Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:1-13 (day two) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. vs. 1
…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20
Have you ever looked at a painting and just knew who the painter was, or listened to a piece of music was knew instantly who wrote it? They may have signature styles, colors, techniques that make their work stand apart. It is their creative fingerprints. When you experience that art you understand a bit about the artist. What do they value, how do they see and understand the world that they are a part of.
Every pebble, mountain, fish, forest, baby, and star holds the fingerprints of the creator of the universe. Through them we can see what he values, what he thinks about the world that he created. The infinite variety, the frailty of life, and the simplicity a cloud. He wants us to notice.
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:1-13 (day one)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”–v 1.
Scientists call it the “Big Bang”. For years the prevailing view was that the universe had always existed in some “Steady State”. Then, new evidence came that shifted opinion in the direction of an instantaneous beginning at some distant point in the past.
The conflict between science and religion is well known. Our purpose this week (as we study Genesis chapter 1) will not be to resolve the tension. It is interesting, however, that science has (at least on this point) come back around to the place that believers have been for centuries.
It is a grand, life-restoring, wisdom-giving story! Story not because it is fiction, but story because that is the form in which an infinitely artistic God gave it.
Instantly (and then gradually Genesis will also tell us). By His word and according to His will. Creation!
Big Bang? Big God!
Re: Verse reading–Mark 15:33-41; 16:1-8 (day seven)
“But go, tell the disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.”–16:7.
It is a pattern with God. A struggle for me. “Walk now, see later” whispers the Spirit. Obedience before confirmation. Feet first. Eyes second.
I am learning this lesson again. Like the disciples, I find myself on the threshold of a new chapter. Exciting. Unfamiliar. What I think I need is to see the Lord. To hear His assurance. What I actually need is to get forward to the place that He is telling me to go. When I get there, He will meet me. He promises!
“Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign that I have sent you; when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”–Exodus 3:12
Go and then you will know! I value assurance. He values obedience.
Re: Verse reading–Mark 15:33-41; 16:1-8 (day six)
“…just as he told you.” Mark 16:17
It is no surprise to us, but Jesus did exactly what he said he would do. He followed through; he completed the task; he stuck to his word. He wasn’t all talk and no walk. He wasn’t all theory and no practice. He didn’t just flirt with redeeming the world (all those who would believe and call on his name); no, he actually redeemed the world.
This is helpful for us because it reminds us that the foundation of the Gospel is action. The Gospel was born in action, and thus gives birth to action for those who belief, affecting what we do by changing who we are. Jesus lived it, and so should we.
Re: Verse reading–Mark 15:33-41; 16:1-8 (day five)
Mark 15:31 “In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were … saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself.” Did they really just say that Jesus cannot save Himself? Even after seeing Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? (A greater sign) Why would they think, much less say Jesus cannot save Himself? They surmised that because Jesus wouldn’t use His power, then He didn’t have it. Their love for the praise of people and self-serving power kept them from understanding Jesus. They had no point of reference or heart for mercy, love, or self sacrifice. So they mocked it. However, Jesus’ heart understood completely- “unless a grain of wheat falls” (John 12:24). Jesus knew if He saved Himself He would not save others.
Only the Holy Spirit can change a human heart to understand and value this kind of perspective. May our hearts always demonstrate and easily recognize sacrificial love, mercy, and obedience.
Re: Verse reading–Mark 15:33-41; 16:1-8 (day four)
V.16 – “When the Sabbath was over…”
Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome were observing the Sabbath rules. These were the principles that the religious leaders, who had just crucified Jesus, had so distorted and misused. Have you ever known someone who rejected the church, saying, “They are just a bunch of hypocrites there”? They are rejecting an institution established by God because of the failure of men. These ladies maintained their obedience to God’s laws and were not distracted to disobedience by the sins of men.
Are we guilty of rejecting God’s Word because we see someone else’s distortion of the Truth? Do we allow the focus of our heart to be sidetracked because of the sinfulness of others? These ladies obeyed God’s laws even when it was not represented well by the very ones that should be their leaders in faith. Keep the eyes of your heart on God and His Word…don’t be led to disobedience by the faithlessness of others.
Re: Verse reading–Mark 15:33-41; 16:1-8 (day three)
“They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” What to make of this verse? It has no “I-can-do-all-things” ring to it. It doesn’t urge us onto the evangelism trail. And it sure seems to tamp down the joy. Where’s the confidence, the eagerness, the breezy optimism we’ve come associate with this ancient Sunday morning? Do these disciples just need time to clear their heads before donning an Easter bonnet? Or do we rather need to learn from them: to take seriously as they took seriously that the world they knew—and took comfort in—had indeed been swept away, and they didn’t yet know how to live? Their fear reveals not an unenlightened mind, but a perception of God’s footprint. We should all be so afraid.
Re: Verse reading–Mark 15:33-41; 16:1-8 (day two) At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 15:34
Even on the cross, and perhaps especially on the cross, Jesus has something to teach us. As Jesus utters these words there are many who think he is calling Elijah, but he is actually quoting scripture. Psalm 22 is titled “A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise.” Like most Psalms of Lamentation it begins with an honest, desperate cry for help. The writer of these words understood that God can, indeed, feel very far away. There are moments that not only do we not feel his pleasure, but we actually feel that we have been abandoned. But you must keep reading. The psalmist, and certainly Jesus, understands a relationship with the almighty is honest. God wants us to cry out, even in despair, but that is not where it ends. With very little exception the Psalms of Lamentation turn somewhere in the middle. Once they have made their complaint known, they quickly acknowledge God’s purpose, his goodness, his ultimate authority. Jesus was teaching us to run to the scripture even in, and especially during our crises. Cry, scream, yell, but keep your focus on the author and finisher of our faith…Jesus did.
Re: Verse reading–Mark 15:33-41; 16:1-8 (day one)
“And when the centurion. . . heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely, this man was the Son of God.’ “–v 15:39.
I like this centurion. I am grateful for his story.
For the last hours of his life, Jesus was SURROUNDED by clueless people. When the Lord cried out, “Eloi, Eloi” (God, God) they thought he was calling for Elijah. To the very last, they were blinded by their own expectations of spectacle and Jewish vindication.
The centurion had clearer eyes. He could see a deeper story, that Jesus was innocent (Luke 23). Matthew says the earthquake convinced him. (Matthew 27) Mark puts the emphasis on the Lord’s loud, triumphant last cry. Either way, this man came to a correct and courageous conclusion that GOD was involved in the death (and the life) of Christ.
It is the grace of God that gives us eyes to see what HE is doing in the world.
Re: Verse reading–Mark 14:43-52; 15:1-15 (day seven)
What is conscience? Is it good or bad? Commonly defined as an inner faculty that assists in distinguishing right from wrong, the ancient word literally meant, “that which I see with myself”(suneidesis), truth inwardly confirmed.
Coupled with the Word of God, conscience is a powerful tool for good. It warns against wrong and urges toward right. In 2 Corinthians 4:2, Paul said that conscience was his target. “Commending ourselves to the every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Do you ever notice the Spirit’s appeal to you through your conscience? Do you respond when He does?
In Mark 14, the Lord spoke to the conscience of the men who came to arrest Him. “Why would you come at night?” he asked. “I taught openly in the Temple” “Why didn’t you arrest me then?” Even then, the Lord was reaching out to them, touching conscience, calling them a better choice.
His love still does so today.