Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Babel in Reverse

I'm just going to put it out there. The truth is our flesh craves stuff. Our flesh lusts. Our flesh lies with the promise of a good outcome of our sinful choice. It's a daily battle for Christians to say "no" to sin and "yes" to God.  

And from Genesis to Revelation, we read how people easily pervert the word of God and His promises just to fit their moods and passions. Self. Self-centered. Selfish. This always causes pain. 

It's the same today, of course. We still fight with our fleshly desires which is why we need a Savior, namely Jesus Christ. And still, in weak moments we don't feel like resisting -- even though we have Holy Spirit power to do so --  and we fall. We want to be accepted and follow the crowd. They say they're God's 'crowd' but they really don't have the fruit that proves it. 

Look at the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9.  Babel, the 'monumental effort motivated by pride' (ESV commentary). Babel. It was a tower of idolatry. Babel. As in babbling, you know, talking gibberish or confusing language. Yep. Babel is the root word for babbling (no, I'm not of Greek descent).   :)

Here's the truth. "Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there" (verses 11:1-2). Sounds like unity which could change the world for good, doesn't it? You have a large gathering all "on the same page" and speaking the same language desiring to worship. That's good, right? Sounds like a great church. Yep. 

Nope. Because they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth" (Genesis 11:3-4). THIS IS NOT WHAT GOD HAD IN MIND. 

See, we want to be like God, the One who created us. We don't want to be told what to do. We want to live the way we choose and make up our own rules of what is right and what is wrong. We want! We want it now, too! That's not a new concept either. It began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve and the serpent. The lie came in the form of a tempting, tasty fruit and Eve swallowed it: "...when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..." (Genesis 3:5). Adam and Eve were cursed. The ground was cursed. Curse! Curse! Curse! Hopelessness!

That's the way it appeared. But God had a plan of salvation already in place. He had the promise of the precious and powerful blood of Jesus Christ poured out to reverse the curse and defeat our enemy the devil. 

(Yep. It's actually road kill. But hey, it's a dead snake! Don't hate.) 

"So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock...I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel" (Genesis 3:14-15).

So when an evil group or evil ruler rises up, God sees. God knows and He will have His way in His perfect timing. 
(A different kind of tower.)

He speaks to the earth,"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth gather together against the LORD and against His Anointed One...The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the LORD scoffs at them. Then He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath" (Psalm 2:1-5). The point is, we can't mess with God. He is LORD. He is all-powerful and He will have His way!

When the tower builders proudly announced their sacrilegious rule, "the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the men were building" (Genesis 11:5). God announced that because they were one people speaking the same language and in heinous rebellion, He said, "nothing will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other. So the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth and they stopped building the city" (v.8). And God scattered them all over the earth! Enough. Period. Done.

So today we see that all of the world is filled with different languages, tribes and nations! And guess what? God's wise, sovereign hand has, by His grace, reversed the Babel curse! 

Hallelujah! From Genesis to Revelation the Blood of the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world, has reversed the curse and redeemed His people! Look what He has done: reversed the Babel curse! 

"And they sang a new song: 
'You are worthy to take the scroll 
and to open its seal, 
because you were slain, 
and with your blood you 
purchased men for God 
from every tribe and language and people and nation. 
You have made them to be a kingdom 
and priests to serve our God, 
and they will reign on the earth." 
(Revelation 5:9-10).

Thankful. Praise. Glory to God. Majestic in all His ways. 
I'm undone. 

"Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

GLORY. Women Who Follow Jesus.

Dear Precious Sisters co-laboring in the trenches,

What if our first thoughts each day were not about how we see ourselves with our vain imaginations (not good enough, too broken, too broke, too old, too overweight, too wrinkled, too thin, too depressed, too anxious...or, just a wife, just a mom, just a daughter, just a waitress, just a receptionist, just someone's co-worker, just a volunteer, just a corporate career girl, just a home school mom)...?

What if our first thoughts before our feet hit the floor were to thank God we've been saved by His grace and that we are WOMEN WHO FOLLOW JESUS? 

What if we transformed and renewed our minds to think biblically about who we are? Let's do it! We can daily learn to put on that highly-honored robe of righteousness and dignity of being WOMEN WHO FOLLOW JESUS. And with with our new mindset we can step out each day with an attitude of gratitude and filled with His mercy and love!

 And, we would be on a mission to love God, love people, and make disciples.

We would live passionately for God's glory. "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

In my digging for more Scripture-based information about women who follow Jesus, I found a document online, actually it is part of a woman's Sunday School lesson. Here is just a portion of it:

The Women Who Followed Jesus From Galilee 
by Scarlett Stough

"God gives a special emphasis to the presence of a company of women by the cross of Jesus. Their presence is in stark contrast to the apparent absence of The Twelve except for John who stood with Jesus’ mother, Jesus’ aunt, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Clopas.* These women had followed and served him from the beginning of his ministry in Galilee to his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection into the beginning of the first century church.

Luke names Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna who, along with other women cured of diseases and demonic oppression, traveled with Jesus and The Twelve. These women supported his ministry out of their own finances. (Luke 8:1-3, Matthew 27:55) Susanna is never mentioned again by name. Joanna, the wife of the manager of Herod's household, is named by Luke as one of the women who carried the message of the empty tomb back to the disciples. (Luke 24:10) 

Mary Magdalene and all these other women followed Jesus because he had healed them. They believed his power to heal came from God. They followed Jesus without expecting to be given positions of power and authority over others. They didn't quibble over who got to be vice-king in the new administration of God's Kingdom under King Jesus. Instead of looking for free meals of bread and fish, they gave to him out of their own resources.

None of them deserted him when he appeared weak and defeated. They made plans to honor him by tending to his dead body. They grieved over his suffering and death; over the loss of a good man, not the loss of a potential king who they hoped would free Israel from Roman occupation. 

Luke gave us the detail that the women disciples of Jesus also waited in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:14) 

They continued to serve him in the early church and suffered persecution for their faithfulness to Jesus their Messiah, their Lord and Savior.
These women did what needed to be done, not for personal gain or selfish ambition, but out of gratitude and a desire to give help. 
They model perseverance even when the cause seemed lost. 
They model devotion to our Lord and Savior.
They model a willingness to take up their cross in the persecution they suffered. (Acts 8:1-4).
They model community in their traveling and working together in the work of the Lord.
We do not know the names of most of these women; but God knows who they are. 
These women, named and unnamed, did their work without hope of recognition in this life. Their hope in God was confirmed in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ."

BAM! Pretty simple, huh? Pretty straightforward, isn't it? Maybe we need to let go of some stuff, you know, "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1). Lord, please help us do that!

Sisters, let's start each day by intentionally FIRST seeing ourselves as WOMEN WHO FOLLOW JESUS...

...and SECONDLY seeing ourselves as wives, moms, daughters, grandmothers, employees, home school moms, artists, writers, teachers, homemakers, and business owners? It would kinda be like, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33). 

Wanna make a difference in this world, Sisters? That's what WOMEN WHO FOLLOW JESUS do!  They deny themselves and prayerfully, joyfully, and  boldly rise up in love and service in their local churches and communities. And as we all do our part, "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea!" (Habakkuk 2:14).

It's contagious! Let's do this! 


Stay tuned for the next GLORY gathering to be announced soon. :)