Did Adam and Eve really have it that easy?

Genesis 2:15 – “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

I find it interesting that even in the opening book of the Bible, God didn’t tell man to “have fun,” but to work and keep the Garden of Eden. Here, in what is probably the second best area to ever live (Heaven being the best), man is told he will have to work. He is given a mission, and fails miserably at it.

Recently, I read that when you hear of someone else that has fallen, don’t judge, but first realize that you too are a sinner – just as capable of falling into the same sin that the other person has. Here, Adam, as one of us, the first man, proved that failure is going to happen. What matters next is how we respond to it. Later in the book of Genesis, we see how Adam responded (by hiding from God). We too, are so guilty of trying to hide from God. Why can’t we learn from other’s mistakes?

Furthermore, in Genesis 2:19 we also see that it was Adam’s mission to name all the animals. Today, we sometimes take “mission” work to the extreme and think we have to “go” somewhere to do God’s work. But there is MUCH work to be done in our hometowns. Please let’s not forget our hometowns. Sometimes I wonder how the poor people near our churches feel about us going elsewhere to care for others when there are so many within just miles of our church that need help.

Go and make disciples, but don’t forget to start at home! Adam and Eve had a mission to carry out that God gave them. Just like you and I, God wants us to succeed. He knows that we might “miss the boat” (so to speak) on occassion, but if you do, get back up, and start fresh again.

Try to follow God in everything you do. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it!

Do you hear what I hear?

Paul writes to the Romans in chapter 1:

Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world.  God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son.   One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. – Romans 1:8-12

What a way to start a letter! Paul says he thanks GOD for their faith. And what about their faith? It’s so huge that it’s being talked about  “all over the world.” That, by itself, could be a great sermon. How great is thy faithfulness (except talking about the human side). I would love to get a letter saying someone thanks God because of me. Wouldn’t you?

Yet Paul continues to let them know that he prays for them. Wow, they are yet another recipient of good things! Prayers (even without the request) are being poured out on them day and night

Finally, Paul mentions that he wants to bring the Romans a gift. What kind of gift? A spiritual gift. And here’s the interesting part, Paul says, “I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”

Do you hear what I hear? Paul, one of the greatest, if not THE greatest apostle mentions that he too, desires encouragement. It doesn’t matter what position we hold in church or ministry. We ALL need encouragement. So when you see a fellow Christian that is depressed or down, take time to encourage them. Let them know how much the Lord loves them!

Christians should understand the unfailing and enduring love that God shows us, but that doesn’t stop us from needing encouragement. Paul reminds us that encouragement goes both ways. Not just from leadership down, but also up and sideways.

Do you hear what I hear Paul say? Lift up your brother or sister in Christ today. Let them know that you care ,and so does God. Encourage each other. 

Therefore encourage each other with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:18

There is no other…

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12

Some people may be opposed to hearing the statement above. However, it is the absolute truth and was stressed by Jesus as well:

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

Some view these passages as being narrow minded. They claim that “it just can’t be.”

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14

But instead of focusing on or worrying about how narrow the path is, we should focus on Thanking God for providing an escape route – a way for us to have eternal life. Although the path is narrow, there IS a surefire path. And that path is through Jesus.

No where in the Bible does it tell us to have “religion” to get to Heaven. Religion doesn’t save us. Going to church doesn’t save us. An on-line poll from AOL showed what people thought about heaven:

What is the key to getting into heaven?

  • 65.5%  Living a good life.      
  • 26.7%  Having connections to someone at the top.   
  •    2.7%  Helping old ladies cross the street.      
  •     1.9%  Slipping St. Peter $20.00.     
  •     0.5% Having a strong letter of reference.  
  •     1.2%  Making a deal with the devil.    

Are you going to heaven?

  • Yes.   89.8%
  • No.     10.2%

These results are SCARY! 65.5% think living a “good life” gets you to Heaven. And 89.8% of people that took the survey think they have a reservation already.

We need to “Go” (as Jesus would say) and start DISCIPLING people. Jesus is the ONLY WAY. There is no other way! Let’s make sure people know, Go and Tell!

It’s working!

Don’t be like most people and think, “God just doesn’t work through me.” I’ve felt this way before too, but it’s just not true!

The other night, I was at the grocery store when someone asked me excitedly: “Where did you get that shirt?” I was wearing the 2009 Big Oak “RU^2…the challenge: a disciple of Christ” T-shirt. What I later found out is that the person inquiring about it had seen these shirts “everywhere.”

I was amazed to see that God was at work through what we wear! That’s right, we are witnessing with our clothes! I didn’t even have to say anything to her – she started the conversation!

“Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say” – Matthew 10:19

That’s the honest truth! I didn’t have to worry about giving my testimony, or even talk about where I go to church…or why. The other person initiated the conversation and we just talked – that simple! God provided the words for me to have a casual conversation about Him without me preparing to give a “5-step How to be saved from sin” message to an unbeliever.

But first…you must DO SOMETHING, even if it’s just through the clothes you wear (this is a non-verbal witness that speaks to everyone who sees you). Show the world something about our God and watch them come and ask us about Him. People are curious! Help spur that curiousity, and give them a reason to talk to you about God.

What a wonderful way to witness and change the world!

Will Power

Do you have Will Power? You may first think I’m talking about the ability to stay on a diet, or an exercise program, etc. However, I’m talking about the kind of “Will Power” that relates to God’s Will in our lives. Do you have the “Power” to follow God’s Will?

If not, you are probably like many others that struggle to understand just what “God’s Will” is in your life. You live one day to the next, not knowing. But are you trying to determine God’s Will for your life?

How, you ask? By speaking with God. How else do we discover what is required of us except through communication? Therefore, I ask, “Are you communicating with God? Are you praying DAILY to seek His Will? Are you reading your Bible DAILY to determine what He wants to say to you?”

If you haven’t started these good habits, I challenge you to start them today. Without communication, the world becomes a bunch of mindless people never able to accomplish anything. Start today and try to find God’s Will for your life.

God tells us “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7) However, as we discover God’s Will for our lives, we may not be happy with the response. Be prepared for what you may soon find out about God’s Will for YOUR life.

Several years ago, I sought God’s Will for my life. I discovered that God wanted me to be a regular part of His ministry and to start by attending Seminary. From a financial perspective, my family was not prepared for it, but the clarity with which He spoke to me gave me the “Will Power” I needed to follow His Will. Today, He continues to give me signs and speaks through others to me, guiding my life along His paths.

Be prepared for God to speak to you! Reach down deep in your soul, renew your faith, and be prepared to follow God. You’ll need some tremendous Will Power on occasions, but I’ve found that Romans 8:28 is comforting and true:

“All things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

When we follow His ways, our lives become so much more pleasant for us, and a pleasing aroma to God.