The Ten Commandments of Blogging

Stumbled upon this today…reblogging for myself as much as anyone. I have gained much by reading blogs…may I diligently return the favor!

A Holistic Journey

1. Thou shalt not waste readers’ time. Offer up thy readers a worthy sacrifice that they might take and be satisfied.

2. Thou shalt honor thy muse. Be prepared in season, out of season to seize inspiration when she comes that ye might write, dance, photograph, paint thy bliss. Be not caught without thy scroll, ink, pen, iGadget, camera. Thou wilt not redeem the moment the locust has eaten.

3. Thou shalt preview thy draft and spell-check before publishing that the Angel of Vengeance shall not fly over thy blog in the night.10commandmts2

4. Always speak ye the truth.

5. Thou shalt not take up the like button in vain, foremost on this blog. It is holystic ground. Thou shalt in integrity read the posts before clicking anything lest thou incite my wrath. Know ye that I see thou couldst not have read four of my brain-intensive posts in one…

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ReBlogged from a Collection of 2000-year-old Blogs

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Just to be sure you understand this format: when the 2000 year-old blog is being posted, the ‘reblog’ will be set apart as quotes, when the narrator is speaking it will appear as a typical post. These words are precious and I don’t want to water them down or take away from their power by my descriptions or declarations. Please let me know if there is confusion over any post.

Blogging is not a new phenomenon. People with a message have always had a burning desire to pass it on. These particular blogs were hand copied by dedicated people over many centuries. After printing was invented, they could be produced in greater numbers but always with an effort to produce a perfect, exact copy of the original. As a result, we have copies today that vary only slightly from the originals, and in most cases can be explained by human transcription errors.

The 21st century just happens to have a really great medium, which can reach people all over the world with incredible speed and minimal cost. Enjoy these timeless words from men and women who witnessed greatness first-hand.

Why it was written:

The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report. He saw it himself and is telling the truth so that you, also, will believe. John 19:35

About the original author:

This is the same disciple who was eyewitness to all these things and wrote them down. And we all know that his eyewitness account is reliable and accurate. John 21: 24

Who Really is JESUS?

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”

Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father. That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”

They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?”

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.” He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn’t yet up. Then he went over the same ground again. “I’m leaving and you are going to look for me, but you’re missing God in this and are headed for a dead end. There is no way you can come with me.”

The Jews said, “So, is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by ‘You can’t come with me’?”

Jesus said, “You’re tied down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I’m living on other terms. I told you that you were missing God in all this. You’re at a dead end. If you won’t believe I am who I say I am, you’re at the dead end of sins. You’re missing God in your lives.”

They said to him, “Just who are you anyway?”

Jesus said, “What I’ve said from the start. I have so many things to say that concern you, judgments to make that affect you, but if you don’t accept the trustworthiness of the One who commanded my words and acts, none of it matters. That is who you are questioning—not me but the One who sent me.” They still didn’t get it, didn’t realize that he was referring to the Father. So Jesus tried again. “When you raise up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am—that I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me. The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn’t abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him.” When he put it in these terms, many people decided to believe.

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”

Surprised, they said, “But we’re descendants of Abraham. We’ve never been slaves to anyone. How can you say, ‘The truth will free you’?”

Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls. I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.”

They were indignant. “Our father is Abraham!” Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would have been doing the things Abraham did. And yet here you are trying to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth he got straight from God! Abraham never did that sort of thing. You persist in repeating the works of your father.”

They said, “We’re not bastards. We have a legitimate father: the one and only God.”

“If God were your father,” said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn’t come on my own. He sent me. Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening—because you’re not on God’s side.”

… They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple. John 8:12-59

Taken from “The Message”. I chose this version of the Bible because it uses language like we might speak today.

So, I was wrong…

OK—‘blessed’ is not over-used. It sure seems like it is. Maybe it is not used appropriately. Maybe even thoughtlessly and that is what bothers me. After mulling it over for this post though,

I think I need to get over it!

After all, I love the thought of receiving blessings. If God wants to bless me or you want to extend God’s blessings to me, why should I care how sincere you are?

From ‘googling’ blessed: Use over time for: blessed

Origin

“Old English blēdsian, blētsian, based on blōd ‘blood’ (i.e., originally perhaps ‘mark or consecrate with blood’). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship,’ and later by association with bliss.”

Cool, cool, cool. Blood…I had no clue, the derivation of ‘bless’ included a reference to blood. Blood is special in the Bible. When it is used as a seal or sacrifice, it signifies the intensity of the promise. It reminds each party involved in the transaction that blood was shed for this promise, so therefore it cannot be broken. God spoke the WORLD into existence with His WORDS. We are made in HIS image and likeness, therefore, our words matter; they make a difference.

What else does ‘bless, blessing, blessed’ mean? The Bible tells us to ‘bless and not curse’.

Romans 12:14 (NLT) “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.”

One of the things I am learning with blogging is the huge place written words have in interpersonal communications. The written word invokes more thought than the spoken word in its creation, delivery and reception. I have learned more about my new fellow bloggers by reading their sites, than the people I spend everyday working beside. That seems so wrong.

So, while I am strengthening my writing skills, I will pay attention to my spoken words. Pronouncing blessings seems to be a good exercise, beautiful and multi-faceted, yes, like a diamond.

It is multi-faceted because I can bless GOD and my fellow-man for all types of situations, for gifts as well as needs. The dictionary seems to focus on the positive aspects of blessings: favor, fortune, luck, privilege, and happiness. While the Bible says we can be blessed, in even seemingly negative circumstances.

Job 5:17 (NIV) declares: “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”

James 1:12 (NIV) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Blessing God…that’s an interesting thought. The Scriptures remind us that our words can bless God. There is it again…a reminder that we say things without thinking about them, well at least I do. Maybe that is why I love the song by Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord). Singing the words creates a moment where I am truly praising the LORD with everything in me. For a moment, I stop thinking about ‘me’ and my needs, my desires. In that moment, I am blessing God just for who He is. I imagine that is what heaven will be like. In His presence all we will want to do is worship (my imaginings). Face-to-face with HIM with our eyes wide open, we will be in awe. We will see, then, the reasons behind suffering and pain, His and ours. We will see HIS love and be overwhelmed.

But for now, we bless HIM with faith. We don’t see fully, we don’t understand fully, but we know He came to live here as one of us and gave us directions as to how to live. We know He gave us HIS WORD to remind, to teach, to comfort, to encourage. And, we bless others. Those we love and those we don’t love. Those that love us and those that hurt us. I saw an incredible video yesterday that I will end with. You must watch it. I don’t know this little one’s age. She is truly one of the ‘little ones’ Jesus said we must be like. Notice her words. She is blessing God, her friend, and her enemies. I am absolutely sure God was blessed by this child’s words, (stay long enough to hear her song at the end). Sat-7 Myriam

Let me bless you…

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT) “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

Half-dead or Dead-dead, which were/are you?

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I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield 1878-1967

Yesterday another blogger asked an important question:

Which of the two ways – there are only two – would you describe how you were saved?

1. You were drowning in a deep pool of water. You were just about to go under. A man on the bank shouted to you to stretch out your hand. You struggled with all your might and managed to stretch out a bit of your exhausted arm. He grabbed your arm and pulled you out. He told you all about yourself and promised you would live forever if you put your trust in him for the rest of your life. You were so grateful that you decided to follow him the rest of your life.

2, You were lying dead at the bottom of the pool. You, of course, didn’t know this because you were dead. A man came dived into the pool, swam to the bottom and dragged you to the surface onto the bank. The “kiss of life” would be of no use because you weren’t half-dead but dead dead. Yet, he brought you back to life. He told you all about yourself and promised that you would live forever if you put your trust in him the rest of your life. You were so filled with joy that you decided to follow him the rest of your life.

This is my response.

Ahhhhhhhh! The second–I was dead-dead. So dead, that I didn’t recognize that the person next to me praying with tears and sobs was praying for ME! I patted her on the leg to comfort her. My boyfriend (future husband, but that was later to be determined) and I were being kind to his parents and attending a ‘camp meeting’. I had just graduated from nursing school, had a boyfriend that said he loved me, and was looking forward to working for a steady paycheck. I was in ‘heaven’ by my definition.

Now, here I was in a really weird church service in the evening and it wasn’t even Sunday. People were praying out loud, bunches of them at the same time. Young people, old people, some of them were walking around the hall that held the meeting. I don’t remember the message, the songs were unfamiliar, but I can vividly picture my friend’s mother sitting next to me on my left, with her handkerchief in her hand and tears rolling down her face. When I asked her if she was OK, she just nodded.

For many years after this I would call this same woman and ask her to pray. I knew whatever was troubling me would be laid at the feet of the only One who could fix things. Dorothy prayed until heaven answered.

The year was 1976. July of that year was to be a big celebration here in the U.S. It was our bicentennial year. One night my boyfriend and I went out to celebrate and watch fireworks. I should have been having fun, celebrating everything that had happened recently. But, my ‘heavenly’ existence, didn’t seem that satisfying! Here I was walking through the best time of my life–and still not satisfied. Actually, I remember feeling disappointed and empty. That evening, after we came ‘home’ (we were living together–a real NO-NO to everyone at the time) I was sitting on the sofa and my boyfriend was in the back room.

I was thinking.

Then, I can’t tell you how I knew, but I knew. Just as real as my computer before me is right now, I knew God was real. I knew HE existed. The next thing I knew, or felt, was an overwhelming sadness. It wasn’t my sadness. It was as if GOD were sad. He was sad that my life could be so much more. There is something gut wrenching about someone who responds to your stupidity with sadness. Beat me over the head, yell at me, I can walk away. But respond with love and sadness, I have to stop……at least for a moment.

Well, if God is real, maybe I need to do something about that. No, wait, I need to do something RIGHT NOW! I may go back to forgetting HE is real. I may go back to my cynical, Nietsche-loving, Stalin-pondering idealogies.

But wait, this guy that says he loves me, what about him? He is going to think I am some kind of weirdo. Well, God, you will just need to find me another. It seemed like I needed to make some changes, and quickly, before I dismissed this whole thing as indigestion.

I got up, walked to the back of the apartment where I thought my boyfriend was studying. I told him, “I need to be a Jesus freak.” (That’s what we called sold-out believers back in the day.)

He responded something like, “me too. I was just sitting here thinking, I could never marry someone who did not believe in God.”

No one can ever tell me there is no Holy Spirit; a Being so awesome, who works in the hearts of men. I didn’t realize that at the moment, I just knew that I gave up the love of my life in the front room and received him back in the back room. Except now, he was all dressed up as a man of God! I still remember this scene with awe. Who wouldn’t want to follow a God like this! I thought I was giving to Him–He gave so much more to me…………

I can actually see each of the above scenarios bringing the same results. I think the eventual outcome is what is important. Half-dead or dead-dead, things are not looking good. Realizing that you cannot do it for yourself is the key to salvation.

Thoughts?

Ephesians 2:3-9 (NLT)

All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

God Loves YOU SO MUCH!

Before Jesus came to earth, suffered and died for our indiscretions (rebellion and sin against God), the Presence of God was resident in only one place: the Holy of Holies. Wherever Israel set up camp, the ‘temple’ was also set up. At first it was a tent with surrounding grounds bordered by curtains. Then later, with King Solomon, an actual temple was built. It consisted of three sections: the Outer Court, Inner Court and the Holy of Holies.

All people could enter the Outer Court. Only the priests could enter the Inner Court and only with restrictions such as: no alcoholic drinks, no diseases, and no reason to be unclean or defiled. But, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. He could go behind the veil that separated the Inner Court from the Presence of God usually only once a year and only after an elaborate purification process. If he failed to perform the purification process properly or had some other reason to be unworthy to enter the Presence, he would drop dead in the Presence of God. Evidently this happened on occasion, because it was customary to tie a rope around the High Priest’s leg when he went in, in case he did die. No one wanted to go in after the body, but with the rope, they could just drag him out.

After the death of Jesus, when He said ‘it is finished’ and the curtain was torn in two, then symbolically, God was giving all men the ability to enter His Presence.

50 days later at the celebration of Pentecost, the Presence of God dwelling with His people became a reality. The Spirit of God appeared suddenly in the Upper Room as a mighty rushing wind where the 120 were gathered. They were gathered there because Jesus had told them (Acts 1: 4-5) to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.

When the wind came—the Holy Spirit appeared as a fire, which split and rested on each person there. They then carried with them the Holy Spirit as evidenced among other things by speaking in foreign tongues and prophesying.

About 4000 years of planning, teaching, prophesying, and sacrificing led up to the death and resurrection of Christ. Then 50 days later, God sealed the deal. Ephesians 1: 13-14 says:

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

We do not belong to ourselves.

We were purchased with a price.

1 Cor 6:19-20 (NLT) “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

Doll and Pocketknife

My dad was an air conditioner repairman when I was little, before I was in kindergarten. At that time it was me and two little sisters plus my mom and dad. Christmas was special, but we didn’t have a lot of spare cash. My favorite toy as a child was my Tiny Tears. I remember how amazing she was. She had rockabye eyes; she could drink cry real tears and wet her diaper! Guys, I know you understand how cool this was—right?

Well, back in the day—if you were a guy—you probably had a pocketknife with you all the time! (Check your pocket—got one now?) What do a doll and a pocketknife have to do with my thoughts here? Think about it—what do these things represent to us? Fun, special times, maybe sacrifice, family memories, comfort, can all be tied up in this knife or this doll.

Now, you are not a doll or pocketknife to God—and you are WAY MORE precious to Him than that doll was to me. He knows every cute little thing you do. Every funny word, every nice gesture, every hair on your head—He knows and delights in them all. Read Psalm 139 if you want a CRAZY list of everything God knows about us! Or, read Psalm 121, if you want some reassurance that HE NEVER SLEEPS, HE IS NEVER OFF HIS GAME, and yes—that means He knows you.

You are so precious to God that, when you tell Him you want to be a member of His family and confess your sin, and put your faith in what Jesus did on the cross; Ephesians chapter 1 says he seals you with the Holy Spirit.

Did you read the passage above in Ephesians? Did you REALLY read it? Here it is again,

“You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

Wow! You can be sealed. You can be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit! Think about that as you go about your business this next week. I would bet the Israelites would be pretty pumped about that thought!

I know it is changing me—just focusing on that one thought. How will it change you? Will it give you great peace? Will it make you more careful how you go about your day? Probably both! My parents paid for me to get braces on my teeth when I was in High School. I so appreciated the sacrifice they made, that I have always taken care of my teeth; making regular dental appointments, etc., This has meant something to me for all my adult life–and that is just braces on my teeth.

Find something that means a lot to you—a picture, a pocketknife—put it where you can see it. Every time you see it, let it remind you that God is watching and rejoicing over you. Zephaniah 3:17 says

“For the lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Broken Covenant

In another blog, I talked about the first covenant with Adam. A covenant at its base is an agreement with a condition. This could be enough, when both parties consent, to form the covenant. However ‘covenant’ also has the idea that it is not casual consent. Each party pledges themselves and all they are, their honor, their name, and their possessions to one another.

The partaking of a meal, the exchanging of gifts or names can further signify a covenant. It is an agreement full of honor. However honorable a covenant may be though, it can still be broken.

Sometimes when we read a familiar writing or hear a familiar song we know so well, we no longer hear what is being said. Take the children’s nursery rhyme ‘Ring Around the Rosie’. As a young person growing up, I know I recited this poem, dancing around in a circle of friends, to see who would be the last to ‘fall down’. It wasn’t until I was an adult and heard there was another meaning to this rhyme, did I really examine the words and realize the macabre reality behind it.

With this in mind, I would suggest we take a look at the first part of the Book of Genesis from a new vantage point. For some of you, it will be to get behind each word and imagine the scenery, the awesomeness of Adam’s position and the incredible relationship he had with the Creator of the universe. For others, you will need to lay aside the skeptical view you have fostered, maybe for many years, and imagine (for just a moment) it could all be written exactly as it happened. Imagine that a loving awesome all-powerful God decided to create a world where He could interact and have a deep friendship with His creation. Imagine.

We know from the Bible that God gave the earth and all living creatures to Adam to rule over. (Genesis 1:26-28) Then in Genesis 2:16-17 God draws a line. God has created Adam in His own image. God has been in relationship with Adam. He has given him the position of authority over all creation with one caveat: Adam must respect God’s boundary. All creation depends on this fact: Adam must remain in harmony with God. This harmony rests on one condition. Adam must not eat of this one single tree in the garden.

But, without this condition, Adam is just a slave. He has no free will. A true friendship, a love relationship, is not free if it is forced. If I say “YOU MUST LOVE ME!” there is no love.

And, at just the right moment, if God jumped in to beat back Satan, He would be in violation of His covenant with Adam. He can’t say, (not Bible–my thoughts) “Well Adam, I am sorry, I take it back, you cannot be the ruler of the Garden. I can see you are not capable. Sorry, I made a mistake.” If He does this He is not true to His nature as God. He would be faithless. The garden was a gift to Adam. Your life is a gift to you. He had to allow Adam to choose.

And choose Adam does. (me again) “Sorry God, not this time. I know you said I would die, that’s why I let Eve eat first. And really, ‘Good’ is so ‘yesterday’. Been there, done that.”

Is your heart breaking? Mine is. Do you have children? Do you know a loved one or friend who is making/has made bad choices? Did you warn them? Did you watch and realize the choice was not yours?

I wonder what God felt? He knew. And yet, He made us with free will. He wanted a real relationship: a real love relationship. Genesis 3:8 says “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”

God, all-knowing, all-loving, all-merciful, is searching for Adam. Maybe He is searching Adam. Maybe He is ready to forgive. But, Adam and Eve are not ready to repent. He did, she did, it did, not me! Mercy cannot be received without acknowledgement of the transgression.

So God starts the process. The way of salvation is begun. How can a holy, perfect, sinless Being commune with rebellion? Only sacred life-blood can cover sin. God sheds the blood of an animal, one He has lovingly created, and takes its skin as a sign that the shame of Adam and Eve’s nakedness (rebellion) is covered. With the covering comes a partial restoration of their relationship. It is just an ‘atonement’. The Hebrew word atonement means covering. It can only cover their transgression. God teaches them to continue this tradition to remain in relationship to Him. (We know this because later in Genesis, Abel offers an animal sacrifice to God. Genesis 4:3)

Many years later, after Mankind is ready to ask for forgiveness, a true offering will be made. When Mankind becomes weary of sacrifices and traditions.

Then and only then, an offering that is a perfect representation of Man will be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Once this perfect sacrifice is offered…it will be finished. The atonement will not be a covering; it will be a propitiation…a perfect substitution for the sin of every man. This perfect sacrifice—Jesus—will once and for all shed His blood so that Man can be forgiven.

I woke up this morning with the words to an old Isaac Watts hymn on my mind:

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were an offering far too small;

Love so amazing so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Jesus, the NAME above all NAMES, thank you. What can I say? How do I express my thanks for what you were willing to do? And WHY? I know there are times when the ‘apple’ still looks good to me. Even though, like Adam and Eve, I have known you. It could have been me instead of Eve, or Judas, or Peter; I could just as easily have betrayed you. But, you always hang in there with me. You continually extend your hand of friendship towards me. You don’t turn your back on me. Your name is Faithful and True. All I can offer is a humble thank you.

Another Covenant

What does covenant look like then in the Bible? When God placed Man in the garden, there was a covenant relationship established between God and Adam.

Genesis 2:15-17 tells us “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

So, what is this? It is an agreement with a condition (oath covenant). (paraphrase) “Adam you may have supremacy over this place. It is yours. I put you in charge. But, just so we are clear, just so I KNOW you will honor our agreement, there is a condition. You must not eat of the fruit of this one tree.” Why do you think God put a condition on this promise to Adam? It could have been anything! Adam, don’t eat from………this tree over HERE! Or, don’t wash in THIS STREAM! Or, don’t touch THE FLOWERS ON THIS BUSH! Get the picture? It was just a line, drawn by God, that Adam was not to cross. Why did God do this? Why was it absolutely necessary for God to say that?

Well would free will have anything to do with it? God had made Adam in His very own likeness. God had given Adam the Garden, something of his own to take care of, to cultivate. However, without a choice did he really have free will? If you cannot choose one from another, then NO you do not have free will. You have what your father has given you, nothing more.

Interesting, that Eve is not on the scene yet. Read the next verse: Genesis 2:18 Then the lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

Here’s a recap so far.

  • God made the earth and everything in it.
  • God made Man separately and different. He gave him dominion over creation, with one condition; he could not eat of one particular tree.
  • God saw that Adam needed a mate. In verses 21-23 God creates Eve and presents her to Adam. (Adam is pretty excited!)

Then comes the saddest chapter in the Bible. Genesis chapter 3. We don’t know how long it took to get to this point, but in comes the serpent. And…Eve seems like she is close to the forbidden tree. It appears that Adam told her what God’s command was, but she is walking close……..

Stop here. I realize I believe the Bible is divinely inspired. This means that every word, every scene, has had HIS personal stamp of approval. I also realize that I am human, and as such, was not there when this scene was played out. God ends up cursing the serpent, so it sounds like a real creature. If I were Eve, and a serpent started talking to me, I wouldn’t hang around. But, maybe this was the hundredth time he had spoken to her. And, isn’t that how we are tempted? At first, it may seem horrific, we run. But, over time, the horror is lost and we start to entertain the titillation of the action. Then we plot ways to creep up NEXT to it, but not partake. At this point we have probably lost the battle to stay pure, but we don’t accept that. We can still run, we reason…….just one more look.

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In comes the Tempter…….and in Genesis 3:6, “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.”

WAIT! Adam was THERE with her! WHOA! Adam, what were you doing? You are master over all of the creation. A creepy snake is talking to your woman and you are just standing there? The Bible always refers to the sin of Man as Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man”) Eve was the first to partake, but Adam was in charge. This sin was a huge deal. Up until now, the Garden was in perfect harmony with God. When God had finished creation (Gen 1:31) He looked over it and pronounced it very good.

There was a choice to break harmony, but it had not been exercised. Now look at the contrast:

  • they felt naked, (Gen 3:7)
  • they felt fear, and hid from God, (Gen 3:8)
  • they felt shame and blamed each other, the serpent, and even GOD for their transgression. (Gen 3:12-13)

Prior to this, there was no sin on earth. God (who is sinless) could walk among His creation. He walked with Adam during the day (wonder what those conversations were like)! When Adam sinned, something happened, something terrible, something that could not be erased. There was separation between God and Man. Adam saw that he was naked because the glory of God left him. (Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) What was left was raw and fearful and ugly. The Garden was not very good any longer. It was out of harmony with God.

So, what do Adam and Eve do? They sew fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. What do we do when we realize we have done wrong? We construct righteousness for ourselves! We try to make fig leaf excuses to cover our actions. Another name for this is self-righteousness! They hid from God! When God said “Adam where are you?”, (Gen 3:9) He knew where they were. It seems like God is giving Adam a chance to say he is sorry. Ah, if only we would come to God with our failures, our messes, instead of trying to fix them ourselves. Could this be why so many these days deny God even exists? If HE is real, we have to face our wrongs.

If He doesn’t exist………………..we’re good.