The AMI QT Devotionals from September 4-10 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F. Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 21 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Genesis 1:3-24 (NIV 2011)
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
In today’s world, creationism is dismissed as a myth or the wishful dreams of the uneducated. CS Lewis once observed that within the scientific discipline, biologists tend to be the most irreligious and that physicists are the most religious. The reason for this general trend is evident. Biologists tend to look at life as a closed system, that there is life and death, a beginning and an end. On the other hand, physicists ultimately have to deal with the mystery of ultimate beginnings and how the universe came to be. Any honest scientist has to confess that the idea of the universe being created from nothing cannot be intellectually satisfying.
I would propose that the view that is better than any theory out there is the belief that the universe began by the initiative of God. In fact, the idea that everything has its beginnings in God’s initiative is at the heart of Biblical Christianity. The world was created because God desired its creation. The fallen mankind can be saved because before the foundation of the world, God chose his Son as a ransom for our sin. We can love because God first loved us from the very beginning and we can know Him because He has made Himself known. Our fundamental understanding of God comes from the belief that everything starts with Him, including our own existence.
The acceptance of God as our creator is the most logical place to start a relationship with Him. Some years ago, a young woman, who was wrestling with her faith, asked me, “Did God create man or did man create God?’’ And whether she realized it or not, she landed on the foundational question that every single person, whether you are religious or not, has to answer. And ultimately your answer to this question places you on two completely different paths of life. Sadly, this young woman decided that God was an invention of man and decided to walk away from the Christian faith.
Our world is filled with distorted ideas of who God is and what spirituality should look like. Every idol and every false system of theology begins with a rejection of God’s initiative and replaces it with the initiative of man. We become the creators of our own gods. The challenge that awaits us as Christians is how we can break the stronghold of idolatry and the deception of false gods (e.g., materialism).
Prayer: Lord, we thank You for taking the initiative in creating us and ultimately loving the ones You created. As You have first loved us through Christ, teach us to love others in the same way. Help us to submit our lives to You so that You can shape us as the potter shapes the clay. Reminds us that in You we move and breathe and have our being. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 26
Lunch Break Study
Ephesians 1:3-10 (NIV 2011): Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship n through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Questions to Consider:
- When did God come up with the plan of salvation?
- Why and for what reason did God predestine our relationship with Him?
- Where does our salvation fall into the greater scope of God’s plan?
- We read that God chose His people for salvation even before the creation of the world. This reminds us that none of the events of history came as a surprise to God. Sin and all of its consequences were permitted by the will of God so that He could choose a people for Himself solely on the basis of His grace.
- Although there is a lot of debate about predestination, the apostle Paul’s main emphasis was on God’s love as the primary reason for initiating this relationship with us. From the beginning of time, it was God’s plan to take sinners like us and adopt us into His family as spiritual sons and daughters.
- Man’s salvation is the climax of God’s saving work. It is the crowning achievement in the redemption of the whole created order. One day God will bring all things into unity under the reign and rule of Christ. This is why Paul tells us that all of creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed. (Romans 8:19)
Every day is a gift from the Lord. It is one more day to celebrate His salvation and to live in the joyful knowledge that God has known you and loved you from the very beginning. As parents carefully plan their future family, Christ has been preparing a place for you in God’s family. Reflect on this truth and pray to the Lord.