Tag Archives: creation

Mail Truck

Recently I noticed something. Mail trucks and vans do not have license plates. I never knew it. For some reason, I never looked for their license plates. I happened to be stopped behind a mail van during my travels and found myself staring at where the license plate should be and thought to myself, who knew?!? I missed it and yet I see mail trucks every day. I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of mail trucks.

Whether you have good vision or failing vision, you could miss something like that if you aren’t intentionally looking. In the same way, when you are going through your day, you can miss how God is moving if you are not living intentionally. This means recognizing that you are living continually in the presence of God. This means keeping your eyes fixed on Him and following His leading. This means not being overly busy or drowning in the ungodly.

God brings people into your path. Surrounding you are the unseen angel armies and the visible beauty of Creation. Given to us is His Word and the Spirit of God is poured into us the moment we declare the name of Jesus. Too often we declare the absence of God—we question if He is truly active and moving in our lives. With our attention elsewhere, we miss seeing Him move. We instead have our eyes focused on where we expect Him to be, despite knowing we do not think or imagine as God. Today, take time to sit in the silence. Breathe in. Listen to the quiet. Get away from the noise. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new and awesome way. Then be continually aware of His presence as you go through your day. Continue your conversation with Him throughout the day. Expect Him to move. Enjoy the God who is with you always.

“I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8 [NIV]

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The Sabbath

In Nehemiah 13, we read that the people were once again not keeping the Sabbath. Today, people do not understand the importance of the Sabbath. Many people consider that since most places are open on Sundays, that we need not celebrate the Sabbath. Some people may consider the Sabbath something people celebrated during “the time of the Bible,” but not something that we need continue nowadays.

I love the Sabbath and thank God for this great gift. The Sabbath was instituted since Creation. It is something that is part of Creation. Consider the rhythms of the world that God has created. Part of the Creation was active, but then there was rest. This is how we were created, as we are part of Creation. We need to have a rhythm of life, where there is an active working part, and then a time of rest. I typically celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, but there are moments when I preach or teach, that I celebrate another day. Understand the Sabbath is about having that day of rest with God.

God gave us the Sabbath as a gift. We should show gratitude for this gift, and we should also want to celebrate the gift. This is a time we can get ourselves realigned with the Father. This is a time we can get ourselves refueled for the next week. This is a time we can grow closer to God. This is a time when we can fellowship with the Lord without distractions. This is a time of rest, reconnection, and renewal. Be sure that you take a day this week, and celebrate the Sabbath! Continue this rhythm in your life each week. You will come to realize the importance of this special, holy day.

“They must realize that the Sabbath is the LORD’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day” – Exodus 16:29 [NLT]

Sanctity of Life

The Sanctity of Life

“I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.” – excerpt from the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, 1984 Ronald Reagan

Life is HOLY

“When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4 ESV)

Why is human life holy?

WE ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE (Genesis 1:26-2:25)

If we are made in the image of a HOLY GOD, then we too should be holy.

We are image bearers of God – created in the image, shadow, likeness of God.

We are imprinted with godlike characteristics.

“To be fully human is to fully reflect God’s creative, spiritual, intelligent, communicative, relational, moral and purposeful capacities.” (Relevant Magazine)

WE ARE SET APART – that means we are holy

We are set apart above all creation (Genesis 1:26-28)

We are handmade

Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade.

We are set apart as God’s chosen people

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

We are set apart for fellowship with God

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16b)

We are set apart and crowned by God with glory and majesty

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:4-5).

GOD VALUES ALL LIFE

You are valuable. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” (Matthew 6:26)

He values new life – He creates new life. He knit you together (Psalm 139). It’s all a part of God’s great plan.

He values young ones – He blesses them and says to let the little children come when the disciples rebuked them. (Matthew 19:13-15)

He values teens & young adults – Paul writes that youth should not be looked down on for being young. Instead, be an example to believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12)

He values the mature adults – You shall stand up before the gray head & honor the face of an old man, & you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

He values the poor, the widows, the strangers – For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:17-18)

If Life is Holy, how is Life Not Worth Living?

The world is filled with

  • Murder
  • Abortion
  • Suicide

This is unnatural death. God’s ways are life, not death.

  • Murder
    • Cain murders Abel (Genesis 4:9-15)
    • Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13)
    • Eye for eye (Leviticus 24:21)
    • Cities of Refuge (Numbers 35)
  • Suicide
    • Abimelech (Judges 9:52-54)
    • Samson  (Judges 16:29-30)
    • King Saul  (1 Samuel 31:4-6)
    • Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:1-29)
    • King Zimri  (1 King 16:15-20)

What does God say about death?

See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)

LIFE AND DEATH IS IN HIS HANDS

The world is filled with abuse of life

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Economic
  • Mental
  • Sexual

Abuse steals peace. Abuse kills joy. Abuse destroys hope.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Equip others. Empower others. Encourage others. Embrace others.

Speak life. Stand up for and speak for those who cannot stand up or speak for themselves.

The world is filled those who misunderstand the purpose of life

            What is the purpose of life? To glorify God.

Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them. (Isaiah 43:7)

            Our greatest desire is to know God, to have a relationship with God.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

The Most Important Life – Eternal Life

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36)

God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The worth of a human soul can be estimated only by the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. … It was the joy set before Christ in accomplishing so great salvation, that led him to submit to shame, agony, and death. How do all the treasures and the glories of earth sink into insignificance when compared with the value of a human soul! – Ellen White

  •  Value Life – everyone is valuable to God’s Kingdom
  • Celebrate Life – praise the Lord for your life and for the lives of others
  • Embrace Life – seek out what God has for your life
  • Speak Life – speak life to others
  • Share Life – share the Good News of Eternal Life

May your life bring glory to God

Also see Sanctity of Life message focused on Abortion

 

Sanctity of Life

We are Valuable. Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? [NLT]

We are God’s Creation. Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade. (Genesis 1 & 2)

We are His Masterpiece. He continues to mold us. We are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [ESV]

Proverbs 24:11-12 – Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? [ESV]

We each have responsibility to shine the light in this dark world – to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

REMEMBER: Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. (Romans 5:20)

If you have had an abortion and you asked for forgiveness, you have already been forgiven.

So what does the Bible say?

In the Bible, some were known in the womb. Some were sanctified in the womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” [NLT]

Isaiah 49:1 – “Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.” [NLT]

Galatians 1:15 – “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased” [NIV]

The word for prenatal and postnatal beings in the Bible – CHILDREN.

We also read about:

  • Jacob & Esau struggling in the womb
  • John the Baptist leaping for joy while in the womb and recognizing Jesus in Mary’s womb.

HE IS THE GIVER OF LIFE

Psalm 139:13-16 [NIV] – GOD KNITS TOGETHER; IT’S GOD’S WORK – NOT OURS

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

HE MADE US IN HIS IMAGE

  • Genesis 1:26-27 – Man is made in God’s image
  • Genesis 5:3 – When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. [NIV]
    • Seth was created in likeness of Adam.
    • Adam was created in likeness of….. GOD

Imago Dei (EE-ma-go Day) – Image of God is stamped on each of us.

HE VALUES LIFE

Genesis 9 – Capital punishment – murder in 1st degree

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God. (v. 5-6 NIV)

Exodus 21:22-25 speaks about punishment when pregnant woman is accidentally injured while people are fighting and a life is lost.

  • The Didache (Di-dah-kay) – Jewish instruction manual held that abortion was murder
  • Early church, Calvin, Luther, Edwards held that abortion was murder.

God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.

Handmade Intimacy

There is something special about handmade items. I have handmade scarves I received as gifts. I treasure them because I know that the person who crafted these pieces carefully selected the yarn, dedicated countless hours of creation, and made it specifically for me. I have paintings displayed in my home—paintings that started as a vision from family and friends. Stroke by stroke they made their vision come to life in the form of artwork.

As I read through Genesis 2, I cannot help but remember the great awesomeness of Creation, when the God of the universe took the dirt and formed man. If we read Genesis 1, we read again and again how He spoke different items into existence. He spoke and then there was light. He spoke and there was sky. He spoke and there was land. Yes, He spoke about making human beings (v. 26-28); however, as we look closely in Genesis 2, we read that “GOD formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul” (v. 5-7 MSG100).

God took dirt and He formed man—we are God-made. This is intimate. This is personal. Before man was alive, not only did God take the dirt and form us, but He also blew into the nostrils of man. What did He blow into the nostrils? The breath of life—God’s breath. Not only were we handmade by the Creator of the universe, but He gave us His breath. How awesome is that?!? Today, let us remember that we are handmade by God, made in His image, given His breath, formed by His hands.


I have been reading The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence by Eugene Peterson. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this new release from NavPress. I received this Bible free for review thanks to Tyndale House Publishers. I have read The Message (NavPress) twice and I have read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) as well, so I was eager to dig into the Message 100 to read this new version.

I am enjoying the chronological layout with the trusted paraphrase from Eugene Peterson. Reading in this order allows for a deeper understanding of the Bible, but written at a level that builds bridges for any reading level. It is a pure pleasure being able to sit and read God’s Word in the evening. During a recent message I preached, I recommended this new Bible, because I know that the Message paraphrase is a great translation to read along with a daily reading Bible. I always recommend having a few different translations to read for a deeper understanding. A chronological Bible is a blessing because it helps the reader to see things in an order that is not easy to understand when not in sequence.

The Message can be understood by any type of reader. This new Bible displays the verse numbers so you can look to your daily reading Bible for further study. As well, there is a guide to show where the books can be found as the order is chronological. The 100 readings are designed for a great progression through the books, without any loss to the message of the Gospel. The Bible allows for anyone to encounter Jesus and be moved by how He reveals Himself to us through His Word. There is plenty of room to write in the margins of this Bible as the Spirit leads.

themessage100.com

Colossians Study: Lord Of All

[Colossians 1:15-20]

LORD is most used NT term to identify Jesus (over 600 times)

Savior only used about 25 times in NT

  • Jesus is Lord (Kurios Iesous) – Creedal Affirmation / Confession of faith
  • Jesus is a Lord – many of the Colossians accepted Jesus as a Lord—but it’s different from Him being the They gave Him prominence rather than preeminence.
  • Jesus is my Lord – personal
  • Jesus is Lord of Creation (v. 15-17) – “Everything was created by Him… everything was made for Him.”
  • Jesus is Lord of Redemption (v. 18, 20) – He’s the 1st to be raised from death, His blood made a way for all beings to be brought back to God.
  • Jesus is Lord of All “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)

 

  • You Will Be Saved
    1. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NLT)
  • You Will Aim to Obey & Serve
    1. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46 ESV)
    2. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8b)
  • God Is Pleased
    1. God is pleased when Jesus Christ is honored and given preeminence (John 5:23-24)

Not everyone who calls Jesus Lord will enter the Kingdom (see Matt 7:21-23)

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul’s Letter to the Colossians speaks about the Supremacy of Christ. Reviewing today’s passage, we can glean a lot about Jesus Christ. Read the verses below. For each verse, answer – Who is Jesus? What does this mean for us?

1:15a
1:15b
1:17
1:18a
1:18b
1:19
1:20

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Prosper

I will never tell you that you will be rich because you are a follower of Christ. I loathe the prosperity preaching I’ve heard time and time again. You may not be a millionaire when you accept Christ into your life. I know many Christians who live on very little income. I will still say I am rich because I refer to spiritual blessings always above monetary blessings.

I do think it is important that you understand God has always wanted you to prosper. When God created mankind, when He created the Earth and all upon it, He said, “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!” So from the very beginning, He has wanted us to prosper.

When you are having a bad day (week, month, year), there is this part of you that thinks God doesn’t want me to have these good things or God doesn’t want me to succeed. Tell those thoughts to go away. God has something better for you than those things. It might require patience. There might be a lot of waiting. But God has ALWAYS wanted you to prosper. He loves you. You are His child. A Father always wants the best for His child. Once you align your understanding of the best you can imagine with His best, you’ll realize that it is worth waiting for and you will see that He wants you to prosper. He has given it all so that you have the opportunity to prosper.

“God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.’
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.’”

– Genesis 1:26-28 [MSG]

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Generate Life

Life is very precious to God. From the very beginning of Creation, God spoke to the Earth and said, “generate life.” Generate life. We read of the creation of animals and then we read of the creation of man. Man becomes responsible for the animals and even for Earth.

Now with this command to the Earth to “generate life” and with our responsibility for the Earth and all upon it, we need to understand this command because it is for us as well. What does it mean to generate life? To generate means to bring about or cause or lead to something. In this case, the something is life.

If the Earth’s job is to lead to life, to produce life—and if we are responsible for the Earth, then we need to live in a way to help the Earth to generate life. Promote life. Save life. Protect life. Speak life. Value life. Pro-life. This doesn’t mean we should all start mass producing. This doesn’t mean we should all become vegetarians. To dive deeper, consider this: God created these things so He cares for them. He may have created them from nothing, but He didn’t create them for nothing. Generate life.

“God spoke: ‘Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind:
cattle and reptiles and wild animals—all kinds.’
And there it was:
wild animals of every kind,
Cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile and bug.
God saw that it was good.”

– Genesis 1:24-25 [MSG]

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Children’s Ministry Lesson: Creation Cube

I am doing a lesson on Genesis 1 – Creation. I am going to start off showing the children the cross paper and discuss how God knew at the very beginning that we would need a Savior. Then I am going to transition into a discussion on Creation and we are going to cut out our crosses. I am going to read from Genesis 1 and review Creation. As we progress through each day, we will fill in a box on the cross by drawing something that represents what God created on that particular day. After the 6th day, we will fold our cross into a cube and tape it together. Then we will finish with Day 7. Finally, we will split into groups and take turns rolling our cube and sharing something amazing about that day of creation. Afterward, we will gather together and review.

Image

For the cross pattern, simply measure 8 inches by 2 inches rectangular on a vertical sheet of paper. Then draw a line every two inches so that the squares are 2″ x 2″. Then at the second square from the top, put a square (2″ x 2″) on both the left and right side.

When you cut out the cross, fold up the sides at the mid square section and then fold the extra square (the bottom square) up. Use tape to hold the sides together.

This lesson allows the children to use their creativity while learning about Creation.