Saturday, October 31, 2015

What Are We Afraid of This Halloween?

I have fighting some sadness lately. In conversations with some high school students and my own children, it has been very apparent that many of our young people today are burdened by an ever growing darkness and what they see as a fragile future.

Sometimes it is deep and they don't really understand what is burdening them… but as I talk to them, it comes out... fear of the future, frustration with life, no real understanding of friendships, and anemic faith..... 

And it dawned on me how different life seems as a young adult in 2015 from what it seemed to me as a young man. .

My early adult experiences was Ronald Reagan and a resurgent America. How far away does that seem!? It was a grand time… but it was borne in hard times… the Carter years that seemed to slouch toward defeat, stemming from Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. President Carter’s America was one that felt like weakness.. Iranian hostages, gasoline shortages, and staggering interest rates.

Reagan came in at a great time, including a new type of media- Rush Limbaugh and talk radio full of conservative ideas. Heck, it turned my mom and dad into Republicans so fast, even I was amazed! But we all know the truth... the truth of what we need in not found in politics.

But this post is not about political parties or Presidents… those things ARE important. And though I am worried about this nation, it is worth fighting for and there is always hope for renewal.

This post is about the deeper story- the one we are in and the one where the stakes are SO MUCH HIGHER.. because eternity hangs in the balance.

It’s time I remind all of us of a harsh truth- and our reaction to this truth will make all of the difference in our life… everyday for the rest of our earthly existence….

And here it is…. we live under a curse.

Yes, even God’s covenant children….

The world is cursed, I am cursed…..

Our post-modern, secular, greed stained carnage has left us :
 fractured from no consensus
shallow from endless sound bites and sloganeering (please- no more snappy mission statements)- 
disillusioned from no appeal to truth, and 
fatigued from microwave, fast paced activities, but no form to support the pressure.

But all of this is found in Genesis Chapter 3........

Warning- this stuff is likely to make you mad!


To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

(Genesis 3:16 ESV)

Your reaction to this is crucial…..

Some in this day laugh this message  as ‘Hebrew myth’ no different than Greek mythology.

They mock it… rebel against it… some even hate God because of it.

Can I speak of Genesis without sounding like a loon OR a heretic?

I accept it as it stands. I have no reason to not believe that Adam and Eve were real. The condition of the world and the condition of man logically fits here- the amazing beauty and power of man and the corruption of man…. the creation of God and the brokenness of sin.

At the same time..this is a story- from a Father to His children- too young and stubborn to understand- so it is also a type of accommodating communication- so we can understand just enough of a deeper truth. We are in a cursed world, we live under a curse, and we are in an ‘eternal stakes war’ for our very lives! But we also know the Victor!


So, if I may… let’s look at the curse to women in reverse order.


Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

Yikes! This one has undone culture and relationships for all of human history.

Eve took a hard hit!

God made woman to be servant to the man… because of the sin of disobedience.

It wasn’t like that in the original creation mandate...Eve was made 2nd...from Adam’s rib. But she was (and women still are) a better creation. Human 2.0 was double dust refined. And she was not intended to be subject to men…AND in the restored new world… it will be as it should- male and female equal under the loving rule of God. Adam did not rule over Eve before the fall- but he did after- and it was NOT GOOD- it was a curse.

And women suffer that curse to this day. Bad husbands and bad bosses- a world where women are treated so poorly by overbearing men.

It shouldn’t be this way- and the gospel reverses much of the curse, but it doesn’t fully undo the effects.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

(Ephesians 5:22-28 ESV)

A NOTE TO ALL YOUNG GIRLS..choose wisely- it would be better to stay single than to marry a man who is unwilling to be ruled by God’s Word- because even the best men fail in this command.

Is it fair that this is a man’s world? (and always will be)? No it is not.. it is a curse and we suffer from it all the time. And even if Hillary Clinton is elected president or a future woman becomes a queen- she will never be a King.

But - if you fight this message- mock it, bow up against it- you are not ‘heart ready’ to receive the TRUE AND JUST KING- your Heavenly Father-.... Be patient.... and watch Him make all of this right!

Let me mention one more thing- that nasty part of the curse Your desire shall be….”

Oh that one hurts!… crushes our hearts every stinking day! It makes me sad to see young women hurting!

A woman’s heart longs and is never filled. Life is a constant let down….. mean girls, cat fights, pay injustice, sexual abuse, absent husbands, broken promises, racism, cruel words… women have suffered FAR MORE than men.

And our ONLY hope is to keep tuning our hearts to Jesus… it is so hard because you can’t hold Him, you can’t see Him- but NEVER lose your faith to hold and see HIm- He alone can fill that longing!



I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.

Yes, there is physical pain.... but this is more than just contractions in labor!

This is a “multiplied pain”

No one cries like moms do!

Because it is one kind of pain for you to hurt… but mommas… they hurt so much worse when their children suffer.

In a mom- the curse is multiplied by exponents!

Their desires…..unfilled
Their husbands…. cannot quench their desires and OFTEN make it worse (think about all the betrayal, divorce, and abandonment in our society! Think about the impossible life of single moms!)

They see their children suffer! There is nothing like hearing a broken mom’s heart in my job- those tears haunt me almost every day!

And (I don’t know why) children will even at times harm the mom- and sometimes the children harm each other!

Hand in there.... good news is coming!


And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 ESV)

Think about the curse for a moment- blood, sweat, pain, thorns...death

And consider what Jesus suffered for us- He took on all the curse- so that one day it may be lifted!


Let me share two Bible verses and finish……

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

(Romans 8:18-26 ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

(1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)


I don't know what the future holds... but HE holds the future!

Read these verses over and over again- preach the gospel to yourself everyday.

In spite of our sin and the curse- WE HAVE REASON TO HOPE


In fact never lose “Faith, Hope, and Love”

Can America be great again? Yes, it is good to pray and work for that...but if it doesn’t, I still have hope! I will NEVER lose hope because my destiny is secure!

Is life hard? even cruel? YES! But that is OK, it cannot rob me of HOPE!

Do we fall down, sin, blow it? YES! But that will NEVER cause me to lose hope and nothing you can ever do will LIMIT GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU as YOUR FATHER! WOW!

Fight the curse everyday!

The curse makes your heart hurt - it makes you feel lonely- depressed,fearful, etc- but cling to the cross no matter what you think the circumstances are!

An Illustration: THE WALKING DEAD

We live in a real ‘walking dead’ world- black and gray- no sun- everything is the dead of winter- and smells like rotting death.

And you were like that- a zombie- doomed to roam and thirst- but never filled.

And then one day, your heart became alive- it began to beat life, color, and light!

And now you are a child of light- everything you touch becomes alive and green as long as your heart beats the light of Jesus.

But if you let sin and doubt creep in… it darkens your heart- before long…. cynicism, fear, insecurity, jealousy, anger, bitterness, pride- shuts out God’s light- now everything you touch stays dead….

But if you keep in touch with the God of light, He cleanses your heart- and you begin spreading life again. The coolest part of that is that you can even bring walkers back to life as you breathe God’s message on them.

No matter how dark things may be- I will never lose the joys of bringing light to dead places. In the world and in my own life!

One day, the King will return- and the sun will shine in glory- all the injustice and sadness will be cast away!

I will see Jesus and I will explode in glorious power and a perfect body- I will see my mom…. cancer free! I will see friends I have lost.

And… because of POWERFUL God-given grace…. I will see you if you trust in the work of Christ to atone for your sin.


May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(Colossians 1:11-14 ESV)

UNTIL THEN...and let’s stay patient to allow Him to bless us as we share the light…

Live and love in faith and hope…. that the world will stand amazed… watch His methods… watch His ways!

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