Food For Thought Friday

The Age of Reason


Good Morning Friends,

Today, I wanted to talk about something that seems to have been a recurring theme in my quiet time with Jesus, where I am currently reading a devotion called “Good or God: Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough” by John Bevere via my awesome Bible app.

In today’s society, we have made laws, built standards around what we deem as good, rather than what God says is correct. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God told them they could eat anything they chose in the whole garden. Really, from what the Bible tells us, there were no restrictions on what they could do and how they spent their time. The one and only rule was that they were unable to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, because, God said, this tree would give them the knowledge of good and evil.

The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:15-17

Hmmm…’you are sure to die’…Death, from eating fruit? That’s interesting…or perhaps, did God mean it would be separation from Him – which is death?

Let’s look at the serpent’s reply to Eve when he tempted her to eat from the Tree of Knowledge:

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.“It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “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.”

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. Genesis 3:2-6

Why would God keep Eve from something so beautiful and delicious? Why would He keep her from knowledge? Perhaps this is the exact moment we should come back to whenever we are tempted to strike out on our own path, when some thing or idea or action or person looks really good, we should ask ourselves…Is this good or God?

Sure, the fruit looked delicious. After all, that serpent has assured Eve that only good and wisdom would come from eating it. Why was God withholding something so wonderful from them???

Maybe, He was withholding something that appeared good because He knew it would lead to horrible consequences…

Because they disobeyed and chose their own good, Adam and Eve were subject to numerous consequences, but most importantly, they were separated from God.

I don’t know about you, but in my mind, the image of the Tree of Knowledge looks like a drawing from the cartoon I remember (and dearly LOVE) from my childhood: School House Rock. The trunk is spelled out with the word REASON and the leaves and fruits of the tree are all words like SELF-LOVE, GREED, SELF-RELIANCE, CO-EXIST:

tree of knowledge

Eating from that tree’s fruit literally poisoned the human race. So many times we try to reason things out, according to our standards, our knowledge, our experience…and I believe we can all agree, our knowledge, experience and standards don’t even begin to hold a candle to the vastness of God. The Bible tells us we are to have child-like faith:

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”         Luke 18:17

Think of a small child. Now, imagine this child has had a nap and woke up in a good mood or this illustration may not be helpful for you to visualize! J The child is about 3 years old, tiny. He can’t see over much of anything, but he wants to walk…and he’s still not the steadiest on his feet, so you – the parent, not wanting your precious child to fall, have to hold his hand and guide him as he walks through even the living room in your home – making sure he isn’t stepping onto a stray tack on the floor, keeping him away from the sharp corners of the end table. He doesn’t even see those things – but you do, and you don’t want him to get hurt….

That is how we should approach our relationship with our FATHER GOD. He is able to see those things, those consequences, those results that we cannot. He wants us to hold out our hands for Him to reach down and be our guide through life. Just as that child trusts his parent to keep him safe and lead him steadily across the living room, we need to trust our Lord to lead us to Heaven.

Making decisions based on our knowledge is as treacherous as allowing your child to run across the street unsupervised and alone: He can’t see the oncoming traffic, and neither can we in our own lives. Aren’t we blessed to have a Father in Heaven who not only knows what is ahead for us, but wants to guide us and lead us and direct our paths.

Imagine you’re sitting in traffic. It isn’t hard for me to do at all… 🙂

The cars in front of you just are not moving. People are honking their horns. You have somewhere to be, and you are going to be late if this mess doesn’t clear up!! Argh! So frustrating!!

But lucky you, you see a road just a little further ahead that you can turn off onto. A shortcut!! Yes! You’ll make it to your appointment on time, and you can skirt around all of this traffic…

That’s what you think…

But what you don’t know, is that on that road is a stalled tractor. It’s taking up the entire road, both lanes. And because it’s a side street, and not the main road, it’s going to take a lot longer for help to arrive to move the tractor out of the way.

What you thought – based on your knowledge, experience, and reasoning – would be a shortcut ends up putting you completely off track. You’re going to be greatly delayed in getting to your destination…

If only you had been able to see the road ahead, you would have seen this coming and never taken what appeared to be a shortcut…

God has this ‘vision’. Being omniscient, He knows what is on the road ahead and He has the very best in mind for His beloved. What may seem like a frustrating traffic jam, might be heading directly for your ‘destination’, while what seems like a shortcut could be taking you in an entirely different direction, delaying or even completely derailing your arrival.

brokenglassWhat blessings are we delaying or possibly, derailing, because we want to take ‘shortcuts’ or our own perceived “best routes” through life, rather than letting our Father lead us, in child-like faith?

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TTC Tuesday

I Am Weak, But He Is Strong

Dear Friends,

I confess – it’s been way too long since we poured our hearts, convictions and faith out to you via this blog. I have felt guilty –‘wake me up in the middle of the night’ guilty…because I know that the Lord wants to use me, my marriage, my hardships, my faith, as a vessel for leading others to Him. But…it’s hard, y’all. It’s really hard.

You all know we followed His call to Maine this past summer – almost a year ago! But you may not know that we are back in Georgia. After nine months of sharing His love with the precious youth of Southern Maine, God planted the desire for ‘home’…and with that, the desire to adopt a child…and with that, the necessary funds to make all of this happen with a promotion to Captain for Craig and a great job for me.

So, here we are, back in Georgia – ‘home’, and totally neglecting this blog and this ‘ministry’ – after we have been so immensely blessed. And I feel so guilty.

And while you may think this is a shrug your shoulders, no big deal, get a grip lady! kinda thing…it really isn’t. You don’t know the e-mails we receive, telling us how something has touched one of our readers; the requests for prayer from some who follow this blog from prison…Yes, I feel guilty for letting these people down when I am so unimaginably blessed, and so many are broken.

But I confess something to you…I try to be strong. Full of faith. Hopeful. Prayerfully diligent. But I fall so hard.

There are at least two days every week when I sob and ugly cry alone because ‘it just isn’t fair’ that I can’t give my sweet husband a child.

It just ‘isn’t fair’ that instead of going out for lunch with my co-workers, I head downstairs to the building’s gym to work-out during my hour-long break. I don’t eat gluten, carbs, sugar, anything fun. I drink apple cider vinegar with baking soda, and take a regimen of coconut oil, but no matter what, my blood sugar refuses to cooperate, my hormones will not level out and I can’t shed a pound, let alone maintain my weight.

I’ve felt like Job.

I’ve felt like David in a mournful Psalm.

I try so hard to be strong, but I’m not.

Thankfully, He is.

Lamentations 3:19-24 (Contemporary English Version) says this:

‘Just thinking of my troubles
and my lonely wandering
makes me miserable.
That’s all I ever think about,
and I am depressed.
Then I remember something
that fills me with hope.
The Lord’s kindness never fails!
If he had not been merciful,
we would have been destroyed.
The Lord can always be trusted
to show mercy each morning.
Deep in my heart I say,
“The Lord is all I need;
I can depend on him!”’

Peter tells us this truth about our Savior:

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Because friends, we are all human. We all cry and feel helpless and worry. But that isn’t the life the Lord wants for us. We are blessed in that our Lord tells us to hand everything over to Him, and just keep moving forward.

When I start to worry that Jonah will never arrive, that the adoption process will never move along, that I will never be able to have a body that functions like “it should”… I remember that He’s got this.

I remind myself that:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” Philippians 3:8-9a (NLT)

And when I lay aside everything else, and focus in on Him and His AWESOMENESS, my troubles melt away and nothing else matters but basking in that love and sharing it with other people.

As my “Jesus Today” devotional reminded me this morning:

“The world applauds self-sufficiency…However, this is not the way of My kingdom. I want My children to recognize and rejoice in their utter dependence on Me…When the strain of living in the fallen world is getting you down, resist the temptation to feel sorry for yourself. Instead say to yourself, ‘I am blessed and thankful – and on my way to His Glory!’”

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