Tag Archive for creation

The Word: in Weakness and in Power

In the beginning, into the silence of nothingness came the Word of God.
The Sovereign of the universe expressed His will,
and it became reality.
The Word of God spoke,
and creation came to be,
and all the morning stars sang for joy.
His powerful Word continues to resound,
sustaining all that is.

Into the darkness of our sin came the Word of God.
God spoke His loving will,
not as an almighty conqueror,
but as a helpless infant.
He didn’t shout;
He whispered.
He didn’t command;
He invited.
The Word of God spoke, not in power,
but in weakness.

And when His Word speaks to us,
He still speaks in weakness, not in power.
He doesn’t demand in harsh tones.
He speaks gently, inviting, drawing us to Himself.

But at a time He alone has chosen,
the Word of God will again speak with absolute power.
The Sovereign of all reality will express His will,
and all that is will respond.
Creation will again be an Eden of
holiness and beauty,
truth and love,
completely one with its Maker.
To those who have listened to His inviting Word,
this will mean sharing the fullness of His life forever.
To those who have ignored His Word,
this will mean eternal exclusion, separation from Him, and death.

He is still speaking in a gentle whisper,
calling, inviting, drawing.
Hear the Word.
Receive the Word.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Hear the Word
Printed Music & Lyrics

Creation Will Blossom

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Isaiah 35

Creator God conceived and made this world to engulf us in His goodness and embrace us with all His blessings. He wanted us to see and feel and discover that He is perfect wisdom, power, and love, and He is immediately, personally, constantly with us.

That is still His purpose. He has not abandoned it. This earth was designed to glorify God and bless His people, and that is what it will do.

Look at the rich array of blessings our Creator God promises His people:

  • Even the most barren parts of creation will blossom into beauty and abundance (vv.1-2, 6b-7). 
  • Take courage! Don’t be afraid! Though we are weak, He is strong. Our God will come and save His people from all that oppresses us. He will make everything right and good (vv.3-4).
  • Disease and physical affliction are evil cancers on God’s created world. They will be gone forever. Health and healing will reign all around (vv.5-6a). 
  • God’s people will be able to get around His world easily and safely. A road will penetrate even the wilderness – a road that is clearly marked and safe (vv.8-9).
  • In the future, God’s world will be permeated with joy. All the natural world will rejoice with a rich display of life and beauty (vv.1, 2). The afflicted will leap and shout for joy (v.6). All God’s people will be filled with everlasting joy, and sorrow in all its forms will be gone forever (v.10). 

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world.
The battle is not done;
Jesus, who died, shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.
(Maltbie D. Babcock)

Why Natural Disasters?

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Genesis 3:1-19 

If God commands all nature, why are there natural disasters? It seems logical that either God causes natural disasters, or He doesn’t control nature, right?

We can’t always say why God does this or that. His thoughts and ways are far beyond our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). We only know what He tells us:

  1. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. (Psalm 145:17, NASB) 
  1. In His sovereignty, God has chosen to give us the privilege and responsibility of making meaningful decisions, within certain broad limits. We decide our actions, then He allows us to experience the results of those decisions.
  1. God appointed us stewards of this world, and sometimes natural disasters are caused by our own greed, neglect, or mismanagement.
  1. In a general sense, all natural disasters are apparently the result of our original decision to disobey God and go our own way. When we corrupted ourselves, we also corrupted the natural world over which God placed us as rulers.

The anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility…in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:19-22, NASB)

But even though God allows us to suffer the results of our decisions, He is still sovereign, and love is still His pledge. A few verses later in the same chapter Paul assures us:

We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NASB)

God’s purposes for His people extend far beyond this world. We can never understand God and His ways if we focus only on this present world and think of physical death as the ultimate end. God’s love and purposes do not stop when this body dies.

Psalm 104: Immerse Your Senses in God

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Psalm 104:1; Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-23 

Most of us moderns are fundamentally different than people of earlier generations in one important respect: we spend so little time outdoors. When you spend time out in nature, you start to notice things: the majesty of the sky and the vastness of the world above and beyond; the beauty of the landscape; the movements of the wind and clouds; the birds, with their colors, calls, flying patterns, and habits; and so much more.

The writer of Psalm 104 is outdoors, and he sees God. He looks around him, and he sees the greatness, the splendor, the majesty of God. Creation helps him imagine and know the unseen God.

If you were absolutely intent on communicating a vital message to every human being on earth, to every person of every nation, every age, every ability, every personality, throughout all time, how would you do it? There are thousands of languages in the world today, and each is constantly changing. Levels of education vary. Technologies come and go. How would you communicate with each and every individual?

God wanted us to know Him, so He painted a vivid picture of Himself in creation itself. He wrote all the essential truths about Himself into the world around us. Creation speaks about Him in a way that is above and beyond all human language.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4, NASB)

Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NASB)

Do you want a living picture of God, one that will engulf all your senses? Go out for a walk in nature, and keep your eyes and your heart open.

The God of Life

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Genesis 1

God gave both plants (vv.11-12) and animals (vv.21, 24-25) the ability to reproduce themselves. He made life self-perpetuating. What an amazing gift! He shared a portion of His life-giving ability with each of His creatures.

My wife will often ask me what is the purpose of some particular animal. I don’t really have an answer, except that life is the purpose. God is a God of life! Overflowing, abundant, infinitely varied life! Life fills earth’s macro-systems (some look at this entire earth as a single, living organism). And life fills our micro-systems, with tiny drops of water containing varied communities of their own.

When God created non-human life forms on this earth, He said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of creatures” (v.20, NASB) or “Let the earth bring forth living creatures” (v.24, NASB), but with human beings, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (v.26a, NASB). All living things derive their life from God, but we in a special sense. 

God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NASB).

He patterned us after Himself – not physically, but spiritually, intellectually, morally. He shared Himself with us. He even shared a bit of His sovereignty, allowing us to rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (v.26b, NASB).

Life is a gift. We human beings didn’t originate ourselves, nor did we ask to be created. What’s more, our physical lives are in many ways self-perpetuating. Most of our physical functions are automatic and self-administering. Our heart beats without our input. We breathe without deciding to do so. Our cells do their work without our conscious involvement. About all we need to do is feed and water ourselves, and for that we’ve been given powerful drives as reminders. Life is truly a gift!

Even our physical bodies point to God as a magnificent, powerful, all-wise, and deeply-loving Creator. How should we respond? By thanking Him sincerely and often, and by treasuring His image in all human life, both in ourselves and in others.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Praise to You, Giver of Life!
Printed Music & Lyrics

Perfect in Every Detail

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Genesis 1

As I read Genesis 1, not only does God’s youthful enthusiasm strike me, but the orderliness of His process.
In days 1-3, God prepares the earth, layer by layer.
In days 4-6, He goes back and populates the earth, layer by layer.

Or to put it another way:
In days 1-3, He sets the stage, room by room.
In days 4-6, He goes back and brings in the furniture, room by room.

The two halves of the process parallel each other. Specifically:
On day 1 (vv.3-5), He creates light.
On day 4 (vv.14-19), He creates the sun and moon.

On day 2 (vv.6-8), He places the sky as the separation between the waters above (the heavens) and the waters below (oceans, seas, etc.).
On day 5 (vv.20-23) He puts life in the water and sky.

On day 3 (vv.9-13), He creates the dry land and vegetation.
On day 6 (vv.24-26), He creates living creatures on the dry land, including man.

He creates our home as would any careful builder: layer by layer, starting from the general and working to the particulars.

This brand new, uncorrupted home speaks His love and careful attention in every detail. As Isaiah 45:18 says, He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited.” (NASB)

Examine human handiwork under a microscope, and the closer you look, the more rough edges you find. It’s inevitable. Our tools and manual abilities are limited. But look at God’s handiwork under a microscope, and the deeper you go, the more organization and detail you find.

Look at His creation from a broader and broader perspective, and you find more and more order and meaning. Look at smaller and smaller levels, and the same is true. His wisdom and care extend to infinity in both directions, to galaxies and beyond, and to sub-atomic worlds and below. His marvelous world speaks truths about Him that words cannot capture.

Our Relationship with God

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Genesis 1:26 – 2:9

What is the basis for God’s claim on us? Why is He interested in us, and why are we obligated to Him? Why can’t we simply ignore Him the way we ignore many other beings in our universe? Does He demand our obedience because of His raw power? Does He get attention because He’s simply the biggest bully on the block?

God created us. We cannot ignore Him because we are His. We are permanently, totally, inescapably linked to Him.

Specifically, He created us from Himself. We are patterned after Him. To understand ourselves, we must understand Him. He is deeply, unavoidably relevant to us. He is the source, the pattern, and the goal for all we are. Our entire existence, our whole being is wrapped up in Him.

In Him we live and move and exist. (Acts 17:28, NASB)

From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. (Romans 11:36, NASB)

Get the big picture: dwelling in unmeasured eternity is a self-existent Being, complete and at peace in Himself. He is complete in power, wisdom, and love. His love comes not from need – need for us, or for fellowship, or for anything else. The opposite is true. His love comes from His fullness, not need. He is forever full to overflowing. From this overflowing, this giving, this love, He conceives the idea of creating…creating a race of beings somehow like Himself. He sets about to create a home for these beings, a home that meets all their needs – not just physical needs, but needs for beauty, order, rulership, challenge, discovery, and responsibility…the need to know their Creator.

God created all that is, and specifically, He created us from Himself and for Himself. That truth should transform our entire understanding of Him, ourselves, life, and all of reality.