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!

 

Our Audacious God


burning bush (2)In order to triumph over the beguiling charm of the Enemy, our attention needs to be laser-focused on our Creator. We need to know that God has stacked the deck of life in our favor.

And we need to open our minds to grasp a bit of the audacity of God.

Moses had an encounter with God that disrupted his life—in an epic way. You can read the fascinating story found in the third chapter of Exodus. God attracted Moses’ attention by an angelic apparition in the form of a bush in the desert. Moses was looking after a herd of sheep when he caught sight of the strange phenomenon. The bush captured Moses’ attention because it burned without being consumed. Where I live in New Mexico, we have tumbleweeds everywhere. I occasionally entertain myself by lighting them on fire. Poof—and they’re gone!

But there was no “poof” to God’s bush. As Moses ventured toward the bush to get a closer look, a voice told him to take off his sandals. Unbeknownst to Moses, he had entered a holy place in the desert.

That’s when Moses encountered the audacity of God.

And that’s when Moses got his assignment to lead God’s people out of Egyptian captivity. Naturally, he wanted to gain a better understanding of who was commissioning him to undertake such an epic task, so Moses asked who he should say sent him. The answer: “I AM WHO I AM.” There was no need for further explanation.

The essence of our Creator is beyond what we can comprehend with our limited one hundred billion neurons, give or take a few. Our brains possess enormous power to conceive and believe, but only to the extent of our innate potential, and we do not have the potential to fully understand or explain God.

Human logic is incapable of explaining divine truth.

It seems reasonable to assume the Creator will always be superior to the created. We are allowed to understand some things about him, but not everything. Fortunately, we are allowed to know everything about him we need to know. And again, his knowledge infinitely supersedes our own, so whatever he reveals to us is enough. Actually, it’s perfect.

Our Creator defies human explanation. He said so himself (remember, we’re talking about an audacious God): “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts’” ~Isaiah 55:8–9 NASB

(Excerpt from Holy Libido http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Libido-ebook/dp/B00DL7NXM6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379680524&sr=8-1&keywords=holy+libido<a href=

“Holy Libido” in a Nutshell


Holy Libido_3-D CoverAs you might imagine, the book title “Holy Libido” raises eyebrows. In a nutshell, here’s what the title means:

“Holy” can mean to be whole and complete, living life in submission and obedience to the design of God; living life with an intimate connection with our Creator, made possible through the righteousness of Jesus. I believe we can think of being holy as becoming the masterpiece we were created to be. (Granted, the word “holy” is so much more; this is my “nutshell” version.)

“Libido” is an intense craving or desire, a longing after, straining for fulfilment. Although the word “libido” is typically used to express sexual desire, it may be used to express our longing – or craving – for anything.

What if we were more passionate about an intimate relationship with God than we are about our “natural” cravings…cravings that have no eternal value? What if we longed for completion in God!

Holy Libido ignites something within us that is unstoppable, incomprehensible, irrefutable. It is adventurous life with God…empowered by the unrestrained flow of his  Spirit to accomplish the work we were designed to do…for his glory!

So, what do you think? What does the title mean to you? Looking forward to your comments!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” ~Ephesians 2.10

http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Libido-Craving-Passionate-Life/dp/1414124449/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371563001&sr=8-1&keywords=holy+libido

A Fleeting Kind of Splendor…


Life is meant to be a fantastic heart pounding adventure. At least that’s the way it seemed to me one day when I was in my early teens. It was a picture-perfect morning in Michigan and I was riding Cheetah, my Quarter Horse, at a reckless gallop across a field of alfalfa. With the spring-fresh wind in my face the exhilaration of the moment filled my entire body with delight. It seemed natural to release my grip on the reins and lean back in the saddle, with my hands stretched high into the air. It was something I had seen in a movie and I was living it—the unrestrained freedom of such a breathtaking adventure. At that moment I determined to live my life at a wild speed with the wind in my face.

The next moment I was tumbling through the alfalfa like Raggedy Rod. I my fleeting thought it would have been better if I was holding onto something when the ring-necked pheasant flew up directly in front of Cheetah. I’m sure she was as surprised as I was when it happened. She veered to the left and I didn’t. I went straight. I think that’s called inertia—one of Newton’s laws of motion.

Cheetah circled back around to pick me up. As I was climbing back on the saddle I felt a little dejected. The reality of how fleeting these moments of elation are came crashing down on me—literally. As I rode back toward the barn with a firm grip on the reins I remember the distinct realization that the thrill of life could be easily tripped up; taken off course. The sensation of tumbling through the alfalfa has come to my mind several times throughout my wild, crazy ride through life.

But I’ve never given up on the idea we are created for something more profound than the lives we live. Knowing we are the brainchild of the One who spoke the magnificence of all creation into being, somewhere deep within me I believe we are created for something much greater than ordinary life. Possibly just knowing we were created for something more than the life we’re living today, even if our knowing is nothing more than a faint sense that something is missing, may be all we need to get on with allowing our original splendor—the splendor of God—to flow in our lives.

(Excerpt from Holy Libido by Rod Smith, 2012)

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