Friday, June 29, 2007

Fellowship and Purpose

I do much better speaking then I do typing as far as trying to make sense is concerned. This morning I was really focusing on the experience in the Garden of Eden. I think it is so easy to get familiar with it that we skip it and miss the eternal word, the enduring word that God wants to speak to us. I needed the Spirit to fall fresh on me this morning and I needed the Lord to speak to my heart. As I read I began to sink in love with Jesus and the Godhead bodily breathing life into man. Why even waste your time with us when you knew the outcome of our sinfulness Oh Ancient of Days? You know how it goes...he forms man from the dust of the ground. There is no woman here to give birth to Adam. Just the Godhead taking the dust of the earth and forming man. Genesis 2:7 "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

The Lord got personally involved in making His most prized creation. He could have just spoken and it would have came about but is says that "the LORD God formed the man." The word for form in the Hebrew is yatsar and it means to form, fashion, frame; of divine activity, of creation, to frame, pre-ordain, plan. To be predetermined, be pre-ordained, to be formed. God is all knowing. He is not limited by time or space and he knew that we would fall into temptation and lose fellowship with Him. Before the foundations of the world He knew that He would send Christ to the cross as the propitiation for our sins. In spite of all of our sinfulness He formed man, created us, and predetermined our existence.

Genesis 2:8 says "Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed."

Genesis 2:15
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
God put Adam in the garden to work it before the fall. Why? I believe that God wired us with purpose and in having purpose we would have satisfaction and enjoyment. Then as you know after the fall work would become a drudge and a thorn at times.

Genesis 2:16-18
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 of it you will surely die."
18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
(edited to add...verse 18 is NOT an excuse for co-dependency!)
God gives Adam the rundown before he ever fashions Eve. He tells him here you go Adam, you are FREE to eat from ANY tree in the garden..but and you can read verse 17...but what? Don't eat from this one tree because when you do you will surely die (of course I am paraphrasing).
I have been studying about the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8). When the teachers and Pharisees bring her out to try to trap Jesus by asking Him whether or not she should be stoned to death Jesus tells them the famous words John 8:4b "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." In the Greek Jesus was saying to them if any of you are without the sin of adultery you be the first to pick up the stone and cast it at her to stone her to death. They wanted to condemn her and instead they left one by one. Jesus said that because He knew what was in their hearts. He also says in Matthew 5:28 "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Then when Jesus is alone with the woman, because everyone else had left with Jesus' words penetrating their hearts, they knew they were all guilty of this specific sin. Jesus looked at the woman and had the following dialogue with her John 8:10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Jesus forgave her of her sin of adultery in not condemning her and having her stoned to death even though He is the one with the power to judge. When He tells her go and leave her life of sin He is not saying, "Woman, you just got forgiven...go be perfect and never commit another sin as long as you live." That would be wonderful if we came to the cross and never sinned again but we are sheep in need of a shepherd and God grows us and changes us as we cooperate in sanctification and submission. What He specifically told her in the greek was to leave the sin that was causing her to perpetually miss the mark in her relationship to Christ, which was the sin of adultery.
That to me is a picture of Genesis. We were meant to have continual fellowship with Christ but the enemy in His craftiness came and tempted Adam and Eve and they ate of the fruit and their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked and they felt shame. They fell into temptation and sin and lost sweet fellowship. We have the same problem when we choose not to submit to Christ. We lose the continual fellowship that He meant for us to have.
I want to quote a few things that I read in my Key Word Study Bible this morning:

"The tree of the knowledge of good and evil functioned as a test of obedience. Adam and Eve had to choose whether to obey God or break His commandment. When they ate the forbidden fruit, the consequences of their actions became self-evident. Their relationship to God was broken because of sin. The questions which faced Adam and Eve are the same ones that people face today. Which path should I choose? What kind of relationship do I want to God?"

Then of speaking of the fruit in the garden that they were tempted with:

"The idea that the fruit mentioned in this passage (Gen. 3:1-7) was an apple could have come from the similarity of the Latin words malam (apple) and malum (evil). Whatever the fruit was, eating it was clearly a deliberate violation of God's command. Satan's temptation of Eve began by planting the seed of doubt within her, "Did God really say..." (v.1). Satan also distorted the prohibition that God gave, which was limited to just the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Ge 2:16, 17). In response, Eve added the phrase "and you must not touch it" to God's prohibition. After declaring that "you will not surely die" (v. 4), an obvious contradiction to God's instructions, then Satan slandered God's motives, claiming that He was keeping something from them (v. 5). Once Eve accepted these assumptions, her desire for the fruit grew until she took some and ate it (v. 6).
The Bible explicitly states that all human beings are sinners (Ps 14:1-3; Ro 3:9-23), which is the result of Adams disobedience (Ro 5:12-14). The mercy and grace of God are evident in the fact that Jesus came to save guilty, undeserving sinners (Lk 19:10; Ro 5:6-8; 15-19)."

When I think about the temptation that Satan came against them with I remember that he is crafty and he masquerades himself as light. He is a liar, he twists the truth...he knows the word and he will do whatever he can to try to counterfeit it and beguile us. He wants to take each man down one at a time for the kingdom of darkness. I am so glad that we know who is the last One Standing! It is the Victorious One...the Name Above all names!
Seriously, when I access my own life and my own falls especially the ones that have been since I have been a believer...this same method is what led me astray. I would be in fellowship with God and then circumstances would arise and I would begin to look at my life, and maybe not trust God's timing or wait on Him and I would begin to doubt God. If that doubt was not renounced I would eventually act on whatever sin by focusing on what I felt God wasn't doing for me and believing the lie that He was holding out on me. When we focus on the one thing He says no to (which His no's are always for us and not against us) there is just something in our inner man that will eventually want to go after the no instead of focusing on all of the yes'. Then bam as soon as I took of my own fruit my eyes were opened and I was full of fear, discouragement, shame and brokenness over leaving the God that my Spirit loves.

Another thing that has really been impressed upon my heart lately is purpose. I have really struggled with purpose since I am a stay at home mom and I am not actively using the gifts that God has given me to build up the body. I am waiting on Him to open a door for me. I teach Bible study but it is more of a facilitation type thing. Just like God put Adam in the garden to work it...we have work to do here. If we are living in complacency and not using what God has entrusted us we will search in all manners and ways to try to find satisfaction. The truth is that we will not find satisfaction, true soul satisfaction, until we are in submission and obedience to Christ. I know first hand so this is NOT something that I am just pulling out of thin air. Besides your job, being a parent, or whatever it are called to use the gifts God has entrusted you with to build the kingdom...but in doing so you will find great satisfaction in seeking Him and staying in constant fellowship with Him. When I say constant fellowship I mean in the habit of confession, repentance, and obedience. I am talking about time spent in the word and focused on Him. It is just to easy, way to easy, to get distracted and start searching for ways to fill voids and then you will have a whole mess on your hands that you could have never in your wildest dreams planned for. Our foe is a deceiver and he absolutely wants to destroy us. And without him we have our flesh warring with the spirit so that we do not do what we ought to do (Romans 7).
One more thing about fellowship and then I have to go to bed...
I am absolutely miserable if I get honest with you and myself when I am not in fellowship with the Lord. Reason being is that I know what it is like to have intimacy with Him and I am so beside myself if things aren't right with me and Him. There are times that I will hide from Him to because I know I have done wrong and I am ashamed and I just don't want to face up.

Here are the verses and then I will follow with the quote:
Genesis 3:8-13
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me-- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

"God is omnipresent...The presence of God from which Adam and Eve hid was a special manifestation to them in the Garden of Eden."

You see immediately where God begins to clothe them (Adam and Evie-poo...sorry I have to nickname these people) and cover their shame and then we see in Exodus how He gives the command to begin building the tabernacle since sin entered the world, they were banished from the garden (the continual state of fellowship with God), and we were separated from God. God began to reconcile Himself to us through the orders to build the Tabernacle for Him to come and dwell among us. Then we see in Jesus that the Word was made flesh and He came to dwell among us in the gospel of John. Regardless of our sin...and oh it had and has a cost...He is the initiator of us to come back and for us to leave our lives of sin that are causing us to perpetually miss the mark in our relationship to Him (I guess you could call them areas that have a strong hold on us, or areas where we just continually disobey God...over and over). He says come, I have made a way. You will only find true purpose and meaning as you follow and you obey. So are you with me or are you against me? You can't have friendship with this world system and love God. Cease striving your efforts to fill your cavernous soul...let me fill me. Believe me.

Then in the words of Genesis 4:7
"7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

Many of you know that I taught in the Singles ministry at my church for six years. I loved each Sunday morning more than any other day of the week. Not because I could get up and hear myself talk...but because I was sharing what God was teaching me and His word was going forth and His word was changing people, I saw it with my own eyes. He is the Famous One give Him the praise that He is still changing lives through His powerful word. It gave me such purpose and passion to see people hungering for God as they began to have a daily relationship to Him through His word. I know the Lord is using this time for me...and He has made me some promises through His word...but I miss Sunday mornings. People would ask me all the time if I got burned out. No, I would tell them...a resounding no. I can't help but share and speak of the Lord and what He has done. Why? Because that is what He has gifted me to do. So I am suggesting to you...find out where God has gifted you and begin to plug in and use that gift. You will find purpose and passion as you lose yourself in Him you will find life. It's when we go at it on our own trying to "find ourselves" that life becomes messy and even more me.

Now I am going to leave you with some verses that God began to work in me seven or eight years ago...may they fall fresh on you especially if you are still reading!!

Philippians 3:10

10[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [[a]which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]

One more thing. I really need some extra prayers. I think from all that I have been through in the last 4 years it is like...well, that's just Jenny she is always sick...or whatever. I am still having the spinal headache from the meningitis and I threw up 3 times today. I have been throwing up off and on for a while...and no I am not pregnant! Rod is really used to me being sick so I don't want to ask him for prayer please just say a prayer for me. I did go to the doctor and I am waiting on some lab work. I have just really had a hard time with my health and would appreciate your prayers.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Your writing on fellowship and purpose blessed me this morning. Thank you for sharing your "walk" with the Father. Keep "pressing in" and "pressing on" sister! Those of us who are following hard after HIM will never be disappointed. He is EVERYTHING...more than enough!