Day 1: Genesis 1-2
God is a great God. it is amazing to read of His creative power - bringing everything to be from nothing . . . just speaking it into existence.
I'm also amazed at the creativity involved. The Bible almost understates it - let the waters teem . . . birds fly. Stop and think about the variety of things in the sea. Think of the beauty of the birds God created. Think about all the intricate systems on the earth - all perfectly balanced and orchestrated to keep it functioning perfectly.
All of this is created for one purpose - that God could craft His masterpiece. The reason for creation is to house the most unique of all of God's creations - man. God shaped the first man, Adam, from the dirt of the earth. God fashioned him perfectly, then bent over and breathed life into him. He imparted to Adam His image. He gave him a soul, a mind, and the ability to choose. He created him with the ability to connect and commune with God. We were designed, not to exist like some creature in a zoo with a perfectly crafted habitat, but to know our Creator, be known by Him, and have a relationship with Him.
We were created to relate with God but we were also given a second purpose - to relate to one another. As God looked at Creation, there was only one thing that was not good. God said it was not good for man to be alone. He created woman, Eve, to fill that void. They were made to relate to one another and with their God.
God's purpose for our lives is laid out in these chapters. As Jesus would later put it, we are to " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40)
You were created to love God. Is it possible that we learn to love God as we struggle to love others? Is it possible that as we wrestle with the failures and shortcomings of others, God reveals those same problems in our lives? In these moments, we get a glimpse of what it is like for God to love us. He keeps responding with patience and understanding, although we continually shun His advances, stubbornly refuse His guidance, and overlook His gracious provision for our lives. He continues to love us even when we are not worthy of love.
"Father, thank You for Your great love for us. Thank You that You love us even when we don't deserve it and do everything except love You in return. Help us to love others in the same way that You love us. Forgive us of the pride that causes us to think of ourselves as better than others. We confess that we cannot love others on our own. We are forever bent toward selfishness and self-centeredness. Thank You that the same power that spoke the world into creation is at work in us to help us to love and live as You desire. Give us opportunities to love others so that You will be glorified through our actions."