Invasion of Light

Discovering God's Glory One Day at a Time

Month: October, 2011

The Apostolic DNA of Genesis – Day 6

Today, there is a great need for spiritual fathers and mothers—mature disciples who know the “deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). And there is no other book like Genesis to ground us in the depths of God’s ways. In Genesis we see the rise of the fathers—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (along with the matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel). This makes Genesis very apostolic: it bears the DNA of the biblical apostles that were yet to come. Genesis is the book of beginnings, just as apostles are men of new beginnings—fathers who break new ground and reproduce Christ in others. Much of what is called the apostolic movement today is just froth, it lacks roots and foundations. Many men who call themselves apostles have not entered into the same experiences as our biblical forefathers. Have they, like Abraham, offered up what is dearest to their hearts? Have they with Isaac sowed in a time of famine? Do they know what it is to wrestle with God like Jacob? Do they know the pain of obscurity and suffering like Joseph? These are the very things that make a person and a church apostolic, but are sorely lacking today.

Apostles and apostolic people are like Abraham: they seek a city with foundations. They are not satisfied with merely big churches, the seeming appearance of success and so-called decisions for Christ—instead, they are searching for something that will last. They are willing to withstand long periods of barrenness until what is birthed comes from the Spirit, rather than natural means. Like Ishmael, that which is born of our own abilities may be blessed (Gen. 17:18-20). Yet it does not reflect the apostolic reality that is God’s ultimate intention.

The words “in the beginning” challenge the immature, but also confront legalists who possess pseudo-maturity. It is possible to have a form of maturity, but lack the apostolic quality of a true spiritual father or mother. This is because what may be legally advocated in Scripture may be entirely different than God’s original purposes. For example, the Pharisees endorsed divorce because Moses gave them permission to send away a wife. However, Jesus challenges them saying, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way” (Matt. 19:8, NASB). In other words, this was never God’s intent in the beginning!

Could it be that we are settling for something less than God’s ultimate desire because we do not know him who is from the beginning? If we do not know the eternal purposes of him who is from the beginning, we will have a tendency to embrace something legally permissible rather than apostolic. This is the condition of many that settle for the easy way rather than pursuing God’s heart.

Prayer: Father, your very DNA––your apostolic nature––is locked up in Genesis. May that DNA become a part of me and the church. You’re searching for apostolic men and women, men and women with foundations, people who are rooted in their origins. Make us into what you ultimately intended from the beginning. I don’t want to settle for anything less.

Pressing On To Maturity – Day 5

The apostle John said, “I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning” (1 John 1:13, 14). There is something about knowing him who is from the beginning that brings maturity; it causes us to become spiritual fathers and mothers. Young children know their father, but do not know their father’s history. New believers also know their Father, but they do not know the profoundness of his eternal nature. As they grow they will value their Father’s history, even though at present they may not fully appreciate it. This is why John says to young believers: “I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father” (1 John 2:13). It is clear that these young children in Christ know the Father. But, he specifically omits, “you have known him who is from the beginning.” Why? Because even though they know their heavenly Father, they do not have a mature understanding of his eternal ways and story.

The spiritually immature tend to dwell in the Gospel accounts of Christ, but often do not have the gumption to dive into the Torah’s deep waters. They find the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) is over their heads; they cannot fathom its depths. Only as they grow do they get rooted and grounded in these extraordinary first five books. These foundational writings then give them further maturity in their apprehension of the Gospels (which are absolutely essential). Consequently, they no longer have a childish perception of Father, but come to know “him who is from the beginning.”

Prayer: Father, I want to know you, you who is from the beginning. I’m not satisfied with a shallow relationship with you. I want to grow in the knowledge of you and become mature. May my roots go down deep into the depths of your character. Give me the courage to dive deep into the depths of your Torah.

Seeing the Beginning from the End – Day 4

The epic Biblical story opens with “In the beginning God…” But can we understand the beginning by only considering the beginning? Of course we need to start somewhere. But didn’t Jesus teach that the first will be last and the last will be first? Therefore, shouldn’t an exploration on Genesis be tackled only after properly wrestling with the book of Revelation? Clearly, we cannot comprehend the first, Genesis, without grasping the last, the book of Revelation.

In the book of Revelation we see the fullness of God’s revelation to man—Jesus. We also discover the end goal of all creation: Jesus’ glorification and his restoration of all things.  And so we must begin exploring Genesis in retrospect, looking back with unveiled eyes, opened through the revelation of Christ given by God the Father. Through gazing from the future we see God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The gospel is not a novel invention; neither is Jesus Christ merely a two-thousand-year-old historical figure. Instead, Jesus was with God in the beginning—the eternal Word of God (John 1:1-3). Jesus himself said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:13).

Prayer: Jesus, you are the fullness of God’s revelation to mankind. Help me to read the Old Testament with a new perspective, with unveiled eyes. I want to see your glory in your Word. I don’t want to miss out on the treasures you have hidden in your Torah.

Take Off Your Shoes – Day 3

At this point we need to take off our shoes; we are entering holy ground. We are drawing near to a place of fear and trembling, the very presence of him from whom all things exist: the uncreated creator. The great Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, once said, “No thought has frightened me so far.” But unlike Kierkegaard, the thought of the one who created all thought instils within me a healthy fear. How can it be that God is not created? How can he just be? Is there anything that came before him? Trembling, I realize I cannot understand. Yet I can worship him who is beyond my understanding. We must bow our heads, cover our eyes and believe that in this place of blindness we will see all things. The only way we will understand the one beyond understanding is if we come with reverential fear and worship. Let us remember: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10).

The first verse of the Bible is meant to impart the fear of the Lord. Unfortunately, we often read it with a “been there, done that” mentality. If you come to the Bible lacking the reverence that Genesis 1:1 conveys, you come in vain. You may read, but you will not understand. You may see, but you will be blind. You may exegete, but your words will be empty. But to those who fear, the “secrets of the kingdom” are given (Matt. 13:11).

Prayer: O Eternal Lord, to even enter into the thought of you is to come onto holy ground. Right now, I take off my shoes. I don’t want to rush; I don’t want to be casual. I tremble before you. Teach me the fear of the Lord, Almighty God, the Alpha and Omega. I want to begin my journey into you with the fear of the Lord.

The Beginning of Beginnings – Day 2

Genesis 1 is the beginning of beginnings—the quintessential beginning and divine prototype for all subsequent beginnings. It teaches us how God opened creation and humankind to himself. In the first week we especially see how God begins. And the way he began the universe is the same way he begins all things; his ways in the past have not changed. God is still creator and he continually creates anew what has lost its glory through sin.

You may not have begun wisely, or perhaps your beginnings were unfavorable. The good news is that there is hope: God will create afresh. The book of Genesis was not merely penned to inform us about the past; it was also written to give us a confident expectation of the future.

Is any book as rich and full of gems as Genesis? In this book lies the whole seedbed of the Bible—the very DNA of God’s holy Word. Yet the glory of Genesis is hidden, just as the power of a seed’s life is latent within its unassuming exterior. In Genesis we see the gospel, but it is veiled. Only those with unveiled eyes, who enter into death with the Son of God, can experience the incredible life of its words.

If Genesis is the foundation of the Bible, then the first verse is its cornerstone: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Everything that has been written gets its bearings and support from this pregnant sentence. Remove this verse and the structure of Scripture collapses; understand these words and you will begin to comprehend all things.

Prayer: O God, you are the author of all things, the Almighty Creator. Thank you that you have not stopped your creative work. Create in me what is pleasing to you and give me understanding to fathom you, the fountain of everything.

Action: Begin reading the book of Genesis in a new way––with unveiled eyes. Read it to discover God and his Good News.

The Beginning – Day 1

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

Life is full of beginnings: a baby is born, a couple marries, a loved one passes away. We are continually beginning anew, perpetually experiencing the cycle of life. These new beginnings are often times of exuberant joy, but can also be periods of intense pain. After a death, how can you move on? After a financial crash, how do you recover?

Beginnings are crucial. This was highlighted to us during the birth of our daughter, Allison. While in labor the hospital staff attached an apparatus to my wife’s stomach that monitored the baby’s heart rate. But all was not well. Allison’s heartbeat was abnormal, constantly dropping to dangerously low levels. At each critical moment my wife had to breathe through an oxygen mask to stabilize the unborn baby’s heart rate. Allison’s heart rate raced, but then swiftly plummeted. Finally her head emerged and the problem was discovered: the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around her neck. Without any urgency the assistant midwife ambled across the room to grab the scissors; she had become too familiar with the birthing process. Life and death hung in the balance, but all she could think about was her long shift. Fortunately, the cord was cut in the nick of time and Allison was free to take her first breath. Her life was saved, but it could have been lost if nothing was done in those first critical moments.

Everything rises or falls on our beginnings. If you begin right, you lay a solid foundation for the future. But if you start haphazardly it is like building on sand—one day your work will come crashing down. In a game of chess, the opening often determines the outcome. A weak opening will almost surely mean defeat, but a strong opening paves the way for victory.

Prayer: God, help me to see the importance of every beginning and begin rightly. I’m asking you to build a firm foundation in my life, a foundation that will last through every storm and enable me to walk in your victory.

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