Sunday, July 31, 2016

First Murder

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Genesis 4:6-8, NKJV

First Murder

You will remember from our previous devotion that Adam and Eve bore two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain became a tiller of the land, and Abel became a keeper of the sheep. In the process of time, each son brought an offering to the Lord: Cain brought an offering of fruit, and Abel brought an offering of the firstborn of the sheep. God was pleased with Abel's offering, but He was displeased with the offering of Cain. In response, Cain became angry.

Now, in verses 6 and 7, we find God speaking to Cain. "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."

Think about what God said to Cain. Cain's anger was unreasonable. We all make many choices in life--some are good choices and some are not. How well, when we make a bad choice, do we receive correction? Most of us, like Cain, respond in prideful anger. We do not like to be corrected. God, knowing what would happen, said to Cain, "Sin lies at the door." In other words, God knew that this was another occasion where the devil was tempting Cain, just as he had tempted Eve. Satan desired to rule over Cain. Who won? 

Verse 8 tells us that when Cain was speaking with Abel, his brother, he rose up against him and killed him. Who won? Satan! Rather than listen to the good advice given to him by God, Cain murdered his own brother.

How often are people surprised, when a murderer is revealed, to hear that a particular person actually committed a murder. To many who knew that person, he or she seemed absolutely incapable of murdering another person. Let us not think too highly of ourselves. For left unchecked, the sin of anger can, indeed, turn into the sin of murder.

Jesus even told us in Matthew that if we hate our brother, we have committed murder against him in our hearts.

What is the answer? What was God trying to tell Cain (and tell us as well.) Did Cain have the ability in and of himself to keep from sin? No! How then, do we actually keep from sin ourselves?

The secret to living a holy life is to continually go to Christ for strength and help to live our lives in a manner which is pleasing to Him. When we find sin in our hearts, we must go to Christ, confess that sin, and ask Him to help us forsake that sin.

Due to the hold that sin has in our lives, we will often find ourselves going again and again to Christ over the same sins! While we live in this world, we will always struggle with sin. However, if we are able to catch sins in our lives while they are still just thoughts in our hearts and confess them to Christ, He will give us the strength to forsake those sins before a greater sin is committed.

It all sound so easy, does it not? Is it easy? No! One of the great blessings of heaven will be the fact that we will be released forever from our sin natures. No longer will we struggle with sin! 

As we consider this revelation, in Genesis 4, of the first murder, let us pray that God will keep us from sin. Let us pray that our lives will be a glowing example of Christ living in us! A victorious Christian life is a gift from God. It is all about Christ, and nothing about ourselves or our own abilities.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, July 30, 2016

First Children Born

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
Genesis 4:1-5, NKJV

First Children Born

Genesis, the book of beginnings, continues in chapter 4 with a record of the first children born to Adam and Eve. Very little is actually said about these children other than their names and occupations. Both children were sons: first Cain was born and then Abel. Abel became a keeper of sheep and Cain was a tiller of the ground.

We are told that in the process of time, each son brought an offering to the Lord. Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground and Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord, we are told, respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry.

When one considers the period of time that has passed from verse 1 to verse 5, we realize that we are actually told very little. Like our children, each son was different. Abel worked with sheep and Cain tilled the ground. I think we should note what we are told in these verses and what we are not told. Let us be careful that we do not make false conjectures, but stay within the limits of what we are told.

We know that the Lord was displeased with Cain's offering, but we are not told why that was the case. Was it wrong for Cain to be a tiller of the ground? No! God was not displeased with Cain's occupation, He was displeased with Cain's offering. Why? I have heard many explanations for this, but I think it is safe to safe that we really do not know what Cain did wrong. However, Cain knew. He knew not only that the Lord was displeased, but he also knew why the Lord was displeased.

Because sin has entered into the world through Adam and Eve, that knowledge of good and evil has been passed on to their children. Just like us today, keeping ourselves from sin is an impossible job. Abel is not being portrayed here as the perfect son, but rather, the son who obeyed the Lord in the offering he gave. 

What was the immediate result of God's displeasure to Cain? Cain became very angry. Was his anger justified? No! Cain was jealous of Abel. Is that not the way things are to this day? Often the ones who are hated the most are those who are attempting to live a righteous life before God.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV) says, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,  nor give place to the devil.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 (NKJV), But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

So, though we may think of anger as only a little sin, Jesus took it quite seriously, for anger, if left unchecked, may soon turn into much worse sins, as we certainly will see in the case of Cain and Abel. Already, even in the first generation, we see the aweful consequences of sin which has entered into the world. 

Let us go before the Lord Jesus Christ and confess our own sin of anger and jealousy. Let us pray that God will give us the grace to be forgiving toward others. Truly, no offense committed against us is greater than the offenses we have committed against our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Go, today, in the strength and power of the Lord. Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

God Bless You,
Linda
 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Expelled from the Garden

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22-24, NKJV

Expelled from the Garden

Genesis 3 concludes with a very sad commentary. Now that sin has entered into the heart of man, and he now knew evil as well as good, it was necessary to permanently remove him from the Garden of Eden. God said, Lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever, He must be expelled from the Garden of Eden. Think about that. If Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of life, all men--including wicked men--would live forever. The resulting chaos would be unimaginable.

Yet God, in His great mercy and grace, drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden so that they would never again be able to get to the tree of life. God placed a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Why have we never found the Garden of Eden or the tree of life? God in His great mercy has hidden the way from all mankind. Yet, also in His great love and mercy, God has provided a way so that man could, again, return to God.

First hinted at in Genesis 3:15, and then later expanded throughout the Old Testament, a Redeemer would come who would save mankind from their sins. Left to ourselves, we are forever tainted with sin. There is no possible way for us to return to God. Yet, a Redeemer would come who would open the door for all. Even the Old Testament believers came to God through Christ. Though Christ had not yet come, His death and resurrection would be applied to all believers from the beginning to the end of time.

With such a great opportunity, why do not more people come to Christ? The New Testament clearly shows that the Lord Jesus Christ was, indeed, the Messiah. He was the Door, the Light of the World, and the Bread of Life. In Him, a way was opened to allow access to God, Himself.

Yet, Satan, who first deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, continues to seek to condemn mankind. Is he effective? Oh yes! Left to ourselves, we are perfectly content to embrace all of the values of this world. Left to ourselves, we think of God as being too severe, too unloving, and too unkind. 

When God, however, through the Holy Spirit, opens our hearts and minds to understand, we fall before Christ in gratefulness for the great  salvation He has provided for us. It is not necessary for us to remain under condemnation, for through Christ, we are brought into the very throne room of God. His perfect and righteous blood has been applied to us so that instead of seeing our sin, God sees the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As believers in this world, because our sin natures remain, we will always struggle with sin. But, when we enter the courts of heaven, our sins will be gone forever--buried in the depths of the deepest sea!

Go to Christ. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. In Him, alone, is life eternal!

God Bless You,
Linda


 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New Roles!

16 To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Genesis 3:16-21, NKJV

New Roles!

Little did Adam and Eve realize that one sin would bring such corruption into their lives and into God's beautiful creation, that life would never again be the same. 

To Eve God promised pain in childbearing and a permanent place under the rule of her husband. To Adam God promised burdensome toil in working the land and in providing sustenance for his family. Thorns and thistles would grow out of the ground and would provide a constant battle in his attempt to maintain healthy plants for food. Death, indeed, would come to both Adam and Eve. Out of the dust of the ground, they were created, and into the dust of the ground, they would return.  

God then killed the first animal and made tunics of skin for clothing for Adam and Eve. Was this the end? Was there no hope for Adam and Eve?

Though physical death would take Adam and Eve from this earth, the promised Redeemer provided hope for eternal life in heaven with the Lord forever. Adam and Eve did not have the Bible we have, and yet they had had a personal relationship with God. It is impossible for us to know the depth of their understanding, but beginning with Adam and Eve, God always maintained a remnant of the human population for Himself.

The roles of Adam and Eve were no longer the same as those they had maintained in the Garden of Eden, but the God they knew would never leave nor forsake them. 

When you think of it, when we come to Christ, we receive new roles as well. Before knowing the Lord, we were led by the passions that fuel much of our society today. Our goals in life were centered around money, power, and gaining earthly treasures. To that end, we would rise each day and seek to gain more and more.

However, upon coming to Christ our roles changed. No longer were they satisfied with the things of this earth that will one day disappear forever. Power means nothing, for who is more powerful than the Lord Jesus Christ? The pleasures of this earth become filled with emptiness.

In Christ, however, we find a treasure that surpasses anything we can find on this earth. In Christ, we have peace, joy, and a true purpose for living. God has given us an assignment to fulfill based upon our God-given abilities and circumstances. When we have completed all that God has ordained for us on this earth, He will take us home to live with Him forever!

No fairy tale could have a better ending, and yet, this is no fairy tale. This is the truth!

As we think of the new roles cast upon Adam and Eve, let us rejoice in the God we serve. Adam and Eve's sin, though devastating to this earth, could not circumvent God's plan of creating a people for Himself--a people who would love and serve Him forever!

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda


 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Promised Redeemer

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
Genesis 3:14-15, NKJV 

Promised Redeemer

In Genesis 3 the story of the sin of Adam and Eve is revealed. In our last devotion, we discover that neither Adam nor Eve took the blame for their sin. Though what they said may have been true, God still held them each responsible for their own sin. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent.

God then addressed each of them beginning with the serpent. Keep in mind that this is not just a creature of the earth. God knew that He was actually dealing with Satan himself. For it is Satan who entered the serpent and through the serpent spoke to Eve.

Again, one could say that it was not the serpent's fault, but even the serpent was cursed because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Indeed, it is not the fault of the creatures, or the plants, or the earth, itself, and yet all have been devastated by the fall of Adam and Eve.

How was the serpent affected? God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life." 

Yet God did not stop there, for then, He actually addressed Satan. "I will put enmity between you and woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."

What exactly was God saying? The Seed of the Woman is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that Satan would bruise the heel of Christ, but it was not a fatal blow. Even though Christ actually gave up His life on the cross, He was resurrected the third day and ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us. 

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman, would, however, bruise Satan's head. Though Satan is alive at this time wreaking havoc in God's creation and in the hearts of men, his days are numbered. Even now, Satan is a defeated enemy. The wound given to Him by Christ was a mortal wound. In the last day, when Christ returns to this earth, He will destroy, forever, Satan and all of his demons. Death will, at last, be defeated forever!

So here, already in the 3rd chapter of Genesis, we have the promised Redeemer who will come to this earth in the form of a man, born of a woman, who will save His people from their sins. Our Bibles are the complete story of this wondrous Savior. He was prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures and came as the God-Man in the New Testament Scriptures.

Let us, by the grace of God, take the time to daily pour over God's Word. In it, we will find the whole plan of God revealed to His people. In Christ is all of our hope, all of our joy, all of our comfort, and yes, all of our life. In Him, we have everything we need for all eternity.

Though sin came into this world through Adam and Eve, God already had a plan in place to save a people for Himself. First revealed in Genesis 3:15, we find that Satan's plan failed. Though he attempted to destroy this perfect creation of God, God would, in the end, destroy Satan forever!

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Blame Game

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:11-13, NKJV

The Blame Game

From the very beginning, it has been very hard, when confronted with sin, to take the blame. Right here, when confronted with their first sin, Eve, and then Adam, both blamed someone else rather than take responsibility for their own sin.

God went right to Adam, the head of the family, and said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" As the head of the family, Adam was the first one God confronted. 

How did Adam respond? "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."  Notice that Adam was subtly blaming both the woman and God. The woman gave me the fruit, but it is the woman that you, God, gave to me!

God went next to Eve and asked, "What is this you have done?" What was the response of Eve? Eve said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 

While everything they said may have been true, did that lessen their punishment? In other words, did God say to Adam that it was not his fault because Eve was the one who gave him the fruit? No, though Adam was right in saying that Eve gave him the fruit, he was still responsible before God to be obedient to God.

Did God tell Eve that it was not really her fault because the serpent deceived her? No! Deceived or not, Eve was still disobedient before a righteous and holy God.

Is it no wonder that we are so like Adam and Eve. How easy for us is it to take responsibility for our own actions? Are we willing to admit being wrong, or do we constantly blame others for our mistakes and our difficulties? What really is at the center of our "blame game?" Pride! Pride was at the center of the first sin, and our own pride causes much of the difficulties we face in this life.

Why is it so difficult for people to come to Christ for salvation? I fear that pride, again, is the culprit. To come to Christ, we must come in lowly humility, confessing our own sin and inability to serve God in the holy and righteous manner He requires. Nothing in us deserves salvation. God did not choose us because we were a better choice than the unsaved people around us. In spite of our own sin and unworthiness, God chose us. Only upon falling before Christ as being totally unworthy of His great love can we truly come to accept Him as our own personal Lord and Savior.

What does the book of Proverbs have to say about the sin of pride?

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. Proverbs 8:13, NKJV

When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2, NKJV

By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom. Proverbs 13:10, NKJV

In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them. Proverbs 14:3, NKJV

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18, NKJV

A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor. Proverbs 29:23, NKJV

As we think of the story of Adam and Eve, let us fall before the Lord Jesus Christ and ask him to help us shake off the sin of pride and quit playing the "blame game."

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hiding from God

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Genesis 3:8-10, NKJV

Hiding from God

As we read in verses 1 through 7 of Genesis 3, Adam and Eve, being tempted by Satan, disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The devastating results were immediate. Looking upon one another, they knew they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together to make a covering for themselves. 

The fig leaves, however, were not enough, so they proceeded to hide from God. When they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden, they were horrified by their sin. They were horrified that God would look at them and know what they had done.

We are exactly the same way, are we not? Sin can be ever so pleasurable at the time, but once we realize what we have done, our first thought is to hide our sin from others. We are all actually quite effective at it. Who are we actually hiding from? Does it really matter what others think? In the end, no, it does not. The only one who matters is God, so we find ourselves, like Adam and Eve, actually hiding from God. 

Did it work? Did God have to actually see Adam and Eve to know what they had done? No! God is omnipotent--He has all knowledge and understanding. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God knew what they had done. Actually, even before they sinned, God knew that they would sin!

So, God called to Adam, "Where are you?"

Adam responded, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."

What a state we find ourselves in. We all sin.

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23

There is not one person, man, woman, or child, who has not sinned. From the time of Adam and Eve's sin, all humans have sinned as well. Like Adam, we cannot walk with God in the cool of the day as Adam and Eve once were able to do. Our sin has put up a permanent barrier between us and a perfect and holy God.

Is there, then, no hope for us? Are we to be forever doomed because of our sin? 

Yes, there is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. He came to this earth as the perfect God-man. In all of the years that He walked upon this earth, Jesus never sinned. As the perfect, holy, God-man, He was the only one who was able to pay the debt of our sin for us. That is exactly what He did on the cross of calvary. Wicked men did not put Him to death. Rather, He gave up His life for us! Even while we were still in our sins, Christ died for us. How amazing is that?

The promise of a Redeemer will be made in Genesis 3:15. Even before time began, God knew that Adam and Eve would sin and thereby pollute the entire human race. God, however, already had a plan in place to save a people for Himself.

Are you one of those people or do you live your life hiding from God? Go to Christ now and fall before Him confessing your sin. Accept Him as the perfect Lamb of God who died for you. In Christ is all of our hope, all of our blessing, and all of our joy. With Christ, we have everything. Without Christ, we have nothing!

God Bless You,
Linda


 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Fall

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Genesis 3:1-7, NKJV

The Fall

It was a test! It was a test that Adam and Eve failed. 

The Bible begins this chapter with a description of the serpent. Not only was he more cunning than any beast of the field, but he also spoke. He said to Eve, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" The correct answer would have been a simple, "Yes."

We know that Eve was in trouble when she added to the requirements given to her by God. Regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die." Is that what God had said? No! God commanded Adam and Eve to not eat of the tree, but He did not say they could not touch it.

Ignoring her misinformation, the serpent continued, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

So, the partial truths continue with the serpent. While it was true that death was not imminent, death surely did come. Notice, too, how the serpent inserted, "You will be like God." Who could resist such a thing--to be like God? What could be so bad about knowing good and evil?

That was all the prompting that Eve needed. She saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasant to the eyes, so she ate of the fruit and then gave some to Adam, who ate of the fruit as well. Immediately, their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves coverings.

Satan, in the form of the serpent, thought he had won a complete victory. He knew that God had created Adam and Eve sinless--perfect! In one short conversation, he destroyed God's creation of humans forever--or so he thought.

Even Satan, though a powerful being, was not God. Nothing he could do would truly destroy God's creation forever. Oh yes, what he did was devastating, not only to Adam, Eve, and their descendants but to all plant and animal life on earth as well. But God, holy and righteous that He is, already had a plan in place to save a people for Himself.

Nothing that we can do and nothing that Satan and his evil angels can do can truly thwart the plans of God. God created man in his image, but man, after the fall, lost his state of perfection. No longer could he fellowship with God in the same manner, but his life would be forever plagued by difficulties and despair. Satan surely complicated and devastated the earth through the results of the fall, but he is not God. 

As we continue to walk through Genesis 3, God will explicitly explain to Adam, Eve, and the serpent, not only what would result from their sin, but He would send the first promise in Scripture of His plans to send a Redeemer. Satan may have bruised this Redeemer's heel, but this Redeemer would bruise Satan's head.

Even today, Satan is busily tempting man to forget God and serve himself. He continues to spread partial truth and out and out lies among humankind. Is he effective? Oh yes! But, though he is effective, he is not all powerful. God, even before the creation of the world, saved a people for Himself. From the beginning of time, there has always been a remnant of people who would serve and love God.

Go to God today! Only in Christ is there true salvation. Christ is the Redeemer who will ultimately bruise Satan's head. Christ is the only way for sinners to return to their Heavenly Father.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda


 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Helper for Adam

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:18-25, NKJV

A Helper for Adam

After his creation by God, Adam was busy. God gave him the responsibility to name all of the creatures that God had created. Yet, something was missing. "But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him."

Adam needed a helper. Not just any helper would do, for this helper needed to be comparable to Adam.  What, then, did God do? God made Eve.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.  Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

Adam named his helper Woman because she was taken out of Man. God then stated, Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

All of this is very straightforward. Why, then, is there so much confusion in our day regarding the roles of men and women? Each person, in the married couple, has a specific purpose. While it may be true that God has placed the man as the head over the woman, that does not mean that she is inferior to him in any way. God made the woman comparable to Adam. He created the woman with dignity and honor.

Due to sin, we see God's order continually challenged. We see cultures in which women are treated worse than slaves or even dogs. Man, being the stronger physically, treats the woman shamefully. We also see cultures where the woman is continually seeking to overtake God's order. No man will rule over these women!

Both of these are these are anomalies of God's order for mankind. And, both of these are demeaning to the man as well as to the woman. In a marriage, the man has a God-given helper. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NKJV) tells us, 

 9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Let us carefully look to God's Word as our guide for living. When we see our culture deviate from God's Word, let us pray that we will not follow in like manner.

Does this mean that women cannot have careers or goals of their own? Not at all! God has given women great abilities which they are to develop and use for His glory. But, in a marriage, God has placed the woman under the man. In a sense, man is her umbrella of protections placed there by God Himself. How wonderful is that?

Let us go, then, this day and live for the honor and glory of God alone. As we see God's wondrous provision of a helper for Adam, may we see that God guides and directs us throughout all of our lives as well. 

God Bless You,
Linda
 




 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Responsibility and Requirement

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 2:15-17, NKJV

Responsibility and Requirement

Creation is done! God, placing Adam in the Garden of Eden gave him a responsibility and a requirement. 

Adam had a purpose in life, just as we, too, have a God-given purpose in life. God placed Adam in the beautiful garden He had made and gave him the responsibility to tend and keep the garden. 

What is there about work that seems so abhorrent to us? I can think of nothing that we tend to complain about more than the work we have been given to do. How many of our years of work do we spend dreaming of the day we can retire, sit in our rocking chairs, and watch the world go by? As Christians is that an attitude that honors God?

Truthfully, though all of us may tend to have a "lazy" streak, work is actually quite rewarding and enjoyable. No job is perfect, but no honorable job is too menial. Adam's job was to tend and keep the garden that God had created. After sin, that job became more toilsome. Not only was Adam removed from the beautiful garden, but thorns, weeds, and disease fought his efforts to succeed. The work God has given us to do may also be filled with troubles and difficulties, but let us pray that we would find enjoyment in the work we have to do.

Even retirees work! That came as a surprise to me, but a life lift with no work is actually a purposeless life. Our work may not be as demanding, but it is good to find tasks to do that give us a great sense of purpose. Our work may be physical, or our work may be that of uplifting others in prayer. If we find ourselves with more free time, let us seek to find ways to use that time for God's glory.

Getting back to Genesis 2, Adam was also given a requirement. God said, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

The requirement was straightforward, but not easy to obey. When we have small children we find that, even from a very young age, they tend to want to do the things they are told not to do. God not only told Adam what not to do, but God told him what would happen if he disobeyed.

What would have happened if Adam had obeyed God? If man had never sinned, man would have lived forever in this perfect world that God had created. Yet, we know that Adam and Eve did sin.

What has been the result? First, we do not live forever. All people die. Yet, there was more that came as a result of this sin. All of God's creation was now affected. Plants, animals, fish, birds--all creatures--die! All of creation struggles to live. Disease, pestilence, weather anomalies--all of these happen to all living plants and creatures. 

I cannot imagine what life must have been like for Adam and Eve after the fall. After all, they had lived in God's perfect world, and after the fall, they clearly saw the effects of their sin. Did they live with no hope? No!

As we will see when we continue through the book of Genesis, God promised a Redeemer to Adam and Eve. Christ, our Redeemer, has come to save all those who come to Him, from Adam even to the end of the world.

We, too, have a responsibility and a requirement. Just as in the case of Adam and Eve, all of us must go to the Lord Jesus Christ for life. In Him, our eternal life with God is restored. Also, in Him, we find new joy and purpose for living.

Go, then, this day to the Lord Jesus Christ. Seek His help and His salvation. Just as Adam and Eve, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but Christ has redeemed His people from the law of sin and death.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda


 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Garden and a River

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
Genesis 2:8-14, NKJV

A Garden and a River

The beautifully poetic language of Genesis 2 continues in verses 8 and 9. We find that God planted a garden (the Garden of Eden). In this garden, He placed the man whom He had formed. Also in this garden God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. 

In verse 9 we have the first mention of two specific trees: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: two trees with two purposes. As we continue through the book of Genesis the purpose of these trees will be brought to our attention.

Verses 10 through 14 are an aside. We pause in our history lesson to consider the river that went out from Eden. After leaving the Garden of Eden, it parted and became four riverheads. Those these rivers may not have a great significance to us in the 21st century, but we must realize that they certainly were well known to those who were the first who had the opportunity to read the completed book of Genesis. 

The original readers knew of the River Pishon and Havilah, the land of gold, bdellium, and onyx. They were also familiar with the River Gihon, the River Hiddekel, and the River Euphrates. Why did God take the time to mention these four rivers and the lands they flowed through? It does not really seem to have any great significance to the narrative of the creation of Adam and Eve, does it?

Satan has made a great attempt through the centuries to discredit the whole story of Adam and Eve. Satan would lead us to believe that Adam and Eve never even really existed. As a matter of fact, there are many today who would tell us that Adam and Eve just were fictional characters used to represent the beginning of mankind.

Is this true? No! Adam and Eve really did live on this earth as God's first created humans. Those who first read the book of Genesis, though not able to locate the Garden of Eden, certainly knew where the four rivers were and the lands they flowed through. They understood that God was speaking of real events that really happened.

We tend to lose the significance of this in our own familiarity with the story of Adam and Eve. We must be very careful that we do not relegate them to the world of fiction. They were, indeed, real people. Just as the four rivers were real and the lands of Havilah, Cush, and Assyria were real, so were all of the events recorded in Genesis 2 real.

Of course there is much more to this story than the mention of a garden and a river. As we continue through chapter 2, the events will gradually unfold. We find that this garden became a temporary residence for Adam and Eve. Through the temptation of Satan and their resulting sin, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden.

Is that the end of the story? No! By the grace of God, it is proper for us to think of our future in heaven and on the new earth that God will create as a return to the Garden of Eden. God created a perfect world for man to enjoy, which was destroyed by sin. When the new earth is created, we, as children of God, will live on that new earth forever. We will see wonders that we never saw on this earth which has been polluted by sin.

Let us, then, continue our walk on this earth in thankfulness to God who loves us so much that He has given us a way to escape from the sins which, left to ourselves, would destroy us forever. Through Christ, alone, we have joy, hope, and peace as we look for an eternity to come where we will live with Him forever.

What an amazing God we serve.

God Bless You,
Linda




 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Breath of Life

This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

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.
Genesis 2:4-7, NKJV

Breath of Life

Genesis 2:4 and 5 give us a lovely poetic summary of God's creation as given in Genesis 1. Beginning with the words, "This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created."

How Satan has persisted among the people of this world to strike these very words from existence, and yet here they are simply proclaimed by God Himself. This is (emphasis on is) the history of the heavens and the earth. How much easier it is for us to simply claim what God has proclaimed in His Word than to conjure up some fantastic version, from the realms of Satan, to deny the truths proclaimed in Genesis.

God then continues, "Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown." In God's creation of the plants, we are told that He simply watered them by causing a mist to rise up from the earth and water the whole face of the ground.

However, something was missing, was it not? "And there was no man to till the ground." The creation was not quite complete, for God had yet to create Adam and Eve. How was Adam created? "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."

What is the difference between the creation of the animals and the creation of man? When God created man, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The very breath of God was breathed into Adam. Adam, unlike the animals, had a living soul. He was not simply another animal in God's creation, but he was the ultimate created being on this earth, created in the image of God. To mankind, alone, would be given the command to subdue the earth.

All of earth: plants, animals, creatures of the sea, and birds of the air would be placed under the dominion of mankind. Mankind would be God's caretakers of this earth He had created.

How have we done? As in all things, the entrance of sin into this world has essentially destroyed everything. If God had simply left the entire care of this earth to mankind, there would be no hope.

However, that is not what God did. Though mankind was given the charge to take dominion over the earth, God never left total control to mankind. Instead, God continues to watch over His creation and guide its history. Though Satan tried desperately to destroy God's creation, beginning with mankind, God never totally abandoned His creation to the forces of evil.

Rather, God planned, even before His creation, a history with a beginning and an end, culminating in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ at the last day. Taking final victory over Satan and his evil forces, the Lord Jesus Christ will rule over the new heavens and the new earth forever and ever!

Let us, then, not despair when we see the inroads of evil that have seemed to take over all aspects of governing this earth. Though God has allowed this, He has never relinquished His ultimate control. Satan knows that his days are limited and that the final story has already been written. Though he will continue to fight until the very last day, his doom is sure.

As we travel through the book of Genesis, we will see that God's people have never served Him perfectly. Again and again, they are tempted to sin against the very God they profess to love. Is that any different than in our day? No! Though we love God and serve Him from the depths of our hearts, yet we continually see sin raise its ugly head in our lives.

Yet God, in His great love and mercy guided and directed His children through those days just as He guides and directs His children today. Let us praise and thank our dear Lord and Savior for His great salvation and His comforting hand of love and guidance.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Creation Day 7: God Rested

1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Genesis 2:1-3, NKJV

Creation Day 7: God Rested

We now move on to Genesis, Chapter 2. Chapter 1 was an amazing chapter. In the space of 6 days, God created a new, perfect, and marvelous world. Now that we have reached day 7, what remains to be done? Nothing! Verse 1 of chapter 2 tell us: Thus the heaven and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. It was the end of creation. So, what did God do on Day 7? 

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 

For those who do not believe in a 6 day, 24 hour a day creation, I find it interesting to note that, even to this day, we divide our time into weeks of 7, 24 hour days. Imagine that - over 6000 years have passed. We do not even have any detailed information on those first thousands of years, except for what is included in the Bible, and yet, here we are, still living in time periods of 7 day weeks and 24 hour days.

Yes, of course, time is divided for us based upon the earth's revolution around the sun and the earth's spinning on its axis. Why is that? That is the way God created our planetary system. We have 24 hour days because it take the earth 24 hours to spin around once. But, the 7 day week still continues to this day. Rulers have risen and fallen, countries have come and gone, and yet, we still continue the measurement of time based upon 7 day weeks.

The 7th day was so important to God that He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Did God need to rest? Was He tired? No! Yet, God chose one day out of 7 for man to rest. Does man need to rest? Oh yes! Those who try to ignore the pattern of resting one day in 7 will find that their life expectancy is shortened, extremely.

Is God only speaking of physical rest--or rest from our normal labors? No! Though that is certainly one aspect of resting, God calls His children to rest in Him. In other words, not only do His children rest from their normal labors, but they spend that day in worship, praise, and fellowship with God. We worship with fellow believers, and we spend the day reading His Word and basking in His love and grace manifested to us.

What an amazing God. Even from the day of creation, God understood the frailty of man. Physically, God built in a day of rest that his body might be refreshed and renewed to continue in his normal labors. Spiritually, God knew that man was weak and frail as well. God knew that man needed to come to Him again and again so that the discouragement and despair of this life would not overcome him.

Let us rethink our use of the Sabbath Day. Let us remember that it is more than just a day of rest. May we diligently set aside the Sabbath Day as a day unto the Lord. Let us spend it as a day of spiritual refreshment so that we will be better able to face the opposition of Satan and his forces of evil.

Go, this day, and praise God for His wondrous creation and for the day of rest He has given to us.

God Bless You,
Linda
 

 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Creation Day 6: God Speaks

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:29-31, NKJV

Creation Day 6: God Speaks

Before Genesis 1 ends its commentary of the 6th day of creation, we have this marvelous commentary by God to Adam, the man He created. God points out that every herb that yields seed and every tree whose fruit yields seed has been given to man for food. Also, every beast of the earth and every bird of the air--all things that creep on the earth in which there is life, also have been given every green herb for food.

What is the significance of this commentary by God to Adam? In the beginning, when God created the earth, the only food supplied to creatures and to humans was from the plant kingdoms. In other words, man and all animals were herbivores. The significance of this will be made more clear as we continue through the book of Genesis, for that is certainly not the case today. 

What we see at the end of Genesis 1 is the perfect world that God created. Beasts did not need to war among each other, for none feared one another. All living creatures ate from the plant kingdom. None killed another creature for food. Man did not kill the beasts of the earth for food or clothing.

Indeed, had man not sinned, this is the world in which we would live today. But, of course, that is not what happened, as we shall see in the next few chapters of the book of Genesis. All of this is difficult for us to imagine, for we do not live in a perfect world. The world God originally created knew nothing of illness or disease. In all of the kingdoms God had created: plant, animal, and man, everything co-existed perfectly.

We cannot even imagine that beautiful earth. We are so accustomed to seeing disease among the plant and animal kingdoms, as well as disease and illness in the lives of men, women, and children, that we think of them as normal life. However, in God's original creation, there was nothing normal about the diseases which are common in our day.

Will the earth ever return to this state of perfection? Our understanding is that this earth will never return to its original state of perfection. When Christ returns and time ceases to exist, all men will be judged. After the judgment, those who have been destined to an eternal life with God will live in God's new earth. For God will destroy this earth and create a new heaven and a new earth which will again exist in utter perfection.

What will we do on this new earth? That is a discussion that must wait, for we can, at best, only conjecture what it will be like. We do know, however, that all tears and sadness will have passed away. Not one of us will have any complaints about God's new creation. I think we will be simply overwhelmed by God's grace and goodness that He would create a world of such magnificent beauty for man's enjoyment and for God's glory.

Let us go, this day, in the strength and glory of God remembering that what is normal to us, today, will soon pass away. All things, then, will be new--and perfect!

What an amazing God we serve.

God Bless You,
Linda