Saturday, March 24, 2018

Genesis 3:1-24

The snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lᴏʀᴅ God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really tell you that you shouldn’t eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

2 The woman replied to the snake, “We’re permitted to eat fruit from any of the trees -- 3 except for fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘Don’t eat from it. Don’t even touch it. If you do, you will die.’”

4 The snake said to the woman, “Come on… You won’t die! Quite the opposite! 5 God knows that as soon as you eat fruit from that tree, you’ll become all-knowing gods. You’ll understand everything, ranging from that which is good to that which is evil.”

6 The woman started looking the tree over and saw how beautiful it was -- loaded with obviously delicious food -- and on top of that, it would dispense wisdom. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was there with her at the tree. And he ate the fruit, too. 7 They were instantly enlightened -- and realized that they were shamefully naked. So they sewed some fig leaves together and covered themselves.

8 Late in the afternoon, the wind kicked up and the couple realized that the Lᴏʀᴅ God was moving about in the garden. The man and his wife hid themselves from him amongst the trees there.

9 The Lᴏʀᴅ God summoned the man, “Why are you hiding?”

10 The man replied, “When I heard you moving through the garden I hid. I was afraid because of my nakedness.”

11 The Lᴏʀᴅ God replied, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from that tree -- the tree from which I told you not to eat?”

12 The man immediately shifted the blame to both God and his wife -- “The woman YOU gave me, SHE handed me some of the fruit from the tree. So I ate it.”

13 The Lᴏʀᴅ God, in exasperation, said to the woman, “What have you done?”

And she replied, shifting the blame to the snake, “That snake tricked me into eating it.”

14 So, the Lᴏʀᴅ God said to the snake, “Because of your role in this catastrophe, I am separating you out from all the other animals -- domesticated and wild. You alone will have to slither instead of walk. For the rest of your days you are condemned to eat dust.

15 Furthermore, your and your offspring’s relationship with the woman and her offspring will be characterized by ongoing hostility. They will crush your head, while you strike at their heels.”

16 Then the Lᴏʀᴅ God turned to the woman, “I’m going to make the whole childbearing process more painful. It will be laborious to have children. Furthermore, your relationship with your husband will be a source of stress, too. While you are trying to direct him, he will be controlling you.

17-18 Then the Lᴏʀᴅ God spoke to the man, “Because you let your wife lead you into eating fruit from the tree that I specifically commanded you to avoid, the otherwise fertile land you farm will be cursed with weeds and thistles. Living off the land, once easy, will be a pain for the rest of your days. 19 So, you’ll be sweating to put food on the table. This will be the case until you die and your body returns to the ground. You were made from soil and in the end you will return to the soil.”

20 The man named his wife Eve, which means “life-giver,” for she is the mother of everyone who lives (in contrast to the pagan claim that Hawwat, a goddess in the form of a snake, is the mother of life). 21 The Lᴏʀᴅ God then made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife -- and dressed them.

22 The Lᴏʀᴅ God said, “The human beings have now become like us in that they have experiential knowledge of good and evil.”

Lest they’d make their fallen condition permanent by also stealing and eating fruit from the tree that gives life, the Lᴏʀᴅ God exiled them from the garden of Eden. 23 He sent them to farm the fertile land from which Adam had been formed. 24 When he drove the people from the garden, the Lᴏʀᴅ God stationed sentries -- angelic cherubim armed with a revolving sword of fire -- to guard the east access pathway that leads to the tree that gives life.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Luke 7:37-38

A woman who was of questionable standing in the town because she didn't put great effort into keeping the rules of the Jewish religion, found out that Jesus was visiting and dining at a certain Pharisee's house. She bought a really expensive bottle of perfume and went and stood behind him. Then she started crying and washing his feet -- with her tears. After that, she dried his feet with her hair, kissed them, and poured the perfume all over his feet.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Genesis 2:4b-25

When the Lᴏʀᴅ God made the earth and sky 5 there were not yet any wild plants or field crops growing from the ground. This was because the Lᴏʀᴅ God hadn’t yet sent rain nor were there any human beings to cultivate the soil. 6 (However, the land was watered through springs which bubbled up from below the ground.) 7 At that point the Lᴏʀᴅ God took some of the soil and formed from it a man. He then blew some of his own life into the man’s nostrils and the human became a living being.

8 The Lᴏʀᴅ God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where he placed the human he had just formed. 9 The land was so fertile that the Lᴏʀᴅ God was able to grow all kinds of trees -- beautiful trees with lots of good fruit to eat. Right smack in the middle of the garden he planted two special trees -- the “tree that gives life” and the “tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is evil.”

10 The garden is watered by a river flowing into it from Eden. From Eden it divides into four rivers -- 11-12 the Pishon flowing around the entire land of Havilah (where there is pure gold, fragrant resins, and gemstones.); 13 the Gihon, flowing around the entire land of Cush; 14 the Tigris, flowing east of Assyria; and the Euphrates.

15 The Lᴏʀᴅ God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and care for it. 16 Then the Lᴏʀᴅ God commanded the human, “Eat all you want from any of the garden’s trees -- 17 except from the ‘tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is evil.’ If you eat fruit from that tree it will be the death of you!”

18 After those instructions the Lᴏʀᴅ God said, “It’s not good for the human to go it alone; so I will make a suitable companion to help him.”

19 The Lᴏʀᴅ God once again started creating life from the dirt. He formed all the wild animals and all the birds that fill the sky. He then paraded them in front of the human for evaluation and the man assigned names to each. 20 He named all the livestock, all the birds, and all the wild animals. But none of them were well-suited companions for the human. 21 So the Lᴏʀᴅ God put the man into a deep and heavy sleep, removed one of his ribs, and closed up the opening in his side. 22 With the rib taken from the man, the Lᴏʀᴅ God fashioned a woman and brought her to the man. 23 The man approvingly exclaimed,
“Wow! Finally! A creature made of the same stuff as me. I`m going to call her ‘woman’ because she was made from a man.”
24 This explains how it is that when a man leaves his parents and takes a wife, they unite and come together as one. For they are made of the same stuff.

25 Even though the man and woman were naked, they felt no shame.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

John 4:34-35

Jesus said to his apprentices, "The 'food' that sustains me is found in doing the things on God's to-do list. Indeed, that's why he sent me; and my job is to finish the work that he sent me to do. You might say that there is no great hurry because the harvest is still four months away. But look more closely and you'll see that these 'fields' are ripening rapidly right in front of your eyes and they are ready for harvest now."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

1 This is how it all began. God started to create the heavens and the earth and everything in between. 2 At that point, the planet Earth was a chaotic shapeless void. Darkness hung over the deep sea. But a wind from God -- his Spirit -- swept over the waters -- covering it like a brooding bird covers its nest. 3 And God said, “Light!” And light appeared. 4 God concluded that the light was good and life-giving. So he separated it out from the darkness. 5 God named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.”

That is what happened on the first day.

6 God continued setting order to the soupy chaos by saying, “Let there be atmosphere between the waters above and the waters below.” 7 Thus God inserted the atmosphere separating the waters. There was water under the atmosphere and water above the atmosphere.

And it happened according to his spoken command.

God named the atmosphere Sky. 

That is what happened on the second day.

9 Then God said, “Let the waters under this sky pool together in one place so that the dry ground can appear.”

And it happened according to his spoken command.

God named the dry ground Land, and he named the gathered waters Ocean. God concluded that the Land and Ocean configuration was good and life-giving.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce plants -- seed-bearing plants and fruit-bearing plants -- unique varieties all across the land.”

And it happened according to his spoken command.

12 The land produced the many unique varieties of plants that bear seeds and those that bear fruit. God concluded that the plants were good and life-giving.

13 That is what happened on the third day.

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights above that will distinguish the day sky from the night sky. They will be signs pointing to my power -- as opposed to themselves being the source of power. They will provide markers for events, sacred seasons, days, and years. 15 From their places in the sky, they will give light to the earth.”

And it happened according to his spoken command.

16 God made the stars and two great lights: the sun, which is larger, to oversee the day, and the moon, a smaller light, to oversee the night. 17 God put them in the sky to shine on the earth, 18 to oversee the day and oversee the night -- to separate the light from the darkness. God concluded that they were good and life-giving.

19 That is what happened on the fourth day.

20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with life and birds fill the sky.” 21 God created all the unique varieties of huge sea creatures and the tiny living things that so actively swarm in the waters. He created all the unique varieties of birds, as well. And God concluded that the creatures of the sea and the creatures of the sky were good and life-giving.

At his word, God then blessed them with the ability to reproduce and multiply -- the fish filling the oceans and the birds covering the earth.

23 That is what happened on the fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce all the diverse kinds of animals: the domesticated critters, the reptiles, and the wildlife.”

And it happened according to his spoken command. 

God made all sorts of animals -- wildlife, domesticated, and the creatures that crawl on the ground. God made them all! And God concluded that the animals were good and life-giving.

26 Once again God spoke, “Let’s make humanity -- the people -- in our image. That way they can be like us and thus be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domesticated animals, all the crawling things on earth -- and even the earth itself.”

27 God created humanity in his own image, in the divine image he created them -- both male and female.

28 At his word, God then blessed them with the ability to reproduce and multiply with such virility that they’d master all the earth. He told them to “take charge of the fish, the birds, and all the other animals crawling around on the ground.”

29 Then God blessed them further saying, “I am giving you all the seed-yielding plants and the fruiting trees for food. 30 To all living animals -- the wildlife, the birds, and to critters crawling on the ground -- I am giving all the green leafy plants for food.”

And once again, 
it happened according to his spoken command.

God surveyed the entire creation -- including the people and animals -- and declared that they were extremely good and life-giving.

That is what happened on the sixth day.

1 So, God completed the creation of the sky, the earth, and all that is living. 2 By the seventh day, with the work done, God rested. 3 And in doing so God blessed the seventh day and made it a holy day.

4 So that is how God created the sky and the earth -- everything up there and everything down here. It all originates with him.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Galatians 4:4-7

4 But when the timing was right, God the Father sent his Son. He was born through a human woman into a world which was structured around certain demands and expectations. 5 This was no accident. He was born into the system so that he could rescue those living under such systems -- freeing them from obligation to follow the social and religious rules. They were given new status and can now rely on their privilege as adopted members of God’s family. 6 Indeed as privileged members of the family -- sons and daughters -- you don’t function with an external agenda but with the internal prompting of the Spirit of God’s Son, whom he sent to reside in your hearts. So you can call out to God as your dear father. 7 The whole dynamic of the relationship is different. You are no longer a slave with obligations but a child with direct access to the father -- and indeed the privileges that go with being an heir to his estate.

Monday, December 18, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

12 Brothers and sisters, we’re asking you to honor the leaders who are working in your midst as teachers. 13 Respect and show love to them because of the work they do. And make sure that you live peacefully with each other. 14 Dear ones, we urge you to warn those who are undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. 15 See to it that no one indulges in pay-back behavior.Instead, through the good you do elevate everyone who enters your sphere of influence.

16 Be joyful at all times and in all situations. 17 Likewise, with prayer. Keep at it. 18 And give thanks no matter what happens -- good or bad. This is what God wants for those of you who are united with Christ Jesus. 19-22 Don’t suppress the Holy Spirit or blow off Spirit-inspired messages. Instead, carefully examine every idea, action, and message that comes along. Hang on to what is good and carefully avoid everything which is associated with evil.

23 Now, may the God who is all about peace cause you to be completely dedicated to him -- the whole package of your being -- spirit, soul, and body. Might he hold you together so that your integrity will pay off when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. 24 As overwhelming as it all sounds, rest assured that God, who is calling you to this way of life, is totally dependable and will pull it off on your behalf.