Genesis 4 – Unrivaled Mercy & Love

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Genesis chapter 4 is well-known for the first sibling rivalry lived out between Cain and Able. We see Cain become so jealous of God’s satisfaction with Able’s offering that his anger gets the best of him. The sin of jealousy and anger swell over Cain and cause him to murder his own brother. We read God’s strong reaction to Cain in verse 12, but then we see something else.

God said, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood is calling to me from the ground. From now on you’ll get nothing but curses from this ground; you’ll be driven from this ground that has opened its arms to receive the blood of your murdered brother. You’ll farm this ground, but it will no longer give you its best. You’ll be a homeless wanderer on Earth.” (MSG)

Cain calls out to God . . .

Cain said to God, “My punishment is too much. I can’t take it! You’ve thrown me off the land and I can never again face you. I’m a homeless wanderer on Earth and whoever finds me will kill me.” (v. 13-14)

and then we see the profound mercy and love of God showered on this murderer.

God told him, “No. Anyone who kills Cain will pay for it seven times over.” God put a mark on Cain to protect him so that no one who met him would kill him. Cain left the presence of God and lived in No-Man’s-Land, east of Eden. (v.15-16)

God sends Cain off. He didn’t take away the consequences of Cain’s great sin, but He still offered Cain protection.

This is my BIG take away and a reminder of the God we serve from this week. Even when we sin, when we really mess things up or take the big wide worldly way over the narrow way of God – He still loves us. He is still for us. He will protect and forgive us when we ask humbly before Him. It doesn’t mean that we escape the consequences of our sin or that we get to take the easy way out, but God doesn’t leave us or forsake us. He doesn’t take away His great love or mighty protection just because we sin. Once a part of His family, always a part of His family. Now, that’s the good stuff!

It’s such a beautiful reminder of the God we serve and who loves us dearly. Who never gives up on us, never stops fighting for us and is always waiting for the day we will return to Him if we have walked away.

AMEN and thank you, Jesus!

 

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Genesis 3 – Who Told You That?

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We are only three weeks in on our journey through Genesis. Here we are in Chapter 3 and already we begin to see perfection in the rearview mirror because sin has entered the story of man. So often, when studying this chapter, we focus on the blame game. Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent, but something new stood out to me this time.

And he said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (v. 10-11).

No, not the naked part, but God’s question, “Who told you that you were naked?” No one spoke aloud to Adam and Eve and informed them that they were naked, but when they disobeyed God and sin entered into their hearts they knew. The serpent (Satan) had overtaken them.

It’s easy to read and wonder why they fell for such trick and to blame them for all the “yuck” we have to deal with because of that one decision. It made me consider all the times I fall for Satan’s lies and tricks in my own life.

When I feel useless, like a failure, ill-equipped, fighting the truth of forgiveness and love God has showered upon me, I have to stop and listen. We all do. We need to stop and listen to the one true voice. The voice of God.

“Allison, who told you that you aren’t loved? Who told you that you aren’t worthy or forgiven? Who told you that you your past is too broken to use for My glory?” These lies from Satan are just as much a trick to seduce me to uselessness as the first one he used with Adam and Eve in the garden.

Loser, worthless, sinner, fearful, deceiver, selfish, alienated, hated, forgotten, unforgiven, liar, cheater . . .  What lies are you believing? Who told you that?

I can tell you who didn’t . . . God didn’t. Satan is the liar. Be bold! Believe God over the lies. God loves! God forgives. God is gracious and merciful! God believes in you and has a great plan for you. God is bigger than all you have done and every obstacle you face. God loves, adores and has covered our sins with the blood of Christ.

My prayer is that we will all open the eyes of our hearts and boldly embrace God’s great truth! We are the chosen children of God.

Genesis 2 – A Glimpse of Heaven

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I know this is only the second week of this year’s scripture challenge and journey through Genesis, but I have to say, I’m having a difficult time “listening” to the scriptures. Is anyone else feeling that way?  I know it will get easier and I will come to enjoy it, but as a ferocious reader, written words make me happy. I’m not going to stop listening and I hope you won’t either. Like many things in life, it’s easier to take the path of least resistance and most familiar, but more treasures, knowledge, and lessons come from the road less traveled.

Chapter 2 of Genesis covers many topics and is full of “creation” details. Starting from the top: the creation of man, the introduction of his job/work, rules for the garden, his need for a helper or companion, the making of a woman from Adam’s rib and then the beginning of what it will be like in marriage.  There are many topics I could shine a light on, but I think our time is better spent if we take several steps back from chapter 2 and widen our lens to see the overarching theme.

As we peer into Genesis chapter 2, we get a short glimpse of the perfection of the Garden of Eden before the serpent and sin are introduced.  For now, let’s soak in the glory of these beginning days. There was a harmony between man and God. They thrived on peace, continuity, and fellowship working together with God’s direction. Oh, how I would love to have been there to hear the conversations as man and God marveled and named His many creations. Man trusted God, His authority, love, and direction. Man didn’t question God but worshiped and glorified Him.

How perfectly flawless and unblemished the life of man and woman were in the beginning.  We only get a short glimpse of it before the roots of sin will begin to scatter this perfect picture next week in chapter 3.  This tiny slice of harmony gives us the most glorious vision of what our eternal lives will be like one day in Heaven. I pray it fills you with a hope of the beauty, peace, and harmony of what our eternal home will offer us.

 

 

 

 

Genesis 1 – Let There Be Light

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As I listened to Genesis 1 this week, something occurred to me. Maybe it’s because I was actually listening to someone speak the verses, but in the third verse of Genesis, we hear the first recorded words that God spoke.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” Genesis 1:3. 

I don’t know about you, but sitting and pondering the first recorded words that God spoke is remarkable to me. We have an entire book of the words God and His son Jesus spoke. Maybe having access to it my entire life has taken away the magnitude of that fact – until now.

He spoke light into existence first. In Christianity, we often talk about light versus dark. It represents good and evil, God and Satan, pure and vile. References to light may start in the third verse of Genesis, but in the NIV translation, there are over 230 references to light throughout the Bible.

Even when God was harnessing the moon, stars, sun, land, and water from its existence to turn it into His creation, both the light and the dark existed. However, it was God who brought the Light into the darkness. God brought light into darkness because God is LIGHT!

Scripture tells us this truth over and over. He is True Light (John 1:9), My Light (Psalm 27:1), Light to the Nations (Isaiah 42:6), Light of the World (John 12:46), Light of Revelation (Luke 2:32) and Light of Israel (Isaiah 10:17).

He passes His light to us when we allow Him into our lives, believe in Him, lean on Him, run to Him and seek His wisdom. He loving, gracious and compassionate light can shine through us. Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes. I’m so unworthy to carry His light without the sacrifice of Jesus. It’s why I’m so thankful to Him. It’s a blessing and a great responsibility to the light in this dark world. It can feel as if the bad is overtaking it all, but it only takes a little bit of light to outshine the darkness.

Try this. Take your favorite candle into a room.  Leave the light on and light your candle. The candle may smell amazing, but its light may not seem that bright. However, if you turn the light out and leave the candle lit you will see that one flame can brighten the entire room.

Even though it may seem overwhelming, pointless and futile to be the light in the dark world. The light of Christ is bright enough to shine through the darkness. It just takes a little of His amazing light to restore hearts and rebel the darkness.

This week, may we go out into the world and shine the Light of Christ in every corner of our lives.

 

 

 

Genesis Study Introduction

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Well, I can’t believe it, but here we are in 2018! In case you missed my last post in 2017, where I introduced this year’s Bible challenge, let me recap.

Sometimes when we are learning, even when we have been learning for a while, there is no better place to start than back at the beginning. So, for 2018 I’ll be exploring the book of Genesis. There are 50 chapters in Genesis, so I’ll tackle one chapter per week in 2018 and that still leaves me 2 additional weeks for the introduction and closing thoughts.

As a child, reading wasn’t my favorite. However, as an adult, I’ve been known to devour a book in a day. I enjoy reading, but this year I won’t be studying Genesis by reading it. I’m following the suggestion of a dear friend who said I should listen to Genesis. She hasn’t read the Bible all the way through, but she has listened to it in its entirety several times.

I’m excited to hone my listening skills. My thoughts can easily distract me, so having words to read and keep me focused is a good thing. I think listening will be challenging for me these first few weeks, but learning a new skill usually is. I’m excited to see how listening with my ears and heart, without a pen in hand to underline and take notes along the way, will add new depth to my Bible study.

It’s easy to listen, you can simply go to www.biblegateway.com and click the speaker button like the one at the top of this blog. It will read any scripture you choose.

I have never done an intense study of Genesis, so I’m looking forward to the challenges, new discoveries and wisdom God has in store. Will you consider this listening challenge of Genesis with me?