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A Love Covering September 9, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Uncategorized.
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Are you ready — as Paul Harvey used to say — for the rest of the story?

Let’s return to the beautiful garden, and continue where we left off last night.

The Lord showed up in the early evening, to spend time with the man and the woman whom He loved.  But when He got there, He didn’t find things the way He expected them to be.

The serpent had tricked the woman, who had then done a terrible deed, and the man had joined in, right along with her, without regard to the Lord’s one simple rule:

Don’t eat from the one tree I told you about.

And the Lord confronted them, though pain filled His heart, because He knew what was coming next.

He could have killed them on the spot, you know?  He could have allowed His pain to turn into anger, and wiped them out, all of them, including the serpent.  He didn’t have to listen to their excuses for disobeying.  He didn’t have to do anything for them!

But He did.

He patiently dealt with each one, individually.

“Cursed are you,” He said to the serpent, “for what you have done to this woman…”

He then spoke to the woman:  “You’ll now have pain in childbirth…”

“The ground is now cursed,” He told the man, “and you must toil for your food from now on…”

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  It sounds like God doesn’t love them at all.

But wait.  He did something that spoke volumes, and told just how much He really DID love Adam and Eve.

He gave of Himself, to cover their mistake.  He gave up something He loved, for the people He loved.

And He didn’t parade this action in front of the whole world, to brag about how great His Love was.  He did it… quietly.

Look at the following verse:

“And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”

Now, just think for a moment:  where did He obtain garments of skin? (and the translation of that word “skin” is “leather” or “hide.”)

The Lord performed the very first animal sacrifice.  He killed one of the animals He had created, maybe even two (one for each person), and took the skins, and covered man’s nakedness.

Out of His Love, He gave.  He gave up something He loved, for the people He loved, so they wouldn’t have to live in shame.

Even in His pain and heartbreak over man disobeying His rules, He still loved them and helped them. So much so, that He wouldn’t allow them to stay in the garden, where they just might eat from the tree of Life.  He knew, if they ate from that tree, they would have to live forever in a state of pain.  And He love them so much, He wasn’t going to allow that to happen.

So He sent them out, away from the garden.

Can you imagine the Lord standing there, watching Adam and Eve leave?  Can you imagine them stopping, turning and looking back at the One who loved them so completely?  Can you imagine the heartache all of them were going through, as the gate to the garden… closed?

It was a very sad day.  Yes, indeed.

However, He sent them out clothed.  Not naked, not ashamed, but clothed.  And I’m sure He took the time to instruct them on how to make the garments themselves, which meant also instructing them on how to perform the sacrifice.

Because God, in His rich and vast Love and Mercy, never leaves us nor forsakes us.

He always, always, ALWAYS… provides for us.

Dream of good things tonight, okay?

Good night.

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A Heart Broken September 8, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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And now, our bedtime story continues…

It was early in the evening, and two people shrank back in the shadows of the trees around them.  They were cold, they were scared, and they were up to their necks in a problem way bigger than they ever imagined.

“Adam, where are you?”  The Voice they knew so well suddenly sounded very, very concerned.

Did they dare answer?

“Adam?  Where are you?

Slowly they emerged from the shadows, to face the One who loved them more than life itself.

His face registered not anger, but pain.

“What’s… this??”  He pointed to the hastily completed coverings of fig leaves donning the bodies of the two frightened humans.

“I… heard Your Voice, and I hid myself… we hid… because we were afraid.”

Adam didn’t dare look the Lord in the eye.  He knew all too well what he had done, and he knew the Lord was not going to be happy about it.

“You were afraid?  Of Me?  Why??”  The Voice was not cold, not indignant, not full of anger.  Just… hurt.

The man blurted out his embarrassment.

“I knew I was naked!  So… I hid myself!”

“You knew you… were…”  His eyes grew wide.  “Who told you this?

The pain in the Voice grew in intensity.  Who told you, you were naked??”

Silence.

“Did you eat from the tree in the middle of the garden?  The one I told you not to eat from?”

The tone of His Voice told the real story.  Adam and Eve had broken His one simple rule: don’t eat from this one tree.  He had given them boundaries to keep them safe, and they had not stayed within the boundaries.

Children, when God gives us rules, they are for our good, to keep us safe. You know this.

And when we break these rules…

…it breaks God’s heart.

Think about it.  God has a heart.  God has feelings.  God can be hurt.  It’s not an easy thing to grasp, because we see Him as big and strong and mighty.  Remember the song from years ago? “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty…”  Well, just because there’s nothing that He cannot do, it doesn’t mean that He’s made of steel, or that His heart is made of steel.

His heart can be broken.  His feelings can be hurt.

God risked pain when he created man, because He created man with the power to choose his own direction.  So out of His Love for man, He gave man the power to be his own person.  This meant that God risked losing man, risked man walking away from Him.

When you open your heart and risk loving someone, you risk being hurt by that same someone.  Love is risky business.

Is it worth it?

God obviously felt like it was, because of what He did next.  Which is what we will cover, in our next bedtime story.  So stay tuned.

And as you go to bed tonight, think on this:  God dared to create an opportunity where He could love and be loved in return.  He opened His heart, and poured out His love on mankind.

Will you hurt Him?  or will you love Him in return?  The choice is yours.

Good night.

And the Story Continues September 3, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Out of His Love for mankind, God created the most beautiful place in which to live.  Think about it: the greenest of trees, and most colorful flowers, and the most fantastic animals.

And man had it all to live with, and to live in.

AND….

God came to visit with man, with Adam and Eve, every evening.

Can you imagine?  Walking with the Creator of the entire universe?? in a garden?? every single day of your life??

A plush, lush garden full of every imaginable beautiful thing…

Wow.  How could man want anything more?

And God cared enough about Adam and Eve, to explain to them the guidelines — rules, if you will — that would keep them safe and away from harm.

He’s… the Ultimate Parent… doing whatever He can, to make sure His “kids” are safe and well taken care of.

See, God cares so much about mankind, about the people He created, that He set up very specific guidelines for them to follow.

Wouldn’t you do the same for your kids?  Wouldn’t you tell them how to live, and teach them how to follow what is right, and turn away from what is wrong?

And if you’re a kid reading this, don’t your parents make sure that you know right from wrong, and don’t they try to make sure you obey the guidelines, even when you don’t like it?

So when God said, “There’s this tree, in the garden, that I don’t want you to eat from…” He wasn’t trying to be mean.  Or uncaring.  Or hateful, or spiteful, or anything like that.  He was merely telling them the rules. Giving them boundaries, just like any good parent would do with their own children.

See, that’s what love is all about.  Providing the very best for the ones you love, and giving them the boundaries that are necessary.

So tonight, as you sleep, rest in the fact that you are being watched over by the One that cares about you more than anyone else in the world.

Peaceful dreams to all, and to all a good night.

Life’s Little Surprises August 9, 2009

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Ya know, if I didn’t know better…

But I do know better, so I won’t go there.  :O)

Ten days ago, a tree fell on my mom’s house. 

Laid over from the roots.

Went “Kah-BLAM!”

And the whole house shook. (more…)