Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Being the Word 2/26/2013

No, that is not a typo in my title.  Yes, Wednesday (sometimes Thursday) is normally titled Wednesday in the Word but this past Sunday night we got to use the teaching of Jesus to actually be the Word to one of our very own sweet sisters in Christ.  But as you'll see she first gave to us. 

 In 2003 my family walked through the doors on Mt Carmel Baptist for the first time.  As we walked into the sanctuary I scan the pews trying to figure out which seats were available and which ones had already been claimed by the regular attenders.   After many years growing up in church I was sure there was a self-assigned seating chart that we newbie were unaware of.  I didn't not want to mess that up.  So we carefully chose our seats and sat down.  A few minutes later as more and more people begin to come in I heard the prettiest song bird whistling.  I figured that somehow a bird had gotten in.  So I begin to look around for it. Not only did I not find the bird but it appeared I was the only person that heard it.  I pressed on my ears, shook my head and looked around again.  I still heard it.  I was still the only one looking for the mysterious bird.  Then I spotted it.  I had finally found the beautiful songbird and she wasn't a bird at all. 

Songbird Mekie
 Her name is Mekie.  Mekie had attended Mt Carmel for years with her father until he became ill and passed away. Now she attends not alone but with us her sisters, her family in Christ.  I don't know Mekie's whole story nor do I need to but I want to share with you what I do know as an encouragement to God's love, grace and mercy.  

Mekie spent her life caring for all those around her.  She meet their physical needs, prayed for their spiritual needs and uplifting their emotional need.  She ministered to her mom through illness and death, then her dad and now even cares for her brother.  Mekie has done so much with so little yet if you saw her smile or heard her songbird whistle you would never know the depth of her need.  She never complained. She never questioned God.  She never doubted His love. She never lost her faith or wanted to quit.  She challenged me to stay strong.  

Downtown Cordova
However, on April 28, 2011 if she had wavered a little.  Heck even wavered a lot I am not sure anyone would have cast the first stone at her. Just the day before Mekie's home was destroyed in the largest tornado outbreak recorded.  Now many people would describe Mekie's house as a true fixer upper before the storm hit.  She lacked many of the things that we consider must have to even live.  Things like central heating and air.  But what she didn't like is the one thing so many of us need more of.... Faith.  Mekie has total unmovable faith in Christ.  She knew God would provide for her and her brother in His time.  As the long term recovery team that was working in destruction area evaluated all the needs around Mekie was added to the list of those to be helped.  Now that list was long because the needs were great.  So Mekie whistled as she waited and waited and waited.  Again Mekie did what Mekie does. Whenever someone would ask her when were they going to start on her house she would reply, "They will get to it." or "In God's time."  Finally the day came a group of Mennonites from across the USA and Canada poured the foundation of what would finally be Mekie's home.  Within about 9 weeks the final nail was driven in.  There are still a few minor details that needs to be tied up but Mekie will be moving in very soon.  

Mekie has touched so many lives.  She does not stand on a stage speaking/preaching.  She does not stand on the street corner shouting bible verses. She does not thump other on the head with her bible. What she does do is live her life out in front according to the Word she loves.  So how do so many repay a lady that has taught us something that cannot be measured?  You can't.  However, we tried.  On Sunday evening we gave Mekie a surprise housewarming party.  We tried to shower just a portion of the love she has shown to other back on her.  

Is there someone in your life that fully lives out their faith? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Drop Your Waterpots {God-Sized Dream}

Holley's This week's "do what you can" step is: Find a God-sized dream story that inspires and share it.

She walked toward the well as a part of her daily routine.  It is the same routine as all the other women of the village yet she is not the same.  She does not come to the well in the morning or even in the evening during the cool of the day. She shuffles her feet along the long dusty road as the sun beat down on her.  She dreamed of being a part of the daily conversations with the others as they worked through their chores. She felt as if she had no hope of that. Instead of the heart lifting support of close friends, all she had were her water jugs. That even if they were empty they still weighted her down.  Maybe it was the guilt of the past or maybe the concerns of the future but whatever it was she didn't not chose to share it with others.  Besides they would not listen to her or care anyway.  As she got closer to the well, she slowly lifted her eyes to see that she was not alone as planned.  However, this was a stranger. A Jew. So she decided to continue with the task before her.  Cautiously she is preparing to draw water when Jesus says to her, "Will you give me a drink?"

This is such a familiar story I want go into the full details here but if you want to read it (or re-read it) it is found in John 4:1-42.

With just a few changes to the details her story could be re-written as my story.   Many times we stop reading the story at verse 26 when Jesus reveals Himself to her.  And if that were the end of the story that is enough but it is not the end.  Jesus had so much more planned for her. Read on in verses 34-42:

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Jesus declares to His disciples that there are many who need to be told the truths of their lives (past, present and future) and few to tell them.  I find it so inspiring that as Jesus is sitting there explaining to His closest followers the task sat before them the newest believer is already at work. 
She was no longer shuffling her feet with her head down.
She was no longer carrying the weights (she even left her waterpots.)
She was no longer avoiding contact with other in the village.
She had been given a new life and a renewed excitement.

I have had a special love for this story for many years because it reminds me that I need only to know who He is and who I am in Him to share with other.  Because of Him I can hold my head up.  I can walk with confidence. I do not have to fear what others say/think of me. Most importantly I no longer have to carry the weight of my past, present of future.  I simply carry it and leave it at the cross.

What woman of the bible most inspires you ? Do you have a woman in your real life that has inspired you in your walk with Christ ? How are you inspiring others  ?

Friday, February 22, 2013

All Mama Did and Still Does {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayToday I am joining my friends and Lisa-Jo this morning for Five Minute Friday. If you’re new here (welcome!) the rules are simple: Write, don’t edit, link your post to her page, and then share the encouragement like wildfire. You can do that, I know you can. The prompt this week is a little different than Lisa's normal one word, it is a phrase.:  Tell me all about what your mama did that made her yours….

When you first meet my mama you may notice her beautifully soft silver hair. Or maybe it will be her sweet inviting smile that catches your attention. After spending time with her you will become endeared to her by her calming voice and wise advise. When she leaves you may notice her slight limp from knee surgery but mostly you will anticipate when you will have a chance to spend time with her again.  These are attributes you will notice in just a short time but if you stick around her for as long as I have then you will at some point notice her hands.  Not so much for the way they look but for all the things they do.  Those hands have done so much for so many people in so many ways.  These are just a few of all those hands have done for me:

As a baby those hands held me close as she rocked me to sleep.
As a tot those hands cleaned up the many messed I made as I learned new things.
As a pre-K little girl those hands began to teach my how to color within the lines.
As a elementary student those hands would awake early to french braid my hair for special school days.
As a middle schooler those hands patiently sewed a hula hoop in a dress the night before a play beacause I forgot to tell her I needed a large 18th century type hoop skirt.
As a high schooler  hands gently wiped away the tears that flowed after a best friend hurt my feelings, or when I didn't make the dance team and especially when I came home with my heart broken by my first love.
As a bride-to-be those hands spend hours upon hours lovingly stitching tiny pearl beads and lace to the train of my dress to make it a one of a kind.
As a bride those hands carefully placed my veil carefully on my over sprayed hair.
As a young wife those hands taught me how to make my house a home with just a little paint, decorating and a lot of love.
As a new mom those hands taught me how to use my hands to sweetly care for my own little ones.

Those hands have cooked, cleaned, sewn and repaired but most importantly those hands, my mama's hands, taught me to love not just in word but in deed.

Dear children, let us not love with words or 
tongue but with actions and in truth. 
1 John 3:18

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday in the Word 2/20/2013

For the next few weeks Wednesday in the Word will be lead by my best friend and ministry partner, Tricia Russell.  Tricia and I have partnered to teaching a bible study class and lead our church's women's ministry for the last several years.

This week we continue our study in Genesis by covering 3:14-19

Genesis 3:14-15 Then the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild.  You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live.  And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.  He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”     

  • Cursed… the opposite of blessed, showing a breaking of the serpent’s powers. The serpent is to be forever looked at as an evil and wicked creature.  The serpent would no longer have feet but crawl on his belly cleaving to the earth.  Dust is the symbol of miserable humiliation.  This disgrace would last forever.  A strike on man’s heel is not deadly, but a blow to the head is.  The serpent would ultimately be defeated.  God was giving a little insight to his coming defeat.  Satan’s final defeat under the heel of the Messiah was delayed so that God’s plan of redemption through the promised seed of woman could be accomplished.

  • Enmity = Hatred    God hates sin.  He is especially displeased with those who entice others to sin.  
  • Your offspring and her offspring…  Humanity is now divided into 2 communities; the redeemed, who love God and the reprobate (a person rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation), who love self. 
  • John 8:33-34 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said “We have never been slaves to anyone.  What do you mean, “You will be set free?”  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.
  • John 8:44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does.  He was a murderer from the beginning.  He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
  • 1 John 3:8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning.  But the son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.
  •  We see these divisions surface immediately in the hostility of Cain against Abel.  We will see the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy when the second Adam, Jesus, and his followers triumph over Satan, sin and death when He returns. 
  • Romans 5:12 – 21 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world.  Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.  Yes, people sinned even before the law was given.  But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.  Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did.  Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come.  But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift.  For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many.  But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.  And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin.  For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to out being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.  For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. 

But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.  Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners.  But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.  God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.  But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.  So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.       
  • Bruise before His glorious victory the woman’s offspring must suffer to win the new community from the serpent’s dominion.
  • Isaiah 53:12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death.  He was counted among the rebels.  He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
  • Luke 24:26 “Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”

Genesis 3:16-19 Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth.  And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”  And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you.  All your life will struggle to scratch a living from it.  It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains.  By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.  For you were made from dust and to dust you will return.”
  • Pain in childbirth   The woman would experience pain during one of the greatest fulfillments of her life.  The woman was privileged to participate in God’s plan to create a people for himself. 
  • 1 Tim. 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.  

Here are several things to consider: (1) Adam was condemned to hard labor.  Eve sinned so her punishment was painful childbirth.  Both men and women can be saved through trusting Christ and obeying him.  (2) Women who fulfill their God-given roles are showing their commitment and obedience to Christ.  (3) Childbearing refers to the birth of Jesus Christ.  Both women and men are saved because of Jesus’ birth.  (4) Women can learn lessons through the trials of childbearing like developing qualities that teach them about love, trust, submission, and service.  

  • Rule over you:  Adam and Eve lost the harmony and intimacy they had experienced in their pre-fall relationship due to their sin.  The restoration of relationships takes place through new life in Christ.    Eve is put into a state of subjection.  She was created equal with man but because of her sin, she is made inferior and forbidden to usurp authority. 

Look at how mercy is mixed with wrath.  The woman will have sorrow, but it will bring forth children, and the sorrow will be forgotten with the joy a child brings. 
  • John 16:21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor.  When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.

Genesis 3:17-19 And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you.  All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.  It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains.  By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.  For you were made from dust and to dust you will return,” 
  • God shows his disapproval/anger on Adam in 3 ways:

(1)  His environment—Barrenness is the curse.  Fruitful was the blessing.  His employment and enjoyment are all poisoned to him.  Toil and sweat will be his lot in life now.  The garden was easy, with no labor, but now he will struggle, be tired and tormented.  All of these things will affect his mind.
(2)  His diet will change.  He will no longer enjoy the feast of the garden.  He will eat only what he grows.  There is a mixture of mercy in his punishment.  He work will tire him but his rest will be sweeter.  He will grieve but not starve.  He will mourn but in his mourning he will eat bread. 
(3)   His life will be short.  Man is a frail creature made from dust.  Dust can be picked up or raised in the air to form a cloud, but eventually the dust will fall back to the ground.  Our life is like the cloud of dust.  We are raised for a little while, but eventually we will return to the ground as dust.

Adam’s sin brought death into the world.  If Adam had not sinned he would not have died. 
  • Romans 6:23a For the wages of sin is death…Their sentences represent the consequences of our sins.

(1)  The woman’s pain in childbirth symbolizes the pain of guilt or guilty conscience our sins cause that cannot be avoided.
(2)  The sentence of submission to her husband stands for our loss of spiritual freedom due to sin.  The dominion of sin in the soul is compared to that of a husband. 
  • Romans 7:1-5 Now, dear brothers and sisters – you who are familiar with the law-don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living?  For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive.  But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her.  So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man.  But if her husband dies, she is free from the law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.  So dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ.  And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead.  As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.  When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.

(3)  The curse of barrenness is a representation of a sinner’s soul.  It is corrupt and full of evil.  It is overgrown with thorns and hardened.
(4)  The toil and sweat speak of the difficulties of man’s labor in service to God.  It has become hard to enter into the kingdom of God.
(5)  The bitterness of laboring for food speaks of the soul’s desire for the comfort of God’s favor—which is life and the bread of life.
(6)  The body returns to the dust of the world.  We are made from the dust and will return to dust.    

*After some discuss and more research around the question as to why sin did not enter when Eve ate but did when Adam ate.  We came to the conclusion that it was because Eve was truly deceived but Adam willingly sinned.  Yes, Eve sinned but she was deceived. 
1Tim. 2:12-15 I do not let women teach men or have authority over them.  Let them listen quietly.  For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve.  And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan.  The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.  But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Taking One Step at a Time {God-Sized Dream}

Holley's God-sized dream challenge for this week is, The most dangerous word for a God-sized dream is “someday.” How can you start implementing your God-sized dream {even in a small way} right where you are? You’ve just opened up some space in your life and you’ll need a proactive plan or that space will get claimed by something other than your God-sized dream–guaranteed. 

I normally write my God-Sized dream post on Monday's to be linked up on Tuesday with all my fellow dreamers but this week's challenge stumped me.  My dream is to speak/teach God's word to 5 or 5000 the number does not matter to me.  So you would assume the next step would be some type of speaking event but God has yet to open that door for me.  So I continue to trust in His timing.  As I explained in last weeks post, I have been allowing God to mold me and remake my dream.  I am not sure what my next step is so I chose not to move but instead to
just simply, "Be still and know He is God." Psalms 46:10.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beloved {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayToday I am joining my friends and Lisa-Jo this morning for Five Minute Friday. If you’re new here (welcome!) the rules are simple: Write, don’t edit, link your post to her page, and then share the encouragement like wildfire. You can do that, I know you can. The prompt this week is:  Beloved


According to a Google search:
Meaning of "Amy"
English name
In English, the name Amy means- Beloved.. Other origins for the name Amy include - English, Latin-American, French. The name Amy is most often used as a girl name or female name.

The very name given to me at birth means beloved - dearly loved - a much loved person yet growing up I never felt that type of love.  My parents loved me then and continue to love me now more than any words can express.  They gave me such a ‘Norman Rockwell’ type upbringing.  However, there was just something missing that was never filled at least not until one Sunday evening in 2002.

As I sat in what had become our regular seat in our new church I had a feeling come of me that was unexplainable.  The sanctuary was darkened with only a few black lights shining on the drama team.  They are worshiping to the song ‘Arise My Love’.  As the each note of the song played my heart began to beat a little harder.  I got a little more uncomfortable in my seat. 
Then the lyric, ”Could it be that His Father had forsaken Him? Turned His back on His son despising our sin”, and the drama member depicting God turned around and refused to look at ‘Jesus’.   It was at that moment that I felt my name was appropriate.  I am beloved.  I am dearly loved.  Jesus Christ loved me so much that He went to the cross and had His very own Father turn away from Him.  As a daddy’s girl I can’t imagine having my dad turn his back on me because of other people’s wrong doing. Yet that is exactly what happened to Jesus.  The relationship between Father and Son was broken because of His love for me.  Yes is love is for all but that night in that moment it was His love of me that changed my life.

There is no great feeling that to know you are beloved.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday in the Word 2/13/13

For the next few weeks Wednesday in the Word will be lead by my best friend and ministry partner, Tricia Russell.  Tricia and I have partnered to teaching a bible study class and lead our churches women's ministry for the last several years.

This week we continue our study in Genesis by covering 3:6-13.

Gen. 3:6 The woman was convinced.  She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.  So she took some of the fruit and ate it.  Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.  
  • Satan singled Eve out.  He continues to use this tactic on us everyday.  We must avoid his tactics. 
  • Proverbs 4:15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.  Turn away and keep moving.
  • Satan tempted Eve so that he might tempt Adam; just like he tempted Job by using his wife as a discourager and tempted Christ through Peter.  It is his policy to send temptations through those we would least suspect and through those who have the most interest in us and influence on us.  
  • Eve’s curiosity and perhaps her surprise to hear the serpent speak led her to keep talking to him. 
  • Proverbs 14: 7 Stay away from fools for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.
  • Proverbs 19:27 If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge.
  • She should’ve focused on what God had given them instead of what they couldn’t have. 
  • Saying they could not touch the fruit may have been Eve’s way of saying the command was to strict.  Wavering faith gives great advantage to Satan.  He attacked Eve where he saw weakness.  Satan concealed his own misery over his own fall from grace to deceive Eve into believing God was wrong.  Gen. 3:5 God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.  Satan taunts “You will know everything to be known.”  
  • The name of the tree was a warning not to eat from it.  (The tree of the knowledge of good and evil) He caused her to desire to be like god.  Satan had ruined himself by desiring to be like God.
  •  Isaiah 14:14-15 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.  Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead.
  •  Satan makes it sound as if God is depriving them knowledge because he didn’t want them to be as smart as him.  Our first parents, who knew so much, did not know this- they knew enough.  Christ is the tree to be desired to make us wise. 
  • Colossians 2:3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.    
  • 1 Corinthians 1:30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself.
  •  A great deal of sin comes in at the eyes.  Satan may tempt but he cannot force.  We make that choice.  Eve taking the fruit was stealing, like Achan’s taking the accursed thing, taking what she had no right to.  Surely her hand was shaking/ trembling??  We should suppress the first desires to sin. 

Genesis 3:7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.  So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
  •  They saw they were naked, stripped and deprived of all the honors and joys of their paradise, and exposed to all the miseries that they might expect from an angry God.  After sinning, they felt guilt and embarrassment over their nakedness.  Their guilt made them hid from God.  A guilty conscience is a warning signal God has placed inside of us that goes off when we’ve done wrong. 
  • The worst thing we can do is to stifle or eliminate those guilty feelings.  That is like using a painkiller but not treating the disease that is causing the pain.  We should be thankful those guilty feelings are there.  They make us aware of our sin so that we can ask God’s forgiveness.  Sin feeds the irrational belief that we can somehow control God’s perception of us, and His love and acceptance. 

Genesis 3:8-9 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden.  So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

  • The picture painted here is like a friend walking through the woods calling your name.  The effect of their sin was that sweet fellowship with God was broken, but not irreparable.  The consequences would require great sacrifice. 
  •  Think about their appearance, fig leaves sown together for clothing.  Did they really think God wouldn’t notice their new outfits??  This proves we cannot hide from God and we are kidding ourselves if we think we are.  Sin keeps us from having a right relationship with God, but God offers his forgiveness to us all we must do is confess and except.  If God hadn’t called Adam to reclaim him, his condition would have been as desperate as the fallen angels.  The lost sheep would’ve wandered endlessly, if the good Shepherd had not sought after him, to bring him back.  God wanted to remind him where he was, where he shouldn’t be and that he would not be happy where he was.  Sinners should consider where they are and stop at nothing to pursue God.   

Genesis 3:10-11 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid.  I was afraid because I was naked.”  “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” 

  • Adam didn’t admit his guilt but confessed it by admitting his shame and fear.  Because of his nakedness, Adam was afraid to appear before God.  God knew what Adam and Eve had done, but he questioned them to get a confession.  Sin can’t be forgiven until it is confessed. 

Genesis 3:12-13 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”  Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”  “The serpent deceived me,” she replied.  “That’s why I ate it.” 

  • We are each responsible for our own actions.  Using others as our excuse for sinning will not hold up when we face God on judgment day.  When we sin, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  When we entice others to sin we are doing the devil’s work and we become an accessory to their ruin. 

Adam blames Eve – She gave me the fruit and pressed me to eat it – a silly excuse.  Adam should’ve been the leader teaching her (Eve) what she should and shouldn’t do.  Should Adam be ruled by God or Eve/his wife?  Adam not only blames Eve but implies God is to blame for creating her.  Eve lays the blame on the serpent.  Satan’s temptations are all attractive, his arguments are lies, and he cheats us from the life God intends.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Less of Me. {God-Sized Dream}

Holley's God-sized dream challenge for this week is, "Decide what you will decrease in your life so your God-sized dream has more room to increase. What do you need to say “no” or “not now” or “not so much” to so your dream can thrive? Sometimes even what’s good can crowd out what’s best. Write a post choosing one thing you will decrease in your life and how you believe that will help your dream"

As I mulled over this week's prompt from Holley, I thought ofall the things that occupy my days. The things of the world that take up my time. The have to do things like jobs, housework, caring for family and friends. Then there are the want to things like hobbies,TV, Facebook, and Twitter.  Where does God and my God-Sized Dream fit in.  Do they belong under the 'have to' title of the 'want to'.  Years ago I would have told you that since worshiping, praising and following God is something I chose to do it would have to be sat aside in my want to column.  However as I have learned to depend on Him more, I realize that God can not be placed in either of my columns.  He is everything,  He is the reason I do my have to's.  He has given my the desire to follow after my want to's.  The easy answer would be to say I need to decrease the time spent on my want to list. Less post to Facebook. Cut out the minutes devoted to Twitter. Limit the number of shows watched.  Those would be the easy answers.  Those are the expected answers.  But I no longer desire to take the broad easy way.  God has called me to walk down the narrow path.  So what am I to say “no” or “not now” or “not so much” to so my dream can thrive?  After a week of reading and re-reading Holley's words I have only one answer:

"He must increase, but I must decrease." 

John 3:30

I must allow God to decrease me.  That means I have to abandon my idea of what my dream will look like.  I have to let go of my desire to make it perfect before I make it public. I have to not allow myself to become prideful as God's dream within me is manifested. These are all things that of myself I can not do.  I do not have the power to decrease.  The only way to decrease is to allow Him to increase.  To have His word, His truth, His love to take root and grow in my heart.  By spending more time studying His word He will reveal the each step I am to take to more towards the dream.

What steps can you take to allow Him to increase in your life?  How will those steps move you closer to the dream He has given you ?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bare {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute Friday

Today I am joining my friends and Lisa-Jo this morning for Five Minute Friday. If you’re new here (welcome!) the rules are simple: Write, don’t edit, link your post to her page, and then share the encouragement like wildfire. You can do that, I know you can. The prompt this week is:  Bare


The Sunday night ladies bible study group that I lead has a saying, "We want to be able to 'Be Real' with each other."  In other words we want each woman that walks through the doors of that room to be able to laugh, cry, ask questions or sit silent without the fear of judgement.  I love each of these ladies and I know that they love me yet there are still things in my life that I fear to share.  Can I really stand to bare myself before them? Can I show them all the things that have bruised my soul? Will they real accept and love me no matter what i share?  

Just as the fear and worry swells up in me  I step to the lectern to began teaching.  Before I know it I share something that I wasn't expecting. A cut, just a small one but a cut just the same is revealed.

Did I really just bare that truth to them ? I take a deep breath.  Look around the room at my sweet sisters, They understand.  They are not judging but instead they too began to bare each of their cuts,  First, just the shallow nics and scrapes but then deeper wounds are uncovered.  It is then that we see the miracles, the healing begins,  


Is there a wound that you need to bare ? What scar do you have that can offer hope of healing to others ?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday in the Word 2/6/13 ...a day late

Sorry I am running late posting our weekly notes from the Chronological Bible study.  This week has been just a little off. Anyway, Following are the notes form Genesis 2:19-3:6.

Genesis Chapter 2

V 19-20
.  19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man[c] to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. 
·        Brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: Adam intelligently named all the animals. If he was able to intelligently assign names to all the various animals then the argument that he may have miss understood God's command not to eat if the tree does not make sense.
·        So Adam gave names: We can see that Adam had at least some understanding that he was essentially different from all the animals because he did not name any other animal after himself, calling any other animal “man” or “human.”
·        But for Adam there was not found a helper: It was obvious to Adam that the animals came in pairs and he had no mate. Since God deliberately had Adam name the animals after seeing his need for a partner (Genesis 2:18), God used this to prepare Adam to receive the gift of woman.

V 21-22.  21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

·         The rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman: God used Adam’s own body to create Eve to forever remind him of their essential oneness.  The must never forget that they are essentially one and that they are made of the same substance. They are more alike than they are different.

a.  There is a beautiful Jewish tradition saying God made woman, not out of man’s foot to be under him, or out of his head to be over him, but “She was taken from under his arm that he might protect her and from next to his heart that he might love her.” (Barnhouse)

23 “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’”
·        This is now bone of my bones: By stating bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh Adam recognized that Eve was like him. But then again she was also very different so Adam gives her a name like his woman . . . taken out of man.God could have spoken Eve into begin as he did the animals or He could have formed her from dust as He did Adam but instead he created her from man’s flesh and blood.  

V24-25.  24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. 25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
·         They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed: Before the fall, Adam and Eve were both naked . . . and not ashamed. The idea of “nakedness” is far more than mere nudity. It has the sense of being totally open and exposed as a person before God and man. To be naked . . . and not ashamed means you have no sin, nothing to be rightly ashamed of, nothing to hide.

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’?”
·        The serpent: The text here does not, by itself alone, clearly identify the serpent as Satan, but the rest of the Bible makes it clear this is Satan appearing as a serpent.

a. In Ezekiel 28:13-19 tells us that Satan was in Eden. Many other passages associate a serpent or a snake-like creature with Satan (such as Job 26:13 and Isaiah 51:9). Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 speak of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan.
  • The serpent was more cunning than any beast: Satan’s effectiveness is often found in His cunning, crafty ways. We can’t outsmart Satan, but we can overcome him with the power of Jesus.
a. It was the craftiness of Satan that made him successful against Eve: as the serpent 
deceived Eve by his craftiness (2 Corinthians 11:3).

  • And he said to the woman: Apparently, before the curse pronounced in Genesis 3:14-15, the serpent was different than what we know today as a serpent. This creature didn’t start as a snake as we know it, it became one.

a.. The woman wasn’t surprised at the serpent’s speaking maybe because Adam and Eve had free conversation with angelic beings that often appeared in the form of men. If this is true, it wasn’t so strange to Eve that an angelic being might appear to her in the form of a beautiful pre-curse serpent
  • To the woman: Satan brought his temptation against the woman because he perceived she was more vulnerable to attack. This is because she did not receive the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil directly from God but through Adam (Genesis 2:15-17).

  • Has God indeed said: Satan’s first attack is leveled against the Word of God. If he can get Eve confused about what God said, or to doubt what God said, then his battle is partially won. 

a.    From the beginning, Satan has tried to undermine God’s people by undermining God’s Word. He can undermine just as effectively by getting us to neglect God’s Word as by getting us to doubt it.

  • “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Satan took God’s positive command (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 [Genesis 2:16-17]) and rephrased it in a negative way: “God won’t let you eat of every tree.”
V 2-3  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.’ “

·         And the woman said to the serpent: Eve’s first mistake was in even carrying on a discussion with the serpent. We are called to talk to the devil, but never to have a discussion with him. We simply and strongly tell him, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 9)

·         We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: Eve’s knowledge of what she should not do is partially correct, but what she doesn’t seem to know makes her all the more vulnerable to deception.
a. Eve does not seem to know the name of this tree; she only calls it the tree in the midst of the garden, instead of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).

b. Eve misquoted God’s command to Adam. Her words, “you shall not eat it” and “lest you die” are close enough, but she added to the command and put words in God’s mouth when she said, “nor shall you touch it.” Of course, it was a good idea to completely avoid the temptation; no good could come from massaging the fruit you’re not supposed to eat. But it is a dangerous thing to teach the doctrines of man as if they are the commandments of God (Matthew 15:9).

V 4-5. 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.”

  • You will not surely die: Satan effectively laid the groundwork. He drew Eve into a discussion with him and planted the seed of doubt about God’s Word, and he exposed Eve’s incomplete understanding of God’s Word. Now he moves in for the kill, with an outright contradiction of what God said.