Category: 2018/19 Devos

Devo 5

“And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.  And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.”  Genesis 1:16-19

Everyone knows there are lots of stars but do you know how many different kinds of stars there are?  Scientists use several categories to classify stars including Hot, Cold, Bright, Dim Big, and Small.  Our sun is a G-2V star meaning it is a medium temperature, fairly bright, average sized main sequence star.  Sounds pretty ordinary, right?  But that’s exactly what it had to be to support life on earth!  Of the hundreds of different  known star types, most are too hot, too cold, too bright, too dim, too big, too small or too variable to support life.  But our sun is JUST RIGHT.  

But the sun and stars aren’t the only things in the sky.  The earth has another light that is also essential to life here on earth.  Did you know that if it weren’t for the moon’s gravity creating tides on earth that our oceans would stagnate and die?  The moon may not be as bright as the sun, but not only is it beautiful to look at and helpful in telling time, our moon is essential to maintaining balance in earth’s ecosystems. 

King Solomon was thinking of these different variations of brilliance and beauty when he wrote in his Songs 6:10, “Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?”  Solomon’s father David also recognized the differing glories between the sun and moon.  Psalm 104:19 and 136:1-9 remind us of the distinct roles between these two great lights.  “He made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun knows its time for setting” and,  “Give thanks to the Lord… to Him who made the great lights… the sun to rule over the day, the moon and stars to rule over the night, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

When God created the heavens and the earth, He went absolutely, over-the-top, overboard with “kinds.”  But He wasn’t just testing His own creative abilities.  According to Romans 1:18-23, it was through creation that God made Himself known to mankind by putting on display His invisible attributes, “His eternal power and divine nature.”  Every detail of the creative world is there to declare the glory and power of the One who made it.  

In 1 Corinthians 15:35-48 Paul answers questions about the resurrection of the dead by pointing to every single part of creation and specifically the varying kinds found within the created order.  “How are the dead raised?  What kind of body will they have?”  The Corinthian church asked.  Look at the plants, Paul says, A kernel of wheat has to die and go into the ground before it can be raised to new life, and when it is raised it will be raised the same kind of grain that went into the ground.  You don’t sow one kind of seed and have another kind of plant spring up from it.  The same goes for humans, animals, birds and fishes.  They only reproduce after their own kind.  Even among the heavenly bodies there are all different kinds.  “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”

“So it is with the resurrection of the dead,” Paul explains, “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.”  The natural body sown in dishonor and weakness is raised a spiritual body in glory and in power.  The first Adam, the man of the dust is raised in the heavenly image of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. 

Just as the sun and moon and stars differ from one another in glory, our heavenly body will differ from our earthly body in glory.  BUT we will still be of the same kind, for God gives to each kind of seed “a body as He has chosen.”  And according to the kind of seed we are, so we will be raised, either to glorified life everlasting or to judgement.  

What kind of seed are you?  Are you a ransomed seed bought with the blood of Christ, ready to be sown perishable but raised to glory, just as Christ was raised?  Or do you remain dead in your trespasses and sins, destined to go into the ground and raised only to judgement?  Dear friend, that could be today!  Unless you repent, whatever kind of seed you are now is the kind of seed you will die, be buried and raised as!  There is no changing after death.  

But God, in His great mercy can change you right now!  He can make you alive and change you from the inside out so that when your body goes into the ground it will be destined for a glorious resurrection in Christ Jesus, our Lord!  You need only trust the One who has already beaten death and conquered the grave, Jesus-The First Fruits, Jesus-The Last Adam, Jesus-The Bright Morning Star.

Devo 4

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.  And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.’  And it was so.”  Genesis 1:14,15

When, as the Psalmist said, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host (Psalm 33:6),” it was no random breath that exhaled the starry sky.  God said from the beginning that the lights in the heavens were to be “for signs and for seasons.”  There was an order to their placement and that order was meant to tell both time and truth.  But to whom?  And signs for what?  At this point in creation there wasn’t a single living thing on earth.  It was just skies and seas and rocks and trees.  

But the Creator was setting His stage.  The great story of redemption was about to unfold and these stage lights would play a big part in the drama.  Before the first actors ever took their first breath, sun and moon and stars had already been given their lines.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord:  I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.  And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.  For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.  Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and stars for light by night.”  Jeremiah 31:31-35

True to the script, there were wise men studying the fixed order of the stars, and they saw a sign.  The sign of one born king of the Jews.  They saw His star when it rose and they came to worship Him (Matthew 2:1-12).  This child over whom the star rested had come to bring His people the very forgiveness spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah.  

But that was just His first coming.

The stars in their courses have lines yet to speak.

The Star Breather Himself, the one born King of the Jews, spoke of His return this way in Matthew 24:29-31.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will turn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

And again in Luke 21:25-28.   

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.  For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a clown with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 

The Star Breather is coming again to redeem His forgiven ones!  All creation has been set in place to prepare and declare His arrival.  When the stars speak their lines, how will you respond?  In distress and perplexity, fainting and fear and foreboding?  May it not be!  Repent, and as the prophet Jeremiah said, He will remember your sins no more.  Then you, too, may straighten up and raise your head, for your Redeemer comes in the clouds!

Devo 3

“And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.  And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”  Genesis 1:4,5

In 1964 two scientists working for Bell Laboratories made an accidental discovery.  Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were testing equipment and were surprised by static coming through the radio receiver of the Holmdel Horn Antenna.  The static was caused by radiation traveling in waves of heat and light coming from every direction of the universe.  The earth is literally bathed in this invisible glow.  

More recent discoveries have revealed that the visible matter of stars, planets and galaxies make up less than 5% of the universe.  What we cannot see is the remaining 95% which is composed of what scientists are now calling “dark energy” and “dark matter.”  We’ll learn more about that later, but for now just think about the fact that what we humans perceive as darkness, may not be just darkness after all!  Scientists still have much to discover about all those black areas in our night sky but the Psalmist declares that even darkness is as bright as day to God.  

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ Even the darkness is not dark to you, the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:11,12

Whatever the darkness is, and however bright it may be for God, the first thing He did after creating the light was to separate the two.  This distinction between light and darkness immediately becomes a major theme in the redemption story.  Throughout the Old Testament the prophets foretold of a coming light.  It should come as no surprise then that when Jesus began His ministry in Matthew 4:16, He quotes one of those prophets saying,

“The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

But in John 3:19-21, we read that even though the light had come into the world the people loved the darkness more.  

“And this is the judgment:  the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

The apostles carried on this theme with Paul arguing in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “What fellowship has light with darkness?”  The answer is rhetorical and is rooted in the Genesis account of creation.  “None!”  From the beginning God separated the light from darkness and therefore, for God’s people, the distinction remains.  And just listen to 1 Peter 2:9,10.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Isn’t THAT the difference between darkness and light, right there?  Because my deeds were evil, I loved the darkness, rather than the light.  But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love which which He loved me, even when I was dead in my trespasses, dwelling in darkness and the shadow of death, made me alive in Christ and caused His light to shine in my heart.  On me, a light has dawned.  Has it dawned on you friend?  Do you know the riches of God’s mercy?  Have you experienced that First Day in your own heart? I already referenced John 3:19-21, but do you know the truth of John 3:16?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

To believe in Jesus Christ is to have received mercy, to be called out of darkness and into His marvelous light, to become one of His own people that you might now proclaim the excellencies of the God of The First Day.