Satan Has a Plan for Your Life!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone talk about “God’s plan for your life” and use that phrase as if no matter what happens, it’s part of God’s plan. My wife and I just watched a movie recently that was faith-based, and in the story there’s a young lady with a daughter.  They lost their husband and father, respectively, in Afghanistan.  It tells of the wife’s struggle to make things work afterwards, how she lost her faith in God as life spiraled downward for her.  By the end of the movie things lead her back to her faith and as she prepares to enter a church again to worship, she comments about how God’s plan for your life sometimes is not what you want or think it will be, but in the end it works out if you trust in him.

That may sound good at first glance, but it conveys the idea that everything that happened to this lady was part of God’s plan. Did God plan for her husband to die in Afghanistan?  Did he plan for her to experience very difficult times emotionally and physically with a job that couldn’t pay the bills?  On and on you could go with examples of things that were negative and hurtful, and yet all part of God’s plan if you accept this very predestination point of view.  Is that the correct way to view this?

I contend that Satan has a plan for your life! The Apostle Peter tells us in his letter that we need to cast all our anxieties on God, who cares for us, and then says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”  (I Peter 5:8-9)


There is a spiritual battle for your soul going on constantly. God wants your faith and allegiance, and so does his adversary Satan.  Meanwhile we are creatures with free will, able to choose who we give our allegiance to, living in a sinful messed-up world where the consequences of sin touch everyone to some degree.  Much that happens in life is the result of the messed-up world we live in.  That’s not God’s plan.  His plan is to provide salvation without forcing it on anyone.  He does so in-the-midst of the craziness of life that can impact us in numerous bad ways.  And, throughout this process Satan attempts to tempt us away from God and to himself.

God works for our benefit within this framework of life, but he isn’t causing everything that happens, it is not all part of his plan. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”  (Romans 8:28). Bad things happen that are not part of God’s plan, but as Paul says to the Romans, God can use even these things for our good, IF we love him and are called according to his purpose.  In other words, we need to have a Christian worldview and be willing to live sacrificially for the good of others, knowing our real reward will come in heaven.  We are mistaken if we think Romans 8 tells us that God will make all things work for our happiness in this life.  All things work for “good” and that has a very broad other-centered meaning, I believe, not a selfish meaning.  God’s purpose is to save and to sanctify in the hotbed of life.

In the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, a demon writes to his nephew about the spiritual battle with his enemy, which is God. The demon writes, “The enemy wants men to be concerned with what they do (obedience); our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them (life circumstances).”  Yes, Satan has a plan too, to mess things up!  He works all things for bad, if we love him and are called for his purposes. Both want your devotion, your faith, your obedience.  So, you need to have a plan!  And your plan needs to reinforce your choice.  If you choose God, be purposeful in using the resources he provides to become a faithful follower.  That involves church, Bible reading, like-minded friends who can encourage and reinforce the path you are on.

People say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Think so? Only if we realize that the “reason” is a battle between God and Satan for your soul.  Put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11) so you can stand against the schemes of the devil. Realize you have a say in what happens.  Make your choice and take your stand for the Lord.


Christians Drinking Alcohol

This is a tough issue, and one quite honestly that I’ve avoided for a long time. What should a Christian’s perspective be on the topic of drinking alcoholic beverages?  Opinions vary, and it’s not hard to understand the reasons why.  On one extreme are those who have family or friends whose life has been destroyed by alcohol.  Even if they recovered, it’s a lifelong battle to stay away from this “demon” so that they don’t relapse.  On the other extreme are people who’ve grown up in a very controlled environment of alcohol consumption, who have a glass of wine with a meal but never overindulge, and have no problem controlling this behavior.

Once you move this argument into the religious arena you’d think it might become simpler, but it really does not. In our U.S. American culture where protestant churches have dominated, we see a mindset of total abstinence, partly due to the wanton ways of those involved in our westward expansion (cowboys celebrating the cattle drive, in saloons, etc.).  On the other hand, when you go to many other countries you see alcohol as part of everyday life for most families, including Christians.  When my wife and I were in Italy we had tour guides who were Christian telling us about helping their kids learn to drink responsibly when they were growing up by watering down the wine and gradually introducing it to their children.  Once they are adults they generally drink responsibly, usually with meals.  Like any adult behavior (including eating food) there can be issues, and people who abuse their freedom.

Where does that leave us? How about this.  If we are Bible believing people we usually base our beliefs on what the Bible teaches, right?  So why not do that with this subject?  Let’s take a look.

We might start by asking, “What would Jesus do?” On the one hand we have no specific example of the Bible saying Jesus drank anything alcoholic.  But, we have no place where he condemned it either, and in fact we have an example where he provided it to many.  You remember it, the wedding at Cana of Galilee.  It was his first miracle!  Some try to say it was just good grape juice, but that goes against common sense for a wedding of that day and that culture.  And because this was a miracle, the miracle would seem to be taking water and turning it immediately into wine (which normally needs time to ferment).  You could turn it into grape juice just by squeezing grapes into it.  It’s the wine factor that really makes this a miracle.  Once Jesus turned water into wine, and not just any wine, it was the best they had experience so far (John 2:10), do you think he forbade them from drinking it?

wedding of cana

As Tevye of Fiddler on the Roof would say, “On the other hand…” We all know alcohol can be dangerous.  Some people just can’t handle it.  The Bible does warn us about such.  We are told in Proverbs 23, “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.  In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.”  Deuteronomy 32 says wine can be like the poison of serpents.  No doubt about it, we are not being responsible if we fail to see the potential dangers of alcohol.  The Bible says that getting drunk crosses the line into sinful behavior. “Do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

Again, where does that leave us? Jesus once gave an illustration of the kingdom he was initiating where he said “No one puts new wine into old wineskins.  If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins.  But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2) If he wanted complete abstinence you’d think Jesus would use a different illustration or say, “Destroy that sinful wine!”  He didn’t.  His point was that his kingdom could not be contained in the old wineskin of the Law, his kingdom would be of the Spirit.  Are you, as a Christian, controlled by his Spirit, do you walk according to his Word?  If so, you’ll control this area just like you do others.  That’s the bottom line, what is it that motivates us, what is it that leads our thoughts and actions?  If we allow it to be anything other than the Lord and his Spirit, we are in trouble, even if we never take a sip of alcohol.

A general guideline for the Christian?  Thoughts can vary, but how about this: Don’t flaunt it in front of others who may be weak (Rom. 14:21), if you do it at all do it responsibly, never getting drunk, never drinking and driving, and consider abstinence as possibly the cleanest and safest path.

If we are Christian, our goal is to honor the Lord at all times!

Walking with Jesus to the Gihon Spring

The time has finally come. Jesus has spent the night with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem.  It’s a steep climb up the hill from Bethany and Jesus with his disciples walk that portion of the trip the next day.  As they near Bethpage, a small village near the top of this ridge, Jesus asks them to get a donkey.  Seems odd.  Jesus just walked up this steep hill, why does he want a donkey to ride down into the Kidron Valley?

We learn in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, daughter Zion! Shout, daughter Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey.”  Oh, so that’s why.  For some reason this fulfills prophecy, as Jesus begins what is called his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

It’s getting close to Passover, and during this high festival of the Israelites, people come from all over to be at Jerusalem as they seek to offer their sacrifices, and as they celebrate this historical event, when God rescued Moses and all the people of Israel by having the death angel pass over their houses if the doorposts were painted with blood. During this festival there is not room within the city, so people camp all over, including on the side of this hill, the Mount of Olives.  These campers are all along the road as Jesus mounts the donkey and with his disciples goes down the hill, with Jerusalem before them.  His ride will end at the bottom of the valley, at the Gihon Spring.

Jesus on donkey

Again, these are Jews and they sense something special. They’ve heard of this Jesus, some of them have seen him perform his miracles, others understand what is taking place.  They gather their palm leaves to wave as they cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  (Matt. 21:9) Others shout, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:10) Others, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38) Yes, they are recognizing Jesus as king, just as Zechariah had stated.


But why?  What is it about this donkey ride into the Kidron Valley that points to Jesus as a king?  The Jews studied the scriptures (I Kings 1), and they knew.  They would recall another time when the kingdom was in transition and something just like this took place.  David had been king, but his time was coming to an end.  He had not yet announced his successor.  His son Adonijah saw this opportunity and wanted the kingdom for himself.  As he went about being coronated outside Jerusalem, Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan learn of it and go to warn David.  David had promised Solomon would be king.

David puts Solomon on a donkey that had previously been used only for himself. In view of all in Jerusalem he has Solomon ride the donkey down the western hill of the Mount of Olives to the bottom of the Kidron Valley, ending at the Gihon Spring.  Once there, Zadok the priest anoints Solomon as king!

gihon diagram

And so, as Jesus does this same thing the people wave their branches and shout Hosanna to another son of David. They are ready to crown him as king!  But this story has a twist.  Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the king who will reign forever.  But just a few days later his crown will be one of thorns.


Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven

“But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked his Apostles. Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  Jesus answered, “Blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 16:15-19)

There’s a lot packed into the words of Jesus above. For now, let’s focus on the “keys” that Jesus said he would give the Apostle Peter.  What is Jesus talking about here?  We all know the tradition that Peter is the gatekeeper of heaven and when we die we must get permission from him to enter into heaven through the Pearly Gates.  There’s been many a joke told with that as the premise.  Or, the Catholic Church has used this as a proof text to say Peter was the first Pope, and what the Pope says goes.

St Peter Pearly Gates

Let me offer an alternative view. I believe Jesus’ words provide a near-term but very far-reaching perspective on the keys he promised Peter.  Go with me to Acts 2.  It’s the day of Pentecost as the disciples wait, just as Jesus instructed, until he sends his Spirit.  The Spirit arrives like a rushing wind, and speaking in a tongue that all can understand on this festival day Peter preaches the first resurrection sermon.  When he is done telling them what has happened to Jesus, who Jesus really is, they cry out, “What must we do?”  And Peter provides the key, telling them “Repent and be baptized ever one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”  He thus opened the door of salvation for all these Jews gathered at this Jewish festival.

Fast forward with me to Acts 10. Peter has been focused on his fellow Jews, most likely holding onto his prejudice against the Gentiles (non-Jews).  He is in Joppa (not by accident where Jonah fled his mission to the Gentiles) and in a vision comes to understand that God has made clean what was formally considered unclean.  Cornelius, a Gentile centurion (Roman soldier) lives in Caesarea and has a vision of his own. He’s told to send for Simon who is called Peter.  He does.  Peter goes and realizes that God has granted salvation by faith to the Gentiles, saying, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality.”  Peter preaches the gospel to those in Cornelius’ house and God’s Spirit impacts them as it did the disciples on Pentecost. Peter provides the key, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.


The door of salvation is now open to all; both Jew and Gentile! Peter used the keys Jesus gave him, and what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven.  In other words, to be loosed from your sins, respond in faith, repentance, and baptism, becoming a disciple of Jesus!  For those who do, the door to God’s Kingdom swings open, as do the gates of heaven.                                                                  

An App for That

When you own a smart phone, it provides amazing technology that makes information easy; possibly too easy. I must admit I enjoy the various “apps” I can add to my I-Phone.  There’s one for the weather, quickly able to access a radar screen to see where bad weather is moving.  There’s one for ESPN so you can get an immediate update on sports scores and activity (there’s even the ability during baseball season to watch pitch by pitch where the ball is within the strike zone, on a visual display).  There’s an app for Facebook, of course.  I have another for my 401(k) and can check the balance of funds anytime.  There’s another for our bank.  There’s one I use for USA Today or Fox News to check what’s going on in the world.  And, I also have a great Bible app on my phone, where I can quickly change versions, highlight text, etc.

iphone apps

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But have you ever heard the phrase “information overload”?

Our culture is inundated with technology that provides information; all kinds of information. At a quick click you can access porn sights, for example, so there’s plenty    of negative stuff out there too.  Of course all of these sites that are free parade advertisements past you constantly trying to get you to bite.  And even if it’s generally positive stuff, it absorbs time.  Unless we manage our time well, that becomes a problem in itself in terms of Christian stewardship.

When we have too much information we tend to gloss over it and don’t pay enough attention to the important things. I peruse the local paper every day, but my focus tends to wander to the trivial stuff (like the funnies) and I often miss the murder on page one.  How did I do that?  Lack of focus.  Too much info and I gravitate to what appeals, rather than to what is meaningful.

If we are Christians, disciples of Christ (same thing), that must mean something in terms of how we live: the choices we make, the values we adopt, the activities we pursue, the character we develop, the service we provide.  We need focus!  Is there an app for that?

Indeed! There are two: the Bible, and the church.  The Bible is a collection of inspired manuscripts written by men who were linked to God in history, providing God’s values and expectations, providing stories of human victory and failure to walk God’s way.  It’s a very honest book, documenting the sins of its heroes just as it documents their successes.  Ultimately God is the hero!  This collection of books leads us to Jesus Christ and the salvation he provides through his sacrifice for our sins, which can be accessed by faith, as we make Jesus Lord.  The church is a resource where the mature can help school the immature, where we all remember and learn, where we seek to make the Bible teaching real in our life.  Read the Bible, participate in church, make application.

Distractions? There are many.  Don’t let modern technology rule.  Access God’s apps!

The Devil’s Schemes

Thoughts from the devil’s perspective…

Television. Ah, even the word is music to my ears.  A human once said when seeing an early version of this tool, “This is a device that can teach people.”  We got a big kick out of that one.  Oh, it can teach alright!  We use it most effectively.  Much of the secularization of the American culture has come as we gradually encourage those in Hollywood to introduce anti-biblical concepts through the stories told on television.  Slowly but surely this modem of secular morals brings more violence, more sex, more vulgar language, more un-Christian thought into the minds of those who set passively and soak it in.  What was once unthinkable, becomes thinkable, even acceptable.  Must say, we are very proud of the results.

Our adversary must be frustrated with our success. He has gone to great lengths to provide written instruction, a book of sorts, to his followers, with stories that illustrate the catastrophes caused by rejecting him, stories that direct these followers to key elements of right relationship, stories that demonstrate his love for these abhorrent creatures, his forgiveness, but also his requirements.  We have actually encouraged the publication of these instructions, all neatly bound in an attractive book with footnotes, introductions, references, etc.  At the same time, we’ve encouraged busyness to the extent that this book lays dormant on shelves.  Busyness, laziness, no matter.  Few really read this stuff, or even go to their so-called places of worship to hear the “preacher” talk about it.  Many of those who do go, allow habit to close their ears.  Kudos to my demon friends for the extent of this success.


Along similar lines, I am very pleased with how we’ve largely removed this “book” as the guidance for cultural issues like homosexuality and sex outside of marriage for straight couples. By successfully making this an emotional issue based on feel-good and selfish thinking, it has become a subjective topic that has created a wave of support for us, even among his followers.  Hey, when the rule book lies dormant on the shelf, or when feelings overcome an objective reading of the guidelines, our battle is almost won!  Pairing love with obedience, faith with faithfulness, commitment with sacrifice (as truth in a sinful world is pursued), such common-sense things lose their weight when these humans become convinced that it’s all about selfish indulgence in this world, little thought of the next.  Well done, I say!

More victories come our way when we allow attention around holidays (a play on the words Holy Day), to become more about traditional tomfoolery. The virgin birth of their hero becomes a side show for Santa Claus and an excuse for drunken parties.  The resurrection (I shudder to say that word) becomes some vague imagery with a rabbit, of all things.  All Hallows (Saints) Day was intended to recall those who set an example for these “followers,” but we have turned it on its head with Hallows Eve (Halloween) and a sugar filled quest for candy amidst ghouls and goblins.  Our strategies have been so very successful, I think you must agree.  These are just a few examples of many victories.

Sure, there are those diehards we can’t get to.  Those who actually do rely on “the book” and work together to reinforce what our adversary desires.  But their numbers are diminishing.  Thank the devil!  Oh, shall I boast, since that is me?

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church: Eph. 6:11)

Eden and the Overthrow of Evil

Yes, we live in the wreckage of the first Eden; and yes, the New Eden (the renewed earth when Jesus returns) will be grand, with so many stories and wonderful things to do. But sandwiched between those two things is a question we might ask: what about all the terrible things that have happened in this world, the evil that Satan has caused, the justice that is needed, how does that all get reconciled?

We long for justice in this life, don’t we? There are the examples of extreme evil, like what Adolph Hitler caused during the 1930’s and 1940’s with the concentration camps and brutal killing and experimentation done on innocent people.  Throughout history there have been many versions of this.  But most of the evil we experience takes place at a lower vibe.  You feel it, and I feel it.  The hurt of divorce, when two people who once “thought” they loved each other now seem like enemies bent on doing damage.  The loss of a job through no real fault of your own, and scrambling to make ends meet and support your family.  The pain of sickness and disease that cause a loved one to be debilitated and makes it hard for you to focus on the good things in life.  The accidents, the carnage of war, the gossip and back biting – too often within the church; then there’s government leaders who take advantage of their position and benefit themselves while putting their thumb on people.  Corporate leaders who allow greed to make unethical practices the norm.  It goes on and on.  It all started with Satan back in the original Eden, and he continues to play his part, but we all contribute in some way, big or small.  We may not be Hitler, but we sin, and we add to this compounding effect of a world gone mad, of a world that is held together only by God’s grace as he patiently waits for as many as possible to repent.


“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling for demons, and a haunt for every unclean spirit… All the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.”  (Revelation 18:1-3)

We’ve all seen the drunkenness of this maddening wine, haven’t we? Truth is, we’ve taken a few sips.  But our sin may be small compared to much that goes on.  Jeremiah speaks of the “high places” that were built to sacrifice sons and daughters (Jer. 32:25).  Horrible.  Yet we still see such, instead of “high places” it’s the mother’s womb.

Yes, evil must be overcome, and we won’t see that in this life, not fully at least. Oh, for a savior, for a pathway to pure relationship with God, oh for all the wrongs to be righted.  We have found that in Jesus, haven’t we?  God laid our sins upon him and we can be forgiven, we can have a way to be cleansed.  But that is only for the “few” who accept Jesus as Lord.  What about those who spit in his face, who want nothing to do with him, who revel in their sins and add fuel to the fire of this wreckage?  Or, what about those who have been persecuted for their faith, many dying; who have done their best to live a godly life and yet faced repeated heartache?  Justice in all that?

It’s why we need to have a clearer view of what awaits us. Not floating on a cloud and singing songs for eternity (that motivates few), but living on a new earth where sin is gone and Eden is restored, where rewards are given for the good we’ve done as we’ve followed Jesus as Lord.  Satan and those who align themselves with him will be tossed into the lake of fire, justice will be meted out, and we will have an eternity to gain understanding and enjoy life the way it was meant to be, the way you’ve always wanted it to be!  Where have you wanted to go, what have you wanted to do, what dreams have gone unfulfilled?  Don’t worry, my friend, all of that will be realized.

“I Can Only Imagine” was a popular song a few years back, I liked it too. The problem is, if eternity is left to our imagination it can become something very vague and unreal.  What we face in eternity is a new Eden, an earth that is restored to all its grandeur!  Don’t just imagine; it is real, it will be yours, and evil will be overthrown.

Stories Told in the New Eden

I’ve written about the wreckage we live in, this side of Eden. Sin has messed us up, it has messed up the world; but both you (and I) and the world have hope for renewal.  Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). He was talking to the 12 apostles, but we will experience this renewal of all things too.  Heaven is no vague thing with us floating on a cloud, that’s a secular version, not what the Bible teaches.  Listen, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away…” (Rev. 21:1).  At the end of time, when Christ returns and this world ends as we know it, it won’t go away, it will be renewed!  We will have a New Eden, where we live free from the impact of sin.  Oh, the stories that will be told.  Just imagine…

You’re sitting on the green grass looking out over the beautiful landscape. The sun feels so good, the perfect temperature.  There are ocean waves crashing up against the beach in the distance, creating a soothing sound you love to hear.  And then you see him, walking over the crest of the hill with a crowd.  It’s Moses!  What a striking figure, beard running down his chest.  Everyone settles into place, Moses stands on a rock, and with acoustics that allow all to hear exactly what he says, he starts to talk.  “I can remember the time when we stood in a place much like this.  We could hear the waves crashing against the beach of the Red Sea.  Thousands upon thousands stood behind me, anxious to know what would occur as the Egyptian army raced toward us.  And then, I raised my staff toward heaven…”


Another time and you are visiting the holy land, walking the terrain, thinking about all that has happened here. As you top the hill and look out over the valley before you, with a small creek running through the valley, you hear voices over in a grove of olive trees.  You walk toward the sound and find a group of people listening to the storyteller.  Intrigued you set down among them, and you hear a strapping young man named David begin.  “Yes, he was a big man.  Stood about 9 feet tall.  About the size of that statue Michelangelo made of me years later.  His armor looked like it weighed more than me, his spear was long enough to pierce three men with a single throw.  I would have been unable to defeat him in a normal battle.  But God was with me, and I had a skill.  I went to the banks of that creek you see down in the valley and picked up five smooth stones, putting them in my pouch.  His forehead would be my target.  I sighed deeply, then I started to run toward him…”

David and Goliath

And as time goes by you encounter Noah, oh what tales he has for you, you listen as Methuselah speaks about all that he saw in his 969 years on earth; you set in wonder as Elijah sets the stage for his battle with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. When he’s done, he says he wants to tell you something else that is unique, and he talks of the whirlwind and chariots of fire that took him into God’s presence without experiencing death.  One day, as you have your morning coffee, you see a couple walk by.  They come to your door and knock.  You recognize them somehow.  They want to tell you about naming all the animals, and the joyous time of the first Eden.  Will there never be an end to the wonder of it all?

Then there’s Jesus!  And, us ordinary folk.  We have stories too.  Won’t it be grand?!

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22)

Living in the Wreckage of Eden

Oh, what a sight it was. As he looked out over the landscape, he couldn’t help but think this was something amazing.  Animals gently grazing, fruit trees with luscious food, a stream running smoothly over rocks that seemed to be placed just so, with tender care.  It’s been called Eden, thought Adam.  Adam’s wife Eve was preparing a meal, smiling, beckoning for Adam to come and be playful again.  Things were just so perfect.  But then Eve remembered.  There was another person, with the voice of an angel, but eyes that seemed to contradict the voice.  He was not like them, yet he was like them.  He made Eve think of the slithering creature they had seen down by the orchard one night, almost serpent like.  He wanted to see her, tonight.  Should she go?  There was a certain intrigue about him.  Maybe…

You know the story. And you know the biblical proportions of the damage that was done once both Eve and Adam gave into to the temptations presented to them.  That damage has compounded due to each one of us participating in defiance of our Maker.  You have felt it, and I have too.  The unexpected death of a loved one.  The diagnosis of cancer.  The loneliness and impact of divorce.   Abuse & selfish arguments that defy the good relationship we truly want with the other person.  There are food shortages in much of the world.  Even recently we’ve seen earthquakes and hurricanes and volcanoes erupt.  Wars, rumors of wars. Then there is our society that seems to have gone mad.  People hating other people because of their politics, wanting gun control (but be sure to shoot those who don’t before you put the guns away).  It’s all wrapped up in a word.  We don’t like it much, but we know it.  Sin.

And so, we live in the wreckage of Eden. God placed his angel at the entry, flaming sword in hand, and would not allow sinful man to return to his perfect environment, no fruit from the tree of life.  We’ve been struggling to make sense of things and right the wrongs ever since.  We take one step forward, and two back.  And that’s the nature of things.  Unless.  Unless we can find a way to have a new creation.


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old is gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17) It was promised in Isaiah, “See, I will create a new heaven and a new earth, the former things will not be remembered.” (Isaiah 65:17) And it will be fulfilled with Jesus’ return, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”  (2 Peter 3:13) And again, from John the Apostle, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1).

Is this world messed up? Indeed.  Has your life been messed up at times, maybe even now?  Indeed, I would expect you to say.  But God has not left us to wander aimlessly in the dark.  Through Jesus he has provided forgiveness of sins, a renewed relationship with the Lord, and a pathway back to the wonders and joy of Eden.  The wrongs will be made right, every tear will be wiped away.  Health restored, vigor renewed.  Maybe not tomorrow, but soon, very soon.  It’s what you’ve been longing for.  Me too.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb. And on each side of the river stood the tree of life…yielding its fruit.” (Rev. 22)