Fruit that is Good and Pleasing to the Eye – Part 1

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In my last blog post, That Darn Apple, I expressed what I thought the fruit tasted like that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; now I wonder what the fruit might have looked like.

Genesis 3:6 says, When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye…”

Therefore, it had to be very similar to the other fruit on every other tree in the garden that she could eat from. God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and everything God made was good.  So the fruit itself was not sin.  The act of eating the fruit was sin because it was disobedience.

God has given us wonderful good things for us to enjoy. Yet, Satan is the complete opposite of God and uses those good things to tempt us to disobey God’s commands and bring death, like that fruit in the Garden of Eden.  Read the contrast in John 10:10 ~

“The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Satan uses things in this world that are good and pleasing to the eye to steal, kill, and destroy us from all the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical blessings God has for us!   Here are a couple good and pleasing to the eye fruits that Satan lures us from being obedient to God’s way:


Ministry: “Oh but it’s ministry, Lord!!  I am working for YOU!  I’m serving You and discipling others!”

Raise your hand if you have ever neglected your spouse and kids because you were involved in some ministry or service to someone outside your home?  2 hands raised here.

I have made the mistake of getting meaning and purpose from ministry. Satan discouraged me first by whispering in my ear, “You are only a mom. You aren’t making big a difference at home. You change diapers, split up sibling fights, say the same things over and over again and no one is listening.  Don’t you remember what it is like to be “Christina” and not just “Mommy”?”   I believed him and took a bite of the good fruit of ministry and it soon became my idol.   He distracted me from my primary ministry: my husband and kids.  As Stephen Kendrick said recently at the True Woman conference, “You may be the most influential person in your husband’s life and the most influential person in your kids’ lives.”  Why would God ever bless any outside ministry if I am not serving my family first?

I praise God for the lessons He has been teaching me as He is stripping me down to a place of minimal ministry outside my home. By God’s grace, He is getting my focus back on the good fruit of my family. Then, I trust that He will continue to guide me to minister outside my home when I obey Him first inside my home.  (Sometime soon I will share about our future ministry as a family that God is preparing me for).

Are there any ministries outside your home that Satan is distracting you too much away from your first calling inside your home?  I love what Paul David Tripp says in his newest book, Parenting:

“Committing yourself to obey one of [God’s] commands never means you will suffer and be punished because it has caused you to disobey another. None of his commands exist in isolation and none of them conflict.”   ~Meaning whatever God has called you to do inside and outside the home, there should be no conflict between the two.

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Social Media:  Yep, going there.  God has and will continue to use social media for good.  In the last year, I have watched Brett minister to hundreds of people through social media, and even led a few people to a real relationship with Jesus Christ.   If you are reading this blog, you may have come across it on Facebook!  I praise God for the opportunities to instantly connect with people and share the love of Jesus.

However, Satan is all over social media if you haven’t seen it.  I could go through several examples, but for the sake of your time reading this, I’ll touch on a few and see if it hits a nerve.

The comparison trap: “your life is way better than mine” which leads to discontentment.  Or the fact that we can truly have instant communication with anyone, anywhere. It can be secret (if you or your kids have Messenger, check out the secret encrypted messages that are sent and can be instantly deleted).  When your husband asks you to check his requested messages because of girls sending him nude photos…yeah…that’s a BIG problem!   It can suck up time and keep you from doing life on life with real people in front of you.  It can be a “look at me” or “woe is me” temptation. Depression, suicides, friendships break up, affairs, families are never the same, apathy, do I need to go on?

Because of what God has been convicting me about getting my focus back to my husband and kids, I have stepped away from Facebook and Instagram for some time.  It’s actually freeing.  I love it. Instead of scrolling through other people’s lives, I’m taking the time to earnestly pray for my family and friends.  I realized that I don’t need to know what’s going on in everyone’s lives.  It has kept me from comparing myself to others or reading the latest article making me feel guilty for what I’m doing wrong; instead I have only the Word of God and His standard for how I should live my life. You should try it. Take a social media break and see how it impacts your life.  I am convinced you will not regret it.

What are the good and pleasing to the eye things in your life that Satan is distracting you with? I have touched on only two but there are so many more that may be personal to you: food, sex, body image, exercise, spouse, friends, money, career, etc. Ask God to reveal them to you so that you are not taking a bite of something that God means to bring blessing where Satan means to destroy.

That darn apple.

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That darn apple.

Many reading this may be very familiar with the Genesis 3 account of Adam and Eve committing the first sin, which brought sin and death into the world. Let’s review God’s command:

“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”            Genesis 2:9, 16-17

As I wrote the above, it hit me that food was used as the determining factor of either continuing life or choosing death for Adam and Eve.  I mean, duh, I knew that but it didn’t really sink in until now.  I sit here and wonder if Adam and Even had to eat in order to live. They were human, although perfect. Yet, on the other hand, they were in the presence of God, the source of Life.  And death was only brought on if they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (aka “the tree”), and not because they didn’t eat at all. Which we imperfect humans would die if we don’t eat. Maybe someone with a bunch of theology credentials behind their name can tell me that one.  Either way, God gave them food to eat. And not just any food, but good and pleasing to the eye food.  I’d like to have a taste of that.

Well, if you know the story, Adam and Even ate the fruit from the tree and death entered the world.  One fruit. One bite each. Forever their lives and the rest of mankind changed for all time.   That darn fruit. We don’t know what it was but I’m gonna just say it’s an apple from good ole children’s Sunday school curriculum.   I wonder what that apple looked like?   Genesis 3:6 says, When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye…” Therefore, it had to be very similar to the other fruit on every other tree in the garden that she could eat from.  It was good and pleasing to the eye. It was shiny and perfect and clean. After all, God did create it.  All that He created was good. And God does not create sin. Keep in mind that the apple was not sin; the act of choosing to eat the fruit was sin because it disobeyed God’s command. Big difference.

I can picture hundreds of trees in the garden, and somehow Eve and Adam ended up right beside THAT tree.   Were they going on a leisurely, romantic walk hand-in-hand one day and came across the tree?  Maybe they were chasing an animal for fun and it led them under the tree.  Or maybe they just plain were curious.  They wanted to see if the fruit was really any different than the other fruit trees.  You know how we humans are: say don’t touch or don’t do, and we want to get as close as possible, and if you are my kids, you do the opposite of what was just told.   Regardless, the Bible doesn’t say how they got to the tree.  All we know is that they were at the tree and a serpent started talking.

Satan hasn’t changed since that first encounter with humans in the garden.  I’d like to give Adam and Eve the benefit of the doubt, and maybe they were taking a leisurely walk minding their own business and then out of nowhere, a serpent is talking from the tree that they didn’t even realize they were so near to.  Once Satan got their attention, he laid it on them with half-truths. He knew right where to lure Eve. He had the perfect bait. All he had to do was keep her focused on that fruit on that tree.  Distract her from the hundreds of blessings of good and pleasing to the eye fruit around her.  But oh, it looked just like the others! How could it be any different? And if it looked the same, wouldn’t it taste the same?

I do wonder what it tasted like.  Because Eve chose to disobey God, I like to think that it was bitter.  The Bible says that she took some and ate it, and then gave some to Adam.  Maybe the first bite wasn’t so bad.  However, I want to believe that each bite would have been more bitter than the first.

Take a bite. “I can get away with it because it wasn’t so bad.  No one noticed.”

Take another bite. “I can handle this.”

Take another bite.  “Ugh. Yuck. I don’t care though because I need more!”

Take another bite.  “This isn’t satisfying me. The next bite will!”

Take another bite. “I’m addicted even though it leaves a horrible aftertaste.”

Solomon described this well in Proverbs 25:16 ~

“If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.”

I have written beside this verse in my Bible, “What I think will fulfill my desires only makes me sick!”

Oh that darn apple.  I think it will satisfy me because I believed the lies of Satan: “See, it’s perfect and shiny.  It can satisfy you even more than the others! God’s design of love for you is not good enough.  Take a bite. Try it and see.”

And then after the first bite and then the second and third and so on, I realize that this ain’t tasting so good. This is not satisfying me, and instead I’m sick!

Why? Because there is only one thing that truly satisfies. Everything else is a copycat that Satan dangles in front of us to convince us that it’s better than the original. And it will all make me sick if I’m replacing it for Jesus.  Oh, I’ve been there my friend. Haven’t we all?  Replacing Jesus, the only One who can fulfill me for a darn apple that Satan lured me with. Just taking a leisure walk and he called me over. Distracted me. I ate and ate. And soon got sick until I realized that this will never satisfy.

OH! but I praise Jesus for redemption. For paying my penalty of eating the apple so that I do not have to experience eternal death and separation from God!   My sins have been removed from the east to the west and remembered no more.  Yes, when I choose to disobey and take a bite, I must pay the consequences of eating the apple. But by His grace and everlasting love, Jesus’ death and resurrection once and for all flushed out all remnants of that bitter aftertaste left behind.

What’s that darn apple in your life? What is the copycat fruit that Satan is luring at you? Walk right on past it. Don’t look. Don’t believe his lies and half-truths. Don’t get distracted on what you can’t have and look around to all the blessings that you do have. That apple will never satisfy.  Run my friend. Run into the arms of Jesus who will always satisfy.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you. ~Psalm 63:1-5

Thank You, Jesus, for my Crohn’s Disease – Part 3

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After 5 days in the hospital, the histoplasmosis (histo) was not at a dangerous level and I was released. I left with a prescription of an antifungal medication that I was required to take for an entire year.  But there was a new problem. Every medication to control Crohn’s disease was immunosuppressant.  When I tried these medications, my fevers would immediately return because my histo levels would rise. I will always have traces of the fungus in my lungs so I cannot be immune compromised.  My infectious disease physician, Dr. Delgado, was adamant that I stop all Remicade treatments. Dr. Maisel and Dr. Delgado corresponded to try to find the best medication for me, but after a few tries of new and upcoming drugs, nothing was keeping the histo suppressed .

After 6 years, I stopped Remicade treatments and all medications for Crohn’s disease and was only taking itraconazole for the histoplasmosis.  Was I worried? Most definitely. I felt like the two diseases would be against me, fighting to take over depending on which was treated.  In addition, Dr. Delgado warned us greatly that if I were to get pregnant, the medication would be detrimental to the baby.  So not only did I fear for my own health, but I had the fear of an unplanned pregnancy.

As always though, God had a greater plan that I could ever make up.  If you’ve read Part 2, you’ll remember that this was the year 2008 and by November of 2009 I was cleared from taking itraconazole.  I was now taking no medication, and I was having no symptoms of Crohn’s disease.  The Spring of 2010 I received a colonoscopy since it had been 2 years since my last one.  Irritable Bowel Disease patients are encouraged to get a colonoscopy every 2 years even during remission (no symptoms/flair-ups/inflammation) to screen for cancer since our cancer rate is higher than non-IBD people.

Results: no inflammation. Zilch. Zippo. None.  Brett and I walked out of there praising Jesus!!! And….Brett has some stories since Dr. Maisel allowed him to sit in on the colonoscopy!  Many physicians don’t let spouses because they have had their share of pass out experiences. So I can confidently say that Brett knows ALL of me…including inside of me! 😉

What then? I was in remission. And I continued my life as normal.  Fast forward to February 2011 and I was pregnant with our first born, Kherington.  A new fear arose. For some women, their Crohn’s symptoms worsen during pregnancy while others improve.  Since I was in remission my fear was that I would struggle with symptoms throughout my pregnancy.   But all praise to the Lord, my entire pregnancy was asymptomatic.

As I reflect back to that horrible experience of contracting histoplasmosis, I originally thought it was all a curse. My Crohn’s disease was a curse. My histoplasmosis was a curse and prevented me from continuing treatment for Crohn’s.  But the truth is disease IS a curse.  These diseases are a result of sin. No, not a specific sin that God was punishing me for, but the fact that I am a sinner.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”  Romans 5:12

Disease = death.  You. Me. We are all going to die. Disease is part of the process of dying, and death is a result of sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Yet, the good news is that Jesus Christ has defeated sin by nailing it to the cross and has defeated death by rising from the grave 3 days later.  This earthly body will continue to decompose, but HALLELUIAH some day I will live for all eternity with Jesus Christ with no disease or death!

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

Maybe you are struggling with a chronic illness. Or a loved one just died. Or you question God why there is so much suffering and death. He is not the cause. He is the SOLUTION.

Jesus is my Healer.  He has currently healed me from Crohn’s disease. This past February 2015, I had another colonoscopy. The result: no inflammation.

But more importantly, Jesus has healed me from my sin. One night in September of 1991, my prayer was similar (or as much as a 5 year old could say) as David crying out,

“Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” Psalm 41:4

And Christ’s response?

“He sent out his word and healed [me]; he rescued [me] from the grave.” Psalm 107:20

Maybe you have not been healed yet by your illness, disease, or thorn in the side.  But have you been healed from your sin?  Have you been too focused on trying to find the cure for your disease?  Or maybe you don’t have an illness but you are trying every new health fad to prevent disease, yet are failing to allow Christ to heal you from the disease of your soul, which has an eternal consequence?

Choose your eternal health now. Don’t wait. Christ is able and willing to make you alive now and for all eternity:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?  John 11:25-26