The story of Noah is one of the more interesting in the Bible. It is one of the prime examples of God’s judgement and grace combined into one. While God’s judgement is complete, He is also complete in His grace. God could have made the choice to completely wipe out the existence of man, but He chose to spare us even as He acknowledges in Genesis 8:21, “…every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” Humans are sinful creatures. We are born with the desire to sin. But God spared our existence and ultimately provided a way to have a true relationship with Him through His love for us and His desire for what’s best for us.
It’s been a while. Last year I decided to take a break from my daily reading and devotional in God’s word. And while the break did not produce any real negative circumstances, I recognize the need to spend time with God on a daily basis. I am not sure what form my daily devotional will take this year, but I do know I want to work hard to maintain daily communion with God.
This year, my plan is to work my way through the entire Bible in a chronological order. I have read the Bible from cover to cover in the past, but it doesn’t seem to have enough continuity to maintain an understanding of all the events. Following chronologically helps to understand the context of where God is going with history and His overall purpose.
So, today we start at the beginning with Genesis 1-3; the story of creation. There is so much to think about as I read this morning. Like, what was Adam thinking? What was Eve thinking? Why didn’t Adam name Eve until after their fall (Genesis 3:20)? All these questions make me think about God’s perfect plan. None of this was by accident or a surprise to God. He knew the necessity of creation and the need to create a system that allows man to pick him above all else or to pick something else. I guess reading the Bible everyday is a way I choose to pick God first. It’s not always easy and I am not going to lose my mind if I forget to read one day, but there is purpose and importance in picking God first and above all else when there is a choice to be made.
Before we accepted salvation from Christ, we were living in darkness, but through Christ were were exposed to the light and were able to see truth and grace given to us through Christ. In Ephesians 5:8 Paul says, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. Because of our salvation, we must live as people who can see truth and know hope through the love and promises of Christ through eternity.
So many of us (myself especially) are too quick to give our opinions without completely thinking about the impact our words have on others. Paul warns us in Ephesians 4:29, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. If our words do not impact others in a positive way, we should rethink what we have to say. While there is a time to correct and instruct, we should still take great care in what we say and how we say it.
Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are all part of the family of God. Paul says in Ephesians 2:18, For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. The Jewish people first had access, and now through Christ all have access. We are all part of the same eternal inheritance as co-heirs in Christ.
When we talk about the “church”, we are not talking about a building, we are talking about the body of Christ made up of all believers. Paul talks about the make up of the body of Christ in Ephesians 1:22-23, 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. The intended makeup of our relationship with God was fulfilled when Christ died and God raised Him from the dead. It is because of this miracle and God’s plan which allows each of us to be saved and become members as believers in the body of Christ fulfilled.
As believers and followers of Christ, we have every benefit of knowing God through our relationship with Him. Ephesians 1:3 says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Because of salvation and our intimate relationship with Christ, we can enjoy the benefits of a relationship directly with God. Christ gives us that ability and it is because God loved us so much he gave us this way.
God’s grace is more abundant than we can ever truly grasp and He loves us more than we can comprehend. In Psalm 145:8 David reminds us, The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. No matter how bad things get, God’s grace is what He wants us to experience more than anything else because of His love for us.
At the end of this Psalm, David asks God to search for any wickedness in his life. In Psalm 139:23-24 David says, 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. David is not challenging God to find him perfect, he is challenging God to identify sin and make it known so he can fix it. Too often we justify our sin and make excuses for the choices we make. If we are honest and open our hearts and minds to God, He will help us.
Have you ever thought about what salvation really means? It means forgiveness of our sins and our sinful nature. It is literally God forgetting all the many and creative ways we sin. Psalm 130:3-4 says, 3 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. If God kept a record of our sin, the burden would continue to be overwhelming. But God removes the weight and eternal consequences of sin and frees us to be who He intended us to be. Likewise, God gives us an example of how we are to forgive others. If we cannot release others from their transgressions against us, then we have not truly forgiven them.