Devotions for September 7-13 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
“Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7)
Cal ran the pieces of lumber through the saw and the router. He handled each piece gently, admiring its color, grain and texture. Running sandpaper along the grain of the wood he wore down the rough edges until the wood was as smooth as glass. Cal fastened the pieces together with screws and glue. Holding it up and turning it around he admired the horse that he had crafted. “My grandson is going to love this,” he thought to himself.
The Lord, the divine craftsman, is at work. He takes the sawdust from his creation, forms it and breathes life into it. Like all of God’s creation this new work, which he calls man (or humankind), is a wonder to behold. This new being is not an accidental side effect of creation. The Lord, rather, intentionally created humankind for a specific purpose, and the Lord is pleased with God’s creation.
No matter what our situation is in life, we have been lovingly, intentionally created. We are not an accident even though we may not have been planned. The Lord has formed us and breathed life into us. We are God’s people.
Creator God, thank you for making us who we are. Empower us to use our gifts and talents to honor you and to serve others. Amen.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed” (Genesis 2:8).
Five year-old Lolita ran up to her mother, hugged her and presented her with a picture of Lolita and her mother at a park. “I love you mama,” she said. Sam Jenkins presented his wife with a dozen, long stem roses for their anniversary. Sam’s wife, Camille took him out to a fancy restaurant. We demonstrate our love for each other in a variety of ways.
The writer of Genesis tells us that God created a beautiful garden and placed Adam in it. God wanted to show God’s love to Adam. Wherever Adam walked Adam could see a sign of God’s love and provision. When Adam bit into a succulent pear or popped a juicy grape in his mouth he was reminded of God’s love.
God loves us. We see that in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We also see it wherever we look in creation.
Loving Lord, thank you for your love. Grant us opportunities to share that love with others today. Amen.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
“Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9).
Imagine a world that was only black and white, had only one scent, sound was monotone and there was only one food source—broccoli. Yuck! What a boring and uninteresting world that would be. Creation could have been like that, but it isn’t. God created a world with a full palate of colors, scents that range from aromatic to foul, and a symphony of sound. We eat a variety of plants and animals that are too numerous to count. God is a God of variety and abundance.
God is not a utilitarian God, who only provides us with the basic necessities of life. Certainly we would have been thankful for life’s basic provisions. Life isn’t like that, though. We have been blessed with a full life; a life with astounding variety and abundance. This is another way that God tells us that we are loved.
Creator of Beauty, the work of your hands is beyond our imagination. Grant that we may savor the wonders of creation and properly care for it. Amen.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
“The Lord God took man and put him in the garden to till and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
Frank Logan and Lorenzo Lopez began a landscaping business together. Frank was good with the financial side of the business. He also had a gift for leading the work crews and motivating them to complete the jobs efficiently. Lorenzo was a genius when it came to imagining what a piece of land could look like. He won several awards for his creative landscape design. Together Frank and Lorenzo ran a successful business. It would not have been half as successful if it wasn’t for their partnership.
When God created humankind, God created us for partnership. Adam was placed in the garden to till it. A pattern was set. God creates and we are charged to care for creation. The Lord is present and active in the world today. Most of the time, however, God’s presence on earth is expressed through the words and actions of God’s people.
Today as we walk in faith, we have the opportunity to walk in partnership with God. Empowered by the Holy Spirit we share God’s love, extend God’s grace and proclaim God’s forgiveness in our words and through our actions.
God of Wonder, we thank you that you have created us to be in partnership with you. Use us to minister to the needs of others. Amen
Friday, September 11, 2015
“And the Lord God commanded man … but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Genesis 2:16-17).
“Be back by 11:00,” her father called as Callie ran out the door to go to a party with her friends. Callie seethed. She hated curfews. It didn’t seem like any of her friends had curfews, or if they did their curfews were much later than hers. A couple of the kids brought liquor to the party and a few others snuck in some weed. Callie didn’t care for either so she kept her glass filled with soda. Many others, though, enjoyed both and it wasn’t too long before many were high or stoned. After fending off several advances from drunk boys, Callie arranged for a ride home saying that she had a curfew she had to honor. A few hours later, when Callie was asleep in her bed, the party was raided by the police.
We all buck at rules and regulations. We want our freedom. Most rules, though, are formed out of love and concern. The Lord gave Adam an amazing garden in which to live. The trees were beautiful and good to eat. Adam was only forbidden to eat from one tree. It was that tree that caught his attention. Instead of enjoying all the freedom that he had, Adam chose to lament the one restriction that he had been given.
There is so much that we can do. We can enjoy, celebrate and give thanks. We can love, forgive and share. When we concentrate on what we can do, we are not as tempted to rebel against what we can’t do.
Abba Father, like a loving parent you instruct us, guide us and give us rules to live by. Forgive us when we rebel against those rules and help us to focus on all that we can do to love you and serve our neighbor. Amen.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
“It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18)
To say the least Jill was surprised when she entered her apartment. Her friends had gathered to surprise her with a birthday party. Throughout the evening Jill was amazed by all of the friends with whom she had been blessed and the degree of their love for her. The Alvarez family was astounded at the level of support they received from the members of their congregation, when the congregation learned that their husband and father, Jose, had cancer. Little Timmy Johnson was thankful for the help that he received from his friends in warding off a bully.
John Donne wrote, “No man is an Island, entire of itself.” He was stating a fact that we are social beings. We are meant to be a part of a community. God realized this and set about making Adam a partner and eventually a community.
We can be thankful for our independence and our own gifts and talents. Our life is fuller, though, when we share our gifts with others and they share their gifts with us.
Oh Three in One, we thank you for the family and friends with which we have been blessed. Help us to be as great a friend to them as they have been to us. Amen.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
“The rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a women and brought her to man” (Genesis 2:22).
It is hard to keep from laughing when reading Genesis 2. God has decided that Adam needs a companion. So, God set out by making several companion possibilities. Elephants, cougars, monkeys and kangaroos to name a few. Sometimes God seemed to be successful, like with the dog and perhaps the cat. At other times, not so much alligators, wolverines and skunks never turned out to be good companions. So God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and while Adam slept God took a rib and created Eve.
This isn’t a story about who’s superior or who came first. It is a story about companionship. There was an intimate connection between Adam and Eve, yet the two of them were also different. They didn’t live as master and servant but as equals. Like all companions and friends they had to learn how to celebrate (and put up with) both their likenesses and their differences.
It is a wonderful gift to find someone who is a part of us and who will be a companion with us through life. Some of us don’t receive this gift. Instead we receive the gift of friends. Some of them are close to us, while others are not so close. Some friends last a lifetime, others only a breath of time. Whatever the situation we are a part of each other. We are the same and at the same time very different. And, we are gifts and gifted.
Ever Present Lord, Thank you that we do not go through life alone. We have your Spirit within us, and we have the gifts of spouse, family and friends. Amen.