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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

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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This clip comes from ‘The Passion’ movie.  It’s poetic license at it’s best as Jesus has ‘crushed the head of the serpent’ at and through the cross, not here at Gethsemene (and not a real snake).  However, for me at least, it is a powerful visual of what Jesus’ death and resurrection has achieved in the spiritual (which is perhaps the original intent).

Note: A snake’s poison is lodged in its head so crushing a snake’s head leads to the snake fatally ‘drowning’ in its own poison.

The reference is:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
[Gen 3:15]

So what is ENMITY? – actively oppossed, active hatred, active hostility

Kind of like a modern day terrorist? – Yes, that right – actively destructive

Who’s involved? – Well, God is speaking to the serpent and the other party is Eve.

Anybody else? – Yes, the serpent’s offspring and Eve’s offspring

I don’t get it? – The serpent’s offspring are the evil spirits and the wickedness of man and Eve’s offspring is all of humanity including Christ and His Church.

It says God put this enmity there, so it’s all His fault? No, no!  Everyone is responsible for their own heart and ‘yes’ the devil has a heart.  It’s just that his heart is divorced from anything good.  There is nothing good in him.  Therefore his heart is filled with hatred, lies, deception and destruction.  He is totally against God, and more specifically those made in God’s own image.  God has allowed this to happen.  And God is still completely in control.

So why does it say ‘HE will crush your head’, isn’t Eve a she? Ah yes, very observant! God is not talking about Eve but one of her offspring.

Who is this? Well, it’s the only one who is worthy and has the authority to crush the serpent’s head and that is Jesus.

What about ‘and you will strike his heel’ bit? The serpent was allowed by God to strike the humanity of Jesus. Also, God allows the serpent (the devil, Satan) to attack the humanity of man as well but Jesus’ death and resurrection gives us victory over anything the evil one can try to do to us.

So this verse is quite prophetic? Absolutely! God not only pronounces a curse over the serpent but also prophesies about His Son!

So this verse is quite important? Yes! It not only explains our past, it also explains our present and our future.

How do you mean? Well, 1) it explains what happened in the past 2) it explains our present and why the world is the way it is 3) it hints or prophesies to God’s solution for mankind (Jesus) and 4) it explains or lays out the future.  You see the future isn’t uncertain; it is set and complete.  The devil has been defeated.  Jesus is the victor!  We no longer have to perish in our sins but we can have a sure hope of our future through Jesus Christ!

But wait a minute, why didn’t God finish everything up at the cross? Good question! Why don’t you ask God this? But do you realise that you wouldn’t be here if God did that!  These days that we live in are days of God’s grace where every person has the tremendous opportunity to receive or reject God’s graceous gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 says this:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,  that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

You will never have this day again. 

Believe Jesus and receive Him into your heart today!

In Jesus name

Amen!

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Would it be possible you are not ‘stepping up to the plate’, to be everything God intended you to be, because you have some warped idea of what humility is?

Let me try and explain.  Humility in the Bible is often mentioned in the context of repentance and being a servant of the Lord.  It is taking a lowly position for the grace and forgiveness of the Lord to come into your life(and mine) and also so that the Lord can use you for His great pleasure.  In contrast, a prideful heart in these situations leads to no repentance, no grace and no forgiveness and also, God is not able to use you for His purposes.  This is easy to see and understand but its application in our lives is often hindered by our own sinful nature.

A Warped Humility

But what if you aren’t stepping into the things of God because you think that if you do, you will be drawing attention to yourself and therefore no longer qualify to be humble.  I mean, somehow, you’ve picked up a kind of  ‘warped or false sense of humility’ that is constipating the things of God in your life.

Are you getting what I am trying to say?

Now on the surface of things, this thinking might sound honourable (to you), but going under the surface, it is a lie and deception of the Devil straight from the pit of Hell.

Am I being a bit strong about this?

I don’t believe so.  You see, this ‘warped humility’ stands in the way of God’s plans and purposes for your life.  It is a barrier or a stumbling block for ‘God’s Kingdom come’ in your life.  Therefore it is ‘anti’-Christ in your life.

Humility is a State of the Heart!

You see, humility is a state of the heart and not the head.  It’s a position of the heart out of which everything else flows.  If you are stumbling over ‘warped humility’ ask yourself these questions:

Do I still have a prideful heart? In other words, are things still all about me?

Have I been deceived in my mind? In other words, has my head deceived my heart?

Am I still preoccupied by the ‘perceptions of men’? In other words, am I concerned about whether others will see my actions as prideful?

It’s All About God!

It’s all about God.  Life is all about God.  It’s not about you(and me) so stop focussing on yourself in whatever form that might be!

Forget about youself and be FREE to be who God meant you to be.

We are Meant to be Radiant!

In reality, we are meant to be radiant, and stand out, and to be salt and light in this wicked world.  We’re meant to shine the light of the glory of God into this darkened place.

BE YOU!

Step into the destiny that God has for you and radiate His glory.   Get over this ‘warped humility’, this stumbling block of Satan and start glorifying the Lord with the plans and purposes that He has for your life!

You were Meant for Greatness in the Eyes of the Lord!

Amen

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“We are in an interesting battle, whether we realise it or not, in this world.  It’s a battle between life and death.  What side are you on?”

“I know, along my journey, I am already hated because I declare life!”

“How much are you willing to take, and how much are you willing to risk, to speak the truth in love and graciousness, and stand up and, at least, be willing to be hated?

“There was not a radical feminist, standing up and yelling about how my rights had been violated that day.  In fact my life was being snuffed out in the name of womens rights.”

“There are things that you are only able to learn by the weakest among us.  And when you snuff them out you are the one that looses.  The Lord looks after them but you are the one who will suffer for ever.”

“And what arrogance, what absolute arrogance, and it has been an arguement for so long in this human place that we live, that the stronger should dominate the weaker, should determine who lives and dies.  The arrogance of that!  Don’t you realise that you cannot make your own heart beat.  Don’t you realise that all the power that you think that you possess you really possess none of it.  It is the mercy of God that sustains you, even when you hate Him.”

“We misunderstand how beautiful suffering can be.  I don’t willingly sign up for it, but when it comes, we forget that God is in control and God has a way of making the most miserable thing beautiful.”

“Men, you are made for greatness.  You are made to stand up and be men.  You are made to defend women and children, not stand by, and turn your head, when you know murder is occurring and do nothing about it.  You are not made to use women and leave us alone.  You are made to be kind and great and gracious and strong and stand for something because men, listen to me, I am too tired to do your job.”

“Women, you are not made for abuse.  You are not made to sit and not know your worth and your value.  You are made to be fought for, forever.”

“So now is your moment, what sort of people are you going to be?  I trust, incredible.  I trust, men, you will rise to the occassion.  To the politians listening, particularly to the men, I would say this, you are made for greatness, set your politics aside.  You are made to defend what is right and good, this fiery young girl will stand here and say, now it your moment.  What sort of man do you want to be?  A man obsessed with your own glory or a man obsessed with the glory of God?  It’s time to take a stand, Victoria.  This is your hour.  God will assist you.  God will be with you.  You have the opportunity to glorify and honour God in 2008.”

“Some of you might be slightly annoyed that all I keep doing is talking about God and Jesus but how on earth can I walk about, limping through this world and not give ALL my heart and mind and soul and strength to the Christ who gave me life!  So if you think I am a fool, it’s just another jewel in my crown.  My whole intent in living here is to make God smile.”

Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor speaks at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House, Victoria (Australia) September 8 2008 on the eve of the debate to decriminalize abortion in Victoria.  Gianna’s visit was sponsored by the Ad Hoc Interfaith Committee – Part 1

Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor speaks at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House, Victoria (Australia) September 8 2008 on the eve of the debate to decriminalize abortion in Victoria.  Gianna’s visit was sponsored by the Ad Hoc Interfaith Committee – Part 2

“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.”  [John 17:14]

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THE GIANT KILLER

or ‘The Battle which all must Fight’

by A.L.O.E. (AKA Charlotte Maria Tucker)

Giant Selfishness was huge of stature and strong of limb, taller and more powerful than his younger brother Sloth.  There were few indeed who could cope with his arm, he was tyrant over half the world.  Many a great conqueror he had made his slave, thousands and thousands had felt his chains, he claimed dominion over young and old.  Yet now as the giant sat alone, a deep shade of gloom was upon his massive brow.  He listened not to the tinkling fall of the fountain, he glanced not at the beautiful flowers,

“Evil tidings, evil tidings” he muttered to himself.

“Sloth has been the first victim but he will not be the last.  I dread nothing on earth but the invincible sword, not even my strength can stand against that.”

He pressed his vast hand over his eyes and remained for some moments in thought.

“Ha, I have it!” he exclaimed suddenly raising his head what force cannot accomplish cunning may perform.

He clapped his hands as a signal and the noise that they made was startling as a peal of thunder.  Instant at the summons his servant Pleasure appeared.  A fairy like creature with gossamer wings all sparkling with the tints of the rainbow.

“Pleasure” exclaimed the Giant, “I call thee to my aid against him who would root out the race of Selfishness.  Do you know if Fides is still at the castle where Sloth this morning fell beneath his sword?”

A taste of a great novel : The Giant Killer (written by Charlotte Maria Tucker in 1856)

Updated and ‘modernised’ here.

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Psalms 143

143:1 A psalm of David.

O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.

2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.

3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.

4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.

5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.  Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails.  Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.

10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.

12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

Thoughts (Our soul=our mind, our will and our emotions):

Verse 1-4: A cry of the heart and an appeal for mercy.  (A humble and repentant heart)

Verse 5: Remembering the greatness and the goodness of God. (Meditating on the things of God and not on the problem – emotional hope and relief for the soul)

Verse 6: Praise and Worship. (I will praise You in the storm for You alone satisfy my soul)

Verse 7-9: Choosing to trust in God (I choose to hide myself in You – a decision of the mind).

Verse 10: Teach me and lead me (Not my will but Your will – a laying down of our will)

Verse 11-12: Final appeal.

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Good morning!  I was just skimming through a few Youtube clips this morning and I was really touched and encouraged by this particular clip and testimony.  You know, there are so many contemporary Christian songs that we sing that lack the content and depth and truth of the older hymns.  This song isn’t one of them. Enjoy!

Desert Song

– Brooke Fraser (Hillsong)

-VERSE 1-
This is my prayer in the desert,
When all that’s within me feels dry,
This is my prayer in my hunger and need,
My God is the God who provides,

-VERSE 2-
And this is my prayer in the fire,
In weakness, or trial, or pain,
There is a faith proved more worth than gold,
So refine me Lord through the flame,

-CHORUS-
I will bring praise,
I will bring praise,
No weapon formed against me shall remain,
I will rejoice, I will declare,
God is my victory and He is here,

-VERSE 3-
This is my prayer in the battle,
When triumph is still on its way,
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ,
So firm on his promise I’ll stand,

-CHORUS-
I will bring praise,
I will bring praise,
No weapon formed against me shall remain,
I will rejoice, I will declare,
God is my victory and He is here,

-REFRAIN- x 4
All of my life, in every season,
You are still God,
I have a reason to sing,
I have a reason to worship,

-CHORUS-
I will bring praise,
I will bring praise,
No weapon formed against me shall remain,
I will rejoice, I will declare,
God is my victory and He is here,

-VERSE 4-
And this is my prayer in the harvest,
When favour and providence flow,
I know I’m filled to be emptied again,
The seed I receive I will sow

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