Outposts of Eden

One of the most amazing truths found in scripture is that God lives in the believer’s heart.

There are many word pictures and metaphors that attempt to describe this intimate reality. From our bodies being the “temple of God” to Jesus being the Vine and us the “branches”, all are meant to communicate the active love, provision and purpose God has for each one of us.

READ: Isaiah 51:1-3

““Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many. The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭51‬:‭1‬-‭3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Three things (you may see more!) stand out from this passage. First….

1) You are made in the image of God

“Look to the rock from which you were cut…” (v.1). Our beginning is God himself. We were cut from Him. In Psalms it says, “He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’” -‭Psalms‬ ‭89‬:‭26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

2) God sees our “ruins” and the “wastelands” of our souls.

He looks on us with compassion. He knows how we tend to make a mess of our life. The broken places.. the dryness and depression or overwhelm of life that can break in at times.

3) God still wants to come and live inside us.

Look at what God did through one man…

“Look to Abraham….he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many.” (v.2)

He wants to do the same through you and me. How? He wants to build our hearts into little temples.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬ ‭NIV

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”

1 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God makes his home now in the temple of our heart. But this temple resembles more of the Garden from its original intention.

“The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”

Isaiah‬ ‭51‬:‭3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We are to be, what John Eldridge describes as, OUTPOSTS OF EDEN or Eden Temples.

““The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭17‬:‭24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.””
‭‭John‬ ‭2‬:‭19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus ticked off the religious scholars because they had such limited understanding. God was up to something extraordinary through Jesus. GOD WAS BEGINNING THE PROCESS OF RESTORING EDEN. Restoring things to their original intent through YOU and ME!

In some quiet time now…read and spend time meditating on the following scriptures. Let the truths sink in…deep in your heart.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

1 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭19‬-‭20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.””

Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

REFLECT:

How will you honor God with your life and body as an “Outpost of Eden” this year?

Look!…A Human Being!

READ: Genesis 1:27Psalm 139:13-16`

Have you ever considered how amazing you are?

 Really? 

Granted if we consider all the species of animals and plants, types of geography, vastness of the cosmos or the complexity of the cellular world, there is much to marvel at that could last a lifetime for sure. 

But when you think about it, the human being kind of blows everything out of the water. 

For starters just think about what we as humans have created on this planet. The ingenuity is incredible. Or how about the things we have discovered?  What other species has gone to the moon and back and can tell you what kind of material is on Mars? No monkey has ever done that. Oh wait…take that back…he may have gone into space but it wasn’t his idea!

But the real, real incredible part of a human being is our humanness. What in all creation feels what we feel? Thinks like we think? Or loves like we love?  As amazing as dolphin is I don’t think he sits around and imagines what we he wants to do with his life. 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!

Psalm 139:14

With all our uniqueness it gets one wondering some things. For example: “Why are we like this?”…”How did we come to be?”  Did you know with all our amazingness, we humans still don’t really know.  There are theories for sure.  But no proofs.  

That is why many choose to look outside of mere human thinking or scientific logic for answers.  As Christians, we believe God, our creator, has revealed most these deep questions through the person of Jesus.  In fact, as we learn from the One who created us, we learn how to treat each other, be more creative, have more joy…basically be more human.  

So give thanks to the One who made you today.  Make a simple prayer out of Psalm 139:14 back to God. Remember you are amazing because of all the things on this planet, you are the only thing made in His image.

What Would Jesus Think?

Think-Like-Jesus_MAIN_rds-1024x576

“then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. …In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” – Philippians 2:2,5

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This passage talks of following Jesus’ example, to have the same MIND and same LOVE.

You may have heard the saying “What Would Jesus Do?”  Maybe a better question to ask first is “What Would Jesus Think?”   “Doing” is about love.  But what the mind thinks and perceives determines it’s love.   That’s why scripture here says to be “like-minded”.  Our thinking determines our love.

So then, what did Jesus think…and therefore model for us?
➡️ Strength in his identity – He knew he was. He didn’t need to “strut” or “compare” or try to “prove” his greatness. (v.6)
➡️ Humility in his service – In John 13 Jesus models symbolically what he had been doing all along and what he wanted us to think and act like toward those we love and lead. Jesus ultimate humility in service was going to the Cross in our place. (v.7)
➡️ Obedience in his love – Until you and I learn aspects of obedience toward those who God has sent to protect and guide us, we will miss key aspects of life and leadership.  Jesus modeled this kind of faithfulness for us.  He submitted to the plan from the beginning of time even though it was painful. (v.8)
➡️ Exultation by the Father – Because of Jesus’ humility and obedience, God therefore exalted Him with great admiration and love. (v.9-11)

THINK: Ask yourself then: In my modeling of my life…
– Do I find my identity in Jesus…meaning do I know and really believe what God says about me?
– Do I find my mind thinking about what Jesus would think most of the time or what the “world” or my friends think?
– Do I find that I have a heart of a servant and love towards those around me?
– Do I find that I am obedient to those that God has given me to provide and help me grow? Am I obedient to what God says in ALL areas of my life?

PRAY: “Jesus I want to love people better than I do.  Please help me discover more how you thought and lived so that as I seek to live your ways out, you would empower me to walk in my identity as a son of God in great humility and obedience.

What is one small way that you will think and act like Jesus this week? 

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Why are you on this planet?

Seriously?  Have you really thought about it?

READ: Ephesians 2:10 and ask yourself the following questions.
What purpose were you created for?   What “good” things might that be?
What does it mean to be “created in Christ Jesus”?
PRAY: God thanks that you call me your “handiwork”.  With all that is on this planet and in the universe above, that means you really think a lot of me.  Thanks that when I believe and live out what Jesus has done for me, I can truly do “good” things.  Please help me to do that today!

Why were you created?

imageThe truth is that you and I…everyone on this planet for that matter…were created for a purpose.

How would you define “glory”?   Have you ever met someone that seemed to really reflect the “glory” of God?
PRAY: God it totally makes sense now why I sense there is something more to the routine that I find myself in.  Thank you that the greatness I desire for my life is from the fact that you are the Great one…..and you made me from out of that greatness!