Tag: hiding

Are You Hiding In The Bushes?

I’d like to begin this post with two questions.

The first – “Are you hiding in the bushes?”

The second – “Who’s in the bushes with you?”

Not long after God created Adam and Eve, not long after He blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply, and shortly after telling them they had dominion over every bird in the sky, fish in the sea, and creepy-crawly thing on the ground, a certain serpent invaded their territory with a question.

“Did God actually say…?”

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV)

Notice the “serpent was more crafty…”, meaning he was cunning, conniving, and should never be trusted. We know that now, but Adam and Eve weren’t aware the serpent’s master was Lucifer, the adversary of God.

We know the devil can’t be trusted, but sometimes we act like Adam and Eve. We listen to his faith weakening, flesh enticing questions and suggestions.

And sometimes we end up in the bushes, just like Adam and Eve.

Many feel as though the serpent was crafty because he was able to manipulate the First Couple into disobeying their Creator. Yes, I’d have to agree; that was pretty cagey.

But here’s what really amazes me.

When they realized they were naked, and heard the sound of God walking through the garden, they listened to the serpent once again and jumped into the bushes. 

Hiding from God with His adversary.

Hiding in the bushes with the devil.

You may think I’m reading more into the passage than I should. I don’t think so, and here’s why.

I know the devil was standing (slouching) with them because of something Eve said. She told God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” When she said that, I can picture her pointing to the serpent next to her.

God didn’t leave the pair to go snake hunting. He said to the serpent right then and there, “You’ve had it!” And, eventually, the devil realized he had bitten off more than he could chew.

You are probably wondering why I think it’s such a big deal, hiding with the adversary and all. So, I’ll try and explain what I mean.

It’s one thing to disobey God. Outside of Jesus, there’s not one of us since Adam and Eve who haven’t disobeyed Him at some point in our life. At least once (hah!)

Disobedience is a terrible thing, and affects so many. But there’s something even worse than sin.

What!? Something worse than sin? 

Yes. Much worse, as far as I’m concerned.

What could be worse?

Hiding in the bushes from the only One Who can forgive and turn things around. Hiding in the bushes with the one whose whole agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy. As long as Adam and Eve stayed in the bushes, they were vulnerable to everything around them. They were naked, and they knew it.

They were now subject to fear, torment, and of course, the shame of disobedience. And the longer they hid, the longer the devil controlled them. 

Are YOU hiding in the bushes? Have you, sometime in the past, either ignored or rejected the commands of God and, instead, swallowed the tempting bait the devil tossed at you?

Don’t you think it’s time to come out of hiding? God hasn’t quit calling your name. He knows where you’re at, but you have to take the first step toward Him and declare, “Here I am.”

Those three little words are enough to turn the forces of evil from you, as God draws you to His side and clothes you in His righteousness.

“Here I am, Lord. I step away from the bushes, away from my excuses, away from my habits, and into Your light and love.”

Sure, God will say, “What happened?” But He already knows. He’s asking you for YOUR benefit.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13 ESV) 

Yes, I believe it’s time, past time, to come out of hiding and into the light of His glorious love.

“He is faithful and just to forgive you of all sin, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness…”

What do think?

Hiding Behind God 

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Every so often I read or hear a statement that really trips my trigger. And I just bet you do, as well.
I recall hearing someone recently say, “Christians are always hiding behind their God.”

Isn’t it amazing? Like, is there anything wrong with that?

Everyone uses someone or something to hide behind. It may be pride, or physical looks. Have you noticed how important physical appearance is for many folks?

Others hide behind their bank accounts, jobs, positions, and such.

You see, there are a lot of ways to cover our insecurities.

Intellect and intelligence, the capacity for knowledge and the ability to use it in a practical sense, can be a hiding place for others. After all, if they can’t figure it out, then how can it be worth knowing; let alone true?

Some dear, God fearing Americans hide behind the United States Constitution. I’m not knocking it. I’m only saying it wasn’t designed to hide behind, but to support a republic type of government; “…that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Or, as another writer put it, “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

There are, quite possibly, scads of people who like to pick out a single Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to hide behind. Some prefer using the Second Amendment as their covering, while others are elated they can now hide behind the SCOTUS’ interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

Yes, it’s true. Everyone, everywhere, whether they know it or not, has a favorite hiding place. 

And yes, this Christian has found God, specifically His Son Jesus Christ, to be the best place to hide. He left His place of comfort and security so I could have a place to hide from the wages of sin.

Hiding behind God through the power of the cross and the glorious resurrection doesn’t make sense.

But it does make a difference in a person’s life.

Both now and forever.

“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7 ESV)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (Psalm 46:1-3 ESV)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2 ESV)

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14 ESV)

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

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