January 6, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 4:1-26

Have you ever been so mad at a sibling growing up that you wished they would have never been born? I know it seems harsh but the reality is that no one can bring out the worst in us quite like our family can. In Genesis 4 we see sibling rivalry at its worst when Cain brutally murders his brother Abel. My first reaction was Cain is a cold blooded monster who murdered his brother. He must have been a psychopath, right? However, as I dug deeper I realized that I relate to Cain in more ways than I would like to admit.

As the story unfolds we see that Cain and Abel both brought offerings from the fruits of their labor but God rejected Cain’s offering (Genesis 2-5). Why? Was Abel better than Cain? Of course not, but Abel’s motivation behind his offering was pure and Cain’s wasn’t. Somewhere along the way Cain allowed sin to creep into his life and it blocked his relationship with God. God judges our heart. If we allow sin in our lives without repentance it will hinder our relationship with God (Proverbs 21:27).

The good news is that God always gives us the opportunity to repent and turn from our sin but the reality is we do not always choose to (Genesis 4:6-7). It is really easy for us to point fingers at Cain and ask why he didn’t listen to God. I mean God spoke to him in an audible voice and encouraged him to fight sin. However, can’t we say the same thing about ourselves? We have God’s word in book form but we ignore it all the time. The truth is if we allow pride to take over we begin to see ourselves as superior to God which always leads to our fall (Proverbs 16:18).

In the end Cain did not master sin and it led him to murder his brother. This one act of sin altered not only the course of Cain’s life but that of his family as well. (Genesis 4:8-26). The fact is that sin always takes us farther than we would ever want to go and impacts everyone around us. Ask yourself today – how am I fighting sin? Am I confessing sin? Do I have accountability? Key Verse: Genesis 4:7

Posted by: Chad Wiles

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January 5, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 3:1-24

Everything changes…
The moral innocence described in Genesis 2:25 was soon to be lost as a result of sin…. in chapter 3 everything changes. What we see here is the fall of man. The point where our COMPLETE sense of significance was lost until Christ reunited us with God.

In verse 1 we see that Satan isn’t dumb. He knows what to say, how to say it, and how to manipulate God’s words in order to cause us to reason God’s commands away. Has that ever happened to you?

In verse 7- 8 we see the beginning of shame, insecurity, and running from the Lord.

In verse 21 we see God’s grace and mercy in covering their shame although they had sinned against Him… a foreshadowing of Christ.

Overall, we see the point in history when sin entered the world. Eve’s choice to sin against God affected generation after generation. We can see how the consequences of our sin not only affect us, but also affect other people and their future.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”:
2 Corinthians 2:11 mentions the idea of not being unaware of Satan’s schemes. By being aware of how temptation works we can be prepared to fight sin and temptation in a practical way in our daily lives. After reading Genesis 3 today, we can walk away with insight into 3 aspects of temptation. Genesis 3:6 says, “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…”

The three aspects we see here are 1. Lust of the flesh 2. Lust of the eyes and 3. Boast of the man. These same 3 aspects of temptation are mentioned in 1 John 2:16, “for everything in the world-the *cravings of the sinful man*, *the lust of the eyes*, and the *boasting of what he has and does* – comes not from the Father but from the world.”

If this isn’t convincing enough let’s look at how the SAVIOR was tempted by the devil in Luke 4:3,5,9. First, by the cravings of the flesh (Jesus was hungry!), second by the lust of the eyes (Jesus was SHOWN what could be His!), and finally by the boasting of the man (Jesus was tempted to TEST GOD and to PROVE that He was the Son of God!).

So, here it is… TEMPTATION WILL WORK LIKE THIS! Don’t be UNAWARE….be PREPARED! Guard against the cravings of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boasting of the man, for they are vehicles that will carry us to death and destruction.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

January 4, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 2:1-25

We have just experienced the beauty and wonder of the Creation story. God has made a wonderful universe full of unspeakable beauty and majesty. Now we get a close up view of the climax of His creation, us.

We see that God has just finished creation and is resting. Now, we know that God did not need to rest, He is God. This is a rest of satisfaction and completion. God has just finished creating the universe and, as we read many times before, “it was good.” God is also setting an example for us to rest. How are you doing with this? Are you a workaholic? Take this example as an opportunity to adjust your work schedule however you can to add rest to your life.

Now we are taken to the scene of man’s creation. The Lord God formed Adam from the dust and breathed into him the breath of life. Think about that for a moment. God formed us. All the rest of creation was spoken into being but God took the time and care to stoop down, take the dirt and make us. Then we see that He gave us life by His own breath. This should give us a great sense of worth and dignity as we are not just another part of God’s creation but we are the specially made and designed apex of His creation.

God takes Adam and places him in the Garden of Eden to care for it. God warns him concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God tells Adam, “if you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.” (NLT) This is speaking about a spiritual death that we now are all born with because of Adam and Eve’s one sin of disobedience. Adam is in the garden and God decides to show Adam his need for companionship and love by allowing him to see how all the animals are paired up. Adam notices that every animal has a male and a female that look similar but have slight differences. This prepared Adam for a helper that would suit him. God put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs. From the rib He formed a woman and brought the woman to Adam. At this point Adam is extremely happy and now realizes that this is a God ordained union, the first marriage. This shows us the importance of and sanctity of marriage as a God ordained covenant between a man and a woman. The chapter ends with comments that Adam and Eve were naked and felt no shame. They were not yet self conscious about their appearance as we certainly are today.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

January 3, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 1

Welcome to JumpStart! I’m so excited that you’ve decided to take the journey with us. Today we start at the very beginning… the beginning of time (as we know it), the beginning of human life, and the beginning of God’s Word to us.

The creation story is captivating! It begins with the assumption of God – no questions – no debate… it simply says, “In the beginning God…” Creation is an act of God’s grace. God carefully and meticulously made everything…and He did it in just the right order – the order that it would take to sustain itself.

First He created the earth itself and the space above it (the heavens) (v.1-2). Next God made light – a necessary ingredient to life. Light is what causes plants to produce oxygen. Light is what allows us to know time – to understand what a day and a night are. Then God named them… (v.3-4).

Next He made the space we live in – where our air exists. He separated the waters which were below from the waters which were above (v.6-8). He made land – and the land was carefully designed with the necessary supplies and nutrients to sustain the plants that would soon inhabit it. Then God made the vegetation – trees, plants, grass, and flowers – all seed bearing to reproduce after their kind (v.9-13).

The next day, God made sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets. Sun for heat and light – the stars for navigation and to help us determine the seasons, the days, and the years (v.14-19).

Now God is ready to make life – He’s prepared everything necessary for it. Land, water, sunlight, and plants to produce the needed oxygen. God begins with marine life. He makes all the fish and sea creatures as unique as they are. He also creates birds – all carefully designed to reproduce – to keep the earth growing and clean (v.20-23). It’s time now for animals – on day six, God makes them. Mammals, reptiles, each animal is intended by God to fit and fulfill a necessary purpose. God knows them all – Jesus told us that not even a sparrow dies without the Father being aware (Matthew 10:29).

Then God makes His crowning creation – man. All of the Trinity is involved (v.26). God makes man in His own image – to look like Himself. He creates us to rule the earth – to reign over all other creation. He gives man the responsibility of naming the animals and reproducing to fill the earth with mankind as we will read tomorrow. God made Adam and Eve as kings and queens in the world He designed. And everything was perfect…at least for now.

For many years and to the tune of billions of our dollars, our world has tried to disprove this story. When they couldn’t, they made up an alternate theory called evolution that says that we came here by accident. When no one believed it, they simply dismissed and outlawed creation – they ridicule it and try to make it go away, while the theory they propose is crazy and makes no sense. Why? Because if there is creation – then there is a Creator – and if there is a Creator He must be in charge.

Today, worship your Creator – nearly every book in the Bible talks of God’s work in this way. Thank Him for His design of the world and you! He loves you… you can trust Him!

Posted by: Tim Parsons