Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Snakes Alive

I hate snakes. I know this is a built-in aversion to the animal that reaches back to that fateful date with Eve in the garden. (Gen 3:1-15) I try to avoid them at all times, even to the point of changing my path. My son and I were running errands the other evening, just after dusk, when we saw a shadow starting to slip across the road. I swerved to miss it.

My son said, “Mom, that was a snake! You should’ve squashed it!”

My skin crawled at the thought of running over the thing. What if I didn’t kill it? What if I missed, or worse, what if it struck at the van and wrapped around the axle? My mind reeled at the paranoid possibilities.

My son convinced me, “Mom, what if it hurts someone? We should stop it before it bites someone.”

I realized as we turned around to make another pass, it was no skinny black snake. This was a fat, dusty colored cottonmouth—very poisonous. And it was headed towards a populated area. I lined up my van wheels and went forward. In my rear view, it was hard to tell if I hit it or not. We rounded the bend to check the damage. In my headlights it seemed bigger, and it waited. I lined up my wheels again and this time, I felt the crunch pop. Waves of revulsion went through me. Clearly, the snake did not survive.

There is a more dangerous snake that is prevalent in everyone’s life. In Genesis, the serpent is Satan, sent to deceive and tempt humans. This snake is sin incarnate. How often do we avoid ridding ourselves of this detestable being? Do we step around the sin in our life, too scared to squash it, only to find it raising its head at another opportunity? Do we rationalize that it’s just a small sin, and so we let it alone, only to find it growing bigger or multiplying? Just how hard is it to line up the van wheels, take aim, and crush the serpent’s head?

The best way to rid your life of habitual sin is to confess and repent in prayer. Know that Jesus came to ultimately crush satan and his minions. He will help you as you rid your life of serpents if you just ask.

Call on someone to hold you accountable: your pastor, prayer partner or small group.

Recognize sin for what it is. Sin is real and it is poisonous to your soul.

Finally, if we don’t do everything we can to rid it from our lives, it’s going to either bite our loved ones or us. And in the end, that sting of sin is Death. 1Co 15:56a

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

His Story

Everyone has that one movie that they always seem to miss the beginning of. My husband’s daughter had never seen the trilogy series Lord of the Rings, all the way through. She couldn’t understand all the rave reviews it was getting. She didn’t know why Frodo was such a reluctant hero and why the elves were so worried about the whole situation. One weekend she finally got all three movies and made a point to see them all the way through—a major movie marathon. After seeing the first movie, not just the second or third, she understood why the characters were driven, how the bad guy became bad and how the good guy got in his predicament. The story came full circle, and good triumphs over evil.

Have you ever felt that way about the Bible? You feel like the New Testament is all you need to get by. It has the message of salvation, the story of Jesus and in the end the good guy wins, right? But at the back of your mind, don’t you wonder about those quotes from Isaiah that popup now and then? Does the genealogy of Jesus tickle your curiosity a bit? How did this “hero” get in this predicament, anyway? And why Bethlehem, why a manger and why, most of all, crucifixion? After all, isn’t the Old Testament just dry history?

My biggest blessing this year has been joining a group of ladies every Wednesday night for a Cover to Cover Bible study. Last January, we started in Genesis and read through the Bible, sequentially. We read about Noah, Abraham and Moses…but we also learned about Hezekiah, Zerubbabel and why Israel is called Israel. Now we’re heading into the New Testament and after reading that “dry history”, we understand a lot more.

Yes, we know the end of the story. But now it makes so much more sense! From The Fall to The Savior, God has given us living words that are like a drumbeat that announces the entry of a King. I can’t wait to recognize names, places and prophesy. I can’t wait to hear that familiar scripture announcing the birth of Christ and His beckoning to “follow me”. I think this time when I read the crucifixion, I will finally feel the real determination of His sacrifice, the real joy of His resurrection and understand fully why those Pharisees where so worried about the whole situation.

I am glad I joined this group of pilgrims. For us, the story will come full circle in Revelation, when good triumphs over evil. That “dry history” will come to life for us as His Story.

Luke 4:14-30 - NAS
And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He {began} teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD." And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Cover to Cover, Through the Bible, as it happened By Selwyn Hughes and Trevor J. Partridge. ISBN 1-85345-136-3