Thursday, August 20, 2015

How Great is Our God

I just watched this video of Louie Giglio's message entitled How Great is our God.  He talks about how Big God is and just how small we are in comparison.  He also talks about our genetic makeup and how God created us.  If you are struggling with accepting who you are just as God made you, watch this video and you won't be able to deny that you truly are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Eve's Deception

It is so easy to become trapped by lies.  No one ever sets out to start believing a lie. But we are bombarded daily by a crafty enemy who is trying to slowly and methodically take us off course and lies are one of his most effective tactics.  The first evidence of Satan’s deception is with Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Let’s read the story of Eve’s deception.  I think there is a great deal we can learn about how to protect ourselves from the lies through her story.

The Fall
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “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.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

If we are going to try and fight against the enemy’s schemes then we need to understand what we are up against.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss in her book Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free outlines well the progression of Eve’s deception.

1.Eve LISTENED to the lie
2. Eve DWELLED on the lie
3. Eve BELIEVED the lie
4. Eve ACTED on the lie

Lets look at this progression a little more closely.  Eve’s first mistake was that she stayed around long enough to hear what the serpent had to say.  Don’t we do the same thing when we expose ourselves to things that we know probably aren’t God’s best for us.  Maybe for you it’s reading fashion magazines and you think that looking at those pictures won’t cause you to compare yourself to the model’s photo shopped beauty. Maybe it’s Facebook, instagram or snapchat where you are just trying to stay in touch with friends but using this media makes you feel judged and like you don’t measure up. But we just rationalize it by saying to ourselves that this won’t really affect me because its not like I’m doing anything wrong

Each individual needs to prayerfully ask God what things may lead them into temptation and then needs to do their best to stay away from it at all costs. 
Consider the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39.  In verse 12 it says “She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”  That is what we need to do when we come face to face with temptation—drop our coat and run!

Eve chose not to run and instead she engaged the serpent in a discussion about what God actually said which caused her to ponder the lie.  By doing this, the serpent caused her to question why God had placed that restriction on them which caused her to feel as though God was keeping something good from her.  Do you ever feel restricted by God’s boundaries?  It is human nature to focus on the bad, the flaws, the negatives but we cannot allow ourselves to do that.  We must focus on all that God has lavished upon us and remember that we serve a good God who has placed limits on us for our protection.  

Once Eve kept thinking about what the serpent had said, she began to believe that he was right.  If lies go unchecked by the Truth, they can lead us down a path of destruction.  This is another reason why it is SO important to be in God’s Word daily and to hide God’s Word in your heart so that when temptation strikes, you are prepared to fight. 

Finally Eve acted on the lie by eating the apple.  Friends every sin in our lives began with a lie and eventually those sinful behaviors become a pattern leading us into bondage.  I believed the lie that I had to prove that I was worthwhile.  I believed the lie that others wouldn’t love me if I failed. I believed the lie that everything was my fault.  Believing these lies led me into the destructive pattern of an eating disorder.  I became trapped by things I thought would make me happy and free and instead I felt hopeless, depressed and alone.  It wasn’t until God exposed the lies I was believing and I replaced them with His Truth that I found freedom, hope and contentment. 

Beloved, what lies are you believing?  What is keeping you trapped in a pattern of destructive behavior?  Are you willing to ask God to reveal the lies to you? Are you willing to surrender those thoughts and feelings to Him?  

When temptation comes, combat the lies by using God’s Word as your offensive weapon to fight off the enemy.  Take comfort in knowing God's Word will not return void.  Isaiah 55:11 says “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Psalm 139:18-24

19 if only you would slay the wicked, O God!
     Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; 
     your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, 
     and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; 
     I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
     test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me 
     and lead me in the way everlasting.

As we read through Psalm 139 we discover how intimately God knows us—how we think and act, how we were made and how much He cares for us.  Then we get to the last section and David, the author of this Psalm, comes out with some pretty strong language like “slay the wicked…away from me you bloodthirsty men…I have nothing but hatred for them (my enemies)”.  It feels like that came out of nowhere.  But let’s take a step back for a minute and remember that the Psalms are David’s personal prayers to God.  Even David got frustrated, impatient, angry, and anxious about his situation and he wasn’t afraid to tell God how he was feeling.  He also thought he might offer God a few suggestions about how He could make this situation better—just kill my enemies and we’ll be all set LORD. 

Don’t we do the same thing?  Don’t we cry out to the Lord and offer some feeble suggestions about how to make things better? We say things like if only you could just make me thinner, then people would like me and I would have better relationships.  If only you would make him pay for what he did to me, then I could forgive him.  If only my circumstances were different, then I would be happy. 

Friends, David shows us that it is OK to cry out to the Lord and be honest with Him—to tell Him how you are really feeling.  God can handle it and He wants you to share your heart with Him. In fact as we learned earlier in the Psalm, He already knows what we are thinking anyways. 
But then in verses 23 and 24 David shows us what to do next.  He says “Search me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.  In essence David is saying God here is how I am feeling and what I would like to have happen but I realize your ways are better than my ways.  Please search my heart, my thoughts and reveal to me any thoughts that would take me from your “way everlasting”. 

We need to do the same thing when we pray.  We need to ask God to reveal to us any lies we are believing or anything else that may take us down a path of destruction.  We need to ask God to help us not to settle for our own human solutions but to ask God for His purpose to prevail.  God is not limited by time, space or materials.  Remember it is God’s job to deal with our enemies—Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still”.