“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (Read Genesis 1)

The opening words of the Bible, those found in Genesis 1:1, proclaim a foundational truth upon which all of Christianity stands or falls: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

If these words are not true, then the rest of the Bible’s claims about man’s accountability to God, God’s impending judgment upon man’s sin, Christ’s redemption, God’s forgiveness, and eternal life with Him in heaven are meaningless.

Those who reject the Bible’s teaching regarding God’s creation have rejected all that the Bible teaches because it is all interwoven and a part of the same truth. Those who do not believe in the God who was there in the beginning and who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them cannot legitimately lay claim to be followers of Christ or to be Christian.

However, in the same way an artist’s work testifies to the artist’s existence and skills, the existence and wondrous design of all things testify to the existence and infinite wisdom of an almighty God who created all.

The Bible itself declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).

Everywhere in this world, regardless of people’s race or language, the testimony of all creation cries out and announces to everyone that there is an all-wise, all-powerful God who created all things. The majesty, grandeur, and intricacy of all around us say loudly and clearly for all to hear, “There is a God who made us and all things to whom we must give account!”

This same God has revealed Himself to all of mankind in His Word, the Bible. From the very first words of the Scriptures, we see that God already existed in the beginning, when He created the heavens and the earth. We see that not only the Father but the Spirit was in the beginning, for “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

The apostle John writes of Jesus, God the Son: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

The one true God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — was there in the beginning and created all things. This same eternal God provided for the salvation of all mankind when the Son became man and paid the due price for our sins by suffering and dying on the cross and rising again from the dead on the third day.

He will still be when this world comes to a close, and He will be our judge. Those who believe on His name, trusting in Him for forgiveness and life everlasting will be saved; but those who do not trust in Him stand condemned already for not believing in the name of God the Son, their Redeemer and Savior (cf. John 3:13-18, 36).

O almighty and eternal God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – thank You for revealing Your majesty to us through your glorious creation and for revealing Yourself and the salvation You have provided for us through Your life-giving Word, the Bible. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]



“And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” Matthew 14:28-33

If asked today by your pastor to step out of a boat on a storm-tossed sea and walk on water, how many of you would try it? Perhaps some would try if the weather was warm, the water was calm, and a life preserver was on, but who would try it on a stormy night with no life preserver?

Of course, if any man asked you to do such a thing, and you tried it, you could expect to sink. But if Jesus told you to come, it would be different!

When Peter was told by Jesus to come, he stepped out of the boat and, defying the laws of nature, walked on water to Jesus. He began to sink only because he took his eyes off of Jesus, looked at the boisterous wind and waves, became afraid, and began to doubt the word and power of Jesus.

Yet when he cried to the Lord Jesus for help, Jesus reached out His hand and saved him from sinking. Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of faith, and, walking on the water, Jesus and Peter returned to the boat. When they entered the boat, the sea became calm, and they were immediately at their destination (cf. John 6:15-21), showing the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and has all authority in heaven and earth (cf. Matt. 28:18).

Jesus has not told us to walk on water, but He has commanded us to disciple all nations by going out, baptizing in the name of the Triune God, and teaching all He has commanded (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus has all authority (v. 18), and He is with us always to the end of the age (v. 20).

In many ways, we are like those disciples in the tiny ship on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee. The world opposes us and our message of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Luke 24:46-48). And, we are afraid and making no headway.

But, our Lord Jesus has come to us and commanded us to step out of the safety of our little boats and walk to Him on the water. He commands us to do what seems impossible to us! How can we go to all nations and preach the Gospel to all creatures (cf. Mark 16:15)? How can we do such mission work with our limited resources?

If we do not trust the word of our Lord Jesus, or if we look at all the obstacles and opposition, we will stay in our little boats and never step out in faith and walk on the water. But if we believe that our Lord Jesus truly has all power and authority and that He is with us always, we will be willing to step out in faith and do as He has commanded us.

We will be willing to speak out for Christ and share the truths of His Word. We will be willing to give the Lord the first fruits of our earnings and trust Him to provide for all our needs (cf. 2 Cor. 9:6ff.; Prov. 3:7ff.). We and our little congregations will be willing to step out in faith and make mission work a top priority — not something we do only if time and money are left after all else is done.

Trusting in Christ our Savior, we will step out in faith and tell others the good news that, through faith in Christ Jesus, there is complete forgiveness for all our sins and life everlasting!

Lord Jesus, grant that we trust in You and Your Word and step out in faith to spread Your saving Gospel to all who will hear. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming to Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?’ He said this to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.” John 6:5-6 (Read v. 1-15)

Why does God test us in seemingly impossible situations? It’s certainly not because God doesn’t already have a plan in mind. And, it’s not to see what we’ll do, for God already knows that too.

So why does God test us? To teach us to trust Him in every situation! That’s why Jesus questioned Philip as to where they could buy bread to feed a multitude of more than five thousand who had followed Jesus to this remote spot along the Sea of Galilee.

Philip’s answer illustrated the seeming hopelessness of the situation: “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for each of them to receive but a little” (John 6:7).

A denarius is used in another parable of Jesus as a full day’s wage, so Philip’s answer is equivalent to saying that even 200 days’ wages would not be enough to feed this crowd, even a little.

When Andrew mentioned the lad with five barley loaves and two small fish, the disciples assumed this was nothing compared to the need, but Jesus had the men sit down. He gave thanks to God for the food He had provided. Then Jesus distributed the food to His disciples and His disciples to the people. All ate to the full, and they gathered up twelve baskets of leftovers.

In the book of Exodus, we see that God also fed the people of Israel in a seemingly impossible situation in the wilderness, providing manna in the mornings and quail in the evenings. But God also tested the people and taught them to trust by providing only enough manna for each day so that they might learn to trust in Him each day for their daily bread.

In Exodus 16:4-5, we read: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Indeed, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain amount every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall come to pass that on the sixth day, they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it will be twice as much as they gather daily.’“

God provided enough manna each day for His people and, on the sixth day, He provided enough for two days so they could rest on the Sabbath. Of course, some people did not trust in the LORD and gathered more than they needed for the day, and the leftover manna bred worms and stank. Some tried to gather on the Sabbath, but there was none (cf. Ex. 16:17-30).

So also, in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

Jesus also teaches us the same when He tells us not to worry about what we will eat and drink or what we will wear in Matt. 6:25ff. After telling us to seek first His kingdom (v. 33), He says, “Therefore, take no thought about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought about the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the trouble thereof” (v. 34).

When we consider the feeding of the five thousand with only five barley loaves and two small fish, we certainly see a miracle and proof that Jesus is the almighty Son of God in human flesh. But we also learn that God would have us trust Him in seemingly impossible situations, give thanks for what He has provided, and rely upon Him to care for our every need (cf. Prov. 3:5ff.). We are to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God ” (Phil. 4:6). We may find the situation impossible, but God already has a plan in mind!

We remember also that as sinners, unable to measure up to the demands of God’s holy law, we all stood condemned. Our situation was impossible and hopeless.

But God provided a way for us to be saved. He sent His only Son into this world as a true man. Jesus kept God’s commandments for us, perfectly and without sin, and then He suffered our just punishment when He died on the cross for the sins of the world. Though all seemed hopeless, He rose again on the third day in triumph over sin, death, and the devil, and through faith in Him, we sinners are pardoned, forgiven, and given eternal life (cf. John 3:14-16).

Our situation was impossible, but God had a plan. He sent His Son Jesus to be our Savior!

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us for failing to trust in Your power and willingness to help us in every situation. Teach us always to come to You and to trust in You for all our needs, both earthly and heavenly. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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“You search the Scriptures, because you think in them you have eternal life. These are they who bear witness of Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, but you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:39-47

Do you believe the words of Jesus — that He is the only-begotten Son of God, come into this world a true man that He might fulfill God’s law for us and then suffer our condemnation and punishment by His death on the cross?

As Jesus’ words make clear, not all who claim to be God’s children and read and study the Scriptures understand the message of God’s Word. Not all see their utter sinfulness and failure to measure up to the demands of God’s holy law, and not all look to Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross in faith for mercy, forgiveness, and life everlasting.

Jesus’ hearers in John 5 read and studied the Scriptures — particularly the Torah, the writings of Moses — and thought they could please God and be acceptable in His sight by their keeping of God’s commandments. They failed to see that the commandments revealed their sinfulness and that the Scriptures pointed to the coming Messiah and Savior who would redeem them from their sins and iniquities by His innocent sufferings and death on the cross. Though the Old Testament Scriptures pointed them to Jesus the Messiah and to His atoning sacrifice as the only way to be acceptable in God’s eyes, they failed to see that Jesus was their Messiah and Savior — their only hope for salvation and partaking of the glories of God’s everlasting kingdom.

Instead of hearing God’s Word, they accepted the words and interpretations of men. And instead of seeking glory from God, they sought honor and glory from man and rejected the truth of God’s Word.

As Jesus said, He did not need to accuse them before God the Father; the very writings of Moses, in which they trusted, condemned them for their failure to keep God’s commandments and their refusal to look to Christ Jesus and His perfect sacrifice for pardon and forgiveness.

If Jesus’ hearers believed the writings of Moses, they would also believe Jesus’ words, repent of their sinful ways, and look to Jesus and His cross for mercy. Why? Because Moses wrote of Jesus and His coming.

Jesus is the Offspring of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15); Abraham’s Offspring through whom the nations of the world would be blessed (Gen. 12:3; 22:18); the substitute Lamb offered up in the place of God’s people foreshadowed by the ram offered up in the place of Isaac (Gen. 22:13-14); the perfect Lamb of God foreshadowed by the Passover Lamb and Israel’s sacrifices (Exo. 12:1ff.; John 1:29); the Prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15-19).

And, of course, if we also include the Writings and Prophets of the Old Testament, we would know the place of Messiah’s birth, that Jesus is Yahweh Himself in human flesh and blood, that He would suffer and die and redeem us from all our sins, that He would rise again and establish an everlasting kingdom, that He would ascend into heaven, that He would come again in glory and be our judge, that the way to be saved is to turn from our sins and look in faith to Messiah Jesus and His cross and place our hope and confidence in Him.

Do you believe Jesus’ words? Do you believe Him when He reveals our failure to keep God’s commandments? When he reveals the fact that we are sinners and cannot stand in God’s judgment on the basis of our own life and works? Do you believe His words, as well as the testimony of Moses and all the prophets, that Jesus is God the Son and the Messiah and Savior? That only through faith in Him and His atoning sacrifice on the cross can we sinners be pardoned by God and acceptable in His sight?

If you do not come to Jesus and believe His words, if you do not trust in Jesus as your Savior, the words of Moses and all the prophets condemn you.

In John 3:35-36 we read: “The Father loves the Son, and has placed all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life. He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

O gracious and merciful Father, we Thank You for the gift of the Son and for forgiveness and life through faith in His name. Grant that we hear and believe the witness of Your Word and the witness of the Son that we might repent of our sins and trust in Messiah Jesus, and so receive the everlasting joys of heaven. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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“You sent to John, and he bore witness of the truth. I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was a burning and a shining lamp, and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. I have greater testimony than that of John. The works which the Father has given Me to finish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. The Father Himself, who has sent Me, has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe the One He has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think in them you have eternal life. These are they who bear witness of Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:33-40

Jesus desired that His fellow Jews believe in Him and be saved, but many did not. Jesus pointed out that they weren’t just rejecting His claims to be the Son of God and their Messiah and Savior; they were also rejecting the witness of John and of God the Father.

For a time, at least, many of His Jewish hearers believed the witness of John the Baptist and rejoiced in His message calling on all to repent and announcing the coming of the Messiah and that the establishment of His kingdom was at hand.

What did John the Baptist say of Jesus? John 1 records his testimony. In John 1:29, John the Baptist said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” And, in v. 32-34, we read, “Then John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “The One on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” I have seen and have borne witness that He is the Son of God.’”

But Jesus didn’t need the testimony of man, not even the testimony of a great prophet like John the Baptist, to prove that His claims were true. Jesus said, “I have greater testimony than that of John. The works which the Father has given Me to finish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36).

Think about it. Who could do the miracles that Jesus did if God did not send Him? Jesus healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, enabled the crippled to walk, cast out demons, and even raised the dead to life again. And Jesus was doing the work the Father sent Him into the world to do — He was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and then going to the cross to atone for the sins of all.

Jesus’ hearers did not hear God’s voice or see His form because they did not recognize Jesus, the very Son of God in human flesh, who had come into this world to redeem them. Not only did God the Father testify of Jesus at His baptism and again later on the Mount of Transfiguration that He is the beloved Son of God (Matt. 3:17; 17:5), but the Scriptures, given by inspiration of God — the same Scriptures they searched and studied — testified of Jesus, of His person and His work, but they did not believe.

Jesus’ words were true: “You are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (v. 40). And, of course, these words of Jesus still ring true today. We have heard of Jesus’ miracles and His teaching. The Scriptures we hear and study testify of Him that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” “No one comes to the Father except through” Him (John 14:6) — He is the Son of God and the only way of salvation! But do we repent of our sins and look to Jesus and His cross in faith that He indeed has atoned for our sins, that in Him we have redemption and forgiveness, that through faith in His name, we have the everlasting joys of heaven?

If we don’t come to Jesus, we do not have life but will be condemned and cast out of His kingdom when He comes again to judge the living and the dead. Now is the time to hear and heed the witness of God concerning His Son and listen to Jesus!

Grant that I hear and heed the testimony of Your Word, O God, that I repent of my sins and look to Jesus and His cross in faith that I may have life and not be condemned on the day of Christ’s return. In His name, I pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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