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Posts tagged ‘Book of Genesis’

Around the Corner.


His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
Matthew 25:23

Recommended Reading
Matthew 25:14-30 [ http://iz3.me/LhaN1z3Fe1A1 ]

It’s easy to prepare when we know what’s coming. The lord in Jesus’ parable entrusted his servants with money, expecting them to be wise stewards. Only two of the servants understood their purpose. The third decided it was easier to avoid the risk of investment; he feared failure and the wrath of his lord.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message [ http://iz3.me/MhaN1z3Fe1A1 ]

Obedience requires a measure of sacrifice. When God calls us to something new, we easily focus on the unknowns or the difficulty of the path. Like the third servant, we forget the rewards of serving our Lord and His purposes.

The truth is: We serve a generous God. He delights in giving us opportunities beyond our capabilities. He has promised to equip us, and remain with us through each bend in the road. Although we may not know what is around the corner, we can trust the One who called us. He is our comfort and courage, sustaining us through difficulty and rewarding us generously.

God does not delight in our sufferings. He brings only that which is necessary, but He does not shrink from that which will help us grow.
Jerry Bridges

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Genesis 1-4

By David Jeremiah

Pursuing the Quest for Purpose – In the Presence of God.



Pursuing the Quest for Purpose

In the quest for purpose, we must distinguish between proximate and remote purposes. The proximate refers to that which is close at hand. The remote refers to the distant, far-off, ultimate purpose. The football player‘s proximate goal is to make a first down. The more remote goal is a touchdown. The even more remote goal is to win the game. The ultimate goal is to win a championship.

We remember the poignant meeting between Joseph and his brothers, when the brothers feared recriminations from their powerful brother for the treachery they had committed against him. But Joseph saw a remarkable concurrence at work between proximate and remote intentions. He said, ” You meant it for evil; God meant it for good.”

Here the proximate and the remote seemed to be mutually exclusive. The divine intention was the exact opposite of the human intention. Joseph’s brothers had one goal; God had a different one. The amazing truth here is that the remote purpose was served by the proximate one. This does not diminish the culpability of the brothers. Their intent and their actions were evil. Yet it seemed good to God to let it happen that His purpose might be fulfilled.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Think about how proximate purpose may be contributing to God’s remote purpose in your life.

For Further Study

Genesis 50:18-20: “Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.'” 

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more information, please visit www.ligonier.orgor call them at 800-435-4343.
© R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.

The Wagons Are Coming.


And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. Genesis 45:27

Jacob’s love for Joseph aroused his ten older sons to jealousy, prompting them to sell Joseph into slavery and then to cover their deed with a lie. In the years that followed, Joseph rose from slavery to power in Egypt, while famine fell upon his family (Genesis 41:56-57).

As his sons journeyed to buy food in Egypt, Jacob looked around and saw his expectations for his sons and his land reduced to dry dust. But Jacob had God‘s Word. Day after day he reminded himself, “In blessing, I will bless thee and in multiplying, I will multiply thee” (Genesis 22:17).

One day he heard a sound—the wagons were coming! But they weren’t creaking and rattling like when they left. No! They were heavy and full of provision and promise! Hold on, don’t despair! The wagons are coming, overflowing with the goodness of God.

God’s provision is worth waiting for. Don’t settle for good. Wait for His best. His provisions last while worldly stuff rusts and corrodes. Don’t settle for rusty iron when He has silver and gold for you.

Lord, I desire Your best. Nothing else will do.
So I will wait for Your treasures and will
stop trying to make things
happen my way. Amen

By ROD PARSLEY.

‘Christian Swingers’ Tempt God With Immoral Matchmaking Site.


blurred people
Christian swingers can now hook up with like-minded sinners and engage in all manner of sexual perversion. (Feelart/DigitalPhotos.net)

“Meet local Christian swingers who believe that an open and honest relationship with each other will keep any marriage fresh and exciting.”

No, it’s not a late, sick-and-twisted April Fool’s joke—it’s a marketing line on a new immoral matchmaking site that makes a mockery out of marriage and sets up sexual deviants for a rude eternal awakening in the name of Jesus.

“For Christian Swingers things are not easy—often other religious people judge you, out of ignorance or envy, telling you that your lifestyle and love practices are wrong,” marketing copy onChristianSwingers.com reads.

“But the Bible teaches us ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ and there’s that verse about the first stone. … But if you’re keen on keeping your privacy, well—yours, and don’t want your friends, coworkers, other PTA members or just about anyone else to know that you don’t have a problem with faith and enjoying free love with other couples, this site can help you! It’s designed to cater to the needs of those like you: devout Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with another, in good faith!”

As I read this, I kept waiting for the punch line. But, again, it’s not a late April Fool’s joke. And even if it were, it wouldn’t be funny. Call me naive, but this one shocked me! Apparently there’s a large enough population of self-proclaimed Christian swingers in the world that they can support an immoral matchmaking website that puts profits in the pockets of its creators even as they grieve their Creator.

Of course, Christian swingers have justified their immorality with Bible verses. One Christian swinger on Facebook wrote, “According to the book of Genesis, in the garden of Eden Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. That was God‘s original plan. If that plan had gone forward, we would all be naked in a paradise world. Having sex with someone would be as natural as shaking hands or eating food together.”

So, what do we do with Bible verses like Genesis 2:24, which precedes the “naked and ashamed” verse to which the swinging Facebooker eludes? Genesis 2:24 reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Should we white-out Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 7:2, which says, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband”? (No mention of having another man’s wife or another wife’s husband here.) Or what about Hebrews 13:4, which says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge”?

You can find adulterous, immoral hookups on ChristianSwingers.com for free, but if you want to actually hook up, you’ll have to pay this digital pimp a fee—and that’s not where the depravity ends. The site also arranges illicit encounters between gays, transsexuals and grannies—and promotes threesomes.

“Skip the swingers’ club and meetings where you can be seen and avoid bad reputation—your personal life is something shared between you and our partner; other couples willing to join you are probably having the same problems,” ChristianSwingers.com says. “Visiting this site might change your life for the better and increase the number of your potential dating partners.”

This is an aberration—even an abomination. But rather than condemning those in literal bondage to this sexual perversion, let’s identify and lay an ax to the root of the tree. Let’s concentrate on how to pray to set the captives free.

From a spiritual perspective, these swingers are deceived. Much like those in the gay agenda, Christian swingers have justified their stance with Scripture and tell others they are judgmental for suggesting immorality violates God’s Word.

Jesus pointed to a woman in the end times who was handing out a license to sin. He had something against the church at Thyatira because, He said to them, “You allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:20).

Whether or not you believe in a “spirit of Jezebel,” you have to admit there are certain dark forces at work to cloud the minds of believers in this hour. It’s not as if they are sinning, repenting and falling again—then getting back up and continuing the struggle with all sincerity of heart. They see nothing wrong with the behavior. Let’s pray for light to break in so these deceived ones can see the truth and put Jesus back in the center of their marriage so He can heal it.

From a practical perspective, I believe immorality is rooted in the lust of the flesh and a lack of the fear of the Lord. The Bible clearly tells us to not only abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4:3) but to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18). The Bible also tells us, “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph. 5:5).

I could go on and on about what the Bible says about sexual immorality. God put those verses in there to warn us of a destructive practice because “every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). Where fear of the Lord is lacking, sin abounds. Let’s pray for the spirit of the fear of the Lord to fall on these “Christian” swingers so they can avoid the wages of unrepentant sin. Amen.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

JENNIFER LECLAIRE

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Seeing God in Your Work.


Seeing God in Your Work

The difference between barbarism and culture is, simply, work. Lester DeKoster

If you’re like me, you’ve often heard the saying that “work is a curse” as result of the fall in the Garden of Eden. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

Our Original Purpose
In the beginning, prior to sin, God assigned Adam and Eve important work. In Genesis 2 we read about man’s first day of work: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15).

We were created to be stewards of God’s creation through our work. The opening two chapters of Genesis provide a foundation for how God sees work, culture, and our responsibility. This same perspective extends throughout the Scriptures.

Work is not a curse, but a gift from God given to us before the fall, although the effects of the fall make our work frustrating and difficult at times (Gen. 3:17–19). By our work, we employ useful skills to glorify God, love our neighbors, and further God’s kingdom.

The Original Worker
We can better understand our work assignment from God by studying the work that he did in creation, when he brought order out of chaos. A gardener does something similar when he creatively uses the materials at his disposal and rearranges them to produce additional resources for mankind.

We were created to be stewards of God’s creation through our work.

Thus, Adam’s work in the garden can be seen as a metaphor for all work. Tim Keller offers the following definition of work: “Rearranging the raw materials of a particular domain to draw out its potential for the flourishing of everyone.”

For example, an architect takes steel, wood, concrete, and glass and rearranges them for the flourishing of mankind. A musician rearranges the raw material of sound to produce music. That is what Adam was called to do in the garden, and that is what we are still called to do in our work today.

God’s Call to Work
In the opening chapter of Genesis, God gave Adam a job description. It is called the “cultural mandate,” also sometimes called the “creation mandate:” “God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Gen. 1:28).

By our work, we employ useful skills to glorify God, love our neighbors, and further God’s kingdom.

Why is it called “the cultural mandate?” According to Merriam-Webster, a “mandate” is an “authoritative command; especially: a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one,” or “an authorization to act given to a representative.” This is clearly a command given directly by God the Creator to Adam and Eve, his creation.

In her book Total TruthNancy Pearcey explains why it has been called the “cultural” mandate:

The first phrase, “be fruitful and multiply,” means to develop the social world: build families, churches, schools, cities, governments, laws. The second phrase, “subdue the earth,” means to harness the natural world: plant crops, build bridges, design computers, and compose music. This passage is sometimes called the Cultural Mandate because it tells us that our original purpose was to create cultures, build civilizations—nothing less.

Building Civilization
The cultural mandate was meant not only for Adam and Eve, but for us as well. To find satisfaction and meaning in our vocational callings, we must begin to understand the importance of the cultural mandate. It is the only way to see our work in a truly biblical framework.

The cultural mandate still stands as God’s directive for our stewardship of his creation. According to Dorothy Sayers, when we understand our work through the cultural mandate, we will finally see our work as “the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

Because of the curse of the fall, work can be difficult, frustrating, and dull. But Christians must understand that work itself is not part of the curse; it was part of God’s original plan for humanity. It is an opportunity for us to exercise our creativity, gifts, and interests in order to be effective stewards of God’s creation. With a proper understanding of the cultural mandate, Christians can use their work as part of their broader calling as servants of Christ.

What about you? How does understanding work as a calling from God change how you approach your studies, your job, and your time?.

Hugh Whelchel

Hugh Whelchel is the executive director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and author of How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Hugh has a master of arts in religion and brings over 30 years of diverse business experience to his leadership at IFWE.

[Editor’s Note: Hugh’s article was originally posted at Resurgence.]

God and Sexuality.


God and Sexuality

The Bible begins with God, the good Creator of all things and the One who rules the universe. His creative handiwork—everything from light to land to living creatures—is called “good.”[1] But the crown of God’s good creation is humanity. We are made in the very image of God. And God declared: “behold it was very good”.[2] As the pinnacle of God’s creation, human beings reveal God more wonderfully than any other creature as we were created like God,[3] by God,[4] for God,[5]and to be with God.[6]

In Genesis 1:26, God says “Let Us make man in Our image.” The fact that our Creator gave us a remarkable title—“the image of God”—speaks of the inherent dignity of all human beings. The expression “image of God” designated human beings as representatives of the supreme King of the universe.

Immediately after making the man and woman, God granted them a special commission: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”[7] This verse contains five commands:  “be fruitful,” “multiply,” “fill,” “subdue,” and “have dominion.”  These decrees reveal our most basic human responsibilities.

With the commission to multiply, Adam and Eve’s job was to produce so many images of God that they would cover the earth. Then God ordered them to have dominion over the earth, or exercise authority over creation, managing its vast resources on God’s behalf, not dominating it, but being good stewards of creation and creators of culture.

Multiplication and dominion are deeply connected to our being the image of God. To be sure, God had no problem filling the earth with his presence, but God chose to establish His authority on earth in ways that humans could understand. God commanded His images to populate the landscape of His creation. In the command to “multiply,” God wanted His images spread to the ends of the earth. His command to “have dominion” is God giving humans authority to represent Him in His world.

Marital sex is the means by which we fulfill our calling of multiplying and taking dominion.

Shalom
God’s plan for humanity was for the earth to be filled with His image bearers, who were to glorify Him through worship and obedience. This beautiful state of being, enjoying the cosmic bliss of God’s intended blessing and His wise rule, is called shalom. Cornelius Plantinga writes, “In the Bible,shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom He delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”[8]

Shalom means fullness of peace. It is the vision of a society without violence or fear: “I will give you peace (shalom) in the land, and none shall make you afraid.”[9] Shalom is a profound and comprehensive sort of well-being—abundant welfare—with its connotations of peace, justice, and the common good.  Shalom means harmonious and responsible relationship with God, other human beings, and nature. In short, biblical writers use the word shalom to describe the world of universal peace, safety, justice, order, and wholeness God intended.

In shalom, sex was also a reflection of unity and peace between man and woman. It is a picture of two becoming one. God meant for sexual feelings, thoughts, and activity to be pleasurable and intimacy building in marriage.

Sin
This peaceful, loving relationship was shattered by the entrance of sin into the world. Sin has distorted this beautiful act of union, pleasure, calling, and worship.

Genesis 3 records the terrible day when humanity fell into sin and shalom was violated. Sin wrecks the order and goodness of God’s world. One scholar calls sin is “the vandalism of shalom.”[10]Instead of unashamed intimacy and trust, there is shame and mistrust. Instead of grace, there is disgrace.

A foundational element of paradise—sexual innocence in community—has been spoiled by the treachery of sin. Sex—the very expression of human union, intimacy, and peace—became a tool for pain, suffering, and destruction after the Fall.

Grace
But sin is not the last word on the world or us. God reconciled the world to Himself through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). By dealing with sin at the cross, Jesus made reconciliation between God and humanity possible, as well as reconciliation with one another.

The message of the gospel redeems what has been destroyed and applies grace to disgrace. God’s redemption imparts grace and brings peace. The effects of grace include our sexual past, present, and future. There is healing, hope, cleansing, and forgiveness for all who trust in Jesus.

God does not leave things broken, and is always at work redeeming the sin, wounds, and brokenness involved in human sexuality. Where sin does its damage, God brings forgiveness and healing, which are part of God’s larger plan of restoring shalom.

Hope
Redemption removes and rectifies the alienation introduced by the fall, restoring humankind to fellowship with God (Rom. 5:12-21Eph. 2:1-22) and with itself (Isa. 2:1-5Mic. 4:1-7). Further, Jesus’ resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit offer hope even now to grow and become more sexually whole in Christ.

In Christ there is also great hope for human sexuality. Lewis Smedes writes:

“Jesus did not have to talk about sexuality to affirm it. Sexuality is affirmed by the route that God took for the redemption of humanity. The Resurrection, as well as the Incarnation, carries the body-life of humankind in a deep divine embrace. Redemption is not the promise of escape from the demands or appetites of the body. To confess that Jesus Christ arose from the grave bodily is to reiterate God’s good feelings about his own creation of human beings as body-persons; to celebrate the Resurrection includes a celebration of human sexuality. God did not become man to show us how to get out of our body by means of spiritual exercises. He created a community of resurrection hope and invites us to bring our total sexuality into it. Christ’s resurrection makes permanent God’s union with the whole of humanity, and it thus affirms sexuality as part of our hope for ultimate happiness and freedom.”[11]

God and God’s People
In the New Testament we also learn that human sexuality paints one of the most moving pictures of God’s relationship with His people. In the Old Testament, Israel is repeatedly portrayed as a wayward lover of God, who had redeemed her. In the New Testament, the church is referred to as Christ’s bride (e.g., Rev 19:7), and Paul explains that the one-flesh union of man and woman mentioned in Genesis is a picture of Christ and his church (Eph 5:28-33).

Jesus seems to imply that sex will not exist in heaven as it has on earth (Matt 22:30). Likely this is because the sexual union ultimately points to the relationship that Christ has with His people, which will be consummated upon His return. As we are the beloved of God, He promises always to satisfy all of our deepest longings and desires, allowing us to “drink from the river of Your delights” (Psalm 36:8; cf. Rev 22:1-2), now and forever in the age to come.
Justin Holcomb is an Episcopal priest, director at Key Life, and a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary. Justin wrote On the Grace of God and co-authored with his wife Lindsey Rid of My Disgrace and Save Me from Violence. He is also the editor of Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can find him on FacebookTwitter, and at JustinHolcomb.com.


[1]See the sevenfold use of “good”: Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31.

[2]Genesis 1:31

[3]Genesis 1:26

[4]Genesis 1:2.

[5]Genesis 2:15

[6]Genesis 2:15

[7]Genesis 1:28

[8]Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin

[10]Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be

[11] Lewis B. Smedes, Sex for Christians: The Limits and Liberties of Sexual Living, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 64.

Justin Holcomb

Cain – First Human Child to be Born.


Cain and Abel

The sacrifice of Cain and Abel (circa 1800).

Image: Public Domain

Cain – Profile of Cain from the Old Testament Book of Genesis:

Cain was the first-born son of Adam and Eve, making him the first human child to be born in the Bible. Like his father Adam, he became a farmer and worked the soil. The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about Cain, yet we discover in a few short verses that Cain had a serious anger management problem.

The story of Cain and Abel begins with the two brothers bringing an offering to the Lord. The Bible says that God was pleased with Abel‘s sacrifice, but not with Cain’s. As a result Cain grew angry, dejected and jealous. Soon his fierce anger led him to commit murder.

This account leaves us wondering exactly why God looked with favor on Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s. This mystery is often a point of confusion for believers. However, verse 6 and 7 of Genesis 4 contain the clue to solve the mystery. After seeing Cain’s anger over the rejection of his sacrifice, God said to him: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. (NIV)

Cain should not have been angry. Apparently both he and Abel knew what God expected as the “right” offering. God must have already explained it to them. Both Cain and God knew that he had given an unacceptable offering. Perhaps even more important, God knew that Cain had given with a wrong attitude of heart. Yet God still offered Cain a chance to make things right and warned him that the sin of anger would destroy him if he did not master it.

Cain was faced with a choice. He could turn from his anger, change his attitude and make things right with God, or he could intentionally give himself over to sin.

Cain’s Accomplishments:

Cain was the first human child to be born in the Bible, and the first to follow after his father’s line of work, cultivating the soil and becoming a farmer.

Cain’s Strengths:

Cain must have been physically strong to work the land. He attacked and overpowered his younger brother.

Cain’s Weaknesses:

The brief story of Cain reveals several of his character weaknesses. When Cain faced disappointment, rather than turning to God for encouragement, he responded with anger andjealousy. When given a clear choice to correct his mistake, Cain chose to disobey and further entangle himself in sin’s trap. He let sin become his master and committed murder.

Life Lessons:

First we see that Cain did not respond properly to correction. He reacted in anger—rage even! We should consider carefully how we respond when corrected. The correction we receive may be God’s way of allowing us to make things right with him.

Just as he did with Cain, God always offers us a choice, a way of escape from sin, and an opportunity to make things right. Our choices to please and obey God will make available to us the power to master sin, but our choices to disobey him will leave us abandoned to sin’s control. God warned Cain that sin was crouching at his door, ready to destroy him. God continues to warn his children today. We must master sin through our obedience and submission to God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than let sin master us.

We also see in Cain’s story that God evaluates our offerings. He watches what and how we give. God not only cares about the quality of our gifts to him, but also the manner in which we offer them.

Rather than giving to God out of a heart of thankfulness and worship, Cain may have presented his offering with evil or selfish intentions. Maybe he had hoped to receive some special recognition. The Bible says to be a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) and to give freely (Luke 6:38; Matthew 10:8), knowing that everything we have comes from God. When we truly recognize all that he has done for us, we will want to offer ourselves wholly to God as a living sacrifice of worship to him (Romans 12:1).

Lastly, Cain received a severe punishment from God for his crime. He lost his profession as a farmer and became a wanderer. Even worse, he was sent away from the presence of the Lord. The consequences of sin are severe. We should allow God to correct us quickly when we sin so that fellowship with him can be swiftly restored.

Hometown:

Cain was born, raised, and farmed the soil just beyond the Garden of Eden in the Middle East, probably near modern-day Iran or Iraq. After killing his brother, Cain became a wanderer in the land of Nod, East of Eden.

Referenced in the Bible:

Genesis 4; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11.

Occupation:

Farmer, worked the soil.

Family Tree:

Father – Adam
Mother – Eve
Brothers & Sisters – Abel, Seth, and many more not named in Genesis.

Key Verse:

Genesis 4:6-7

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

(NLT)

By , About.com Guide

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