The Genesis Question: Where Are You?

Genesis 3:9
Genesis 3:9

The very first time that God asks man a question is found in Genesis 3:9. Genesis 3:9 reads But the Lord God called to the man “Where are you?”

The reason the Genesis question is so notable and beautiful is because this question is regarding the broken fellowship that has occurred between God and humanity. This question occurred immediately after the fall when Adam and Eve chose to take a different route apart from the path God had chosen for them. Adam and Eve decided to separate themselves from the Lord.

It wasn’t just a physical distance that had occurred, but a spiritual one. Their sin had distanced them from God, and God in His mercy and intense love for Adam and Eve called out “Where are you?”

This question in Genesis is a question that confirms that God wants fellowship with us. God loves us, He cares about us, and He wants to know where we are. Yeshua reiterated an identical question to His disciples in Matthew 18:12 which states:

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?

If you are far from God, He is asking the question “Where are you?”

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Does God Cause Sickness? The Real Meaning of Hebrews 12:7-10

potter

Hebrews 12:7-10 –  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

A couple of years ago I found myself on the phone with a security alarm company. I had signed a contract which I believed to be one year with the company, but the contract was actually for much longer – three years. I was upset. I questioned the company’s ethics. I argued back and forth with the customer service rep on the phone, but stopped when I heard the Holy Spirit say “Apologize to her.” All fell quiet.

I resisted for a fraction of a second because I didn’t want to apologize to anyone. I was adamant that I was right. But God was right. And I was wrong. I apologized to the representative on the phone. I felt like an unruly child who had misbehaved. I realized I was being reprimanded. I was experiencing Hebrews 12:7-10.

Some people believe that sickness and accidents are the disciplines of God. Some people actually believe that God disciplines his children with diseases and terrible accidents. Lies. All lies. God is a good, loving Father.

In Hebrews 12, it tells Christians to endure hardship as discipline. The Greek word use for discipline is the word paideia. Paideia is an easy word to define. In ancient Greece, paideia referred to the education and instruction of Greek citizens. It was a practical, subject-based teaching. Paideia included instruction in everything from liberal arts and medicine to music and gymnastics. The Greeks used the training to help each citizen understood their role in society.

The word paideia has nothing to do with destruction or punishment. The word means chastening, instruction and nurturing. It’s training that cultivates the soul, the morals, and the mind.

God tells Christians to endure instruction.

And instruction doesn’t always feel good. It doesn’t feel good to have your views challenged. It isn’t easy or painless to surrender every area, desire and will for your life completely to God. It never feels good to get confronted by your iniquity or have the Holy Spirit tell you that you need to change something – your behavior, your viewpoint, your personality, your relationships.

As you walk the narrow road, things will get increasingly difficult. It will be hard, and you will grieve, because whenever a person suffers loss, it’s grievous. As you allow God to instruct you, you will lose things.

You will lose friends.
You may even lose family.
You should expect to even lose pieces of yourself as God transforms you into a new creation.

No chastening in the present moment feels good but grievous. Nevertheless, if you allow God to instruct you, then it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

When Hebrews 12 tells us to endure chastisement, it’s not talking about enduring what the devil is trying to use to destroy you. If you are going through something terrible, rough, or tragic, know this: God is a Good Father. He is never to blame. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But God comes to give life, and He gives it more abundantly.

What Do You Have in Your Hand?

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In some cultures, when a baby turns one they do something special on their birthday. The parents put the baby in a highchair and place different objects in front of them – things like a pen, money, paintbrush, prayer book, hammer and a host of various items needed for different professions. It’s thought that the object that the child chooses corresponds to what’s in their future. For example, a child who chooses money may have a future as a business person. The tradition is superstitious, but it does remind us of one key truth – that what a person has in their hands determines what they’ll accomplish.

When God sent Moses, He asked Moses a question to prepare the prophet for the task ahead. The question was, “What’s in your hand?” God already knew what was in Moses’ hand, but God wanted Moses to have a deeper awareness of this principle. God wanted Moses to understand that God could use something small and insignificant (in this case a stick) to do a great and significant work.

When we give what we have in our hands to Him, He can take something simple and transform it into something amazing. When Moses threw the stick on the ground, he realized that he had more than just a stick in his hand. He had a calling on his life and even more significantly, he had the backing of God.

Everyone has something in their hands. To be a blessing to others, use what you have in your hand. I’ve been using the pen, but some people are given other things. Some people have a beautiful voice, or a good sense of humor, or business savvy, or a knack for encouraging others – if that is what God has given you – then use it. There are a million different gifts and talents – whatever your gifts and talents are, use it for His glory. God has invested in you, and He expects a return.

1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace and various times.

Is a Competitive Spirit a Good Thing?

running

When we ask if a competitive spirit is a good thing, the first thing I think we should ask ourselves is which word is more important in the phrase “competitive spirit”? Is it the word “competitive” or the word “spirit”? I think it’s the word spirit because that is precisely what it is. And any spirit that doesn’t quite resemble the Holy Spirit is a spirit that you don’t want to have.

Is the Holy Spirit competitive?

When you compare the difference in characteristics between the Holy Spirit and a competitive spirit, you’ll find that there is a stark difference. A competitive spirit is prideful, it always strives for more, it’s greedy, it’s not content or satisfied, it grasps for the wind.

The Holy Spirit, however, is humble. The Holy Spirit is peaceful and fulfilled, joyful and content. The Holy Spirit doesn’t grasp for the wind because the Holy Spirit is the Wind. There are stark differences between a competitive spirit and the Holy Spirit.

Competition isn’t encouraged in the Bible – not in the Old or New Testament. Ultimately, the Christian’s goal should be to look like Christ.

Is Christ in competition?

When Christ walked the earth, the Pharisees and religious authorities were in competition with Christ, but Christ wasn’t competing with them. Christ didn’t compete with anyone. Christ was the very nature of God, but did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; instead, he emptied himself, and took on the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.

When the disciples of Christ displayed a competitive spirit and quarreled about who was the greatest disciple, Christ rebuked them and told them that the greatest among them should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. They were not encouraged to compete for the title of super-apostle. Instead, they learned the highest form of power is servitude and humility.

2 Corinthians 10:12: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

 

What Every Christian Should Know About Fasting

fsting

Fasting is not an option. If you are a Christian, fasting should be part of your Christian walk. If you have never fasted, I highly suggest you do it. However, before your fast, there a few things you should know.

1. Not everyone is ready for 25 days on water.

When I was in my early 20’s, I could fast for three days (water only) with relative ease. But, my diet was also a wreck so I had extra fat reserves. Now that I’m healthier, older, thinner and have a child,  I’m ready to fall on the floor the second day of water fasting. My husband, on the other hand, could fast 25 days on water with ease, but he’s also a superhero which is another story. I felt guilt about my inability to fast for long periods until I watched Marilyn Hickey speak on fasting.  She explained that three day water fasts don’t work out well for her either, so she lives a fasted life. Each day she foregoes a meal or two. I made a commitment to live a fasted life.

2. A fast from television is NOT a Biblical fast.

With that said, everyone should fast from tv and technology because many people (including Christians) are addicted. However, Biblical fasts always involves food – it never involves entertainment.

3. When you fast you should avoid tv commercials.

The only thing that you’ll see on television during fasts are burgers and pizza. Also, people will invite you to birthday parties and dinner parties. A million people will call you at once to invite you to eat. This happens to me every time I fast. Don’t fall for it. Be socially prepared for fasting and prepare to turn invitations down because whatever you are doing for God is more important than what you were going to do with friends or family.

4. The devil will throw the kitchen sink at you when you fast.

My husband and I went on a forty day fast together several months ago, and the spiritual warfare was intense from day one!! It’s not uncommon to encounter spiritual warfare during a fast – be prepared – wear the armor of God. God knows you are fasting for His glory and He will help you.

5. Fasting breaks chains, demolishes strongholds, and it sets people free.

Fasting provides revelation – fasting can give you answers. Fasting is one of the most beautiful and powerful weapons God has given us. Use fasting to your advantage.

Difficult Season for You? Fast!

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Are things going a little crazy in your life? Are you dealing with confusion? Are you mentally or emotionally drained? If you are going through a difficult time – I have one recommendation – fast!

Fasting exposes the enemy.

I know what it’s like to be in a position where you are wondering “Why God?” “Why is this happening to me?” I know what it’s like to feel stuck. But, I also know that fasting brings answers.

Fasting brings revelation. Fasting brings understanding. Fasting opens your eyes and makes you more sensitive.

Whenever you deny something as essential as food to get closer to God, you become more sensitive to spiritual things and the voice of God. You receive revelation because you’re not focused on yourself – you are focused on Him; and when you’re focused on Him, wisdom and understanding come.

True story: my husband and I bought a beautiful bohemian rug for our living area. We spent a lot of time on the rug. We didn’t know that our rug was leaking dye. The skin is your largest organ and absorbs anything that you place on it – in this case, we were absorbing synthetic dye. We didn’t know it. We weren’t aware of what was happening to us.

For some reason, we felt compelled to go on a fast. During the fast, we discovered that the rug was leaking unbeknownst to us. There was a danger in our home that we were completely unaware of, and I am certain that fasting exposed the danger.

Fasting exposes danger, but it also reveals revelation.

I’ve experienced scenarios like this on more than one occasion, and I know that many, many other Christians have experienced the benefits and power of fasting.

Fasting provides direction, revelation and understanding but another key component of fasting is that it exposes the enemy. If you are going through a difficult season, fast and get answers. If you are enduring hardship, then fast, gain clarity, and get free.

The Secret to a Long Life… in the Bible

Via Stocksnap
Via Stocksnap

I recently read an NPR article titled Secrets of the Very Old and Healthy.  To summarize the NPR article – the secret to longevity to simply being active. Scientists have figured out that aging gracefully has a lot to do with staying active. I believe that being active is one key to long life, but the Bible gives us even more powerful tools for longevity.

In the book 65 Promises for Your Child, there are lat least five other ways to secure a long life. These promises can be found in Exodus 20:12, Proverbs 3:13-16, Psalm 91:16, Proverbs 10:27, and Deuteronomy 11:21. Below are at least five Biblical ways to ensure a long life:

– Honoring your father and mother

– Seeking wisdom

– Setting your love on God and knowing His Name

– Fearing the Lord

– Speaking and displaying God’s Word in your home

Let’s never forget that only God can satisfy us with long life and show us his salvation.

If God Tells You to Do Something…

Via Unsplash
Via Unsplash

What is God telling you to do? What has He been saying to you that you’ve been resisting? Why is it that so many of us can’t seem to find the capacity to move when God speaks? Why is it that many of us stand paralyzed when God tells us to move?

The answer is so simple and yet so complex.

The answer is fear.

The answer is rebellion.

The answer is pride.

The answer is weakness.

The answer is blindness.

The answer is disobedience.

There are so many reasons why we don’t do what God is telling us to do. There are so many reasons we are disobedient to His voice and His instructions. But is this not our ruin? Our disobedience, which leads us to sin against the Almighty is exactly the mountain that blocks our path to His blessing.

And, so, today, I want to encourage you to do what God is telling you to do. Don’t hesitate. Don’t remain inert. Move quickly and swiftly at the Father’s command and do exactly what He tells you to do.