God’s Story has a Villain


Eve in the GardenLike every great story, God’s story has a villain. The villain in God’s story is Satan. From the very beginning, Satan has had a sole diabolical purpose—to entice us to live our lives outside of God’s plan. Here’s a little background on how this rogue entered the picture.

God the Sculptor was busy at work creating a stunning figure of clay—perfect in every intricate detail. It was a breathtaking masterpiece, more beautiful than the mind can conceive and too stunning to express with words. When the Sculptor completed his work of art, he rested.

While he was resting, his archenemy slithered onto the scene. I imagine he was somewhere nearby as God was forming his masterpiece in the garden. As he watched, he schemed in his rancorous brain how to destroy the splendor of the Sculptor’s creation.

Some of us have wondered why God allowed this to happen. Why did he allow his newly formed works of art—beings of pure innocence—to be subjected to the wiles of one so evilly wise? We wonder if they possessed an understanding of right and wrong since they had not yet eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And if not, how could they possibly have made the right choice? Even if they did understand the concept of right and wrong, they certainly did not have knowledge of the consequences of choosing to disobey. They were like kids in a candy store with only one forbidden piece of candy. “You can have anything in the store, except that!”

We all live with the enticement of forbidden fruit, and we go for it. And we do have knowledge of good and evil, and we know there will be consequences for our sinful choices.

It was no surprise that Satan successfully deceived Eve since he was the master of deception – the Father of Lies – and she was an innocent babe. I don’t believe the fall of humankind was one of Satan’s most challenging accomplishments.

God allowed the deception and the consequential abduction of humanity. But why? The world we live in is all about God’s demonstration of grace, and evil is the variable that makes grace necessary. There can be no rescue without a hostage. There is no need for grace apart from the separation of humankind from God by spiritual death caused by sin. And it is evident throughout Scripture that God is all about redemption, and redemption is all about grace.

Excerpt from Holy Libido: Craving Passionate Life in God…available at http://www.redemption-press.com and http://www.amazon.com

The group study version, Holy Libido: Spurring One Another On, Coming Soon!

 

Who is this Man Jesus?


get-attachmentTHE WORD: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” ~John 14:6-7

During this past Spring Semester at CCU, I took a Worldview class that awakened my mind to a stunning reality. I’ve always known there are many religions, philosophies, and ideologies in the world. However, what was most revealing to me in this class was the realization that even within the Church, a worldview called “pluralism” exists.

For many Christians, the Biblical worldview is too strict (and restrictive), too absolute, and too exclusive. They would rather live life believing that God is good, kind and fair, along with a brush stroke of faith that everyone is on their own path that will eventually lead to heaven. It is a form of “coexistence” that is a mockery of what the Bible teaches.

In the book Seeking and Finding God, by Dave Hunt, the author writes, “A conviction that there is a definite way to heaven (and only one) is not tolerated in this day of professed tolerance, because it insists that all roads don’t lead to the same place, that truth does exist, and that there is a distinction between what is right and what is wrong. Instead of such antiquated convictions, ecumenical broad-mindedness is the new wave for the new millennium. We are expected to set aside the rational necessity of being certain about our eternal destiny in favor of a mindless tolerance that promises only to avoid religious arguments in this life but offers no sensible assurance of the next.” (Hunt, 2007, p. 56-57)

So how do I live a life of congruency with God’s Word in a world where so many ideologies seem to be diluting the truth? The authors of Making Sense of Your World write, “The goal of every person is to discover truth about God, not to be found in error or be self-deceived. The question of truth however is not how we might want things to be, but how things actually are. Truth and sincere faith are an ideal combination.” (Phillips, Brown, & Stonestreet, 2008, p. 178)

As I studied various worldviews, listened to videos and read the discussion threads by my classmates, I recognized that integral to congruency in my life within the body of Christ is holding fast to my stance and not allowing the world’s philosophies or ideologies to water down my personal faith. It is my desire to seek unity and wholeness according to God’s standards – and not be compromised by man’s delusional thinking.

The passage that captures my theological perspective is eloquently written in the book of Ephesians:

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” ~ Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT

One day, we must ALL answer the question, “Who was this man Jesus – to me?” Will we be prepared to face our Creator and say with confidence that we became intimately acquainted with His Son?

For me it is this simple: I will continue to be a student of God’s Holy Word, for it is within the pages of His Book that I will receive all that I need to live a life worthy of His calling. “For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” ~ Hebrews 4:12-13

As we begin our day today, my prayer is that the Spirit of the Most High will move in our hearts and minds in such a way that we will not be intimidated or confused by the world’s views and ideologies. My prayer for you and me is that we hold fast to what we know to be God’s truth…and trust that He has already prepared our path and our purpose.

“Papa God, give us courage to stand firm. Help us to be your hands and feet. Give us a Spirit of gentleness so that as you give us opportunities to share your Truth, we do so with love, grace and compassion. In Jesus’ Name…Amen”.

In His Strong Love,
Rose

Seeing Life Through My “God Lenses”


RainbowsTHE WORD: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea…Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world” ~Psalms 46.1-2,10

I have been through many dry spells during my 55 years of living. I have suffered great loss, have experienced betrayal and have been wrongfully accused. I have been mocked because of my faith in God. My faith has been tested and tried, and every single time, regardless of the outcome, God has never failed me.

To say that I did not allow anger to overwhelm me when the circumstances seemed insurmountable would make me a liar. I have experienced a state of depression so great that I have uttered the words of Job, “May the day of my birth perish…That day, may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it.” ~Job 3.3a-4 NIV. Like Job, there have been times in my life that I questioned God; never His sovereignty…it was His silence that I found most deafening.

“Suffering is not always the result of sin, just as prosperity is not always the result of faithfulness. In fact, at times just the opposite appears to be true. Only God understands why things sometimes work this way. Very often God is beyond our comprehension, and that is not easy to accept. What we can accept, however, is that God wants us to remain faithful to Him, just as Job did” (authors, Bickel & Jantz).

Just as it happened for Job, it was in the midst of my deepest, darkest hours that I have raised my voice to the heavens, cried, and repented of my unbelief. My heavenly Father has always answered. Time and again He has breathed life back into my dry bones. In those desperate moments, His sovereignty has been magnified…His undeserved grace…His everlasting love…all freely given for us on Calvary’s Cross.

As I look back, I now try to see my past through my “God’s lenses.” I see clearly that it was in the valleys where Papa God has dealt with me most intimately. He has proven time and again that His mercies are new every morning. As Jeremiah wrote, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’” ~Lamentations 3.22-24.

I have made peace with God. He has restored all that the locust ate in my life [Joel 2:25] and has placed a joy in the center of my heart so great that I cannot contain it. “I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” ~Psalm 121.1-2 NIV.

My prayer for you and me today is that we trust in the ONE who can make all things new. Let go of the worries – let go of the doubt. Let us be grafted into the ONE TRUE VINE, and allow His Spirit to flow freely in unencumbered souls.

May our heavenly Father bless your day! May He fill you with hope and renew your strength. Let this be the day that you turn challenges into opportunities. And in all that we say and do, may our Heavenly Father receive all the glory and praise!

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