Monday, August 3, 2015

mission devotions

The sermon today isn't available yet. I know because I just looked ... I was pretty sure that it wouldn't be, but I was so moved by what Scott taught today that I had to spend some time reflecting over it with you!

He began the heart of the message by asking the question ... "Why Am I Here?" and took us back to the beginning ... like as in Genesis 1. Now, lots of people have read Genesis 1. I have renewed my interest in this text as I have started teaching science again this year. I am absolutely fascinated by the Creation Story! I have become thoroughly convinced that belief in a literal 7 day creation story is foundational to our Christian walk. In Genesis 3 ... the serpent begins to chip away at the foundation of the woman's faith in God's sovereignty by asking the question "Did God really say that?"

Eve had no reason to doubt Adam's word ... but because the negative seed was planted by Satan, that doubt grew into questioning ... and questioning into rebellion.

WOW ... The real downfall began when the serpent began to infiltrate Eve's mind with DOUBT ... subtle doubt at first ... not doubting God, but 1st doubting her helpmeet ... Adam.

Had Adam failed her in some way that deserved her doubt? They were in the land of pleasure and delight ... the Garden of Eden.

Had he forgotten to take out the garbage, not been sweet enough when the snuggled up last night, spent more time tending the animals than making her feel special?

Yet doubt entered. And sin was quickly on its heels ...

chipping away at the foundation ...


Let's look back at the dialogue between Eve and the serpent. In Gen 3:1b the serpent says, "Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?"

Now, I wasn't there ... it's taking some liberty to give voice to this snake ... but can you not hear his voice dripping with disgust?

Really, really did God say you can't eat from any tree? Overstating the case, knowing the seed of truth that existed - there was only one forbidden tree - He knew that it would take the hard sell to make his case.  He had to make it sound like they were being deprived because they couldn't have it all! So he planted the seed that they couldn't have any!

Eve responds correctly, 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."

Hold on ... ok ... I'm taking liberty again, but after all, I am a daughter of Eve ... I know what wells up in my mind as I read those words ...

I start out strong ... We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden ... and then the words of the serpent, the condesending tone in his voice (the you gotta be kidding-tone), the question that he placed before me (Are you really that stupid?) ... slams headlong into the truth ... and doubt creeps in. My faith waivers ... and the unthinkable word comes out ... BUT ... and I turn my eyes away from Jesus and toward the serpent and lean into what he is saying ...

Can't you just see her ... me ... casting her eyes downward, shuffling her feet like a 10 year old, "yeah, but He did say we couldn't eat from the tree in the middle (the most beautiful one) and if we touch it we'll die (what's so special about the one in the middle that we would surely die?? and if it's that special, why wouldn't He want me to have any?)"

Shame creeps over me even at this very moment knowing how often I have treated God's boundaries with this sort of wishy-washy selfishness! Oh, I have my own high-horse issues ... what we commonly refer to as 'the big sins' ... you know, the ones that we can talk about in lofty terms because the rubber of our tires of life never really meet that road today (even though in truth they did, at another time in life, when today's friends didn't know me. Sound at all familiar?) ... you make your list, I have mine!

My life is littered with times where I questioned whether what God said is what He meant. L.I.T.T.E.R.E.D.
For many years I believed that God's Word was filled with stuff I couldn't do ... not stuff I shouldn't do, stuff that would bring death to the spirit in me, stuff that harms me ...  Just me being petulant and childish and looking at what I couldn't do ... pushing out my lower lip and stamping my foot.

Who am I that I should think myself worthy of questioning the HOLY GOD/CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE??

And yet I find myself right back where I started ... with a question ... not the question Scott asked that I thought I was going to start with ... Why Am I Here? exactly ... but a question ... Who Am I?  What Do I Think I'm Doing ... and it's almost like at this season of my life I have to ask that question before I can even get to the "What am I doing here?" question!!!

Because here's the deal ... Before I can look at Why I'm here and how I relate to God, Myself, Others and His Creation ... I have to reposition myself to see that in that equation, it is God that is on the very top rung of that ladder. It really doesn't matter why I think I'm here, if I don't first realize that I am here primarily to bring Glory and Honor to the most high God.

Oh, it matters why God placed me here ... and I am here to relate.  Just like the sermon today said I'm purposed to relate to God, to myself, to others and to His Creation ... God's plan matters.

And He's calling me to remember that it matters more than my plans. Jer. 29:11 says, ‘ “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “'

In the New International Amy Version it often reads, "Do you know the plans I have for myself Lord? Are you listening? Hey God, pay attention here ... Now, make me rich and don't let anything bad happen to me while I walk around out here in this big world, okay, yeah you created the world, I know, but Lord have you seen all the cool things around today ... if I could only have _______ then my future would be great!”

It's funny, this morning I found myself kneeling at an alter thanking God for changes in my home, for the blessing of a son, provision for my family ... asking Him to ????draw a friend, ????comfort a boy, heal a baby, a woman, a marriage, protect a soldier and give direction in a new venture - pleading with Him to keep me out of the way because I am persuaded that this idea of protecting our testimony is so life changing!

And He answers.  Again.

So I'll move into this week not wondering, "God, is that what you really said for me to do?" But I will go in whole-heartedly, knowing that Your Word stands on its own, Your call is irrevocable and my obedience is required.

Lord Jesus, keep my eyes fixed on you even as the enemy tries to whisper in my ear that surely I misunderstood ... misunderstood what You have for me to do, who I am in You, my value to those who love me and the circumstances of my day!

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