Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Isaiah 26:1-4

26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

We have a strong city;

God makes salvation

its walls and ramparts.

2 Open the gates

that the righteous nation may enter,

the nation that keeps faith.

3 You will keep in perfect peace

him whose mind is steadfast,

because he trusts in you.

4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.


 God is our Rock.  He opens the doors of salvation for all that desire to enter.  Jesus is that gate.  We have His peace given to us, perfect as He is perfect.  His peace is eternal just as He is eternal.  There is no where else to stand that will not dissolve in time.  There is no where else to live that will last.  He calls for us to enter the city of His rest.  It is up to us to walk in.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Gen 13:14-17
14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."

Abram receives the promise of the land that stretches out before him as far as the eye can see. But God is not satisfied just having Abram see the Promised Land but commands him to go and walk in the land. God wants Abram to fully experience His gift. He doesn’t just want to know about the land but to connect and live in this new place.

He wants the same for us. It is not enough for us to be reborn into a new life from above and to merely lie in the grace of God like a newborn in a crib. We are to get up and walk in this new life. In walking we experience the length and breadth of what we have been given. We draw nearer to God.

As we move, we grow.
As we grow, we come to know.
As we come to know, He has more to show.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seeing Jesus

Matthew 25:37-40 NetBible

25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’

I’ve heard the phrase “we would see Jesus” as part of who we are, a statement of our identity and our expectation of seeing Him face to face. Here Jesus tells us that it is possible to see Him today. He tells us that by serving those in need among us that we are serving Him.

We are all in need. Regardless of our worldly circumstance, or how well we think we are doing on our own, we are naked and destitute without God. This realization can come with the unforeseen onslaught of a storm in life, or finally getting everything you want only to find that it is not everything you want.

We see Jesus when we look for Him in others. The more we are able to see Jesus in others the more we become like Him. The more we become like Him, the clearer we can see Him in ourselves. This is part of our walk with the Lord, of growing up into maturity in Christ.

One day we will see the very face of Jesus, when He comes again to this world, this time not as a helpless child, but in His heavenly splendor, as the King of Kings. Until then, He reveals Himself in you and me. He is there if we look.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I wonder if that which is within us is as vast as the universe outside ourselves, with unending beauty and delight awaiting discovery as we are able to see and comprehend the wonder that we are.

Could it be that what is visible could be compared to a grain of sand on the beach of our existence?

We only know in part, and I’m guessing it is a very small part indeed. Only His coming again will allow us fully partake of what God intends for us. It will be a surprise because it will be beyond what we can imagine. We will be revealed with Him and we will be like Him. Some might be surprised for different reasons. May our surprise be of the right kind.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bringing Forth A Man

Genesis 4:1-2
4 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man." 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. NIV

Adam named his wife Eve, which means life-giver. Isn’t it ironic that through this life-giver death entered into creation? Truly their eyes were opened when sin came into view. This was not the wisdom that Eve expected as she looked on the imagined promise of the forbidden fruit. You may have experienced the same sort of thing in your life. Have you ever been lured by something only to find in the end it was not what you had in mind?

Life is given to two sons, but it is life marred by disobedience to God. The result is not the fruit intended by God when He said multiply and be fruitful. The wages of sin continue when Cain strikes Abel, spilling the blood of his brother. Death appears in another form.

But God has provided a way out of this deathtrap. He brought forth His Son, begotten not created. Believing on His life and resurrection brings forth new life in Christ. A new life is born, to be resurrected just as He was. It is with His help we can echo Eve’s word of wonder, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.”, for a new man is created. It is the image of Jesus we take on, rather than the fallen image of Adam. We participate in the creation of life, a new man. It is our life we help to create, and those around us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Way of Cain

Genesis 4:8-13
8 Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" And he replied, "I don't know! Am I my brother's guardian?" 10 But the Lord said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11 So now, you are banished from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you try to cultivate the ground it will no longer yield its best for you. You will be a homeless wanderer on the earth."

(from The NET Bible®, Copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., Dallas, Texas, All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

In the New Testament there is a reference to the way of Cain. Instead of submitting to the Lord’s warning, he continued down the path of revenge and self will. That path only ends with loss and death.

His rebellion against the Lord is further revealed in his answer of “Am I my brother’s guardian?” There was no brotherly affection and love in his heart. There was only enough hate and anger that led him to spill his brother’s blood. His heart was not with God.

Cain was a tiller of the soil and lived by his connection with the ground. Sadly, he was not so connected with God. That was the problem. Rather than the usual seed for planting, the ground received his brother’s blood by Cain’s hand. Cain lived apart from God in his heart. God separated him from his land and livelihood. No more would Cain be able to take pride in his work and the sense of self-sufficiency that often comes from it. He is banished to a life of homeless wandering. A life without God, pulled up by the root for a life blown like a leaf in the wind.

On that day two lives were lost, but in different ways. Abel no longer walked on this earth, but he walks with God. Cain’s loss was two-fold: eternal life with God and life he could have known on earth. That is the way of Cain.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting It Right

Genesis 4:6-7
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? 7 Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it."

(from The NET Bible®, Copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., Dallas, Texas, All rights reserved. Used by permission.) Gen 4:6-7

God does not refuse Cain’s offering without a word. He entreats Cain to do the right thing, which Cain knows. God warns of sin that will result in not doing what is right. Overcoming self leads to victory over sin. God encourages Cain to bring his desires under control. God made the earth and all that is in it for man to rule. That begins with the very clay from which he is made.

This plays out in each of our lives. Thankfully, we are not left on our own in that task. If we were, we would not make it. God provided His Son and the Holy Spirit to enable us to rise above our nature and to be in right standing with God. He has given everything we need to find the way. Getting it right is the most important thing we will do in this life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pleasing God

Gen 4:1-5
4 Now the man had marital relations with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. Then she said, "I have created a man just as the Lord did!" 2 Then she gave birth to his brother Abel. Abel took care of the flocks, while Cain cultivated the ground.

3 At the designated time Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering to the Lord. 4 But Abel brought some of the firstborn of his flock - even the fattest of them. And the Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, 5 but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased. So Cain became very angry, and his expression was downcast.

(from The NET Bible®, Copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., Dallas, Texas, All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

I used to wonder why Cain’s offering was not pleasing to the Lord in contrast to what Abel brought to the Lord. Was it the difference in that which came from the earth and that which had life in it? After all, the earth had fallen under a curse due to man’s disobedience. Was it because Cain didn’t know what would please the Lord? A few verses further, God reminds Cain that he knows what to bring, what is required.

The key is that Able brought his best to the Lord and Cain did not. He did bring something, but only some to the fruit. Cain’s heart is further revealed by his anger at God’s rejection. I guess he felt like God ought to be satisfied with whatever he brought, or could spare. Perhaps Cain felt that his opinion as to what was right or wrong was more important than what God saw as right and wrong. Cain placed himself before God.

Isn’t it easy step into that same place? We please God when we put Him first. We will see as we go further in the story the tragic results of Cain’s unwillingness to obey God.

Friday, November 14, 2008

His Image

Perhaps God commands that no image be made of Him because we are made in His image. We have trouble enough as it is with self worship. If we attempt this anyway, we can only make something far inferior to the real thing. The closest we could come would only be a variation of ourselves. No image we could make would capture Him. We don’t fully understand ourselves, much less God. How then could we be so bold as to think we would be able to define God?

If we have lost awe and wonder when we consider God, it might be time to make sure we haven’t been guilty of creating some image that we are comfortable with. We might have unknowingly placed ourselves at the feet of an idol of our own making.

He has given us the exact image of Himself in His Son Jesus. We are to strive to be like Him. His image is to become ours.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In God's Sight

Genesis 6:11-13
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Mankind didn’t do so hot of a job taking care of the earth. In fact, it got so bad God decided to wipe the earth clean. Man and earth seem to be tied together. Man was made from the earth and earth was given to man. Earth didn’t fare so well. God cursed it because of man’s disobedience. Disobedience led to violence and corruption. Once again, God judges creation in the hands of man and it is not good. Man and earth reap the consequences of ungodly life.

The story of Noah speaks to us today of what God saw, judgment, and the provision He made for life. God commanded him to build an ark. Noah obeyed God in all things. God provided a way for life, that enables man to rise above the brokenness that came from disobedience.

I can’t help but think this story of the past applies today and tomorrow. How different is our world from the world described in this passage? The Bible speaks of a judgment to come. There will be a new world, made clean not by a flood of waters, but the light of God. People back then scoffed at the idea of a flood. People scoff today at the idea of a God that created the universe and will judge us by His standard, not ours. Only God’s sight counts. How do you see it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Losing Touch

Eph 4:17-19
17 And so I insist — and God backs me up on this — that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. 18 They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. 19 They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

It can be so easy going along with the crowd drifting in the current of what feels good and the latest thing, but going with the flow often leads to a life adrift. The day will come when one wonders, how did I end up here?

Feeling pain is a necessary survival mechanism, telling us that something is wrong. Without it we could bleed to death from an unknown cut, or be attacked by unfelt tumor that grows a little each day into an unmanageable monster.

Unrecognized sin is like that. Being unaware or ignoring it can lead to death. Not being in touch with God removes us from reality itself. Any understanding or view that does not include God, does not contemplate the true reality. The more we look away from God and longer we live that way, the more out of touch we become.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Rest of The Story

Gen 2:1-3
2 The heavens and the earth were completed with everything that was in them. 2 By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing, and he ceased on the seventh day all the work that he had been doing. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation.

(from The NET Bible®, Copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., Dallas, Texas, All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Creation is accomplished. He ceased His work on the seventh day. Looking at the creation story as a summation of all time and an indication of where we are headed, we find that the ending is only another beginning. The purpose of creation is that we enter into His timeless rest. That which was lost through disobedience will be regained through obedience, first by the one Who was able, Jesus, and all those who believe in Him and follow after Him.

Seven in the Bible usually represents completeness and perfection. The seventh day is blessed and made holy because His work has been done. We are part of that blessed and holy day.

He continues His work today, inviting all who will listen to eternal life in a world restored to its perfection. The Holy Spirit continues the witness and call of Jesus; “Come to me and I will give you rest”. He does that within us and through us. We find a rest in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives us faith and hope in the rest that is to come.

…that is the rest of the story.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It Was Very Good

Genesis 1:24-31 NetBible
1:24 God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” It was so. 1:25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the cattle according to their kinds, and all the creatures that creep along the ground according to their kinds. God saw that it was good.

1:26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”

1:27 God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.” 1:29 Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 1:30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” It was so.

1:31 God saw all that he had made – and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.

The sixth day is crowned with the creation of man. That is the point of creation. Not that we are center of the universe, but that we would find that center and be with Him- God. For this reason we are created in His image. This image is beyond the physical as indicated by being accomplished in both male and female. We are not made to merely crawl on the earth like other creatures, but to commune with God the Creator Himself.

All things are given to us, even that of God giving of Himself to redeem us who have gone astray. He did this when we did not seek Him. When we did not love Him, He loves us. The present tense of God’s love is used because His love has been and always is present, just as He is present and timeless. All else may change and fade, but He remains.

At the end of the day, God looks at all He had made. He blesses mankind and gives them everything- and it was very good!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The First Blessing

Genesis 1 20-23 NetBible
1:20 God said, “Let the water swarm with swarms of living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 1:21 God created the great sea creatures and every living and moving thing with which the water swarmed, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. God saw that it was good. 1:22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” 1:23 There was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day.

On the fifth day living creatures are brought forth, filling the oceans and the air. Here we see the first mention of a blessing. It is bestowed on the creatures that are given life and able to move, except for those who live on the ground. That comes tomorrow, the sixth day.

The blessing is the word of God expressing His will that the life of these creatures is fulfilled to the full measure of His intention. Being fruitful is the first commandment God requires of life. It sounds pretty easy, unless you reach for the wrong tree.

These creatures do not fail to carry out this mission. We can see the effect of His blessing in the number and variety of those wonderful creatures. It should remind us that when we are blessed by God, we are blessed indeed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Greater Light

Genesis 1 14-19 NetBible
God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, 1:15 and let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” It was so. 1:16 God made two great lights – the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night. He made the stars also. 1:17 God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, 1:18 to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 1:19 There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.

Creation is further addressed with attention given to day and night, light and darkness. A source of light is established for the earth, a greater and lesser light. The greater would remain constant, providing the source of light for the earth. The lesser light would wax and wane to mark time, not giving its own light, but reflecting that of the greater.

The lights are created for God’s purposes of life and revelation. They enable life, the reckoning of time, and bring order and rhythm to the earth. They speak to us of the great theme given voice through creation, that of light and darkness, of life and death. Their presence helps us to make sense of creation. They are part of this parable of life that would lead us to true life.

Each day in this account begins with the darkness of night and ends with the light of day. So is it is with our journey here on earth. God plans for all to come to know Him in this way. His Son Jesus came to be the light in the darkness, to bring forth those that would come out of the darkness into the everlasting light. It will come to pass that there will be no need for the lesser light, for all darkness will disappear. The greater light will remain.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

According To Their Kinds

Genesis 1 9-13 NetBible
1:9 God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.” It was so. 1:10 God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good. 1:11 God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” It was so. 1:12 The land produced vegetation – plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good. 1:13 There was evening, and there was morning, a third day.

Just as the waters were separated, now attention is turned to the water below. Water is gathered to one place revealing the ground which it had covered. The subsiding water of the flood of Noah echoes this act of creation. The land was created not for its own sake, but for a purpose. It was to bear life, yielding seed and bearing fruit according to their kinds.

Jesus used the analogy of seed and the bearing of fruit on several occasions to speak of the kingdom of God. We too have a purpose. We were brought forth to yield to God and to bear to fruit of the Holy Spirit. He makes that possible. He appeared so that we might appear out of the water of baptism into the kingdom of life. His seed is within us. We are brought out of the waters of mankind and reborn as children of God. A new earth is being revealed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Heaven and Earth

Genesis 1:6-8 NetBible
1:6 God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate water from water. 1:7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. It was so. 1:8 God called the expanse “sky.” There was evening, and there was morning, a second day.

Heaven and earth are separated, as was light and darkness previously. There is unseen water in the sky which returns in various forms depending on conditions: rain, dew, frost, hail, condensation, etc. The water on earth appears in more solid forms such as water and ice, readily visible to the eye.

One we see and one we don’t directly see, but we are able to see the evidence of its existence. Our feet might get wet from an early morning stroll or we seek shelter from an unexpected rain. Both come from something unseen. Life exists in the two, the seen and unseen.

So it is with us. Our body is in plain view, but the spirit is perceived indirectly. Just as heaven and earth speak of the whole of creation, the whole of who we are cannot be understood by focusing on the body alone. We are heaven and earth, spirit and body.

As newborns, we gradually become aware of our bodies. We grow in our awareness and use of this fragile, yet wondrous body. We take delight in many experiences and sensations.

As we mature, we become aware of the unseen part of our existence, that part of us that longs for something undefined, that makes itself known in whispers that are just beyond the natural.

The Word speaks to us, Spirit to spirit. That which we seek is brought forth from heaven and revealed to earth, to us. The two become one.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Gensis 1:2-5 NetBible
1:2 Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water. 1:3 God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light! 1:4 God saw that the light was good, so God separated the light from the darkness. 1:5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” There was evening, and there was morning, marking the first day.

Darkness was part of creation from the beginning. Would it be possible to understand darkness or light without both being present? Darkness allows us to see the light. Light exposes the darkness. Darkness harbors disorder and emptiness. Light brings peace and comfort.

God said “Let there be light”, as so it was. He separated light from darkness.

The beginning of the new creation started with Jesus, the light of the world, when He entered into the darkness of our habitation. We are separated from darkness and made children of the light. A new creation ensues. We are reborn in spirit. The curse of Adam has been lifted. Life is separated from death. All of creation will be restored when He returns. For now, the Spirit of God continues to move over the water, at work in this world. His light continues to shine forth, filling the empty heart and molding it in the shape on His perfect Son. Darkness is still with us, but we know the difference. There will come a time when darkness is vanquished forever.