Chapter 4

Sin – Wrath – Grace – Providence
This seems to be a recurring theme in Genesis as we see the people of God sin, then experience an aspect of wrath, then an aspect of God’s grace and then God’s care. It happened to Adam and Eve in chapter 3, it is happening to Cain in this chapter (and keep an eye out for it in the chapters to come).

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Here in this chapter more questions arise as we look at the text. For example, “Why was Abel’s offering accepted by God while Cain’s was not?” Many will say it came from a sincere heart. Others will say Abel’s offering was from his best stock, while Cain’s was just some grain from the earth, not necessarily the best grain (not first-fruits giving). Another question that surfaces is, “Where did Cain’s wife come from?” Some think that it was a sister from Adam and Eve. Some think that God had made other people, yet, the story of God follows just one primary family line.

In our culture today we cry “foul!” on imaging marriage of a brother and sister. However, if they were the only people on the earth, I don’t think it would mean much back then. We must always be careful not to read our culture into the culture of the biblical text. Let Scripture speak as it is. Afterall, this is an account of God’s action and work in humanity and in this world. Genesis is less an account of actual history and more of an account of His-Story. Enjoy His Story as you read about God’s saving work throughout the generations.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, keep me from being too confused about the things I don’t understand in Your Word while helping me focus and treasure that which is clear and concise. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Chapter 3

It is often referred to as, The Fall. First, Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent (Satan) by the simple and subtle use of words that cast doubt into the word of God. “Did God really say . . .?” Then, they are not only are kicked out of the Garden of Eden, but now have become aware of good and evil, and find themselves living in a broken relationship with their Creator.

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In this chapter we see temptation, giving in and doing things against God’s commands, and then God’s wrath, justifiably so. But God doesn’t leave Adam and Eve in the broken state without hope. Two things happen: God promises them the Savior (Genesis 3:15) as the first foreshadowing of Jesus. Second, God makes Adam and Eve garments from skins to be worn. They didn’t have a need for such clothing, but now, because of the Fall, animals are now killed and their skins are used for protection. God promises them hope (Jesus) as well as provides them clothing as they go forth in this world.

How are you going forth? Do you recognize, trust in and feel the wonderful sense of hope found in Jesus the savior? Do you have a grateful heart for the provisions God provides you?  Even though sin separates people from God, we still see God desiring to be with His people.

Also notice the curses God gives Adam and Eve. Childbearing pain and the pain of working the land. We still see those today. But we also still see God’s goodness as well.

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, forgive us of our sins. Help us not to doubt Your word, but to recognize Your goodness to us. Help us use the gifts You’ve given us to testify to Your goodness. In Jesus’ strong name…Amen.”

Chapter 2

The Seventh Day begins this chapter.  The day God rested, the Sabbath, the final day of the week.  It becomes holy (i.e.. set apart for God).  Then, we basically have another creation account, this time focused in on the creation of the first man and woman.  While chapter 1 focuses on an overview, chapter two focuses on the pinnacle of God’s creation, mankind, in a very personal way.

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You may have noticed that in Chapter 1, the word, God, was used.  In Chapter 2, the word Lord is used.  In Hebrew, God (Elohim) is a more generic term while Lord (Yahweh) is much more personal.  These different names used coincide with the focus of the chapter.  Chapter 2 offers a more insightful, personal account of creation than chapter 1.

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, I thank You for creating a beautiful world.  Help me slow down my busy life so that I can take notice of Your creation.  In Jesus’ strong name I pray. Amen.”

Genesis 1

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In the beginning we find God actively at work, “in the beginning.”  There is no origin of God; He is already in existence; and already at work creating the heavens and the earth.  In six days God created it all with significant design, structure and order.  Each day God calls His creation, “Good.”  Did you notice when He says His creation is, “very good?”

Many questions have arisen about God, time, this world, etc., simply based on this text of Genesis.

  • Are these days actual 24 hours?
  • If so, is God creating an aged earth? After all, the winged birds and great sea creatures seem to show fully grown animals (which takes time from our perspective). Therefore, could God’s creation of the earth exhibit portions that had been ‘developed’ with age?
  • Who was God talking to when He said, “Let us make man in our image?” (Himself; Trinity?)
  • Why did it take God six days to create everything? He could have simply done it in one day, right?

These are just a few questions that often arise when people read through this chapter.  Volumes and volumes of books and commentaries have been written to describe and explain these wonderful works of God.  This lil’ blog could not examine these thoroughly; however, if a person asked my what my basic, brief answers would be, I’d say, “Yes, Yes, Yes, and yes, He could have, but He is giving us a structure (the week) to live by.  So, enjoy the journey through Genesis and remember how God’s creation was originally “very good.”

PRAYER: “Creator of the universe, help us to trust in You, in this world, and the next.   In Jesus’ strong name I pray.  Amen.”

 

A Journey Through Genesis

A Journey through Genesis

scenic view of forest during night time
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Before I begin the book of beginnings, I ponder that I’m not just reading a casually written, ancient book that has no connection to us today.  Instead, I realize that I’m reading a book that has been inspired by the Holy Spirit and cherished by billions of people over many, many generations.  I feel so small compared to its author, its stories, its application to the lives of mankind.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me connect with our amazing creator and heavenly Father, see the foreshadowing of Jesus, His Son, and then, through His precious word and His compassionate love for His creation, be inspired to live for Him each day.  I welcome you on this journey of reading through the book of Genesis.  I pray God’s blessings upon all who join in the journey.  ~ Jeff

PRAYER: “Gracious Father, help me to make time for You in my busy life.  Let me start at the beginning, with the treasure of Your Word in Genesis.  In the strong and precious name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.”

 

Happy Reforma-lloween?!

OCT 31

Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”  Matthew 26:34

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Meet my rooster, Johann Sebastian Baaaaach Bach Bach. When the sunlight hits his feathers, they really come alive!

What are you doing this evening?  Trick or Treating?  Celebrating the 501st anniversary of the Reformation with a cold brew?  A combination?  Neither of those two?

Tonight, as children go door to door wearing masks and costumes, full of color and dazzle, I’m reminded of the stark contrast of light and darkness.  In the darkness of night, pumpkins will light up people’s porches.  Costumes will sparkle in a car’s headlights, parents will stand on the sidewalks with a flashlight or glow-stick.  Light penetrates darkness.  Even in our souls.

Peter walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, learned from Jesus and even saw the miracles of Jesus!  Yet, he was still a sinner and proved it when he denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.  It was the night before Jesus’ death on the cross.  Where true darkness enveloped the land.  A spiritual darkness was present in addition to the darkness in the daytime sky.

Yet light shined forth.  Light penetrated the darkness as Jesus asked God the Father to forgive the people.  The blood shed on the cross was both blood of sacrifice as well as blood of victory…the victory of God!  Sounds strange but there is where the punishment for our sins was fulfilled.  There on the cross is both great sadness in what our eyes see, but great joy in what our souls feel…release! 

In those moments when you’ve denied Jesus rather than denying yourself (Matthew 16:24) imagine the look of Jesus.  Peter saw it (Luke 22:61).  It convicts.  Yet, with eyes of compassion, Jesus looks at us in love and forgiveness as we repent of our sin.

Dear reader, know that Jesus paid the price for all the times you’ve heard the rooster crow.  Confess and find release.  Then in the midst of God’s grace, may you and I reflect the light of our Savior’s forgiveness and love in this darkened world.

42 Seconds with 30 Sayings of Jesus

OCT 30
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

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Mission and Presence. We are given both. Jesus gives us, the Church, the mission of making disciples all the while He also gives us His presence, that He is and will be with us until the end of time as we know it (and then it gets even better in paradise).
Now, don’t miss this! In this passage, in this one section of scripture of Jesus’ final words to His disciples before He ascends into heaven, Jesus addresses two fundamental needs of mankind! What are those two needs we all have? To have purpose (Mission) and to be loved (Presence). Jesus reminded His first disciples as He is reminding you as you read this, you are loved and you have purpose. Enjoy life as His child, knowing these two truths of your Savior. Jesus is with you as you embark on the incredible journey of mission and life.

If you found this (or any of the other 30 days’ devotions) beneficial, please let me know by responding to the blog. I’m curious what you thought. Peace in Christ!