Food For Thought Friday

The Age of Reason

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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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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Why You’re NOT Winning Souls For His Kingdom

Thursday

Whoa. That title is harsh, huh?

Yep, it took me a minute or two to convince myself to actually title this post that way.

But let me tell you something. We don’t need sugar-coating.

When we meet our Lord at the end of our lives, He isn’t going to pat us gently on our shoulder when we take a moment to explain why we didn’t show others His love, or truly follow Him in the ways He placed before our feet. As Christians, we need to realize that His Way isn’t always the way that is EASIEST or the way that makes others the happiest.

1 John 2:3-4 ESV 

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him

Romans 11:19-22 ESV

Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

Our God is a demanding God. He is relentless until we give ourselves completely over to Him. If anyone ever alludes to you that following Christ is easy, that person doesn’t truly know what being a Christian is all about.

If He asked you to move more than 1,000 miles away from your family, and go from making over $100,000/year to making half of that, would you do it? Or would you find an excuse to stay?

What if it meant many you thought were your friends and close to you suddenly turned their backs on you?

Would you still go? Or would you say, “Well, maybe I should stay – I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”

disappointment

 

Galatians 1:10 ESV 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The way to lead others to Christ is to be right where God wants youright when He wants you there.

The way to lead others to Christ is to let His light emanate from you, so that just in being you are bringing His Spirit with you wherever you go.

If you are not following God, above all else (and anyone else – and their thinking), how can you accomplish anything for His Kingdom?

We can talk the talk and walk the walk – as long as it is an easy road, all we want, but if something happens that isn’t in our plans, and we don’t face that decision, or challenge, or change with a Christlike heart, all our preaching and Bible-quoting is in vain. For if we are truly Christ-followers, our lives will be a testimony to Him and the way He walked upon this Earth.

John 5:44 ESV

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

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