Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Remaining True

Reading Genesis 5 is like pushing the fast forward button on the DVD where we only see flashes of the sequence. Chapter 5 is a fast forward from Creation to the Flood. Because of the pace, it appears that not much happens and that it moves quickly, but it didn’t. Those people lived hundreds of years.
Chapter 5 portrays an overview of Seth’s line. It stands in stark contrast to Cain’s, which continued to degrade. From the moment that people left the presence of God, they forgot about Him. They became consumed with their own work, their own building, their own talents. And as time marched on for hundreds of years—people worked, took spouses, bore children, and lived for themselves. To live outside the presence of God is to live selfishly, and so they did. And so do we.
Yet, in the midst of large scale degradation, there was one line that remained within God’s presence. It is the line of Adam through Seth. As Seth viewed Adam’s life, so his son viewed his (and his grandfather’s), and his son viewed his, (and his grandfather’s and great grandfather’s), and so on and so on—all through the rising corruption of humanity. All these people made a difference, for good or for bad, for hundreds of years. Adam could have impacted, first hand, family members for 8 generations before he died.
We don’t have 8 generations to pour into. We have one, two, and three at the most. We don’t have hundreds of years to teach and pray. Time was cut short for man’s own good, so that he didn’t have time to bring about his utter demise. But, the time for good is limited as well.
Let’s make every day count—today, tomorrow, and the next. Genesis 5 moves from the beginning to judgment and is as fast-paced as one lifetime. We only get one.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Man

Dear Christa—
When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man” (Genesis 5:1).
“…in the likeness of God…”
That explains a lot about people. From the tiniest cell, all of creation is wonderful and mindboggling.  But of all creation, people are beyond description. The human body and all its intricacies, the mind and its capabilities, the bend toward the spiritual—all these, even in our fallen state, bear a reflection of God. Man who was created only “a little lower than the angels,” is created in the likeness of God.
Man is capable of unimaginable abilities and great good. 
We don’t fly much, but when we do, I always think of how amazing such a thing is. In mere hours we’ve crossed an ocean to take up grandkids in our arms from Germany to England and to all parts of the U. S. Currently, Jay’s mom is anticipating medical procedures that border on the miraculous. We live in an amazing time.
It does not stop there; people are feeding the hungry and lifting the weakest. Not all is bad in our world, and people (Christian and not) are the impetus to mead out goodness. We do so because it brings us joy to help others.  
It’s a characteristic of God.
But, because people are so wonderfully made, it is so easy to forget God—to forget there is One greater. To forget God is to replace God with oneself. To forget God in our goodness is the most dangerous thing in the world. To forget God is to forget we need a Savior. And, in all of man’s glory, we are most fallen and needy and capable of all sorts of selfishness.
The fallen state of our world brings pain, hurt, and remembrance. It causes us to remember that there is One greater, and we need Him. It causes us to remember that earth holds no Eden. 
We cannot look for Heaven on earth. 
It is not here.
All of life is precious, and we should appreciate it, 
be grateful for it, 
and never forget from where it comes.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Hope

Dear Christa—
In the time of grief, in the time of change and heartache, there is nothing quite like a baby to give one hope.

“And she [Eve] gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel.”
Tragedy is unexpected. Tragedy hurts. Tragedy makes us think of God.
I have often wondered how through all those hundreds of years that the first couple lived, did Eve look at her reflection in the water with regret. We all live with regret. Not one of us is perfect. Not one of us can hold up a clean slate. That’s exactly why we need a Savior and exactly why Jesus came. He came to clean our slate.
It’s true that Eve had to live with her sin, one immensely worse than any we’ve committed—the fall of the entire human race. But, Eve knew something else; she knew that God was true. He said that to eat of tree would bring death. He said she would bare children in pain. He said He would send a Savior.
I’ve seen two babies born—the firstborn of our daughters. (Now, I’ve been relegated to babysitter.) It’s an interesting experience for a mother to see a daughter become a mother. And after the pain, there is joy.
A new baby brings joy. A new baby brings hope. I’ve watched my grieving mother caress baby Helen, and there was joy in the midst of pain. There is just something wonderful about a baby. A baby puts the focus on life, not death.
So, Eve gave thanks when Seth was born. Perhaps she’d thought the Savior would come through the line of Abel. He did not. He came through Seth—the child of hope.
Tragedy is unexpected. Tragedy hurts. Tragedy makes us think of God. And God gives us hope.