January 3, 2012 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Conrad C. of Gracepoint Berkeley Church
God is the God of beginnings. Reflect on the idea of THE beginning depicted in Genesis 1, and write a personal response.

In the first pages of God’s Word, God’s creative acts are awesome to behold. His “fiat” declarations would cause things to happen. He was creating realities by declaring them as such. Out of a formlessness and emptiness, God created matter and began an ordered reality. As I reflect on the scale of what was happening, the kind of sovereignty and majesty surrounding God is quite breathtaking. But I also notice that after every time God creates, He also evaluates and pronounces it as being “good.” I realize that means God’s act of creation was a moral activity, and not merely an exercise in raw, comprehensive power. Behind all the raw movement of matter, God is creating because of goodness and for goodness. The first Beginning is an act of total goodness, and I think could be considered, an act of love. I just always imagined that the beginning of all beginnings was big, awesome, and powerful, as if God was flexing his cosmic muscles. Indeed it was. But going through Genesis 1 again, I see how each powerful act is in fact seated in a heart of love and goodness. “And God saw that it was good.” God was creating with purpose and intentionality, and by the end of creation, we see it is for man to steward and rule over. His creative force is not for in itself, but is surrounded in a moral language, that is for the good for us to enjoy and to entrust what He has created to us. Like a master artisan working on his work of art for many years, only to not keep the final product for himself, but give and entrust to a son or daughter to enjoy.

As I begin this new year, it is very fitting to consider once again where I have come from. Indeed, there have been many “realities” in my past that did not have to be there. Through many acts of God, both small and big, there are many things in my life that I have come to enjoy, that probably wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for God making them such. I think about my relationships within this body of Christ, as well as the blessing of a lot of good, meaningful work of ministry that I get to participate in. I think even my mind and my judgment today is a reality that God made possible. If it weren’t for God and His Word, I’d be going along the path that I was—just being preoccupied and anesthetized with frivolous entertainment options and worldly distractions.

Spiritually speaking, my Genesis 1 was my freshmen year in college, and looking back, it feels like God spoke many realities into place that would later flourish: a message at my first NSWN, my first birthday surprise party, or my first retreat where people took God’s Word seriously. I see God’s love in my life as He created these things in my life, because it didn’t have to be that way. So much of my life path up to that point was so much about me trying to create my own realities (and failing at such). Rather, much of what God created in my life, all the good things, from having people who love me to having my own family, these are all things God gave and made in my life, but also entrusted to me. God’s creative effort in my own life doesn’t end with me just receiving. But just as God’s vision for man was to have meaningful work stewarding and tending creation, so what I have received from God is really an entrustment, perhaps not too dissimilar from the cosmic entrustment of creation itself. Salvation being my greatest new beginning created by God is a gift and entrustment that I need to steward and tend to–to share God’s love to people in my life, and to participate with God to create salvation beginning in other’s lives. The high calling of man to rule over creation is thus mirrored as the high calling to love and minister on behalf of Christ in the people God placed in my life.

Personal Prayer:
Father, as I start this new year, I want to thank you and recognize what you have made possible in my life, not just in this past year with so many milestones and highlights I’ve been able to enjoy, but stretching all the way back when you took a wandering, restless college boy and made a new beginning in my life. You created realities that I enjoy now, in people and purpose, that I never thought would be possible when I was younger. I pray that with all you have entrusted to me, please give me strength this coming year to fully participate in your redemptive work, and to help start new similar beginnings in other people’s lives. As I look at my own life, I realize how many small beginnings took many years to grow to become tangible and recognizable. Lord, I want to be patient and faithful with the people I minister to that you have placed in my life.
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Submitted by Rosalin K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church
In the beginning, there was nothing. Only God existed. Therefore, God had to start from the beginning by separating light and darkness (day and night), then separating sky and land, and separating land and seas. Once he formed these basic elements, then he moved onto creating plants and trees on land, then he created sun, moon, and stars where time and different seasons can be tracked down. Then, he created birds, sea creatures, and then land creatures. At the end, God created human in the image of God himself to rule over all that he created. The order of his creation makes perfect sense even scientifically. Without day and night, without land and sea, without sky, sun, moon, and stars, the plants and trees, the living creatures on land, in seas, and in sky cannot survive. Without all these creations, man cannot survive. After every creation, God saw that “it was good.”

In the beginning, there were only basic elements for all his living creatures to survive. We had water, land, sky, sun, moon, stars and these were more than enough for us to increase in number and be fruitful. God provided all that we needed which were very basic things. We had plenty of fruit to eat from; we didn’t even have to grow them and we didn’t need shelter or clothing because those were unnecessary. To God everything that he created looked good in his eyes and I have no doubt that it must have been good even in Adam and Eve’s eyes. They had everything that they needed for their survival. They did not worry about what to eat and what to wear. In the beginning, God created all that was necessary for us to live without worrying about anything. Everything was good. However, as I think about how all that changed after sin entered our hearts, it saddens me as I see how much sin can destroy all that were good and caused grief, heartaches, and betrayal.

For me, I am thankful that I live in America one of the most developed country where we have everything that we need. However, I recognize the desires within myself wanting more than what I am already given. Consequently, I am unable to be thankful at all times and sometimes I am filled with complaints and greed. This hinders me from fully understanding what the beginning was like. It’s hard for me to imagine how there was nothing, but God created everything from the scratch and then he created man and woman. They did not need to look after themselves because they were well fed and they simply needed to rule over the creations–even that God probably guided them and worked with them. The fact that God actually made man and woman in his own image versus how he simply created other creatures makes humans to be very special. God wanted us to share in his creation even though we are part of his creation. God wanted us to rule over his creation and wanted us to be part of this world where we work together with God. His intention was for us to enjoy his creation together with him. However, sin entered our lives and we no longer shared his heart and design.

I experience this desire to want more on daily basis. I am finding myself wanting more than what I have—desiring more time to myself to indulge in my selfishness and laziness rather than sharing my time to minister to the younger sisters, peers, or to spend that time to reflect on the God’s Word so I am more prepared to fight against sin within me and sin outside of me. Even though I am thankful for all that I am given–such as an apartment, running water, two cars, a loving husband, a stable job, financial security, healthy parents, a loving community, higher education, etc.–I constantly have to fight against these desires to want more.

However, as I am being reminded of the beginning and how God created this world, I can understand God’s heart and I am being rebuked for these desires of wanting more. When God created this world, he thought through everything as he created this world so that I have everything I need. I simply need to be thankful for what I am given rather than focusing on what I want more. I need to practice being grateful daily for what I have. Also, when I shift focus away from myself to others, I find myself being less selfish and less lazy but more motivated to share God’s love and all that God has given to me and I find joy in sharing.

Personal Prayer
Dear heavenly Father, thank you so much for your love, grace, and mercy and all that you have given to me even though I really don’t deserve it. You created this world so that I will be content and I will be a part of your creation. I am thankful that you did not give up on me but you patiently pursued me so that I can experience being part of your creation in more personal way rather than indulging myself with my selfish desires and laziness. You created this world and it was good in your eyes. I pray that I will live my life and see that what you have provided is good. Please help me to fix my eyes on you and your work rather than indulging in my greed, selfishness, and laziness. Thank you so much. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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