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January 19 – Creation and Redemption

Some actors have played some parts for so long that people know them by their character’s name more than their real name. For actors, it’s a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they’ve had steady work on a series that people recognize and has been popular. On the other hand, it sometimes makes it difficult to get different parts during the run of the series and even after the series is over. They have that signature role and it’s hard to see them in any other role. Authors have that same problem. People know them for a particular genre and when they suggest the idea of writing a different genre, people are shocked that they would even attempt it. They wonder why an author would leave his or her signature role. It’s easy to get locked into a role or a genre if you are a creative person.

I can’t imagine God getting locked into one specific area of His creation, although many people will focus on one area of the creation. Often when we do that, we forget about how all creation works together for the purpose of glorifying God. The beauty of the land forms and waterways, the magnificence of the heavens beyond our planet, the power of the storm, the amazing diversity of plants and animals, the complexity of man all cry out to our world of the glory of God. Each of these has so many specific areas that would cause us to fall down in worship as we recognized God’s hand in each small and large part of creation. I’m sure that David must have been sitting, watching the sheep one night and as he looked at the amazing night time light show, was moved to write Psalm 19. The first verse sets the tone. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)

I wonder how it is that anyone can view creation without recognizing the amazing power of God in creation. I look at the birds and see the smallest variations and the greatest differences of size and color, form and function. These did not come about by chance. I look into the night sky and see the stars, knowing that I am looking at planets as well, not that I can tell which is which in my limited knowledge, and can’t help but stand in awe of the amazing nature of creation. All the explanations offered as to the origin of our universe that leave God out can’t escape the fact that when you take things back to the beginning, the original stuff had to come from somewhere. The lack of belief in God is an amazing, but bad, leap of faith. It may be a greater leap of faith than believing in Him when you recognize the beauty of all of creation at all levels. Creation is God’s signature role. It is how most of us begin wondering about God and recognizing His existence.

Just as much as God is Creator, He is also a Redeemer. This one is hard for people to understand. We seem to think that we need to be good enough to be able to see God in this way. As Redeemer God recognizes our mistakes and failures in life; He recognizes how we have fallen away from Him. This is called sin. He takes that sin and forgives it through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, His only son, on the cross. He takes our sin and throws it as far away as east is from the west. He doesn’t do this because we make ourselves good enough; if we could do that He wouldn’t need to redeem us. No, He does that out of His unfailing love for each one of us. If your natural inclination is to deny that possibility because of something you’ve done; realize that He knows, and understands. That’s why Jesus went to the cross. His unfailing love still reaches out to you and calls you into a relationship with Him.

Lord God, thank You for the death of Jesus on the cross. Thank You that He paid the penalty for my sin and gives me power to overcome that sin. Remind me of Your presence and redemption through all creation and help me to show Your love to others.

Daily Devotion by Bob James


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