grace

Grace in the Garden

We are coming to the most important part of what I want to explore, as we look back to the beginning. Remember that we are taking this trip back to the garden because if we are really going to believe that the things I claim in my first post What if He Loved You Enough to Die for You are true, then we need to see that they have been true since creation.

We have seen that God knew everything we were ever going to do, and He created us anyway. And we watched the enemy in the garden trick Eve (and us) into not trusting God. Today, let's take in how God responds.

Before we do that though, it's important to realize that Jesus was there. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that Jesus has been there since the beginning, which also means He knew what we would do, what it would cost Him, and He did it anyway.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:1-5

The Word = Jesus

Jesus was there. He knew. He did it anyway.

Let that sink in. You are so valuable to Him. He loves you so much!

What did Adam and Eve do after they ate the fruit?

"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." Genesis 3:7-8

Oh, how painfully human their reaction is. Isn't that what we do? Don't we try to cover up our sins? Don't we try to hide from God? I imagine they were scared, and ashamed. But the reality is, we can't hide from God, and we don't need to.

Let's see how God reacts.

Please take a minute to read Genesis 3 and see what God says and does.

If you are anything like me, you have pictured God screaming and yelling at Adam and Eve as He asks them what they have done, and dishes out punishment after punishment and curse after curse, then banishes them from the garden.

But I've come to believe His tone was more of a broken hearted, "what have you done?" I imagine it was more of a "you have no idea what you have done, the pain it's going to cost you, and what it's going to cost me to rescue you."

Yes, there were consequences to their actions. Of course there were. We know that God is a just God and He cannot leave sin unpunished. And aren't the consequences we give our kids more serious when what they have done is dangerous?

But there is another reason that God couldn't just say, "oh it's okay" and let them stay in the garden. I came to this realization when reading The Jesus Storybook Bible to my kids. He couldn't leave them there because they now had the knowledge of good and evil. Pain, sin, and tears had entered the world, and if He left them in the garden they might "...take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." Genesis 3:23. He loves us too much to let us live in this world the way that it is forever.

He banished them from the garden to protect them, to protect us. But He didn't just send them out naked and alone.

Before He banished them, "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them" Genesis 3:20. An innocent lamb had to die, and shed his blood in order to cover the sin of Adam and Eve. Then He gave them clothes that were better than the ones they tried to create for themselves, and, I believe, sadly sent them from the garden.

Do you see the grace? Let's look a little deeper at when God is handing down the curses to Satan. By the way, I do believe He was probably yelling at Satan, since he is the one seeking to "steal, kill and destroy" the ones God loves.

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel." Genesis 3:15

God tells us His plan right here. Jesus is coming. He's going to crush Satan, and He's going to rescue us. And that is what the entire rest of the Bible is about. It's about God's love for us, and His plan to rescue us.

He is persuing you. He loves you. He knows all that you have done, and ever will do. He still loves you and has been persuing you since the beginning of creation. He wants to rescue you. Will you let Him?

I'd love for you to join the conversation over at my Facebook Page

Did God Really Say?

Before we continue to dive into the grace in the garden, and it's there, it is so beautifully there, we need to take a moment to look at the enemy in the garden.

God has an enemy, and because He created us, He loves us and we are His most prized treasure, His enemy also hates us with a deep firey hate.

All throughout the Genesis 1:1 account of creation "God saw that it was good." In verse 4 "the light was good" in 10 the land and sea were good, in 12 it's the plants, in 18 day and night, in verse 21 the birds and fish are good. "It was good," "it was good," "it was good."

Until Day 6

"Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..." Genesis 1:26

Satan hates us because we are made in the image of the One he hates, but there is more. It wasn't until Day 6 after God has made us that "God saw all that He had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31 emphasis added)

Don't miss this. God created us very good, he loves us more than we can possibly ever comprehend or imagine. We are the jewel of His creation.

And that means that Satan hates us more than we can possibly ever comprehend or imagine, and he has been seeking to destroy our relationship with God from the beginning.

One of the prominent ways he does that is with 4 simple words, "did God really say?"

That's all it took for Eve to forget who she was, the daughter of the King of the Universe, His beloved, His most cherished creation.

"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?" Genesis 3:1

He plants that seed of doubt in her head, and goes on to trick her into believing that she is someone that she is not, and that God is someone that He is not. You can read the rest of how he tricks her in Genesis 3.

Satan uses those same 4 words to draw us away from God. To make us forget who we are in Him: daughters of the King of the Universe, His beloved, His most cherished creation.

He's trying to do it in my life right now, as God has asked me over the past couple of days to take a huge step of faith.

"Did God really say He wants you do this thing?"

"Did God really say you're forgiven?"

"Did God really say He's with you?"

Yes, yes He did! And He really said you are loved, you who are reading this, God loves you, He forgives you, He wants to restore you!

That's the beautiful part of the story. Since Eve, Satan has been luring us away from God, BUT since Eve, God has been pursuing us to bring us back.

What is it in your life that God has told you, but Satan is trying to steal? What "did God really say" are you hearing in your head? Take it to Jesus. Ask Him to show you the truth. He will. Then hold on to it.

Let's pray for each other as we seek God's truth about who we are in Him. We don't have comments set up on the blog yet, but I would love for you to connect with me on Facebook and let me know how I can pray for you.

Who Is He?

In my previous post, I was telling you about a man who loves you enough to die for you.

His name is Jesus, and He loves you unconditionally, and so does His Father, God. That's why God sent Him.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about who God is. A lot of things that Christians say and do don't always line up with who God is, or what the Bible says about Him. Even commonly known Bible stories in their pop culture versions, often leave us with a skewed view of who He is.

The closer I get to Him, and the more I read His Word, the Bible, the more I understand how much He loves me, and you, unconditionally, from the beginning.

Do you know that God knew who you were going to be, and all of the things you were going to do before He even created the World?

Jesus knew the plan before creation. He knew that Adam and Eve would sin. He knew that we all would. He knew that the only way to redeem us was to die a brutal torturous death on the cross for us.

And He did it anyway

He created us anyway

I don't know if you have read the Genesis account of creation and Adam and Eve, but I'm sure you have at least heard about it, or know the story. As Christians it's easy to gloss over reading it because we've read it before, and we know the story. Would you be willing to take a new look at it with me, believe He has something more to reveal?

As non-believers, it's easy to use the creation account as part of the reason for not believing. You were probably taught in school (as I was) that the Biblical account of creation is not true. Maybe we'll discuss that in another post but for now would you humor me, and suspend your disbelief, as we take a fresh look at the Beginning?

Maybe when you read or hear the story, you imagine God as angrily screaming at them, and banishing them from the garden for breaking His one and only rule. Maybe you wonder, why did He even put that tree there in the first place?

I know I did. God created Adam and Eve. He gave them one rule. They broke it. He got mad, cursed and banished them, and then He had to come up with a plan to fix it. Right?

Wrong

Upon closer examination, study, and deepening my relationship with Jesus, I have come to believe that is not how it happened at all.

What if we read Genesis 1-3 through the lens of Grace? What if we read it, viewing God as a loving Father, not an angry, distant being? One who wants to protect us, give us abundant life, and bring us back into a full, loving relationship with Him. One who wants the best for us, and more than that, can and will give us a life better than we can ever imagine.

That is what I would like to do for the next few posts. Because if we really want to understand who He is; if we really want to see that all of those things I said in my last post are true, we need to go back to the beginning, to where it all started.

For now, I'll leave you with this from Genesis 2:

"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" Genesis 2:15-17 (NIV, emphasis added)

You see, God doesn't say "if you eat of it." He says "when you eat of it." He knew. He knew that Adam and Eve were going to eat it. He knew they were going to introduce sin into the world. He knew they were going to break His heart.

He created them anyway

He knew all of the sins that I was ever going to commit.

He created me anyway

He knew all of the sins that you were ever going to commit.

He created you anyway

Why?

Because your worth to Him, and His love for you are not based on your performance. He loves you unconditionally.

No Matter What

Go back and read that again. Let it sink in. Your worth is not based on your performance. You are valuable simply because you are.

Would you come back next time and keep exploring the grace that's found in the garden, with me?

In the meantime, if you want to read Genesis 1-3 you can do so here. And pray that God will open our eyes to who He really is, and who we are in Him.

Thanks for reading. I love you all. Have a great day, and live in the truth that you are so vaulable.

P.S. I would really love to have a converation with you, and hear what you have to say. The comment feature here is not available yet, but I would love for you to join me at my Facebook Page.

What if He Loved You Enough to Die For You?

What if there was a man who knew everything about you? Everything you have ever done. Everything you have ever thought. Everything you have ever felt. Everything you ever will do, think, or feel. Everything that has ever been or will ever be done to you.

Pretty scary thought right?

But...what if knowing all of that:

  • He loved you anyway? Unconditionally.
  • He called you princess? And meant it.
  • He called you beautiful? And it was true.
  • He called you redeemed? And had the power to redeem you.
  • He called you daughter of the king? Because you are.
  • He called you forgiven? Really, truly, completely forgiven, for ALL of it.
  • He called you clean? And had the power to wash it all away.
  • He called you a new creation? Because with Him you are?

What if knowing all of that, even that thing you are thinking of right now:

  • He died for you?
  • Not only did he die for you, but he came back to life, to love you and have a relationship with you forever?

Would you like to meet this man?

He is real. Very real. I know Him. He has done all of these things for me. I am not the same. I will never be the same because of His love.

It is my heart, and my purpose, with this blog to introduce you to Him. He wants you to know Him. He is pursuing you right now. He will NEVER stop persuing you. You are enough for Him right now, the way you are exactly in this moment.

Do you want to know more about Him? Will you come back tomorrow, as I start to share with you who He is, what He has done for me, and what He wants to do for you?