Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Shepastor: "Starting From the Right Premise..."

The Fall
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Genesis 3: 1-7 NIV

“Deceiver in chief,” that is the role of the enemy of our souls. In the garden, the serpent was able to deceive Eve by undermining her trust in God and the belief that God loved and wanted only what was good for her.

Fast forward to 2016. Satan continues to use the same tactics in our lives today. He strives daily, in subtle and not so subtle ways to convince us that God really does not love or care about us. When we are denied something that seems (at least in our own eyes) right, fair, beneficial, and good, naturally we are disappointed. When we are faced with pain, struggle and turmoil, of course, we question what is going on. If we are confronted with tragedy, deep sorrow and wounds that feel unhealable, we, like Eve may begin to question whether or not God really cares or has our best interest at heart.

Recently, in our own family, tragedy struck. A beloved cousin – an elder in her church, a benevolent, giving, loving, serving individual was murdered senselessly in her own home. She was murdered by a neighbor that she and her husband frequently helped by giving him meals when he claimed to be without. At her home-going celebration, another cousin gave her eulogy. His words blessed me and others greatly as we grappled with the pain and sorrow of our loss…

Our cousin shared that he saw a book with an intriguing title, "When God Does Not Make Sense..." He went on to say that he bought and read the book that was filled with stories of tragedies and struggles...ponderings of individuals who were trying to make sense of the painful realities sometimes dealt to people in life. He continued, however, by saying, "There's one thing wrong with the should be, 'When God does not make sense TO US.'" God always makes sense, but we in our human frailty can't see or understand. Patrick shared that we must start from the premise that in all situations and circumstances, "God is good ALL THE TIME and all the time GOD IS GOOD!"

While this phrase has become somewhat of a cliché, on that day, it took on a special meaning for me. No matter what we face, we must always remember that GOD IS GOOD…that God loves us, that God wants what is good and blessed and right for us, that God is with us and that God is for us.

In this life, we “will have tribulation.” The presence of sin in the world guarantees that we will experience pain, suffering, disappointment and struggle. Our premise, our foundation, our “bottom line,” however, must remain, that God is good and God loves us. When this is our starting point, it will keep us from spiraling into the pit of hopelessness, abandonment and rebellion.

There are some answers that we will not receive until we see our Lord face to face. Until then, may we anchor our souls in knowing God always has us in His heart and written on the palms of His hands. God will give us everything we need to walk through the valleys and come out victorious, with a peace that surpasses understanding.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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