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In the Beginning
... while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.--Genesis 1:2
Some time ago I heard a man tell a story about teaching a Bible class to young
adults. When he asked the students to turn to the book of Genesis, a young man
quickly raised his hand. “I know where to find Matthew, Mark, and Luke,” he said,
“but where is Genesis?”
Like that young man, many men are confused both about the Bible and about
how to live a meaningful life. They do not know where to begin. For a man who
seeks to understand his purpose on earth, Genesis makes a good place to start
to find God's intent for the world. The book of Genesis deals with the origins of
the human race, and the word genesis itself means beginning. The Bible tells us
that creation did not begin until the wind of God moved over the face of the
waters. The wind of God is the Spirit of God. In other words, there is no life until
the Spirit of God moves. To put it plainly, the essence of all life is spiritual.
It is easier for us human beings to focus on the material things of the world than it
is to be led by that which can be experienced only by faith. It is great for us to
build our physical muscles for work, play, and physical health, but unless we
develop our spiritual muscles, we cannot know the truth about God and how God
would have us live. When we men acknowledge that we are first and foremost
spiritual creatures, then we have opened ourselves to the only way to know
peace and fulfillment. A man who does not begin with God will at some point in
his life have to turn around and go back to his origins, if he is to find himself.
O God of life, fill me this day with your Holy Spirit. Give me a keen awareness of
who you are, and guide me to the way that you want me to live. Amen.
Week 41, Monday
You Are Very Special
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our
At the core of every person is the presence of God. For those who believe this,
all life becomes sacred and valuable.
Some men are driven by belief systems that make them feel secure only when
they consider themselves superior to others. To be part of the dominant race, to
be male, is reason for pride. To have the fastest car, the largest muscles, or the
prettiest girl becomes the only way some men can feel their worth. Other men
feel unworthy because they have been ostracized by their fellows. They feel
inadequate because of teasing and rejection.
There is good news for all of us. Jesus, the Son of the Living God, understands
that beneath our pretense and our posturing is where you find the presence of
the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows that the worth of a man comes from his relationship
with God, not from his gender or his race, the type of car he drives or the kind of
clothes he wears, or from his achievements. “Blessed are you,” he tells all of us
who know our hidden unworthiness, who are misunderstood, different,
persecuted. We don't have to achieve status to inherit God's kingdom (Matthew
It is great to see movements like Promise Keepers helping men to discover how
special they are in God. But you can discover that right now. Say to yourself, “I
am special, I am somebody in Jesus Christ. I have been made in the image of
God. Glory hallelujah, all praise be to God.”
Thank you, God, for sending Jesus Christ into the worm and into my life to
remind me that I hare been made in your image. Amen.
Week 41, Tuesday
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the
earth and subdue it; and have dominion . . . over every living that moves upon
the earth.”--Genesis 1:28
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is power (2 Timothy 1:7). Human beings have
been blessed with the power to assist God in creating. They can help God by
adding to what God has done. Here in Genesis 1 is the first job description of
every man: to replenish the earth and manage (be a good steward of) what God
has created. Wow! What an honor! What a responsibility! The key to how well the
earth does lies in how we use the power that is given us, whether we use it to
serve God's purpose or not. When we remember God's blessings and all the
good gifts he has given us, we will take our responsibilities seriously, in order to
preserve as well as multiply God's goodness.
Take, for instance, the command to multiply. How does a man show
responsibility to God and to the children themselves if he thoughtlessly brings
children into the world? In these days too many children are reared on too many
hours of television, in too many fatherless homes, with too few relationships with
Christ in congregational care. That is because too many young men have not
been taught that the power of God in us is to be used to glorify God.
Our responsibility under God extends to every area of life. For instance, when we
hear of issues like global warming, do we consider how the power given to us to
multiply God's goodness has moved us in a deadly direction because we are
producing things for material gain rather than for God? How will we change our
ways? If we remembered our first divine job description, would we allow animal
species to become extinct because we are misusing the power God has given
Today we are living in the center of a revival where men are being called to
remember their first job description--to have dominion over the earth. How are
you using your power?
Almighty and Eternal God, Creator and Sustainer of all life, guide me back to
your wonderful plan for all creation. Help me to fulfill my responsibilities to care
both for the earth and for the children. Amen.
Week 41, Wednesday
God Will Take Care of You
God said, “...and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”--
After God instructs the first humans to be fruitful and multiply, he tells them that
the provisions necessary to keep them strong have also been provided, so that
they can do the job God has given them. That is still true today. When God calls
us and gives us a task, God equips us and provides for all our needs. Faith,
believing God's promises, enables us to take action on God's Word.
Faith also connects us to another important process for action, and that is trust--a
state of living connected to God, depending on him. In our human dilemmas and
because of our pride, we don't want to trust God. So we need to be changed, to
be born again, so that all of our activity flows out of a spiritual perspective.
When we trust God, God will honor our faith and our faithfulness. When we enter
into covenant with God and remain obedient, God, who cannot fail, will make
witnesses of us by pouring out more blessings than we could ever have
Take your health, for example. It is amazing to hear continuous medical reports
that link what we eat to poor or good health. Daniel, whose behavior was directed
by the Spirit of God, refused to eat food that was unhealthy for him, even though
he was told by unbelievers he would be made stronger (Daniel 1:8-16). Daniel
knew that his true strength and wisdom came from following God's laws, and he
was proved right. How about your eating habits?
Our society encourages men to be competitive in order to survive. Imagine how
men would treat each other if we truly believed in God's promise for us. Would
not our behavior be modified immensely if we truly believed that God will provide
for all our needs? The psalmist said it well in Psalms 23:1 (KJV): “The LORD is my
Shepherd; I shall not want.”
Thank you, God, for providing for all my needs. Help me to realize that my
strength comes from you. In Jesus Christ's name, Amen.
Week 41, Thursday
You Are Okay
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.--Genesis
Here, at the beginning of God's word, we find one of the most validating and
inclusive statements in the Bible. God said of everything he had made, “It is
Every man needs to hear that word: that he is okay, that, made in the image of
God, he is good. This does not mean that behavior that ostracizes, alienates,
demeans, kills, destroys, or pollutes is okay. In fact, this word from God affirms
that all creation, every part of it, is good and valuable, and therefore not to be
If you are confused about your purpose, direction, or relationships, hear this clear
message about yourself, and about others. Since all that God has made is very
good, what part of your life or the world is not sacred, or not worthy of your care,
your best thought and action? In other words, we are partners not only with one
another but with all creation.
This understanding should leave us feeling great about ourselves. But we should
also see the importance of treating others with the greatest respect. Too many
boys, and men, feel that they are not worth much to themselves or to others, and
they keep trying to compensate for feeling inadequate. Some men only feel good
about themselves when they think they are better than women. Others only feel
okay about themselves when they dominate or destroy others.
Consider this: you are a divine expression of God! And so is everyone. You are
okay--and everybody else is okay, too.
O loving God, it sure does feel good to know how special I am to you. Teach me
to treat others as you treat me. Amen.
Week 41, Friday
Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.--Genesis 2:7-8
Without God no man can do anything.
Some men are blessed to discover early on in their lives that their very existence
depends upon God. Others need reminders that come through problems and
troubles, such as growing older, the death of loved ones, or terrible accidents.
These can serve as reality checks that point us back to God as the very source
of our existence.
I have been the officiant for many funerals, and it is always a reality check to say
at the grave site, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Our bodies will not last forever.
But we are more than the ashes and dust that make up our physical bodies. Our
physical form should never mislead us into thinking that what we see is the
essence of life. Though we cannot see Spirit, we can see the fruit of the Spirit.
Unfortunately, some men stubbornly deny the existence of a spiritual Parent who
has not only created them but also given them the breath of life. If we are to have
a full life and a beautiful future, we need to acknowledge and be guided by the
presence of the Holy Spirit. If you take the spirit out of any organic system, it will
malfunction. If human beings ignore the Spirit of God, we will malfunction.
In order to remain focused on the essence of life, we men need to nurture our
relationship with God. We must attend to the spiritual disciplines that include
prayer, fasting, and Bible study. We need to spend time with God in order to let
the Spirit fill us. The truth is, many of us spend a great deal of our time and
energy trying to make a living. But none of us can live truly and fully without God.
O God of life, I don't want to be without your Holy Spirit. Lead me in the path of
right and fruitful living. In Jesus Christ's name I pray. Amen.
Week 41, Saturday
You Are Not Alone
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make
him a helper as his partner.”--Genesis 2:18
Whatever task God has given us to do, we are not to do it alone. We are made
for partnership and companionship. According to Scripture, God announces that
human beings on their own cannot support the Spirit of God without some
assistance. “It is not good that the man should be alone,” God said. If a man gets
tired, discouraged, weary, or is tempted to quit, who will help him to stay on
course? Work, ministry is to be shared. No one person can do it all. Jesus
understood this when he sent out his disciples two by two.
For one thing, men, we need prayer partners. We need to study the Bible with
others, hold each other accountable through small groups and work on mission
projects in teams. We are working against God's plan when we try to do any job
for God all by ourselves.
Men of God, when we realize that we are children of the almighty, wise, and
loving God, we begin to trust God for direction in all we do. The Bible teaches us
that women are helpers and partners with men. Women are in the world and in
our lives as a blessing from God. Women are to be valued and appreciated, not
as our servants but as our equals. Partnership places men and women on the
same level, and we should not allow our different gifts to make us treat women
as less than men, for our gifts are from the same Spirit.
Living in God's plan encourages us to appreciate each other. As God's men, we
cannot allow gender, race, or any other differences to deceive us into treating
each other as enemies or inferiors--rather than as partners.
Thank you, God, for the wisdom of your divine plan that puts us with partners so
that together we can do your will Help me not to be stubbornly independent.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?