08 Oct

More Than A Snake, An Apple & A Bad Day

God calls out

It’s there…in the garden….among the fig leaves that my breath catches in my chest. And I see, maybe for the first time, that this isn’t a story of a snake, an apple and a bad day…this is the story of my God who pursues those He loves with truth.

Where are you? (Genesis 1:9) The Lord’s voice carries through the garden. He calls to the man. His creation. Adam. The one who is hiding.

God doesn’t call to Adam because He can’t find him. God, the heavenly LoJack – nothing lost or stolen, He knew where Adam was.

But did Adam?? Did Adam realize that he was hiding…that he had withdrawn from the Lord or was he too busy trying to make a loin cloth out of fig leaves…no needle, no thread…just the biggest leaves he could grab to cover his sin…his shame…his guilt…his reality.

And I think about all the times God whispers, Where are you? 

When I sleep in on Sunday, when I pick up my remote instead of my Bible, when I drive by the homeless man with a sign, when I dial the phone to ignite the gossip fire…when, when, when…too many whens.

God whispers and I hide.

Adam mentions his nakedness and his fear (v. 10). He has listened to the fork-tongued hiss that plants the weed of doubt in the midst of a garden.

Who told you that you were naked? (v. 11) Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?

Who have you been listening to?  That is the real question He asks, isn’t it?

Whose voice is in your ear, God calls out. Have you listened and obeyed my word or have you believed the lies of another?

How often do we listen to another’s voice…facebook, twitter, the tv, the gossip on the line, the friend that doesn’t point to God in your hour of need or moment of weakness…we listen to lies because they look pleasing and easy. “You deserve more.” “You have every right to be angry.” “You shouldn’t have to wait for what you want.”

God has pointed out the separation, the break in communication, and the sin.

Our God. The God of relationships, points out the sin…the separation…and waits.

In a breath…in the next verse (v. 12)…Adam totally admits that he ate the fruit. But instead of getting of this crazy train at Humble-Thyself-Village and repenting. He blows right on through to It’s-So-Not-My-Fault Landing. A place we all know well.

God calls out our sin, not to condemn us, but to convict us…to bring us back to repentance and back into relationship with Him. God calls out our sin to bring us back to him. God calls out our sin to bring us out of hiding and into the Light. Where are you? Come to me. Return to me.

God calls out

Adam and Eve chose the disobedience…sin was there. And then, they made another choice to blame others…and the gap becomes a chasm….

I told my sweet Bible study ladies last night that I hide in plain sight from God. More like the child’s game of covering your eyes and pretending you are invisible. If I don’t look up God, you won’t see what I’m up to. It never worked for our daughter when she got caught with her hand in the cookie jar and kept RIGHT ON EATING (like I wasn’t there). And it doesn’t work for us.

Allow God to speak into your life….come out from your fig leaves and look His grace in the face. You’ll find that when you answer His Where are you? His answer is Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

09 Jul

me + repentance = Grace

path

My Bible lay open on my lap.

Reference materials spread out on the couch and open on the computer.

Grasping for understanding I search pages and pages.

 Recently, our ladies Bible study began to study the Minor Prophets. We began our journey in Hosea.  Truth is I hadn’t studied the Minor Prophets before. If I am being 100% honest I haven’t read them through all the way. I get caught up in the abstract pictures and historical references I don’t understand.

 But, yet…

 The blessing of being a Bible study teacher is you learn so much. So much more than is every taught or discussed in your group. And God shows you so much of Himself when you are on a quest to show Him to others.

 There I sat. Bible open. Searching.

 And there in the pages. In the verses. In the words. There in what has been called “outdated”. There. I found a very vivid picture of the world that marches on just outside my front door. A society strayed far from God. Searching for answers under their own steam and on their own terms. A society to prideful to repent.

 But just as I was ready to wag my finger at the world and shake my head at the sad state of affairs in our culture, God pricked my soul.

 I began to dig into the original language (Hebrew). There I found where my Bible said “corrupt,” the Hebrew says…God says… “defiled.” Where my Bible says “rebel”, the Hebrew says…God says… “entangling with demons.” 

I began to see a picture of God, painted so plainly. Arms open, blessings at the ready, His heart set on His children. And where are they? Seeking what feels good, what numbs us, answers that come easy and require nothing of us. Where are they? Mired in their own sin.

 Sin.

 It is an ugly word. One that we gloss over, leave out or pretend we don’t do.

A commentary I read this week said that Hosea is one of the least preached books of the Bible (if not the least) because it deals with sin and churches don’t want to touch that.

But, as one of my sweet Bible study friends said this week, “If we don’t talk about sin, we don’t need a Savior.” So true.

 Sin.

 It makes me unclean…defiled…not Holy. Not of God. Not able to come near God.

When I push against God (rebel) and choose my own pleasures or my own way…He sees it as entangling with demons. Demons!

 How easy it is to read about the Israelites and see how wrong they got it! How easy it is to look at the world around us and see where people are getting it wrong!

 How wriggle-in-your-chair, let’s-talk-about-something-else uncomfortable it is to talk about our own sin. To face our choices that don’t equal God.

 Really, I suppose it comes down to simple math as sit to add up my day.

 God, I chose to overeat today — to fill up on something that wasn’t You.

me + overeat ≠ God

 God, I chose to get angry and growl under my breath at the driver in front of me – to be ruled by emotions, not by my God of love.

me + road rage ≠ God

 

God, I chose to lie to my family member today about whether we can visit this weekend – to turn away from Truth to make me feel more comfortable.

me + lies ≠ God

 

God, I chose to get on Facebook before I sought Your Face this morning – to choose anything over God…hello idolatry.

me + idols ≠ God

 

Wrestling with our own sin is uncomfortable and something most of us simply don’t do. We pray for forgiveness, “God, forgive all I did today” or just “know” that we are saved and we don’t have to deal with that. But God says otherwise.

 For today. First step. Deal with it. Lay it all out there. Name each sin. Take responsibility for everything you’ve done that does not add God to your life – big or small, private or public, spoken or thought. It is going to be uncomfortable. I can promise that.

 But God, promises forgiveness. Restoration. Healing. To remove your sin and see you as His righteous, holy child! And if you stick with it, really go through this thing with God, you’ll find doing His math is the most amazing math you’ll ever do….

me + repentance (truly taking responsibility for and turning away from sin) = Grace

Read that again

me + repentance = Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy, Love….Jesus!!

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