and his 4 friends mentioned in Luke chapter 5, friends grab hold of their friend’s need or problem. They work in harmony with other friends to help their friend rise up from their problems to live a life of joy and productivity.

Of course, I’ve described Jesus ministry as a Friend to the world, to you, to me.

But the Lord has made it clear, “You are My friends if you do what I’ve told you to do.”

What did He tell us to do? To “follow in His steps.” In other words, do likewise. “As He is, so are we in this world.”

Be a friend indeed.

“God Has Favorites” A Story – chapter one

A Story

I believe my parents had favorites!

I have two brothers and two sisters. Some of them could do no wrong. They got away with everything!

If you’ve had brothers or sisters, you probably know what I’m referring to. I’m not bitter nor am I casting stones. I’m not even saying I’m right in my belief. I’m only stating a fact, as perceived by me. Why do I believe they were favorites? Because they seemed to get away with more wrong doing than I.

Whether God has favorites or not, this fact remains; we perceive God has favorites because He seems to talk with others more, show more interest in what they’re doing, give them bigger allowances (allowing them to get by with more stuff), or He has them in a bigger, better, more lucrative ministry or job than us.

It isn’t fair, is it?

However, one doesn’t have to read very much scripture to understand even God’s “favorites” weren’t perfect, and were held accountable to doing things God’s way. Let’s look at a few of God’s “favorites” and see if there are some things we may identify with.

The first one, of course, is Adam.

Gen 1:26-28
26 Then God said,”Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them,”Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Gen 2:7
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Adam was created by the Triune God, after Their likeness (spirit, soul, and body – 1 Thes. 5:23). God’s best creation was given authority over all the earth as God’s representative. God blessed Adam and his wife with everything that pertained to life and godliness. All they had to do was walk in the instruction of the Lord God.
Imagine how proud Father God must have felt! Walking around the garden with Adam, hearing the angels say to Him, “my, Adam looks just like You!” “A chip off the ol’ block”. “I do believe Adam has his Father’s eyes.” You know, things you like to hear as a parent.

But Adam failed to obey completely. Genesis 3 states that Eve was tempted by the serpent and, giving in to the suggestions and insinuations the serpent made, took the fruit from the forbidden tree, took a bite, then gave the fruit to her husband who was standing right beside her. This may not mean much to you, but I believe that while Eve was tempted, Adam sinned willingly. He knew what God had said to him and disobeyed anyway. Ever done anything like that?

Anyway, their wrong doing started mankind on a course of destruction which has affected every human being since. Paul wrote that “death reigned from Adam…”(Rom 5:14), and so it is still today.

The next favorite of God’s we’ll look at is Moses. The great prophet of God, Moses. The leader of the children of Israel. The mighty deliverer, worker of miracles, signs, and wonders. The one whom the Lord spoke with face to face (Ex. 33:11). The one commissioned by the Lord Jehovah to bring the children out of bondage into a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses, who stood boldly before Pharaoh and said with Heaven’s authority, “Let My people go!”

It was this Moses who killed an Egyptian, hiding him in the sand. Wrong number one. And in order to keep from standing trial, Moses took off to the back side of the desert. Wrong number two. Later on, he did wrong number three and had to finish his ministry a little early.

Our third example of a favorite of God is Jonah, the prophet. The Lord had used Jonah as a prophet before his great Nineveh crusade (2 Kings 14:25). Jonah had grown to recognize the voice of God and the heart of God. As a matter of fact, because Jonah knew the heart and nature of God, he decided to not have any part of the Nineveh revival.

So Jonah did wrong. He ran.

The last favorite we’ll look at, for now, is Peter. One of the first disciples handpicked by the Lord Jesus. Peter was the one who gave his boat to Jesus’ ministry. He’s the one who stepped out of that boat and walked on the water to Jesus. Peter is known to many as the loud mouthed disciple; the one who always said more than he should. But Jesus didn’t see him that way. He saw Peter as someone who was beginning to understand who He was and how Jesus fit into his present world view. Peter is the one who said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus didn’t rebuke him for shooting off his mouth. No, He blessed him.

But Peter did wrong. He denied the Lord.

Each of God’s favorites had a time in their life when they failed Him. They did wrong. But wrong won’t necessarily keep you from God. Oh, I realize He is Holy and dwells in the light no man can approach, but read this again and mark it down.

Wrong won’t necessarily keep you from God.

Of course, none of the favorites can hold a candle to King Manasseh, where wrong doing is concerned. Neither can we. That should make us feel real good about ourselves since we’re not as bad as someone else. But just because there’s someone “worse” doesn’t guarantee us good standing with the Lord. God doesn’t grade on a curve.

There’s a phrase I’ll use throughout this book; a phrase to help us approach God with faith and humility. The phrase:

“there is no one too good to not need Him, and no one too bad to receive Him.”

Whether Manasseh, Peter, or your sweet, godly old grandmother; everyone needs God. Including you and I.

Have you ever stopped to consider that YOU are one of God’s favorites? If you are alive and living on planet earth, YOU are a favorite of God. How do I know? God showed us by the offering of His Son.

I understand that truth now. But for a good while I didn’t. I was frustrated, jealous, sometimes just plain mad. I felt others were getting a better deal from God than I was. I felt they were the favored ones. Guess what? Just like a kid acts up to get attention, I’ve had my times of acting up, though maybe unconsciously, to try and get Father’s attention or approval.

Bad thing. It feeds the flesh and sows seeds of doubt, bitterness, and discord. Trouble is inevitable.

Trouble is very much a part of my story, but not the whole story. My story includes me acting out my longing for attention, whether the attention of my parents or my God. It can be seen through the life of the younger prodigal, trying to make it big but living small. Trying to be everyone else’s favorite but not realizing I had a place in God’s heart all along.

I was well on my way to throwing away everything for the approval of a few, not understanding the offer God really had for me. Not realizing my value, my place in Him.

The story of the prodigal is next. I want each of us to know how the Father looks at each of His kids. The good ones and the bad ones. Take a good look at the One Who keeps looking at us. How does He see us. How far can He see us? Can we run too far for Him to see? How far can He reach? How do we treat those worse than us, when it appears God’s not seeing things correctly? How come others get the goodies, and we’re stuck with all the work?

A Story continues…

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