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Eve held a power, graced to her by the Creator Himself, and yet she fell for the lie that somehow, some way, God was holding out on her.
Our thoughts, which lead to actions, which lead to choices, consequences and/or fruit, bear out the evidence of who we are aligned with — God or not God. The option “not God” can only be one option. At the moment Eve chose to take the fruit, she made the choice to take herself out of God’s unlimited wealth of protection and provision and align herself with the enemy. Don’t you think she probably regretted it until her dying day? Eve held a power, graced to her by the Creator Himself, and yet she fell for the lie that somehow, some way, God was holding out on her. Don’t we often fall for the same ploy? Our choices determine our life direction. Did she have a relationship with the serpent before he appeared in the garden? No. Why did she believe him over the God who had lovingly fashioned her, who had blessed her with a storehouse of abundance, who had a wonderful, perfect life planned for her?
The serpent knew exactly what he was doing, because he himself had experienced missing out on God’s blessings due to his own fatal mistake … his pride. Full of himself, he seeks to entice weak-minded people into his snare, and we as women seem more often than not, to be his choice of prey. What are some weaknesses we display as women that make us vulnerable? We rely on our feelings, we base decisions on our emotions. Instead of being strongly anchored in truth, we are tossed by the winds of personal fulfillment and self-interest. We go to bible study after bible study, but we continue to have weak minds and spirits because instead of acting on what we’ve learned, we continue to react to circumstances out of fear and insecurity.
I wonder if Eve had it to do all over again, what she would do. First of all, I think she would avoid going near the tree! Secondly, she would run, as we’re instructed to do, away from evil. Thirdly, she would reassure herself of the promises of the one true God and lean not on her own understanding. And she would stand strong, a woman of beauty, God-given power, knowing that she holds the life-giving essence of all mankind. I’d like to think that it’s not too late for us as women, to live the full, abundant life God originally had in mind for Eve. But we have to choose it, we have to help each other choose it, and we have to hold one another accountable. Poor Eve – she had no other women — no Yahweh sisterhood to help a girl out! Let’s challenge one another, not to lean on ourselves, but to lean together on God:)) Strong is good!
“Eve is much more than merely the first woman. She powerfully represents a type of woman. Amid the immense freedoms and opportunities of the garden God had placed her in, Eve made bad choices that squandered her potential and unleashed a painful life of regret.”
~~ Robert Lewis, from The New Eve
When we look closely at the story of Eve in the garden, I’ have to wonder what she was doing so close to the tree that God had specifically told her and Adam to stay away from? Maybe she was taking a walk, enjoying the beautiful and lush surroundings and got distracted. Hmmm … do we ever get distracted? I think the first step that leads to most bad choices is not paying attention. When we don’t pay attention — when we allow our minds to wander, to be pre-occupied, to lose focus — we set ourselves up to be vulnerable. And guess who’s waiting in the wings? Our friend, the serpent.
Oh but he doesn’t look like a snake or resemble anything that would be detestable to us as women. And we don’t really know how he presented himself to Eve. She was probably taken aback by his appearance and possibly knew him to be a creature from the “other world”. The bible does say he disguises himself to be an angel of light. And then we see possibly her curiosity, and perhaps her surprise at hearing a serpent speak, lead her into further talk with him. First rule: it is never, ever a good idea to enter into dialogue with the enemy. Why? Because he lies.
We see that the serpent’s goal is to undermine the benefit of God’s commands as compared to man’s own best interest. And what happens? Everything changes. Instead of seeing the beauty, the bounty, the benefits of God and His promises, Eve sees her self-interests and believes the false sense that she essentially doesn’t need God. And so, she eats the fruit. Man becomes suspicious of God. God is no longer to be trusted. Sin is no longer considered destructive. Man’s own interests are best served by self-determination. He falls for the lie that he can be equal with God. Beth Moore says that “anything that exalts itself in our minds, pretending to bigger or more powerful than our God is a stronghold.”
So if we are to be different than Eve, what’s our course of action? “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
We develop strong minds that not only know truth, but rely on truth to help us discern between the lies of the enemy and the living breath of God. The God who created us, knows us, and longs to walk with us every day:)
THE BIG LIE
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 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.” Genesis 3
Do you see it? Right there — where it all went down — the big lie. Just camp here for a minute and read this passage over a few times. What jumps out at you? I highlighted what jumped out at me: “The woman was CONVINCED.” She gave in first in her mind. Then what did she do? ”She SAW” an object that appeared beautiful and delicious. She gave in to visual appeal. That led to her third mistake, “she WANTED” — ironically, her desire to be “wise”, actually led to her next unwise step:, “she TOOK … and ATE.”
As we ponder this whole scenario, we find a treasure trove of keys that will help us understand how the serpent continues to slither around in our lives today. Look a little closer at this creature: The Scriptures tell us in Isaiah 14, that when God first created the angels, Lucifer was superior to all the other angels in knowledge and wisdom, and in power and authority. God gave him beauty and intelligence beyond measure. But Lucifer, who had nothing apart from what God had given him, wanted to steal the glory of God, the Most High. Lucifer means the shining one. After Lucifer sinned, his name was changed. He was no longer called Lucifer, the shining one, but Satan. Satan means Adversary. He is the Destroyer. He wants to destroy God’s work. So what plan does he devise?
Enter — the serpent. The devil in disguise. The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.
What we see is a tragic breakdown of all that God had given Eve for life, peace, health, beauty, and strength — with one simple, deceptive question. “DID GOD REALLY SAY …?”
“Eve is created because things were not right without her.
Something was not good.”
~~ Staci Eldredge, Captivating
“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs[ and closed up the opening. The Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” ~~ Genesis 2:21-23
Eve enters the story of creation as the last object to be created. God, in His Sovereignty, in His perfect being, in His quest to create fellowship with Himself, had created man — Adam. But there was still a void — something missing. Someone missing. And so God fashioned “WOMAN”, named Eve.
I believe Eve holds the key to understanding what God intended originally for us as women. Taking a look back at Eve’s role in creation, how she was the feminine image-bearer of God, will give us some much-needed insight into our roles as women today. At our very core as women, we are relational and God created us to be that way. We can learn much from Eve and what happened long, long ago in that beautiful and perfect paradise on earth. What went so wrong? And how does what happened in the garden in the beginning, still affect our relationships today? Eve had been given all she needed to live in contentment, happiness, fulfillment, and joy. Yet … she was convinced that it wasn’t enough.
“Eve is essential. She has an irreplaceable role to play. And so you’ll see that women are endowed with fierce devotion, an ability to suffer great hardships, and a vision to make the world a better place. She has a beauty to unveil.” Staci Eldredge.
Let’s begin to lift the veil … and begin to rediscover the Godly beauty, the original blueprint of woman we still possess:)
“As our roots, Genesis defines life as God meant for it to be. In fact, the most vital realities of your life as a woman today can be measured against the coordinates set down in Genesis.”
~~ The New Eve, by Robert Lewis
I’ve enjoyed blogging with the “On the Ascent” mountain theme for the past 4 months. God has taken me to some eye-opening and heart-fixing places in His word as I’ve delved into what He teaches through mountain experiences with His people. But it’s time for a new direction and a glimpse into what led me to launch a blog with the name “Genesis Girls”. Four years ago, God brought a book across my path — entitled, “The New Eve”, by Robert Lewis. In it, he presents this idea: “As our roots, Genesis defines life as God meant for it to be. In fact, the most vital realities of your life as a woman today can be measured against the coordinates set down in Genesis.”
If we are Genesis Girls, we are pursuing a life with God’s original intent for women in mind. The first Eve made a choice that changed the destiny of the world. It set in motion the fall of man, the bondage of sin, and the need for a Savior. Praise God that we can live as New Eves!! What does that look like today in 2013? ”A New Eve takes God’s Word seriously not just at church but in the everyday walk of life. New Eves find specific and practical answers and use them to color their choices. These answers become a fixed mind-set that builds for them a unique, fulfilling femininity void of many of the excesses and regrets that mark other worldviews.”
Over the next few weeks and months, we will be exploring how to live in the “‘hood” as we take on the various roles we enjoy as women … Womanhood, Sisterhood, and Motherhood! I hope you’ll join me in the conversation!!
“It is noticeable when we have been with Jesus. As the apostle Paul described it, through us God “spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”
~~ Karla Worley, “Traveling Together”
“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Matt. 17:1-5
A favorite summer memory from my Savannah youth group days took place every year as we made the trip to Sunday School week at Ridgecrest, nestled in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina!! What fun times and special God-moments we had together, traveling there and staying in the same house, with the same dear lady cooking for our group every year. Building memories and cementing our relationship with Christ — as sporadic as it can sometimes be as a youth, yet constant in God’s eyes. These memories are etched in all of our minds and I’m so grateful for those who invested in our spiritual development year after year, prank after prank!!
Worley continues to write: “In biblical times, those who worshiped in Jerusalem went up the great hill to the Temple. A worshiper left the Temple with the smell of worship clinging to his robes — charred animal flesh, smoke, incense, the smell of an ancient city. When we worship, we too, should go out with the smell of death clinging to us — the death of pride, of self-sufficiency, the death of sin. To those who confess “Jesus is Lord”, this is a welcome smell, it is the familiar smell of His presence. There is no fragrance clinging to us unless we have been in worship.”
Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to go with him up to a high mountain, to be alone. I wonder why He chose them? Can you imagine what was going through their minds as they witnessed this wonder of Jesus’ face shining like the sun, his clothes white as light, and then seeing and hearing Moses and Elijah?!? Of course, they wanted to capture this experience — to stay on the mountain soaking up Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Who wouldn’t? But what did the voice from the cloud command just as Peter spoke? This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to Him.” They were like – BAM!! – on the ground facedown, terrified because of the holy, awesome, reverent, presence of the Lord. “Then Jesus came over and touched them, and said “Get up – don’t be afraid”. He then told them not to say anything about what they had seen until he was resurrected. I’m sure, even like we who have the whole written account of history, they still weren’t getting it.
There’s a lot to ponder about this passage. Jesus sought out 3 of his disciples to witness and be part of this holy mountain experience — to be away from the others for a special time of revelation. And then, to hear THE VOICE OF GOD, when he said “this is my son — listen to him”, I’m thinking from that point on, they paid real close attention to anything and everything Jesus did and said. This experience, to me, encompasses what our worship experiences today can and should be. It’s not what we come together to do for God. It’s what He is seeking to do in us — personally. To seek His presence, his desire to reveal Himself, his power to transform, His holiness, and His instruction. He imparts Himself and his lifechanging presence to those who seek to know Him in a place apart from ritual and token worship. And that’s when He takes individuals who follow and listen to every word of the Savior, His presence clinging to their lives, transforming a church, and changing the world!
“Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live.” Ps. 43:3
“He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” Ps. 18:33
Have you ever tried to climb a mountain when you were unprepared for the journey? Maybe you didn’t bring enough water, or even any water at all. Maybe you didn’t wear the right shoes. Maybe you didn’t pack a jacket or maybe you were overprepared. Our son is preparing for a summer job in Colorado where he will be a guide for mountaineering, as well as whitewater rafting. Reading the training material, and also the list of dangers that can be encountered made me ponder how we go about the essential task of preparing to ascend new heights in our spiritual lives.
In this life, we’re either moving up, going back, or staying the same, emotionally and spiritually. If we’re going backward, we’re losing ground. If we’re staying where we are, we’re certainly not gaining ground. We’re actually stagnant. But if we’re moving up, climbing higher, seeking new heights, then we’re making progress. If you’ve ever done any serious climbing, then you understand that part of the process of climbing is leaving, letting go, and grasping hold of the next step — the next boulder — the physical act of moving our body up. In the same way, in order for us to move our minds up spiritually, God gives us several glimpses as to what He is seeking from those who desire to ascend to his holy mountain — to a life that is abundant, rich, and lived in His presence.
His light and His truth are essential for a journey that seeks to keep moving up toward a life that God blesses. His light illuminates our way, allowing us to see with absolute clarity. His light dispels any darkness that may hover along the path, and exposes anything that hinders us from making our way closer to Him. His truth is our life compass, giving us clear direction. His truth is the rock that gives us firm footing as we climb, and His promises assure us that, like the deer, He will enable us to stand firmly on mountain heights.
These are the essential items that we must have in our backpack if we seek to ascend spiritually to the places God has for us. I’m ready for some new heights with God … and for some adventure!! How about you?
Jesus’ disciples had spent 3 years with Him– observing his teaching, witnessing his miracles, and learning from his life. I wonder if after all that transpired with his resurrection and appearance among them, when he finally left them, if they found themselves saying, “I wish I’d paid closer attention.”
“Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” ~~ Matthew 28:16-20, the Message
I continue to be fascinated by the actions of Jesus’ disciples following his death, burial, and resurrection. I think their response was a pivotal point that set the course for the growth of the church as God envisioned it.
Have you ever worked alongside someone, in a vision-casting experience, a time of starting a new ministry, or transitioning an established structure into a more relevant purpose? I have. Several years ago, I and other women with a heart and passion for bringing women together in missions and ministry, were led by a woman who had been given a deep desire and vision which inspired all of us to come together for this purpose. Monica Keathley left quite a legacy that can’t even be covered in one day’s worth of reading, so just to touch on what I learned from her example is my focus today. Sadly, Monica passed away last year, after spending the last few years of her life paralyzed physically, but not mentally! She continued to impact people’s lives even in her suffering.
I believe Monica was inspired and gifted by God to leave a mark on the places where He had anointed her to lead. I soaked up so much from her example. She was a woman who devoted her life to sharing the message of Christ, who inspired others to catch God’s vision, and to act on it. She never abandoned the call God placed on her life. As someone who worked closely with Monica and others in this work, I too, caught the vision and what an exciting, fulfilling time we experienced as our women joined together to carry out this dream! What an amazing time and gift God gave, to be given this opportunity, to be entrusted with this vision. Yet I have been impressed for various reasons, that this legacy, this vision has been clouded, perhaps even lost or forgotten. That maybe even, for various reasons — discouragement, disobedience, doubt, disappointment — an essential part of the work has been left undone.
Jesus had set a reunion point to meet with his disciples on a mountain. A place where He would give them his last spoken words. Yet when He appeared to them, some of them doubted — still not sure about what He was really about I think. His earthly life was coming to an end, and his disciples are left to ponder his teaching, his example, his instructions. He charged his disciples to carry on the work with very specific directions.
Jesus’ followers acted on His charge — and changed the world. They didn’t let the obstacles they encountered keep them from continuing to do the work Jesus had called them to do. Monica’s heart was so much like Jesus’, I can almost hear her saying the same thing: “Go. Train. Baptize. Teach.” And I am inspired once again to act on the same charge — to carry on with the business Jesus (and Monica) left for us to do — changing the world:)
“The glory of God is man fully alive.” (St. Irenaeus.)
“Our destiny is to come fully alive – your heart bears a glory. And that glory is needed now.”
~~ John Eldredge, “Waking the Dead”
“So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas. He ordered Jesus to be flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified … when they were finally tired of mocking him, they led him away to be crucified. And they brought Jesus to a place call Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). Then the soldiers nailed him to a cross.” Mark 15, selected.
Since the 6th century, Golgatha has been referred to as the location of a mountain, or small hill, meaning, “Place of the Skull.” This meaning is derived from the Hebrew word for skull, as the hill resembled a skullcap. Another explanation is that the location was near a city gate as a place of public execution and refers to abandoned skulls that would be found there. Earlier Christian and Jewish traditions refer to the location of the skull of Adam, retrieved from the ark of Noah, carried by Shem and Melchizedek, to a skull-shaped hill at the center of the Earth, where also the serpent was cursed following the Fall of Man, and his head was crushed by the Living Christ.
Whatever the facts surrounding the history of Golgotha, one fact remains. One Man. One Death. One Resurrection. One Savior. One man died for all men. Everlasting death was defeated and crushed by one man’s death and everlasting life ushered in by one perfect Savior’s resurrection. One man who endured the despising, the shame, the torture, the humanity and depravity of the ones He’d come to save, all because He loved … me. He loved you. No really, it’s not just a story, a holiday about eggs, and candy, and a bunny, and shiny shoes, and new stuff. It’s about death — Jesus’ death. “Something deep and profound happened to us in the death of Christ. His death was the real work on our behalf. Our nature was nailed to the cross with Christ; we died there, with him, in him. Jesus was the last Adam — the end of that terrible story.”*
But it’s not just about death. The cross was not the end or the focus. Why? Because Jesus rose from the grave!! We are saved to live. Not just in eternity with Him, but to live and walk in freedom now — today!! It was Jesus’ Resurrection that the early church preached. The miracles, the healings, the hope of new life were the messages of the followers of Christ. We have been made alive to live with a new heart, a new nature. This is very Good News!! And yes, we will live with Him eternally, but we can live abundant, joyful, purposed, light-filled lives now — today!
“The day has come, and the Morning Star has risen, never to set again. This unveiling, this coming into your glory, this is inevitable for the ransomed heart.” ’And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,which comes from the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3).
“We are in the process of being unveiled. We were created to reflect God’s glory, born to bear His image, and He ransomed us to reflect that glory. ”The glory of God is man fully alive.” (Saint Irenaeus.) Our destiny is to come fully alive — your heart bears a glory. And that glory is needed now.” * Jesus walked the hill of Golgatha to bring glory … to His Father, and to fulfill God’s plan for life. And so we would share and reflect that glory NOW.
So what does this mean for me? I’m so grateful Jesus walked that hill, died that death, and lived that life. I have some very good news to share … and I’m not keeping it to myself!! He lives and because of that, I’m free. Free to be who He created me to be … for His glory. ”Shine your light and let the whole world see, we’re singing for the glory of the RISEN KING!!”
(* – all quotes taken from “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge.)
“God permits testing because it does for us what the storms do for the oaks — it roots us; and what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain — it makes them permanent. You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ’s right hand.” ~~ Streams in the DesertThen Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” ~~ Matthew 4, selected.
While watching the “Bible” series on the History Channel this week, there was segment that showed the point where Jesus was in the wilderness, and he was being tempted by the devil. The visual of him being hungry, in a barren place, and fasting for 40 days, caused me to consider more intently the reality, in his human form, of how he dealt with this unbearable time. Why did Jesus have to go through this time of testing and what can we learn from His example?”
Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost, and yet He was tempted. Very few men have such conflicts with the devil as Martin Luther had. Why? Because Martin Luther was going to shake the very kingdom of hell.” ~~ Streams in the Desert
We go through times of testing in our lives sometimes because of foolish choices, giving in to sin, or sometimes simply because God has a purpose of refinement He wants to see accomplished in those for whom He has another, bigger task. “God permits testing because it does for us what the storms do for the oaks — it roots us; and what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain — it makes them permanent. You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ’s right hand.” ~~ Streams in the Desert
Times of intense testing have taught me much about myself, about others, and mostly about God my Father. I have had the sweetest times I’ve ever known while enduring difficult and trying circumstances — and the treasure of knowing my heavenly Father in a way I never would have had I not experienced them, is worth far more to me than if everything would have gone according to my plan. I would have missed His glory. I wouldn’t have chosen them, they weren’t pleasant, I felt isolated at times, experienced hurt feelings, wounded pride, and rerouted dreams. But I trusted all along, step by step, that the God I served with my whole heart, is faithful to His name and to His promise in my life. I was strengthened in my resolve, secured to stand in faith, and sharpened to serve more effectively in His name. The example Jesus set of not just knowing the Scriptures, but how to apply them in real life, demonstrated his power and authority over the evil one — and guess what? We have that same power!!!
After being taken up to the mountain by the devil, and enduring such intense testing, Jesus began his earthly ministry of oh — just changing the world! When we endure testing on a wilderness mountain, and are proven in our faith, we too, can do great things for God. Greater than we ever imagined — and it will be worth it!
“God hath many sharp-cutting instruments, and rough files for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves, and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His tools upon.” ~~ Archbishop Leighton.