Monday, January 31, 2011

The First Lie...

And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said..." Genesis 3:1

Genesis records the first lie to touch our race. The very bearer of this first lie was himself a lie and a liar. He took the form of a serpent, which was not his created form. Satan came in a form that would not alarm Adam and Eve, nor surprise them, but deceived them even though he did not belong in Eden by a long shot. This liar's first lie started off by challenging the truth, "Did God REALLY say..." This immediately tempted man to take the wrong place as the judge of God. This challenge was meant to draw Eve to a place of believing that she had the right to question God and His command and His character.

In response to this challenge Eve adds something to the original command of God, or it could be that Adam added it in repeating the commandment of God to her. She added the phrase, "nor shall you touch it". This was not in God's original command to Adam and shows that legalism soon followed the original command of love. The fact that Eve didn't know exactly what God said may have been an encouragement to Satan that he could bend these frail humans to his will.

Finally, the denial of God's word and his character. Satan convinces Eve of two things. Firstly, that God isn't capable of carrying out the consequences that were laid out. Secondly, that God is not looking out for her best interests, but rather for His own. And this lie has never left the face of our sin torn planet. Lies have proliferated and continued destroying relationship after relationship, keeping person after person from knowing their loving Savior Jesus Christ. May each of us, this day, live in and behold The Truth and trust in HIM always.

Jesus said to them, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wonderfully Made

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

The complexity of the human body continually defies understanding. Each day that passes new journal articles and books are written charting the latest discoveries and observations about how the human body works and what the different parts do. Doctors of uncharted brilliance spend their entire lives in the study of one organ, piece or part of the puzzle and never fully unravel it's mysteries. As long as the Lord allows us to remain on this planet one thing is clear: we will never fully understand or appreciate the statement of the Psalmist. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

However, as we turn to the New Testament we see further depth and intricacy to this reality. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if anyone is in Christ he is a New Creature, new in kind rather than new in time. If at all possible this new act of creation was more astounding yet. I order for this new creation to occur, Jesus Christ put on a tabernacle of flesh. He lived among us, died on the cross for us, and was raised from the dead. He was then ascended and seated at the right hand of the Father. When we put our faith in Christ we were identified with Christ. This new act of regeneration (Titus 3:5) forever placed us "in the Beloved". The very power used in resurrection Christ is used towards us as the saints (Ephesians 1:18-20), and it is by this very grace that He again is able to call us his workmanship, His beloved masterpiece. We are, once again, fearfully and wonderfully made.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In the Beginning

"One who really believes Genesis 1:1 will have no difficulty believing the rest of Scripture."

Genesis starts the great love story of Earth's History. As we look around at the Earth and the Cosmos we are blown away by all that now exists. The beauty and ferocity of the mountains, the overwhelming power of the oceans, the mind-blowing depth of space and the beauty of the starlight. The more we learn about the symphony of creation and the influence of the moon on the tides and the exact placement of the earth in relationship to the sun we are even more overwhelmed with the power with which everything is held together (Col. 1:17). As we consider it all we realize that when we consider God and His power and ability we are far beyond our ability to comprehend.

This is the God who has promised to save all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. His power is displayed in the work of creation. The physical world is a toy in His hand, and He can manipulate them as He pleases. It is He who created, He who sustains and He who will consummate this world. It is also He who loves you, He who calls sinful humanity to Himself to forgive and give eternal life. It is He who made the perfect provision because He desires to be in a relationship with us. He alone is able, and we are to be occupied with Him, with Jesus Christ, because He alone is worthy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Right Prescription

Getting the wrong medication can be inconvenient, painful, and even life threatening. Even the wrong dosage of the right medication can be disastrous. Furthermore, many medications come with a list of side effects as long as your arm. What are we to do? Sometimes it seems like the cure is worse than the disease! Fortunately this is not the case in our spiritual life. As we continue to move on towards maturity and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. His word is a precision scalpel, cutting to the heart of our need (Heb. 4:12). What is more the Lord is able to engineer ever circumstance, every difficulty, every trial to our exact needs. We can look at every day, every trial, every difficulty with the firm and confident assurance that this is the Lord's tool in my life to draw me closer to Him. Whether it is in my life by His permissive will, or His explicit will it is exactly what He is going to use to draw me to Him. That is an assurance, as we never need to ask if our prescription is correct. Praise the Lord, who cares for each of us!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Of Lepers and Leopards

"While he was in one of the towns, Jesus came upon a man who was a mass of leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he prostrated himself before him and begged, "If you want to Lord, you can make me clean." Luke 5:12 (J.B. Phillips)

I don't know how long it took me to figure out that Jesus wasn't a veterinarian. Or at least to learn that veterinary medicine wasn't his primary occupation. Yet, I had to respect a fellow who cared for leopards, but then, who wouldn't heal a talking leopard if the chance was given to him? Then someone explained leprosy to me. I'm quite sure it was my father, he always has been good at straightening out such difficulties without drawing too much attention to the error!

The Law of Moses gives a great deal of information about skin disease. There were procedures for determining if skin disease was dangerous. Once the determination was made that person was ostracized from their life, society and family. Even their possessions had to be ritually cleansed before they could be used by a clean person. How heartless it seems that the Law of God would have these sick people sent out from the camp, separated from everyone else, left to die among themselves. Yet, this is all the power that man has. We cannot heal ourselves. Disease is a result of the fall, a result of Sin. Sin affected everything: physical, emotional and spiritual. Whenever a person was ostracized from camp because of their sinfulness it was not the fault of the Law, it was the fault of the brokenness that entered into the world through Adam. It is a perfect demonstration of our own helplessness.

Yet, the leper of Luke 5 had a hope. Seeing that the religious leaders were helpless to save him, that he was unable to save himself, he knew that he was doomed to a life without community, physical contact or access to God through the temple. Then Jesus came through his town. This leper finds Jesus and his faith is so great that he doesn't ask, "Can you cleanse me?" but, knowing Christ's power, only makes known his great need. Christ's compassion shines through the words, "Certainly I am willing. Be clean." That is why He came. All we could ever manage on our own was to dissociate from sin, sickness and disease. Jesus Christ came and cleansed, healed and forgave. That is who is at work in you.