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“Those” Seasons

Hello friends!  It’s been a while since I’ve added to my blog.  For the last few months I’ve been in one of “those” seasons.  Loss, heartache, questioning, along with so many conversations with God and His Holy Spirit.  As James reminds us,

“Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  

And ain’t that the truth.  

We have a few roads from which to choose when we go through our difficult seasons.  We can beg the Lord to go back to the familiar and comfortable.  We can rush our minds to the other side of the trial either imagining an outcome far worse or far better than we hope or fear.  Or we can learn a bit from Jesus’ brother and “let this perseverance finish its work so we can be mature and complete.”  In other words, we live in this God-given moment right now, seeking His blessings, seeking His voice, and seeking the lessons to be learned.  

The day I wrote this post my devotional reminded me to not work for food that perishes but for the food which endures eternal life. (Charles Stanley, Every Day in His Presence) I was admonished to change my point of view and not focus on the problems right in front of me but rather what God’s interest is in developing me for His eternal purpose.  And very importantly, asking for help in learning His lessons quickly so that His peace and strength would again be my resting place.

During these last few months I’ve also been deep dive into Priscilla Shirer’s study on Elijah with my BSGs.  As usual, God is using all of my life to teach me about standing firm in my faith and stepping forward in trust.  And as I have prayed to God to reveal to me my next blog series I kept hearing the phrase: “Lessons from Cherith.”  You see, Elijah had to spend a lot of time alone, facing his own trials before he was ready for the “big show.”  In that time, some of which was in the area called Cherith, he had to choose to either trust God’s eternal plan for him or not.  He had to remove so many well-honed cultural and religious thoughts of “the way things are supposed to be” and instead see how God works.  And he had to decide to stand out amongst the crowd.

And although my “Cherith” hasn’t lasted for as long as Elijah’s or even as long as Jesus was in the wilderness, I learned some valuable lessons while communing with the Holy Spirit.  In the next few weeks I’d like to share some of these with you.  To hopefully help us realign our lives to be Christian lives, lived out for all the world to see.  For our friends and neighbors and co-workers to be spurred to ask why we seem different.  

Friends, we can’t keep wandering through the wilderness of this earthly world living up to its standards.  It’s time to take our hard earned lessons from “those seasons” and put them to work for the glory of God.

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

After Eden

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

During December of 2020 many people kept announcing that “next year will definitely be better.”  I could understand the longing, the hope and desire.  Let’s face it, 2020 was rife with fear, loss, despair, and worry.  I told people around me to be careful romanticizing the turn of a calendar.  Who knew what 2021 would bring – floods, fires, more plagues, death, political uprisings? And it certainly didn’t disappoint.   A short walk through say, the book of James or Jude, reminds us that trials of many kind befall us each and every year.  It’s our response to those trials that set us apart from the world.

So often when we think of “new beginnings” we can think of them as an adventure, something exciting to embark upon.  Probably something God will guide you through to success.  But what if your new beginning is a result of a terrible trial?  A loss?  Will you still seek God and see Him at work in the midst of it all?

If there’s one man whose new beginning exemplified having to start all over, having lost it all, it was Adam.  He had everything you and I could ever want.  A beautiful home, plenty to eat and drink.  No worries except what to name the next animal.  His yoke was light.  He was to be the way maker for all of us.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  Genesis 2:15

And when Adam failed to honor his end of the covenant he did what so many of us do when we fail God – he tried to hide.   Instead of running to God asking for forgiveness He compounded his sins by acting shamefully. But God.

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9

Millions of Christians and non-believers know the story that took place in the Garden of Eden.  But when we look at God’s actions we see His loving care for humans, His unique creation.  He knew Adam had failed yet notice He didn’t let him go.  He sought Him out with a gentle question.  He could have immediately wiped the slate free of humanity after the betrayal.  Instead, God clothed Adam in new garments and gave him new skills then sent him off on a new beginning.  A chance to be the first step in the long path toward the new Adam – Jesus.

And Adam, by all accounts accepted the results of his sin and moved forward into his new beginning.  A life outside the walls of Eden but one in which God was fully present.  Adam and Eve didn’t step outside the gates, plunk down and give up.  They didn’t choose to live in shame and despair.  No, they knew God.  They knew God still loved them and cared for them. So they took the new direction God gave them and made a new life.  I love the last few lines in Genesis 4 in which Adam and Eve are mentioned:

At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.  Genesis 4:26

Adam and his family never stopped worshipping God and talking with Him even though they had suffered a great loss.  They brought their first fruits to Him and stayed close to God.  And their work, their new beginning, brought others to God as well.  If not for their commitment to God’s new beginning laid out for them there wouldn’t have been their son Seth.  And Seth led to Noah. Without Noah there wouldn’t have been a righteous man left to continue humanity.  God’s plan at work.  God’s plan working even when it comes out of sin or loss.  It’s our job to keep trusting Him and accepting Him at His word.

I’ll be honest, for most of my life I’ve been an avowed pessimist.  It’s taken a lot of work by our triune God to help me see Him in my trials.  To see how He is working a good, new thing in our lives.  When circumstances go wrong around me my new attitude is that God is in my midst.  He does want all things to work for good.  I may never know how my commitment to Him will affect the Grand Plan.  But I do know He never left Adam and He will never leave you.

Have you been tempted to give up on God after a trial or loss? God is still working in your life. He’s asking you to trust Him. Call on Him today for strength to live in your new beginning.