Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:26-31; Romans 5:1-11 (day two)

So God created…one of the fundamental characteristics of God is that of creator. The first chapters of the Bible are filled with the infinite creativity of our maker. Every shade of green, every variation of plant or animal. The minute differences that separate similar looking things, and the vast canvas of mountains and deserts. Our God is an artist. And we are in his image. Therefore, one of the distinguishing traits that God gave us and no other creature is the ability to create. Although we do not share God’s ability to create ex nihilo (out of nothing), each time we paint, write, sing, construct, or engineer we reflect part of his amazing nature. It was this scripture, and this reason that we have named our Arts Academy Imago (Image).  We are helping foster this love of creativity with our church and the community, and to help them see that all these gifts are given by God, and they all reflect part of him. It is a joy to see these gifts develop.

Imago Dei

Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:26-31; Romans 5:1-11 (day one)

“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over.  .  . all the earth.”  Genesis 1:26.  It is an uniquely Jewish/Christian thought.  Not found in other religions or secular philosophy.  Humans are made in the image of God.  Every human is a small representation of His nature!  We do not earn our value.  It is ours by virtue of His plan and purpose.  Some say that His likeness is seen in human CREATIVITY.  He is the creator.  We are “creative”–music, art, architecture, literature.    Others say it is our RESPONSIBILITY to rule over the planet. Others say it is our SPIRITUALITY (lost in sin, but restored in the death and resurrection of Christ)–the capacity for real, mutual friendship with the Holy One.  Whatever else it means, the image of God marks humans as uniquely valuable to Him.  It proposes a HIGH dream of what is planned and possible for every life.

Remember, Remember

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:1-17 (day five)

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

What a splendid thought and picture…  The Creator of the Universe commanding us to intentionally and regularly pause, rest, look, listen and worship!!  As we remember and set apart the Sabbath, through His creation, we gain understanding and appreciation for God’s power, wisdom, and divine nature (Romans 1:20).

As Moses reminds the Israelites later of God’s Commandments (Deut. 5:15), he challenges them to remember in the Sabbath observance, another facet of God’s work and character (provider and rescuer).  You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.”

God not only created them (us) but saved them (us) as well.  The focus (our remembering) is on God as both creator and deliverer.  A humbling lesson learned and celebrated by keeping the Sabbath Holy:  We did not create ourselves and we could not save ourselves.  Makes a heart turn to God in wonder and gratitude!!

With Us

Sixteenth Day of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14 (ESV)
“Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And Isaiah said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

Listen! A conversation at the far end of the water conduit: Arrogant king; Obedient prophet; Almighty Lord God.

God’s bidding: “Ask for a sign – no boundaries!” Ah, but that means deferring to HIM in submission, trust. So, in false humility (disobedience), Ahaz refuses. Isaiah waits… even he feels the affront to The Almighty: “You weary my God!”

What happens next shakes the universe, deep as sheol… high as heaven…

A child. A name. Immanuel. “God With us” Did the angels gasp? “I am coming… to be ‘with’ you.”

Yes, God would come. Creator taking on the confines of the created, to be “with” in a way never before known.

Face to face. Skin to skin. Rubbing shoulders with all that His Nature abhors. Perceiving the torrent of emotions that inundates our senses, threatening to sweep us away.

In desperate moments I have cried out, “I want only you, God.” He whispers: “Immanuel, dear child.” “With me!” A verity that fills my deepest longing and sways me to Him in submission and trust.

The babe in the manger? His identity, God with us, must shake our personal worlds daily. If it does not, perhaps, we “weary our God.”

Susan Kaminski

Re: Verse reading – John 6:25-51

WHY did you not obey?

Re Verse reading – 1 Samuel 15:1-35 (day six) 
“WHY did you not obey the Lord?” (v 19)  It is a question that we should hope to never hear.  2 Corinthians 5:10 says that “we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”  What if, on that day, we hear the words He used with Saul?  Why?  What possible reason did you have for not immediately, happily obeying the expressed will of your creator?  WHY did you give avoidance and reluctance to the ONE worthy of life and loyalty? I am certain that our excuses will sound as hollow as Saul’s.  Because God KNOWS the true answer.  In v 23 He identifies the problem– rebellion and arrogance.  As much as we hate to face it, the true explanation for our disobedience is that we don’t WANT to obey God and we think we know a BETTER plan.  Embarrassing to admit?  Wait until the blaze of His glory makes this question impossible to answer!  Why?  Why?


Re:Verse reading–Psalm 8 (day four)
Have you ever stood out in the country, or better yet, on top of a mountain and looked up into the vast night sky?  The stars…the Milky Way…the constellations…the universe… stretched before you from east to west, north to south?  I have.  The pictures are etched into my memory.  I can not only remember most every experience, I can remember the overwhelming feeling of grandeur.  It is Psalm 8 that immediately comes to mind when I have such an experience.  The majesty of the creation is but a small portion of the majesty of the Creator.  As we contemplate the glory of our Creator, the response of the Psalmist wells up inside us…’when I consider all of this, God, what is man that you are mindful of him?’  The focus of our worship must always be on the person of God.  The Psalmist started and ended this psalm in recognition of that…”O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

How majestic

Re:Verse reading–Psalm 8 (day one)
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  (vs 1)  Fill in the blanks.   “For purple mountain_________above the fruited plain.” (think song)  “Her ________, the Queen!”  (think England)  When David says that God’s name is majestic, He used a word (addir) which meant, “glorious, mighty, huge or wide”.  It was a word of scope, scale and size.  Name meant “reputation or character”.   It is an insight that came to David as he watched the stillness and beauty of the nighttime sky.  How could the creator of such beauty not be beautiful, Himself?  How could He be small?  There is great benefit for those who gain this perspective.   Whenever we are overwhelmed it is usually because our problems have gotten large and our God has gotten small (in our eyes, at least).  To recover this vision is to experience peace.  “Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is STRONG!”