Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Beginning’

Elohim

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.   And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. ~~ Genesis 1:13

Most mainline denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, acknowledge a doctrine of the trinity of God. God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost).

The opening verses of the Bible contain that concept. Let’s look at it.

In the beginning, God…

There it is, God – the one and only – no modifiers as to which god – just God. He needs nothing but the name to identify him.  But the word used here is Elohim which is a plural construction, equivalent to our word “gods”.

At the end of verse two we have:

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit – a second person of God, a second manifestation of God.

Then verse three:

And God said

The Word of God – the Son of God – appears. How do we know this refers to the Son of God?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. ~~ John 1:1-3

These verses in John refer to Jesus, the person of God who limited himself to human form and function to be the redeemer of each of us in this world. The Word of God created our physical world; the Son of God interacted with mankind in the physical world.

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is slightly difficult to wrap one’s mind around: one God, three persons.

Early on, when I tried to explain the doctrine to others, I used this crude analogy.  I am one person, but I am my mother’s daughter, my husband’s wife, and my children’s mother. I function very differently in relationship to each of these people.  In the same way, each of the Persons of the Trinity functions differently from the others.

God created us; Jesus redeemed us; the Holy Spirit indwells us.

God is our Father; Jesus is our Savior; the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, the Paraclete, the One Who Walks Beside.

God has us covered from all sides.

Father, God,

Help us to wrap our minds around all that You are. Give us the grace to believe what we cannot fully comprehend. Open our ears to the promptings of Your Holy Spirit and strengthen us for immediate and unquestioning obedience.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

 

 

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New – and Improved?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  ~~ 2 Corinthians 5:17  (KJV)

During Advent, the world keeps screaming at us. Buy the new thing. This is the toy of the year – or gadget of the year. Laundry detergents are “new and improved”. So are diets and cars and cell phones.

How about us? Whether we have been Christians for years or are just new born, we also can be new and improved.

Because we are human and fallible, we make mistakes, we sin (yes, I know that’s not a popular word any more) and we fall short – sometimes very short – of our aims.

The joy comes when we recognize that God is the ultimate forgiver. When we fall short all we need do is to repent. Repent is another old-fashioned word that we don’t hear much any more either. It means more than being sorry for something we’ve done or neglected. It also means making amends and changing our behavior.

When we have done something that God disapproves, we simply agree with Him that it was a wrong action; determine to change that attitude and behavior; and He forgives us, helping us to become better, more like what He intended.

Today is the beginning of a new year – 2016. If I make one resolution for the year, it will be to become more nearly what our Heavenly Father intended when he called me forth. I’m counting on my readers to hold me accountable for that resolve.

Do you have a resolution for the new year?  Tell us in the comments and let us help you be accountable for keeping it.

May God bless your endeavors this day and throughout the New Year.

Father, God,

Help us to be accountable one to another for our resolutions. Grant that we may be both new and improved – daily.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Identity and Purpose

Focus Verses: Genesis 1:26,27; Genesis 2:19-25

Looking at the first set of focus verses tells us what we are, creations in the image and likeness of God. We were created to have dominion over all the other creations of God. And we were created in two genders. The two genders were, in my view, needed because of our human limitations. God is infinite with infinite capacities for love, tenderness, judgment and wrath. It would be impossible to get all the qualities of God wrapped up into a single human being, unless that human form were God himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

The second set of verses speaks to the creation of woman out of man. She was created to be a companion equal to and fit for him. This places woman at the side of man, not over his head and not under his feet.

The relationships in these two passages are both vertical (with God) and horizontal (with man). Because God is our creator, we are subservient to him, to his purposes and plans. We are not capable of knowing all of those purposes and plans, but we are capable of trusting him to know them and to see them to fruition. We need only supply our obedience to him.

Because woman was created from the rib of man, they are the same flesh. She wasn’t created from his head to be dominant over him, nor from his feet to be subservient. She was created to be a companion and helper, fitted to him perfectly. Equal in all things.

This requires being respectful, submissive, kind, and loving. You respect others because they, too, were made in God’s image. Being submissive requires letting people see who you are, without pretense or mask, and letting them show you who they are the same way. Being kind means treating each person as if they were your other self. And loving means having their best interest at heart, equal to or even more that your own self-interest.

Those are tall orders, but possible if we remember who we are and whose we are.

Father, God,

Help us always to remember that our beginning is in you. Help us to remember that everyone else has that same beginning. Grant that we may sink our roots deeper in you, so that we are not blown about by every wind nor uprooted by every storm. Keep us firmly grounded in you and your word that we may be about the work you would have us do.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Beginning Again

Focus verses: Genesis 1:1-31

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to start anew. We make resolutions – some of which are very short lived. We begin self-improvement projects. We have high hopes for a future.

But the first verse of our reading says “In the beginning God…”

We would do well to consult God before we begin anything. Only those things which have His approval will prosper in this new year. Only the plans we make that fall into line with His will succeed.

God is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega.

This week I want to challenge you. Before you start your day, ask God what He wants of you. And when you end your day, take stock of how well you have fulfilled His plans.

Keep a journal. Each morning write what you hear Him say to you. And each evening, write what you have done. Do that faithfully – for just this week.

And let me know how it goes for you.

Grace, peace, and blessings in this new year.

Father, God,

Your are our beginning and our end. Help us to be swift to hear Your plans for us and eager to fulfill them. Keep us attuned to Your voice, always.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Just a reminder, we will be posting only once a week this year. And we will try to give you a spiritual exercise or challenge each week. Check back on Friday, January 8, 2010.

In The Beginning — Hope

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (KJV)

In the original language, the phrase “without form, and void” can be interpreted as desolate and chaotic. Gratefully I remember this formless void when my world seems too chaotic to bear.

Hope is born of the prospect that even in chaos, God sees order. Therefore, He can help me to bring order and serenity into my life. How?

The indwelling Holy Spirit can enlighten me. In some circles this is known as “discernment.” It is the result of being sensitive to the presence of God in our everyday mundanities. While we are washing the dishes or scrubbing the toilet, God is as near as our next breath. As much as if we were in meditation and prayer.

If we maintain a sense of His presence, we can be “walking with God,” as the scripture says.

Whatever happens in the world around us, God is the source of our order and serenity. Staying close to Him brings us peace.

Father, God, help me to silence the cacophony of the everyday in order to listen to the blessed serenity of your eternity. In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen