Genesis 1 is an important part of the Bible for a variety of reasons. It demonstrates clearly that God is Creator. It also makes clear that God’s works are good. That said, one of the chapter’s most important lessons often seems to get forgotten – namely: God created the heavens and the earth by means of His word. God created everything in this visible universe by speaking it into existence out of nothing.
“Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.” (Prov. 14:9)
How do you handle being wrong? What do you do when you realize you are guilty of something? More often than not, we respond with anger or bitterness. We might become defensive and start pointing out the things other people do wrong so that our error does not seem so bad. Or we might try to justify ourselves by explaining why our “wrong” was not really wrong. If we can convince ourselves that we did not do anything wrong, we assume that we can escape the guilt. Or we may feign sorrow and remorse so that others will feel bad for us or leave us alone…even if we have no intention of changing.
All of these are common responses of guilty people. While they might be understandable, that does not make them right. And at root, they all share one thing in common: the refusal to rightly acknowledge wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
It is easy to forget – especially in the affluent Western civilization in which we live – that we are actually in the middle of a war zone. Most people – including Christians – are unaware of that fact. For the most part, their ignorance stems from the fact that the war is mostly invisible. It is not a war for land or territory but for authority and worship. I am talking, of course, about the cosmic battle between God and Satan. It has lasted for thousands of years and even though Jesus has struck the blow that seals the victory, Satan continues to lash out even in his final death throes.
But why do we care? Why does it matter to us? It matters because we are part of the war – whether we like it or not. Continue reading Pick Up Your Sword
If you have the time, I would recommend this blog post to you. It is a wonderful meditation on the fact that Christians are not supposed to be concerned merely for themselves but also for others who call themselves Christians. The moment we are born again and made new creations by the power and grace of God, we are immediately made part of the larger body of Christ. We become part of something larger. Whether we realize it or not – whether we like it or not, we immediately have responsibility to other Christians and they have responsibility to us. Put simply: we owe each other things because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. The article is a wonderful reminder of that.
“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Isa. 46:8-11)
In the book of Isaiah, God is calling His people to trust Him. Instead of trusting themselves or the help of other pagan kings and false gods, He is calling them to believe that He is sufficient. At the same time, He knows they will not. He knows they are going to fail. And yet, even as He promises judgment, He also promises future blessing and restoration. At the end of the day, God makes clear that nothing will stop His plans and purposes and promises. In fact, this is what separates Him as God: He does whatever He pleases, and He will bring to pass whatever He plans.
The Bible uses a variety of different images to describe God’s people. It describes us as a body (1 Cor. 12:12-13), a building (1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 2:19-22), a family (Gal. 4:4-6), and a bride (Eph. 5:22-24; Rev. 19:6-10). All of these images are used to make particular, special, and important points about the nature of God’s people. One point in particular, though, seems to stand out in all of the images: they all highlight a particular thing that is necessarily made up of many individual parts – all of which are necessary if the thing itself is going to be “complete”. The point then? God intends His people to live and function together in faithful fellowship and intimate community, and in so far as they neglect this fellowship and community, they will suffer and God’s people will be incomplete.
One of the most glorious truths of Christianity is the sufficiency of Scripture. God has spoken to us through His Word, and – amazingly – it provides us with everything we need to know God, have relationship with Him, and live a life of faithful obedience. Regardless of our age or race or gender, the Bible is sufficient. Regardless of our background or experiences, the Bible is sufficient. And regardless of our current circumstances and situations, the Bible is sufficient.
In life, it is easy to equate knowing with doing. More specifically, it is easy to think we have reached great wisdom and maturity because we know about a certain thing or topic even if we never put that knowledge into practice. You might study woodworking or beekeeping or gardening and learn a great deal without ever building anything or raising any bees or planting a single seed. In that case, can you really say you are a woodworker or a beekeeper or a gardener? No, you cannot. A person might have a great deal of knowledge on a particular subject, but if that knowledge is not put into practice, then it is no good. The same holds true for Christianity.
Expectations are an extremely important part of life – whether we realize it or not. A great deal of our joy – as well as much of our anger and sadness – actually stems from expectations that do not match reality as it comes to pass. If reality exceeds our expectations, we experience joy. If reality falls short of our expectations, we experience anger or sadness. That being the case, should we care whether our expectations match reality or not? Many assume it is best to simply expect the worst because it will make it very hard to be disappointed. But should that be the stance of a Christian? I would argue not – because we are called to be people of faith, and overwhelming pessimism and skepticism is not faith. As those who have heard from God, we have the truth, and we should walk by faith in that truth. So that said, what should Christians expect? What does God tell us about the world in which we live everyday?
One of the frustrations of being human is the fact that we are limited. We cannot do everything we want to do, and we cannot keep going endlessly. Eventually, the human body has to stop and rest and sleep. This is often frustrating because there is so much we still wish to get done. We assume that going to sleep or resting means nothing is getting done. However, as Christians, this should not be our mindset. Of all people, we should recognize that work is always getting done – even if we are not the ones doing it. As Christians, we need to recognize and understand that even though we are limited, God is never limited. That means He is always working – even when we cannot.