THINK: Have you ever gazed at a star-lit sky, observed a wild animal in its natural habitat, or marveled at the com plexity of your own body? How much sense does it make to claim that the world - and everything in it - came into being by chance? That's like looking at a priceless work of art and saying, "It just happened," or using a computer and believing that over time it assembled itself. As a stunning masterpiece reflects the creativity of a skilled artisan, so all of creation reflects the majesty of its Creator. This is especially true of you-the crowning achievement of God's handiwork. It can certainly be difficult to fathom that the God who created a vast and amazing universe truly cares for us. Yet, His love is unfailing and He alone knows what's best for each of us. Like everything that exists, we can fulfill our highest purpose only as we live in right relationship with God and remain dependent on Him.
RESPOND: What is significant about the Bible's opening words, "In the beginning God created..."? (See 1:1 note.) What does the Biblical account of creation reveal about the power of God's words? What does the fact that God is the Source of all creation mean to you personally? How does nature provide insight into God's greatness? How did God describe each aspect of His creation as it was completed, and how should that affect your attitude toward nature and living things? (See 1:10 and 1:22 notes.) In what ways did God make humans different from the rest of creation, and what does it mean that people were created in God's image? (See 1:26 second note and 2:7 note.) What responsibilities and privileges did God give the first humans in regard to the rest of creation, and how does this apply to us today? (See 1:28 and 2:15 notes.) Why did God give specific instructions regarding the two trees in the middle of the garden? (See 2:9 and 2:16 notes.) What is significant about how and why God created the first woman? (See 2:18 note.) What does this indicate about God's plan regarding families? (See 2:24 note.)
PRAY: Praise God for His awesome power as the Creator of all things. Express gratitude for the wonder of creation, including the people around you. Thank Him for the special relationship He created you to have with Him.
ACT: Take a walk, look out the window, or lay on the lawn and gaze at the sky. Spend time with God in a place where you can appreciate the power and love that His creation reveals. Point this out to someone else today.
THINK: Have you ever done something you later regretted? Hopefully you've learned that much of what seems "right," "good," or "fun" to the majority of people ultimately leads to suffering, humiliation, loss, and - worst of all - separation from God. To avoid these pitfalls, we must listen to God's instructions and disregard the world's lies. God has given us so much to enjoy in life, but many things God intended for good can lead to disaster if not handled according to His instruction or used the way He intended. The consequences of our sins may seem minor compared to the trouble caused by Adam and Eve's choice, but they're just as fatal. Scripture teaches that disregarding God and doing things our way leads to death (Proverbs 16:25). Thankfully, God provided a remedy by sending His Son to pay the penalty for our sins and to make a way for us to live as God intended.
RESPOND: With whom is the "serpent" identified, and how did he distort God's words and warnings? (See 3:1, 3:4 and 3:5 notes.) In what ways does Satan continue to use these same tactics? What was the tragic result of the first human's attempt to "be like God"? (See 3:5 and 3:22 notes.) What were the immediate and the ongoing effects of Adam and Eve's original sin? (See 3:6 second note and 3:24 note.) In what ways did people's thoughts and desires change after disobeying God? (See 3:7 note.) How did the first humans react when God confronted them about their sin, and why? (See 3:8 note.) How do people today make the same excuses as Adam and Eve? (See 3:13 note.) Even as God pronounced judgment on sin, what hint did He give regarding His ultimate plan to restore people to a right relationship with Him? (See 3:15 note.) Why did God accept Able's offering but reject Cain's? (See 4:3-5 note.) What happens when people "open the door" to sin? How can people remain true to God during times of increasing corruption? (See 5:1 note.) What do you think it means to walk with God as Enoch did? (See 5:22 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you recognize the lies and deception that are so prevalent in the world. Thank Him for providing strength to resist sin and forgiveness when we humbly turn to Him for mercy.
ACT: Are you listening to lies or disregarding God's instructions in any aspect of your life? Close any doors that you've left open to temptation. This includes severing toxic relationships, giving up seductive forms of entertainment and avoiding things that distract you from pursuing God's purposes for your life.