Monday, March 25, 2013

Simple Contentment

So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
1 Timothy6:8 NLT

I struggle with the idea that I've become so dependent on things for survival.  Things that my grandparents, or even parents, didn't need.  Things like electricity for example.

How do I keep my food cold or frozen without it?  How do I communicate as well without cell phones, e-mail and facebook?  Shopping becomes limited, staying informed and educated becomes more of a challenge.  Washing clothes, taking a shower, vacuuming, playing music or games, paying bills, cooking, staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer all become very challenging without electricity.  I hate that.

At work I take frantic calls from people who don't know what to do when the power goes out.  They are fearful and wonder how to survive.  Have they never gone camping?  Is this what we've come to?  Is it no longer just food, clothing and shelter we need to survive?  Now we need cell phones, microwaves, internet connection and insurance?  Must we always be entertained?  Have we lost our ability to sit still and think our own thoughts?  I don't like this.  I struggle to keep from getting sucked in.  And if I have to fight from getting sucked in at 53 years old, what chance do my kids have, or grandkids, who have never seen life any other way?

God help us, help me at least.  I want to run away to a monastery.  I want to get away from all of the distraction to a simple life.  How many hours of my life do I spend in front of a computer screen waiting and growing frustrated when I could be sitting in front of nature being still and growing peaceful instead?

I'm taking a deep breath, and pondering the Scripture, "Be still and know that I am God."  Psalm 46:10.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Tree

“You may freely eat of every tree of the garden.  But…”Genesis 2:16-17 Amplified Bible
God told man whom He created, that they could freely eat of every tree in the garden He had prepared for them.  But there were two trees in the middle of the garden that were special.—The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  The tree of life would cause them to live forever and the tree of knowledge would kill them.   Why did God even put the tree of knowledge in the garden?
As time went on we see that God always had man set something apart for Himself—something they were to leave alone.  In the garden it was the tree of knowledge.  They were supposed to set that aside for the Lord.  Later on it was the tithe, the Sabbaths, and even fasting.  When we set these things aside to the Lord as holy we are honoring Him, making room for Him in our midst.
Jesus was called Emmanuel which means God with us.  He said His disciples didn’t need to fast while He was with them in the earth but after He left they would fast often.  Somehow, by setting aside a portion of our food (fasting), our income (tithe), our time & our land (Sabbaths), we are welcoming God’s presence among us.  We are making room for Him by not filling up every bit of our lives with ourselves.
In the garden after they ate of the tree of knowledge they hid from God the next time they heard Him coming.  He asked where they were.  They had consumed that which gave Him space in their midst and the absence of His presence brought fear, shame and confusion.  When God found them He enlightened them as to what had happened as a result of their sin and then He made coats of skins—causing an animal to be sacrificed—to clothe them.  This first temporary atonement was given even before the Law of Moses was instituted.  These animal sacrifices were a temporary covering of sin until the Son of God would come and offer Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for mankind.  Now, as we individually receive the sacrifice of Jesus as the atonement for our own sin, our consciences are purged, we are cleansed from sin and the presence of God comes into our life.  And He said He would never leave us or abandon us!
Genesis 3:22, Genesis 2:17, Mark 2:19-20, Leviticus 27:30, Exodus 31:13-17, Exodus 23:10-12, Genesis 3:7-21, Leviticus 17, Hebrews 9:11-28, Hebrews 10, Hebrews 13:15, Hebrews 13:5