“In the beginning God…” (Gen. 1:1)
I started my first day in 2023 as I have for the last 23 years: Reading Genesis. The stories are well-known, but even in their familiarity, I find I have much to learn.
A few days prior, the creation story had been a point of discussion amongst our family. How did it actually happen? Was it literally seven days? Could it have been a “big bang”? In that discussion, I found myself wanting to defend the Biblical narrative I have come to know and love.
A couple days later upon reflection of that discussion around the dinner table, my youngest reminded me of an important truth she had learned from her Logic and Debate class at Christian Heritage School. The first most important thing we must do in any discussion is LISTEN!! Her encouragement resonated within. She was right. I was moved to tears and these words from scripture came to mind: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19)
I found it interesting to read Genesis 1 & 2 this year after that discussion. So much mystery honestly in this story. When God said, “Let there be light,” what happened exactly? All the text says is “and there was light.” The sun and moon hadn’t been created yet, so what was that light? Was there a noise or a shaking of some sort that accompanied the light? There’s so much we don’t know about that one moment in time, but I can say with confidence, God’s Word is powerful! 🌎
We know from verse 26, God wasn’t alone. The narrative says, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness…” Such an interesting verse. Up to this point there is no plurality mentioned. But verse 26, reveals an important truth: More than one Being was present. The Amplified Bible puts in parenthesis after “Us” (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). In the beginning the Three-in-One was working…so much truth and mystery packed in that one pronoun!
Then this verse from Genesis 3:24 got me thinking…
“So God drove out the man, and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep and guard the way to the tree of life.”
These words sound harsh. God made the man leave this place of perfection. Was He angry? Was He punishing them for disobeying? As I read and reread these words though, I actually saw “grace” in the story. Just a few verses before, the narrative tells us that God clothed these two with animal skins.
God clothed them. Then He drove them out. Why? They had to get far away from the tree of life. They weren’t ready to eat from it yet. As the old hymn puts it, “Sin had left a crimson stain.”
I then moved onto Matthew 1, which is part of our reading plan this year, and read these words from verse 21…
“Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Love clothed them, and Grace drove them from the Garden. They would eat from the tree of life someday, but it would take Jesus coming first.
Wow. All of this in one day of reading the Bible. I look forward to what God will show me this year. I want to be a better listener. I think I’m going to make this my word for the year ~ Listen. Thanks Audrey 😉
LISTEN (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
1. To hearken; to give ear; to attend closely with a view to hear.
2. To obey; to yield to advice; to follow admonition.
As 2023 begins, I have much to be thankful for. We ended the year with a few wonderful days with our kids. We all gathered at our home in Texas, feasting on delicious food and laughing a whole lot. My kids are fun to be with. I’m so glad we had these days together.
Richard started back at YWAM Tyler today. He’ll be working on the year-end-report for his office. In Advancement, Richard is always thinking of ways to get the word out about discipleship and missions. What will God show him in that report? What areas of improvement for 2023 needs to happen for more to come to this campus and be discipled in knowing God and making Him known?
This coming Monday, I will start back at CHS. In English Literature, I’ll be reading 1066: The Year of Conquest. I love this book. The author is seeking to know the truth about the Battle of Hastings in England’s history. But the story seems to change depending on who is sharing it. I love reading this book with my students and discussing how to determine what’s true as we reflect on history.
In American Literature, I’ll be reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. He was quite an interesting man and came up with some great tweetable phrases: “He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas.” 😳 No doubt, we will have good discussion.
This semester also has me preparing for the Senior Trip, Blessing Ceremony, and Graduation as well. 3 major events I’m responsible for. Please pray for my sanity! 😂
I also want to ask you to please be praying with us about a few pressing needs we have:
- Audrey needs $2600 for tuition this next semester. We were so encouraged by the way God guided and provided for Audrey in August. It was a faith booster no doubt. The first semester had its challenges but overall Audrey did really well. She made a 4.0 in her grades and gained some very special friendships. She loves Asbury and is thankful to be part of the Restored 2026 class. She starts back this Monday, January 9th with a full load (16 hours of classes). Please pray with us that we can pay this portion of her school bill asap.
- Audrey needs medical insurance. The school healthcare plan is no longer an option for her, so we need to find something asap! We are in process but needing to finalize something. Please pray for us with this detail.
- We need tires! Our Ford Edge has been such a blessing and a gift from the Lord. We’ve put many miles on that car in the short time we’ve had it. We anticipate more miles will be added, but we must get tires to be safe. Please pray with us for these wheels.
- Richard joins a Go Team! One of the new initiatives in Advancement are teams going out to talk with people face-to-face about YWAM, inviting them to join us. Richard will travel across the US with the team and be speaking at churches and schools. Two trips are already planned. One in January and another in February. In order for Richard to participate, he needs to help with the cost of travel. His first trip will be January 13-23, and funds are due by the end of this week. Please pray for God’s equipping to do all that He has called Richard to do.
These are a few pressing needs that we ask you to pray with us about.
2022 was full of miraculous stories of God caring for us. He provided us a home, which we love. Audrey got her Green Card after years of waiting, and she successfully completed her 1st semester of college! Molly celebrated 2 years sobriety and moved into her own place in town. Much has happened here we are so thankful for. All of which, you played a part in by praying for us and supporting us as God led you. Thank you dear ones.
After watching I Heard the Bells this holiday (which I highly recommend!!), I fell in love with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow even more. So here’s a poem of his to end with. In 2023, let’s hearken our ears to hear His voice.
The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.
If you’d like to join us in reading through the Bible this year, here’s a .pdf of the plan we’re using. You can download it or print it.