The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8
It might feel a little harsh that everything except those in the ark were utterly and completely destroyed at the hand of God. Sin is a big deal to God and He doesn’t look on it lightly. It separates us from Him. It keeps us from living our best lives.
But there is another truth about God: He is slow to anger. He is merciful and gracious. He is patient with us. He has given us space and time to come to Him in our own free will. He knows we will mess up and we can’t fix things – fix sin – on our own. God wants us to come to Him and be reconciled. So much so that as God’s story unfolds, we will see He sends His Son to die to make the sin payment for us.
A time is coming when Jesus will return again and all will be judged; all those who have not accepted His payment for sin on their behalf will receive the punishment upon themselves. Sometimes we may wish for Jesus to hurry up His return to earth; to come quickly to defeat sin and suffering and death. But God is patient…for all those He loves who have yet to accept His gracious and merciful gift of salvation.
In our human nature, we are often quick to give up on things and people who continue to let us down. But God is patient.
God’s nature is love. He is abounding in STEADFAST – unwavering, unfaltering, resolute, persistent, committed-- LOVE for me and for you…and for that person you are praying for who is currently far from Him. He hasn’t given up on you or them.
God’s love is not for some perfect future version of who we could be, but who we are right here and now. Don’t waste this time you have been given. He is patient, but it won’t last forever.
Questions: What would things look like if God was quick to anger? How does God’s patience in the present often keep us from having a sense of urgency about others knowing Him?
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
Not only did God create humans in His image and likeness, He uniquely created YOU. The way you look, your personality, your quirks, your talents…all of you. The God who created the universe fashioned you on purpose, for purpose.
Another truth about God is that He is omnipotent (ALL-POWERFUL). He has no limitations. There is nothing in existence that God doesn’t have power over. God is also omnipresent (ALL-PRESENT). He is everywhere all the time…past, present, and future. And God is omniscient (ALL-KNOWING). There isn't a single thing that can be known, past, present, or future, that God isn't aware of.
You have free will to make decisions – good or bad. You choose. God doesn’t force you to do anything. God also already knows what you will do. The choices you will make and the choices others will make that impact you. He sees it all. He is never surprised by anything.
God knew you long before you were born. Nothing is hidden from Him. All of your days are known to Him. Knowing everything, He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Fearfully… as in with awe, the root of awesome.
YOU are created exactly how a perfect God created you for the life and plans set before you...and God doesn’t make mistakes.
Questions: Does it freak you out a little or give you comfort that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present? Do you believe you are fearfully and wonderfully made just the way you are? When you are tempted to feel down on yourself, whisper to yourself, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and God doesn’t make mistakes.”
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26a,27
When you look in the mirror, do you see the image and likeness of God? You should! This is how God created you.
When you look around at those you interact with each day, do you see the image and likeness of God? You should! This is also how God created them.
Did you catch how the words of God begin this declaration? “Let us…”
Who is the us?
Another truth about God is He is one God in three persons…God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
These three were there in One from the beginning. God is community. We were created for community to support and rely on one another. We weren’t created to do this life alone. It is hard and we need each other. Sometimes we will be the one encouraging and sometimes we will be the one being encouraged.
Man was the last thing that was created on the sixth day. When all other created things and beings were made, God declared it, “good.” When man was created and added to the world, God declared it, “very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
You are created in the image of God…and it is very good.
Challenge: The next time you have a disagreement with someone or they rub you the wrong way, take a minute to remind yourself that they are created in the image and likeness of God. Do you think this could help change your mindset about them?
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun… Psalm 19:1-4
First, God creates light. He separates the light from darkness, calling one day and one night. Though God has been around forever, this was the first day as we know it.
The verses that follow tell us He next created the atmosphere and divided it from the oceans (which He also created), He created land and divided it from the water, He created vegetation. The sun, moon, stars were created to fill the sky. He created creatures to fill the sky and water. Finally, He created creatures to fill the land, at which time man was created.
Incredibly God’s creation itself points to the glory of God and the beauty of His handiwork. It is a universal language with no speech or words or voice needed. It is declared throughout the world, whether in a crowded city or a remote village.
Though we speak different languages and have different cultures throughout the world, when we lay on the grass outside on a clear night -- no matter where we are -- we all look at the same moon and the same stars. We are all kept warm by the same sun. We are all formed by the same Creator.
Creation declares how big our God is, His masterful engineering, His exquisite artistry, and His unmatched goodness. Not with spoken language, but with colors, connection, order, and beauty. We get a glimpse of God when we take in His masterful creation.
Question: What about creation speaks the most clearly to you with regard to God’s glory and attributes?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning, God created…
The first two things we learn about God is that He has always been here and He is a Creator.
Before anything, God was here. Before atoms, dust, land, sky, water, stars, animals, humans... before it all, God was here.
The ways the things of the world are connected and work together is orderly and extensive. Creation is rich with intricate details, textures, colors, and smells. God is a creative Creator.
How would you decide what color something should be when there were no colors? Or what shape something would be when there was no form? Or what its purpose would be? How did God create everything from nothing?
God said, “Let there be…” (Genesis 1:3). God SPOKE things into existence. He imagined it, and with His WORD it was formed. Nothing is by accident.
What God says happens! His Word is powerful! This is a truth we can count on always.
If God can create beauty, form, and purpose out of nothing, He can create beauty and purpose out of even our messes and mistakes. He is the master Creator. Nothing is too big or too impossible for the Creator of all things who has always been and will always be.
Questions: Have you ever given thought to how everything was created or how something can be created out of nothing? What are some of the most creative aspects of God you see in the world around you? What do you think about the power of God’s Word?
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