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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

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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In the Christian life, is faith more important or is love more important?

In answer to this question you may quote “Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”[1 Cor 13:13] and you would be correct, the greatest is love.  But the Bible also says  without faith it is impossible to please God [Heb 11:6] so, it would seem, we cannot merely dismiss faith over love.  This would be foolish, because faith is basic and essential in the Christian ‘faith’.

So what is 1 Corinthian 13:13 meaning?  Let’s read a bit more of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1 to 3 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” So, love is more important than faith or am I still getting this wrong?  What type of faith is 1 Corithians 13 talking about?  Is 1 Corinthians 13 talking about some of the gifts of the Spirit?  That is, the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy, the word of knowledge, the gift of faith.  I think so.  You see, there is the gift of great faith that the Lord implants in people from time to time and, to me, faith that moves mountains is great faith or the gift of faith.  Anyway, 1 Corinthians 13:13 isn’t excluding our faith (or our hope) but proclaiming that love is greater.

In Galations 5:6 the Bible says “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Hmmm, I think this is a key verse for me.  That is, our faith in the Lord is expressing itself through our love of the Lord.   Love, in our Christian life, is first and foremost and overrules all that we do, including our faith.  This makes sense when we remember the words of Jesus “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [John 13: 34-35] and in Mark 12:30-31 Jesus says Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

So, our faith comes out of our love?  I think so.  I believe this is true of our hope as well (but that is another story).  So, the love of God fills our hearts, we respond with love back to our Lord and faith (expressing itself through our love) directs our path to those the Lord wants us to love and share the love of the Father.

May the Lord bless you today and always

Steve

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. [1 Thes 1:2-3]

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.[1 Thes 5:8]

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? [Jam 2:5]

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“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:1-2(NIV)

The Lord has had me thinking about Romans 12:1-2 in a new light.  He has had me focusing on 5 words at the beginning of verse 1″in view of God’s mercy” . To me, these 5 words are helping me focus and refocus on what our Lord has done for me(us).  I must not loose sight of God’s mercy.  I must always keep His mercy in view or in the forefront of my mind.  If I loose sight of God’s mercy I loose sight of all meaning and purpose in the way I behave and the things that I do.  If I loose sight of God’s mercy what use is it to offer my body as a living sacrifice?  This would only become some religious act.  The same goes for choosing to live a Holy life – if I strive to do what is right I become some sort of legalistic religious nut.

Ahhhh! but if I am consumed by His mercy and love and grace and (with great thankfulness) I always keep His mercy in view He transforms me and renews me from the inside out.  Not only that, I begin to receive the ‘mind of Christ’ and I begin to understand His good and pleasing and perfect will for my life.

Just a thought…

Blessings
Steve

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Shown towards the end of a message given by Mike Pilavachi Tue 8th July 2008 at the Hillsong Conference. The message was about the intimately inter-twined relationship between worship, evangelism and justice.

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