Tag Archives: temptation

That Doggone Tree


Genesis 3:5

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

I don’t want to scare you but I have a 22 point message. And before you tune me out, they’re actually sub points of a __ point message and they’ll only briefly be mentioned, and in a manner I think you’ll come to appreciate regarding the tree of good and evil from Genesis 3.

I think often about that doggone tree in the garden that started it all when it comes to sin and mankind. If it hadn’t been for that tree, life would have been so much different for each one of us. And Then I think of who I’ve become because of many the evil things in my life, and it makes me ponder the tree a little deeper today.

The Fallacy of the Fruit

When God created the fruits of the tree, it says in Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

It doesn’t say there was any difference,  with the exception that in verses 16-17, God said And the Lord God commanded the man, saying of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

They were all good for food, but one was forbidden, and yet it wasn’t entirely evil. It was the tree of good and evil. That’s where some confusion on my part comes in. How can a tree be filled with both. And why was it even there? Why would God put something so tempting in the garden that He knew would reap such destruction for all of mankind?

If there’s one thing that I have figured out in my 56 years of life on this earth, it’s that “Nothing just happens.” God has purpose for every single thing on and in this earth. And while it was not ever God’s intention for man to sin; God still knew the story before it happened. He also knew Satan’s starring role in the story and how Satan twisted the words of the Lord to confuse Eve.

“Ye shall not surely die:” he said.

And so Eve ate of the tree and the rest, as they say, is history. But what Eve set in motion isn’t just history, its future as well. There are things that have happened and things that are going to happen that are horrible because of the circumstances of the original sin.

All the fruit of the garden was good, and Eve could have had any one of them and been satisfied. But it says that upon the temptation of the Serpent’s words, that eve

… saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Something happened when they discovered evil. They already knew good, but now they’d discovered the opposite of good, which is evil.

They knew they were naked.

For the first time they experienced fear, shame and guilt. They no longer had confidence in who they were. Where they had once looked forward to the arrival of the Lord in the garden, now they were hiding and covering their bodies up because of that doggone fruit of the garden. And we’re still doing it today, even though it’s no longer necessary.

I created the drawing and used all the words I could think of that began with “D.” But there’s a thousand others that start with many other letters that could fit on the branches as well. All things that cause our relationship with the Lord to suffer. That was Satan’s goal. He was jealous of Adam and Eve and what they had with the Lord. He was out to destroy it. And he’s still destroying it today. He hates our relationship with God. How many of us are suffering one of the afflictions I’ve listed on the tree, or multiple. And how many times do they drive us away from God because Satan convinces us that we’re unworthy of God’s love. That’s what Adam and Eve discovered that day. That they were unworthy. Shameful. They didn’t know that before they discovered evil. But from that one act of disobedience, look at how many problems came.

When I think about how many offshoots of sin came from the seeds of that one forbidden fruit I realize how very important it is to get to the Root of the matter. Pun totally intended.

The Foreknowledge of the Father

What happened in the garden did not catch God off guard.

Isaiah 46:9-10

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

“Why” God created the tree in the garden isn’t as important as the fact that He “created it.” He spoke it, and it came to be. We want to question everything, rather than acknowledge that God is just amazing! He knew everything that would happen and he allowed it to happen because everything has purpose.

For certain Satan is to blame and there will come a day that he’ll be taken care of. But what the fall of man proves is that man and woman need God. The very thing Satan didn’t want. Every single bitter fruit on the tree does one thing, it causes us to search for hope and hope is found at the root of the tree.

I’ve experienced every single thing on that tree. But I’ve also experienced everything at the root of that tree. And because Christ is, (and this is the final point)

The Foundation of our Faith

He is the Root of all we need in Life.

Isaiah 11:10

10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

We can find rest in His knowledge that is provided to us through the Holy Spirit because of His sacrifice.

All of the evil that Eve unleashed on that tree is covered by the blood of Jesus. Adam and Eve tried to use fig leaves to cover it up. Something else from a tree. But that wouldn’t do it, only the blood sacrifice would cover up what they’d done.

What I came to realize from this study, is that all of the things on the tree that I thought were evil, God used it for His good. That’s why I believe it’s called the tree of good and evil. Satan could only see the evil. The destruction, death, doubt, depravity of man. But God, who knew the ending would see what His Son would offer in its place. Devotion, deliverance, defense, our Daystar…

Too many other good things to count. But we have to take responsibility for our part of the evil. And then God’s shows us the goodness of His sacrifice.

We are the good fruit of someone. God handpicked us for a purpose.

I pray today you’ll remember that when Satan tries to show you the bad fruit in your life. And you’ll remind him of the good that’s come out of it. There is some.

And I pray you’ll never lose sight that we’re going to get to see that perfect garden someday when it’s redesigned by God.

Revelation 22:16

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

We live in an exciting time. Don’t let Satan rob you of any of the goodness of God.

Satan Loves Snow Days

SNOWDAY

I don’t know about anyone else, but as for me, I need my own cheerleader. One that would ride around on my shoulder and encourage me along the way, shouting “Go, Shari Go… You got this… Victory is yours!!!” Oh, wait a minute, I do have that cheerleader! His name is the Holy Spirit. So why is it I feel so defeated so often? Why is it that at days end I’m crawling under the covers and wanting to pull them over my head and not crawl out the next day? Probably because I’ve sat on the sidelines with Satan much of the day. It’s especially easy when I get snowed in on a church day. Oh, Satan loves snow days! I speak both literally and metaphorically. He loves it when he can cause a deep freeze to come into the soul of a saint and draw our eyes away from the things of God and onto the frustrations of life. It doesn’t take much. Trials, troubles, heartache, seclusion, cabin fever is Satan’s playground. Is that truth or what!

So how do we battle it? The best remedy I’ve found is to “do something.” Not just anything, but something spiritually productive. It sounds like a terrible idea, but cleaning the kitchen can do a soul good with praise music playing. It is no doubt opening up the Word of God that will urge you on today

James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I’m  pretty sure over the last couple of days I spent more time submitting to Satan. I’ll spend time with God as soon as I… I’ll spend time in prayer as soon as I…. Golly, I don’t feel like doing anything but sitting here by the fire… Hmm… I wonder what’s on television… I know, I’ll praise God in song… wait a minute… I haven’t played that Eagles song in ages…. Good grief!

The days haven’t been totally non-productive, I can do busy church work without Satan uttering a word. I wonder why? Because busy church work when you’re alone doesn’t save anyone. Unless of course you’re sharing the gospel via technology, but that wasn’t my case. What I was working on was good, actually had me ahead of the game on a project or two, but it wasn’t soul stirring for me or anyone else on this cold winter day. It kept my mind busy, but did little for my heart.

So today, my goal is to do something, and make sure that that something is Christ centered, soul stirring and finds me at the end of the day climbing under the covers, saying, “I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!”

Submit – God, I’m before you today, ready for your service. Please give me direction and the fortitude to follow through. Let it not be by word only, but by deed.

Resist – Lord please remove everything in my path that takes my eyes off you. Draw my mind into your word, fill my head with Your song and my heart with Your wisdom and allow Satan no foothold in my world today. Pummel him with the gospel and cause him to flee like a school girl in a snowball fight.

Amen!

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Are you ready for today’s journey?

chick bow

Why is it that in my mind the desires of Christ and the word of God are ever ready to spew forth, but the actions that follow are often bound in fear? Why is it that I fall to temptation and my discipline is lacking? In Matthew 4, Jesus withstood Satan’s temptation 40 days, and yet  I can’t seem to make it 40 minutes. Christ’s actions through and after that period of temptation are a road map for us today…

Matthew 4:8-12

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.  Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

Three things from that scripture that can be applied to life for a successful walk with Christ, and I’m not saying it will be easy, but it’s necessary.

  1. Stand Strong

Again and again Jesus stopped Satan cold with the word of God. If we’re going to fight this battle we’d better have some tools in the arsenal by reading and remembering the words of God. Jesus didn’t say   anything new, He repeated the sentiment of Deuteronomy 8:3 where it was written

 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

The same holds true for us. Although the tactics Satan uses may appear different they’re the same temptations in a new coat, and although we always think there is a new and improved way of fighting sin there is still only one way… the word of God.

  1. Be ministered to

Following that period of temptation Jesus sat still and was ministered to by the angels of God. Bring on Wednesday Bible Study! Church is crucial to survival. I realize that there are those who cannot get to church because of health or other conditions, and I fully believe that if they desire being ministered to God can make a way. But for those of us with shoes on our feet and a vehicle in the driveway we are without excuse and in a heap of trouble if we choose to stay at the house rather than go to church and be ministered to. It’s where you reload your arsenal for the coming days and it’s where we find encouragement for the battle. Don’t sell yourself short and put yourself at risk by buying Satan’s lies that you don’t need church. You need it! I need it! Thank you Jesus that we have it, there’s plenty of people across the earth that would gladly go in your stead and not run the risk of being killed.

  1. Hit the Road

Temptation for me often comes in idle times. I guess that’s why God created me with a mind that runs  24/7 and is continually filled with “I know what I’m going to do today” notions. As soon as Jesus’ church service with the angels ended, He hit the road. He’d heard John was in prison, He knew there were some disciples along the way He’d be needing to add to His team, there was work to do! And so it is for us. I’m excited about my Wednesday night youth group, I have bows and arrows in my arsenal (for real!) and a lesson on friendship using the characters of David and Jonathan. Exciting days are ahead… but I have  to keep with the program.

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Did You Really Just Do That?

I would like to say that I don’t understand people but I too fall into the category of people I don’t understand. My life verses should be that of Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15-18

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

It’s almost a tongue twister, and even though it’s not the dialect of today, we get Paul’s gest pretty quickly. “I do what I don’t want to do, and don’t do what I do want to do.” Why is that? Why are we so wishy-washy when it comes standing our ground in the Christian faith. We have the Holy Spirit within us telling us what is right and what is wrong, and yet we still fall to the wiles of Satan, or sometimes I don’t even think he gets the credit. We just do it because we want to and grace has us covered so why worry about it? It’s a constant conflict between grace and the corrupted heart of man.

It’s how we who believe “once saved always saved” theology get into trouble with a lost world who look at us and say “Did you really just do that?” I don’t know what Paul did to cause himself to go on this rant of sorts, but I can’t imagine it was as bad as some of the things I’ve done.

What got me on this tangent this morning was a well-intended google search for “trending” topics lead me astray to an article about a news anchor cat fight that’s now the hottest book selling. I kept on reading as each juicy tidbit of slander was revealed about the three bickering babes and after about the 20th paragraph of what was intended as a quick survey of the article I clicked the “x” in the top corner and got the article out of my face; frustrated that I had gotten sucked in to it in the first place. So fifteen minutes of valuable time was lost with the Lord’s work in exchange for fueling the flesh. Give me a break! have I not grown more than this in my spiritual life. The answer is no.

And how ironic that what got me off task of spreading the good news was the worlds news, and it unfortunately is the same old story just a different day. The twisted way the media relays the news varies on who they’re catering to on that particular day of the week. It’s a small part of why I don’t watch the news, it’s not much more than gossip dressed in its Sunday best, and the news I should be concerning myself with reads like a modern day newspaper and there’s not one word of fiction in it. That would be the Bible.

My mind has now been refocused, and I’m ready to face the day hoping to do what I want to do and not do what I don’t.

Conversations with Satan

I enjoy my long trips to work (provided it’s not on ice) because it allows me to get at least one sermon in as I start my day listening to some of my favorite preacher’s pod casts. But there are occasions that I like to ride in silence. Sometime I pray or converse with God… but before you put me up on some pedestal I’m bound fall off of and break a hip let me tell you what generally happens. I start thinking about life’s circumstances, some good… some bad. And then Satan begin to chime into the conversation.

“So, you thought you nailed that meeting, huh… well you didn’t…. Those same people in your space again, judging you, and you failed… it’s no wonder…you can’t even keep the kitchen clean, and the laundry, what’s up with that? Every other woman can do it, you’re an epic fail…

Okay, whatever Satan. I need to think of something else, he’s got my number on that one… Easter’s coming up. I need a new dress…

Yep, but you don’t need a new size… hahahahah….

Okay bad idea… Teen camp planning. That’s safe. I need to get the curriculum out to the counselors, and get someone to do the activities, gee, I hope Nan will cook….

Let’s discuss last years camp…

And that’s within the first five miles of the trip. Silence is not always golden. Sometimes it’s stainless steel (cold and unbending).

It shouldn’t surprise me that I’m a target, he knows Christ is living in me and nothing brings him greater joy than to mess with Jesus’ house. Although it did not work with Christ when he used the same tactics:

Matthew 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

He waits on those vulnerable moments that are evident. I don’t believe Satan is all knowing, only God has that power, but I believe through he and his crew of fallen angels they can hone in on what they see as breaks in the armor. Be cautious of what you verbalize or make visual, and if there’s a crack in the armor fill it with the Word of God.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Temptations come in all forms and most likely it’s the things we’re looking at. I’m a very expressional person. You can read my feelings on my face including those things I desire. How very easy  I make it for Satan to understand what my heart wants that perhaps I should not have; to buy, do or say something that I should not and put my life or my testimony at risk. And the conversation starts… We need to learn to recognize the temptation and speak the word of God over it.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Stuff… I’m all about it. And Satan knows it. He knows if he can convince me it’s a justifiable purchase I’m in like flinn, and then once I’m in… he’s the first to jump on the criticizing band wagon and start railing on me for wasting money. There’s no pleasing the guy! Jesus’ focus was back on glory and the fact that only God fulfills the desires of the heart, not things.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him

Satan finally bugged out of that battle field, but he was far from gone. His focus was no longer on tormenting the Son of God personally but using the only thing he could… us. But the good news is we have the same weapons Jesus used, we just need to remember to pull them out of our arsenal. Before you go into the world today, make sure you’re packin’… the Word!