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Friday, June 16, 2017

We're All Gardeners

The Book of Genesis Day 6 Ge 1:11 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day. Still on the third day of creation and God begins the science of biology. Vegetation, including grass, herbs, and fruit trees are brought forth from the earth. They yield according to their kind, each variety having their DNA wrapped up in their specific number of chromosomes. It was God who set them in their families, and note that He didn’t simply speak them into existence as full fledged plants, rather He said, “Let the earth bring forth it’s vegetation. If you have ever planted grass from seed, or a garden for herbs, or trees from seed, you know the time element involved. It takes time for the earth to bring forth these things. Now, look at God’s reaction when the seedlings emerge. He saw that it was good! Isn’t that what every gardener, every landscaper feels when those little green shoots first appear? “It is good. ” I think since we are made in the image of God, that there’s a little gardener in each of us. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to go and cast the seeds of the gospel to the world. What joy we experience, when we see those seeds sprout into living, fruit producing, souls! It is indeed, “good.” So, day three comes to an end. At this point let me just say that there is a debate about “literal 24 hour days” in the creation account. Personally I believe that the 24 hour day as we know it, did not come into play until day four. That’s when God hung his temporary time pieces in the sky , (the sun, moon, and stars) I think allowing the earth to bring forth the vegetation is a confirmation of that. Grass and fruit trees don’t sprout up in one day! Day three took time! How much time? As much time as God wanted it to. With Him a day is like a thousand years and scientists who scramble to determine the age of the earth would do well to remember that! Maybe spending a little more time in the garden would help us appreciate that! For reflection: What is your favorite flower or garden plant? How do you feel when seeds you have planted begin to sprout? Produce fruit? Have you ever seen gospel seeds come to life and produce fruit in others? Yourself? Pray: Father, help us to abundantly sow your love and Your Word into the lives of people around us today, confident of Your life producing results

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Act of Naming Things

The Book of Genesis Day 4 Ge 1:9 Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. We’re into day 3 of creation and God is still dividing and separating and giving form to the mass He began with. On this day He gathers the waters below the heavens into one place and allowed the dry land to appear. God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas. There is significance in the phrase “God called!” In the Semitic world the act of naming things is evidence of lordship. So we see and understand that God has lordship over all creation. If you read the Psalms you will see that the Psalmist very often ascribes all control of natural phenomena to God. God’s control, and the deity of Christ is made even more evident as Jesus stands up in the boat in the Sea of Galilee and exercises lordship over the stormy sea! God indeed is Lord of all! Yet, by His grace He also gave man lordship over some of His creation. In Gen 2:19 we read of Adam being given the responsibility of calling or naming each living creature. This is evidence of man’s lordship over animals. When God presented Eve to Adam, it was Adam who called her woman and man’s lordship over woman was assumed. But let’s be cautious here. Even though lordship is indicated here and scripture tells us that wives are to submit to the lordship of their husbands, lordship is not to be confused with dictatorship! Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Yes, God called or named, therefore God lords, but in that lordship, we see His perfect stewardship. Take in the fragile beauty of His creation, and how He sustains and cares for it faithfully! We ought to consider that same kind of stewardship as we carry out our responsibility of lordship on all that He has given to our charge. Whether its plants or animals, wife or children, our aim should be good care and by His aid and example we shall attain it. For reflection: If you have been blessed with children, how did you come up with their names? What are the names of pets you have owned? Have you ever named your car? Do you think naming your pet or car affected your care for that item or pet? Pray: Lord thank You for the awesome responsibility of lordship. Help us to be good stewards of all that you have places in our care.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

God Will Make A Way

The Book of Genesis Day3 Ge 1:6-8, “ Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. This is an interesting scenario. On the first day, God divided light from darkness. On day two we read that He divided the waters from the waters. He caused firmament or sky to exist in the midst of or between these “waters.” It is easy to picture the water below the sky, just look at a map of the earth and you can see the abundance of water, but it’s a little bit more difficult to picture waters above the sky, yet that is the picture painted for us here in Genesis. This pre-flood band of moisture over the earth would create a kind of “greenhouse” effect that may account for the longevity of human life before the flood. This umbrella of water over the earth was the source of much of the water that flooded the earth in the days of Noah as we read in Ge 7:11, “ In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. With this amount of water violently poured out above and below the earth, it’s easy to see the reality of this great flood that destroyed all living things and how Noah and his family were able to escape it in the ark. Having poured out those waters in judgment, God made a promise to Noah and all mankind. He said He would never do it again! By the way, this was not the only time God parted the waters. We shall read about another time near the end of the Book of Genesis when the Egyptians were chasing the Israelites and had them trapped by the Red Sea. God parted the waters and they were able to escape. Perhaps this was just His way of reassuring His people that the same God who had the power to part the waters at creation was alongside them now as they began their exodus. 1. Have you ever been in a situation where it seems like there was no way out? 2. Has God ever parted the waters for you? Has He helped you out of a desperate situation? 3. How might 1Co 10:13 help you the next time you are facing a trial? No temptation (trial) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (trialed) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (trial) will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Pray: God, it is reassuring to know that you have the power to deliver us from being overwhelmed. Deliver those who need Your help today. I think specifically of _______________

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Let There Be Light

The Book of Genesis Day 2 Genesis 1:1-5, “ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Try to fathom eternity. In our finite minds, it is impossible. These first three words of Genesis put a limit on time as we know it, they put a mark on the timeline for us, a place to start. To start what? To start to fathom God’s story of love toward us by His creation of the heavens and the earth! In the beginning, (at this starting point) the earth was without form and void. This is still another concept difficult to grasp. Look around. What do you see? Erase it if you can. Close your eyes, shut off your imagination because darkness was on the face of the deep. Obscurity over the waters. Darkness clung to the unformed mass of water and earth, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters…..waiting, waiting for the Word to create! I cannot help but think of our own condition as sinners separated from God. The darkness of sin clinging to our void and empty hearts. The Holy Spirit hovering, yearning to begin His redemptive, creative work in us! Then God said, “Let there be light, ” and there was light, and God saw the light that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. God said, “let there be light on this earth,” and there was light. God says, “let there be light in this soul,” and there is light, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:8,9) He divided the light from the darkness just as Jesus will divide the sheep and the goats on the Last Day (Mt 25:31-46) On this first day of creation, God pronounced light as good, He will pronounce it as good on the Last Day as well, therefore you and I should desire to be found in the light and the light of the world is Jesus! 1. Can you recall a time when you were surrounded by complete darkness? 2. What did that feel like? 3. What kind of emotions do you associate with light. 4. When and how did the light of salvation come to you? Pray: Lord Jesus thank You for the gift of faith. Thank You for bringing light to my soul. Amen

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Book of Beginnings

The Book of Genesis Day 1 Genesis 1:1 “In the Beginning God” The name “Genesis” comes from a Greek word meaning “beginning.” It is the book of the beginning of many things: The world, man, human sin, civilization, the nations, and Israel! It is a real life history of individual people and it offers us a view of history from a spiritual side. It is history as connected to God. (No wonder they call it history, it is His story! The book of Genesis was not meant to be a scientific document, yet it is science as connected to God. Archaeologists continue to dig and verify much of the scientific accuracy of the technical information presented in its pages. In Genesis it is made clear that all things were designed and created by God and continue to operate within the boundaries of His purpose. Although the human race departed from God’s original plan, God has lovingly provided a way for men to be reconciled to Him and His plan. The Book was authored by Moses probably around 1450-1410 B.C. Undoubtedly Moses had both oral and written records which he used under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to write about the events before his life. 2Pe 1:21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. More than half of human history is covered in the fifty chapters of Genesis. The Book is foundational to all of Scripture, for it tells of our special relationship with God, our falling away from God, and God’s plan for restoring fellowship with Him! No wonder it is the subject of much attack and ridicule. The humanistic theory of evolution is nothing but an attempt to undermine the veracity of this book and thereby the rest of Scripture. But Jesus will have no part in this. Listen to what He says about the writings of Moses in Joh 5:46 "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" Some Food For Thought Or Discussion 1. What do you know about your beginning? 2. What are some of your earliest childhood memories? 3. What do you know about your beginning with God? 4. What are some of your earliest memories as a child of God? Prayer: Lord, thank You for giving me a beginning on this earth, and for giving me a beginning in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. Help me to cherish my own beginnings and to share them with others. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Friday, June 9, 2017

A New Beginning

Today, I begin my retirement from radio broadcasting. 40 years of broadcasting with 25 of those being in Christian radio. I have been privileged in those 25 years to write, and share a devotional thought on the airwaves during my air shift. I have gone verse by verse through many books of the Bible and the Lord has used my time in the Word to help grow my faith, and I hope the faith of others. So what do I do now? For starters, I will be fasting and praying for the Lord's direction. This is what Ezra did as he sought direction for himself and his family. We read about it in Ezr 8:21 "Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions." Retirement is like that river Ahava. It brings many questions to my mind? Should I continue this blog? Should I put all these past devotionals into the form of a book? Should I seek preaching and speaking engagements? As "spiritual" as these questions seem, I have learned they are really of the flesh, and the only way to solve the dilemma of "next steps" is to fast, pray, and WAIT on the Lord. I would also appreciate your prayers for me during this period and hope that you will continue to check in on my blog site. I can't promise a daily devotional, but I can promise that I will post as the Lord leads and provides. Still amazed by His grace, Duane

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Putting Skin On the People of the Bible

307 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 2Ti 4:19-22, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. 21 Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. (2 Tim 4:19-22) What I like about these salutations is they put skin on the people of the Bible. These are real people involved in real ministry in the church of Jesus Christ. They are no different than those people you worship with on Sunday who have a heart for plugging in their respective gifts to the work of promulgating the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are your Sunday School teachers, your VBS volunteers, your elders, your missionaries, your groundskeepers, and of course the list could go on and on. You and everyone else knows them by name because they are involved in the work of the congregation! They all have unique stories to tell about their involvement. Prisca and Aquila led a small group Bible study in their home in Corinth. They also were the couple who helped straighten out some of the wrong ideas Apollos had about the faith. Onesiphorus, the redeemed runaway slave who diligently sought Paul out in order to minister to him while he was imprisoned in Rome. Erastus a government official involved in the work of the church, Trophimus, accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey and his Greek background created a riot in Jerusalem that resulted in the arrest of Paul! (Oh the stories these saints could tell!) The members of the underground church are also given mention namely Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren! None of these people were motivated by the fact that they would be well known in Christian circles. It just happened. None of us should be in this for personal fame, glory, or riches! We are in it by God's grace! We love and serve Him because He first loved us, if that somehow makes us memorable here on earth so be it, but how wonderful would it be to here on that Final Day, the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “Well done My good and faithful servant!” Beloved, let these words be a challenge to you today to plug your gifts into your local congregation and see where that takes you. See where that takes the mission of the church! See what stories will be told. Do all you can to follow the leading of the Spirit so you don't become a nameless face in the pew!