Thursday, September 27, 2012

“Stopping the Chaos in the Family” continued and Prague News...

Last week I left you with the principle from Genesis 3:14 that God addressed the serpent first after giving Adam and Eve a chance to repent, because He knows who the real enemy is.

I hope during this past week that you have taken to heart that principle and have been able to acknowledge that your spouse is not the enemy. When we recognize this truth, it helps stop some of the craziness in our homes and helps us to come together to fight against the true enemy of our home: Satan.

Today, we are going to look at how God clothed Adam and Eve. But, before we do, there is one more principle I want you to see.  While God addressed Adam first in the garden with the opportunity to repent, He did not address Adam first when it came to consequences of sin. He addressed first the serpent as the real enemy, and then He addressed Eve. He held Eve responsible for her sin and gave her consequences accordingly. He then addressed Adam and gave him consequences as well. We will be held accountable for our sin as individuals. Doesn’t matter who started it!!

Notice when He spoke to Adam, He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you ‘Do not eat of it’. . .” (Genesis 3:17).

I love that picture of God addressing Adam. I believe we deal with this same issue in our lives at times as we follow God in our journey here. God tells us something very clearly. But someone comes along that we choose to listen to instead of God. I have watched ministries and churches experience serious problems because those in leadership heard from God but listened to the voice of others. Oh, but for the grace of God, go I! It is difficult sometimes to stick to what you KNOW God has told you when others around you may appear to know more, be a more mature believer, or have more knowledge, or when you don’t want someone to be upset with you. But, woe the consequences of disobedience when we walk away from His direction.

Enough on that. Let’s look at God’s wardrobe for Adam and Eve versus their loincloths of fig leaves. Several weeks ago, we talked about how Adam and Eve tried to cover their guilt and shame that resulted from their disobedience. We talked about how we try to cover our guilt and shame. Today, I want you to understand something very important about what happened next in the garden. God clothed Adam and Eve to take away their shame and guilt from their recognition of their nakedness. Adam and Eve tried to clothe themselves, but it wasn’t enough. Our way to righteousness will never be enough. We can’t go to church enough, pray enough, worship enough, do enough good works, etc. Blood had to be shed, and death had to take place. I like what Matthew Henry says:

The beasts whose skins they were must be slain, slain before their eyes, to show them what death is, and (as it is Eccl. 3:18) that they may see that they themselves were beasts, mortal and dying. It is supposed that they were slain, not for food, but for sacrifice, to typify the great sacrifice, which, in the latter end of the world, should be offered once for all. Thus the first thing that died was a sacrifice or Christ in a figure, who is therefore said to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. These sacrifices were divided between God and man, in token of reconciliation: the flesh was offered to God, a whole burnt-offering; the skins were given to man for clothing, signifying that, Jesus Christ having offered himself to God a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, we are to clothe ourselves with his righteousness as with a garment, that the shame of our nakedness may not appear. Adam and Eve made for themselves aprons of fig-leaves, a covering too narrow for them to wrap themselves in, Isa. 28:20. Such are all the rags of our own righteousness. But God made them coats of skins; large, and strong, and durable, and fit for them; such is the righteousness of Christ. Therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we accept and believe Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ll never forget when I came to an understanding of the truth of the statement Jesus made from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” When I was doing a Beth Moore study, she identified that word forgive as a continuous verb. That was life changing for my spiritual growth at that moment in time. I saw the truth of the power of the word forgiveness! I saw the power of His spilled out blood! I came to understand that I had no righteousness apart from Him, that He is my righteousness!!

Do you understand the power of the word “forgiveness”? If you haven’t been forgiven, you can’t possibly understand grace. And if you understand grace, you are without excuse to extend forgiveness to others.

Many homes are in chaos right now as I write these words, because they are too hurt to forgive, too prideful to forgive, too selfish to forgive, too angry to forgive. And all of these eventually lead to bitterness and destruction of self, others, marriages, and families. Forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion!!!

Prague News . . .

Well, pray for us this weekend in Arkansas as we do our bake sale and enchilada sale to raise money for the missionary women. We still need 20 women to be sponsored as of this writing. We are in the last leg of preparations for the trip, so please step up those prayers!!

I wrote the missionary women and asked if any of them would like to share anything with you guys, and a couple of them wrote back with the following links to blogs they themselves write if you’d like to check them out.

Stacy gave us these two stories from her blog:

One of our Rachels  (we have a few from this bunch) sent the following links to her blog and a story:

Enjoy the reading, and don’t forget to be praying for all the missionary women who will be in attendance!

Love you all!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Stopping the Chaos in the Family" and Prague Update...

Ladies, today we are going to look at the first seven words of Genesis 3:14. But first, let me remind you of the preceding verses.

Genesis 3:8-13

8And 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. 9But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

I want you to get this. God gave Adam and Eve an opportunity in the garden to repent when He said, “Where are you?” And again, when He said, “Who told you that you were naked?” God knew they were hiding, and He knew they had sinned, but He was giving them the opportunity to come clean. But, instead, Adam blamed God and the woman, and the woman blamed the serpent.

Genesis 3:14, first seven words . . .

The Lord God said to the serpent . . .

Major principle to consider today:

Notice the order in which God addressed the consequences of sin.

He addressed the serpent first. (“The LORD God said to the serpent . . .”) God demonstrated something He teaches us through His Word in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the cosmic powers (rulers) over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Let me translate something to you regarding husband and wife relationships. Your husband is not the enemy!!!!!!!! Husbands, your wife is not the enemy!!!!!! We have an enemy, and they’re not it!!!! But, as long as we are attacking the wrong source, we will continue to be defeated!!! The enemy is laughing his head off at some of you reading this, because you are destroying your marriage by not realizing this truth. Say to yourself until you believe this truth, “My husband is not the enemy!” “My wife is not the enemy!” “My children are not the enemy!” “My boss is not the enemy!” “My in-laws and out-laws are not the enemy!” When you grasp this truth, it will change your attitude toward others.

So, your challenge this week: When you are sitting across from him at dinner or breakfast or you just roll over in bed and see his face, REMEMBER . . . he is not the enemy!! I know some of you are thinking, “Yeah, maybe not . . . but I’m sure he is employed by him! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, well. (Smile)

Prague News . . .

We have had some real sweet prayer times this past week for our missionary women, who will be attending the retreat in Prague. I hope many of you too are lifting them up in prayer. We have another missionary sponsored this week, so that is 29 sponsored so far. I love watching God bring in the resources for that which He has called us to do!

Ok, so as I’ve been looking at more stuff about Prague to share with you, I ran across a question asked by someone who was taking their 10-year-old child to Prague and wanted to know some good sightseeing things for children. Well, one of the things they mentioned was a Chocolate Museum. I’m thinking, “Forget the 10-year-old child. You are talking to a bunch of women here!” Women and Chocolate are like Ham and Eggs, Shoes and Socks, Salt and Pepper, etc. You get it!!!!! So, I thought you might want to do a little online peek:


Love you all!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

“Stopping the Chaos in the Family” and Prague News!

As I write this blog today, my first thought is, “how many of you were able to get ‘honest’ with yourself last week?” Several of my dear friends have shared with me the realization of throwing their husbands under the bus since last week’s blog came out. One actually suggested that not only did she throw him under the bus but backed over him a few times for good measure! Ha, ha, ha, ha! I can only laugh about this because I know each one of their hearts, and they did go to their spouses and make things right.

God put Adam in a position to get honest, but he blamed God and Eve by saying, “the woman you gave me”. You know what I love about Scripture?!? God honors His own principles throughout it. Notice, God honors His own ‘order of creation’ by going straight to Adam and not Eve even though she was the one who was deceived. God held Adam accountable for taking care of his family. Now, in fairness to some men out there, I know you want to take care of your wives but they won’t let you. Ladies, you have to let your husbands take care of you! And yes, you need to communicate what that looks like because some men think they are taking care of you from their perspective, and from yours they are not! It’s called ‘communication’. The principle works in reverse, too. You think you are being an encouragement to your husbands by doing such and such, but that isn’t their idea of encouragement. And yes, some of you think their only idea of encouragement starts with an S and ends with an X. But, there are actually other things that encourage them, like God’s instruction to us to respect our husband. They need respect. Find something to respect about your husband and then let him know you respect him for that!!

Last week we looked at how the emotional consequences of sin can cause a breakdown in intimacy with God and our spouse which results in ‘chaos’ in our marriages and families. We also observed Adam and Eve addressing this problem by dressing themselves in loincloths of fig leaves to cover up the guilt and shame, and afterward hiding, fear, and blame were at work thinking that God would find out what they had done.

What do you suppose we use as loincloths today to cover our guilt and shame? May I suggest some things to ponder . . . how about denial, anger, blame, a job position, educational titles, performance, money, religion, withdrawal, eating disorders, etc.?

Sadly, loincloths take on many forms in our world today as we try to cover up our guilt and shame and their traveling partners of hiding, fear, and blame. And, hear my heart on this subject, most people have no clue this is what they are doing, even in the body of Christ.

I have a little statement God gave me a long time ago to help people recognize sin at work in their lives. “If you have to hide it, sneak it, or lie about it, God isn’t in it and the enemy is at work!” Are you hiding anything as you read this today? Hiding from God (which He knows) or hiding something from your spouse? Sneaking something? Got some things you don’t want him to know about that you have justified his not knowing? What about just flat lying to him about issues - All those things prevent intimacy from taking place with God and your spouse on the level God desires for you to experience intimacy?

Not only does hiding prevent intimacy, it gives the enemy a stronghold in your life and makes chaos for the whole family system. Why? Because as it has been said, “We don’t sin in a vacuum.” Our sin affects those around us.

So, I close this area of the blog again today saying to you that our cover up will never be sufficient. And our cover up will always cause intimacy to be forfeited with God, spouse, family, and others.

I know I parked in this area an extra week before sharing with you God’s plan for guilt and shame, but I am seriously asking us to sit before a Holy God and ask Him to search our hearts. We in the body of Christ have to stop allowing the enemy to steal our intimacy with God and our families away from us. WE DO HAVE A CHOICE!!

Prague News!

The garage sale weekend was awesome! We made just over a thousand dollars, which sponsors two more of our missionary women who will be attending. Ben Roberson (pictured at left), the son of Kim who hosted the sale at her house, also sold soda pop to raise money as well. He has his own jar that said Pure Joy Donations on it. When it came time to count the money, Ben kept his jar because he wanted to take it to our Sunday school classroom to raise more money, and we left his money in there for ‘seed money.’ Ben’s seed money turned into another $250.63 that takes care of another half a missionary to attend! Thank you, Lord, for his precious heart for You! Ben is leaving seed money in his jar in our class to be passed each week until we leave for Prague. I encourage someone reading this blog to take a challenge and match Ben’s money that comes in each week. This week it was $250.63. Next week it may be more or less. Pray and see if God would have you to take the challenge.

We are on the road to Prague fully loaded! We have our 50 missionary women on board. We have 28 of them sponsored as of this writing! Yeah God!! That is three more than last week! Gotta love how God works on behalf of these missionary women. They received their first official letter from me this week encouraging them to start reading the blog with us. So hello, ladies, if you are joining us for the first time!

Pray for Ben and his seed money jar!

Love you all!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stopping the Chaos in the Family and Prague Update!

Thank you so much for your patience with me as I processed through what I want to share with you regarding how the consequences of sin set chaos in to motion in our families and lives.

Let me start by saying that I will not be taking each word and covering it one at a time as I had suggested several weeks ago.  The reason being is they each touch the other too much for our purposes.  So, just stick with me and I think you will understand what I am trying to show us.

Adam and Eve knew they had broken God’s law the minute they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They were not only guilty but also immediately felt shame.  Guilt implies being responsible for an offense and or a wrongdoing.  Shame is a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, which results in perceiving oneself as defective, unacceptable, damaged goods, etc.  The evidence of these two things at work is demonstrated in Adam and Eve sewing fig leaves together and making themselves loincloths.

Genesis 3:6
7Then the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”

Please take note, Adam and Eve tried to handle their guilt and shame themselves by covering up with fig leaves. 

The next scene is God in the garden walking in the cool of the day.  Adam and Eve hide themselves from God.  Why?  Fear of being found out.  So, God calls to Adam and asks “Where are you and who told you that you were naked?”  What does Adam do, he blames Eve.  Eve in turn blames the serpent.   In today’s language we could safely say that Adam threw Eve under the bus and then she the serpent.  No one was interested in taking any responsibility for their sin.   

Something happened in the garden that day which has been a pattern of the enemy’s ever since.  He wants to break our intimacy with God and each other.  If you really are a student of God’s Word you will know that it screams of His desire to have intimacy with us as His children.  Truly, the one thing that Satan forfeited when he was kicked from the heavens to this earth was  his intimacy with God.  He can’t have it and he doesn’t want any of us to have it either!  We saw what pure intimacy was in the garden before the fall as Adam and Eve enjoyed God and His provision, and intimacy with each other.  Remember Genesis 2:25, “‘the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” 

It is amazing to me as a Biblical Counselor that what the world calls the top three issues in a marriage:  communication problems (intimacy), financial problems (provision), and sexual issues (physical intimacy) can all be traced back to the fall in the garden.

Let me leave you with this thought today.  In most marriages I deal with, either the husband or the wife is throwing the other under the bus.  Neither wants to take responsibility for the problems in the marriage.  The husband blames the wife, the wife blames the husband and our children are the victims of our chaos.  We, like Adam and Eve, try to cover up our sins by making ourselves fig leaves of loincloths.  

Fig leaves or loincloths were not good enough in the garden and they won’t be in our lives either.  But we will get to that next week.  My questions for you today are:

  1. What guilt and shame are you carrying that cause you to want to hide from God, your spouse, and others? 
  2. What fear of exposure is crippling your life?
  3. How many times have you thrown your husband under the bus this week?

Girls, there are so many thoughts that can be evoked from Genesis 3 that I go crazy just trying to get it on these pages for you.  But I am asking a Holy God through the power of His Holy Spirit to convict you, affirm you, and or challenge you regarding this discussion today.  First step of freedom is always….get honest!!   

Prague Update!

As of this writing on Tuesday the 5th , the Prague retreat is full and has gone to waiting list status!  Now let me encourage all of you to put on your running shoes once again as we head to our dates in October of leaving the country to head to Prague.  We still have 25 missionary women to be sponsored, so please be prayerful that God will move on the hearts of people all over this world to get on board with sponsoring these ladies to attend at no cost to them! 

Here is another opportunity to see some interesting facts about Prague…

Love you all,