I love all the new beginnings God offers us. But I hadn’t spent much time studying “The Beginning” until now. Recently (and quite accidentally,) I have found myself smack dab in the middle of a huge and very in-depth study of Genesis. And if I am super honest about it, when I first heard that we would be studying this old testament book, I kinda thought, “booooorrrrring.” Plus, I guess I thought I kinda already knew the story: God made stuff, we messed it up… so it begins and continues from there.
So I have been very surprised to find that Genesis is in fact – FASCINATING!!! While it is pretty dense and depressing at times, it is also every bit as exciting and hopeful as some of my favorite new testament books. And (as I have known to be true in every other story,) the middle and ending can only fully be appreciated after having really built upon the very first chapter. Genesis truly is the foundation of faith and the humble beginning that makes the happy ending that much more glorious. And it was that very first beginning that set the stage for the promise of new beginnings in our own stories.
As I said last week, God is the God of new beginnings and no one loves a beginner more than God does. And as we all work towards surrendering our will to find his, and our ways to become more like him, I have been asked what steps we can take to make sure we have prepared the path for his Genesis in our lives.
Whenever I get a question like this, I always run to the Bible. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe that God’s word does. So in praying and studying about this, He reminded me of several stories in the Bible that seemingly carry the same theme of a new beginning. And while I used to think the best redemption stories were found only in the New Testament, my study of Genesis has shown me that God first showed his mercy in the garden. It started back at “In the beginning…” and carries right on through to the final victory in Revelation. And in every great story, the characters had one thing in common: Each and every one of them allowed God to look upon them and see who they really were, and then accepted his healing and new life. And when they did, they were redeemed.
Maybe we have been disobedient and have tried to hide it from God like Adam and Eve. Or maybe we, like David, have seen God take us from insignificance to blessing, but have struggled with temptation along the way. Or like the adulterous woman, we have found ourselves caught red-handed in our sin, and need to experience God’s grace and undeserved mercy so that we can “Go and sin no more…”
Whether it is forgiveness or a new start we need today, I believe the same thing happened in Genesis that happened at the well and beside the pool. And I believe that what happened in those stories still holds true today. When we allow God to look upon us and see who we really are and then accept his healing and new life, we are given the power to “Go and sin no more.” And while we will never be completely perfect this side of heaven, God’s promise is every bit as alive in our lives as in the pages of the Bible.
We are each a part of that age old story that began in Genesis and hasn’t ended just yet. We are the story of forgiveness and grace, of mercy and healing. So my answer to what we can do to prepare the path for his Genesis in our lives is to do what his people have always done: We must allow God to look upon us and see who we really are and then accept his healing and new life. And when we do, we will be redeemed.
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What story is God telling through your life? Have you allowed him to look upon you, see who you really are, and then accept his healing and new life? Have you been redeemed?
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. 2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. 3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies… 8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. 10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. 13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet
I am redeemed,
You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain,
now I’m not who I used to be
Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home
I am redeemed.
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