Thursday, April 30, 2009

Genesis 1:12-13

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
(ESV)

Once again this creation jumps to action at the word of God. I have heard before that the Hebrew word for Word is the same as the Hebrew word for Deed. I don't know for sure if this is true, but there is definitely a truth to how God's word is handled. Throughout scripture, His word is followed by action.

There should be a similar reaction from God's children. As we personally read through God's word, it should take root, grow, branch out, and produce fruit. And since it is ultimately God's word that gets planted in our hearts, then the fruit that we bring forth should be that spiritual fruit.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Genesis 1:11

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.
(ESV)

Day Three continues with the creation of Vegetation. Specifically plants and trees that bear seeds and fruits with seeds. So on Day Three God has created DNA.

He has also created forests and jungles, glens and fields. I can't imagine the beauty of the world on this day. There is still no sun, but there must have been a glorious perfect light shining down, possibly from God Himself. And there was every plant imaginable. Nothing had gone extinct.

And those commands that were written in on this day, those commands written into those seeds, have continued to this day. When you walk outside today, glory at His creation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Genesis 1:10

God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
(ESV)


On the Third Day, God has separated out the land and the sea. After He does this, He names these things. I wonder if the Hebrew names for these are the same names that God originally used... Did His naming of these things build in something inherent about the Land and the Sea that has endured?

God then pronounces all that He has created so far as "good" and that word means just what you would think it means. This world so far is good, it is pleasing, both to God and to the people who will be inhabiting it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Genesis 1:9

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
(ESV)

Here we have the beginning of Day Three. I wonder, did He start in the morning? Did it all happen at once, or did He take His time? Did He separate the water so that the dry ground appeared like a sculpture?

Notice though that from the very beginning, this creation obeys His voice! He speaks, and things happen!

We are in Day Three and there is still nothing else in the universe except for this one little planet.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Genesis 1:6-8

And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
(ESV)


I have always understood this to be the creation of the atmosphere. What the earth was like before this, I am not sure, it doesn't say. These verses have also led to the canopy theory which helps explain the long lifespans and the flood. I don't particularly hold to or discredit the canopy theory, it is not important to me.

What I would like to point out is that God is not just speaking things into existence, He is also shaping and forming things. I believe that in the midst of these creative acts, God is writing the physical laws of the universe. He is bringing additional order to the initial creation. Remember that it was created "without form" so that He is bringing form to this formless creation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Genesis 1:5

God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
(ESV)

If there was ever any debate over the literal-ness of the twenty-four hour days in Genesis, this verse should halt the debate. It is abundantly obvious that the day that is described here is the result of the light and the dark, just like a day today. If these days were long time periods, then each time period would be encompassed by half light and half dark, which doesn't make any sense.

The real question to be asked about Genesis is not the length of the days, or any other debate for that matter, but whether or not you believe it to be God's word. That is the real question to ask. Trying to mold Genesis into some strange evolutionary model is not right, but it is also not necessary! The Biblical model works without any extra explaining. In fact, it works even better than any evolutionary model.

One little side note that I would like to point out: Notice that this first day of creation has a day and a night, but there is no sun yet. This, by the way would not fit into any evolutionary models, but works great in the Biblical one. It does leave me with some questions though.

What did the morning look like?
Did this light bring warmth?
Where was the light coming from?
Was it just coming from God?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Genesis 1:4

And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
(ESV)


Whoa! What does this mean?

(I know that a good commentator wouldn't ever write in their commentary "Whoa! What does this mean?" but seriously, what does this mean?!?)

How does God separate the light from the darkness? Does it just mean that He sorted it out on the earth so that there would be a night and day? If you read on, that seems like that is what it is talking about, and I can almost envision that. But what does un-separated light and dark look like?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Genesis 1:3

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
(ESV)


So light entered the universe. This light was not from any star or our sun. There were no chemical reactions creating this light. It wasn't from electricity or burning gas. It was light.

Did it emanate from God? Some believe so. I don't know.

Once again, be amazed by God. That he can speak and things happen. His voice causes the creation of light.

Be thankful for any light that He has brought into your life today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Genesis 1:2

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
(ESV)

There are so many different directions that one could go with a verse like this. I believe that most people would tarry on the phrase "without form and void" to try to understand what was going on there. There are some who look to this phrase to support that the earth (and the universe?) were around before this particular creation. I won't go into detail, but I bet you could do some Google searches to find a wealth of information.

To debate those words would be interesting... But lets take them at face value. God just created time and space, now He is entering into both to hover over the waters.

Instead of being moved to debate the words of this passage... be awed by it. Be amazed that God, THE God, has entered into time and space and He has a purpose. It doesn't say what He was doing while He was hovering over the waters, but He was.

Be thankful today for this God and His creative works.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
(ESV)


There is much debate about a statement that is so simple. Not only do you have the evolutionists debating whether or not there is a creator, you even have in the Christian circles the debate about when this beginning happened and how much God actually created.

When you read John 3:16, do you believe that "God so loved that world" and that He "gave his only begotten son"? Do you call into question the phrase "that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life"? Do you doubt the validity of those words?

I do not. I believe that God's word from beginning to end is the inspired word of God. I believe that it is infallible.

If you do not believe that, I would like to recommend a little book called God Wrote a Book by James MacDonald. It is easy to read and easy to understand. He takes a step by step approach to looking at the Bible to see whether or not it is what people say it is. It also includes a load of extra-biblical evidences that I found to be quite encouraging.

As I look at Genesis 1, I am going to take the approach that it is truly God's word, and that it can be taken literally. I do not believe that this Genesis account is figurative of what went on. I believe that God wanted us to know what happened, so He made sure it ended up in this book for all to read.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Peter 2:12

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(NIV)


There is not much I could add to this verse. Peter is so straight forward here. Many have said that actions speak louder than words, but Peter is saying, 'Let your actions speak so loudly, that even if they accuse you of wrong, in their deepest heart of hearts, they will know that isn't true. They will know that it is an accusation. Then one day they will glorify God because of your loud/godly actions.'

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Peter 2:11

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
(NIV)

In the book of Genesis, just before Cain goes to kill his brother Abel, and in so doing, commit the very first murder, God comes to Cain. He notices that Cain is angry, then says, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

That comment has always stuck with me. That sin is described as something that is crouching. That sin is something that wants to overtake me. That it desires.

Peter here gives a straight forward response to this. He simply states, "...abstain."

We are not long for this world, and if you are a child of God, you don't even belong here! You can master sin, because of the power of Christ. So, abstain from those sinful desires. They are warring against your soul.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Peter 2:10

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
(NIV)

Sometimes remembering where you were will help you to appreciate where you are. In the case of a Christian, where you were is extremely different that where you are. Possibly the most extreme difference possible. You WERE without mercy. Now you have received the mercies of God. There is not much that could be more extreme than that.

Once again, these thoughts should result in praise. Praise Him through your work today. Praise Him in how you speak to your spouse and your children. Praise Him in how you drive and in how you walk and talk.

Friday, April 03, 2009

I Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(NIV)
To be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God... These were things that once belonged only to the Jews. They were these things. Now we may participate.

As an American, I get to some extent the idea of being a "people". Having that sense of belonging. And America has been a part of something big. Freedom, liberty, duty, etc. We have been a people, but this citizenship is corrupted. America is fallible. There is another "nation" that I am a part of. Paul describes it as "a citizenship in heaven" in the book of Philippians.

The outpouring of this citizenship should result in praise. He have no right be be a part of this. We were in darkness, but He has brought us into the light, and it was not because of any merit of our own.

Declare praise to Him for what He has done.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I Peter 2:7-8

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
(NIV)
There is so much I would love to say about this passage. Jesus Christ has become such a foundation for me. I have learned to identify with so many of the Psalms that say, "He is my Rock... He is my Fortress..." but He has also been such a stumbling block to me when I was young. I have seen both aspects of this stone in my life.

The other day I heard a preacher mention this aspect of the capstone, how much effort it would have taken to keep all of the stones in place, until the capstone was set in place. Then everything holds together. The capstone makes everything right.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I Peter 2:6

For in Scripture it says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame."
(NIV)
In case you were wondering, this is a quote from Isaiah 28:16.

When I read passages like this, I can find great assurance in them, but if I was honest, there is that little nagging thought in the back of my mind that is trying to reconcile the words of this passage to what I experience in the real world. I know, because I have taught the Bible for many years now that I should not ultimately base my understanding of things on my experiences, and I truly do believe that the Bible is the very Word of God, but that logical, analytical side of my mind craves the reconciliation of the truth of the word with what I have seen.

Where that part of my brain has a problem is in the words, "...never be put to shame." And that part of my brain begins to think very finitely. So, as it dwells in the here and now, I hear stories of people who are trusting in God who (to that part of my brain) are being put to shame. They are being humiliated and attacked, they are being abused by others and ostracized by their families and their peers. It seems as if they are being put to shame.

But, lets think a little bigger. Here is a passage from Hebrews that might help a little bit:
Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Some read passages like these and get even more distressed, but if you look back in Hebrews just a few verses there is an even better explanation, when it comes to Abraham. It says,
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:9-10
There is a different city, whose architect is God. The cornerstone of that city is Jesus Christ. If you put your hope in Him, you will never be ashamed!