Paradise is often understood in a locations or situations. Either we are in a place where we want to be or life is going the way we desire. Truth is, however, many of us find ourselves in places we never dreamed: dead-end jobs, failing marriages, addicted to pain-killers, struggling under the weight of debt all the while wishing we were wasted away again in Margaritaville. Paradise is not something we lost last week or last month. It was lost early in humanity’s history, but exists close enough that we can taste it today. Come discover more than a fantasy. Paradise may have been lost, but you can experience it regardless of your location or situation.
March 5 ~ Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7 In the beginning there were two trees, but only one had fruit that begged for attention. In our world, it is knowledge that we believe leads to blessing, power and progress. Knowledge, however, is not as powerful as obedience. Paradise is lost as we seek to know rather than follow.
March 12 ~ Genesis 12: 1-4a Life is certainly uncertain. We get upset when marriages, jobs, health, and our goals for life do not go as planned. It is as we seek security in the things around us, that we forget that greater security is found beyond us. The undeniable love of God makes available paradise we seek.
March 19 ~ Exodus 17:1-7 We live in a culture where we are taught to take on the world, do what we can do to get ahead, and even pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. What happens when our efforts fail and we lose the things closest to us. Where do we go when we realize that our best efforts at the best life has to offer are futile and failing? God’s dependability brings about the Paradise lost when we doubt His love.
March 26 ~ 1 Samuel 16:1-13 We are taught from a young age to not judge a book by its cover. Truth be told, we all judge what we see. We wish for the life of the young married couple on Facebook, or the new car we see across from the stop light. Paradise is found when we say no to the good and yes to the best God offers us in life.
April 2 ~ Ezekiel 37:1-14 The image was clear: a valley of scattered bones, dry heat, no food, no water and no hope. Ever walked through that valley. Ever felt the sting of rejection, the kiss of betrayal, the loss of laughter or purpose. Have you ever just put on the smile and make it through. The key to paradise is not marching on but in the fresh breath that brings life.
April 9 (Palm Sunday) ~ Isaiah 50:4-9a Decisions we have made, similar to that in the beginning, have promised paradise but invited pain. God’s heart breaks and desires for the relationship between us and our creator to be restored. Jesus declares words of wisdom and takes on suffering that makes us just as if Paradise had never been lost.
April 16 (Easter) ~ Acts 10:34-43 The Creator created people for relationship. Our choice to trust ourselves, efforts, and what we can see have broken that connection. Jesus, came with the power to overcome the sin that separates creation from creator and makes us whole again. We spend our lives searching for the right location and situation when paradise, really, is restored through a relationship with the resurrected Jesus.