Soul Food Sunday – Who is God? (Part 4)

God is Rest. He gives us rest from our own works. Works that we try to gain His acceptance by. Adam was created perfect. He lived in the Garden of Eden. It was a perfect place for him to live. All of his needs were met there. He walked in perfect communion with God.

Adam and Eve were created with free will. They could choose to obey God and live a perfectly wonderful life, or they could choose to exert their own will and go their own way and not live a perfect life. Satan had access to this garden too through the serpent. Satan must have perceived that Eve was the easier one to manipulate. God had given Adam the command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve knew this command, but the serpent kept working on her until finally she thought why not just go ahead to try a little. She thought it looked good, it would be good for food, and she could gain wisdom. She knew the consequence of eating the fruit was death, but she believed Satan rather than God. Satan told her she wouldn’t die. Instead, Satan said, God didn’t want them to eat the fruit because then they would be like Him knowing good and evil. Poor Adam. He saw that Eve had eaten the fruit. He knew God had said they would die if they ate of it. Eve didn’t die. Should he obey God and not eat of the fruit or should he eat the fruit and suffer the same consequences that Eve would suffer? He didn’t consult God on this. He knew what He would say. He loved Eve. He couldn’t bare to be separated from her. So he ate it.

Now why did God put that tree in there? We don’t know. He’s working something out that we don’t know about or understand right now. It’s being worked out in the realm we can’t see with our natural eyes.

Why do I say this? The answer is in the first prophecy made to humankind. When God saw that they ate of the fruit He cursed the serpent, and said that He would put enmity between the snake and the woman and between her offspring and the snake. The woman’s offspring will crush the serpent’s head and the snake will strike his heal. Who is the woman’s offspring? This is the first reference in human history to the Father’s Son: Jesus Christ. Eve is the mother of all the living. It is true that all mitochondrial DNA goes right back to the first woman Eve. There are no mutations in mitDNA. The woman’s egg was not damaged in the sin of disobeying God. Adam’s seed was, however, damaged in the sin of eating the fruit. It is man’s seed that births sin in every human being on earth. Hence the Y-DNA has mutations. Interesting, huh? But this is also how Jesus was born of a virgin and therefore had no sin because no man provided his sin filled seed to His DNA. Jesus is God as Mary’s egg was fertilized by the Holy Spirit. Jesus has no sin. He is the offspring spoken about in the prophecy which will crush the serpent’s head (Satan). This has been done in the act of Jesus giving His life as a ransom for the human race which is infected with the sin from Adam on down. God is our Redeemer. Jesus is our Savior. The human race needs a savior to rescue it from sin. There is no other way to be saved. We must be redeemed in the way that He has provided.

One of the interesting ways this is illustrated is that Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves when they realized they were naked. God took those fig leaves and replaced them with animal skins. In using fig leaves to cover their nakedness, they were trying to cover their own nakedness. God taught them that only through the shedding of blood can their sin be covered. It was a picture of what God was to provide. Jesus shed His blood to cover man’s sin. God is good. All we have to do is accept the gift that He has given us. Yeah!

One other thing that is cursed in this story told to us from antiquity, is the ground. Neither Eve nor Adam were cursed: only the serpent was cursed. There were consequences though. The ground was cursed. Man would have to painfully toil to eat of it. It will produce thorns and thistles and by the sweat of his brow man will eat of it’s food until he returns to the ground. For dust man is and to dust he will return.

Soul Food Sunday – Who is God (Part 3)

It seems so unpopular nowadays to talk about creation. If you mention you believe this world was ‘created’ you’re looked upon as an idiot. Why is the idea of a Creator any more stupid than the idea of everything just happened by chance. That seems less logical to me than there being Someone greater than myself out there. This is not an intellectual problem: it’s a spiritual problem. There’s no other way to explain such a departure from what makes sense. We just don’t want to admit that God exists because that would take the control out of our hands. That’s funny. We don’t have any control at all. Can you decide when it rains or when an earthquake hits?

God is our Father. He created man in His image. That’s why there are fathers, mothers and children. God made it that way. Did you ever wonder why there are males and females in every species? If there wasn’t, life wouldn’t continue on this earth. It takes a male and female to create new life.

He made Adam out of earth. We are dust. If you don’t believe that, just take a look at what’s left over after cremating a body. Ashes….dust. For dust we are and to dust we will return. Some ancient civilizations refer to their first ancestor as ‘dirt’. Our bodies are made up of the same elements that every other living thing on this earth are made of. Our physical bodies are no different from any other animal. The thing that makes man different from animals is that God breathed His life into man. Man was given dominion over the earth and his mandate was to fill the earth and subdue it. Man’s job, as given by God, is to take care of creation. How are we doing so far?

Soul Food Sunday – Who is God? (Part 2)

God is light. There is no darkness in Him. There is a throne in heaven where He sits. His appearance is like precious gems. A rainbow encircles the throne. The only way to describe God’s appearance is by saying He looks like precious gems.

God spoke His light into existence on the Earth. He separated light from darkness and so we have night and day. But it won’t always be like this. Someday God will make a new heaven and a new earth and there will be no night.

Why is there darkness? Because there’s another person named Satan. He used to have the name Lucifer. Lucifer means ‘bringing light’. That was his job: to bring light, but he got proud, rebelled against God and was removed from his position. He became the opposite of his name: darkness. He became dark when he no longer gave God the glory due His name. After all, God is the Creator of all things, including Lucifer. He deserves the glory: not anyone else. Lucifer’s fall explains how darkness became part of our world. Every vile thing in existence is a result of his rebellion. I hate Satan and what he has done on this earth.

We are all part of the battle between the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness whether we know/believe it or not. Doesn’t this explain a lot about what goes on around us. Why do people do ugly things? Why do disasters cause such suffering? For some reason God didn’t destroy Satan immediately. I don’t know how it works. All I know is that God created something beautiful and Satan does everything he can to destroy it.

Soul Food Sunday – Creation

How can you look at this earth and not believe that there isn’t a Designer? All this happened by chance? No, no, it can not be. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. (Psalm 102:25-27)

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

Soul Food Sunday – Job, the man who was blessed through suffering

The oldest book in the Bible is arguably the book of Job. I love the story of Job because it gives us a rich view of what goes on behind the scenes of suffering. People often say, ‘Why does God allow these terrible things to happen on the earth?’ Job had terrible things happen to him, but this book gives us a glimpse into why terrible things happen to ‘good’ people.

There is more to this world than the physical. The first two chapters of Job tells us that Satan has a role in what happens on this earth. Satan is the leader of all fallen angels. He was not always that. The Bible doesn’t talk a whole lot about Satan’s origin but it does refer to him as evil. He hates humanity and wants to destroy every human on this earth. He is the author of all that is false and evil on this earth. One need only listen to the daily news to know that there is something very wrong with our planet.

For those who belong to the Father, the things that Satan is permitted to do are done for testing and refining faith. There is a cosmic battle that is for certain. We don’t know for sure what happened when Satan rebelled against God, but we do know that he did, and he wants to take down anyone and anything that he can with him. He is opposed to everything God is about. Why did God create Satan and then man when he foreknew all this would happen? Because he wanted to have created beings that he could share real fellowship with. He didn’t want robots to hang out with. He wanted a created being who could choose Him. He wanted people to trust Him and believe that He is good through there own free will. Satan was created pure, but he decided he wanted to be like God. That’s why he was cast down and for some reason a process was put in place that has to run its course in order to purge this place of the foulness that Satan has brought upon it. We don’t have all the answers because God wants us to trust Him. We don’t need to know all the answers. We just need to know He is good. He wants us to believe He is good and that His mercy endures forever. Satan wants to make us believe that God is not good and that He is the one causing all the bad stuff. That is not true. Read the book of Job and he will tell you that it’s not true.

One day the ‘angels’ came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. (Job 1:6)

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied, “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hands and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” 

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. (Job 1:8-12)

At this point Satan goes about wreaking havoc on everything Job owns: his livestock is killed, his servants are killed, his sons and daughters are killed.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In all this, JOB DID NOT SIN BY CHARGING GOD WITH WRONGDOING. (Job 1:20-22)

Wow, Job really knew his God!

Soul Food Sunday – The Battle Between Us

From John Eldredge in the book Desire p. 24

I haven’t been the friendliest driver lately. Oh, I’m fine- until I’m provoked. When people cut me off, I’m furious. Just the other day, a car began to get on the highway as I was passing by. The fellow ignored all the rules of merging and cut in front of me as I was doing full speed. I hit my brakes to avoid him and honked my horn. He looked back, snarled, and yelled something unprintable. That did it. Only the fear of higher insurance premiums kept me from running him off the road. But oh, how i wanted to. Of course, this never happens to you. You are kind and benevolent when someone cuts you off. Why, you’re practically happy when he steals your parking place, darts in right ahead of you. You smile and offer a blessing.

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them.  (James 4:1-2 NLT)

Soul Food Sunday – the King in Exile

Should the king in exile pretend he’s happy there? Should he not seek his own country? His miseries are his ally; they urge him on. Let them grow, if need be. But do not forsake the secret life; do not despise those kingly desires. We abandon the most important journey of our lives when we abandon desire. We leave our hearts by the side of the road and head off in the direction of fitting in, getting by, being productive, what have you. Whatever we might gain-money, position, the approval of others, of just absence of the discontent itself- it’s not worth it. “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)

John Eldredge – Desire

Soul Food Sunday

Man is so great that his greatness appears even in knowing himself to be miserable. A tree has no sense of its misery. It is true that to know we are miserable is to be miserable, but to know we are miserable is also to be great. Thus all the miseries of man prove his grandeur, they are the miseries of a dignified personage, the miseries of a dethroned monarch…What can this incessant craving, and this impotence of attainment mean, unless there was once a happiness belonging to man, of which only the faintest traces remain, in that void which he attempts to fill with everything within his reach?

– Blaise Pascal – Pensees (17th century)

Soul Food Sunday

We are desire. It is the essence of the human soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it.  Our desire, if we will listen to it, will save us from committing soul-suicide, the sacrifice of our hearts on the altar of “getting by”.  The same old thing is not enough.  It never will be.

John Eldredge – Desire