Land Can Be Cursed

LAND CAN BE CURSED

Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19

            Cursing is when a supernatural power is called upon to injure something or someone.  In this case, God initiates the curse upon the earth.  Sin has brought about desperate consequences for the man and woman.  The very planet that God had created for them to subdue will now hold them captive.  The irony is that, in death, earth will swallow them up completely when they return to the dust of the ground.

The land still feels the effects of man’s sin.  It holds the memory of whatever has been done upon it.  God’s original purpose for His creation (including the land) was that it glorify Him, as well as bless and sustain the people He created.  But man’s sin defiled the land. If we are responsible for defiling the land, it follows that we are critical to the healing and restoring of the land.  If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chron. 7:14  Old Testament reformers like Hezekiah and Josiah repented and cleansed the land from defilement and they prospered.

In the Canadian Arctic, a very moving reconciliation ceremony was held between original inhabitants of the land and those who came afterwards to settle there. As the newcomers repented and rededicated a particular plot of land, they were overwhelmed with God’s immediate response. Although caribou (a mainstay of life) had been scarce in the area for nearly four years, suddenly 15,000 caribou showed up two days later. The caribou spontaneously gathered on the very spot where the land had been rededicated.

The power of God to heal and restore is released through repentance.  I encourage those who attend my prayer mapping training to pray through their homes, sanctify their property, and if needed, repent for whatever has historically happened there. Wherever there has been sin, residue remains and the land holds the scars.

God longs to bless His children.  We must actively rule over every place the sole of our foot treads.  Many today, as a result of reading this, will spiritually cleanse their homes and feel a powerful difference as they experience a peace never before felt on their property.  God is true to His Word. “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things!  Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield.  “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain.  Joel 2 

You give me all the spiritual tools I need to live in freedom.  Even on my land.  Show me how to rule over every part of my life.  Amen

Discipline? Yes. Cruelty? No!

DISCIPLINE?  YES!  CRUELTY?  NO!

“I will put enmity between you {Satan} and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”  Genesis 3:15

         So many have had their heart broken by bitter vows and judgments.  “I’ll never forgive you.”  “You’re no longer my son, or daughter.”  “I never want to see you again.”  “I’ll never speak to you again because you said that!”  “You’ve gone too far and you’re hopeless!”

         Ever heard those words?  You know you’ve blown it so badly that you’ve been told there’s nothing you can do to make things right.  Finding this hard to believe, you try everything to make it up to the person.  A parent, a boss, an old friend.  But, you’re shut out.  Bearing consequences without any chance of restoration is cruel.  God does not ever do this.  He never inflicts hopeless despair.

         Can you picture this scene in the Garden of Eden?  Things were absolutely perfect.  There was no disease, danger, or disappointment.  No famine, nothing bitter or rotten to eat. No hurt feelings.  No fear of intimacy.  Then the serpent came.  He lied, cajoled, and reasoned with the woman while Adam stood nearby and probably heard everything.  Doubt about the goodness of God was planted and the woman chose to explore the alternative path Satan presented.  Can you feel the weight of her choice?

         Creation broke in half.  Immediately, she and Adam knew something horrific had happened.  I’m sure it felt cataclysmic and irreparable.  God cursed the earth, inflicted the consequences, but in the very same breath gave hope for a Redeemer.  From the seed of the woman, One would come who would crush the head of the serpent and offer redemption to fallen men and women.

         If I know Jesus, Eden is offered to me now, internally.  Through Jesus, I am made perfect again.  I walk with His Father in the cool of the evening, just like Adam and Eve.  I get daily instructions for how to rule my Garden, just like Adam and Eve.  I ask Him, daily, for the wisdom to see through the lies of the tempter and He promises spiritual savvy.

         The eternal judgment I deserve has been withheld because the Redeemer came and I trusted in Him for total forgiveness.  For every child of God, the kingdom-Eden, is here now. We need only look inside to Christ to live there.  And one day, we will step into a tangible Eden to live forever with our Creator!

You never speak hopeless words over anyone who trusts in the Redeemer You sent to undo what happened in the Garden.  Jesus – the name of above all names – is our Savior.  All glory to you, God.  Amen

Cursed By God

CURSED BY GOD

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you…” Genesis 3:14a

            God is passing judgment on the devil.  He is to be despised, accursed, an enemy of God, and ultimately destroyed by a Redeemer to come.  As of this moment, there commences a war between what is holy and unholy.  Satan’s designs for mankind will be made public ~ he is one who seeks to devour and destroy.  Heaven and hell can never be reconciled nor can light and darkness.  The two are antithetical.  When they are not, something is wrong.

            What of the times when it’s hard to tell right from wrong?  What of the Christians whose light is dim, whose deeds are as much evil as holy?  What of God’s family who sing together and then fight and gossip?   In this culture, we can send out a mixed signal.  We should be hot or cold.  Every sermon should bring a polarized response. Either the listener should feel drawn to follow Jesus as a radical disciple or should be so repelled that he runs in the opposite direction.

            In the garden, opposites were established.  The lines were drawn.  It has been God’s plan for His people to continue to draw a line in the sand with their lives.  When the lines are blurred, God is misunderstood.  Most people can’t separate who WE are from who God is.  As we misrepresent him by living in the shadows of light and darkness, the world is repelled by a God whom they assume is also corrupted, who also is driven by double standards.

            Satan is my enemy.  He represents everything that is evil and dark.  I am a child of the Light.  As I speak, sing, and make everyday choices, there should be no confusion as to whose side I am on.

Let the light do it’s work in my life.  Repel and draw.  Make me holy as you are holy.  Amen

A Warning I Cannot Ignore

A WARNING I CANNOT IGNORE

Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  Genesis 3: 11-13

         Not wanting to take full responsibility for my choices is deeply embedded within my sin nature.  To be holy is to see my sin as God sees it; to acknowledge that I, and I alone, am responsible for what I do.  The tempter is cunning but he can’t make me sin.

         On top of that, I am warned all throughout scripture of Satan’s character.  I’m told he is a liar.  I’m told that he weaves schemes of destruction.  I’m told he comes to kill and destroy.  I’m told he comes in stealth mode and to be wary.  So why in the world would I listen to Satan’s voice?

         If a dear friend of mine, someone I trusted with my life, warned me about a certain person, I would listen.  I wouldn’t get involved with him on any level.  Because of the integrity of the one who warned me, my guard is up.

         Yes, it is much more than a friend who warns me about my spiritual enemy.  It is God!  Is He not credible?  How could I flirt with the one He says is out for my demise?

         If I discount the warning of a friend and get hurt, I find out quickly how much that friend loves me.  If there is disgust and “I told you so!” the relationship will experience a serious fracture.  But if I discount God’s warning and suffer the consequences of my choices, He still offers open arms when I come running home.  Though I am severely wounded, and I knew better, He is willing to forgive and restore.

         A stronghold is formed when I have given ground to the enemy and left it to fester over a long period of time.  Satan has legal right to walk into the boundaries of my life and plunder my territory.  The reason a stronghold exists is usually for three reasons: 1.) I haven’t had the spiritual instruction to know what a stronghold is.  2.) I’m afraid, or too proud, to acknowledge my sin and risk God’s anger and broken heart.  3.) I am enjoying the pleasure Satan offers even though I know it’s a stronghold.

         God is clear.  “Don’t believe our enemy.  He hates you because you’re mine!”  If I trust God’s love, I run from sin and hurry to do personal housecleaning where strongholds are concerned.  Otherwise, I am continual prey to a known spiritual felon.

To grow up spiritually is to listen to everything you say and obey for my own good.  No questions asked.  Help me.  Amen

And God Came Searching

AND GOD CAME SEARCHING…

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  Genesis 3:8-9

         I love the sound of the footsteps of one I’m longing to see.  The closer that person comes, the more the anticipation grows.  However, I dread the sound of the footsteps of one I’m not longing to see!

         When I was 8, I ate some Easter candy that my parents told me not to eat it.  They were saving it for Easter.  The next afternoon, I was playing outside with two friends and remembered the candy.  Thinking that it would be the perfect snack for the three of us, I snuck in the kitchen and snatched it.  Oh, it tasted good and delighted my friends.  Continue reading “And God Came Searching”

Shame

SHAME

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons and they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:7-8

         Self-hatred is one of the most difficult things to conquer as a Christian.  When I mess up badly, I not only hate what I did but I hate myself“I can’t believe I did that!  What a jerk!”  You’ve said that to yourself, right?          Can you imagine the self-talk in the Garden of Eden after the forbidden fruit was eaten?  Self-hatred and self-condemnation must have ruled their hearts.

         Shame says, “There’s not only something wrong with what I do, there’s something wrong with me!  I’m deeply flawed.”  This has NO fix that is holy outside of the healing love of Christ.  He is the only One who says, “I hate what you did but I love you!”

         What is Satan’s counterfeit?  “Love yourself.  You’re not that bad.  You may mess up once in a while but you’re a god!”  None of that is true.

         I am a desperately wicked sinner but one that is infinitely loved by Christ.  When I sin, I can want – with everything in me – to punish myself but Jesus reminds me that He already bore my punishment.  He died for the awful thing I just did as if He were the person who committed it.

         One of the meanings of ‘forgive’ is to send away.  When God forgives my sin, he sends it away from me.  He puts it behind His back and never takes it out again to hold it up to my face as a reminder of how bad I am.  He would want me to know today that I am not my sin.

         As John Newton put it in 1725, “I am a great sinner but Christ is a great Savior.”  As long as I keep the focus on Him and the love He offers me, I am not plagued by a life-long struggle to forgive myself for something I consider unforgivable.

I can forgive others much easier than I can forgive myself.  Help me know how you love me in a deeper way.  Amen

Why Didn’t He Stop Her?

WHY DIDN’T HE STOP HER?

She took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Genesis 3:6b

         The woman allowed the serpent to engage her.  The topic and the way he presented it was so beguiling that she let down her defenses.  Adam was there with her.  Was he listening?  Was he alert?  If he was distracted, then wouldn’t he have been shocked when he saw that she had eaten of the tree?  When she offered him some, wouldn’t he have felt alarm by her disobedience to their God?

         This lack of male leadership plagues our churches and families.  I am not a man-hater.  I don’t have an axe to grind.  Continue reading “Why Didn’t He Stop Her?”