God Bless(ed) You!
We naturally assume that it’s a good thing to be blessed. But, during my years in Texas, I realized that “bless” can have various nuances. If a Texan ever says to you, “Bless your heart,” that turns out not to be completely good. The phrase “Bless your heart” carries an assumption that something bad is happening in your life or that you’re a person with some kind of defect. “Bless your heart” might really mean “Bless your heart [because you just lost your job]” or “Bless you heart [because you don’t have any friends].”Read Post
The Image of God and Human Community
Each human being bears the image of God. This fundamental truth shapes our lives and relationships. It tells us that all human beings, including ourselves, have intrinsic worth and purpose.
Yet, as we pay close attention to Genesis 1:26-27, we see that God’s image is not revealed only through individual persons. The divine image is also seen in human community, especially the community represented by male and female.Read Post
Working with Divine Image Bearers
In yesterday’s reflection, we saw how the biblical story of each person bearing God’s image stood out in a culture that tended to reserve this image only for people of exceptional power. We began to consider how the fact that all people are created in God’s image might shape our behavior and challenge our own cultural practices.Read Post
Seeing All People in Light of God’s Image
For those of us who are familiar with the Judeo-Christian tradition, the notion of human beings bearing God’s image is a familiar one. We may not grasp the implications of this astounding truth and may not live it out consistently, but we are not surprised to hear that all human beings are made in God’s own image.
This would not be true for the original audience of Genesis 1. In fact, that which we take for granted would have been stunning to them, not to mention transformational.Read Post
How Can I Be Like God?
In yesterday’s devotion, we began to consider the astounding truth that we are like God. God made human beings in God’s own image and likeness. Even though sin has tarnished that image, as we’ll see in Genesis 3, we still reflect and embody the divine image.
I mentioned yesterday that theologians differ considerably in their understanding of what God’s image actually entails. Some try to identify this image with certain human qualities, such as rationality or spirituality. Others see God’s image more holistically, represented by unified human beings.Read Post
An Astounding Likeness
Have you ever been told that you’re like someone else, someone you admire and respect, someone you’d love to be like? I had that experience many times while growing up. My family and I were members of Hollywood Presbyterian Church, where my Uncle Don was one of the pastors. People in the church would tell me I looked like Don, sounded like Don, and acted like Don. I took that as a supreme compliment because I thought my Uncle Don was just about the coolest person in the world. The notion that I was like Don delighted me and encouraged me to aspire to live a fruitful life for the kingdom, just as Don was doing.Read Post
For Believers Before Work, Part 3
Today, I finish my short devotional detour, in which Charles Wesley’s marvelous hymn, “For Believers Before Work” is our inspiration. Yesterday, we looked closely at the first three stanzas of this hymn. Today, we’ll be focusing on the last three. Tomorrow, we’ll return to Genesis.Read Post
For Believers Before Work, Part 2
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I explained that I’m taking a short, three-day detour from Genesis in order to share a wonderful hymn about God and work. “For Believers Before Work,” also known as “Forth in Thy/Your Name,” was written by Charles Wesley in 1749. It offers a moving prayer of dedication to God as we think about and commence our daily work.Read Post
For Believers Before Work, Part 1
In the seven-plus years during which I have been writing daily devotions, I almost always work my way incrementally through a book of Scripture. These days, as you know, I’m moving slowly through Genesis. But, every now and then, I have interrupted my standard procedure to share with my readers something of unusual interest. I’m doing this today and for a couple more days as well. We’ll get back to Genesis on Wednesday.Read Post
A New Twist in the Story of Creation
Today, we encounter a new twist in the story of creation found in Genesis 1. Throughout the first twenty-five verses we have seen a fairly consistent narrative style. God says “Let there be” and whatever God has spoken comes into existence: light, dome, waters, vegetation, sun, moon, living creatures in sea and sky, living creatures on the earth.
But verse 26 breaks the pattern….
Did God Create Godzilla?
When I read Genesis 1:21 in the New Revised Standard Version, I must confess that something quickens inside of me. The fact that God created “the great sea monsters” awakens my boyhood fascination with monsters, especially the notorious King of the Monsters, Godzilla. Though devastatingly powerful on land, Godzilla was an ancient sea monster awakened by nuclear radiation. With fearsome might, he could break ships into bits or ravage Tokyo (which seemed to be his favorite pastime). The horrifying sight or iconic sound of Godzilla would send the crowds fleeing for their lives, hoping to avoid certain destruction.Read Post
Partners with the God of Peaches
In yesterday’s devotion, we reflected on the fact that God created fruit, such as the delicious peaches grown in the Texas Hill Country. Every single peach from this region reflects God’s design and creative power. Yet, God does not work alone to grow peaches, though I suppose that wild peaches exist somewhere. The vast majority of peaches, however, including those grown in Texas, are the result of God’s creative power and plenty of human effort.Read Post