Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. 4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. 6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. 7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” 8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
This first recorded covenant is extraordinary in so many ways.
Having restored his world after the disastrous destruction brought on it by sin, God begins with a blessing like the one that he first spoke over his creation in Genesis 1:22, 28. He again gives fruitfulness. He again gives us all plants as food. He extends this gift to include animals, but pairs it with a gift to the animals of fear of people. Like all his covenants, he gives far more than he asks.
It’s extraordinary for its breadth: it’s not just a covenant with Noah and his family – it covers all living things. All God’s covenants include the whole world but work through particular groups of people, including you and me. All living things are placed “into Noah’s hand” (translated here as “control”). This is a phrase that is used elsewhere to describe God’s care for his creation as well as his authority over it. We are given an extraordinary role caring for God’s world together with him.
Yet it also reaffirms our unique place in God’s world: uniquely made in God’s image. The word translated here as “likeness” also has includes his intention that we should represent him to his world. All the life he gives is to be respected, but God himself holds all living things accountable for the life he gives us.
Father, it’s so extraordinary that you establish relationship with us. It’s so extraordinary, Jesus, that you gave your life to save ours. It’s so extraordinary that you give us the role of working with you to care for your world, and to speak for you into your world.
Written by David Cornell
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[a] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. 22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
When was the last time you stopped and gave significant thanks to God for all He has done? So often we cry out to God in the middle of a crisis or drama, but when it’s over it’s often a sigh of relief rather than heartfelt thanks that is directed to God. Noah and his family had just survived the most serious crisis to face the earth. They could have been angry at God for the loss of all their friends and family, but instead they gave thanks and worship towards their Heavenly Father.
I am challenged to bring greater thankfulness into my life. Thanks to God that He is good, thanks that He never leaves or forsakes me, thanks that he sent his son to die for me, thanks that he walks every challenge with me. God responded to Noah’s act with kindness – I want inspire the kindness of God as well.
Heavenly Father thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you God for all you have done for mankind. I praise your Greatness and your mercy. In Jesus Name Amen.
Written by Christine Knight
8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. 6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. 13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.” 18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark.”
Have you ever thought God has forgotten you? You have prayed for days, weeks, months even years for a particular change in circumstances, perhaps for your healing, or a relationship or financial freedom. Let me assure you, you’re not alone in feeling like you are forgotten.
In our digital age, when everything must happen in the instant and to our satisfaction, we can get impatient, insistent with God and try to take things into our own hands. Alternately we become passive, not active in our believing for God to actually breakthrough undermining our prayerfulness and faith.
We read here that God ‘remembered’ Noah and the animals. Clearly, God was aware of what was happening for Noah, the earth and the animals. But a process of time needed to be completed. This passing of time can be the difficult to navigate as we so often do not know what is happening, which may be as natural a process as was happening here with the flood. But we should not think God has forgotten us. He has not forgotten us, He is awaiting the opportune time.
Father, help me to be expectantly patient, full of faith in the waits that I am currently experiencing prior to the deliverance You alone can bring.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in. 17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. 24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
What a fascinating part of the story. Noah was 600 years old, that’s 600 years of life being a certain predictable way, and now everything is about to change. The flood was not a gradual trickle, but it began on one pivotal day. Yes, God had warned Noah in advance to build the ark, but one day he lived on the earth, and the next day he abandoned the life he had known for 600 years and boarded an ark, not knowing exactly what the future would hold.
What was it like for Noah and his relatives? Was the noise of the rain and waters rising frightening? What was it like seeing everything you’d known disappear under water? Did they wonder what life ahead would look like? Or did Noah just trust God, trust in His goodness and protection and take one day at a time? Despite the chaos around them, did they look at the ark and feel the solidity of the timber around them and trust that the God who had gone to the effort of directing them to build an ark, would continue to take care of them?
It also amazes me that they would have had no idea that their story would be shared by billions of people, and be a source of encouragement for thousands of years… the God of the Universe was not only working with them, but was working through them.
Thank you God that you are the same God who delivered Noah from the flood. You will take care of me, and I can trust you. I can trust in your ability to protect me and your bigger picture purpose as well, of which I may never fully comprehend in this life. Holy Spirit, please help me to trust in your greatness, your love, your faithfulness and your goodness. Amen.
Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh
7 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
For those of us who grew up going to church, the story of Noah is so very familiar. Trying to read it with fresh eyes, I can see how this narrative may seem hard to believe for some.
But at its heart, Noah’s story is a picture of faith. In Hebrews 11:7 we read,
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”
The verse in Hebrews 11:6, just prior to this, tells us that “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him”.
We walk by faith and not by sight. If I try to base my life on what I can see and understand, I will be severely hampered by my own limited abilities to see.
Faith in God has guided my life for as long as I can remember. Of course I do not have all of the answers to life’s big questions (and many of the small ones for that matter), but faith in God has given me a solid foundation, deep meaning and purpose and hope for the future.
The benefits of faith have been immense and far too many to recount here, but I can absolutely testify of the rewards of a life of seeking God, and I am so very grateful.
Written by Shelley Witt
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
This passage begins by telling us how God saw the earth – it had become corrupt. Because everyone on earth was corrupt, God was going to wipe out everyone, except for Noah and his family. But here is the catch, God’s plan to start again was radical. He told Noah to build a boat because he was going to cover the earth with a flood. Noah may have seen boats before, we don’t know. But there had never been a flood, there had never even been rain.
What was Noah’s response to this plan? V22 tells us that Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Complete obedience. Not partial, not mostly, not similar but complete obedience.
Our times are not too different to the times of Noah, corruption and violence everywhere. God’s plan for our lives, may not be as radical as building a boat, but it is to live according to God’s way. It’s easy to compromise, to not be complete in our obedience to God. But when surrounded by corruption, does complete obedience really matter? Yes, it does. There is only one plan, only one salvation, only one way to live as God tells us too.
Noah’s complete obedience saved not only himself, but his whole family, and from this the whole world. We benefit from Noah’s obedience to God’s command. When I obey God completely, there is a benefit not only to me, but it also extends, not just to my family, but those around me. I don’t always get it right, but by God’s work within me I am trusting him more and more.
Father, I thank you for the pattern of obedience that has been set by people around me. Help me to completely obey you as well.
Written by Andrew Martin
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. 9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
How interesting that Noah was the only human on the earth that God was pleased with. I can understand how God could look at the world then (and now) and be so grieved by the capacity humans have for cruelty, manipulation & selfishness. Yet what was it about Noah that made him stand out? There’s no way he was sinless – his humanity would have discounted him from perfection for sure. However verses 8-9 tell us that Noah indeed found favour and that he walked faithfully with God.
The idea of favour from God is based on His unmerited grace, which Noah received because he was faithful to God in the day to day. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Noah to stay on a godly path when everyone else around him was not living righteously, yet he chose to live a life that was pleasing to God.
How important faithfulness is to God; it was the redeeming factor that saved Noah, and in the same way it is what God is searching for in you and I as He looks upon us. He knows we will never achieve perfection aside from through salvation in Christ. Yet He seeks for us to live in a way that honours Him in the choices we make.
God, help me to have the same faithfulness to you that Noah had. Help me to cling to who you are and to how you want me to live, despite what the world around me may look like. Thank you for your continual unmerited grace. Amen.
Written by Ps Madelaine Tarasenko
6 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
Is the bible really true? Is it infallible? Is it really God’s word?
Occasionally, I get the honour and the privilege to have an open conversation with someone who is a biblical skeptic. People have all sorts of reasons not to believe in God, but one of the reasons that some people choose not to follow Christ is because they find a problems with the Bible.
My observation is that if someone has a problem with one part of scripture, this causes them to call into question all of scripture. Since The Bible is a foundation of Christian faith, if they can’t believe what the Bible says, they will refuse to believe in God.
Today’s passage is one that contains a narrative that is quite challenging to understand, and also elements that are hard to grapple with if you see the Bible as a factual-historical text.
For me, I enjoy the challenge that these sections of the Bible bring. When I read this passage, I am motivated to seek God and to understand what was going on at the time of the Nephilim? Who were the sons of God? What is God saying to me about my life and my family and my church through this passage?
Lord, thanks for your Word, with its intricacies and complexities. Lord I trust in your word, and I recognise all the evidence that supports that it is reliable and true, even though there are many passages like this one that don’t line up with the anthropological history of humankind in the Bible. Lord help me to be motivated to always seek to reconcile science and history with faith, but also bring me peace in the tension, and keep me motivated by love for other people.
Written by Ps Justin Ware
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died. 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah[a] and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died. 32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Have you ever wondered about your family genealogy? Wondered what your distant relatives were like? Wondered how they lived and what life might have been like for them?
Well this passage is an old genealogy where we get a glimpse of life for Lamech. We hear his prayer and the naming of his son Noah. Lamech chose this name as “Noah” sounded like the word for relief or comfort. Lamech had plans for Noah: he needed a son to help with their hard work of farming.
However, while Lamech had a purpose in having a son, God’s plans and purposes for Noah were much broader. In the coming passages, we see that God had a bigger purpose for “relief” (salvation?) through Noah’s life.
As I read this passage, I am reminded that God’s plans and purposes for my life go way beyond what I see or imagine and that my life plays a part in God’s great story. I am reminded that I am created on purpose which goes way beyond my plan, my parents plan, and even the enemy’s plan. God’s plan for me is beyond the here and now, and beyond what I can see.
I wonder how many of my prayers are small and limited to my immediate situation?
Father, help me to live beyond the realm of here and now, beyond my situation and to trust Your plans and purposes instead. May I not try to make You fit into my life, but remember that I play a part in Your plans and purposes.
Written by Gab Martin
5 This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died. 6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. 7 After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died. 9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died. 12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died. 15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died. 18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
What does “walking with God faithfully” look like I wonder? What was it about Enoch that so captured God’s attention?
I don’t have a definitive answer… but one word stands (or part of one word) – faith. It was HOW he walked with God. FAITHfully. God loves faith. He loves it! I can’t please Him without it (See Hebrews 11:6). Jesus was blown away when people displayed it (see Luke 7:9). He loves it when I say “I don’t understand but I KNOW God is good – He won’t let me down!” I wonder if Enoch, like no other, trusted God and refused to entertain any other thought. His God is real. His God loves him. His God will not fail him. His God was his closest friend. No wonder God took him!
Father God, please help me walk faithfully with you like Enoch did. And to trust you no matter what. Amen
Written by Boudy VanNoppen
17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” 25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.
This passage is hard to understand, however if you read all of Genesis 4 it is evident the violent nature of Cain was passed down the family lineage to Lamech who boasted that any wrong-doing against him would be meet with great vengeance. Seventy-seven times to be exact.
V23-24 was in fact a poem known as the ‘Song of the Sword’ and was a warning that there was no forgiveness to be found if you transgressed against Lamech.
Regarding wrong-doing against a person the ‘Law of Moses’ taught there was to be an ‘eye for an eye’ meaning punishment should be in proportion to the crime. However, Jesus taught that for God’s people forgiveness is the only response to wrong-doing. In Matthew 18:21,22 and referring to the ‘Song of the Sword’ Jesus said we are to forgive seventy-seven times when a person sins against us.
I don’t know about you, but I am just not that forgiving, and in fact I don’t think anyone is that forgiving unless God has first empowered them. It certainly takes practice to forgive others.
So, how forgiving are you? Will you forgive the small stuff, can you forgive the big stuff?
Look for an opportunity to practice forgiveness today. It doesn’t have to be big, but it does have to be genuine.
Lord, I ask you today, in the same way you have forgiven us of our misdeeds against you, please empower us to forgive those who have done wrong against us.
Written by David Newton
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
I see two distinct results from Cain’s sin. His identity is forever affected, and his access to the presence of God rescinded. He is forever now a “restless wanderer” and he is “hidden” from the presence of God. His fate is hard to bear for him. Sins sentence upon Cain’s life is terrible. I wonder how much of this can be in principle applied to the effect of sin upon us all?
I am given fresh awareness that sin affects my identity, and in a very harsh and destructive way. Sin makes restless wanderer’s of us all. Sin also affects my intimacy with God – sin affects my sense of His presence. It’s so true of my experience that when I know the path of sin has been my path of choice, immediate feelings of separation from the Almighty descend upon me. And finally, I am made aware that sins sentence is terribly harsh. Given the deceitfulness of sin, it is helpful to have such stark passages as this one to remind me that in no way is sin my friend. Sin is a harsh and destructive foe. I must set myself up against my sin tendencies, and protect myself against my sin temptations. I do not want to entertain, nor invite into my life, that which makes me a restless, Godless, and overwhelmed lonely soul.
Lord, I thank you that such stories as Cain’s here are given to us as warning to us. I am warned to keep vigilant regarding temptation and sin-weakness in my life. Sin is a vile master, and a foe. Lord, grant me Your never failing grace for the fight. I thank you that in Jesus I am no longer under sins tyranny, but Graces regal rule. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
4 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
I have always wondered what the difference between Abel and Cain’s offerings were? What made one pleasing to God and what made one not pleasing to God? Cain’s worship was not acceptable, whereas Abel’s worship was. The difference between the two offerings is not clear in the passage in an explicit sense. Was it that Cain’s offering was not accepted because it was not a blood sacrifice – there is no evidence for this and it seems that both offerings, in themselves, were acceptable. Cain’s offering of “fruits of the soil” (v.3) was as appropriate for his occupation as Abel’s “firstborn of his flock” (v.4) was for his occupation as a shepherd it seems to me. So I do not think it is the offering that was acceptable or not. It seems to me I should look deeper at the attitude of the giver rather than adequacy of the gift. Whatever the cause of God’s rejection of Cain’s offering, Cain’s response was twofold: (1) anger against God and (2) anger against his brother. This shows something of Cain’s heart.
I am struck by the heart of Cain. What is in my heart? Am I open hearted to God and to others. Do I truly love the Lord with all my heart or do I bring ‘offerings’ that are actually unacceptable because of a bad attitude.
Father, keep my heart clean before You – give me courage to be truly open to You.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” 20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
This passage of Scripture outlines the consequences of sin for mankind. Sin entering the world changed everything particularly the relationship between God and man.
Reading this passage is a healthy reminder to never take sin lightly. Christians have their relationship with God restored through the death and resurrection of Jesus. When believers fall short or sin we can seek forgiveness and God is faithful to grant it, nevertheless it is worth understanding what sin does.
It is also a good lesson in confessing sin to God sooner rather than later so the above can be reversed and look something like this:
Dear Lord, thank you for sending your son Jesus to die on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven and our relationship restored.
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Sin breaks our intimacy with God and has a very high cost. Before Adam and Eve took and ate the fruit they were in an intimate relationship with God. They felt no shame before Him or before each other. This sin not only resulted in the loss of intimacy with God but also with each other. When we sin we can feel unworthy or ashamed to come before God. When our sin is exposed we want to cover up and not let God or others know what we’ve done. We don’t want this sin to be exposed before others or before God. But God doesn’t want us to cover up – He wants to restore relationship with us. We can come back into His intimate embrace because of what Christ has done. There is no condemnation when we are followers of Christ. There is no shame. Take off the fig leaves of shame and walk in intimate relationship with God.
My Father, I come to you in repentance of my sins. I come to you no longer ashamed but claim the victory that Christ has over my sins. How amazing Lord that nothing can separate me from your love. You know me and you love me. I praise you for your faithfulness and eternal love for me. Amen
Written by Meredith O’Neill
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
What a beautiful picture is presented by these 2 verses. A world before sin, and the intimate relationship between man and God, where man is entrusted with the creation so lovingly made by God.
The focus is on provision, of having all you could need. “You are free to eat of any tree in the garden…”v16.
I wondered about this fruit, not just physical food but spiritual as well. V 9 shows that pride of place was taken by 2 trees, the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The consequence of eating from that tree was death. So you could say it was the tree of death.
When I “eat from the tree of life” I am living in relationship with God as he intended. The fruit of the tree of life to be picked is:
All these are healthy life giving fruit that fill up my spirit.
Then I wont be hungry for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I wont be hungry to disobey God. My appetite will be satisfied by Him.
Thank you heavenly Father. You know just what I need and you have provided. Fill me with the fruit of life.
Written by Claire Moore
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
This is not about geography. We’re not sure what the Pishon is, but the other rivers are nowhere near each other. They are all the most significant rivers in the Middle East: they are where major civilizations began because they bring life giving water into dry places. They bring fertility and prosperity – not just enough: they each flood to bring an excessive bounty. Here we have a picture of abundant life and sustenance and blessing and prosperity flowing from the place where God is, to be a generous blessing to the whole world.
It reminds me of the vision in Ezekiel 47:1-12 of a river flowing out from the temple (again the place of God’s presence) to bless the whole world. It starts as a trickle and builds into a flood, cleaning what is poisoned (the Dead Sea), giving life to what is dead and making what is barren fruitful. God takes Ezekiel right into that river of life, at first up to his ankles, then wading up to his knees, and then so deep he would have to swim to cross it.
Then Jesus tells us in John 7:37-39 that the He is the source of this blessing. All who believe in Jesus will have rivers of living water flowing out from them. That river of life is the Holy Spirit.
God’s overwhelming river of blessing, his Holy Spirit, flows out from his presence. As we immerse ourselves in him that river of life doesn’t just flow out to us, it flows through us to bless and give life to the whole world.
Oh Holy Spirit, don’t just flow – flood through me today. Bring life and blessing to all around me.
Written by David Cornell
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. 8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God created us from dust. It is a simple enough thought but embedded in the text here is the sense of God crafting, moulding, making, shaping us and once happy with that shape – He breathed life into us and we lived. In Genesis 1 we read that God formed us in His image – meaning, at the very least, we are profoundly different from animals, indeed that we are not animals, as they are not so described. Here in Genesis 2 the very breath of God is breathed into us and as such this sense of difference from the animal kingdom is continued. This is not to diminish God’s creation of animals, but it is to remind us that we are different in essence from the animal kingdom, the Scripture records – “very good” as God’s stamp of approval on the creation of humankind not simply “good” as the descriptor of the animal kingdom and most facets of creation are described.
What does this mean to us – well it is not a place for pride or superiority as lords without stewardship. God has given to humankind the stewardship of the earth – made us in His image and breathed His life into us. This stewardship requires that we must give our best efforts to protect this planet and universe – God’s creation – as we are different from the rest of His creation and so enabled and emboldened to do His bidding.
Father may we do our best to steward Your creation in ways that bring honour to You.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
I don’t for a minute think that God really needed to rest, though we see here that He did once the heavens and earth were completed. As a good Father, he is modelling for us what He knew we would need, to rest. A Sabbath. A day that God himself has called holy. We can go and go and go, but if we do not rest, we will not thrive. Our bodies are hard-wired for down time and rest.
A day to honour God for our lives and all he has created, a day we can come to worship him and where better to do that than church. For a short while we come & stop; worship, reflect, reset our hearts, hear what the Holy Spirit is saying through the preaching/teaching of the Word to us. Time to be built up and encouraged by other believers. A day to honour God.
In our culture, Sunday is still set aside for this (though this is being eroded), if this is not possible then I need to make sure I find another time to do this. God himself has set this aside for us, Jesus honoured the Sabbath – as a believer I can’t do any less.
Lord thank you that you care so much for your creation, not just people, but all creatures and the land, that you have hard-wired us to need a rest day. Lord forgive me where I have not done this. Lord God I honour you today. Amen
Written by Suzie Hodgson
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
This passage of scripture tells us something very deep about who I am as a human and this identity connects me to every other human, past, present and future. We are all made ‘in the image of God’. I know God is not a human and does not share the same physical traits as myself. I know he has no beginning, no origin. Quickly it becomes apparent that I cannot understand this statement by working from humanity to God.
But if I work from God to humanity, it becomes a little clearer.
I am almost certain that sin is to understand ‘made in the image of God’ by starting with ‘self’ and working backwards to God.
Surely the right and good way is to allow God to define his ‘image’ over my life – through his Word, his Spirit and his Church.
Lord, press me into your image. Amen.
Written by Andrew Mellor
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
It’s hard for my modern mind to get around the repeated phrase, “And God said…and it was so.” That as God spoke, this universe came into being.
Words are cheap these days. There’s apparently 30 trillion words on the internet alone. So many words, so many that I have no connection with, value for, or understanding of.
God’s words are not cheap at all. God’s spoken word has made Galaxies like our Milky Way, and birds like the eagle, and animals like the African lion. Wow God, when you speak, magnificent things come into existence.
Lord, let me hear your voice for the magnificent that you unlock and create when you speak. In me. In those around me. And in the world today. Hallelujah!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
The existence of the earth and all creation was always a deliberate choice- nothing that is here as part of this amazing and complex planet is a matter of random chance. I love the intentional way that God creates, structured and ordered. The rhythm of creation is there right from the start- light and dark, earth and sky, day and night. There are times when I am caught up in the hectic pace of my life and it brings me perspective to remember I am part of something much bigger that has been that way since the beginning of time.
Lastly I am struck by the sense of fruitfulness that springs from creation. God could have stopped at the creation of beautiful scenery, but He didn’t because he knew there was even better to come. A reminder to me that my life, like all of creation, is intended to be fruitful. Fruitfulness will come in different seasons and that’s the way God intended. It’s ok if I have a bit of a ‘dry patch’ so long as I keep moving forward towards the next season.
Heavenly Father never let me forget your power and might. Help me Father to rest in the rhythm of life that is your design. Help to be fruitful in all aspects of my life. In Jesus Name Amen.
Written by Christine Knight
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
I can remember about 12 years ago when I was having a particularly difficult time, I would keep going over and over the hurts, difficulties and struggles that seemingly were ‘tied’ to me. I found that I just couldn’t let them go and find freedom. I remember my Pastor calling me one day and giving me this scripture.
She said to me “Sue, you cannot look at others. You cannot compare yourself or wonder why their life is like one thing and yours another. “You must still keep on following me!” Another version says “YOU – Follow Me”.
I learnt from that moment that if we live a life of comparison we will forever be looking around rather than straight ahead at Jesus. We will be looking at others and driven by comparison and not find rest in Him.
When we Follow Him – our eyes are focussed on Him; His purpose – therefore My purpose; His calling – therefore MY calling; His future – therefore MY future.
If you struggle with comparison like Peter did and like I did, I encourage you to hear Jesus afresh to you today – and Follow Him. Focus your eyes on HIM and He will come into focus and light your way.
Lord, I pray that for each of us we would not look to others, to the right or to the left – but to YOU. Help each one of us today to break free from the bondage of performance and enter the freedom of calling.
Written by Ps. Sue Botta
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Most people familiar with the Bible know this passage is a companion scripture for John 18:15-27. These two scriptures tell the story of how Peter completely abandoned Jesus at a critical moment in history and yet was restored to relationship after Jesus’s resurrection. This was an amazing act of forgiveness and reconciliation that would see Peter become a major influence in the New Testament church.
I understand Peter had a special calling, but this has left me wondering if this passage reveals the right motives for service in the kingdom of God. For each time Peter denied knowing Jesus, Jesus required from Peter a declaration of love and a practical way for Peter to demonstrate it.
From a deep sense of gratitude for Jesus’s forgiveness and a knowledge his own weaknesses and failures Peter was able to commit himself to a lifetime of service to God. Out of weakness came not only the ability to stay the course in his own life but the ability to strengthen others in their faith (read Luke 22:32).
This has left me wondering about my own motives for service. Am I serving from a deep sense of appreciation and are my weaknesses being turned to strengths that can serve others?
Lord, I ask you help us establish the right motives in our efforts to serve your people.
Written by David Newton
21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
This is a familiar post resurrection story. Peter and a few disciples decided to go fishing but they don’t catch anything. Nothing. We are also told that this is the third time that Jesus had appeared to his disciples.
Not the first time, but the third time. And this time, Jesus finds them fishing for fish.
It would be easy to think that Jesus could have told them off, for being in the boat fishing for fish and not doing what he had trained them to be and that was to be fishers of men. But that is not how Jesus talks to us. He doesn’t say to us, “how many times do I have to tell you…?”
Instead, Jesus sees them, sees their struggle – they haven’t caught anything at all. He reveals himself to them AGAIN as their provider and fills their nets. He also prepares breakfast for them on the beach.
Jesus doesn’t talk to us as we think we deserve, instead in his great love for us, he talks to us as we need to hear. When we make mistakes, he isn’t yelling at us, he is loving us. He doesn’t turn away from us, he stays with us and provides for us, whatever that could be, even breakfast on the beach.
Jesus, thank you for loving us, for being patient with us, and always speaking to us as we need even when we think we don’t deserve it.
Written by Andrew Martin
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Jesus Appears to Thomas 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
In response to the disciples telling Thomas about their experience with Jesus, Thomas says “Unless I see… I will not believe” (vs 25). It can be easy to read this and think, “why would he doubt the disciples, why wouldn’t he believe, does he not know the power of God?” But as I think about this passage, I could have easily had the same response if it were me.
How often do we wait till we’ve seen the miracle before we have complete trust and confidence in God? I know I can sometimes find myself seeking God and asking Him for things, but find much greater confidence when He answers my prayers. Jesus profoundly says, “…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (vs 29). Whilst I believe in Jesus by faith and not sight, I am challenged to think about how I approach Him day to day, and how often I think “unless I see I will not believe” this can happen.
Dear God, thank You for Your grace and love. I pray that You would help me today to have complete trust and confidence in You, in all that I bring before You. In Jesus’ Name.
Written by Ps. Laura Samperi
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Mary is deeply distressed and confused because she does not know where Jesus’ body has been taken. In the midst of this Jesus appears to her, replacing her distress with joy and her confusion with peace. I can hear the joy and hope in her voice as she declares to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”
Jesus longs to do the same for me, that I would seek Him and invite Him into my distress and confusion, and trust Him to bring me joy and peace.
Jesus, please forgive me for all the times I have sought to bury my distress and confusion, or manufacture peace myself. Help me to quickly bring my distress and confusion before you, and trust that you will bring me joy and peace. Amen.
Written by Ps. Beth Waugh
20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Here we are right in the middle of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Mary Magdalene has gone to the tomb where Jesus has been buried but He is not there. She thinks someone has taken Him. Finding Simon Peter and John, Mary tells them what has happened. Both men run to the tomb to see for themselves what Mary has been talking about. And it is just as she said: He is not there.
They are caught in the middle of a situation that doesn’t make sense to them. They each have very different responses.
Mary goes outside and cries. For her, all hope is gone.
Peter goes home. He’s probably feeling deflated and wondering what he can do to fix it.
John believes. He remembers what Jesus has said about being raised again. More accurately, the Holy Spirit reminds him of what Jesus has said.
When I read this, I cannot help but think about my own response when I’m in the middle of something I do not fully understand. Do I cry? Most often. Do I go home and try to think about what I can do? Again, most often. I need to be more like John and be reminded. To pause and think back to what Jesus has told me.
Holy Spirit, when I am caught in situations where I don’t know what to do or fully understand all that is going on, help me to focus on Jesus and remind me of what He has said to me.
Written by Gab Martin
Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
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Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford
NSW, Australia 2118