25 September 2012

BSF 2012-2013: Genesis 1:1-2:1

This week's lesson was all about God's perfect preparation for the arrival of man. This reminded me (and my teaching leader!) about all of the work we go through to prepare for the arrival of a new baby. God created a "nursery" for man, including a humidifier, an overhead light, a nightlight, blankets and toys.

Day 1 – The earth was black and formless. Then God spoke light into existence. He called the light day and the darkness night.

Day 2 – He created an expanse between the waters, a layer of sky to separate the atmosphere from the waters.

Day 3 – Waters were pushed apart, creating land boundaries. The land produced seed-bearing vegetation. The plants and trees had the ability to reproduce.

Day 4 – God created the sun to govern the day, the moon to govern the night and stars.

Day 5 – He created birds to fill the air and fish to fill the seas. He told them to be fruitful and increase in number.

Day 6 – God created land animals and blessed them to multiply. But they were limited to reproduce after their own kind. This disproves the theory of evolution. God provided food for man through plants and trees, so He didn't have to create animals. They were created for man's enjoyment and responsibility. In the middle of this day, God created man. This is the peak of God's creation because man is the only thing made in the image of God. Besides blessing mankind to multiply, God also gives man privileges and responsibilities. At the end of this day, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).

There are so many applications from this seemingly simple lesson:
  • The Bible is God's light. It separates the darkness from our lives. In any dark situation, God still has a plan for light. Is the light of God's Word revealing anything that God wants me to change?
  • There was a perfect order to everything God created. Nothing was random. Each day laid a foundation for the next day. And each part of creation included limits and boundaries. Do I recognize that today God gives me exactly what I need for tomorrow? Does God need to reestablish His order in some area of my life?
  • We are different than the rest of creation because we reflect God and His character. How am I reflecting God? Do others see Him through my actions and attitudes?
  • Because we are created in God's image, we have great privilege and value. Whenever you doubt your worth, take time to read Psalm 139 and look at yourself through God's eyes.
  • I am responsible for tending and cultivating the people God has put in my domain. Who are you helping grow in God's garden?
Scripture memorization is one aspect of the BSF school program (which I'm involved in) and the preschool program (which Avery attends with my mom). Each week, we work on memorizing the BSF verse as a family. So I'll post Avery's memory verse here along with my weekly summaries.

She struggled a little with the first verse ("I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Psalm 119:16) but did much better this week.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Genesis 1:1

24 September 2012

18 September 2012

BSF 2012-2013: Genesis 1

Look at the magnificent creation around you. Notice the order of the universe and the creativity displayed. God, our personal Father and Creator, spoke everything you see (and even things you don't see!) into existence.

God was not created. He has always existed and never will cease to exist. What a thought! He began displaying His mighty power and sovereignty by creating the universe. Then he populated the earth with plants, animals and humans. He intended the earth to be man's home.

Because God created all things:
  • He alone is the source of meaning in life.
  • He has defined absolute standards.
  • Our chief purpose on earth is to glorify Him.
God created everything with a purpose and in order. And each day when He was done with His work, He said it was good. Do you believe everything God created is good? How do you treat the world and the people God created?

God wasn't alone when He created the universe. The Bible clearly states that both God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were involved with creation, along with God the Father. This concept of the Trinity of God is a confusing one. It states that God is one Being made up of three distinct yet equal Persons. From the BSF notes, here is a great summary of each Person's role in creation:
  • The Spirit of God moved upon the earth. He hovered over the darkness.
  • Almighty God spoke. From nothing, God created everything with His spoken word.
  • All things were made by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the firstborn over all creation, is supreme over all and sustains everything by His word.
Some concepts about creation can be challenging to understand since we have such finite, human minds. But all we need to do is trust that the Bible is true. It says that God completed the work of creation through His spoken word, so I believe that's what happened. I don't need a human witness to confirm these facts. I don't need to know if the six days were literal 24-hour days or something else. I trust that God did what He said He did at the beginning of creation.

Since God created me, He knows what is best for me. Daily I must surrender my life to Him and trust Him to take care of me. God is my only source of strength and stability in this evil and ever-changing world.

11 September 2012

BSF 2012-2013: Genesis

Before we can start talking about the book of Genesis, we must understand the Bible itself. After all, Genesis is the beginning of the world's most important and influential book.

The Bible
How can we trust that the Bible is true? It is based on God's character and authority. Because of who He is, we can trust the Bible. It is God's words, and He cannot lie.
These facts always astound me:
  • The Bible is made up of 66 separate books.
  • These books were written over the span of 1,500 to 2,000 years.
  • The books were written by 40 different human authors on four continents.
  • The Bible was written in three languages (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic).
  • There is one consistent theme throughout the 66 books: God will send a Messiah to save His people from sin and provide eternal life with Him in heaven.
Yet the Bible is without error. It has a 100 percent accuracy record. It is humanly impossible to create such accurate writings in these circumstances. But God did it. He is the Bible's ultimate writer. The Holy Spirit influenced the human authors so they could preserve exactly what God wanted in His Word.

My favorite characteristic of the Bible is that it is eternal. Man has tried to destroy it as well as the people who speak and teach it. But God has assured us that the Bible never will be destroyed.

The book of Genesis is divided into two parts. Chapters 1 to 11 begin the universal history of mankind, spanning a minimum of 1,000 years. Chapters 12 to 50 focus on God choosing one family to whom He reveals His message of forgiveness and repentance.

In between the beginning of the Bible (Genesis) and the end (Revelation), God reveals Himself and describes how to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus. God has revealed Himself in the pages of the Bible. Reading His written Word is the best place to begin a relationship with Him.

I mentioned yesterday that this year I plan to focus on understanding God's character and improving my prayer life. What do you want to gain from studying Genesis this year?

10 September 2012

BSF 2012-2013: Introduction to Genesis

It's hard to believe that a new year of BSF has started! This year, we will study the book of Genesis. And once again, each Tuesday I will provide weekly summaries about the lessons. The first one will be available tomorrow.

In Genesis, we'll get to experience God creating the world and mankind, Adam and Eve bringing sin into the world and God using Noah to save the human race. We'll also see God work through one family (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph) to bring salvation to the world. Many of these Old Testament stories are familiar to me, but I believe that God will reveal fresh insights and principles to me throughout the year.

I plan to focus on two things this year. First, I want to learn more about God's character, so I can appreciate all He is and does. Second, I want to improve my prayer life with more focused and consistent prayers. As one of my fellow BSF leaders put it, I want to have more depth in my prayer life.

I pray that my posts this year will encourage you in your personal walk with Christ. Get ready...here we go!