Genesis

  • Thankful For Trees

    Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.  The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.…Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food.”
    Genesis 1:11-12; 2:9    NIV

    thankful for treesI’m Thankful For Trees because trees produce apples and, apples are my favorite snack; next to licorice, jujubes and dark chocolate.

    When I was a kid I could eat a whole bag of Macintosh apples after school.  It was hard to keep enough apples around for me.  If we didn’t move so often my parents could’ve planted an apple tree and saved some money!

    Trees Are For Beauty

    Thanksgiving Scripture-Genesis 1_11-12 _2_9Genesis starts off telling us trees are for beauty.  There is no more beautiful a scenery, none more, “pleasing to the sight” than an autumn forest.  Trees provide shade from the beating sun. The leaves and bark trap airborne toxins and purify them; filtering out the carbon, producing clean oxygen for us to breathe.  Their fruit produces food for people, birds and animals.

    Isaiah talks about how God created trees to be cut down to provide wood for us to make furniture and provide fuel for fire.  Fire from wood produces heat to keep us warm, drawing friends together while it cooks our food.  Trees are visual reminders of the changing seasons. I hope you re-read this paragraph and think of all the ways God provides for us, just through trees.  I pray you never look at trees the same again. 1

    I believe God gave us trees as a picture revealing truth about His character and how He is our provider. Share on X

    So get outside and enjoy the colorful fall trees.  Break out the camera and take some photos of the changing leaves.  Warm yourself by a campfire and enjoy the heat while you visit with friends eating s’mores.  Know that God created these majestic creations for your use.  Be careful not to worship them or place them in greater value than God says, but always remember to stay, Thankful For Trees!

    Prayer

    Father…Thank You the trees.  Help me to never overlook them again, but view them as reminders that You are my provider.  Your provision is constant like the fruit of a tree.  Help me to live thankful for You and Thankful For Trees.  In Jesus Name…Amen  

    Drawing from the well

    1. Genesis 1:11-12, 2
    2. Isaiah 44:4, 14-15
    3. Isaiah 60:13
    4. Psalm 52:8

    Soul H2O bookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

    Read More

  • 16. Innocent – In The Beginning Series

    “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
                                           Genesis 3:5  NIV

    What would it be like to be innocent of evil, clueless of sin with no one to point it out to you? Only Adam and Eve can truly answer that question but children seem to live with this blameless, unknowing quality.  I remember when my kids were very young and would invariably hear a ‘bad word’.  They would repeat it out loud, often in the most inconvenient place!  Without an understanding of the meaning they were innocent, until they were told and became accountable for their knowledge.

    For some people their knowledge of evil works overtime, alerting them to every slip up, or possible mistake they might make.  Others have hardened their hearts towards God to a point that they are oblivious to how they live in opposition to God and His laws.

    The reverse is also true of human nature.  The knowledge of what’s good causes some people to strive to live “good” or conversely they grow proud in how good they believe they are.  Genesis 3:5 makes it clear that, In The Beginning God created people Innocent of the knowledge of good and evil.

    [tweetthis]God never wanted us to bear the heavy burden of a conscience. GN 3:5[/tweetthis]

    In Matthew 19:14 Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  It’s hard for our finite minds to comprehend, but we are never more pleasing to God than when we come to Him with child-like faith, Innocently pure before Him!

    [tweetthis]We are never more pleasing to God than when we come to Him with child-like faith MT 19:14[/tweetthis]

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for providing a way for me to be innocent again through the blood of Your son Jesus.  Let me live in the truth of my innocence and not the burden of my conscience.  Help the knowledge of my innocence in Your eyes bring a boldness to my faith that will draw me closer to You!  In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below

    Read More

  • 12. Shameless – In The Beginning Series

    “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
    Genesis 2:25 NIV

    On Saturday, Todd and I were taking it easy. We went out to grab a coffee for Todd and a coke for me. The drive thru line up was too long so I walked in McD’s and ordered when it hit me that I didn’t have makeup on and hadn’t even brushed my hair. I felt my head and could tell I had some major bedhead going on in the back. I finger-combed my hair and got out as quickly as I could and jumped back in the car. Todd and I were laughing about while we drove home when all of a sudden the car started to smell like an electrical fire and began making a weird sound. We had to pull into Todd’s old workplace and his friend Chris came out to check the car with Todd. Jokingly, but not joking I warned Chris not to let anyone know he saw me like that.

    Why is it that we care so much about what we look like?

    How wonderful it would have been for Adam and Eve In The Beginning, when they lived completely shameless. To experience life free of insecurities that bring about shame seems unimaginable to us in 2016. For generations, people have taken crazy steps to enhance their beauty. Never before in the history of the world have people been more unsettled about how they appear to others. A whole new industry for Anti-Aging products and services has risen out of people’s desire to find the elusive ‘fountain of youth’. Living in Eden would have been so peaceful to never have a thought or care, never worrying if you weighed too much or too little, if you were too tall or too short, too dark or too fair, my muscles too big or too small…you get the picture.

    The next time you’re faced with a situation like me; and shame starts to take over, remember how the garden was In The Beginning. Our Father wants His children to live shameless and free, understanding that in His eyes YOU are perfect, because He is perfect and YOU are made in HIS image. Decide today to walk shameless as the incredible person God’s created you to be!

    Prayer

    Father…I look forward to Heaven when everything will be as you originally intended it to be, In The Beginning. Help me to keep a garden perspective about myself, remembering that I am Your image bearer. Help me to live shameless and free walking in confidence that You’ve created me so wonderful that I reflect Your glory.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share

    Post in the Comment Section below

    Read More

  • 11. One – In The Beginning Series

    The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.”
                                                                          Genesis 2:23-24 NIV

    When I was a kid we often drove to Florida for March break. I remember one trip sitting in the back of the Country Squire Station Wagon with my cousin coloring with crayons, ’cause back then there weren’t portable DVD players to keep kids entertained. We stopped for lunch and without thinking, Angie and I left our crayons in the dipped spot along the window. While we ate, the hot Georgia sun melted our one source of entertainment. We got back to the car and found a lake of liquified crayons, all melted into each other. No longer distinct colors, just one color with streaks of the original colors showing.

    Just like the crayons that were melted by the Georgia sun, God designed for men and women to become one. In Genesis 2:23 Adam speaks right after God made Eve from his own rib. Adam lets it be known that he and Eve are one, created from the same bones and flesh. Adam goes on to prophesy about God’s plans for all future relationships. Adam makes clear that In The Beginning God designed men and women to become one; distinct in design, one in purpose. I love how real scripture is. It doesn’t say that when a husband and wife get together they are one, but that they become one. In God’s perfect plan men and women leave their family homes, next they’re united together (sounds like marriage to me), and then the process of them becoming one begins. It’s not just a physical union, but a complete unity in relationship.

    [tweetthis]In The Beginning there is no hint of one above or below the other. The two are one.[/tweetthis]

    Paul reemphasizes this principle as he talks about the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:21-33 and he explains how this is also displayed through the church. Matthew Henry, who wrote the most commonly used Commentary on the Bible said this:

    Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.”1

    The imagery that God created through forming Eve out of Adam’s rib again reveals His desire for men and women, and the church to function as co-workers; moving as one flesh, so intertwined that it’s hard to tell where one starts and the other ends. All fulfilling their roles to be image-bearers of the ONE who created them!

    Prayer

    Father…I echo the words of the psalmist “your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”2 Your plans for relationships between men and women is perfect, yet so hard to live up to. Help me to do my part to become one and not live as a separate entity on my own. Help me to live in the unity you desire. In Jesus Name…Amen 

    1 An Exposition of the Old and New Testament by Matthew Henry, George Burder, Joseph Hughes (c) 2010
              https://www.amazon.ca/Exposition-Old-New-Testament/dp/1149849584/178-3407432-0628554?ie=UTF8&camp=15121&creative=330641&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb_ca-20
    2 Psalm 139:14

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below

    Read More

  • 8. CO-Workers – In The Beginning Series

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
                                                                                                                        Genesis 2:18 NIV

    Laura Secord is one of my Canadian heroines. Laura was born in the United States to a family that never lost their British roots. Eventually her family moved to Canada. When the war of 1812 broke out between the United States and Britain, Canada was caught in the middle. When the love of her life James didn’t come home after the battle at Queenston was over, Laura traveled dangerous territory to find out what happened to him. She searched through living and dead bodies, eventually finding him shot in the shoulder and wounded at the knee. This 5’4” little woman carried her husband home from the battlefield on her back. Laura then nursed James to health but he remained crippled from his injuries. A year later she was forced to host American soldiers as they lived in occupied land. When Laura overheard battle plans to ambush the British armies she devised a plan and traveled 20 miles on foot to warn the Canadian Lieutenant of the impending attack. Arriving with bloodied feet, Laura shared what she heard. This information led to a triumph over the enemy. In everything, Laura was the perfect co-worker to her husband James and Lieutenant FitzGibbon.1

    Genesis 2:18 is a verse that often is read with a connotation that the woman as a “helper” holds an inferior, subordinate position to the man. The definition of this Hebrew word “Ezer” has been translated in our English Bibles as “suitable helper”, “helpmeet” or “helpmate, his like”2. In a paper I wrote for a Bible College course, just a couple years ago (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), I discussed how the Hebrew word for helper is defined as “equal to” or “corresponding to”3. Throughout scripture it’s explained how the marriage relationship is to be a mirror of the relationship in the trinity; where all are equal and one, but fulfill different roles. It’s clear that, In The Beginning God designed men and women to be co-workers; tending His garden, ruling in dominion over all things. Ezer used in this verse is also used in other scriptures to depict the helper as a military aid. Most times this word Ezer is used when God the Father calls himself the “helper” of Israel that helps Israel win military battles. In Psalm 89:19 Ezer is used to describe God’s help to David in battle. It says God gave help to one who is “mighty” or a “warrior”4. God is calling us to be “Warrior Women” and I think Laura Secord is an incredible example of this!

    Understanding the truth of this scripture dispels the notion that women are the weak, feeble, inferior, subordinate “helper” as often explained. So get out there girls and be the ‘Warrior Women’ God designed you to be; not above, not below, but a suitable co-worker for the men in your world!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for placing such value on my life. Help me to work together with the men(women) in my life as you have designed for me to do. Let me work in unity and love so I can reflect Your purposes to this world. Help me not to diminish who I am or who others are, but to be the warrior woman(man) you’ve called me to be. In Jesus Name…Amen 

    1 https://www.uppercanadahistory.ca/1812/18127.html
    https://www.uppercanadahistory.ca/1812/18127.html
    https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/heritage-minutes/laura-secord
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812
    2 NIV/KJV/Darby Tanslation
    3 Erickson,Millard J. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987, p.546.
    4 KJV/NIV-NLT

    #Dare2Share

    Post in the Comment Section below

    Read More

  • 7. Filled With Purpose – In The Beginning Series

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
    Genesis 2:15

    Years ago we went on a family vacation and rented a home in the Caribbean Islands. The week’s rent included not only the beautiful residence but also a crew of laborers to care for all our needs.   The first day there, in a rush I changed for a day of swimming in the ocean and left my clothes on the floor. When I came back my clothes were washed, folded and sitting on the dresser.   I thought I died and went to heaven! What is your dream life? For some it’s going on a perpetual vacation like this where they cook all your meals, clean your clothes and maintain your household. As enticing as that may sound, I know I wouldn’t be satisfied or feel that my life is filled with purpose.

    In Genesis 2:7 we read how God “formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” NLT God didn’t just give us the breath of life to exist. He gave us breath so we can live. Great vacations can bless you with the rest I talked about last week, but you don’t need to rest if you never work. Genesis 2 explains how God put Adam in the garden and instructed him to tend things. Adam was responsible to steward over the plants, trees, and animals. He was also the one entrusted with the one garden rule to “not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.   God gave Adam dominion over everything. It was out of this calling on Adam’s life that he found his purpose for living.

    I’ve heard it falsely said in churches that the “highest calling” is to full-time pastoral ministry. I know that’s not at all what the Bible teaches. In The Beginnning God called Adam to be a farmer. Whatever God calls you to do whether it be a farmer, receptionist, plumber, salesperson, pastor, preacher or pianist…whatever He’s calling you to do is the highest calling for you. It’s the place where you’ll find the most joy and you’ll be able to rest your head on the pillow, filled with purpose!

    Prayer

    Father…Thank You for breathing Your breath of life into my being. Help me not to waste they oxygen you’ve given me, but to breathe it in deeply and use it for Your glory.   Help me to rightly discern what Your purpose is for my life and give me the courage to live it out. Let my life be filled with purpose, completing the task you’ve called me to. In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below

    Read More

  • 4. WE Rule – In The Beginning Series

    “…and let them rule…”
    Genesis 1:26 NIV

    We come to the Bible with filters on our eyes, minds, hearts and spirits. It’s impossible not to. We read the Bible through the lens of our past experiences, teachings, understandings and misunderstandings. Somewhere my filter was cloudy on the authority God gave in the garden and that left me to have a bit of an inferiority complex. Recently I read Genesis 1 over without that faulty lens of the past and found out that WE Rule! Now, let me explain…

    I think my confusion came because people have focused their teaching about ruling creation from the verses in Genesis 2 over the verses in Genesis 1 that talk about the same thing.

    You see, Genesis 1:1-2:3 is kind of a ‘highlight reel’ of the first seven days of creation. Day seven is summed up by God when he said:

    “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 NIV

    The Genesis 2 account gives us a “behind the scenes” look at the seventh day and how it all started before Eve was created.

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden…” Genesis 2:15

    Adam began ruling over the land, birds, sea and animals. God even allowed Adam to name everything. What a cool job that would have been! It started with just Adam ruling, but it didn’t end there. Genesis 1:26-28 confirms that by the end of day seven, God’s original plan was to let them rule; both male and female.

    The more I study how God designed things In The Beginning, the more I realize He wanted men and women to partner together in dominion over the earth. It’s not a feminist ideal. It’s just a realignment to how God designed things to work.

    Girls don’t need to have an inferiority complex and guys don’t control the market on management. No one needs to clamor for or grasp at something that is already theirs. Men and women are called to rule together. Our attitude should be the same as Jesus’ towards any position of authority. In Philippians 2:5-9 we read that Jesus modeled servant leadership. So understand correctly everyone, WE Rule to serve!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for an increased revelation in truth about your original intentions for men and women In The Beginning. Help me to see how good your plans were from the start. I pray that men and women would begin to rule together in the church, in business, in families and wherever leadership is needed. Let each one use their distinct giftings that display Your image and benefit Your kingdom. Let this truth inspire me to live out Your purposes for my life. In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below

    Read More

  • In The Beginning-Series Intro

    On Monday I published the first devotion for the In The Beginning Series, but it all started last week when Todd and I were blessed to attend the General Conference for the PAOC in Montreal, Quebec. We were there with our publisher, Warren Benson from Word Alive Press, promoting our books, but mostly our Church Challenges to pastors. http://www.takethe40daychallenge.com

    ‘La Belle Province’ lived up to it’s name as God did so many beautiful things there. One of the most rewarding is how he reconnected me to friends and teachers from Bible College. It was as if life hadn’t taken that crazy turn and my journey didn’t skip a beat. I was back joking, discussing and living life among friends, and I got to introduce them to my husband Todd. It was like God hit the reset button and I’m back in the beginning, ready to fulfill the call of God on my life.   Actually, I remember the day God hit that reset button.

    reset button

    In the Fall of 2011 I went to a reunion for the Bible College I attended, now called Master’s College and Seminary. I was nervous going to the reunion. Ending up divorced was not a part of my life goals when I left the halls of Bible College. I had dreams of raising my family in a healthy, Christ-centred home filled with peace and doing great things for God in ministry. Sadly, my plans were derailed for a couple decades, but God wasn’t finished with my story.

    At the reunion I was so inspired by the messages spoken through Craig Burton, a I guy I sat in class with, then Chairman of the Bible College Board and some younger guy named Rich Janes. I’m sure Rich will like that one! The most life-affecting message came through the words of another friend from Bible College, Kevin Johnson.   Kevin’s message was powerful. He talked about how God had hit the ‘reset’ button on the life of the Bible College since it moved back to the Peterborough campus, and how God was doing the same in people’s lives. I felt Holy Spirit speak to me and encourage me that God had hit the reset button on my life.

    Now, if only He had hit the reset button on my skin…

    Seriously, this was a Word from the Lord that changed my life and began to set in motion God’s plans for my future.   Over the past 5 years God has allowed me to remarry the kind of man I dreamed about as a teenager.   I’ve written a book, with my second releasing in October. God has opened up the doors for me to preach across Canada and in the United States. Through radio I’ve been able to encourage believers in England. God’s reconnected me in relationship with so many of my College friends. Now we’re doing life and ministry together; just as I had dreamed of back in the beginning.

    At Conference last week I was so thankful to be a part of the PAOC. Our Superintendent Dave Wells, did an amazing job. He strategically picked the speakers. I was so proud to hear my friend Patti Miller address the Conference.

    Dave gave a powerful closing message at the final communion service where he talked about how God intended for everyone to “sit at the table” in reaching Canada and the world for Christ: young and old, male and female, rich and poor, citizen and immigrant. He made this clear by having someone from each of these groups sit at a table on stage and take communion before us as we all did together.   Completely powerful!

    Last week I went home and read through Genesis 1-2. The truths of these passages hit me. It became abundantly clear that what had taken place at General Conference was honouring to God’s original plans for men and women to work together

    In the beginning

    Over the next weeks as you read the devotions in this series, I pray you’re encouraged and that your eyes are opened to the original plans God had for this world, in the beginning.

    In His Grip,
    ~Sherry
    xoxo
    [imic_button colour=”btn-default” type=”enabled” link=”https://sherrystahl.com/productive/” target=”_self” extraclass=”” size=””]Devotion #1 Productive–In The Begininging Series[/imic_button]

    Read More

  • 1. Productive- In The Beginning Series

    “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…”
                                                                Genesis 1:28 MEV

    To many people this may be a shock, but years ago I had a small vegetable garden. I’m normally not very good with taking care of plants, ok; I generally kill them, but for a while I grew a healthy garden. It’s probably because I had a real purpose in growing these tomatoes and sweet peppers; I wanted to make good spaghetti sauce. Someone suggested I should also grow lettuce and was I ever thankful that I listened. Once the lettuce started to grow it didn’t stop till the fall. The more I cut for sandwiches and salads, the more it grew. This was the most productive plant I’d ever seen!

    When you read through the first two chapters of the Bible, you realize how productive God was. Genesis 1-2 tells how God: “called…made…created…planted…made to grow…completed”.1 What I find so astounding is how God imparts this same anointing to be creatively productive.

    Here’s some of the anointing’s God gave in relation to productivity:

    God anoints the land to be productive
      “Let the land produce living creatures” GN 1:24
    “Let the earth produce vegetation…the earth produced vegetation” GN 1:11-12

    God anoints the plants and trees to be productive
      “… plants yielding seed…fruit trees…yielding fruit…” GN 1:11
    “…the Lord God made to grow every tree that is planted…” GN 2:9

    God sustains the fertile bed for growth
      “A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden…” GN 2:10

    God anoints the water creatures to be productive
      “God blesse them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas…” GN 1:22

    God anoints the birds in the air to be productive
      “…let the birds multiply.” GN 1:22, 8:17

    God anoints the land creatures to be productive
      “that they may breed abundantly on the earth and be fruitful and multiply” GN 8:17

    God anoints US to be productive
      “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply/increase…” GN 1:28 MEV/NIV

    So God anoints: the land, plants and trees; all water, air and land animals along with us, to be productive.  God’s plan for our lives is to produce good fruit and lots of it! 2 Jesus encouraged believers that God has extremely productive plans for his followers when He says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…” in John 14:12.

    So, what are you going to do today?

    Prayer

    Father…Thank You for Your anointing to be productive like the “plants yielding seed”. Help me to recognize this anointing within me and see the areas where you want to bring fruitfulness out of my life. Let me be creatively productive for Your kingdom, bearing much fruit and bringing You glory! In Jesus Name…Amen

    1  Genesis 1:5,7,10,16,21,25,27,28, 2:8,9
    2 John 15:5-8

    #Dare2Share how you’re producing fruit?
            Post in the Comment Section below

    Read More

  • God's Incubator

    chicken brooding over eggs“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
                                                     Genesis 1:1-2
    Last week I was blessed to spend my recovery time at camp.  While there I was able to catch up with a friend I used to live near.  She told me that she was going through a confusing time and didn’t understand what God was up to in her life.  She explained this weird unsettling feeling, sensing that God was doing something, wanting to know what was ahead.  She was in God’s incubator!
    As Edna spoke the verse from Genesis came to mind.  The word used for God’s activity before creating the earth is translated “hovering” in most Bible versions, but the original Hebrew meaning comes from the root of the word “brood”.  I learned on my Uncle’s farm that birds brood by hovering over the eggs keeping them hot like a baby in an incubator.   The farmer has to wait until the brooding time is over and the chicks are hatched.
    So often before God is going to bring something new into the world, or into our lives, the Holy Spirit “hovers and broods” over our spirits.   It’s a time when we are unsettled.  Frequently, God moves us into “hot spots” and makes us wait for an undetermined amount of time.  The old ways are no longer comfortable, but lack fulfillment.  There is this sensing that things are about to change, but you don’t know how…or when!  Much like the feeling of a pregnant mother when the baby is getting close to the delivery date.
    If you are sensing this in your life, be encouraged.  God IS up to something good.  Relax and wait for His perfect timing.  Incredible things are birthed in God’s Incubator!
    PRAYER
    Father…I thank-you for what you are doing in my life.  I may not understand it, but I trust that what you are doing will bring life!  Help me to patiently wait while you brood over me.   In Jesus Name…Amen!

    Read More