Archive for February, 2006

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Then God said… Gen. 1:14

February 23, 2006

“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;'” (Genesis 1:14, NASB)

Day four focuses on the heavens, the sky. God creates again by His sovereign command. He separates the day from the night, as opposed to the light and darkness earlier. This is done with lights in the expanse. We see again the phenomenological language used to describe the position of the lights – in the expanse, or sky. The same is used by us today when we look at “the stars in the sky” (for more see Genesis 1:6, under “Lastly”).

God reveals that He is the one who created the lights in the sky. Before His revelation to Moses ends, God reminds us of this and points out that they should not be worshipped, only the Creator should be worshipped (Deuteronomy 4:19). Even with all these beautiful and magnificent creations, though they are wonder-full, God is concerned with us above all (Psalm 8:3-4; Matthew 10:31; Matthew 12:12).

These new lights are for signs to us. Here God is again organizing the earth to sustain life. They will enable seasons, days and years that we may organize our lives. In Genesis 8:22 our faithful God promises that these signs will continue until the earth is no more (Revelation 21:1).

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Cartoons of Mohammed

February 15, 2006

I am sure many, if not all, have heard about the cartoons published in the Danish papers that depict Mohammed, the Islamic prophet.

First, I think it is helpful to view the cartoons.

Next, I want to make the point of this entry clear. I am not defending free speech. This has more to do with Christianity than that.

Only one admirable thing can be said about the reaction to the Mohammed cartoons by the Muslim community. They are acting with zeal.

Romans 10:2 says “For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” (NASB).

Paul is addressing the Romans, concerning the unconverted Jews. Paul mentions the zealousness of the Jews from personal experience. Paul was very zealous as a Pharisee before his conversion (Philippians 3:5). But there was a lack of knowledge in their zeal. Paul goes on to reveal that the knowledge they are missing is that the righteousness to please God is only found in Jesus Christ.

We have this knowledge that God has provided righteousness for us through Jesus. Before Paul obtained this knowledge he had a long list of supposedly righteous deeds (Philippians 3:4-6). After Jesus appeared to him, he received the knowledge of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:20). In Philippians 3:12-14 we find the zeal that should accompany our knowledge, as it accompanied Paul. We must “press on” (v. 12 & 14) to know Jesus Christ, to be found in Him as a direct reference to His righteousness only, obtained by faith.

How do we “press on”? First, we should be able to suffer and lose all things for Jesus’ sake (3:8-10). How do we suffer and lose all things? Our suffering and loss comes from being the children of God (Philippians 1:29;Hebrews 12:6). How are we children of God? We are children of God because God redeemed us through Jesus (Galatians 4:4-5). And now that we are God’s children He has sent the Spirit to live in us (Galatians 4:6). With God in us we are able to work out our salvation by doing His will (Philippians 2:12-13). His will regarding those who persecute us and mistreat us is love and prayer (Matthew 5:44). The Holy Spirit expands on this in Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse”, and again in verse 17, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men”. We are also reassured of God’s perfect justice in Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord”. Finally, Romans 12 is closed by a reminder of what we are to do, see to the needs of our enemies – to aid them (v. 20-21).

How should we conclude then? The cartoons were unnecessary. The attempt to justify violence on their behalf is ridiculous. But most of all is the state of the minds of the lost. The cartoonists may have overstepped their bounds (Ephesians 5:3-4). The Islamic militants are without knowledge and without the true God (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21-26; Ezekiel 33:11). But having this knowledge and knowing the true God, it comes to us to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16), to press on (Philippians 3:12-14) and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

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There was evening… Gen. 1:13

February 9, 2006

“There was evening and there was morning, a third day.” (Genesis 1:13, NASB)

The third day ends. God’s activity on the third day is more diverse than the previous two days. The dry land was brought forth, separated from the sea and both were named. The whole earth then brought forth plant life.

To briefly summarize, the Lord has continued to organize and divide – light from darkness, land from sea, kinds of vegetation, plants and trees. He has also declared three stages “good” at this point (two occur on the third day): the light, the sea and dry land and the vegetation/plant/tree life. We have also explored the power of God’s command: light and vegetation leaped into existence; darkness, the sea and the land were reorganized; and, the expanse was “made”. God continues to set the table so that we may enjoy Him and glorify Him.

In the creation week we see that God humbles Himself, working through our days what He could have done in an instant. He teaches us patience even here.

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The earth brought forth… Gen 1:12

February 7, 2006

“The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:12, NASB)

The earth, plants and trees all immediately obey our God. Each occurs just as described in the previous verse. The vegetation, plants and trees all come forth, with their seed and fruit. It is interesting to note that we cannot assume only dry land is populated. The sea must have also been included. This stage of creation is declared good by God. The vegetation, plants and trees are all created in order to sustain life (Genesis 1:29-30), which is what God is working toward.

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Then God said… Gen. 1:11

February 6, 2006

“Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them’; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:11, NASB)

Here, the Hebrew word for vegetation stresses its abundance. The different kinds are further distinctions. God continues to make separations in His creation. He creates order out of chaos.

Almighty God continues to create by His powerful word in verse 11. As we can see in the rest of the Bible, God has created trees and fruit to sustain life (Genesis 1:29-30, Psalm 104:16-17). He continues to support and sustain these processes today. As we are in prayer it serves us greatly to remember our humility in the face of God by acknowedging the dependance of all things on Him (Psalm 147:8, Colossians 1:17).

Verse 11 opens a wide range of teaching as God’s word reveals many physical and spiritual truths through the nature and fruitfulness of His plants and trees. God blesses the support of the ground physically; spiritually He instructs us to accept and learn the word so that we may be fruitful by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:7, Matthew 13:3-16).