Tag Archives: Personal Growth

A New Look at an Old Book: Genesis 4-8


As I read through this section of the scripture, I find that rather than answers I am bombarded with questions. Opportunities to know more about the heart of God because of the things I do not understand. I am thankful that after 32 years in relationship with Him, I am still learning and challenged by the Lord.

Genesis 4:3

Time Passed. So much left unsaid here. What happened during that time?

Why did God not like Cain and his offering? What had transpired to result in such a negative reaction?
Also – I’m troubled by verse 7. This seems counterintuitive to what we know about God. These are the scriptures that are difficult to reconcile with a loving Creator.

Obviously, it was important to Cain and Abel to be pleasing to God. It’s clear from this very brief encounter that the brothers had a personal daily knowledge of God and were well acquainted with him in a way that we cannot understand.

Why does it have to be an “either/or” situation here? Why weren’t both offerings pleasing to God? There is so much here that goes unspoken and causes me difficulty.

Genesis 4:14-15

Is this the precursor to eternal separation from God – or Hell? Cain complains because he will never again face God. Was there any prior knowledge that taking a life would result in this drastic separation? God puts a mark on Cain…what was the mark? How would people know that it was the mark of God?

Genesis 4:26ff

Cain, even though separated from God and banished from His presence, raises his child to be a lover and worshiper of God. Again – so much that goes unsaid.

Genesis 5:3

Adam has a son who is like him in every way. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Adam was God’s first creation and proclaimed Good – but then he was cast out of the garden and made to toil and suffer. Hmmm. I don’t know what to make of that.

Genesis 5:1-32

Why does God spend so much time telling us about the geneology of this people? There is nothing remarkable about their lives other than their names, the age they are when they have children and the age they die. Man, I hope that God has more to say about my life than that!

Genesis 6

This part of the story has always been a little disturbing and seemingly out of place. What is a son of God? I always have heard that it means an angel or a supernatural being (according to the Contemporary English Version of the Bible), but aren’t we also referred to as sons of God? What is the purpose of this brief, seemingly unrelated tidbit of information? This definitely warrants more research!

I think more than anything else in reading this particular selection of scripture, I am moved by the lack of information rather than the content. There is so much here that is left unsaid! Kind of like the 21 years of Jesus’ life that we know nothing about. Makes me wonder what else there is to know. We go from the imagery of God being loving, protective, creative and physically present to Him being filled with regret at the making of humanity! But there’s little to explain the reason for His desire to erase His creation.

Genesis 4:3, Genesis 4:14-15, Genesis 4:26, Genesis 5:1-32, Genesis 6:1-22, Genesis 7:1-24 and Genesis 8:1-22

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Lessons in Love


 

Name withheld to protect his privacy;
 
I just sent you all my questions and concerns….all the red flags and warnings.  I know I said a lot.  I’m not sorry for the way I feel, nor am I sorry for anything that I said, and I’m not sorry for trusting my gut….
 
But I am sorry for some things:
 
I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this:
 
You know when I said the other day that I looked in the mirror and saw a beautiful, happy face looking back at me?  I still feel that way.  For the time that we have had together, I have been happy.  Frankly, what I feel has less to do with you than it has to do with me.  I have always been so secure in nearly every area of my life.  My greatest area of insecurity was my body image.
 
When you are a 4-year-old child and a grown man chokes you to near unconsciousness and shoves his penis in your mouth, ejaculates and orders you to swallow;  Or when your mom has a friend come over who offers you a “Piggy Back ride” and takes the opportunity to touch tough your genitals and ask if you like it;  You have a warped view of sex and adults.
 
When you are in 4th grade and one of your classmates comes behind you and grabs your breasts and says vulgarities in your ear, you don’t know what to think.  What did I do to make him think it was OK to touch me and talk to me like that.
 
When you are a beautiful girl of 12 who repeatedly has cars drive by and wolf-whistle, show moons, and have boys follow you on your way home, the entire way threatening to cut off your “titties” and do unimaginable things to your body – you begin to think of your body as an enemy.
 
So I began to put on weight.  The weight was a protection.  The layer of fat was an effective barrier against the unwanted vulgarities that I had previously experienced in my life.
 
However, a point comes in every person’s life when they long to experience all that love has to offer, including the physical aspects of intimacy.  I made a concerted effort to lose weight and was very successful.  While visiting my sister in Atlanta, I met a neighbor of hers who was very flattering and interested in me.  He was suddenly very interested when he learned that I was a virgin.  He made it his goal to rectify that situation, and I am sad to say that I was persuaded.  Once he had completed the act, he was uncaring, uninterested in my feelings and literally pushed me out of the bed.  Now, I feel even less pleased about my body.  This has seemed to further complicate my body image.  I have packed on the pounds more-so.  It’s a constant fight to protect my self, but wanting to be touched.
 
Any way, my life goes on and I fall in love with a man who seems to love me, too.  But as things are getting very serious between us, he tells me that he is attracted to someone else.  I encourage him to pursue her, because I really do love him, and I want him to be happy, even if that’s not with me.  He tells me later, he did love me, but he had sex with her and felt that he had to “do the right thing”.  Later on, he wanted me back, but it was too late then.  He had made his choice, he had to stick with it.
 
Later on, I fell in love with my best friend.  The reality is that I still love him.  You said that you felt that we were already married, and I can completely identify with that feeling.  That is exactly the way that I felt (and still feel) about XXXX.  The dream that I told you about (but I’m not sure that you even really read it) was during the time that XXXX and I were together.  It has always been my opinion that it was in fact a promise about him, but he has been clear that he does not have romantic feelings for me and never will.  So I have attempted to honor his feelings.  To move on with my life and to earnestly seek out someone else.
 
So here you come along.  At first glance, you seem too good to be true.  You espouse all the right words and you don’t move too fast.  But there are concerns…I am naturally suspicious of men given my history.  However I make a conscious choice to give this relationship my all.  So here we are again, me looking in the mirror and loving what I see.  Loving what I feel.  And most of all, loving myself.  I know that I am worthy of love.  I am worthy of physical affection.  I know that I am a woman that is desirable and I refuse to settle for anything less than God’s best for me.
 
You have done that for me.  This relationship has done that for me.  You may be real.  I still don’t know.  Signs point to no.  But regardless, I am glad to have known you, Real or Not.  That doesn’t mean I want to jump back into conversations full of lies.  What it does mean is that talking through all my insecurities and cautions has allowed me to have catharsis and closure.
 
I am ready to move forward.  I am ready to be loved.  I am ready to let go of lost love.  I am ready to let go of my protective covering of fat.  I am ready to LOVE ME!!!!  So no matter who you are, no matter what your reasoning for contacing me, I am glad.
 
All things work together for good for them that love God and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)  That fully describes me.  It would be great to hear back from you with a complete confession so that I can say to myself “See, I was right.”, but it’s not necessary.  I know in my heart what the answer is, and I can thank God for giving me the ability to discern truth.  And frankly, I don’t see it in you.
 
I’m going to take my newly happy, glowing, beautiful face and put it out in the real world where I can meet a real man.  That man is going to be soooo blessed.  He is going to be soooo loved.  And he will be REAL.
 
So,  Thank you.
 
Karen

“You’re Not the Boss of Me!”


This used to be one of my favorite sayings.  If I wasn’t saying it, I was probably thinking it!  One of the main themes in my life, sadly, has been that I didn’t like to be told what to do by pretty-much anybody.  God has been dealing with me on this specific issue for most of my life, but particularly since I moved to Dade City in late July of 2004.

 

This past Thursday night, at the Singles Bible Study where I share Praise and Worship, the topic of the study was Romans 13.  Specifically, Romans 13:1-2 which says:  “Everyone must submit himself (or herself) to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he (or she) who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  New International Version, emphasis mine.

 

Ouch, those are my toes you’re stomping all over, God!

 

So what does this mean for me?  Well, as I have already shamefully admitted, I didn’t like it when ANYONE told me what to do, but especially if I thought I knew more than the person giving the orders (and I must regrettably admit again that that meant just about everyone {I am being painfully, embarrassingly honest to make a point}) So for me, this is a huge revelation.  I had the meaning down as far as the government, the law and people like that were concerned, but I was lacking in the “ALL” authority portion of the verse.  I conveniently chose to ignore the fact that “ALL” includes people like my Mom, My Pastoral co-workers, even my Senior Pastor at times.  I wasn’t overt in my disobedience (for the most part), I have learned the ability of skillfully avoiding what I don’t agree with by a variety of devices.  But that doesn’t make me any less WRONG.

 

Ouch!  Again with the feet, God!

 

OK, so now what.  I’ve seen this command from an entirely different perspective.  What am I supposed to do now?  Well, for me it means that I have to strap on a napkin, sidle up to the table and prepare for a big meal of CROW.  I have to confess my sin to all my coworkers and ask for their forgiveness.  I have to daily remind myself that “when someone tells me what to do, the question is not ‘what’ but ‘who'”.  Who’s doing the asking?  Has God placed them in a position of authority over me?  Do they merit my honor?  Does it matter whether I agree with them or not??  NO!  Does it matter if I think the thing they’re asking me to do is asinine or redundant?  NO!!  In fact, does it really matter what I think, period?  Ouch – No, not really.  In Joshua, God says “to obey is better than sacrifice”.  That’s a hard pill to swallow, even for someone with a mouth as big as mine.

 

I truly believe that one of the things that has been holding me back from being everything God wants me to be has been this lifelong struggle with authority.  After all, if I can’t be submissive to the authorities that God has placed over me like my Mom, my bosses and the speed limit, how can He expect me to be submissive to Him and His leadership?

Well, I may be stubborn, and I hate to admit I am wrong about anything, but my Mama didn’t raise no fool.  When I finally understand something, I stick with it.  It’s not going to be easy to change my attitude toward authority; after all, I’ve been successfully disobedient for 41 years.  But I know one thing for sure – I have a new attitude about those God has placed over me and why.  I am going to do what is right, even when it’s hard.

 

Does this mean that I’m going to be a mindless doormat, now?  One who blindly obeys without question?  Hardly – Have you met me???  God doesn’t say that I have to agree with what I’m asked to do.  He even gives me the option of removing myself out from under the authority of some.  But what I’m learning most of all from these verses is that my first response to direction shouldn’t be contradiction.  Hey, maybe I’ll have to change my favorite saying.  How does “Yes, right away.” sound?  Yeah, I’ll keep working on it!