Posts tagged with: Genesis

My Parents at their Wedding in 1941 © The Chi Family

Truth and Institutional Evil – Part I

One of the foundational assertions of Scripture is that all human beings are created in God’s image. There are no privileged races or individuals in God’s eyes. That declaration was a radical challenge to the power of Pharaoh in Egypt during Israel’s enslavement, as it was to the Nazi regime in my parents’ day, and as it is to the power of structural racism in our generation. What will we do with that truth now?

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A beautiful red flower against green leaves.

And God Saw That It Was Good

All humans are made in the image of God—a God who exists in perfect community. No human can deny that the image of God exists in anyone else. No human can exclude another from God’s beloved community.

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highway road sign that says stay home

Life in Lockdown: Created for Community

The people I talk to these days express a variety of emotions when it comes to the lockdown. Those who live alone often feel isolated and lonely, cut off from the human interaction they love and need. They are wishing desperately for the chance to hang out with other folks or exchange a hug or two. The people who are sheltering with family or roommates, in addition to longing for diverse human interaction, may also be feeling trapped with people who are driving them a bit crazy.

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Vocational Gratitude: Fall

We’ve all done it. Someone does something that offends us and they come to apologize. And, we say something like, “Oh, never mind. It’s ok.” We’re trying to make the other person feel better by saying that what he or she did didn’t really matter. But of course, that’s not really the case. It did matter. At least, it did to us. And, when we take that tack, we’ve missed something important.

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Graffitti art of a person silenced and unseeing.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Cain’s response to God’s question regarding Abel’s whereabouts was troubling for so many reasons. Obviously the murder of one brother by another was a violation of God’s order (as he would later outline through the law). Yet there was another subtle and destructive concept that was played out here… selfishness. After committing a transgression against his brother, Cain essentially declares, “What do I have to do with my brother’s well-being?” or put in another way “Not my problem”. What a bold assertion from a person who had taken the life of another person, even his own brother.

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Two people hiking up a tall mountain.

Transformational Leaders Lead by Faith

If I may be honest, as a leader, I struggle with leading by faith. I don’t always mind the faith trials that are just between God and me. At least in these scenarios, my losses are directly tied to personal calculations that I was willing to absorb—I knew what I was getting into. Leading by faith can feel overwhelming because the decisions we make in faith have very real impacts on the people who follow us.

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Mountains around Abraham Lake in Canada

Moving, the Unknown and Self-Discovery

Following the Lord just might move you from a place of familiarity and onto a transformational journey filled with uncertainty and discomfort.
Abram (later named Abraham) set out for a foreign land and fulfilled a mission that God had given him and his family. Leaving the familiarity of Ur, and later Haran, must have been difficult. Notice how the text doesn’t record the Lord specifying the destination to Abram, though we know it to be Canaan from our vantage point thousands of years later. It is even more challenging to follow God when we aren’t told where we’re headed but simply commanded to “go.”

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A trailer driving along a road in the early fall

Ordinary Time

Their conversation was drowned out by the wind and the sound of the sea and the call of seagulls overhead. If I close my eyes right now, I can take myself right back there. And I know, without being there, that the wind is still blowing, the sea is still churning, and the gulls are still calling out to one another. I know it, even though I cannot see it. Thanks be to God.

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Holy Week and Work: Work Restored

Because of the cross, the day will come when creation is restored and renewed. In that day, we will experience work as God intended it to be. That is part of our future hope in Christ.

But then something happened to corrupt the goodness of work. Sin happened.

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A sleeping cat.

Creating Rest

For as much as we like to look at the work God has done, do we also recognize him as the God who rests—as the God who knows the value and necessity of rest? In our working lives, no matter what we do, do we value our own rest? Do we prioritize it, giving it equal respect as our work? I confess not being very good at this myself. Yet Genesis cements rest into the fabric of creation’s rhythms. Thank the Lord for that!

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A couple standing on a hilltop overlooking a city.

The Right Frame Makes All the Difference, Part 3

In the last couple of days, I have been reflecting with you on how the “frame” of Scripture helps us understand the Bible, and therefore our lives, more completely. In yesterday’s devotion, we noted how both the first creation in Genesis 1-2 and the new creation in Revelation 21-22 underscore the importance of the created world to God. And if God cares so much about creation, then certainly we should as well. Today, I want to consider the role of human beings in both creation stories.

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A town by a lake and mountain.

The Right Frame Makes All the Difference, Part 2

If we frame the biblical story with these verses and what follows, we will understand just how much God cares for his creation, including but not only human beings… The more we take seriously the Bible’s own frame, the more we will understand that this world matters, not just to us, but to God. God is not just in the business of getting human beings to heaven when we die. Rather, God wants the world he created and its inhabitants to flourish as much as possible.

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An empty frame held against an ocean landscape.

The Right Frame Makes All the Difference, Part 1

I believe that Christ died so that I might be forgiven and rose so that I might enter into the life of God. No events in history have a greater bearing on my life than the death and resurrection of Jesus. However, when I framed the biblical story mainly by the death-bringing events of Genesis 3 and the eternal-life-giving events of the Gospels, I missed much of the story of Scripture… My frame limited my vision, which also limited the way I lived each day.

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Baby shoes.

Names That Represent God’s Grace – Part 4

Last Friday, I told you the story of the naming of my son, Nathan. His name, which in Hebrew means “he has given,” represents God’s grace given to my wife and me after a long season of infertility. When Nathan was about a year old, Linda and I began to think about having another child. Given how long it had taken for us to get pregnant with Nathan and how much medical help we required, we assumed that it might be several years before we had a second child, if we were able to do so at all.

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A field of wheat.

Names That Represent God’s Grace – Part 3

Joseph named his second son Ephraim, explaining, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes.” The name “Ephraim” is rather like the Hebrew word meaning “made fertile” or “made fruitful.” This name represented God’s grace to Joseph that came in the form of astounding fruitfulness in Egypt… I’m struck by the last few words in Joseph’s explanation of Ephraim’s name. He could have stopped at “For God has made me fruitful.” Instead, however, he added “in the land of my misfortunes.”

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