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The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

There are plenty of studies out there about how clothing affects the person. When we are feeling good about ourselves we generally dress accordingly. Doctors and medical professionals wear white because it garners respect from people. People in a suit and tie are usually considered successful regardless of their financial status. People in dirty or old clothes are generally considered poor or people of ill repute.

One day, Adam and Eve walked alone and naked in the garden. They were unashamed of their looks, unashamed and open about their feelings. They accepted each other completely and were totally transparent with one another. Scripture even suggests that they understood each other fully.

Then sin came into the picture and with that sin, came shame. Genesis tells us that when sin entered the picture it changed how the couple looked at each other, themselves and God. They looked at each other’s nakedness and felt shame and embarrassment. They heard God and felt fear. Remember, these were new feelings for the first couple. Shame, embarrassment and fear had never been a part of their emotional make-up to this point.

Genesis 3:21 is a beautiful story of grace. Grace because an innocent animal gave its life. Grace because neither the man nor the woman deserved God’s forgiveness. Grace because the creator himself not only made them their clothes, he clothed them.

The clothing God made for the man and woman covered far more that their physical nakedness, God’s clothing covered their emotional nakedness by covering their shame, guilt and embarrassment.

The fig leaves Adam and Eve covered themselves with were inadequate to cover the real issues in their lives. Nothing has changed today. We spend thousands of dollars every year to hide our shame and our guilt. We use clothes, new jobs, new relationships, new hairstyles, religion and all sorts of other things to try to cover up how we feel about ourselves but nothing works. Physical coverings will never cure the inner pain we feel.

Our creator God personally clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins as a symbol of a new set of clothing he offered through Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the only one that will cover your guilt. Jesus is the only one who will cover your anger and your hurt. Jesus is the only one who can cover the scars of your past.

The real beauty of God’s clothing is that when you are clothed with Jesus Christ you are able to be fully free to be you. No more hiding. No more disguises. Simply free to be you! With Jesus your outfit is you and you are beautiful!


If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. Psalm 139:8

Adam and Eve tried it. Right after they ate the forbidden fruit. Put a couple fig leaves on to cover up their nakedness and hid in the bushes. It didn’t work of course. Right on schedule he came walking down the garden path looking for them. I wonder what look he had on his face when he saw the new clothes?

David tried it too. Right after his one night fling with the girl next door. He was a little more creative in his attempt of course. He attempted to sweep the whole thing under the rug of secrecy. God showed he could play the same game however and came up with a nice little story, delivered by the prophet to show David the same lesson Adam and Eve learned. You can’t hide from God.

Years later, Jonah tried the more direct approach. He didn’t hide. He didn’t go in secret. He made no bones about the fact that he wasn’t happy with God’s decision and he would have no part of it. God, of course, wasn’t about to be strong-armed by the renegade prophets tactics. Through the use of a fish and a scraggly vine Jonah learned you can’t hide from God, you can’t run from God and his purpose will be fulfilled in spite of our rebellion.

In each situation the lesson each person learned was that you can’t run from God or hide from him. Usually we run or hide from something that scares us or endangers us. Not so with our Heavenly Father. He will seek us out. He will find us. But his search for us isn’t based on anger or revenge. His purpose isn’t for punishment or judgment. God seeks out his children to bring them home.

Your Heavenly Father is more concerned about showing you grace than showing your faults. He’s more interested in revealing his love than he is about revealing your sin. His actions are directed more towards showing you forgiveness through his grace than loading up the guilt for your failures.

When you find yourself on the mountaintops of life, remember that God is there with you, celebrating with you and enjoying the moment. When you find yourself in the depths, when the darkness seems overwhelming and you can’t find your way, remember that he walks with you along the darkened path of despair.

He’s not a hunter seeking to destroy some enemy. He’s a loving Father seeking to show you the fullest extent of his love and forgiveness. You are never really out of God’s sight. When you stray, he’ll seek you out for all the right reasons.

PRAYER: Father there are times I feel removed from you either due to my wanderings or due to other things that darken my path. I praise you for the fact that no matter where I am, whether on the mountaintop or in the darkest valley, I’m not lost. You will seek my out. Amen.


Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the person who fears. 1 John 4:18 (NCV)

As my children approached the age where they could drive, we made a family rule. It was a simple rule intended to instill the importance of safety, not intended to cause pain or harm. The rule was that if, in the first month of driving on their own, they got a speeding ticket, they would lose driving privileges for one week. I’d get their license and their keys.

One night my daughter was returning from the city with some friends. As she came off the interstate and onto the highway leading home she instinctively hit the cruise control. Within a mile she was back up to the interstate cruising speed. Within a couple more miles she saw the dreaded flashing red lights in her rear view mirror.

The problem was, the interstate speed was too fast for the highway speed. She was given a ticket for speeding. I still remember the night this all happened. She walked into the house license and keys in hand and gave them to me. She then told us what happened (her version of course). In the course of the conversation she mentioned that one of her friends asked if she was afraid to come home and tell me about the ticket. My daughter told her “No, I know what will happen.” That was the end of it.

I wish I could say this was an example of every disciplinary action at our home, but it wasn’t. It does given an example of God’s love though. My daughter knew well in advance of the consequences. There was no yelling or screaming, and there were no surprises. In a love relationship that’s how ‘wrongs’ are handled.

When the Father came looking for Adam and Eve for his evening walk, they hid in the bushes. Why? They were afraid. Did they have reason? Well, they thought they did. However, God certainly wasn’t surprised by their actions. There is no indication in scripture that the interaction between God and the couple was full of anger. He was harsh with the serpent, but he was gentle in handing out the natural consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin.

That first account of sin is a perfect example of love without fear. Even though God handed out consequences, he also handed out healing. When God took away the fig leaves and clothed them with animal skins it was a symbol of taking away the shame and offering emotional healing.

God’s not into punishment. What he is into is doing whatever is necessary to bring us into a loving relationship with him. A loving relationship built on trust, mercy and grace. A relationship that drives out fear and brings peace.

The phrase “Just wait until your father comes home” is sometimes used when punishment is inevitable. But when it comes to your Heavenly Father there is no fear in his return. He loves you. The sin you bear need only be a temporary glitch in the relationship. A glitch that can be forgiven through Jesus. 

PRAYER: Father God, I praise you for your love and patience with me. I thank you for the fact that your love is a love that harbors no fear, no revenge and no anger. Empower me to live free of the lies the enemy tells me about your anger with me. Help me to show love to others the way you have shown love to me. Amen.

 


Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Daniel 12:2 (NLT)

On a lonely hill just outside of town stand three crosses. As the sky grew dark a crowd gathered. Some gathered in disgust. The Roman form of execution was too painful, too degrading, to harsh.

Others gathered in mockery. They threw profanity at the trio. It was about time they got what they deserved. The world would be a better place if more criminals were treated this way. Great deterrent, that death penalty.

Some gathered in curiosity-A sort of Bible time gawkers. They had no opinion either way on crucifixion or the trio hanging naked as the darkness descended.

A few gathered in somber silence. Right or wrong, good or bad, these were their friends, their siblings, their children. The crowd gathered at the middle cross seemed somewhat larger, more emotional. In fact, it seems the form hanging in the middle was drawing most of the attention that day. Rumor has it that he was completely innocent of the trumped up charges the Jews leveled against him.

One of the trio began to mock this counterpart in the middle. Even in his dying moments he remained arrogant, loud and angry. Ignoring his own guilt he yelled obscenities at this stranger in the middle.

The other person hung silent for a moment. Watching. Listening. Replaying the episodes of his life that brought him to this point. Finally, he spoke. “Jesus, have mercy on me.” The figure in the middle raised his head and looked with compassion at him. Painstakingly he spoke, “Today you will be with me…” and grace was born.

How could a God of love allow Jesus, the man in the middle to die such a horrific death for crimes he didn’t commit? Rewind the story a few thousand years. A man and woman listen to the deceptive words of Satan. Their decision to disobey God destroyed the balance of divine nature as well as a relationship with the Creator God.

Hell was never created for men and women. Hell was never created for innocent children of abuse, catastrophe or illness. Hell was created as the home for Satan and all his demonic followers. But the sin of Adam and Eve made it impossible for mankind to enter heaven. A sacrifice had to be made and that sacrifice was made complete when Jesus died and rose again.

Our Heavenly Father has no choice when it comes to dealing with sin. He can’t, by his own nature overlook anything that isn’t perfect. God is fair and just. Grace is neither.

What can be fair about a prisoner going to heaven because his last words were begging forgiveness? What can be fair about someone struggling with addictions and constantly receiving forgiveness for the same sin, over and over again? Nothing. It’s not fair. But it wasn’t fair that Jesus died for me either. There was nothing I could do to deserve forgiveness, yet he forgave me anyway. That’s grace.

God would give everything he has to keep you from living eternity in the shame and disgrace of hell. In fact, he already did that day on the cross.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father I thank and praise you for the reminder that I am completely and freely forgiven of my sin because of Jesus. I deserve nothing that you’ve given me and yet you did it all so lovingly. Empower me to live for you and to show others the way to life in eternity with you. In Jesus name, Amen.


He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds Titus 2:14 (NLT)

Freedom. It’s something that every one of us wants to have. It means so many things to so many people. To the child freedom means ice cream for every meal and the absence of fruits and vegetables for every meal.

To the political activist freedom means rules and government involvement to a minimum. Religion defines freedom by a list of rules and dogmas that must be followed in order to, someday, attain freedom. Every war, every political party, every religion has freedom as a basic tenant.

As a human race we’ve never done well with freedom. From the first day, when Adam and Eve set foot in the garden God gave them freedom. “Do anything you want. Anything at all. Just don’t eat from that one single tree.” We failed to handle the complete freedom God gave us in the garden and have been struggling to regain it ever since.

The real tragedy in our quest for freedom is that in Jesus we already have it. God saw that man would never, in his own power, be able to be completely free. That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus death and resurrection gives us the freedom to be everything we were created to be.

So what keeps you from living in that freedom? Is it addiction? Is it lust for the things you want in your old self, the flesh? Is it the daily reminders sent from the enemy that you are a failure and always will be? It is the exhaustion from trying to please a bunch of outdated religious rules? Is it the fatigue encountered by trying to please others or the futility of placing your value on the size of your bank account or the depth of a human relationship? Is it anger, hate or bitterness from being hurt?

Jesus tells each of us, “You don’t need to struggle anymore. Rest in me. I can take the guilt away. My only rule is to love me and get to know me more. Church won’t do that. Rules, relationship and resources won’t do that. Only faith in me will give you true freedom. His freedom gives you permission to be you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I want to be free. I want to be free of worry, hate, guilt, anger, my desire for things and a whole list of other things that have held me captive. Religion hasn’t done it for me. People have failed me. I’ve failed myself. Empower me by your Spirit to live in the freedom you came to give me. Give me wisdom to grow in relationship to you so that I know how that freedom looks in my life. In your name I pray, Amen.

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