Monthly Archives: September 2017

Life in God’s Creation

Week 3 (24-30 Sept.) – Time in Wilderness vs. Creation

Sunday – Christ in Wilderness

Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

When we look to Jesus’s time in the wilderness, we read that the Spirit led him there for a time of testing through temptation by the devil.  Fasting is a practice of prayer oftentimes used to focus on a specific prayer request brought before God.  While in the wilderness of testing Christ focuses on talking with God.  Satan uses this time to attack Christ’s weaknesses of Hunger, Doubt, and Faith in God’s Plan.  Considering Christ’s present condition, situation and future, it should be no surprise that these are the area’s that Satan tempts Jesus to turn away from God.  The wilderness for Christ is a time of testing of his faithfulness to God.  Once proven Satan leaves, and Christ is back in God’s creation as angels tend to Him.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What are the areas that Satan can use to test you in the wilderness?  What are the answers you should give to answer and respond to pass the test of faith?

Monday – Wilderness Consequence for Israel

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 1:19-45

As we see from this scripture for the Israelites, the wilderness is a result/consequence of their lack of faith in God and God’s plan for them.  Though they knew exactly what God was calling them to do, because they doubted God’s ability to help them overcome the Amorites, they were condemned to the wilderness instead of God’s promised land for them.  Just as with Adam and Eve, the wilderness is a consequence for their turning from God and God’s way for them.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How might your life be a consequence of your faith in God’s plan for you?

Tuesday – Wilderness Test for Israel

Scripture Reading: Joshua 1:1-9

With the next generation of Israelites, they are confronted with the same test of faith in God and God’s plan for them in this scripture.  They have grown up in the wilderness, seen how God has cared for them in the wilderness and now with Joshua take the bold faith step so they can live in the promised land – life in God’s creation.  It will require many tests of faith as they proceed forward but with each passing of the test, they move closer to the life God has called them to in God’s creation – the promised land.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What are the wilderness tests God has called you to and through to know life in God’s promised land for you?

Wednesday – Time in Creation/Kingdom is Growth

Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:1-6; Acts 1:12-2:13

Just as when Moses experiences life in God’s creation beginning with the burning bush and when the disciples are gathered in prayer seeking God’s direction, it is a time of growing in their faith in God.  In the beginning, they are afraid and uncertain of what God is doing but as we see them move forward in faith, it is a time of growing in the Spirit and their relationship with God.  When we live life in God’s creation/kingdom it is a time of growth.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How is your spiritual growth a sign of Life in Creation/Kingdom?

Thursday – Time in Creation/Kingdom is Refocus

Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:7-10; Acts 2:14-24

After Moses responds with “Here I am” and the disciples received the Holy Spirit, we find that their lives are Refocused.  Moses is give a new call to be used to lead Israel out of Egypt and the disciples are given the call to go and share the news of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who will bring people into the Kingdom of God – life in God’s creation.  Life in God’s creation/kingdom brings to us a new and on-going refocus in life from life on our own to life with God.  Life in God’s creation/kingdom refocuses from our life in the wilderness.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How are we refocused from life in wilderness to life in God’s creation?

Friday – Time in Creation/Kingdom is Recharge

Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:11,12; Acts 2:1-4

When Moses doubts his ability to go and lead the Israelites out of Egypt, God assures him with, “I will be with you.”  For the disciples, it is with the gift of the Holy Spirit that they are “charged” to go out into the streets to praise God in the languages that they were enabled to speak.  When we live life in God’s creation, God is with us and it is in the Holy Spirit that we are charged and recharged to be able to live out God’s plan for us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How do we get “charged” and “recharged” in the Holy Spirit in our Life in God’s creation?

Saturday – Time in Creation/Kingdom is Renewal

Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:13-21; Acts 2:37-42

As we see when God reveals to Moses, “when you see these things happen you will know what I say is true,” it becomes a renewal of faith when it happens. When the first church is formed and they see how the Spirit moves within them as they focus on Worship, God’s Word, Prayer, and Fellowship they are renewed in their faith in God and their life in God’s creation/kingdom.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How are you renewed as you witness God working in the midst of your life in God’s creation?

Life in God’s Creation

Week 2 (17-23 Sept.) – In the Wilderness (The World)

Sunday – In the Beginning

Scripture Reading: Genesis 3 

As we look to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, we find that being led away from God by the Serpent, they chose to turn away from their relationship with God and go their own way.  This left them outside of the Garden (God’s kingdom in creation) and in the Wilderness (World’s kingdom in creation).  We already have read the “in the beginning of life in God’s Creation.  Now we read (and since the Fall begin our lives in the experience) of “in the beginning of life in the Wilderness (the World) in God’s creation.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this story say about our position in the Wilderness and God’s creation?

Monday – God’s Kingdom (Saw that it was Good)

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3

When God creates the conditions of and the reality of life we read at the end of each day that God, “Saw that it was Good.”  What makes it good is it’s relationship with God in the creation.  All was created out of love and to exist in love with God.  In this environment of perfect love all was in balance and in order as it existed in God.  The harmony of life in God is what made the Garden of Eden paradise.  In the end of the week, this is why God rested as a day to enjoy the love of life together that God had created.  Ah…    Paradise!

Pastor’s Pondering:  What would life in the garden been like during the time of perfect love in God.

Tuesday – Created in Relationship with God

Scripture Reading: Genesis 2:4-17

When God created Adam, it was with the purpose of sharing life together with Adam.  Our purpose in life when we are created is to have a relationship with God – glorify God and enjoy God forever.  God also had a vocation for Adam (tend the garden) and God has a vocation for us in God’s plan for our life together.  But, because of the fall and our beginning in the wilderness (World) we must choose to enter and abide in our relationship with God (Life in God’s creation.)  Christ provides the Truth about the Way to enter the Life in God’s kingdom.  Only in Christ can we leave the wilderness (the world) and enter into God’s kingdom recognizing God’s creation.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in our lives?

Wednesday – Created in Relationship with Spouse

Scripture Reading: Genesis 2:18-25

After Adam is created we read of how, “it was not good that the man should be alone” and so God created Eve to be an equal partner in life together in God.  In this equality of relationship, they both walked together in the garden, were tempted together in the garden, and walked out together into the wilderness.  They both were to and did live their life together through it all.  When we find that person that we love and commit to love in marriage then we are to walk together just as God walks with us in life.

Pastor’s Pondering:   How is the covenant in marriage like the covenant and a reflection of the covenant that God makes with us in love and life?

Thursday – God’s Work in Wilderness(World)

Scripture Reading: Genesis 4:1-7

As we see in the continuing story of life in the wilderness (world) God blesses Adam and Eve with children through procreation and is at work in their children’s lives in the wilderness (World).  Both Cain and Abel worship God with sacrifices.  When Cain’s worship falls short, God teaches Cain what he can do to resist sin and know God’s love in his life instead of anger and depression.  Through the Holy Spirit, God works with us in our lives while we live in the wilderness (World) – all out of God’s love for us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  In what ways has God reached out to you in your wilderness life?

Friday – Walking Away from God

Scripture Reading: Genesis 4:8-16

As we see in the continuing story of Cain and Abel, out of anger and jealousy, Cain murders Abel and in so doing, instead of trying to glorify God and enjoy God forever, he walks away from God.  When God confronts him, he tries to lie his way out of it and God sends him away.  But, notice that even then God protects Cain with a seal so that Cain can continue live even though it is still in the wilderness (world).

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this story demonstrate God’s grace with those who choose to live in the wilderness and not God’s Kingdom?

Saturday – Invoking the Name of the Lord

Scripture Reading: Genesis 4:17-26

As we are left with the rest of the story of Cain’s family and their life in the wilderness, we pick up the story of Adam and Eve and their next son Seth.  Notice the difference in telling the story of this family “at that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord.”  Seth and Enosh and their families turned to God, glorified God and most likely enjoyed life in God.  What we read of them in chapter five is their many descendants leading up to Noah.  In the midst of the world living in the wilderness outside of God, there were and are always people who live “invoking the name of the Lord.”

Pastor’s Pondering:  Who throughout the Bible are the people who “invoke the name of the Lord?”

Life in God’s Creation

 Life in God’s Creation

Week 1 (10-16 Sept.) – Creation/Wilderness?

Sunday – Day 1: Void/God – Experiencing God

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:1-5

In the beginning, there was God and Void.  God is the starting point of creation.  Without God, life is a void.  When God created the light, he said that it was good and called it, “Day.”  From the beginning, God has used light to coincide with good.  The darkness was called night and thus the first day was created.  Every day consists of light/darkness, day/night every life lived experiences this but to do so without God it is all a void that waits to be filled.  This week we focus on how our senses enable us to experience God and God’s handiwork in Creation.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How can we live a void-less life?    

Monday – Day 2: Sky – Sound

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:6-8

With the gift of sound, we are able to experience God and God’s handiwork in our lives.  On the second day, God creates by separating the waters and creating the atmosphere.  I wonder what the sound would have been like during this time.  Sound travels in waves much as we observe the waves of the seas.  To experience God’s creation is to hear the sound of life that travels through these waves.  To take time to just listen to God’s handiwork is to experience God in creation.  To take time to listen to God’s Spirit, the still small voice, is to experience God’s handiwork in our lives.

Pastor’s Pondering:  In what ways have you experienced God in the sounds of creation?

Tuesday – Day 3: Earth & Vegetation – Touch/Taste 

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:9-13

With the gift of touch and taste, we are able to experience God and God’s handiwork in our lives.  When God creates the earth and the vegetation on the third day, it brings us a way to experience God’s handiwork in touch and taste.  To be able to touch and taste the things of God’s creation is to be able to experience life in a special way.  To feel a cool breeze on a hot summer day, the softness of cotton yet with the prick of the hardness of the plant, the taste of a fresh picked tomato, the feel of walking barefoot on the sand or in the mud – all a part of experiencing God’s handiwork and love for us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  In what ways do you experience God in the touch and taste of God’s creation?

Wednesday – Day 4: Sun, Moon, Stars – Sight

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:14-19

With the gift of sight, we are able to experience God and God’s handiwork in our lives.  To be able to see requires light to enter our eyes and thus when the Sun, Moon and stars are created, they bring light for all to see.  The light enables us to see the forms, the colors, the world that God created for us to live in.  The light enables us to see the people, the places, the things and the path that God prepares for us.  The Sun provides the light for us all to see, but, the Son provides the light for us to truly see.

Pastor’s Pondering:  In what ways do you experience God and God’s handiwork in your life through sight?

Thursday – Day 5: Birds & Fish – Smell

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:20-23

With the gift of smell, we are able to experience God and God’s handiwork in our lives.  With the gift of smell, we are able to appreciate a freshly mowed field of hay, a plowed field, a lake filled with fish, and yes, bird droppings on our shoulders!  With the gift of smell, we can determine whether we turn to or turn away from something of God’s creation.  We are either attracted to or driven away from something based up our experience when we smell that smell.  To smell is to experience God’s handiwork and God’s plan for us in God’s creation.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How might smell help us to experience God’s handiwork and plan for us in life?

Friday – Day 6: Animals & Us – Observe & Meditate

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:24-31

With the gift of our senses and our mind, we are able to observe and meditate on God’s handiwork in our lives.  If we take time to use all of our senses to observe the world that God created and take time to think upon these things in connection with God’s word then the Spirit is able to speak to us, to teach us, to lead us, to bring God’s light into our lives.  The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:20 – “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made, so they are without excuse.”

Pastor’s Pondering:  What excuses do we give for not taking the time to experience God and God’s handiwork in all of creation?

   

Saturday – Day 7: Sabbath – Worship

Scripture Reading: Genesis 2:1-4

With our whole mind, body and soul we are able to worship God in God’s creation.  To worship God is to take time from our daily life pursuits to rest and focus on our life in God and God’s creation.  God took a sabbath after creating the world and all that was in it to just rest – enjoy the life that God created.  Sabbath is a time that we are to take to rest – to enjoy life that God created.  Six days shall we labor but the seventh (the first for us remembering that day as the day of resurrection) shall be a day of rest just as God created and did.  That is reason enough for us to observe our weekly Sabbath.

Pastor’s Pondering:  Why should we diligently observe the Sabbath in our lives in God’s creation?

Life in God’s Creation

Week 1 – Creation

Week 2 – Wilderness in World

Week 3 – World = Wilderness vs. Creation

Week 4 – God’s Presence in World

Week 5 – Call/Vocation in Life

Week 6 – Provision in Life

Week 7 – Spouse/Single in Life

Week 8 – Finding a Home in Life

Week 9 – Being Lost in Life

Week 10 – Law of Life in Creation

Week 11 – The Future Hope in Life