Week 3 Devotional Thought
Let us make man in our own image.
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.
Elohim is the Hebrew word translated God in the very first sentence of the Bible. Elohim is the plural of El,or, “God.” So why is the name for God written in plural form? In fact, Elohim is used in the Bible more than 2500 times. The reason is obvious; God is one in three persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Again, who are the “us” in Genesis 1:26? Who was involved in making man and every living thing? John 1:1 tells us that, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God.” Later on in verse 14 we are told that the Word became flesh. Colossians 1:16 tells us that In Him (Jesus) all things were created; things visible and invisible. In other words, Jesus was with God in the beginning, creating and sustaining all things. Moreover, Genesis 1:2 reads, “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. So we have God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit involved in creation. What a wonderful picture of unity in diversity. Each member of the Godhead loving, encouraging, and supporting the other in perfect unity. Yet, this perfect community makes the decision to create us. Why? Was God lonely? That can’t be the reason because there was also a perfect community within the Trinity. Why then? Can I suggest the answer is, “Love.” The essence of the Godhead is love. See 1 John 4:16. Genuine love seeks to give itself away. While there was perfect love and community within the Trinity, God created us that He might give His love away, not out of want or need but out of essence. Love is simply who God is. You and I were created to love God and to love each other. When we do, we show ourselves to imagine the Creator. Jesus told us that loving God and loving our neighbor summed up the entire law of Moses. See Matthew 22:37-39. The hardships of our lives grant us unique opportunities to show the world how we truly love one another and in doing so we glorify God. In every hardship mentioned in this chapter, the most compelling aspect concerns the family of God coming around those in turmoil and assisting them in the fight of their lives. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, the hardships of our lives offer us the awesome opportunity to reflect the image of our Maker. Many will never see God until they see the people of God move out in compassion toward a world that is in desperate need. How are you doing with that?
1. What are the differences between how Christians and how the world defines “truth”?
2. What is meant by “objective truth” and “subjective truth?”
3. Both in this chapter and the previous one, Jeff reminded us: “If the God you worship likes all the same things you like and hates all the same things you hate, He is not God. The real God will contradict you at some point.” In what area of your life have you created God in your own image? You have convinced yourself that you are not violating a Godly command, but deep inside, you know you are. Your friends and family have pointed this out to you, but you respond with a defensive spirit. Are you willing to repent and turn away from the violation?
4. What habits are in your life that increase your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word? Reread Romans 12:1-2:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What are the two options listed? How can one have confidence that one’s thinking about God responds to the reality of what God is truly like and what He desires?
5. Can you explain the “jealousy” of God? Was Jeff’s explanation clear? What are you pursuing that can never deliver the intended reward? Is God frustrating your pursuits? Is there something you have worked so hard to achieve or take hold of to no avail? What is the idol in your life that is robbing you of Shalom?
6. In this chapter, Jeff mentions that fewer miracles occur in the modern world because we are hesitant to attribute glory to God. “The less glorified He is in us, the less He will deploy us for His purposes. The result is a meaningless, insignificant, boring life.” How can you reposition your life in such a way as to become more cognizant of God’s miraculous day to day interventions?
7. GK. Chesterton wrote, “If my children have Santa to thank for putting candy in their stockings, who do I have to thank for putting two feet into mine.” Does your life exhibit this kind of gratitude? Why? Why not? Jod said, “Shall we praise Him in good times and not bad?” When unfortunate events come your way, how do you respond? Do you really believe that God is often most glorified through our struggles? What prevents you from saying, “Hinene, here I am. Send me.”
8. Have you experienced God in a way that when all seemed lost, God made“one more move” on the chessboard of your life, and what seemed like a disadvantage became an advantage and used for the glory of God. Explain.
9. What is your response to Dallas Willard's words, “What if God has you exactly where you would want to be if you had all the information he has?”