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Posts Tagged ‘Christain Life’

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence [face] of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” [Gen3:8 AMP]

What Does God Sound Like?

I often wonder what would it sound like to hear God walking in the garden…would there be a mighty roar of wind?…would there be a gentle rustling of leaves?…would there be the sound of God’s footsteps?…or perhaps ‘the sound of the Lord’ relates to a sixth sense, a ‘spirit to Spirit’ sense that Adam and Eve were aware that the Lord was in the garden. Indeed, God did create them in His image [Gen 1:26-27] – which would include a spirit, as well as the soul and body.

God Confronts Adam and Eve

And the mystery of God’s presence being in the garden (more than in any other place) really points to God having a form which, for me, points to Jesus. So my long bow with this verse is that from time to time, or probably daily (knowing the love and character of God), Jesus would walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening (as He also did with His disciples when He was here on earth). You know, I believe sometimes we can get caught up in the harshness of the Old Testament and we can really miss this altogether – How great is the Father’s love is for His creation and how He longs and loves to fellowship with it (and how disappointed He must have been that Adam and Eve were attempting to hide from Him).

In any case (even if you do not agree with the above), Adam and Eve were familiar with the ‘sound of Lord’ and they knew He was in the garden and yet they did not go to Him as I suspect they usually would have, because of their sin. Fellowship and relationship with God was broken that day and instead of perhaps running to Him they hid from His face. This was a very sad day for humanity and for God!

But here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost through Adam at ‘the fall’!

(‘the fall’ = the fall of humanity through the sin of Adam and Eve)

To understand what has been restored through Jesus let us have a look at what has been lost through Adam.

Through Adam relationship and intimacy with our Heavenly Father have been lost. Our inherited sinful nature rebels against God and His Word. The penalty for our sin and rebellion is death and Hell. We are lost, we are condemned, we are without hope, we are without a purpose, we are without a future, and we are completely powerless and helpless to do anything about where we are heading. There is no way of escape and, because of God’s perfect judgement, nor do we deserve a way of escape.

Now putting the bad news aside here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost!

Through Jesus and His death and resurrection, our judgement and condemnation has been fully paid for through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We are no longer lost but we are saved by God. We are no longer hopeless but now have great hope in our Saviour and we live in the purposes and calling of our Heavenly Father which He has planned for us before the beginning of time. We are no longer powerless and helpless against the schemes of the enemy but we have given given authority in the name of Jesus through his great victory over the devil at the cross. The authority that had been forfeited by Adam has been restored by Christ. The devil doesn’t even have the keys to His own jails anymore. He is rendered powerless! All he has is lies and tricks. All authority has been given to Christ and to all who are in Christ, Jesus has given His authority. So if we don’t fall into a rebellious life or we are not tricked by the devil schemes we are truly free, free indeed [John 8:36] by the finished work of Jesus on the cross!

Additional reading here Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

A Life of Abundance!

Even further, as if this was not enough, Jesus came to give us far more than we could ever hope for or imagine[Eph 3:20]! Jesus calls us not to a life of mediocrity but a life of abundance!

In John 10:10 Jesus says “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”

When I mention abundant life I am not overlooking troubles that can come our way from time to time that can place great demands on our faith and our character. In John 16:33 Jesus was aware of these and said there will be “tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]  and He said this so that in Him “we may have [perfect]peace.”

This abundant life that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10 is created by the Author and Creator of life himself. The One who gave us life is the One who can give us our best life. God knows all about us and He has made each one of us a perfect and abundant life plan for our lives – imagine a life to the max – a life overflowing in abundance! A life of perfect peace! How can this be possible?

Getting Back to the Garden

What was life like in the Garden of Eden before the Fall and how do we get back there?

Here are a few observations about the Garden of Eden before the fall. The Garden was:

  • a place created by God for Adam and Eve to live and enjoy.
  • a place where God could enjoy and commune with His creation.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to fellowship with one another and to fellowship and commune with God.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to rule and to have dominion over all of creation.
  • a place that displayed the magnificence, creativity and glory of God.

I’ve had a revelation (which I don’t mind if you accept or reject) the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place.

If the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place how do we get back there?

Just before Jesus ascended He said to His disciples “don’t leave Jerusalem until you are baptized, empowered and united with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 1:4-5].

The key here is a life empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comforts us, gives us peace, teaches us, counsels us, encourages us, exhorts us, gives us wisdom, gives us Spiritual gifts to help others, helps us to worship God, convicts us of sin, gives us strength, shows us the truth, guides us, helps us to pray, produces fruit in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and is always with us everywhere we go.

The Garden of Eden or Utopia or Shangri-La or Paradise or any other place of contentment or peace or rest are not found in a physical place but found in a place in our heart where Jesus comes to live with us by His Spirit.

Jesus says:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” [Matt 11:28-30]

True contentment or true peace or true rest for our souls is found in Christ alone. This is not a physical place (like the Garden of Eden) but it is a Spiritual place. It is a position or posture of our heart to receive the Good News about Christ, and to receive the infilling of His Holy Spirit. Then, as God’s Word says, “our new, real life is hidden with Christ in God” [Col 3:2-3] – the safest, most peaceful, most restful and most contented place we can find!

This life is available to everyone but not everyone finds this life:

See why in Matthew 13:1-23.

Chapter 1: Life in the Garden or Getting Back to the Garden
Communication and fellowship as it should be – life in the garden.

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Once upon a time there was a dog named Nofrute.  Nofrute was an extemely fat and lazy dog.  Oh, he occassionally used to get his Master’s slippers, but that was not without a lot of grumblings and protests.  Nofrute lived with his Master in a large house near a place called Redemption City.

One evening, Nofrute’s Master had an important meeting to attend so he had left Nofrute all alone, inside the house, for a few hours.   As soon as his Master left, Nofrute headed straight for the refrigerator (Nofrute was highly controlled by the cravings of his stomach).    Nofrute pried open the refrigerator door and started devouring a large bar of chocolate.  Then he ate a  4 litre tub of ice cream, 24 scones with whipped cream, 4 packets of chocolate biscuits, 10 large bags of chips (that he found in a cupboard) and finally 8 litres of soft drink to wash it all down.  Nofrute started feeling very sick.  He laid in the middle of the lounge room with his legs in the air.  Nofrute was in great pain and was having difficulty breathing.

An hour or so later Nofrute’s Master come home and saw Nofrute lying in the middle of the lounge room with his legs in the air.  He raced over only to find Nofrute had died.  The Master wept and wept and wept.

John 4:31-34
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
(NIV)

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Thoughts about Elijah Running in Fear – 1 Kings 19:1-4

The Lord has had me ‘ruminating’ over these verses in 1 kings 19 for several weeks now.  It seems the Lord wants to show me something.  Here are some thoughts about these verses.

1 Kings 19:1-4
1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,
4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
(NIV)

Why would such a powerful and annoited man of God be fleeing in fear from an evil woman’s threat?

Well, it is difficult to say (with accuracy) why Jezebel’s threat had such a fearful effect on Elijah.  We know, for sure, that Jezebel was no match for God.  And we know, for sure, Elijah had great faith and power from God – he had just called down fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice and had just put #450 prophets of Baal to death(read 1 Kings 18).

So this is THE burning question for these verses!: Why would such a powerful and annoited man of God be fleeing in fear from an evil woman’s threat?

Well, one thing is certain, Elijah ‘took onboard’ Jezebel’s threat and he had fled in fear of his life.  It would seem to me that Elijah has had a ‘human’ moment.  His humanity has kicked in, for whatever reason, and he is running for his life.

I’ve been thinking about Elijah’s words at the end of verse 4:  “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Here, by the words we can tell, Elijah is really having a big crisis.  God needs to slap this guy about the head and tell him to wake up to himself – right?

Wrong, God really deals with Elijah tenderly.

1 Kings 19:5-8
5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
(NIV)

God sends an angel to provide bread and water to Elijah for the JOURNEY.  What journey?  Wasn’t Elijah just running for his life (anywhere away from Jezebel).  I think so, for he took no provisions.  Now he has a journey!  Now he has a purpose and a destination.  And the destination is to the MOUNTAIN OF GOD! Woohoo!  Praise the Lord!

Did you notice the ‘forty days and forty nights’ bit?  Well it’s not an accident :-).  God cleansed the earth with rain for 40 days and 40 nights during the flood.  Moses fasted for for days and forty nights before writing down the 10 commandments.  Our Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before being tempted.  This ‘journey to the mountain’ for Elijah was (potentually) a time of cleansing, a time of reflection and prayer and a time of subdueing and mastering the soul and the ‘flesh’.

Did it work?

To be continued…

P.S. I haven’t even touched on why I called it “Being at the Knife Edge of Faith” yet .  Maybe it has something to do with faith and humanity(‘the flesh’)?

Blessings

Steve

# In 1 Kings 18:19 it says this:
Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (NIV)

Did Elijah and the people allow the 400 prophets of Asherah (Baal was a male god and Asherah a female god) to escape?

My thought is no.  They were also part of the problem in Israel.  They have now become redundant because “The Lord, He is God”[v39]  Also, not killing them would have amounted to doing half a job.  Surely God would have rebuked Elijah for not killing them as well. Also of note is that these 850 false prophets were the ones that ‘ate at Jezebel’s table'[v19].  Perhaps a popular vocation in a time of famine 🙂 .  Seeing that the people came from ‘all over Israel'[v19] was the number for false prophets greater than 850?[purely speculation].  Perhaps I should have said Elijah and the people ‘put at least 850 false prophets to death’.

P.P.S. Did you read 1 Kings 18?  This is just something I found amusing in 1 Kings 18.  It’s when Elijah mocks the prophets of Baal.  Look at this translation of verse 27…

1 Kings 18:27
About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” [New Living Translation]

Perhaps your God has gone to the toilet – ho, ho, ho!

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Well, I haven’t posted anything since September 30 – WOW!

There has been much happening.  Our Senior Pastor’s son Sam went to be with the Lord suddenly (he didn’t wake up one morning).  This was a great shock and was, and still is, a difficult time for many, especially his parents and family.  Friends from the small group that we lead were involved in a serious car accident and one has had her lower leg removed.  My wife’s parents were involved in a serious car accident and her mother is still recovering (she is going OK).   I have changed jobs – this has been unsettling for me.  We had a very large tree fall on our house (it landed mainly on the garage – praise God) and my dad has been battling (and winning) with a stomach cancer.

img_1301a1

Hmmm, if I am honest I would have to say, by the grace of God, we have coped quite well.  I can honestly say the Lord had prepared us and sustained us.  This is not to say I wasn’t distracted by the events – I was.  I mean, at times, there was a numbness and a ‘shellshock’ness.  When I mean distracted I mean taking my eyes off the Lord.  I remember saying to myself and the Lord that “I’m not quite right am I”.  I mean there are parts of my ‘being’ that have been crying out for the Lord refreshment and this is happening (really – don’t worry 🙂 ).

I’ve been wondering, when end times come and there is great hardship and suffering and persecution will I be distracted and take my eyes off Jesus?  Not if I am prepared.  Not if I build my house upon the rock and not upon the sand.  Not if I am serious about becoming a real man of God.

Here is a great Word to men about ‘Being a Man of God’ preached by Paul Washer.  I found this one over at here

Blessings

Steve

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You are my friend if…

John 15:14 (Jesus says):

You are my friends if you do what I command. NIV

How would you react if you had a friend come up to you and say “You are my friend if you do what I say!”? I ran this question passed my 11 year old son a couple of weeks ago to see what he thought. He thought it would be a bit of a ‘weird friendship’ to have someone wanting you to do everything they say. A friendship that would be a bit ‘one sided’ or ‘dominant’ or ‘unbalanced’.

Perhaps it would depend on who that friend was. I mean, how wise they were. How much they loved you and wanted the best for you. I would have to agree though, it is hard to imagine a ‘natural’ friend that would be so wise and loving and unselfish.

But what about if you were suddenly taken with blindness and you had to have someone walk with you and guide you and help you through the obstacles of life? They would tell you, “Go left”! “Go right”!Walk faster”! “Run”! “Slow down”! “Watch out”! “Lift you feet higher”! etc, etc… and you would have to trust them and obey their commands.

I believe faith in our Heavenly Father works in a similar fashion. You see, there is One who is infinitely wise and One who deeply loves us and One who genuinely wants the best for us. He created us!

GOD FULLY QUALIFIES TO TELL US WHAT TO DO!

God wants to help us and guide us in all areas of our lives! He wants to walk with us and share with us through our good times and our difficult times. He loves us and wants to protect us (like the hen with her chicks – see the last blog) and He knows what is best for us. He has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives. OUR DESTINY IS IN HIM and HIS PLAN IS IN US if only we will trust and obey Him!

In Ephesians 1:11 it says “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Eph 1:11) NIV

GOD DESERVES OUR COMPLETE TRUST AND OBEDIENCE IN HIM!

Psalms 23:1-4 says:
23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want,
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
NIV

Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
NIV

I have been reminded of an old Hymn that says “Trust and obey, for there is no other way”…

Trust and Obey

Text: John H. Sammis, 1846-1919
Music: Daniel B. Towner, 1850-1919

1. When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

2. Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

3. But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

4. Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Blessings

Steve

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