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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

# 33 Shrouded Intimacy

The Book of Genesis Day 33 Ge 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Adam and Eve have now both tasted of the fruit. They now have intimate knowledge of what is good and what is evil. The Law of God has entered the DNA of mankind, and it is written on the hearts of every conceived human being. Ro 2:15 gives mention of this fact: “who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)” What’s the first thing that their eyes notice, that they had never paid much attention to before? They look at their reproductive organs, which, when you think about it, serve as a picture of intimacy or a joining together of two human beings. So this nibbling of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has somehow revealed to Adam and Eve that intimacy has been tainted. Perfect intimacy with each other has become soiled, and perfect intimacy with God has been marred. What to do? How about covering up these symbols with fig leaves. Perhaps then the imperfections won’t be noticed, and you know, out of sight and out of mind, and we can just continue living as we were before we sinned. This whole scenario is so sad. Adam and Eve were living in a world with perfect intimacy with God, each other, and nature, and now it’s all gone! Maybe, with these coverings on, they might still be able to dwell in intimacy, but alas, perfect intimacy is now shrouded.. You know, we try to do the same thing even today. We go through all sorts of exercises to cover our sins and we think somehow that it’s possible to have “partial intimacy” with God. But Isa 59:2 reminds us: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear”. We justify our sins, we try to make up for them by being a “good” person in other areas of our lives, but we need to stop kidding ourselves. Intimacy with a holy God can only be restored through a complete absence of sin, and complete absence of sin or righteousness can only be imparted by grace through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ! Fig leaves won’t cut it on judgment Day, only the robe of the righteousness of Christ will suffice. Ro 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” We put on the robe of Christ when we are baptized, Ga 3:27 “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” And we keep Him on through enduring faith! Reflect: Have you ever had an epic fail when trying to patch something up? In what ways do you see people, (maybe even yourself) trying to cover sins? Speaking of heaven, the Apostle Paul writes in 1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.This speaks of restored perfect intimacy. What would be” heavenly” about that? Pray: Father, thank you for the gift of Jesus and the promise of restored intimacy. Forgive us when we sin, and convict us of any and all attempts to cover our sin apart from the death and resurrection of Your Son and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Amen

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

# 32 Peer Pressure

The Book of Genesis Day 32 Ge 3:6b, “ She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. So, how did Adam get sucked into this? The Bible doesn’t say much about Adam’s involvement. We are told here that he merely was “with her and he ate.” We get a little more of the story in Ge 3:17a: “ Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': Here we find that Eve audibly asked Adam to partake of the fruit. And in 1Ti 2:14, we see that Adam was not tempted one on one by the serpent, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” Perhaps we can say that even Eve didn’t try to delude, deceive, or trick Adam into eating it. She just invited him to try it, and he did. Was Adam with Eve when the serpent tempted her? Was he Evesdropping? (Pun intended) We really don’t know, the timing of this event is not included in the narrative, and it would be foolish on our part to speculate. One thing we do know, Eve had already “fallen into transgression.” She was up to her nostrils in sin, and have you ever noticed that people caught up in sin, will try to get you caught up in it as well? Call it peer pressure if you will, but you’ll see it in the bars and at parties where alcohol and drugs are available. You’ll see it in sexual promiscuity, you’ll experience it when filling out your taxes, or pilfering supplies at work, “C’mon, everyone else is doing it!” It’s like, if we can get others to sin with us, it won’t be so bad. This “peer pressure” is as old as the hills. The writer of Proverbs tells us in the very first chapter, “My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.”(verse 1) ; “Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse" –“ (verse 14) “My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;” (Verse 15) And in Ps 1:1 we read, “ Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners,” How about that! The first words of the Psalms, and the first chapter of the Book of Proverbs, deal with this subject and warn us against yielding to the social pressure to sin. Seems to me, this is rather important stuff. Knowing the pressure to sin will come from all quarters, (even your closest friends) and knowing the place God gives this topic in His Word will help you to resist when the pressure is applied to you! Pray the Holy Spirit will give you the will to resist when those temptations come your way. Reflect: Give some examples of peer pressure that you experienced when you were young. Give some examples of peer pressure that you have recently experienced. What are some ways to handle peer pressure? Memorize Pr 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. Pray: God, forgive me for the times I have put the pressure on others to join in my sin, and give me the strength to resist the temptations of society whenever they come my way. Thank You for forgiving me when I fail.

Monday, August 14, 2017

# 31 The Surest Defense Against Temptation

The Book of Genesis Day 31 Ge 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Satan not only assures Eve she will not die if she eats of the fruit, (for he is a liar and the father of it Jn 8:44) but tells her that God only placed that warning on the fruit so He can have all of its benefits to Himself! He convinces Eve that by tasting the fruit she will be like God, knowing good and evil! Hmmmmm, what a deal! Eve then tosses a few things around in her mind before she eats of the fruit. #1. “It sure seems like it would be good for me.” That is what 1 Jn 2:16 calls “the lust of the flesh.” “ For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world”. #2. “It’s very pleasant to my eyes.” John calls that, “the lust of the eyes.” #3. “This would make me as wise as God!” and the Holy Spirit, speaking through John calls that “the pride of life.” Why is this important to know? It’s important because these are the three basic temptations we will face in the world. Satan used the same three angles to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. #1. He said, “turn these stones into bread,” appealing to the yearnings of the flesh #2 “See the kingdoms of the world I will give them to you.” Appealing to the lust of the eyes. #3. “Throw yourself off this temple and don’t crash land! Show the people in spectacular fashion that You are God!” Appealing to pride. Jesus answered all three times with this simple statement. “It is written!” and then quoted appropriate Scripture! If Eve would’ve only remembered that response, paradise wouldn’t have been lost. The devil: “This fruit seems good to eat Eve.” Eve: “It is written, you shall not eat of this tree.” Devil: “This fruit is pleasing to the eyes.” Eve: “It is written, don’t eat of this tree.: Devil: “This tree will make you wise.” Eve: “I don’t care what you say it will do, it is written, do not eat of this tree.!” That’s all she had to remember, and she couldn’t do it! Well, the Book has certainly gotten bigger since the days of Adam and Eve and there are a lot more things that have been written concerning how we are to live God-pleasing lives. That’s why it is so important that you and I get familiar with the Word of God and “what is written.” Because temptations will come to our flesh, our eyes, and our egos, and we need to be ready for them. Ps 119:11says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” And when we fail, as Eve did, remember it is written in 1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Reflect: What are some things (other than verses from the Bible) that you know by heart? Do you know any Bible verses by heart? How would memorization of key verses help you in your Christian life? Pray: Father, Your Word is indeed a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Help us to have the discipline to spend more time in Your Word storing it up for our time of need. Amen. Amen.

Friday, August 11, 2017

# 30 Beware of Man-made Rules

The Book of Genesis Day 30 Ge 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" As I read this, I can’t help but wonder if Eve has been skipping her morning devotions! Either that, or Adam has been remiss in his duty as spiritual head of the household! It seems that God’s Word concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has become a bit muddled, or a vague recollection to Eve. Note what she says concerning God’s rule about the tree. She doesn’t even mention it by name! It has become a tree somewhere in the “midst of the garden.” Notice too, that she has added to the command of the Lord. God never told Adam that he could not touch the tree or the fruit. He said he could not eat of the fruit! This rule was likely added with good intentions I’m sure, after all, you can’t eat something if you don’t touch it first! It’s a safeguard right?.......Wrong! A man-made rule, cannot keep you from sinning! Only the power and grace of God can do that! Think about the effect of this man-made rule. Once Satan has convinced Eve that she will not die if she tastes of the fruit, and in fact convinced her that the fruit will be good for her, she decides to pluck one off the tree. If God had made the “no touch” rule, Eve would’ve felt some conviction before touching it, but since there was no conviction she picked the fruit. Nothing happened! Of course nothing happened! This was not God’s rule, but she thought it was, and now she was really questioning God. Why can’t I eat this? The fruit looks good for food. It certainly is pleasant to the eyes. I touched it and nothing happened……”Did God really say?” And crunch she bites into the fruit, the hook is set, and sin enters the world. Man-made rules or legalism never keep us from sinning, in fact, it’s just the opposite. They pave the way for rebellion. Let us purpose to keep God’s Word fresh in our hearts. It is the surest defense from committing the grave error of adding to it or subtracting from it! Reflect: Warning: Wet paint! Have you ever touched the paint anyway? What do you think compels us to do that? The Pharisees had 39 categories of work that was forbidden on the Sabbath, and hundreds of man made rules added to those categories. Do you think these rules helped them observe the spirit of the Sabbath? What are some man-made rules that have surfaced in the church? What’s the best way to tell the difference between “man-made” rules and God’s rules? Pray: Father, forgive us. Often in our zeal to please you and guard against sin, we add rules that You never intended. Help us to discern the difference and experience the joy and freedom that living by Your rules was meant to bring us! Amen.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

#29 The Oldest Trick In the Book

The Book of Genesis Day 29 Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" So here we are, man and woman, man and wife. There is no shame in their lives, no guilt, because up to this point they are without sin. We are not told how long this state lasted. We only know that it changed, and this portion of Scripture tells us how that change took place. Of all the animals in the world, that God had created, the serpent was the most cunning. By “cunning” , we mean that it was sly, smooth, subtle. The physical characteristics of a snake fit the personality of the devil and his mode of operation perfectly. It’s slithering movement on the ground speaks of smoothness and stealth. It is a very clever hunter. It disguises itself well through camouflage. ( 2Co 11:14 “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”) Snakes have clear eyelids giving the impression of constant vigilance. (1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”) Yes, he doesn’t miss a thing, constantly observing our actions and habits, knowing our weak points and exploiting them whenever he can! How appropriate that Satan would choose the serpent to possess in order to accomplish his fiendish work of temptation with Eve. Listen to the first words that he hisses out of his mouth, “Has God indeed said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” With those words, he planted the seed of doubt, that great enemy of faith! This is still one of his most effective weapons against you and I as he seeks to entice us to sin against God or to keep us from stepping out in faith and doing God’s will, or to not trust God’s promises! How often has the word of the Lord come to you while reading Scripture or hearing it preached and you know God is speaking to you! He is telling you to do something, or not do something, or to trust a promise, and you walk away with good intentions, but as time goes by, you get caught up with the affairs of this life, and God’s commands and promises become distant, and suddenly Satan is right there whispering, “Did God really say?” You start to doubt, and waver. Sin follows, or a blessing is missed because you doubted God’s word! That’s why it is so important for you and I to get into the Word of God and let it get into us. We need to learn to act on it when it’s fresh, and we keep it fresh through daily meditation and prayer. When we don’t, that ever open eye of the devil sees it, and it is just a matter of time before he’ll come slithering our way hoping to trap us, entangle us, and squeeze the spiritual life right out of us! Reflect: What comes to your mind when you think of a snake? Have you ever had an encounter with a snake? When the devil tempted Jesus, what was our Lord’s response? (Mt 4:4) Do you presently have a daily time of prayer and meditation? Pray: Father God, forgive us for not spending time with You and Your Word. Help us to store up Your Word in our hearts so that we may not sin against you. Help us to be all we can be as Your children while we learn to trust and obey Your Word. Amen

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

# 28 The Cruel Message of Disappointment

The Book of Genesis Day 28 Ge 2: 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. From Sunday School on, we have heard these words, but not many of us stop and ponder the depth of what is being said here! Let’s try to fix that today! So, Adam and Eve are running around naked and weren’t ashamed, what’s the big deal about that? I mean, who needs modesty when there is no one else around? But listen, and this is very important, even if there were thousands of people around at this time, they would not have been ashamed! Remember, this is before sin entered their souls. The nakedness of others would not come into play because as the song goes, “I Only Have Eyes For You!”It was one man, one woman, for life! The word “ashamed” here, means “disappointed.” In this perfect world Adam and Eve were not “disappointed” with each other, but then sin came along, and man’s heart was open to the possibility of disappointment, and you begin to see why clothing was brought into the picture, lest the door to disappointment was blown off its hinges! (A good reminder to all of us to dress modestly, stop stirring up the pot of disappointment in others! This “disappointment” is the cruel message that the unfaithful spouse sends to his or her mate. “I am disappointed with you.” Can there be anything more devastating to another’s self-esteem? Every time a spouse is caught in unfaithfulness, this is screamed into the other spouses ear! Every time a spouse is caught viewing pornography, the message is megaphoned home, and every time a head is caught turning to check out someone alluring, the message is the same. “I am disappointed in you!” Do you see why Jesus said even the lustful look constitutes adultery? It gets back to the truth that the person who is your spouse was made in the image of God. God brought the two of you together and made you one in matrimony. Your marriage is God’s doing and adultery not only says “I’m disappointed in my spouse…..but I’m disappointed in God! Well, what to do? Do what you do with all other sins! Confess them, turn away from them, receive God’s forgiveness, and then like that woman caught in the act of adultery, (being a party to spousal disappointment) go, and sin no more! And what do we do for that spouse who was so deeply hurt? Ask for forgiveness, then live like you mean it. Ask God to help you get back to the original intent of this command. He meant for spouse to become one in body and mind without a thought of being disappointed with each other. Let your spouse know at every opportunity that you are not disappointed with him or her! As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: Eph 5:28,29, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Think this through! The one who commits adultery in mind or body is really saying that they are disappointed with themselves because in marriage, they have been made one with their spouse! It’s just as Solomon wrote in Prov 6:32, “ a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.” Disappointment with each other will come, and the devil is more than eager to go to work in these cases providing opportunities to express that disappointment. Let us battle through them with mutual forgiveness and a commitment to remain one. God would have it no other way! Reflect: Name one of your biggest life disappointments Have you ever experienced a disappointed look or reprimand from someone? How can this verse in Genesis help you in the way you treat your spouse? Pray: Oh God, help us! Help Your married children to stop sending this signal to each other and help us battle through the times that we fall short! Help husbands to stop sending signals that they are disappointed with their wife, and help wives stop sending signals that they are disappointed with their husband, because we are destroying ourselves and each other as we make a mockery of the institution that You love. Amen

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

# 27 The Wow Factor

The Book of Genesis Day 27 Ge 2:22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. I love to hear the stories of how “husbands and wives” meet. Everyone has their own unique story, but it’s usually not too difficult to see God at work in the situation. He “brings!” I met my wife to be, when I was in the Navy stationed at Great Lakes. I had a weekend pass, and went to a teen bar not far from my home in Milwaukee in Hartford, Wisconsin called Marty Zivco’s. My wife didn’t do teen bars, but on a night out with some college friends she made an exception, and the moment she walked into this very crowded dance hall, I spotted her and my heart skipped a beat! I felt a very strong attraction to her. Fifty years later, here we are, married for 47 years, and my heart still skips a beat when I see her walk into a room. I believe that God brought her to me just as sure as he brought Eve to Adam These words of Adam, are the first recorded words spoken by man. “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” These words are Old Testament talk for “Wow!” Can you catch the tone of wonderment in his words? Do you see how special she was in his eyes? “This woman came from me! She is part of me! I will treasure her, and handle her with care. I will protect her and love her as I would protect and love myself! And God replied and said, “That’s right Adam! This is the very reason that a man will leave home and be joined together in marriage with his counterpart. They will be re-joined and become one flesh again!” Adam’s rib becomes part of Adam again, and he is to ever view her as part of him. She shall become like his own flesh to him. Eph 5:28,29 puts it this way: “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”Guys, we need to let these truths sink in! Remember the wow factor when God brought you and your wife together to meet for the first time! Then remember the reality of God-ordained marriage! The two become one flesh! Treat her as such! Cherish her, love, her, honor her, protect her, she is part and parcel of you! Reflect If you are married, recall how you and your spouse first met. How was God’s hand at work? What would change in your marriage if you both knew and believed that “the two become one?” If you’re single, how will these truths change your outlook on marriage? Pray: God, it’s a miracle, from the bringing together of male and female to the joining of the two to become one in marriage, it is something we may never fully understand, but let us acknowledge it and cherish it, till death do us part. Amen