What's Covering You?






so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis 3:7


A fig leaf uniform must have left a lot to be desired. It certainly couldn’t have covered much. Neither would it have lasted long. Dried, shriveled fig leaves would be even worse after a couple of days. Adam and Eve’s desperate solution was not enough to right their wrongs. They used everything at their disposal to cover their shame, and it just wasn’t enough.



We’ve all been that desperate at times. We’ve blown it big. But instead of turning to God in humble repentance, we frantically try to cover our own shame. We pretend it was no big deal. Or we reach into Satan’s bag of handy excuses and pull out one: “Nobody got hurt.” Everybody does it.” “We’re adults.”  We may convince a few friends, but deep down, we haven’t even convinced ourselves. Justifying our sin only adds to the guilt and shame we drag around. We were never built to carry such a load. God offers a permanent solution for our shame: confession and repentance. Agreeing with God about our sin and turning from it opens God’s wardrobe doors. We don’t need fig leaves—or excuses—when we allow our Father to clothe us in His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Shame masquerades as humility, when in fact, it is only Satan’s counterfeit for true repentance.

Are you hiding in fig leaves or have you let the righteousness of Christ cover your shame?

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Their Eyes Were Opened





Then the eyes of both of them were opened… Genesis 3:7

All they had known was perfection and God’s presence. Everything they needed was at their fingertips. But there they stood, at the Naughty Tree, with fruit juice dripping from their chins. The deed was done. There was no going back. They were without excuse, because God had told them what would happen. But because they could not yet see it for themselves, they refused to believe Him. Only when their eyes were opened could they see what they had forfeited.

Have you ever had your eyes opened AFTER the fact? Having our eyes opened means we see ourselves and our choices the way God does. Suddenly all our excuses, justifications, and explanations aren’t enough. We're caught. And in that moment we have three options: 

  • We can hide under the shrubbery in shame, like Adam and Eve did. Some people live their whole lives there, cowering from the presence of a holy God. 
  • Or we can harden our hearts as some people do, and deny everything. With the juice dripping down our naked souls, we insist that we are dressed in silk and God is pleased with us. Shame hovers in the background there too, but we call it something else. 
  • Or we can agree with God about our sin. We can confess it, turn away from it, and hand it to Him. When we do, He puts our shame on His own Son and restores us to fellowship with Him (1 Pet. 2:24). 


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Can God Disappoint?




When we hear the phrase "God never disappoints," experience rises to object. We think of all the times our prayers have gone unanswered or life didn't go as planned. Disappointment is a regular part of life, often seeming to come from God Himself. So is it true that God never disappoints?
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There is a difference between being disappointed about and being disappointed in. We are often disappointed about situations or circumstances that did not live up to our expectation. We are even disappointed when God does not do what we thought he would do. But being disappointed about what God does or does not do is different from being disappointed IN God. When we are disappointed IN someone, character comes into question. Someone has behaved in a way that defies what you know about them. For example, you learn that your best friend, the missionary, robbed a bank. Your spouse, whose honesty you admire, embezzled from his company. To be disappointed IN someone means that a person we trusted is not altogether trustworthy. They acted in contrast to their character.


So even though God may not act in situations as we hoped He would, He can never disappoint. He is always true to His nature. He never varies, changes, or fails to be who He is. We may not always understand who He is or why He does things the way He does, but His character is never in question. If His word says it, it is still true. If He promised it, He will do it. If He was kind and loving 5000 years ago, He is still kind and loving. And He will be tomorrow. We live with disappointment, and unfortunately we disappoint others. We and others will act in contrast to our characters. But we can say with certainty, that God never will. He never disappoints.


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Pride on Its Back


Often what we call humility is just pride wearing a different hat. 

When I struggle with temptation or drift off course a bit, I am shocked at myself. I beat myself up over it, feeling that in order to be humble, I must be appalled at my own tendency to sin. But actually, that is pride. Did I think I was beyond such fleshly temptation? Did I consider myself immune to the struggles common to everyone else? Why should I be surprised at this reminder that my sinful flesh as susceptible to temptation as anyone's? 

It is only pride that fuels such indignation when I find myself in a struggle. True Humility acknowledges that I am incapable of any good thing apart from the power of Christ. True Humility is never shocked when I am weak, but is pleasantly surprised when I don't give in. 

Self-recrimination is only pride on its back.

Masterpiece






For we are God's masterpiece... Ephesians 2:10

Your life is a priceless vase that God has entrusted to you. But somewhere back there, it shattered into a thousand pieces. Maybe you were careless, or maybe someone else knocked it out of your hands. But it’s broken nonetheless. So you tried to fix it. You got the super glue and spent vast amounts of time and energy trying to put it back together. But it just got uglier and uglier, because super glue is not what it takes to repair a priceless vase. In anger, you may have cried out, “Where is God?” But you did so while still clutching the pieces.


It is only when we hand the pieces to our Designer that He is free to begin His work. To our shock, though, He does not try to fix the vase. Instead, He takes those jagged pieces, rough edges, and useless shards and creates a beautiful, one-of-a-kind mosaic. When we let go of our right to dictate how He should do it, He fashions us into the people He knew we could be. Only in the hands of the Master Artist can a shattered treasure become a masterpiece. 

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Think for Yourself



 
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say…?”  Genesis 3:1

Most sin begins with that little question. When we begin to question God’s instruction, we have elevated our opinion to equal status with God. In effect, we become our own gods. By asking that question, we are assuming the right to judge God and His words. Eve’s temptation was not about fruit. It was the same question we all face--Who is my authority? 

Embedded within that question are others: Who gets to define me? Who has the final word on my value and worth? In our hearts, the serpent’s suggestion sounds something like this: "You know what the Bible says, but what do YOU think?" When we entertain that line of thinking, our enemy smiles. We have just taken a giant step in his direction. 
But consider this: Did the serpent have Eve’s best interest in mind? Does he have your best interest in mind? Have you ever considered that your inward challenge to God’s authority did not originate with you? Just like Eve, you know what God said, but you disagree. So you listened to the serpent when he hissed, “Has God really said…?" And you took the fruit. Often what we call “thinking for myself” is nothing more than playing into our enemy’s hands.
What areas of your life are troubled by the words: "Has God really said?” 

Mother's Day Gifts


Mother's Day celebrates what moms have given us. But we mothers have also been given gifts that are sometimes overlooked in the overwhelming responsibility we have been given.

As mothers we gain...
... a deeper understanding of God's heart. After all, He is a parent.
...selflessness, when we would otherwise tend to be selfish.
...the capacity for love deeper than we thought was possible
...the ability to multitask. Only a mother can balance a baby on one hip, answer the phone, check a homework page, and cook dinner with a crying toddler clinging to her leg.
…better hearing. A mom can leap from a deep sleep and be down the hallway in seconds because she heard the baby sneeze.
…faster reflexes. A mom can materialize beneath a dare-devil kid in a tree before he even though about jumping.
...clearer perspective. Let one child become injured or seriously ill, and Moms don't give a rip about anything else.
…clearer memory. Dates and years are remembered in direct relation to our children. "Let's see, Jonny was three then, and that was the year Jenny got her braces, so it was 2002."
...telepathic knowledge. "Don't tell me you're not cold. I know when you're cold. Now put on your coat!"
...powerful facial communication techniques. A mom who's done her job can control an unruly child from across the room with a tilt of her head and a raised brow.
…an expanded heart. We cannot imagine loving another child as much as we love the first one. And then we do.

As we celebrate motherhood, may we as mothers also celebrate the many gifts that come with it. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
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Oh, Baal!



 

If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

When we hear the names of false gods like Baal, Asherah (2 Chron. 24:18), and Dagon (Judges 16:23), they seem so far removed from our world. In fact, we find it hard to understand why an entire nation would bow down to an ugly idol made of wood or stone. Baal was chief god of the pagan nations surrounding Israel. Other nations credited this hunk of stone and wood for their protection, abundance, sexuality, and procreation. But the Israelites had encountered the Lord God Himself. So why would they substitute the real God for monstrosities made of wood and stone?

Unfortunately, idol worship is quite active in our culture, too.  We just call it by different names. Worship of Baal involved sexual orgies, drug concoctions, self-harm, and infant sacrifices. Does that sound familiar? God’s people wanted to hang on to just enough of the Lord to make themselves feel safe. But they also wanted to party with the pagans. Elijah was reminding them that the Lord does not share his glory. He does not compromise with evil. But He also allows us freedom to choose. If we insist upon chasing the world’s values and idols, then we can also reap the consequences. But if we want the Lord as our God, we must pledge our lives to Him alone and renounce everything associated with Baal.  

                                      

Are you trying to serve two gods? What parts of your life are being dedicated to false gods like money, sex, pleasure, or control? God will not share you. If the world is god, follow it; but if the Lord is God, follow Him alone.

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