devos from the hill


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Shame and Blame – The Fruit of Sin

The victim mentality – a vicious cycle.
Lesson 19 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

Before Adam and Eve ate of the fruit – And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

– Genesis 2:25

After – Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?” Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

– Genesis 3:7–13

Then she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate. And immediately, they were aware of their nakedness and they were ashamed. Something terrible had happened. Something had changed … Adam and Eve tried to hide from God, and to get rid of their shame by covering themselves with leaves. But this did not work, for their problem was not outward, but inward. Shame is the result of sin, and sin was at work in them like a poison.

– The HOPE, Chapter 3

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

Before eating the forbidden fruit, there is no indication that Adam and Eve had ever known shame1  (Genesis 2:25). After they disobeyed God, they saw their nakedness and for the first time felt exposed and vulnerable. So they tried to cover themselves. Then they tried to hide themselves from God. Why? Because they were afraid. They may have been afraid of God’s response, but they were actually hiding themselves from the only One who could really help them, the very One they needed the most.

It is very interesting that God would ask, “Where are you?” God is all knowing. He knew where Adam and Eve were hiding. But His question was not just rhetorical. He was bringing Adam and Eve face to face with the result of their sin. The question “Where are you?” takes on a much greater meaning if applied to their spiritual condition more than their physical location. They were at a desperate place, and God’s question was like holding up a mirror. They needed to recognize the seriousness of their situation.

Notice what happens next, when they are “found.” Adam blames Eve, and Eve blames Satan. Shame was one of the first fruits of sin, and blame was a direct result.

ASK & REFLECT Continue reading


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Sin – What Exactly Is It?

The deadly spiritual disease that infected all humankind.
Lesson 18 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

…just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…

– Romans 5:12

Then she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate. And immediately, they were aware of their nakedness and they were ashamed. Something terrible had happened. Something had changed. The evil in Satan was like an infectious disease. And through Adam’s disobedience, this disease was released into the world. It is called sin. It is a power that works within a person to destroy his or her relationship with God, ultimately bringing death to all it touches. Adam and Eve had been created to live forever in perfect harmony with God. By eating the fruit, they acted independently from God, which is exactly what Satan had done. Now they would experience death, first spiritually, then physically. And through Adam, sin would be passed down from generation to generation, infecting all humankind to this very day.

– The HOPE, Chapter 3

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

The word sin appears over 350 times in the Bible. It is most often used to identify an act against God (often referred to in the Bible as a transgression). One of the definitions of sin is literally, “missing the mark.”With this in mind, we could say that the “mark” is God’s way, and when we miss it, we are sinning.

Sin is also used in the Bible to describe the power that influences people to rebel against God’s authority. It is not only an act or an action against God; it is a personified power that influences us to act against God (seeGenesis 4:7 and Romans 6:12-13). Through Adam, this deadly power spread to the whole human race.

You can see why The HOPE describes sin as being like an infectious disease.It can’t be diagnosed with medical technology because it is not a physical disease. It’s a spiritual disease, and it always brings death. And only God has the cure.

ASK & REFLECT

Many people have the idea that all we must do to be right with God is be good. And a popular notion exists that anyone who manages to do more good than bad in life will go to heaven. The problem is that even if one lives a perfect life (which none of us can–Romans 3:23), that person would still be infected with sin, which is enough to keep us from having a right relationship with God. You see, it’s not only our “sins” that drive a wedge between us and God; it’s our “sin.” And just as we looked at Satan in Lesson 17 and determined that we are no match for him on our own, so also we cannot master sin without the power of God working in us.

  •  Are there things in your life with which you struggle, perhaps even habitually?
  •  Are there urges and desires in your life that you cannot eradicate, no matter how hard you try?
  •  Having honestly answered these questions, do you find it difficult to believe that there is a power at work within you called sin? Continue reading


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Will You be More Holy in Heaven than You are Now?

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

This week’s staff devotional is a sequel to the one from last week. If you recall, last week we observed that in the epistles of the New Testament, Christians are referred to as saints 56 times and as sinners only 3. Yet, as I shared from my experience, I hear frequently from pulpits that we (Christians) are sinners, and very infrequently that we are saints. I proposed one big reason for this. We live in a world that focuses on performance over identity. I also posted a response that expands on this thought.

Next week we’ll move on to a different topic, but today we’re taking our thoughts from last week one step further. We’ll begin with a question that could cause you to recoil, but please, hang with me. Here it comes. Did you know that you won’t be any holier in heaven than you are now? Now before you tune me out, please hear this. I am not in any way promoting the heretical doctrine of sinless perfection. As Christians, the power of sin still lurks in us (1 John 1:8). However, if you recoiled from that question, then you might be more focused on your performance than your identity. If you need more background regarding this, then visit or revisit last week’s devotional.

The words, saint, sanctified and holy are translated in the New Testament from Greek words (hagios and/or hagiazo) which come from the same root and literally mean “set apart.” When God gave you the understanding and the faith to appropriate His work on the cross, you were changed. You became a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), and because of this, you became “set apart.” By virtue of His life in you, you became a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). You became like Him, and different than the world around you. You may not always act like it, but that doesn’t change what He did in you. Notice from 1 Corinthians 1:2 and Hebrews 10:10, you “have been sanctified”. This phrase is in the perfect tense which conveys the idea of completed past action. Notice from Colossians 3:12 and Hebrews 3:1, the word holy is used to describe a present condition. Continue reading


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Saint or Sinner, Which are You?

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

I’ve noticed a growing trend from the pulpit in evangelical Churches (at least the ones I am familiar with) to proclaim that we are all just a bunch of sinners. But are we really? What does God say about those who have been born from above into His family?

In Acts 2 we read about the promised coming of the Holy Spirit. He came to indwell men and make them new creatures in Christ. Did you know, that from Acts 2 to the last chapter of Revelation, there are only 3 verses (1 Tim 1:15, Jms 4:8 & Jms 5:20) that refer to Christians as sinners, yet there are 56 that refer to Christians as saints? For example . . .

Rom 1:7 – “to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints”
Eph 1:1 – “to the saints who are at Ephesus”
Phil 1:1 – “to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi”
Col 1:2 – “to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae”

Paul never opens one of his letters to the Churches with, “to all the sinners at . . .” And yet I’ve heard it from the pulpit more times than I can count, “We are all just sinners.” 56 to 3. Why don’t we hear more statements that line up with the 56? There may be more than a few reasons for this, but for the purpose of today’s devotional, we’ll look at just one. Continue reading