Monday, September 10, 2012


  • "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience,  bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."      Ephesians 4:1-3
I’ve always loved the exhortations Paul gives in his letters. I think because I’m a “doer”. If you give me something to “do” I feel like I’m actually making a difference. I think this is a good thing—most of the time, unless of course I’m told to do something that I can’t do. For instance, if I’m called to encourage a hurting friend or host and serve a house full of guests, I’m on it. But, to walk like Jesus, well, not so much. Yes, my desire is there. You could say that I am even willing to do what is commanded of me; but, there are many times when I just can’t. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he is straight-forward and concise. Another thing I love about Paul’s language; there’s no guessing.  But, his expectations are unrealistic—without the power of the Spirit that worketh in me. {...had to throw in a little english with the eth…it just sounds better!}

So, I’m learning to call upon the Spirit of the Lord moment by moment. It’s neccessary. Without Him we can do NO-THING! I’m learning that my humility isn’t so humble, and my gentleness is quite rough around the edges; my patience is a little thin in spots and my “putting up” with others in love, well, not so Christ-like far too often. But, I’m learning. And I’m growing. Because of Jesus.

Then there’s the challenge to maintain the untiy of the Spirit through peace; a long-term course for me. {Let’s just say life-long.} And I’ve always thought this verse meant, “Don’t cause trouble,” “Don’t say anything to make anyone uncomfortable,” or “Always be sweet, non-confrontive, and agreeable”. For certain this is in contrast to how Jesus lived. He wasn’t brutally beaten & crucified on the Cross for being sweet and agreeable.  He came here to testify to the Truth and His radical message of redemption through repentance was raw and cutting, clothed with love, and hope, and compassion. Repent and be saved! Make peace with God.

The peace He spoke of is not what I’ve always understood it to be.

I think the peace that Jesus spoke of is forgiveness.  

What if Ephesians 4:3 read, “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace  forgiveness.”

When I think about being forgiven I maintain deep peace. When my husband forgives me for being harsh—I am filled with peace. When my Father in heaven forgives my sins—I drown in the peace of His grace. And when I forgive someone who has hurt me—peace. Just simple yet incomprehensible peace. 

So, I think this: peace with God and others is always about forgiveness.

And this is how to walk like the Prince of Peace: forgive as He has forgiven me. Through the power of God that worketh in me! Praise the LORD!

 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Temptation to not take God at His word has always been Satan's most enticing, yet most destructive, weapon. Since the first Adam walked the earth, the enemy of God was at work. His manipulative tactic of attempting to convince man that he can "be like God" has worked well for the devil and dreadfully continues to. 

In the beginning, when Eve considered the serpent's provoking question, 
"Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?", 
she instantly corrected his error of "understanding". 
"We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" 
Eve knew the boundaries God had set. She made it perfectly clear to the serpent, but he pushed further to weaken her and swiftly intercepted her statement--
"You will not certainly die...for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil..." (Rf. Genesis 3:1-9).
And so it was, the fate of man, determined by the will of self in choosing to believe a compromising truth, in order to justify disobedience to God's command.

The Fall of man in the Garden reveals a stark approach to Satan's wicked scheme: teach them first to doubt, secondly, tempt them to disobey, and finally, lead them to deny.
This is certainly a sobering and fatal formula!

But, I also see the catastrophic errors of Eve and her husband, and those frighten me even greater than that of Satan's attacks. Disobedience, unbelief, discontentment, and pride. Each workings of the flesh designed to destroy the relationship between man and God.

In the back of my mind I coolly wonder, "Is this not what they wanted?" After all, they chose to believe sin was a good idea.

My heart shifts to further pleading questions:

Why was Eve near the tree in the first place--the one and only forbidden tree?
Why did she allow the serpent's taunting dialect to weaken her to cave?
Why didn't she flee from the tempter as he insidiously provoked her with lies?

And, what about Adam? He knew God's command and warning with regard to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God was clear-- "Do will die." God was firm-- " must not touch it..." Adam was with his wife when she saw and took, so why didn't he stop her? Did he even try? Or did he concede just to make her happy? Or was he seduced like Eve, by the temptation to have more, and be more?

Or maybe the serpent presented his "suggestion" in such a marvelous way as to blind Eve of what she knew to be true--that God loved her, that God was trustworthy, that He provided for all her needs, that He commanded obedience to His word and tacked on a most severe consequence if disobedience occurred. In other words, "The devil made her do it." (Another lie!)

I try to make sense of my "whys" that led to our first parent's deadly ruin, (being that hindsight is always 20/20), while attempting to fill in the blanks in order to feel a little bit better about their wrong choice, (uhhum, sin.)
But, I can't, and I shouldn't. The Bible makes no concession for these details. Therefore, they are not the focus of the story.

What we must be awakened to again is what the Bible does reveal: Satan is a liar, and his craftiness in undermining God's word as to make it unclear or unreasonable was and still is widely used.   And we must recognize who's really accountable when the seriousness of God's Word is not taken seriously--the only one who hears it.

Jesus Christ is the Word. Look upon Him and live. Look long enough upon the tempting idols and sooner or later, we will become discontent with what God has given us, prideful to think we deserve better, and willful to justify compromising our Lord's commands which most assuredly will cultivate disobedience. Disobedience to God separates us from God. 

That should be enough.

"Show me Your ways, Lord,
    teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long."
 Psalm 25:4-5