Back to Eden

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“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3

Déjà vu,  is a French expression meaning “already seen” is used to describe a phenomenon that happens when we have a feeling of re-experiencing an event from the past, without any tangible reference points, other than the present moment. There’s no consensus among scientists as to why and how this phenomenon occurs. Some researchers suggest it’s a glitch in the operations of the short term and long term memory, while others in the field of parapsychology, believe it’s related to a past life experience.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, as a result, we have inherited his sin nature. However that’s not all there is to know about Adam’s life. The Bible says that after God created Adam, He placed him in the garden in Eden; Eden meaning delight or pleasure. Genesis 2 describes the garden where Adam was put as a place of beauty, and abundance. I believe besides his fallen nature, God allowed the descendants of Adam to carry a remembrance of Eden. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God has ”put eternity into man’s heart”. A child is born with the capacity and the propensity for evil, but he or she also innately seeks out and responds to pleasurable sights, sounds and sensations. Human’s heart’s pursuit of beauty, tells me we remember Eden.

The reference to Eden is not just about its physical form, but as it applies to us, it’s mainly about its spiritual meaning. Eden is symbolic of:

  • Purpose

God created Adam to work the ground in Eden (Genesis 2:5,15), not for God’s gain, for He is not served by Human hands (Acts 17:25) but it was for Adam’s benefit (Genesis 2:16). The root of all earthly pursuits is the search for meaning; until we find it in God, we remain restless.

  • Intimacy with God.

In Eden, God talked and walked with Adam. This quote by Blaise Pascal, often paraphrased, very  well expresses this truth: we are made to be in a personal relationship with God.

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him,… though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable…God himself”

  • Privilege

God gave Adam dominion over His creation (Genesis 1:28-30). Everything was given to Adam to exert his authority over, to possess and to enjoy. The riches of God’s glory in Christ Jesus, are reserved for those who have redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of their sins. Privilege comes with position.

  • Bountiful blessings

God made provision so Eden would be a prosperous place for Adam, that he would take pleasure in the beautiful sights, enjoy the soothing sounds of the flowing rivers, and be satisfied by the abundance of food.  It has always been, and it is still God’s plan to bless His children. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Sin casts us out of Eden; out of fellowship with God, stripped of our authority, lost in search of meaning, and toiling to gain what cannot satisfy. But the Good News according to the Bible, is that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…” (2 Corinthians 5:19). While Christ has gone to prepare a place for us,  we don’t have to live in a state of melancholy waiting for the “sweet by and by”. We can experience intimacy with God, find our purpose in Him, operate in the power and authority of Jesus Christ and enjoy the riches of His glory. As Rabbi Pesach Wolicki puts it:

“The earth [God] gave to humanity…it is man’s job to reveal Godliness. To create a second heaven here on earth. Our task on this earth is to…transform the physical realm into a spiritual place. This is the kingdom of God.”

 

In Him,

Aline

Sound of Heaven

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“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”Job 33:4

There’s a story about a violinist who come on stage one evening and after he drew the bow across his violin, produced the most glorious sound the audience had ever heard. The crowd gave him ovation after ovation but then violinist broke the violin into pieces. He calmly looked at the shocked audience and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, don’t be dismayed. This was only a three and a half dollar violin. It is not so much the violin that makes the music as it is the man who draws the bow.”
From the scriptures we know that musical instruments have a special place in God’s design of the world, both visible and invisible.  Since the first line of musicians in Genesis 4:21, God ordained the playing of instruments as one of the main forms of worship expressions for his chosen people. The triumphal return of Jesus Christ will be preceded by the sound of trumpets (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16;).

A new year means pressing the reset button, recommitting ourselves to a fresh walk with God, and presenting our bodies as a “living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1). Through the willful act of submission and yielding of ourselves to God, we become powerful instruments in the hands of the Master. Often times we want to write our own melodies and dictate our own tune, but the sound of God is only released through those who align themselves to the frequency of heaven. The sound of God is the heart of God and His will being released into a person’s life or situation. Just as different instruments differ in size, shape and sound, there’s a sound that is unique to you because the melodies were written by God as He fashioned you in the womb (Psalm 139:13).

It’s not about our abilities, gifts and talents; in the hands of the Master, a $3.50 violin can turn into a masterpiece. Every so often, instruments need to be tuned to improve the quality of the sound; this year,  let God release through you the Sound of heaven as you submit yourself to Him.

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade

New, not improved

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“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that in 2012, Americans generated approximately 251 million tons of trash, and recycled about 87million tons of that waste.  While the Reduce Reuse, Recycle concept, is beneficial in managing our eco system, it’s impractical to the spiritual walk of a believer.  Jesus death on the cross was to save us, not to salvage parts of us.

The pre- regenerated nature of man is anti-God (Romans 8:7) therefore it’s only through  the born again experience, that the life of Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19). How often have we prayed and asked God to change/fix the defective aspects of our character?  But Christ in us means instead of striving to manufacture godliness, we can now simply let the life of Christ manifest through us.  The Bible instructs us to cloth ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14) and to walk by the Spirit, that we may not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

We cannot walk in freedom and victory if we’re constantly fearful that our old nature and its sinful ways will revive again. Paul declares in Galatians 2:20 that the old nature has been crucified with Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God…” .  Even as Jesus was raised from the dead, we too are walking in newness of life; the old is gone!

 

In Him,

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In His authority

In His authorityMoses stands as one of the greatest leaders in Bible times. Being raised among the elite class of the house of Pharaoh, Moses was accustomed to operating in man’s system of power and authority. It’s not surprising therefore, to see Moses taking justice in his own hands and killing an Egyptian. As long as Moses saw himself as “ruler and judge” (Exodus 2:14), he wasn’t ready to be a part of God’s plan to deliver Israel; he needed to go through God’s process of submission.

40 years exile in the wilderness of Midian, transformed Moses self-will into surrender; No longer is he going out on the mission on his own, but he’s being sent in the authority of God: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”(Exodus 3:14).  No longer is Moses operating in his own abilities, but henceforth, the very words and works of God will be made manifest through Him. No longer is Moses the administrator of punishment, but rather an intercessor pleading, and willing to risk his own salvation on behalf of the guilty (Exodus 32:32). In Numbers 12:3, we read of the testimony God gave of Moses; that he was more humble than any other man on the face of the earth.

When we find ourselves defeated, disillusioned and discouraged, it’s because we have substituted our call as servants for a position of savior. The vision may have been revealed, but the worker is not ready, until he or she submits to the process of God’s discipline, and emptying of the self. As the song goes, “we have nothing to bring but empty hands.”

In Him,

Aline Ehade

Hope in darkness

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“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”Isaiah 35:10

Once again, we were confronted with the reality of evil after the horrific event that claimed the lives of many in Las Vegas earlier this week. With broken hearts, we were driven to our knees in prayer, mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), and seeking refuge in the arms of the One “who comforts us in all our afflictions” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

While we may not have the answers we seek to explain these tragedies, our pain reminds us of the hope that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

This hope is not passive, but rather, it’s an active hope that compels to 1) look up to God, through prayer and intercession, calling on the Lord for His presence, His power and His grace. He says in Isaiah 45:22: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

Our hope also moves us 2) to reach out to others, sharing the love of Christ and pleading with the lost, to “be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Finally, our hope compels us 3) to look in, and purify ourselves, that we may be ready to possess the promise to come (2 Corinthians 7: 11 John 3:3).

When darkness falls, God does not want us to be overwhelmed, feeling hopeless or helpless. Through His Son Jesus Christ, He has revealed His plan for us, so that we may have understanding, and have peace in His promises.

 

In Him,

Aline

 

Poured out

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“But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” Philippians 2:17.

The world’s system of reward and recognition is built to promote self-realization.  In his 1943 original theory of human motivation, Abraham Maslow identified the highest level of human need as “self-actualization”, which he described as a person’s desire for self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth, etc. While we should endeavor to achieve the full potential of our lives, we come to a fork in the road when it comes to the motivation of our pursuits.  Oswald Chambers contrasts the life of self-expenditure that Jesus calls for, to the life driven by self-realization. He writes:

“If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us.”

The function of a vessel is not just to retain what it contains, but to pour our its content for the benefit of others. We must guard ourselves from hoarding and using the gifts and talents that God has deposited in us for personal satisfaction. When Paul answered God’s call to preach the gospel, He was all in. He did not put a cap on how much of himself he was willing to expend for the mission. In expression of his dedication for the sake of the body of Christ, he wrote:  “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” 2Corinthians 12:15.

Your life is not your own. When you say yes to God, it’s no longer about your personal agenda but His. Present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and let God pour you out, for the refreshing of a great many.

In Him,

Aline

Mission not Impossible

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.Luke 10:19

Since the first movie was released in 1996, The Mission Impossible films have been Paramount Pictures’ most successful ventures, grossing over 2 billion dollars at the box office worldwide. The movie keeps its audience on the edge of their seat, as the lead character, secret agent Ethan Hunt played by Tom Cruise goes on perilous missions against identified enemies, equipped with fancy gadgets and commando skills. And who doesn’t love the Mission Impossible theme song?

Believers are God’s agents, chosen as part of a His special force to carry out a mission that will require facing obstacles, perils and even risking our lives. In Luke 10, Jesus appoints and sends out 72 workers to proclaim the Kingdom of God.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.(Luke 10:3).

God commissions us to preach the Gospel, equipped with the instructions of His Word, and empowered with the full authority of the Holy Spirit.  Yes, we have an adversary, the devil, who opposes us every step of the way but we do not need to fear; the call of God comes with a fully backed assurance of His provision, His protection and His presence. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20).