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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.

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Praise The Lord

Sing the praises of the Lord, 
you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
Psalm 30:4 

A prayer to constantly praise and thank God

Mighty God, I admit that when things go wrong in my life I am quick to ask for help.  But when my life is running along smoothly or even when a prayer is answered I’m equally quick to forget to thank you.  Each and every morning when I rise, I commit to thanking you for what you will send my way that day – even the “not-so-good.”  Because even in those times I know I have the opportunity to grow in my faith.  And throughout my day I will remember to thank you even for the little gifts you send my way.  LORD, at the end of my day I’m frequently so tired.  But you are never tired of hearing my praise for you.  I will, before my eyes close, remember the ways you revealed yourself to me that day.  Whether you acted as my counselor, comforter, King, creator, or protector, I will praise you.  In your son’s name I pray, Amen.


In the late Spring of 2020, I was led to learn more about how to pray.  Using what The Navigators call, “The Prayer Hand,” I learned the five parts to highly effective prayer.  That’s not to say we can’t or shouldn’t pray short, on-the-go prayers throughout the day, but the Prayer Hand revealed to me what was missing from my prayer life – praise.

Praise is different than “thanksgiving” I learned.  When we praise someone, such as our children or a friend we compliment them for what they themselves have done, created or just are such as their patience or sense of humor.  When we thank them it usually involves something to do with our relationship.  We thank people for helping us or making things easier in a situation.  The same is true for our praise and thankfulness toward God.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving 
and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise 
his name. 
Psalm 100:4

This concept was so foreign and awkward for me  — it seemed that “praise” was so flowery and silly – that I dove headfirst into figuring out how to “do” it.  And so, I created my 30 Days of Praise blog series.  I took all the different characteristics of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and set about praising them for well, just being the amazing Triune God.  

And although that 30 days was pretty awesome, I still struggle with daily praising Him.  And that has revealed something else about me.  I have a hard time praising others (and myself to be honest).  I’m great at thanking people when they help me out. But just unabashedly praising people?  I realized that effort and awareness requires me to look outside myself and my own “things I gotta do right now” world.  I need to pay attention to the human beings around me.  I mean really pay attention.  To the salesclerk, the deli guy, the mailman, my neighbor, that person I see walking their dog every single day, my husband, my children, my friends – I need to look at them and see them and praise them.  Why? Because they too are God’s creation.  And I can praise God for putting them in this world.

Praising God means honoring Him for the rain, the sunrise, the puffy clouds, the air we breathe, the Son He sent, the joy He provides, the Word we read, the awesomeness of the universe.  We praise Him from whom all blessings flow!  I love the doxology I used to sing in a previous church and it takes on full meaning to me now:

Praise God from whom all 
blessings flow, Praise Him 
all creatures here below, 
Praise Him above ye heavenly 
host, Praise Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost, Amen

I will keep working on my path to praising God each and every day.  I want to be His thankful daughter.  I seek to find ever more reasons to praise Him.  And in doing so my eyes are moved off me and onto Him.

If you want this too, add the prayer to your daily prayer list and watch and see how God works in your life!