Monday, November 28, 2011

Far reaching affects

In Gen. 3:14-24 is recorded the curse and punishment of Adam and Eve sins. Now there is a lot of material here! We will not look at it all, nor will try to go over the prophetic meanings. We will start with a question from verse 13, God speaking, "What is this you have done?". Yes, I know this was said to Eve. Guys when we do something...is this not a valid question for God to ask us also. Remember I said I had to wait till my dad came home? You know we did not have cell phone back then, nor were you able to call work for personal reasons...Dad would see me there in the corner...and I still can hear him say, "What did you do this time." Now if I was smart I would tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not always the case, excuses...You see after he talked to me my dad would go and talk to mom. Then he would get the rest of the story. Well if the 2 stories we in line with each other, it was better for me(hind sight), if not we had more to deal with. Let's think about that for a minute; how many times when we confess our sins do we not tell the "whole story"... we make light of something...excuses... Can you picture God shaking his heads, you see He knows the rest of the story. Don't try to make light of your wrongs to God.
Now as we move down our text we see God pronouncing "Judgement" on the three. You see the disobedience of eating the "apple" came with a cost, telling or convincing someone to do something wrong...comes with a cost. So God tell them the first part of the cost. One for the serpent, one for Eve (women) and one for Adam (Man). Let's just deal with the man and the women. For women verse 16, "I will greatly multiply your pain in child birth. In pain you will bring forth children yet your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you." For the man verse 17-18, "Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you will eat of it all of your life. "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; for you are dust, And to dust you shall return." Now these things are still in place today. There are pain, toil, sweat, issues of authority and physical death (Gen.2:17). But also look what else happens. We have God providing skins for clothes, a few devotional in it's self, and God sent them out of the garden of Eden. Not only did He send them out, He also made provisions that man would not be able come back by himself.
What we must recognize is that there is always a price to sin. That sin affects more than you and God. In our verses above we can see that Adams and Eves sin even affect us today. Our sins affect our spouse, our children, our friends, our co-workers, our community...and our sins have far reaching affects into the future. This is a hard concept to grasp, how can it be? Think about it, if you are older and have children, do they not do the same or similar wrongful deeds. As a dad I can see the struggles my boys have, for the most part they are the same ones I struggled with. ( Look at the verse at the end).
One commits murder it affects God, the one murdered, his family, his children, his friends, the community... A married man commits adultery with his eyes, looking, it affects his relationship with his wife...even his relationship with his children... A young man does the same thing it reaches into the future to affect his marriage. Think about it, sin has far reaching affects. Hopefully seeing this reality of sin will give us all a push to bring them(sins) to God. Not only for forgiveness, but repentance; the turning away from sin. You see we need God's forgiveness, through Jesus Christ, but we also need His strength to help us not to sin. To break the bonds of sin that presses on us, that one sin or sins that just keeps popping up. The one's that are hard to stop, even when we are trying hard not to do them. We need the help of our Lord.
Exodus 20:5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generation of those who hate me."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blame- excuses

Now when I was young and did something bad...my mother would put me in the corner and say these famous words, "Wait till your father gets home." I tell you, time seems to stand still while you are waiting for your father to come home to deal with the situation. You think about a lot of things while you are waiting like that, fear is a big thing, shame is a big thing. The disappointment of dad and what will he do? Why did I do that? What was I thinking, was I thinking? What am I going to say ...or tell dad?
In our text we have the account of Adam and Eve coming before God. Gen.3 :11-13 "And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The women You gave to with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord said to the women, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "the serpent deceived me, and I ate."
When you are waiting for dad you think about a lot of things or even in situations alike. We think of things to explain how there was a reason why I, we did what I, we did. For the most part it was that something or someone...made me or pushed me, caused me...into doing that bad act or even deceived me. Isn't that true? We even do that as adults. We try to blame someone else or something else. That it was _____or ______that caused the problem...and guess what, as a result I, we are not the problem... Did you notice that Adam tried it and then Eve tried it too. It is not easy to say that we are wrong...really think about it. It is hard to totally admit our faults, short comings...never mind admitting wrongful actions... Let's face it we are good at the blame game. Think about it, were did we learn how to do it so well! We even do the excuse thing too! It seems so natural, isn't it?
I remember when I was a young man working, a situation that happened to my boss. Well his boss was upset about what another worker done...Well my boss replied to his boss, "Sir, it is my fault I told him to do it that way." You see I'm not sure if he was a Christian or not, but he did know how to take responsibility for his actions and decisions...the right way. He admitted. I know same old thing, go to the Father admit those things to be cleansed...in the name of His son Jesus. Admit them the right way! Don't do the blame thing or the excuse thing...Take 100% of the blame for all your actions.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Are you looking small?

Last week we used the word shame to talk about the first reaction to eating of the "apple". But there is another word that fits here as well, guilt. You see eating of the "apple" gave us as mankind knowledge...of good and evil, but it also was the first act of disobedience against God. Which brings about guilt. Now let's talk about what guilt is for a bit. Guilt is the fact of one committing an offense or a breach of conduct. For example violating a law. But an important part of guilt is that the conduct...that one has done also involves a penalty. Now, when we sin against God this penalty will be enforced and/or has to be paid.
Let's give example of guilt that will help us understand the feeling of guilt. Have you ever been pulled over by a police officer? Or seen some one pulled over? Most times the person is trying to look "small" when cars drive by; it is something that we don't want others to see...we have done something wrong and don't want others to know or see. Let's face it sin is not something we want others to know about...it also brings about guilt; you get the ticket to pay. Really deep down all of us would rather be in right standings, happy...versus being guilty for doing wrong actions; paying...
Now for Adam and Eve sin brings about guilt, which brings about the reaction of hiding, because of fear. Let's look at Gen.3: 10 "He said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." Guilt brings about fear. So for us adults we have to really think about this, for the most part we have our lives so ordered that when we do something...we somewhat know the penalty, consequences...(we think). Then sometimes we take the risk based on our willingness to take the penalty...or even hope or think that there is no penalty...remember because no one sees. When we were young, real young and we did something wrong, can you remember, there was the guilt and then the fear. What is dad and mom going to think or do? Do you remember those days? Well, guess what, just because we are older does not mean that the emotions/ reaction...that we display because of guilt goes away. We may be able to mask them...but deep down they are still there. Again have you gone to Jesus to take care of business?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The big cover up

Now back to our study in Gen. 3

Gen.3:8 "Then they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees." Last week we talked about the "shame" of our bodies... that sin has brought about. If only that was the only thing that happens when we sin. The next thing that is that the man and women hid themselves. They tried to hide from God. What foolishness, hiding from God! A God who sees everything...You see we still do the same thing today. We try to hide our sin; we think that no one is watching...We look over our shoulders...to see if anyone is looking...then we do our thing. Let's be real; isn't that true of us? Sometimes we think that as long as no one else knows, I'm ok. We rationalize in our minds that God doesn't know...because we don't see Him...
You see doing wrong, breaking God's law...the things we call sin, brings about shame and guilt. Look at what Adam and Eve try to do. First they try to cover it up(fig leaves). Knowing that, that did not work, they tried to hide. Guess what that does not work either. You know, don't we do the same things today. We hide our sins...Or we even try to cover them up, try to make things right by doing good deeds...Sometimes we even try to rationalize them away...Sometimes we even forget that sin has a price. " surely you will die." Gen.2:17. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
What do we do when we find ourselves in this way of having committed "sin". Do we cover it up...Hide...Pretend that it's not real...Forget about it...Well let me tell you, I think that I have done all those things, even believing for a little while that one worked here and there. But guess what, it did not. There is only one way to deal with "sin". Yes, only one way. For there is only one way that works. That is to ask forgiveness, of God and then men if need be. 1John 1:9 " If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." James 5:16a "Therefore confess your sins one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." Forgiveness of God; what cleansing...forgiveness of men, what healing. It's true! True repentance...to God what a powerful thing what cleansing, also forgiveness of men what healing it brings.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stay Strong

So many times we as men get confused as to what is strength? What does strength look like? And even when we figure that out we get confused as to how to use our strength. A few years back this ministry started and then not too long after it was suggested that we have a "name". The basis for this ministry was to help men to be strong in their Christian walk; but not only limiting the ministry to men. So with that I was thinking of be strong, act strong...Well we decided on Stay Strong. hence the Stay Strong Ministry. Not to long after that we heard the song, "Stay Strong", by the News Boys. Which is unofficially the theme song for this ministry. So back to strength, physical strength, being strong physically, muscles. Mental strength, being strong in thinking. In life we need both these strengths! Which is of more importance? Well that depends on the circumstance. If you need to move a heavy object that is on you,taking your breathe away well physical. But really you need both. A great football player is not only physically strong but also mentally, thinking...he is able to "read" the offense or defense or even an individual player; then he able to use his physical to the best use.
For us as Christians there is also spiritual strength. We use words like faith, belief...But it is the actual trusting God. That is trusting God to do what He said He will do and for us to do what God tells us to do. So back to our name Stay Strong. It comes from 2 sections of scripture in Joshua. The first being Joshua 1:1-9. Here God tell's Joshua to be strong and courageous in verses 6,7 and 9. But at the same time God is also telling Joshua to obey the law...That is that Joshua strength is in obedience to God's word, not waivering to left or the right. When Joshua is doing His part God works mightily by using Joshua to do great things. Now the next section in Joshua is chapter 24:14-15"Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for your self today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your father served which were beyong the river or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are liveing; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
You see real strength is to be determined to serve the Lord God no matter what. When things are going smoothly...or in times or great difficulty...real strength is to obey Him...to put aside our wants, desires...To stand firm on the word of God. Real strength is being like Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego,in Dan.3 this is were the 3 were to be tossed into the firy furnace. Here is what they answered the king in verses 17-18 "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliever us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliever us out of your hand , O king. But even if He does not, let it be know to you, O King, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." Now that is strength! Spiritual strength. Someties we need to wait on God...and during that time it is hard not to do things in our own strength...we may even bend the rules a little bit, you know what I mean? Let's not do that any more but instead let us be strong, stay strong trusting and obeying our Lord God and His son Jesus.