BSF Genesis: Week 4, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

7.

  • snatches away the seed sown in hearts of uneducated (seed along the path)
  • Sows weeds among the seeds
  • murderer from the beginning, no truth in him, he lies, native tongue is lies, the father of lies
  • the prince of this world who will be thrown out and condemned
  • god of this age, blinds the mind of unbelievers
  • ruler of the kingdom of the air, a spirit working in the disobedient

8.
a.
Because of us. We were told to rule this world, yet we don’t fight the prince who seeks to usurp and destroy the kingdom

b.
not omnipresent, not omniscient, only has what power God allows. Cannot stand up against the true word of scripture. he and his followers faces eternal torment.

9.

  • prayer and confession of sins, pray for each other
  • Fasting
  • armor of God, the sword of the word of God
  • Submission to God. Resist the devil and he will flee (torment from satan is always temporary)

My Daily Journal:

When I see pictures on the news of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc., I am always amazed to see how people find ways to live their daily lives in the midst of a war zone.  Children play among bombed out cars.  Mothers scurry to cross streets with their children for food and education.  They survive through vigilance.  They are not stronger than the men with guns, but they know where to find shelter and protection.  They are never complacent.  They are never blind to the battle being fought around them, nor do they forget whose side they are on.

Our lesson today reminded me of the fact that, as christians on the earth, we live in a war zone.  We were given the command to rule this earth, but we have allowed the prince of the air to usurp our authority and command in our stead.  We were called to be soldiers and equipped with the strongest shelter and most powerful weapons, yet we try to rely on our own man-made shelters for protection and our own wit for a weapon.  But mostly, we too often become unaware or even in denial that there is a battle going on.  If that occurred on the streets of a terrorist controlled village in the middle east we would consider the person insane or suicidal, but when we do it, we consider it normal, realistic and rational.

I am not advocating that we spend our lives in fear or in a constant focus on the forces of evil.  I believe our focus should remain on our supreme commander.  However, I am concerned that we go about our day forgetting or being too careless or complacent to wrap ourselves in prayer, fasting, submission to God and strengthening ourselves with His word.   Take the time to suit up – it is the rational thing to do.

BSF Genesis: Week 4, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
The devil, satan

4.
a.
But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.

b.
Yes, 9.In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and… 16.You are free to eat from any tree in the garden (i.e., if it was in the garden and they could eat from any tree in the garden except one then they could eat of that tree.)

5.
a.
1. Caused her to question God’s word (did God really say?) 2. Caused to q God’s justice (not die) 3. Cause to q God’s nature

b.
listened then saw/looked then took then ate then shared:  1. listened to question, 2. responded to question and amplified God’s word (added to it) 3. doubted and underplayed consequences of sin 4. listened to denial of God’s nature and didn’t argue

c.
God’s nature/attributes – He is truthful, He is just, He is loving, He is a protector

6.
a.
In both Satan used and twisted the word of God to provoke an action that is against God’s design. Jesus, however, was able to keep His focus only on the word and not on the temptation, Eve saw the temptation. Jesus told Satan, “away”

b.
No – God does not act to lure us off the path, but He does allow us the free will to step off if we choose: tempted vs seized by t

c.
Tempted to conform rather than live as an alien. Do I pray in public even before meals? How many times a day do I use Jesus’ name in a sentence with others? As a Christian I should speak a different language and have different customs.  I’m seeking strength in God’s Word and power from the H/S.

My Daily Journal:

In the senior level of the children’s program in BSF the closing exercise each week focuses on an attribute of God.  It wasn’t until doing the lesson today that I recognized just how vitally crucial that is to our walk with God and our ability to avoid being tempted.  Understanding that there are some things that are absolutely always true about the very nature of God gives us a perfect measure to test anything that may ever tempt us.  Adam and Eve both forgot (chose to not remember) that God is always true, that He is always just and that He is always faithful.  In so doing, they turned their eyes away from God (or, at a minimum who God really is) and it is only at this point that they fall to temptation.  When the hymnist reminds us to “turn our eyes upon Jesus” he isn’t telling us to treat the image of our Lord as some good luck talisman, but instead to view the road we choose to walk only through the lens of the true attributes of God.  Obviously, doing that starts with knowing the attributes of God.

The lesson this week breached the discussion about whether or not Jesus was tempted or tested, semantics for the underlying question of whether or not Jesus could sin.  This can become very confusing, particularly to a new christian.  Here is my perspective for better or worse.  It is not God’s nature to sin, that would be in direct contradiction to His attributes of being Holy and Perfect.  So, Jesus, as fully God, could not have sinned.  And, we see and hear throughout the new testament account that He lived a life perfect and without sin.  He was also fully man, born of a woman, and in this capacity had the ability to sin (Reminder: this is my understanding of scripture based on my very limited knowledge and study).  The majesty of Jesus as a man and as our unblemished lamb comes from the fact that he chose not to sin.  Adam and Eve chose to sin, Jesus chose not to sin.  I think this is important because it comes back to the presence of the tree and the serpent in the garden to begin with.  If God had not endowed man with free will and with the ability to choose to obey Him and live in perfect communion with Him, or not, then there would have been no tree, no serpent, no choice.  Jesus as a man was not in any way less than any other man.  It wasn’t that he was incapable of doing something that all other men are capable of doing.  Just the opposite, He was capable, but chose to stay focused on the Father’s will instead of the path we take to “look around”.  How often could we prevent temptations from creeping into our lives if we kept our eyes more focused on the word of God and the attributes about Him that it conveys?

BSF Genesis: Week 3, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

10.
a.
The fruit that comes from and unites us with God, the divine. The fruit of the spirit and the tree of death (cross) conquered by Jesus to give us everlasting life.

b.
They were prevented from, not allowed to have the choice. To live forever without justice would be eternity apart from God.

c.
Yes, not only to eat of the fruit but believers have been “grafted to the vine”. John 15:5, and thus we also may bear fruit Gal 5:22, We also eat of the fruit of the divine through communion John 4:43

11.
Rom 6: 23: the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord; 1 Peter 2:24: He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed

My Daily Journal:

What does it mean to die?  As anyone who has spent any time pondering the question has concluded, there are things far worse than physical death.  We understand that the time we have on this earth is not even a dot on the timeline of eternity.  We know that our existence in the physical world is a dead end street.

However, we learn that (1) we weren’t created to end and go away and (2) we don’t have to stay on that path.  Yes, our cells and organs and flesh will cease to grow and will die, but we have been given the opportunity to eat and drink in the gift of salvation and to once again unite with our divine creator.  Jesus became man and paid the price of just punishment to buy us back from the choice man originally made and all men since have repeated.  And, he has offered to make us one with Him, for us to “remain in Him and for Him to remain in us (John 6:56).  He offers for us to become the branches of His vine and to live in Him for eternity.

But eternity doesn’t start after we draw our last breath.  In the same way someone turns off a dead end road as soon as they know it dead ends, so to are we given the opportunity to turn off the dead end road of mortal death and onto the path of eternal life.  Why wait to begin living until death – we are called to live in Him now with a well of living water flowing from us daily.

BSF Genesis: Week 3, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions

6.
Iraq, parts of Turkey

7.
Trees, pleasing to eye and good for food; work and care of the garden; free to eat from any tree but one

8.
Free to eat from any tree buy not the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will die

9.
a.
Companionship, comfort, beauty of the plants and trees and flowers, great food, rewarding work and ministries

b.
Prov 3:5-6: I fail to trust in the Lord, I lean on my own understanding and I fail to acknowledge him – no wonder my paths zig zag and are so full of hills and valleys.

My Daily Journal

Just a couple of points to think and pray about today:

1. Interesting that it is a tree of knowledge of good and evil since one of the items I struggle with is to try to take control away from God and rely on what makes logical sense to me.  I struggle to try to figure things out on my own, using my knowledge and my judgment and then, too often, turn to God to bail me out.  We don’t consider it ignorance or naivete for a child to trust that their loving parent knows better; we call it wisdom.  Yet, even knowing that God is all knowing, I still convince myself that I should rely on my own limited knowledge first.

2.  I don’t know if it is just how it translates into English, but I had not before caught the wording in Genesis 2:17, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”  It doesn’t say “if you eat from it”, but simply “when you eat from it.”  What amazing love God has for His creation that He would give us the ability to turn from Him even with His perfect knowledge.  It was never a question of “if” only of “when”.

BSF Genesis: Week 3, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions

3.
a.
1:26 Made by God in His image to rule, 27 male & female, 28 blessed, be fruitful, rule 29 given plants for food 2:7 formed from dust, God breathed life into man, 8 placed in garden, 15 to work and care for garden, 16-17 free choice, 18 not good alone 20 name animals, 21-22 woman formed from rib, 25 naked not ashamed, P8:5 lower than angels crowned with glory, 6 rulers

b.
That we are blessed: In life’s trials it is critical to remember that from the moment we were formed we were blessed and crowned with glory and honor, trials will pass, but life in God will last forever

4.
a.
First man, Ruler over all things (Gen 1: 28, 29; Ps 8:6-8, Heb 2:8)

b. Responsibility but not position. A failed leader. God did not revoke our responsibility, but we have failed to perform our job

c.
That while we failed as mankind, Jesus, in becoming a man and conquered death, has regained the position

5.
a.
v15 to work the Garden and care for it

b.
Work the harvest and care for the Kingdom on Earth. My services focuses a lot on the youngest sprouts in the garden.

My Daily Journal:

Work and care.  Thinking about the fact that God gave Adam, and by extension all mankind, work and care to do from the very beginning of creation stirred me.  We are often described as a culture of consumers.  But we weren’t created to consume, we were created to work and care.

Too often our only thought is on WII-FM: What’s In It For Me?  Even when it comes to church and bible study (i.e., getting to know God).  We don’t recognize we are put here to work and care and when we do that we get to enjoy the fruits of the garden.  I’m not saying that people don’t grow and there aren’t different churches that are better fits for families at different stages of life.  But in the big C Church – the body of all believers, we are all to work and care.

I also love how, from even the very beginning, those two terms go together:  work and care.  It reminds me of James 2 and the discussion in the early church over the position of faith and works.  In Genesis we see and even more basic command.  As men, created by God in His likeness we are to do work AND care.  Community service without caring for the spiritual being is a fool’s errand.  Having a heart for the Lord without rolling up our sleeves is also foolish.  We need to care for God as a child cares for a father; we need to care for God’s creation as a prince cares for his father’s kingdom; we need to care for other people as God cares for us – totally.  From this caring and compassion we need to be compelled into action to save and care for God’s people.

BSF Genesis: Week 2, Lecture

We established at our beginning of the study of Genesis that the bible is God’s Word put in place as the means that God reveals Himself to us so that we can have a right relationship with Him, one of love, respect, worship and praise, comfort, peace and joy, eternally.

One of the things I thought about this week, that our teaching leader mentioned in his lecture, was the point that the development of my relationship with God is different than developing any other relationship on this earth.  Normally, when we are entering into a new relationship, whether work, friend, neighbor, romantic, or casual, there is an gradual revealing that occurs as each party learns about the other and each party opens up to tell about themselves.  But with God, He already knows everything there is to know about us and He has put everything about Him down in writing.  The depth of my relationship with God is directly tied to my dedication in increasing my knowledge of Him and moving closer to His unmoving rock of salvation.

In Genesis 1, we see this.  Last week we looked at this chapter and focused on better understanding “who” God is.  This week our focus shifts to “what” God did: He created everything.

So, again, let’s start at the beginning where God is in the beginning.  God’s first action into his new creation is to speak.  He said let there be light and there was light.  We could camp out right here and discuss the awesome power of God’s word.  We could talk about this intrinsic and everlasting light that goes on like a ray coming from the Trinity to shine for ever more.  And, with the richness of Genesis, if you are ever struggling for something to ponder and pray, pick any one verse in Genesis 1 and use it to see God’s glory and power.

God first divides the waters below and above and then He gathers the sea.  I love this visual image of how God’s voice could stretch out like arms across a table and draw in the waters of the sea to make dry ground.  And then God brings life to the planet.

He brings vegetation, plants, trees, to grow and bear fruit, each according to their kind.  And it was good.

He then speaks the sun, moon and stars into existence.  These are the vessels that hold the light that He created on day 1.

When I think of all of this, it reminds me of how parents-to-be prepare the nursery and their home for an expectant baby to arrive.  They paint the room, they prepare the furniture and bedding, they even put in a night light.  How much more so our heavenly Father, and the moon is a pretty amazing nightlight!

In your language about the nursery God prepared for us, do your comments express gratefulness or do they convey an attitude of a whiny child complaining about the heat or cold?  Do you reach out to your heavenly Father for comfort and joy or are you busy throwing a temper tantrum?

But let’s go a little deeper in looking at some of the days of creation in this chapter.  God didn’t just create these things but He actually gave them purpose.  Look at vs 11 and 12.  God didn’t just make plants, but he made plants to bear seeds and fruit.  In 14 and 15 He didn’t just make the lights in the sky, but He made them to be signs to mark sacred times and days and years.  In 20-23 He made creatures of the sea and sky and specifically blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth, each according to its kind.  Same for the land animals, each according to its kind.

God created not only objects, but He endowed them with both purpose and order.  That word “according” is an interesting one.  It reminds me of “a chord”, a musical harmony.  When man thinks of nature, particularly its origins, our minds see chaos and battle, survival of the fittest, struggle for life.  But in God’s design there is harmony, order and purpose.

In your day, are you striving to find God’s harmony, order and purpose or are you viewing it as a fight, dog-eat-dog battle?  How does your approach influence your outcome?  If all creation is a harmonious melody that sings praise to Him, are you putting in practice time for the musical every day?  As a challenge, look at the ways that God uses animals throughout the scriptures to reveal Himself to mankind (colt for palm sunday, dove, the fish for the multitudes, Jonah’s whale, Balaam’s donkey, just to name a few.)  They are more prevalent than we realize when we look for them.

Then, the 6th day.  God, the trinity, made man in His image, in His likeness.  God made us male and female.  He provided for us with food to eat and He gave us purpose and direction, one to preserve and maintain order.  He delegated rule to us as only a ruler could do.  He gave plants and fruit to us as only the owner of the fields of harvest could do.

Interesting that God gives us two specific tasks.  The first shows our kinship with all other living creatures of the earth, to be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth.  The second shows our kinship with the Almighty, to subdue the earth and rule over every living creature.  And, as we will study in the weeks to come, how we have done pretty good at the first directive, but almost immediately failed in the second when we let the ways of the earth and the temptations present rule over us instead of the other way around.

But, we will also learn that the game isn’t over.  Like a reset button in a video game, those of us who have accepted the saving work of Jesus Christ have the ability to start over.  When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and He will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Just like a reset button, we get a “do over” button through confession to God that lets us start executing our order, harmony and purpose all over again.  And each time we stumble and fall, His spirit helps move in us and with us, transforming us back into His image and likeness until the day we stand before Him for all eternity in the harmony and unity of heaven.

BSF Genesis: Week 2, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

10.

  • God spoke to Himself, the trinity: Make man in our image and likeness
  • Rule over the fish, birds, livestock wild animals, all creatures
  • God create us male and female
  • God blessed us and spoke to us – fill earth and subdue it,
  • God gave us rule over every living creature

11. a.  Increase in number, fill and subdue earth, rule over living creatures, all plants with seeds for food (bummed about navel oranges and seedless watermelons)

b.  bible, church, teachers, knowledge, love of family, food, shelter, and so much more at every level

12. We are made in God’s image, made to rule (as He is sovereign) God knows everything about us, even while we are still in the womb, even all the days of our lives. God made all the nations, all boundaries and appointed all times of history so that… we would seek Him and reach out for Him and find Him. We are His offspring.

My Daily Journal

Again I am drawn back to the “in” word.  We are made in God’s image.  Not like God’s image, not from His image, not a representation of His image, but IN the image of God.  We are also made unto this world.  Interesting then that the two commands we are given are to (1) be fruitful and increase in number – the same command given to the other living creatures of this world and (2) to rule over the other living creatures as is the nature of God in whose image we are made.

Continuing, it is all the more interesting that of those two commands, we did pretty good at the first one, and failed at the second – we allowed the temptation presented by the earth to rule over us. In Adam and Eve’s desire to be “like God” they gave up the sovereignty that had been a gift given exclusively to them which made them the most like God.

And, to save us from that fall (and what a fitting word that is once you think about it), God’s Son had to step down, becoming lower than the angels, to lift us back up into the position we were originally created into, the offspring (the family) of the King of Kings.