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The  Bleeding heart of God

“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, the word was God” John 1:1

There is nothing as powerful as the word of God. It became flesh and dwelt with us. We evaluate another person’s personality from our point of view.Its our view to see a person as Good or Bad, it our choice to Like or dislike. Our view of God has a lot to do with our relationship with him.He is indeed a loving father.

Since the time of Adam’s fall, man has been far away from his creator. The thing is God bleeds for reconciliation. He sent his word as an atonement for the fall of man. He bleeds for our restoration. The word of God has settled it, come back to him, into his open arms. Tomorrow maybe too late, don’t procrastinate. Jesus said:. “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hears my voice and opens, I shall dine with him and he with me” Rev 3:20.

For daily encouragement in God click here http://www.joycemeyer.org/Articles/Devotional.aspx

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Be Focus On Things Above!

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1 (KJV)

Eternal life is the beautiful life of God that makes God who He is. Therefore, anyone who becomes born again must concentrate on the wonderful life he has received from God. He must abandon the earthly desire of fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, covetousness and the like. He should seek righteousness, peace, holiness, truth, godliness and the like. As a child of God, your lifestyle should portray Christ and draw people to the Lord. May the LORD give you grace to be kingdom minded and be a blessing to your generation. Hallelujah! Be an overcomer!

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Posted in The word of hope

A POSITIVE CHOICE

Happiness can be defined as a feeling of spiritual contentment that will carry you through the triumphs, pitfalls, or even heartaches of life with calm stability, serenity, peace of mind, and tranquility (Matthew 5:3-12). Happiness may or may not be related to the happenings in your life. In many instances, the outward happenings in a life affect our attitudes. However, happiness is also an act of the will (Psalm 144:15). We all have things happen in our lives that give us reason to be unhappy, but we have the power through Christ to make our own response to those happenings. Happiness is a potential positive choice.

Jesus gives some characteristics that promote a response of happiness (meekness, righteousness, merciful, peacemakers; Matthew 5:3-11). A believer must concentrate not on doing, but on BEING and LIVING! Total commitment to the Lord will result in a believer instinctive Christ-like response to various happenings as they occur. You must appropriate the tools God has given (his Word and his indwelling Spirit) in order to pursue happiness (Proverbs 3:13, 29:18). When a believer’s faith and conduct are balanced, happiness will always result. Happiness is enjoying everything the Lord has given you and not fretting about the things that have been taken away or withheld (Matthew 6:33-34). Happiness is trusting in God’s sovereignty and omniscience. You must believe that in every happening God will work for your good (Romans 8:28). Happiness comes from a daily obedience and faith in the Lord.

Posted in The word of hope

Your Double Blessing

I love the word ‘mercy’. I am so thankful that God is a God of mercy. William Shakespeare captured something of the wonder of mercy in Portia’s speech in The Merchant of Venice. She speaks about the ‘quality of mercy’:

‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.’
Act IV

Scene I

You are blessed when you receive mercy and you are blessed when you are merciful to others.

Psalm 6:1-10

1. Cry out for mercy

Are there times in your life when you are really struggling and nothing seems to go right? Do you feel ‘faint’ (v.2), ‘in agony’ (v.2), ‘anguish’ (v.3), ‘worn out’ (v.6), ‘groaning’ (v.6), ‘weeping’ (v.6), in ‘tears’ (v.6), and ‘weak with sorrow’ (v.7)?

At times this may be caused by our own sin. At other times, it may be due to bereavement, sudden loss, relationship difficulties, family break-up, sickness, work issues, unemployment or opposition.

David also experienced difficult times but, in the midst of them, he cried out to God for mercy: ‘Be merciful to me, Lord’ (v.2). He knew that God is a God of mercy. He prayed: ‘Save me for the sake of your steadfast love and mercy’ (v.4, AMP).

Sometimes it seems that our difficulties will never come to an end. They seem to go on and on. When we are in a season of battle we cry out like David, ‘How long, Lord, how long?’ (v.3). We cry out for mercy and it does not seem as if God is listening. But he is. There will come a point when you can say with David: ‘The Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy’ (vv.8–9).

Lord, thank you for ‘your unfailing love’ (v.4) and mercy. Thank you that you hear my cry and accept my prayers. Be merciful to me, O Lord.

Matthew 5:43-6:24

2. Be merciful to others

Having mercy on others is right at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven’ (5:44–45a). Love is more than showing mercy, but mercy is an essential part of love.

Jesus gives three reasons in the passage why you should be merciful towards those who have wronged you:

  • First, to have mercy on your enemies is to imitate your Father in heaven – ‘that you may be children of your Father in heaven’ (v.45a). God’s mercy extends to those who are hostile towards him: ‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ (v.45b).
  • Second, to have mercy like this marks you out from the world: ‘If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?’ (v.46). We tend only to love people who are like us, or whom we like. But you are called to be different. You are called to what Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to as ‘the “extraordinary”… the hallmark of the Christian’.
  • Third, there is a connection between forgiving and receiving forgiveness. We cannot receive God’s mercy ourselves and then show no mercy to others. We do not earn forgiveness by forgiving others, but Jesus says that our forgiveness of others is essential to receiving forgiveness from God. ‘You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part’ (6:14b–15, MSG). Daily, receive mercy and forgiveness, and daily have mercy and forgive others.

Jesus also explains how you can express this mercy practically in what you do. He highlights the importance of prayer. He tells you to ‘pray for those who persecute you’ (5:44). Praying for your enemies helps you to see them as God sees them. In prayer you stand side by side with them, take their guilt and distress on yourself, and plead to God for them. Prayer is the acid-test of love. Coming into the light of God’s presence reveals the true feelings in the depths of our hearts.

The theme of mercy is also at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (6:12). (Of course, there is much besides mercy in this prayer, which we will look at later when we encounter it in the other Gospels.)

When we pray, Jesus teaches us to:

  • Keep it quiet
    ‘Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God’ (v.6a, MSG).
  • Keep it honest
    ‘Just be there as simply andhonestly as you can manage’ (v.6b, MSG).
  • Keep it simple
    ‘With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply’ (v.9a, MSG).

Finally, mercy should also be at the heart of our giving. Generosity is a form of having mercy on others. ‘When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it – quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out’ (vv.3–4, MSG).

Every time I read the Sermon on the Mount, I see how far short I fall and I am very aware of my own need for mercy.

Lord, thank you that you are merciful to me. Thank you that you forgive my sins. Lord, help me always to be merciful to others.

Genesis 14:1-16:16

3. Receive God’s mercy

Two crucial passages in the Old Testament reading for today point to the way in which God’s mercy is made possible.

  • Receive God’s mercy through Jesus
    It starts with what appears to be a rather strange and disconnected account of four kings defeating five kings. Then the connection is made with Abraham’s nephew Lot being captured by the four kings (14:12) and then rescued by Abraham (v.16). Then mysteriously Abraham, returning from his victory, isblessed by Melchizedek (vv.18–20).

    This is expounded in Hebrews chapter 7, which explains that it all points forward to Jesus. Melchizedek’s priesthood is superior to all the other priests in the Old Testament (the Levitical priesthood). Abraham, who was the great grandfather of Levi (who was therefore ‘in his loins’) gave a tithe to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20). In other words, Levi recognised the superiority of Melchizedek.

    Melchizedek foreshadows Jesus, the great high priest, whose one perfect sacrifice on the cross made it possible for all our sins to be totally forgiven. Therefore, this brought to an end the need for the old priesthood and sacrificial system.

    The ‘bread and wine’ (v.18) foreshadow the bread and wine of the communion service. They point to the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus, whose body was broken and whose blood was shed so that you and I could be totally forgiven andreceive God’s mercy.

  • Receive God’s mercy by faith
    The account then moves on to God’s promises to Abraham – in spite of the fact that he and Sarah are old and childless, their descendants are going to be as many as the stars they can count. ‘Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to himas righteousness’ (15:6).
    Not only are you forgiven, God in his mercy declared you ‘Set-Right-with-God’ (v.6, MSG). The New Testament often refers to this verse because it shows that mercy, forgiveness and righteousness are obtained by faith – that is, believing God (see, for example, Romans 4:1–5; Galatians 3:6).

    It is encouraging to see that, although Abraham is listed in Hebrews 11 as one of the great people of faith, when we look here at the original story you see that his faith was not entirely unwavering.

    When their prayers for a child do not seem to be answered, Abraham and Sarah hatch a plot to achieve God’s ends by human means (Genesis 16:1–2). They agree that Abraham should sleep with Hagar and Ishmael is conceived (vv.2–4). One sin leads to another and Sarah ill-treats Hagar (vv.5–6).

    This is the first time that God is called El Roi, the God Who Sees(16:13). It is easy to feel that you have been forgotten by God, particularly at moments when, like Hagar, you feel unjustly treated. But knowing God is theGod Who Sees can help you to live by faith. God is a God who finds you in the midst of the wilderness and sees you.

    The God Who Sees is a God of mercy. The New Testament suggests that God overlooks the sin of Sarah and Abraham and only remembers their faith (Hebrews 11:11–12).

Lord, thank you for your amazing mercy made possible through the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus, our great high priest, dying for me. Thank you that I can never earn your mercy but I receive it as a gift by faith.

Pippa Adds

It’s amazing that God credited Abraham with ‘righteousness’ considering all he had been up to (see Genesis 12:10–20).

[For a more detailed explanation and application of ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew 5–7) see Nicky Gumbel’s book The Jesus Lifestyle:shop.alpha.org/product/246/jesus-lifestyle-nicky-gumbel]

Verse of the Day

‘The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer’ (Psalm 6:9)

References

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, NewYork: Touchstone (1995) p.134

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979,

1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Posted in The word of hope

Battles and Blessings

I have never forgotten a talk I heard over thirty years ago. The speaker started by saying that the Christian life is ‘battle and blessing, battle and blessing, battle and blessing, battle and blessing, battle and blessing… battle and blessing…’

At the time I thought, ‘Why is he going on like this? Will it never end?’ But he was making a memorable and profound point. When we are in the battle it is hard to believe that it will ever come to an end. When we are in a period of blessing we sometimes expect it will go on forever. But life is not like that. There are battles and blessings.

Rick Warren says that he used to think that the Christian life was a succession of battles and blessings, whereas now he thinks of life as being on two tracks. At any given moment in life there are usually blessings, but also battles to face.

He gives the example of the huge blessing that came to him through the publication of The Purpose Driven Life, which became the fastest-selling Christian book of all time. It gave him enormous influence. But at the same time he found out that his wife, Kay, had cancer. On one track of his life there was great blessing; on the other track there was a massive battle to face.

Proverbs 1:1-7

1. Learn to steer through battles and blessings

The purpose of the book of Proverbs is stated right from the start: ‘These are the wise sayings… Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right… A manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair’ (vv.1–3, MSG). It provides practical wisdom for everyone – both the ‘inexperienced’ and the ‘experienced’ (vv.4–6, MSG).

These Proverbs tell you how life usually works. Proverbs are pragmatic and wise advice learnt from a lifetime of experience.

They help you attain ‘wisdom and discipline’ (vv.2,7) – two vital aspects of life, which do not happen overnight.

The purpose of the book is to enable you ‘to steer your course rightly’ (v.5, AMP). Wisdom is the ‘art of steering’ through the battles and blessings of life, and living skilfully in whatever conditions you find yourself. ‘Wisdom’, as Joyce Meyer says, ‘is choosing to do now what you will be happy with later on’.

Wisdom starts with the ‘fear of the Lord’, which ‘is the beginning of knowledge’ (v.7a). The ‘fear’ of the Lord can be translated ‘reverence’. It means to respect and honour the Lord as God. The most important lesson you can learn about life is to ‘start with God’ (v.7a, MSG).

Lord, help me to learn the art of steering through the battles and blessings that lie ahead.

Matthew 4:1-22

2. Learn how Jesus dealt with battles and blessings

Jesus’ ministry begins with theblessing of the Holy Spirit at his baptism but, as so often happens after great experiences of the Holy Spirit, battles immediately follow.

‘Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test’ (4:1, MSG). The temptations start with the words, ‘If you are the Son of God…’ (vv.3,6). The devil is tempting Jesus to presume on his identity, and thus to test his Father. Sometimes the devil comes to us and says, ‘If you are a Christian, then you are better than others.’ Or, ‘If God forgives everything, it doesn’t matter how you live.’ Respond by following Jesus’ example.

Jesus faced three powerful temptations:

  • Instant gratification (economic)
    There are some things that provide instant gratification but leave you feeling hollow afterwards.

    Jesus had prepared by fasting for forty days and forty nights. ‘That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the devil took advantage of in the first test’ (vv.2b–3a, MSG). He says to Jesus, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread’ (v.3b).

    Jesus answers, ‘It is written: “People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”’ (v.4). Although ‘bread’ is necessary it is not enough on its own. Material things can never fully satisfy.

    There is a deeper spiritual hunger that can only be satisfied by ‘every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (v.4). We need regular spiritual food even more than regular physical food.

  • Attention seeking (religious)
    Next, the devil puts before Jesus the challenge to throw himself off the highest point of the temple. Among other things, this is a temptation to do something dramatic (though not productive) to attract attention.
    The devil goaded Jesus by quoting Psalm 91, but it is a verse taken out of context. Jesus countered with a verse that is in context: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’ (v.7).
  • Wrong means (political)
    Third, the devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and offers them, ‘if you will bow down and worship me’ (Matthew 4:8–9). This is the temptation to be dissatisfied with God himself and to embark on a programme of unscrupulous manipulation to achieve his ends by the wrong means. Jesus responds: ‘Away from me, Satan!’ He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’ (v.10).

To each temptation Jesus responds with a verse from Deuteronomy Chapters 6–8. Perhaps he had been studying these chapters at that time. As you study the Bible it reveals God’s character and loving care for you, and deepens your relationship with him. This protects you against the devil’s lies, and helps and equips you to resist temptation when it comes.

At the end of these battles, Jesus enjoyed the blessing of angels who ‘came and took care of Jesus’ needs’ (v.11, MSG). The period of blessing did not last long. Jesus heard that John had been put in prison (v.12). It must have been devastating for Jesus to find out that his cousin had been imprisoned for his preaching.

Jesus was not daunted. He began to preach the very message that had caused John’s arrest: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’ (v.17). He was fearless and courageous in the face of the battles.

Life is not just a matter of defensively seeing off the attacks; there are also positive advances to make. Jesus was on a mission. He began to build his team for that mission calling his first disciples: ‘Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women…” They… dropped their nets and followed’ (vv.19–20, MSG). These were exciting times. The beginning of the ministry of Jesus was a period of great blessing.

Lord, help me to follow the example of Jesus in battle and blessing. May I learn your word so I can respond to temptation and be courageous in proclaiming the message of Jesus.

Genesis 7:1-9:17

3. Learn how others have coped with battles and blessings

Christians should be positive people. We see in this passage, as we do in the entire Bible, that the blessings outweigh the battles. Of the four great themes that run through this passage (and the entire Bible) only one is negative (the fall that leads to the battles). The other three are all about positive blessing.

  • Creation
    Human beings are created in the image of God (9:6b). There is a nobility and dignity about all human life. Every human being is of immense value. That is why taking another person’s life has such serious consequences (vv.5,6). Treat every human being with respect and dignity.
  • Fall
    Noah faced a major battle – the flood and the destruction of almost the entire human race! It rained for forty days and forty nights (7:4) (exactly the same period as the temptation of Jesus). God’s judgment came because of the seriousness of sin: ‘Every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood’ (8:21).
  • Redemption
    Despite the battle of the flood, Noah enjoyed the blessing of God’s love, even though only Noah and those with him in the ark were left (7:23). Through the lens of the New Testament we see that the ark is a picture of being baptised into Christ (see 1 Peter 3:18 onwards). Those who were in the ark were safe. Those who are in Christ are safe.
    God blessed Noah and his sons. He said ‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the earth!’ (Genesis 9:1, MSG).
  • Glorification
    God made a covenant with them (v.9). Every time you see a rainbow (v.13) it is a reminder of God’s commitment to you, which led ultimately to the cross – the blood of the new covenant. It is an ‘everlasting covenant’ into eternity (v.16).

Lord, thank you that ultimately your blessings far outweigh the battles. Help me to remember that my light and momentary battles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (see 2 Corinthians 4:17).

Pippa Adds

Genesis 7:8

Noah was quite old (600 years old!) when he began his life’s work. It is never too late – however old you are.

Verse of the Day

‘People do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4)

References

Joyce Meyer, 100 Ways to Simplfy Your Life, (Faithwords, 1987) p.152

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979,

1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Posted in Uncategorized

New year’s resolutions

I belong to a squash club, which is also a gym. Each year on 1 January they bring in extra gym equipment. The place is packed out. By about 7 January, they move all the extra equipment out again, as most people have given up their New Year’s resolution, and the club returns to normal!

  • Get fit
  • Lose weight
  • Reduce drinking
  • Stop smoking
  • Get out of debt

There is nothing wrong with making these common New Year’s resolutions. Of course, all of us make resolutions that we fail to keep.

The good news is that each year is an opportunity for a fresh start. But then so is each week. Every Sunday is the first day of the week – a new beginning. Actually, every day is an opportunity for a new beginning.

The first three words in the Bible are, ‘In the beginning…’ (Genesis 1:1). Each of the passages for today tells us something about new beginnings and new opportunities, and suggests some possible New Year’s resolutions.

Psalm 1:1-6

1. ‘Delight’ in the Bible

If you are beginning the challenge to read the Bible in One Year, this psalm has encouraging words for you.

The promise is that if you ‘delight’ in God’s Word and ‘meditate’ on Scripture ‘day and night’ (v.2, MSG), your life will be blessed. Happinesscomes from what happens to you.Blessing is what happens to you through knowing God and meditating on his words.

God promises you fruitfulness(‘which yields its fruit in season’, v.3b), vitality (‘whose leaves do not wither’, v.3c) and prosperity(‘whatever they do prospers’, v.3d), though not necessarily material prosperity!

This message is backed up by a glance across at the ultimate fate of ‘the wicked’. The psalmist does not try to pretend that the wicked don’t sometimes prosper. He simply reminds us of the transitory nature of that prosperity – ‘they are like chaff that the wind blows away… [they] will perish’ (vv.4,6).

The key to lasting – and ultimately eternal – fruitfulness and vitality lies in your relationship with God. As you seek to follow ‘the way of the righteous’, you are assured that the Lord himself will watch over you (v.6).

Lord, thank you for your wonderful promises as I resolve to make a regular habit of delighting in your word and meditating on it.

Matthew 1:1-25

2. Focus on Jesus

Resolve to focus your life on Jesus. The Bible is all about Jesus. The New Testament opens with his family tree.

As we read the list of Jesus’ ancestors it is encouraging to see that they include Tamar (the adulteress), Rahab (the prostitute), Ruth (the non-Jewish Moabite), Solomon (who was conceived after King David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba), as well as many others. Thankfully, God uses sinful human beings and, therefore, can use us. Whatever your past, however broken your life may seem right now, God can use you to do something great with your life.

The very name ‘Jesus’ means, ‘he will save his people from their sins’ (v.21). Every time we use the name Jesus it reminds us that our greatest need is not for happiness or contentment (although these may both be byproducts). Our greatest need, as with Jesus’ ancestors, is for forgiveness. Therefore, we need a Saviour.

The beginning of Matthew shows us that Jesus is the completion of all that is recorded in the Old Testament:

  • Jesus is the climax of history
    Matthew opens his Gospel by summarising the Old Testament story in terms of Jesus’ ancestry (vv.1–17). The Old Testament tells the story that Jesus completes. Matthew sets out the history of the people of God in terms of three equal periods: fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile and fourteen from the exile to Christ (v.17).

    In the genealogy, biological generations are skipped over (as was quite common in Old Testament family trees). Matthew was pointing out that Old Testament history falls into three approximately equal spans of time between crucial events. Jesus is the end of the line as far as the Old Testament story goes – the climax has been reached.

  • In Jesus, all the promises of God are fulfilled
    Jesus is not only the completion of the Old Testament story at a historical level, he is also the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies and all of God’s promises.
    Matthew concludes each of five scenes from the conception, birth and early childhood of Jesus by quoting the Hebrew Scriptures that have been ‘fulfilled’ by the events described (Matthew 1:22–23; 2:5–6,17,23; 4:14–16).

    The first one is the fulfilment in the conception of Jesus: ‘All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)’ (1:22–23).

All of history, prophesy and promise, is completed in Jesus. Your whole life is completed in Jesus. Every part of your life: your work, family, relationships, friends, memories and dreams are completed in Jesus.

Lord, thank you for this promise for the new year – that, in Jesus, you are with me. Help me to focus my life on you in the year ahead.

Genesis 1:1-2:17

3. Enjoy God’s creation

You are not here by chance. This universe is God’s creation. You are made in his image.

Genesis gives an account of the beginning of the universe. It goes way beyond the scientific theories of ‘how?’ and ‘when?’. It answers the questions of ‘who’ and ‘why?’ Scientific theories do not prove or disprove this explanation. Rather, they are complementary.

Reading this passage through the lens of the New Testament we see the whole Trinity involved in creation. The Hebrew noun for God (Elohim) is a plural noun. The Holy Spirit was involved in creation (1:2). It was through Jesus that creation came into being: ‘And God said…’ (v.3a). Jesus is God’s Word and through him the universe was created (see John 1:1–3).

In the midst of this account of the creation, there is an amazing throwaway line showing the immense power of God: ‘He also made the stars’ (Genesis 1:16). We now know there are probably between 100 and 400 billion stars in our galaxy alone, and our galaxy is but one of around 100 billion galaxies. He made them all, just like that!

The pinnacle of his creation was human beings. You are made in the image of God (v.27). If we want to know what God is like, it is men and women together (‘male and female’, v.27b) who reflect his image.

Every human being is created in his image and should be treated with dignity, respect and love. Your ability to communicate with God is a reflection of the fact that you are made in his image.

God approves of all that he created. He said, ‘It is good’. Many people feel worthless, insecure and of no value. But God did not create rubbish. God created you. He loves you and approves of you. He may not approve of everything you do, but he loves you unconditionally, wholeheartedly and continually.

We see in this passage that work is ablessing: ‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’ (2:15). Work is part of God’s good creation – not a result of the fall. This passage also reminds us that taking care of the environment is right at the heart of God’s plan for human beings.

Rest is not an optional extra. It is what God did (‘he rested’, v.2). These days of rest (days off, holidays) are days of special blessing: ‘God blessed the seventh day and made it holy’ (v.3). Holidays are holy days. They point to the fact that life is primarily about being rather than doing. Don’t feel guilty about taking time off. Holidays are good in themselves. They are also a time to recharge spiritually.

Don’t work too hard. God took time to rest and enjoy what he had made. You are not supposed to work constantly. You are created with a need for relaxation and rest – taking the time to enjoy your work and the fruit of your work.

In Genesis 2:16–17 we see that God gave Adam and Eve far-reachingpermission (‘you are free to eat from any tree in the garden’, v.16), with one prohibition – ‘but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (v.17a). He warned them of the penalty if they disobeyed (‘when you eat of it you will surely die’, v.17b). You do not need to know and experience evil. God wanted you to know only good.

Lord, thank you for this universe that you have made. Help me to keep well away from evil and to enjoy all the good things you have given us to enjoy.

Pippa Adds

Matthew 1:18–19
How difficult this must have been for Mary, her parents and Joseph. They must have felt embarrassed and ashamed. We see why Joseph was chosen to be Mary’s husband. He was very impressive – the girl he was about to marry was pregnant! He would have been justified in being furious. Yet he didn’t want to humiliate her – he planned to ‘divorce her quietly’. We see how he acts after an angel appeared in a dream and told him to marry Mary (v.24). It must have taken faith to put aside what people thought and raise a child that was not his own.

Verse of the Day

‘The Lord watches over you’ (Psalm 1:6)

References

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979,

1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

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Posted in The word of hope

The Wilderness

I stared at the calendar in disbelief It had been exactly three years to the day since I was laid off. I had originally seen my layoff as a chance to make a new start, but after three years, not much had changed.
I felt like I was traveling across a vast desert without a GPS. Each night the wind would erase my trail of footprints and by morning, I would lose my bearings. With each restart I would become less and less sure of where I was and where I was going.

Then I read Luke 4:1-2, and there were several concepts that I could not reconcile with my previous assumptions about God.

Jesus was full of the Spirit, yet God still led Him into the wilderness. I’ve often found myself believing that as long as I did my part, I could count on God to do His. With that mindset, “good deeds” were actually premiums for a cosmic insurance policy. How could someone be full of the Spirit and still find themselves in the wilderness?
Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, yet He was tempted. Most of my mechanisms for dealing with temptation were designed to keep me close to God. That, I thought, would force Satan to stay away. Jesus lived a sinless life, yet still faced temptations.
God was the one who brought Jesus to the wilderness. How could a loving Father take the hand of His trusting, innocent Son and deliberately lead Him into the wilderness to face temptation?
Many of our assumptions about God have more to do with who we want Him to be, than who He actually is. Sometimes, it is our false assumptions that actually prevent us from moving forward. If you find yourself lost in the wilderness like me after I lost my job, remember to hold on to what we know is true from God’s word. God promised to “never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Trust His Word. Lean on Him. No matter what your situation is, you are not alone.

Have you faced any wilderness experiences in your life? If so, did you learn anything about God in the process? Are there any Scriptures that were meaningful to you at the time?

Posted in Vices of the devil

Challenges 


I have always heard of People being busy doing nothing and I had thought it was just a vain phrase. Dear reader, it is actually possible to be busy while you do nothing.

I pray for forgiveness from God and you my beloved reader for absconding from the duty to write the mind of God through me out to you, believe me, its one of those things. The devil is a mastercraftsman at ceasing the slightest opportunity. A second of insensitivity is enough chance for him to take. He exchanges a vision at the slightest chance to Challenges.

Challenges come in diverse ways to arrest our spirit. Imagine someone being arrested for an offence he is wrongly accused of and there seem to be no way out for him. 

Yes, call the Lawyer! That’s Jesus’ role for our soul. Call on Jesus’ the greatest advocate. Pray

Prayer is necessary for peace, strength, and power… it remains true for believers. 
How do you begin each day? How much time in the morning do you dedicate to thanking God and surrendering your day and challenges to Him?  Will you rather continue to give the Devil chance in your life to waste Your devotion,Your time, money, and energy on try to solve it your way? 

Prayer
Father God, You are the God who loves us with an everlasting love, and You long to have an intimate relationship with us. Forgive me, Lord, for lacking faith, for being undisciplined, for failing to place my communication with You as the highest priority in my life. Give me a renewed Spirit and reignite the desire within me to share everything with You. Help me see every challenge as a call to draw nearer to you.Thank You, Lord, for being available and accessible for me to come to You at any time, at any place, for any reason. In Jesus’ name. Amen.