Avenues of Grace

Seeking the Lord with Eyes Wide Open

Archive for the category “Monday Law”

The Land of Nod: Genesis 4-7

You can download Monday’s reading HERE.

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying [a]about his gifts, and through [b]faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.” Hebrews 11:4

Why did God favor Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s? It wasn’t because of the material of the sacrifice; it was the attitude of Abel’s heart. Abel’s faith is what pleased God, and that faith resulted in God seeing him as righteous. Cain, on the other hand, seems to have offered an empty sacrifice, one that involved no faith at all.

The Lord gave him this warning:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, [e]will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)

But he did not master it, and his lack of faith allowed an open door for sin to take over his life.

Isn’t it so similar to us? How many times do we go through the motions of church only to find ourselves gripped by the devastation of sin? Sure, we aren’t murderers, but how often does sin take us so much farther than we ever intended to go? And to think of Cain and what he must’ve felt being cast out of the presence of God into the Land of Nod…(translated) the Land of “Wandering.” What else could there be outside of God’s presence? Aimless wandering without purpose…lostness.

I am BEGGING you. If you are just following the motions of church, please know that you were meant for so much more. Jesus loves you so much that He died for you. Yes, it’s real. Yes, it happened, and YES! He ROSE AGAIN! And He wants a relationship with you. He wants to give you abundant, eternal life…but you have to respond. You have to invite Him into your heart and fully surrender to Him in faith because the Land of Nod is still real, and without Him, there is still only wandering and eternal separation.

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Love By Design: Genesis 1-3

You can download today’s reading HERE.

I’m a very visual reader. In fact, I’m so visual that I have to be very careful what I read, or I’ll have nightmares. The first chapter of Genesis is heaven for me.  I close my eyes and imagine the void, the darkness.  I then imagine this Word…the word that is inception, the Word that brings all things into being.  I imagine twenty thousand different ways that creation might have looked as it was happening, and get chill bumps envisioning the voice that caused that creation– the voice of Almighty God, the voice of The Word.

I imagine what the primeval earth must have looked like. I think of the most glorious pictures that I’ve seen of places around the world and wonder what aspects of those gardens are merely remnants of what God designed in Eden.  I think of all the majesty of God’s creation and wonder why He chose to make us in His image?  I wonder what love He must’ve felt when he created Adam and then fashioned Eve from him.  I wonder what His glory would’ve felt like– to walk with Him in the garden, in paradise.

And then I wonder how they fell. How could they have been in the presence of the Almighty, in the midst of a perfect garden, and chose to lose it all?  How could that have happened? How did they not realize that a serpent was talking to them and recognize that serpents don’t talk?! How could they have KNOWN God personally, seen His power firsthand, and chosen to reject it?

And even more than that, I wonder what went through God’s sovereign mind when He made the rule– the one that required death if they ate from the tree, the one that He knew would mean death on the cross for His Son. Did His very heart break even as He rejoiced in creation?

I ponder these things every time I read Genesis, and I can only come up with one answer: LOVE. God did not create us to leave us alone. He didn’t create us and then leave us to figure everything out, and He surely didn’t create us so that He could use us like game pieces. He genuinely, truly, in ways we could never fathom LOVES us. So much so, that even in our creation, He was willing to die for us…not because He couldn’t force us to obey Him but because He wanted us to love Him, too.  To choose Him.

I don’t know why we have so much trouble seeing it.  I don’t know why we are so surrounded by His love and blessings and we’re still making the same mistakes today.  We look at our own “gardens” and shout at God that they aren’t enough–that what He has provided isn’t enough.  Who are WE? And yet He waits, patiently, lovingly, our True Father.

So we go back to the beginning to remind ourselves of the end. Over and over, chapter one repeats the phrase “GOD SAYS” and things become. It’s that simple. “GOD SAYS… the Word of God.  Jesus.  Yes, Jesus, right there in the beginning. He IS the Word that created the world, and He would bring Light to the darkness in the beginning and in the end.

  •  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with   God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  (John 1:1-5)

Our sin separated us from the One who loved us before the foundation of the world…but the story doesn’t stop there. He would send His Son to take our place– to die a horrible death on a cross, be buried, and raise to life again on the third day.  And He alone can offer us salvation and restore our relationship to the Father.  But it’s up to us to respond.  We must surrender our lives and our hearts to Jesus, and He will save us.

It has always been His design…from very the beginning.

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