Welcome to Son-Rise on Scripture - January 7, 2015

Good morning!!!

Welcome to WRC's Son-Rise on Scripture Blog.

The purpose of this blog is to provide you with the opportunity to join us as we share a daily synopsis of God's Word.  Each morning, from now through December 31st, readings will be posted from the Old Testament and New Testament based on the translation provided by "The Message//Remix: Pause" - a daily reading Bible.  

Our hope is that, through these posts, you will continue to discover and experience God's knowledge, insight, wisdom, grace, love and a greater understanding of His Message to us.   

Our prayer is that reading God's Word each day will strengthen our faith and guide us as we strive to live out our faith through one's words and deeds.

The Message, and our blog, begin with the Books of Genesis and John.  The first 6 days of the year are provided in reverse order below following a brief overview of each book.  Every 7th day, you will be provided with a "pause" and time to reflect on what you've discovered while reading God's Word.

Please remember that this is a synthesized portion of each day's reading from The Message.  As a result, you are encouraged to expand on a given post by turning in your own Bible to experience the entire content.  

Feel free to comment on any aspect of God's Word that touches your life and the lives of those around you

Enjoy this year's journey!!!   Grace and Peace!!!! God's Continued Covenant & Blessings!!!      Doug Haan

    Genesis    

First God.  God is the subject of life. God is  foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right.  Not God at the margins, not God as an option, not God on the weekends.  God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God....

There is immense significance in everything that we do.  Our speech and our actions and our prayers are all, every detail of them, involved in this vast building operation comprehensively known as the kingdom of God .  But we don’t build the foundation.  The foundation is given.  The foundation is firmly in place.  Jesus concluded his most famous teaching by telling us that there are two ways  to go about our lives - we can build on sand or we can build on rock...

Genesis is a verbal witness to that rock...We are given a succession of stories ...if we pay attention, we find that we ourselves are living variations on these stories...he works with us as he finds us... 

John  

In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence.  This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus--Jesus speaks the word and it happens...somewhere along the line things went wrong and are in desperate need of fixing.  The fixing is all accomplished by speaking--God speaking salvation into being in the person of Jesus...

Keeping company with these words, we begin to realize that our words are more important than we ever supposed.  Saying “I believe,” for instance marks the difference between life and death...For Jesus doesn’t impose salvation as a solution, he narrates salvation into being through leisurely conversation, intimate personal relationships, compassionate responses, passionate prayer, and --putting it all together-- a sacrificial death.  We don’t casually walk away from words like that.

Jan. 7 (7) - God doesn’t change and neither does the way he works with people.  Watching God work in the lives of Abraham and Sarah gives you a good indication of the way God will work in your life as well.  How will you respond?

Jan. 6 - 

Genesis 15-17 - After all these things, this word of God came to Abram in a vision, “Don’t be afraid Abram.  I’m your shield.  Your reward will be grand.”  Abram said, “God, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I’m childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything...Then God’s message came:  “Don’t worry, he won’t be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir...And Abram believed!  Blessed God!  God declared him “Set-Right-with-God.”

Sarai had an Egyptian maid named Hagar.  Sarai said to Abram, “God has not seen fit to let me have a child.  Sleep with my maid.  Maybe I can get a family from her.”  Abram agreed to do what Sarai said...Abram had been living ten years in Canaan when this took place....When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress.  Sarai told Abram, “It’s all your fault that I am suffering this abuse.  I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I am nothing...”You decide,” said Abram.  “Your maid is your business.”  

Sarai was abusive to Hagar and Hagar ran away.  An angel of God found Hagar beside a spring in the desert...the angel of God said, “Go back to your mistress.  Put up with her abuse.”  He continued, “ I’m going to give you a big family, children past counting.” ...She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!  Yes!  He saw me and then I saw him...Hagar gave Abram a son.  Abram named him Ishmael.  Abram was 86 when Hagar gave him a son.  

When Abram was 99 years old, God showed up....Abram fell flat on his face.  Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you:  You’ll be the father of many nations.  Your name will mo longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that “I’m making you the father of many nations.‘...and I am giving you and your descendants this land where you’re now camping, this whole country of Canaan, to own forever.  And I’ll be their God.”...

This is the covenant that you are to honor, the covenant that pulls in all your descendants:  Circumcise every male.  Circumcise by cutting off the foreskin of the penis;  it will be the sign of the covenant between us...that way my covenant will be cut into your body, a permanent mark of my permanent covenant....

”And Sarai, your wife:  Don’t call her Sarai any longer; call her Sarah.  I ‘ll bless her---yes!”  Abraham fell flat on his face.  And then he laughed, thinking, “Can a 100 year old man father a son?  And can Sarah, at 90 years , have a baby?.. . But God said, “Your wife Sarah, will have a baby, a son.  Name his Isaac (Laughter)...And Ismael?  Yes, I heard your prayer for him, I’ll also bless him...but I’ll establish my covenant with Isaac whom Sarah will give you about this time next year.”...Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised.  His son Ishmael was 13 years old when he was circumcised...      

John 5 - Soon another Feast came around and Jesus went back to Jerusalem.  Near the Sheep Gate there was a pool called Bethesda...One man had been an invalid there for 38 years.  When Jesus saw him there by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”  After the man explained why he was still there, Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.”  The man was healed on the spot...

That day happened to be the Sabbath.  The Jews stopped the healed man and said, “It’s the Sabbath.  You can’t carry your bedroll around.  It’s against the rules.” ...

They asked, “who gave you the order/”  But the healed man didn’t know, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.  A little later, Jesus found him in the Temple and said, “You look wonderful!...Don’t return to a sinning life or something worse will happen.”  The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.  That is why the Jews were out to get Jesus ---because he did this kind of thing on the Sabbath.

But Jesus defended himself.  “My father is working through, even on the Sabbath.  So am I.”  That really set them off.  The Jews were now not only out to expose him;  they were out to kill him.  Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was calling God his own Father, putting himself on a level with God.

So Jesus explained himself at length...”What the Father does, the Son does...But you haven’t seen the half of it yet, for in the same way that the Father raises the dead and creates life, so does the Son.  The Son gives live to anyone he choses.  Neither he nor the Father shuts out anyone...It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this; anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has a this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider...

It’s urgent that you get this right:  The time has arrived---I mean right now! ---when dead men and women will hear the voice of the Son of God and hearing will come alive...and the Father has given authority, simply because he is the Son of Man to decide and carry out matters of Judgment...Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life...

I can’t do a solitary thing on my own. I listen, then I decide.  You can trust my decision because I’m not out to get my own way but only to carry out orders....But my purpose is not to get your vote, and not appeal to mere human testimony.  I’m speaking to you this way so that you will be saved...

But the witness that really confirms me far exceeds John’s witness.  It’s the work the Father gave me to complete.  These very tasks, as I go about completing them, confirm who sent me, confirmed me...

You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there.  But you miss the forest from the trees.  These Scriptures are all about me!  And here I am, standing right before you and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.  I am not interested in crowd approval...Because I know you and your crowds.  

I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda.  I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me...How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?...

Moses, in whom you put so much stock, is your accuser.  If you believed, really believed, what Moses said, you would believe me.  He wrote of me.  If you won’t take seriously what he wrote, how can I expect you to take seriously what I speak?”   

Jan. 5 - 

Genesis 12-14 - God told Abram,”Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you...so Abram left just as God said, and Lot left with him.  

Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran.  He took Sarai and his nephew Lot with him...Abram set out for the land of Canaan and arrived safe and sound...God appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your children.”  Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him.  

Abram moved from there to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent between Bethel to the west and Ai to the east.  He built an altar there and prayed to God...

There was a famine in the land so Abram went down to Egypt to live....As he drew near to Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look.  We both know you’re a beautiful woman.  When the Egyptians see you they’re going to say, ‘Aha!  That’s his wife!’  and kill me.  But they’ll let you live.  Do me a favor: tell them you’re my sister.  Because of you, they’ll welcome me and let me live.”  When Abram arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians took one look and saw that his wife was stunningly beautiful....She was taken to Pharaoh.  Because of her, Abram got along very well...but God hit Pharaoh hard because of Abram’s wife Sarai; everybody in the palace got seriously sick...Pharaoh called for Abram and confronted him on why he didn’t tell him she was his wife.  Pharaoh then ordered his men to get Abram out of the country...

So Abram left Egypt and went back to the Negev...by now Abram was very rich, loaded with cattle and silver and gold.  He moved from the Neveg to Bethel...But the land couldn’t support both Abram and Lot’s many possessions...They couldn’t both live there-quarrels broke out between the two camps...Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have fighting between your shepherds and my shepherds..That’s how they came to part company, uncle and nephew.  

Abram settled in Canaan; Lot settled in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent near Sodom...After Lot separated from him, God said to Abram, “open your eyes, look around.  Look north, south, east and west. Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever.  I’ll make your descendants like dust...So---on your feet, get moving!  Walk through the country, its length and breadth;  I’m giving it all to you.”  Abram moved his tent and settled by the Oak of Mamre in Hebron.  There he built an altar to God.

Then the several kings in the region joined together and went off to war to fight Bera, the king of Sodom & several other kingdoms.  The kings captured all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah...They captured Lot who was living in Sodom at the time, taking everything he owned with them.  A fugitive came and reported to Abram...When he heard that his nephew had been taken prisoner, he lined up his servants, 318 of them, and chased after the captors all the way to Dan... They recovered all the plunder along with nephew Lot and his possessions, including the women and the people.  After Abram returned from defeating these kings...Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine -- he was priest of The High God --and blessed him....Abram gave him a 10th of all the recovered plunder....

John 4 - Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing).  They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people.  

So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.  To get there, he had to pass through Samaria.  He came into Sychar, a village that bordered the field Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was still there.  Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well.  It was noon.  A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water.  Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)  The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman for a drink?”  (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans).  Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”...

She asked...”are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”  Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again.  Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst--not ever”....  After telling her to go and get her husband, Jesus praised her for being honest in the fact that she had 5 husbands and the man she was living with now wasn’t her husband....

She responded with “Oh so you’re a prophet!  Well tell me this:  Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”  Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem...God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews.  But the time is coming--it has, in fact, come --when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.  It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God.  Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.   That’s is the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in worship.  God is sheer being itself - Spirit.  Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”  

The woman said, “I don’t know about that.  I do know that the Messiah is coming.  When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”  “I am he,” said Jesus.  “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”  

Just then his disciples came back.  They were shocked.  They couldn’t believe  he was talking with that kind of woman.  No one said what they were thinking , but their faces showed it.  The woman took the hint and left...Back in the village, she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out”...And they went out to see for themselves.

In the meantime, the disciples pressed him, “Rabbi, eat.  Aren’t you going to eat?”  He told them, “I have food to eat you know nothing about.”  The disciples were puzzled....Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started....

These Samaritan fields are ripe.  It’s harvest time!  The Harvester isn’t waiting...Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant.  That’s the truth of the saying, “This one sows, that one harvests.  I sent you to harvest a field you’ve never worked.  Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.”  

Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness: “He knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out!”  They asked him to stay, so Jesus stayed two days.  A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say...

After two days, Jesus left for Galilee.  Now Jesus knew well from experience that a prophet is not respected in the place where he grew up.  So when he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, but only because they were impressed with what he had done in Jerusalem during the Passover Feast, not that they really had a clue about who he as or what he was up to.  

Now he was back in Cana, the place where he made the water into wine.  Meanwhile in Capernaum, there was a certain official from the king’s court whose son was sick.  When he heard that Jesus had come, he went and asked that he come down and heal his son who was on the brink of death. Jesus put him off“Unless you people are dazzled by a miracle, you refuse to believe.”  But the court official wouldn’t be put off.  “Come down!  It’s life or death for my son.”  Jesus simply replied, “Go home.  Your son lives.”  The man believed the bare word Jesus spoke and headed home...The father knew that he son recovered the very moment Jesus had said, “Your son lives.”  That cinched it.  Not only he but his entire household believed.  This was now the second sign Jesus gave after having come from Judea into Galilee.

Jan. 4 - 

Genesis 9-11 - God blessed Noah and his sons...Every living creature will fall under your spell and be afraid of you.  You’re responsible for them...You’re here to bear fruit, reproduce, lavish life on the Earth, live bountifully!...

Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you,

I am putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you..... 

The sons of Noah who came out of the ship were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. 

Noah, a farmer, was the first to plant a vineyard.  He drank from the wine, got drunk and passed out naked in his tent.  Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and told his two brothers who were outside the tent. Shem and Japheth took a cloak, held it between them from their shoulders, walked backward and covered their father’s nakedness, keeping their faces turned away so they did not see their father’s exposed body.....When Noah woke up with his hangover, he learned what his youngest son had done.  He said, “Curse be Canaan...Blessed be God, the God of Shem, but Canaan shall be his slave. God prosper Japheth, living spaciously in the tents of Shem.

This is the family tree of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After the flood, they themselves had sons. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras....The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, Canaan....Shem, the older brother of Japheth, also had sons. Shem was ancestor to all the children of Eber....The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.... (See Chapter 10)

At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language...They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and fire them well....Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.”

God came down to look over the city and the tower those people had built.  God took one look and said, “One people, one language; why, this is only a first step. No telling what they’ll come up with next—they’ll stop at nothing! Come, we’ll go down and garble their speech so they won’t understand each other.” Then God scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city. That’s how it came to be called Babel, because there God turned their language into “babble.” From there God scattered them all over the world.

This is the story of Shem. - When Shem was 100 years old, he had Arphaxad. It was two years after the flood. 

  • -    When Arphaxad was thirty-five years old, he had Shelah. 
  • -    When Shelah was thirty years old, he had Eber. 
  • -    When Eber was thirty-four years old, he had Peleg. 
  • -    When Peleg was thirty years old, he had Reu. 
  • -    When Reu was thirty-two years old, he had Serug. 
  • -    When Serug was thirty years old, he had Nahor. 
  • -    When Nahor was twenty-nine years old, he had Terah. 
  • -    When Terah was seventy years old, he had Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

This is the story of Terah. Terah had Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran had Lot. Haran died before his father, Terah...Abram and Nahor each got married. Abram’s wife was Sarai;... Sarai was barren; she had no children.  Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of his brother Haran. 

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran’s son), and Sarai his daughter-in-law... and set out with them from Ur of the Chaldees for the land of Canaan. But when they got as far as Haran, they settled down there.

John 3 - There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader, among the Jews.  Late one night, he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God.  No one could do all of the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”  

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right.  Take it from me.  Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to -- to God’s kingdom...Unless a person submits to this original creation--the wind-hovering over the water creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into new life- it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.  When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch.  But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch- the Spirit- and becomes a living spirit...

You’re respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know the basics...This is how much God loved  the world.  He gave His Son, His one and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life...His Son came to help, to put the world right again...

This is a crisis we’re in:  God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness.  They went for darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God...But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

After this conversation, Jesus went on with his disciples into the Judean countryside and relaxed with them there...John’s disciples got into an argument with the establishment Jews over the nature of baptism...

John’s disciples came to John and said...”Jesus is competing with us.  He’s baptizing, too, and everyone’s going to him instead of us.”  John answered, “It’s not possible for a person to succeed--I’m talking about eternal success---without heaven’s help...the bridegroom’s friend, his best man--that’s me--in place at his side where he can hear every word, is genuinely happy...That’s why my cup is running over.  This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.  The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God...The Father loves the Son extravagantly.  He turned everything over to him so he could give it away-- a lavish distribution of gifts.  That is why whoever accepts and trust the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever.”

Jan. 3 - 

Genesis 6-8 - When the human race began to increase, with more and more daughters being born, the sons of God noticed that the daughters of men were beautiful. They looked them over and picked out wives for themselves. Then God said, “I’m not going to breathe life into men and women endlessly. Eventually they’re going to die; from now on they can expect a life span of 120 years.”  This was back in the days (and also later) when there were giants in the land. The giants came from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of men. These were the mighty men of ancient lore, the famous ones.

God saw that human evil was out of control.....God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart. God said, “I’ll get rid of my ruined creation, make a clean sweep: people, animals, snakes and bugs, birds—the works. I’m sorry I made them.”

But Noah was different. God liked what he saw in Noah....Noah was a good man, a man of integrity in his community. Noah walked with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth...God said to Noah, “It’s all over. It’s the end of the human race. The violence is everywhere; I’m making a clean sweep. “Build yourself a ship from teakwood....Make it 450 feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high... and make three decks, lower, middle, and upper.

“I’m going to bring a flood on the Earth that will destroy everything alive under Heaven. Total destruction.  But I’m going to establish a covenant with you: You’ll board the ship, and your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives will come on board with you. You are also to take two of each living creature,...two of everything so as to preserve their lives along with yours.... Noah did everything God commanded him to do.

Next God said to Noah, “Now board the ship, you and all your family—out of everyone in this generation, you’re the righteous one.... In just seven days I will dump rain on Earth for forty days and forty nights. I’ll make a clean sweep of everything that I’ve made.”  Noah did everything God commanded him.

Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters covered the Earth.... in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month that it happened: all the underground springs erupted and all the windows of Heaven were thrown open. Rain poured for forty days and forty nights....The flood got worse until all the highest mountains were covered—the high-water mark reached twenty feet above the crest of the mountains. Everything died....Every living, breathing creature that lived on dry land died; he wiped out the whole works—...Only Noah and his company on the ship lived.  The floodwaters took over for 150 days....On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ship landed on the Ararat mountain range. The water kept going down until the tenth month. On the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains came into view. 

After forty days Noah opened the window that he had built into the ship.  He sent out a raven; it flew back and forth.... Then he sent a dove to check on the flood conditions, but it couldn’t even find a place to perch—...He waited seven more days and sent out the dove again. It came back in the evening with a freshly picked olive leaf in its beak. Noah knew that the flood was about finished. He waited another seven days and sent the dove out a third time. This time it didn’t come back.

In the six-hundred-first year of Noah’s life, on the first day of the first month, the flood had dried up. Noah opened the hatch of the ship and saw dry ground. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the Earth was completely dry...

Noah disembarked with his sons and wife and his sons’ wives... Noah built an altar to God. He selected clean animals and birds from every species and offered them as burnt offerings on the altar. God smelled the sweet fragrance and thought to himself, “I’ll never again curse the ground because of people. I know they have this bent toward evil from an early age,... For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat,
Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.”

John 2 - Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were guests also. When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus’ mother told him, “They’re just about out of wine.”

Jesus said, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.” She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.”

Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus ordered the servants, “Fill the pots with water.” And they filled them to the brim. “Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host,” Jesus said, and they did.  When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”  This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Capernaum along with his mother, brothers, and disciples, and stayed several days.  When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.  Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple,... “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.”  They were indignant: ...But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

During the time Jesus was in Jerusalem, those days of the Passover Feast, many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him. But Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them.

 Jan. 2 - 

Genesis 3-5 - The serpent was clever...He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God  told you not to eat from any tree in the Garden?”   The Woman responded:...It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”  The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die...You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”  When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it--she’d know everything!---she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband and he ate.  Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on.”...  

God called to Man...The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree and , yes, I ate it.”  God then asked the Woman:  “The serpent seduced me, “ she said, “ and I ate.”... He told the Woman: “I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; ... you’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord over you.”  He told the Man: “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree...The very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you’ll be working in pain all your life long...So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden.

Adam slept with Eve.  She conceived and had Cain.  The she had another baby, Abel.  Abel was a herdsman and Cain a farmer.  Time passed.  Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm.  Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animal of his herd, choice cuts of meat.  God liked Abel and his offering but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval.  

Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk.  God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum?  Why the sulking?  If you do well, won’t you be accepted?  And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”  

Cain had words with his brother...Cain came at Abel and killed him...God said to Cain, “Where is your brother?”  Cain said, “How should I know?  Am I his babysitter?”  God informed Cain that he will farm the ground, but it will no longer give you its best.  He would be a homeless wanderer on Earth.  God put a mark on Cain to protect him so that no one who met him would kill him.  Cain left the presence of God and lived in No-Man’s-Land, east of Eden.  Cain slept with his wife.  She conceived and had Enoch.  Cain then built a city and named it after his son, Enoch.

Adam slept with his wife again.  She had a son whom she named Seth....and then Seth had a son whom he named Enosh.  That’s when men and women began praying and worshiping in the name of God.  The family tree of the human race started with Adam - Seth-Enosh-Kenan-Mahalalel-Jared-Enoch (walked steadily with God.  And then one day he was simply gone)-Methuselah-Lamech-Noah (Shem, Ham & Japheth).

John 1:19-1:51 - When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest.  He told the plain truth: “ I am not the Messiah.”...”I’m the thunder in the desert: ‘Make the road straight for God!‘ I’m doing what the prophet Isaiah preached.”  Those sent asked: “ If you’re neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why do you baptize?”  John answered, “I only baptize using water.  A person you don’t recognize has taken his stand in your midst.  He comes after me, but he is not in second place to me.  I’m not worthy to hold his coat for him.”

The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb!...This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.”..

John clinched his witness with this: “I repeat, I know nothing about him except this:  The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, “The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.‘

The next day John was back at his post with two disciples...He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.”  The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus.  Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”  They said, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”  He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”  They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day.  It was late afternoon when this happened.  Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus.  The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” then immediately led him to Jesus.  Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son Simon?  From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”).  

The next day, Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  When he got there, he ran across Phillip and said, “Come follow me.”.... Phillip went and found Nathaniel and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law.  The One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth.”  Nathaniel said, “Nazareth?  You’ve got to be kidding.”.... When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There is a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.” ...One day, long before Phillip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”  Nathaniel exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”  Jesus said, “You become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree?  You haven’t seen anything yet!  Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”

Jan 1 - 

Genesis 1-2: First this: God created the Heavens and Earth--all you see, all you don’t see.  

- God spoke “Light!” ... It was evening, it was morning---Day One.  

- God spoke “Sky!” ..He separated water under sky from the water above sky... It was evening, it was morning--- Day Two.  

- God spoke: “Separate!”  Land appeared...God spoke: “Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants, every sort of fruit-bearing tree.”  It was evening, it was morning--- Day Three.  

- God spoke: “Lights! Come out!”...It was evening, it was morning---Day Four.  

- God spoke: “Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!  Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!...God blessed them: “Prosper!  Reproduce!  Fill Ocean!... It was evening, it was morning--- Day Five.  

- God spoke:  “Earth, generate life!  Every sort and kind:...God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.  So they can be responsible for...Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the earth.”  God created human beings, he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.  He created them male and female.  God blessed them...Take charge!  Be responsible....Then God said, “I’ve given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on earth and every kind of fruit-bearing tree...all animals and birds, everything that moves and breathes... It was evening, it was morning--- Day Six.  

Heaven and earth were finished, down to the last detail...On the seventh day, he rested from all his work.  God blessed the seventh day.  He made it a Holy day because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done.  This is the story of how it all started, of Heaven and Earth, when they were created.

....God formed man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life.  The man came alive--a living soul!  

Then God planted a garden in Eden, in the east.  He put the Man he had just made in it.  God made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat.  The Tree of Life was in the middle of the garden, also the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil....God commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Don’t eat from it.  The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.”  

God said, “It is not good for the Man to be alone.  I’ll make him a helper, a companion.”...The Man said, “Finally!  Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!  Name her woman for she was made from Man.  Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife.  They become one flesh.  The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.

John 1:1-1:18 - The Word was first, the Word was present to God.  God present to the Word.  The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one...What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.  The Life- Light blazed out of the darkness, the darkness couldn’t put it out.

There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light.  He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in.   John was not himself the Light:  he was there to show the way to the Light.  The Life- Light was the real thing.  Every person entering Life he brings into Light...

He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him.  But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said.  He made to be their true selves, their child of God selves...The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood...generous inside and out, true from start to finish.  

John pointed out and called, “This is the One!  The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me.  He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word...No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse.  This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the every heart of the Father, has made him plain as day.