Passionate Perseverance

For our writing class a couple weeks ago, we were to write something about which we are passionate.  This past Friday we were to share something in which we’ve persevered…since there was nothing on my heart to share at those times, I decided to combine both weeks together.  Hence my title, Passionate Perseverance! 🙂

By definition, when used as an adjective, the word passionate means capable of, affected by, or expressing intense feeling: enthusiastic.  To persevere means to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement.  That being said, I initially thought I’d write about how I enjoy photography.   I decided I couldn’t write on that subject due to my zeal for photography having died down a great deal.  I then realized that my heart’s desire is to share with others what Christ has done and is continuing to do in my heart and life!  I believed I could easily write about this “passion”  because I’ve also struggled to persevere in sharing it.

For the greater part of my life and to my shame, I greatly neglected to faithfully read God’s Holy Word on a daily basis.  A few years ago I began to read more faithfully on my own. God had a plan to help grow me even more…a few weeks after having surgery in 2009, I found myself back in the hospital with a small blood clot in my lung.  The next couple of months were very frightening for me as I was thinking more intently about life and death.  I knew I was a child of God, but I had a growing fear about death knowing the blood clot had to go through my heart to get into my lung!

Over time, God used diverse means to reveal my wicked heart and helped me realize two things:   knowing God and having a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ were not the same.  He began to impress upon my heart His means of grace and my need to grow in this grace and knowledge by digging deeper into the Word of God.

As I began to faithfully read God’s Word each day, I found myself being “blown away” by what I was reading.  The power of the Holy Spirit’s enlightening me as to what the scriptures were saying was amazing!  This is where the passion began.   I needed to submit to Christ and learn to trust Him and know of His great love for me.  I looked forward every morning to sit at Jesus’ feet and to learn more about Him and from Him.

Imagine how thrilled I was to grasp this idea when I recently read Luke 8:26-39.  Jesus was confronted by a man possessed with many demons.  These demons asked to be sent into a herd of pigs.  When those who were with this man saw what happened, they went and told others what they had seen.  When those who heard the story came to see for themselves, they saw this man sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind!  What a beautiful reminder this was to me as to how I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Isa. 61:10).  As I daily sit at Jesus’ feet and feast upon His Word, the Holy Spirit is teaching me how to “be in my right mind”.

Now comes the most challenging part of spiritual growth…perseverance!

In my passion to share what Christ was doing in my life, I began to share on Facebook what I had gleaned from my quiet time with the Lord.   I was almost immediately challenged about what I was sharing.  The reasons were understandable but I took them as a dagger to my heart.  I was excited and eager to share Christ with those who might not know Him and to be an encouragement to those who were struggling.  Facebook seemed to be the best way for me to share my new found zeal for the Lord.

I struggled on and off for many years as to whether or not Facebook was the appropriate place in which to share my growing faith.  I believe the world, my flesh and the devil were doing all they could to silence me.  I would often cave in to the fear of man and no sooner had I done so, the Holy Spirit would encourage and comfort my heart by bringing scripture to my mind.

There were times when I encountered both positive words of encouragement to continue sharing on Facebook as well as hearing a negative report about how I share too much. This was cause for a great battle in my soul as I allowed the negative words to speak more loudly to my heart than the positive.  I finally decided that maybe starting to blog might be my answer to overcome this battle of the mind!

Even though it’s been a slow process, I’m learning to become more like my Savior by putting off my old sinful habits and fears and putting on Christ by renewing my mind.  The only way to do this is through God’s truths and promises that continue to teach, reprove, correct and instruct me in the way I should go (II Tim. 3:16).  I was recently encouraged and reminded by the Apostle Paul as to how to boldly and courageously defend and share my faith (Acts 26).

Jesus said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (III John 1:4).  This is why I desire to passionately persevere as I strive to live for Christ by obeying His commands and loving Him with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbor as myself (Luke 10:25-37).

Revising and Editing, is there a Difference?

This Friday for our (in)Courage writer’s group, we were told we’d discuss among ourselves the subject of revision and editing in writing.  We didn’t have to share this subject publicly on our blog, but I decided to do so since I’m learning both how to blog and write.  When our teacher shared our topic of discussion, I was a bit puzzled because I thought the terms revision and edit were one in the same…I was wrong!

I decided to google, “Is there a difference between revising and editing when writing?”  To my surprise, I quickly found out there was! 🙂  I guess I’ve been out of school for so long that I’ve lost much of what I learned.  Another thought that ran through my head was that I didn’t apply myself like I should have to my studies in high school, so I didn’t learn as well as I could have had I done so, to my shame and regret!

Here is what I found out about these terms from About.com…Grace Fleming stated, “You should proofread your paper to edit mistakes such as spelling errors, punctuation mistakescommon word mix-ups, and other mechanical problems. While the editing process targets grammar problems, the revision process should focus on readability, logic, and clarity.”

From Yahoo Answers, someone who went by the name Bad Kitty! answered someone’s question on revision and editing in this way.  “Revision is rewriting in order to improve the flow of the piece and fill in gaps in logic. Editing is fixing misspellings, poorly worded or misleading sentences and phrases, and removing unnecessary words.   Revision and editing are best done after writing your work and then letting it sit for a day or two. Your mind will still continue working on the project even when you’re not involved with it. Leaving it alone will allow you to see it fresh when you return, and make it obvious whether or not it makes sense and has the meaning you intended at the time you wrote it.”

That being said, I’ll give my mind a break for now so I can come back tomorrow and share how I’ve been revising and editing! 🙂  Good Night!

Good evening!  It’s now the next day and I hope to finish sharing my thoughts about revising and editing.

When an idea comes to my mind that I believe might be a good blog title, I try to write it down as soon as possible so I can go back to it later.  I’m finding that my zeal and excitement to write isn’t what it used to be and I wonder why?  There’s always something floating around in my head.  I’m learning to take it one step at a time and allow myself the opportunity to write when the time seems good.

Once I do sit down to write, some times my thoughts all flow out smoothly and quickly and other times they might come slowly…I might have to sit on it a day or so and come back to it.

I usually like to revise and edit while I’m writing so when I reread it, hopefully it makes sense and I’ve stayed on topic! 🙂  I will reread my writing numerous times, sometimes even out loud.  If I run into a sentence that doesn’t seem to flow or make sense and I can’t seem to figure out how to change it, I’ll ask my husband for help if he’s available.  I appreciate his support in this way as I continue to learn the ropes of writing.  He’s been a great help in showing me how to use our computer to help me build my vocabulary, which isn’t that great.  I have a very simple, child-like mind and vocabulary! 🙂

I’ll continue to reread, revise and edit my work until it sounds good to my ear and I’m pleased with it.  If my message seems clear that I wanted to portray, I’ll go ahead and hit the publish button.  I hope any readers that come along might be encouraged or learn something through what I’ve shared or learned and be better for having done so.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn more about writing through our (in)Courage writing group!  It’s neat to see how different yet very similar we all are in the things we struggle with as we learn to share our hearts through the means of writing.

I’m thankful to have learned that there is a slight difference between revising and editing when writing.  I hope I won’t soon forget these differences and will put them to better use and practice as I continue in my journey of learning to write.

Appointed Once To Die, Part Two

I want to believe that none of us like thinking or talking about death let alone facing it.  But it’s something we can’t avoid…we can and should prepare for it.  Our life is but a vapor, we’re here for a little while on this beautiful earth, but we’ll all vanish away one day. (James 4:14)  There’s only one of two places we’ll go when we leave this earth, Heaven or Hell.  These are two very real places…the Psalmist David tells us that God is in the heavens. (Ps. 115:1-3)  We also know that when Jesus left this earth, He told us he would prepare a place for us to dwell with Him forever. (Jn. 14:1-3)  Those who come to God through Christ will spend eternity in heaven with God.  Those who reject Christ will spend eternity in Hell with Satan. (II Pet. 2:4-10; Mt. 25:31-46)  We can’t come to God on our own because we’re dead in our trespasses and sins. (Eph. 2:1-10)  Only God can give us eternal life through the power of the Holy Spirit drawing men unto Himself.  The only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ! (Jn. 14:6)  When we realize we are sinners and deserve eternal punishment in Hell, God promises us that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Christ and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we WILL be saved! (Rom. 10:9-13)

Over my lifetime, I’ve doubted my salvation and have feared death.  In His perfect time, the Holy Spirit brought some verses to my mind to assure me that I was a child of God. They were Ephesians 1:13-14 which remind me that as a child of God, I’m sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.  As Jesus was about to ascend back into heaven to be seated at His Father’s right hand, he promised to send a replacement for his absence whom He called the Comforter (John 15:26)…this is the Holy Spirit who indwells us when we come to Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior!

I had struggled with and began fearing death even more about four years ago after finding out I had a blood clot in my lung five weeks after surgery.  Even though it was small, I was told that it had to go through my heart to get to my lung.  I know without a doubt that God used this frightening situation to grab a hold of my stubborn, rebellious heart that had neglected the means of my sanctification for most of my life!  Those means are reading and hearing the Word preached, partaking of the Lord’s Supper which entails eating the bread that represents Christ’s broken body and drinking the cup of wine which represents Christ’s blood that was shed on the cross for our sins and lastly, prayer.  When I ignore or am apathetic toward any of these means of grace, I can not grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I’m so grateful God used this scary health situation to cause me to think about eternity and my relationship with God.

The result of this eye opening experience has given me an overwhelming and exciting time of growing in that grace and knowledge offered to me…by God’s grace, He’s given me a hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mt. 5:6) and a desire to faithfully read His Word every day…I can truly and honestly say today that I look forward to getting into the Word every day and chewing on the precious jewels that are sprinkled on every page of God’s precious and holy Word!  I’m amazed to see how the Holy Spirit truly does enlighten the eyes of my heart and guide me into all truth. (I Cor. 2:12-13; Jn. 16:13-15)

Now to finally end this lengthy blog post, I had to chuckle as I picked up the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms this morning that I started reading a few months ago…It’s not by coincidence that I began my reading with Question 152!

Question 152: What does every sin deserve at the hands of God?

Answer: Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserves his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

Question 153: What does God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?

Answer: That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requires of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.

Question 154: What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?

Answer: The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.

Question 155: How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

Answer: The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.

I believe these sum up very well what I tried to articulate above.  It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment…think on these things and think on eternity! (John 5:39)  I’m learning that I don’t need to fear death.  I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”  Since God is love and I love God, I have no need to fear death…Thanks be to God!

My “DREAM” Writing Area

For our (in)Courage writing group last Friday, we were given the choice to write about another quote we liked from chapter two of the book we’re reading or to describe our dream writing area.  I decided to share what my dream writing area would look like compared to what it is today.  We were encouraged to write this in 500 words or less…I’m up for the challenge! 🙂

My current writing area consists of a small brown shaker style desk that my husband made for me many years ago.  It sits against a wall in our short hallway near the front door and faces the kitchen…the desk has two sides and a back edge along with two front drawers.  It holds a computer monitor with an individual speaker on either side and a key board below it with a nice padded hand rest underneath it.

My chair is burgundy, very comfortable and has two arm rests.   It rolls on five wheels and the back can stay straight or be made to rock.  I receive lighting from the surrounding rooms.

My dream writing area would be a 12′ x 12′ English Cottage style “house.”  I would also use it to store supplies for gardening.  It would have a front and back door with covered porches held up by white posts with a picket fence type enclosure.  The front porch would have a window on either side of the door with a flower box below each window and shutters framing them.  I’d also have two smaller windows on the side of the house and one larger window in the back.

I’d have a rocker and wooden bench on either side of the porches along with a small table by each chair on which to place a book or drink while enjoying the outdoors during a break. 🙂  I’d love to have stony paths leading to different kinds of seating in flower gardens that surrounded the house.

The roof might be metal or have wooden shingles on it.

As you walked inside,  there’d be a wood-burning stove on a raised, rock foundation in the back left corner of the room, and a rustic table with a lamp and comfortable chair centered by the window in the back right corner of the room.   Ruffled, floral patterned curtains with tie backs would adorn each window.

Under the window on the left wall, I’d have a table surrounded by two Queen Anne chairs with throws over the backs for warmth during colder seasons.  The table would have an oil lamp on it and its lower shelf would have books available for reading.

The right wall would have a small rustic three-tiered shelf to hold plants/potting soil for the yard.   The left front corner would have a corner cabinet for storing garden tools and the right side would house a small corner table with a lamp,  an antique washbowl with pitcher, and a mirror resting against the wall.

Finally, I’d throw a large fuzzy rug in the middle of the floor and the walls would display an eclectic of pictures I have taken over the years or Scripture verses that have encouraged me.

Pitfalls of Tongue and Pen

I recently joined an online writer’s group through a Christian website called (in)Courage.  Each Friday we are encouraged to write a blog.  This week we had three choices from which to choose…I chose option #1 which was to select a quote from chapter 1 of the book we’re reading and write about how this quote spoke to me and how I related to it.   The book we are reading for the “class”  is called, The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard.

As I read the first chapter, there were many quotes that jumped out at me, so it was difficult to decide about which quote to write.  I decided to compile a few of them that had the same thought.  The first two quotes come from page eleven where Annie is speaking about putting a book together.

The first quote was “Your freedom as a writer is not freedom of expression in the sense of wild blurting; you may not let rip.”

As I read this quote, I was somewhat “convicted” in my heart as to my own speech.  I have been told that I am opinionated, and am prone to speak my mind.  Those with whom I share my concerns or opinions know I mean well, yet they may not always appreciate my point of view. The reason being, they haven’t asked for my advice or opinion about a certain matter.

I guess one could look at this as “wild blurting that I let rip.”

I appreciated this quote that reminded me to choose my words carefully and to do so with much wisdom and discernment.  I need to keep this in mind not only when I speak directly to someone, but also when putting my words in writing.

The second quote was also on page eleven and said,  “The obverse of this freedom, of course, is that your work is so meaningless, so fully for yourself alone, and so worthless to the world, that no one except you cares whether you do it well, or ever.”

Not having appreciated vocabulary in school, I had to look up the word, “obverse.”   It basically means,  “the opposite.”  As I pondered this quote and reread it numerous times to better understand what Annie was saying,  I understood it to mean that when I write, I am basically doing so for myself and no one else.  My words, whether written or spoken might, at times, seem meaningless or worthless to the reader or hearer.

What a perfect opportunity not to take this situation personally but to use it as a reminder to how unique we all are…I can use both positive and negative responses to my words as a means to improving the way I write and speak!

I was thankful for a perfect illustration to this thought as I was having my quiet time.  As I read Matthew 27:44 which says, “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way,” it dawned on me that Matthew didn’t share as much detail with us as the other writers of the Gospels did about the two robbers who were crucified on either side of Jesus.  This thought helped me realize how different we all are in our personalities and that my style of writing can’t be compared with anyone else’s! 🙂

The last quote was on page 17.  In this paragraph, Annie was speaking about the written word being weak and how many people prefer life to it.  She continued to say that “This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else.”  As I thought about this quote, I connected with her words because these are the emotions I have when I write! 🙂  I need to keep in mind that what thrills and exhilarates me when I write, might not always bring about the same emotions to the reader.

My heart’s desire is to be an encouragement to others and to share the Gospel through the means of writing.  I have chosen to use my gift of writing in a way that allows those who read my words to know what God has done and is continuing to do in my heart and life.  So, there’s no holding back as I share the good, the bad and the ugly that God, who began the work in me, will bring to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).  Knowing this, I must write with discernment, choosing words using God’s wisdom and not my own.   My “wisdom” will only puff me up and be a cause for stumbling and will not be a good example of being like Christ!

My Writing Story

In the beginning, before the creation of the world, God, because of His great love for me (Rom. 5:8, I Jn. 4:19) chose to save me as His child (John 15:16, Eph. 1:4, II Thess. 2:13). He knew me even before I was formed in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13-16, Jer. 1:5) and had a plan for my life (Jer. 29:11)!  Part of His plan was for me to go through some difficult and painful situations.  What others had meant for evil, God meant it for my good and His glory (Gen. 50:20, Rom. 8:28-30)!  In God’s perfect timing (Ecc. 3:1), He brought opportunities across my path and people into my life to help me work through my pain and to learn to love and forgive those who hurt me.  One person was a godly woman in my church whom I learned was a counselor.  I approached her one Sunday and asked her if I could meet with her to receive some counsel.  She graciously accepted my request and we began a sweet friendship which we still enjoy today.  During these counseling sessions, we’d email quite often.  I recall her telling me in one email that she thought I wrote well.  I had never thought of myself as a writer, so this was very encouraging to hear.   Another person who was a big help was my husband.

He would often remind me to think before I spoke and to get my thoughts together before I opened my mouth.  For me, this would be a very difficult and challenging discipline because I’m thinking all the time and I tend to just speak my mind!  But, I was up for the challenge and know that with God, ALL things are possible and in my weaknesses, I’m made strong (Mt. 19:26, II Cor. 12:9-10).   A little over four years ago after a surgery, the Lord used a blood clot in my lung  to grab a hold of my stubborn, rebellious heart.  For most of my life, I had been greatly neglecting the means of God’s grace He had shown to me by sending His Son Jesus to die for my sins, a death that I deserved (I Tim. 1:15-16, II Cor. 5:21)). This frightening situation caused me to think about eternity and my relationship with Christ…I began to fear death and although I had accepted Christ as my Savior, I didn’t have a right relationship with Him because I wasn’t faithfully reading His Word and had no prayer life!  It didn’t take long for me to start reading the Bible more faithfully.  I had desired and attempted to read through the Bible,  but never accomplished this goal.  I was thankful when Joni Earickson Tada, whose devotional emails I had been receiving, encouraged her readers to read through the Bible chronologically with her and her husband.  As I began to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I found myself becoming eager to share what I had read and what God was teaching  me.  The biggest outlet available for me to share my heart with others was on Facebook.  Over time, some of my FB friends encouraged me to try blogging.  Knowing nothing about blogging, I sought counsel from a couple of my pastors, shared some of my ideas with my counselor, sister and husband but never did anything with it and kept sharing on FB.

In the meantime, I had heard  about the book “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp which I purchased and enjoyed reading.  Although it was a challenge to grasp her style of writing,  I kept pressing on and soon grew to love her style! 🙂   It was through her that I learned about the website called (in)courage.  Again, I researched a little about this website but didn’t become more interested in it until recently when I signed up to receive their blog emails.  I then received an email inviting me to sign up for one of their online FB groups to receive encouragement in whatever subject I chose from their list.  Having an interest in writing but also desiring fellowship, I wasn’t sure which group to connect with…I ended up choosing the writing group and am looking forward to learning more about writing.  So, I was signed up for encouragement in writing, but still hadn’t started blogging.  I had learned through a FB friend who was also a college roommate that she had recently started blogging.  This reignited my interest so I asked her how she got started.  I did a little research and was convinced to give blogging a try…so, as of February 1, 2014, I officially became a blogger! 🙂  Due to having contemplated blogging for a couple years, I’ve had plenty of time to think about a title for it and a picture I might use.  Unfortunately, my initial ideas didn’t come to pass, but I am thankful for the great suggestion my husband gave me because it fit perfectly with where I am struggling in my spiritual journey today.

The morning I began to seriously consider blogging, I was reading in Matthew 20 about two blind men who asked Jesus to heal them by opening their eyes and giving them sight. Because of their faith, they were healed.  This story prompted what I thought might be a good title for my blog which was Lord, Open my Eyes.  I shared this with my husband who immediately threw at me the title, Captivated Thoughts.  I thought about putting both my idea and his together, but my husband thought it was too long.  So, his suggestion won and couldn’t be more perfect due to my struggling to cast down my imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and to bring my thoughts into captivity (II Cor. 10:5).   I am so grateful to God for giving me the gift of writing and for the people He used to reveal this gift to me and to help me grow in my relationship with Christ.  I’m excited to see where He’ll lead me on this new journey.  My desire is to know Christ and to make Him known…what a better way to do that than through writing! 🙂 .

Appointed Once to Die

I’ve been thinking about death lately due to knowing many who died this past year.  I counted at least seven deaths that I shared with my FB friends ranging from a 7 month old to a 70+ year old! The most recent one is my best friend’s husband.  This past Sunday afternoon my phone rang and I saw it was my friend.   I had sent her a text on Wednesday wishing her a happy birthday.  She had replied back thanking me and asked me to call her when I was able.   We were talking earlier in the week and she had to quickly get off the phone due to her husband calling her.  I thought about calling her a couple times over the next few days, but never did, so when I saw she was calling, I felt a little guilty for not having called her.  I answered my phone with a cheerful, “Hey, belated birthday girl!”  I soon realized she wasn’t calling just to chat.  I did find it unusual that she was calling me on a Sunday because I knew weekends were spent enjoying her family.  She proceeded to inform me that her husband had died on Friday of a massive heart attack!  My immediate response was to gasp and say,  “Oh, I’m so sorry!”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing her say to me.  She filled me in a little as to what happened and I told her I wanted to come and see her right then.  She told me to come later that evening because she was about to leave to go pick out flowers.

As I write, it is now 3:33 a.m., early Tuesday morning, the day my precious friend lays her “rock”, as she referred to him, to rest later this morning!  I’ve prayed that she would have good rest as she faces this difficult day with her family.  As I sat with her for an hour and a half on Sunday evening, I found myself reminiscing about my brother Barry’s death which was thirty years ago this past January 6th!  I also shared with her about the recent home going of baby Serenity who was a day shy of being seven months old.  We talked about many different things and I did my best to be there for her and to console her broken, aching heart.  I share these thoughts knowing that we will all face death one day, whether through the loss of a loved one or we ourselves.  There’s no way around death…it is something we must ponder and be ready for because as Hebrews 9:27 tells us,  it’s appointed for man to die once, then after death comes judgment.

We are all born in sin.  We all fall short of God’s glory, no one is righteous, not even one! (Rom. 3:9-18, 23)  The first created beings, Adam and Eve, were placed in the Garden of Eden and given all things to enjoy yet with one prohibition:  they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…if they did, they would die, not just physically, but spiritually. (Gen. 2:15-17)  This is why we are all born in sin, because man broke God’s command and ate of the tree from which they were forbidden to eat. (Gen. 3:1-7)  It’s interesting to read this passage realizing that Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed until they sinned…once they ate the forbidden fruit, we read their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked.  They sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths to cover themselves.  This is the result of sin, shame and guilt.   We want to run and hide and cover up our sin.  Because of one man’s sin, that being Adam’s, death was the result and was spread to all mankind! (Rom. 5:12)  Because of their sin of disobedience, they broke fellowship with God and something/someone had to die to cleanse them from their sin.

The next step was facing their Creator God.  They had always enjoyed sweet fellowship with God any time they wanted, but now they were hiding from Him among the trees in the Garden.  We learn that as God was walking along in the Garden, He asked Adam where he was and not Eve because Adam was her head.  It was Eve who was tempted by the serpent, Satan, and she gave the forbidden fruit to her husband who was right there with her.   Adam’s reply to God was that he was hiding because he was afraid, and was naked, so he hid himself. (Gen. 3:8-11)  God asked him how he knew he was naked and if he had eaten of the tree from which he was commanded not to eat…(ponder the reason as to the cause for realizing he was naked)…his sin was found out! (Num. 32:23) This is where we read about the first sacrifice/death of an animal…God made for Adam and Eve garments of skin and clothed them… he covered their nakedness of sin which they had exposed themselves to by eating from the forbidden tree.  As we continue reading God’s holy and inerrant Word, we quickly learn and come to understand the reasons for the many sacrifices the children of Israel (Jews) had to make every day as an atonement for their sins.  All these sacrifices pointed forward to the One final sacrifice that was to come, namely, Jesus…He would be the perfect sacrifice to save us from our sins and to tear down the wall that was put between us and God because of our sin (Eph. 2:1-16)…Christ’s death on the cross allows us to come boldly before the throne of grace and to have direct access to and fellowship with God once again! (Heb. 4:14-16)  What amazing grace!