Forbidden Fruit

Obey is one of those words that we don’t like hearing. From the time we are toddlers, whenever we hear “Obey me”—or it’s shorter version “NO!”—we immediately think of what is being withheld from us. I can’t touch, taste, smell, or do what I want to. But the reality is obedience protects.

This reality of protection in obedience hit home for me one day when I was babysitting a toddler who was determined to destroy both herself and my house. After rescuing her from everything from toilets to outlets, I put her in the playpen for a nap. To little Taylor “No!” obviously meant “Go for it!” How was I to teach her otherwise?

How could I get her to understand that toilets and outlets are dangerous when she couldn’t  comprehend the words drown or electrocute, or even death?

It wouldn’t have done any good to have sat her down and shown her electrical diagrams and explained currents and wiring.  Instead, I had to confine her within the boundaries of the playpen to keep her safe, until I finished a few tasks and could watch her like a hawk.

That evening, I was talking to a friend who was suffering a lot of consequences from making wrong choices. I shared with Him about little Taylor. When he was defying God’s “No’s” all he could think about was what God was withholding from him. Now He was learning the hard way that God’s “No’s” were for his protection.

Sound familiar? In Genesis, God places Adam and Eve in a Paradise of “Yes’s”. He only gives them one “no”. They are not to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

If the serpent (devil) had told Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree because it tasted better than the fruit from the other trees, she might not have fallen. But the enemy didn’t deceive her with the fruit, he deceived her through a lie—a lie about the goodness of God. If he could get her to doubt God’s heart for her, he could get her mistrust God and convince her to sin, bringing death, disease, fear, destruction and every other wicked thing that could harm her into her life. The more she believed the lie, the more appetizing the forbidden fruit looked.

The devil still uses the same tactics today. That is why we struggle with obeying God’s “No’s”.  When we choose to sin, we might not always be aware that we are doubting God’s goodness, but we are. Whenever we deliberately make a wrong choice, we are inwardly telling God that we doubt His heart for us. We see Him as withholding, instead of holding out His hands to bless us.

God wants to withhold evil from us; not to withhold what is good for us. But, unfortunately, you and I sometimes  have to get shocked a few times or nearly drown in tears from our decisions until we realize that God really knew what He was talking about when He told us “No!”.

God is a good father and He knows what will truly bless us (his children). The devil wants to steal from us and rob us of our peace. God wants to give us peace, and part of that peace comes through obeying Him and resting in His care for us. Trusting leads to obedience—and obedience leads to rest. May you and I purpose to trust Him, obey Him, and rest in His care!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

Genesis 3:1-7

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 NKJV).

Resting in God’s Love

 

Healthy Relationships are built on trust. But it’s difficult to trust someone when you don’t trust their heart for you. I served God long before I trusted His heart for me. The result was striving, guilt, fear, and condemnation.

Because of hurts and disappointments, I like many others, learned early that the world was not safe and that people betray trust. I projected my fears onto God. I longed for Him to love and accept me, but no matter how much I “did” for Him I still felt unlovable.

I began to trust God’s hand after seeing Him repeatedly provide for me and heal me, but I couldn’t trust His heart until the lies I believed about Him, and about who I was to Him, were replaced by truth. Some truth was revealed through personal experiences with God (I share some of these in my books), other truth came through reading the Word, counsel, books, sermons, and healing and prayer sessions.

Everyone’s journey toward healing and wholeness in Jesus looks different. I have heard testimonies where people have had a one-time revelation of God’s love and they totally trusted Him from then on. That is not my story. I didn’t learn to trust through one encounter or because of one thing. I just had to keep listening, learning, and doing the next thing God had planned for me.

My journey to discover God’s heart for me would include many personal revelations (mostly in the midst of trials), and many people from many different churches over the course of many years.

I can now honestly say that I trust God’s heart for me!

I can trust that He will love me unconditionally, even when I feel and act unlovable.  

I can trust that His arms are open wide, even when mine are crossed in anger or stubbornness.

I can trust that He truly does have good plans for me because He is good and His intentions toward me are for my best.

I can trust that the boundaries He sets for me are to protect me, even when I do not understand them, and they do not feel good.

I can trust that He knows how to orchestrate opportunities for me to use the gifts He has placed in me. 

I can trust Him, not just walk with me through trials, but to equip me to overcome in the midst of them.

I can trust Him to build my character and to develop the fruits of the Spirit in my life.

I can trust Him with the times and seasons of my life. 

I can trust Him with my eternal destiny because of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary.

I can trust Him to redeem my past, bless my present, and prepare my future.

I can trust Him to comfort me in times of loss and to rejoice with me in victories.

 I can trust Him to watch over me through the night and in the midst of the night seasons, and to rejoice over me with singing.

I can trust Him to teach me to learn to dance over the graves in my life, to dance with Him as my prince, and to dance on His feet as his precious daughter. 

I have learned that I can trust Him in all things because I know He loves me, and that He truly does have my best interest in mind!

Today, I pray that you will be able to rest in the assurance of God’s love for you. No matter what is going on in your life, know that you can always trust Him!

May the Lord abundantly bless you!

Jeannie

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39 NKJV).  

 

 

Naptime

“No naaaap!!!!” The ordeal had begun. My daughter had put her then rambunctious two-year-old down for his daily nap. Since I had been staying in the next room, I had the privilege of experiencing the sorrowful symphony in its entirety. It began with wails from the brass section and progressed to the ear piercing high notes of the woodwinds and strings-not to mention the intermediate interjections of the percussion, represented by the pounding of toddler feet against the sheet rock.

As I sat on my bed with just a wall separating me from the drama, I thought to myself, “Come on, Rhett. It’s just a nap. You need to rest. Why are you fighting so hard.”

It was then I remembered the first time God had told me to lay down and be still for an hour. Since “It’s off to work we go” had been my Christian matra for so many years, rest and laziness were synonymous to me. Being still was for sick people, not for a busy home schooling single mother of four.

As I dutifully trudged to my room to lie down and quiet myself before the Lord, I didn’t wail, scream, and kick the wall, but I was internally screaming, “NO NAP!” as my mind, will, and emotions played an encore performance of protest.

My first attempts at being still and resting were more pathetic than productive. I was waiting for instructions or for the next prayer burden, but I heard nothing. After my allotted hour, I would get up feeling less rested and more frustrated.

On the third day, all that changed. I was begrudgingly lying on my bed, watching the clock waiting for “naptime” to be over, when I started to complain: “Lord, just tell me what I need to hear because I have a million things to do. This whole being still thing is a waste of my time!”

God is a good father. When He speaks to us He doesn’t condemn, but He does convict. What I heard him speak to my spirit convicted me to the core of my being. “If I brought you the man of your dreams, and you were lying next to him, just doing nothing, would it be a waste of your time.”

My entire marriage I had longed for my husband to connect with me emotionally. Being still was not about God wasting my valuable time. It was about Him valuing my heart. It was about Him drawing me out of my works mentality into a deeper relationship with Him. It was about emotional intimacy.

Being still taught me to rest in His presence and to be refreshed by His love and care for me. Being still brought more restoration to my soul. And, in time, being still gave me much revelation.

Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God…”

We can learn much about God and experience Him through reading the Word, praying, worshiping, and serving others, but to “Know Him” (truly connect with His heart) I believe  we must also embrace “nap time” and be still in His presence.

The funny thing is that even though my grandson fought naptime, he would eventually be still and fall asleep, waking up renewed and refreshed to enjoy the rest of the day.

If God is drawing you to be still and experience more of Him, don’t fight it. As you release your will and rest in His love, you will be renewed and refreshed, allowing you to more fully enjoy Him and the life He has for you.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie