Discussion 

                                                          The Seventh Day – 2nd Edition

   Genesis 1:1-2   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.

Hovering would indicate the spirit of God was in motion before creating our heaven and earth. I am struck by the intentionality behind the idea of pausing and hovering to create an environment that could sustain a lifeform able to express God’s breath of life on earth. Intentionality in the beginning suggests to me the earth was prepared, like the garden for Adam and Eve, to receive God’s image reflected in mankind.

 

Our inheritance of God’s breath of life binds us all together. Watch for God's movement in the lives of those around you. Listen for God’s word in your thoughts and the thoughts of others. Eyes that see and ears that hear seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.

 

Thanks to months of weekly conversations with the men’s group at Woods Chapel UMC, I can safely say The Seventh Day is worthy of discussion. Feedback indicated the book needed a beginning and an end.  It is hard to tell when creation really began - but the story of Mankind’s Relationship with Creation starts with the dawn of the Seventh Day. And only God knows when the time of man will end.

All I did was read scripture and follow the generational story of mankind’s response to God’s breath of life from the beginning when man became a living being.  These are the foundational stories of God's breath in me - me and seven billion other people walking the earth.

 

I would like everyone who received a 1st printing to have a copy of the 2nd edition which includes the last chapter: “In the Spirit”. I added a summary inside the front cover and on the home page along with my hopes - dreams - and prayers for all who read The Seventh Day.

Topics and questions

 

Page 4   One building block on another - in an orderly fashion - and overtime: The earth was prepared for mankind, and only then did God create a living being as an expression of himself.

 

Page 4   Genesis 1:27   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

 

    When do you see the image of God reflected in your life?

 

Page 4   God separated man from critters when he breathed the breath of life into Adam and the man became a living being in lieu of a living creature.

 

        Do you believe God' breath is hovering in your soul?  

Does how we think of God change what God thinks of us?

Is God's image in me limited by my image of him?

If my picture of God is the judgment throne, will that not influence the way I respond to those around me - reflecting my image of God and not his image in me?

If there is more to God than what we have seen - is there  more of God in us that we have not shown?

 

Page 7   Without the breath of God, we are just another predator.

 

Page 8   I tell children if you want to know how God thinks of you, he thinks you are sacred. God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

 

Page 8   How do you feel about being a small part of a multi-generational story? I have often said we are short-term players in a long-term game.

 

Page 10   On the seventh day God rested giving us time to adjust and grow as he did with every other new layer of life. Maybe not moving with a Big Bang, but still speaking words of creation into the world through us.

 

Page 10   How we respond to God's word “within us” determines how we interact with the world “around us”.

 

Page 12   The tree of life and the tree of knowledge were totally accessible in the middle of the garden, ripe for the picking. Do you not think that at some point God hoped to share the fruit of himself with mankind?

Did the Tree of Life offer what the Apostle Paul called Fruits of the Spirit?

 

Do you remember God saying not to eat from the Tree of Life?

 

Page 12   I have met the enemy - it is ME  - my own desires. It helps me to know that I am tempted by something I can change.

 

Page 13   Scripture did not say the Tree of Knowledge possessed all knowledge - it said, the knowledge of good and evil.

Page 13    Job 32:8   But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the almighty, that gives him understanding.

 

Page 13   Understanding is gifted when the spirit in a man influences his daily living.

Is understanding and wisdom the same thing?

 

Page 14   Each of us face the temptation to accept knowledge as wisdom.

Is there wisdom to be gained from the knowledge of good and evil?

Page 14  The Internet is like taking a bite out of the apple, opening our eyes to the global actions of mankind. And like Adam and Eve, we are struggling to define the difference between good and evil. We should guard against using definitions to mold our conscience.

 

Page 15   The snake questioned Eve’s understanding of God's word - did God really say? We all want to know more about God without him knowing more about us.

Make a note:  Even in God's garden there was a snake that raised doubt.

 

Page 15   Knowing the difference between good and evil opened their eyes to see a part of themselves that only God had seen. They felt exposed and vulnerable, and they hid.

 

Page 15   This passage sums up the spiritual journey for many of us:  God called to the man - he answered I heard you - I was afraid - so I hid.

 

Page 17   The singularity of purpose towards self-gratification was the problem - what they were communicating - not how they were communicating.

 

Page 19   I assume mankind is included in never again will I destroy all living creatures. We often act more like living creatures instead of living beings.

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Page 20   But it looks like the early stories in scripture lay the groundwork for each of us - and all of us - to understand our developing relationship with God. Scripture applies to both ME and WE

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Page 21   There is a thin line between sharing information and malicious gossip - judgment is a matter of perception.

 

Page 22   Matthew 18:18   “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Page 22   As with Adam in the garden, God asked Noah to be actively and emotionally engaged - I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

Is this mankind's foundational relationship with each other?

How are believers accounting for the life of their fellow man?

 

Page 23   If the Kingdom of God is within us, then we are killing our very reason for being here. Listen up people, stop killing each other - learn to cope with disappointment.

 

Page 24   I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of our lives being destined. God has used many people as if it were their destiny. Does that mean they were the only ones who heard the call - or are they the only ones who answered?

Page 26   God asked Abram to go to the land I will show you - I will bless you and you will be a blessing.

Is this mankind's foundational relationship with God?

Page 28   Genesis 14:18   Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God most high.

Page 28    Let's see now: I can keep an extra 10% and make myself feel taller stepping on those who accepted circumcision as the sign of their loyalty - OR - I can put some "skin in the game", offer resources for the care of others, and still love the people who love me.

 

Page 29  1st Corinthians 10:11    These things happen to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

What examples from the early believers should become warnings for us?

 

Page 31   Considering it was less than 600 years ago that men thought the earth was flat, it may still be early in mankind's view of the world. God grows in us as our view of the world grows.

 

Page 33   A circumcised heart was not something they could hold in their hands, nor could they see it changing their lives. They saw God's directions as a way to live -  not as a way of life.

 

Page 34   How much more clearly and not in riddles can you expect God to speak? He is literally asking them to choose life - listen to his voice - and hold fast to him.

 

Page 36   Their desires seldom included more than water, food, shelter, and safety. It must be difficult finding hope as an anchor for the soul when his kingdom within you is reduced to survival.

 

Page 38   The message for their children and future generations seems clear. When you harvest - you share.

Is the practice of sharing our harvest the sign of a healthy society?

Page 40   A blood sacrifice would be required for men to look beyond seeking God's favor and accept God's forgiveness.

Page 40   Remember, pressing to gain wisdom without discernment separated Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life.

Page 42   God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. I would say mankind has been blessed, or we would have already killed each other. It seems to be the Holy part of God's Kingdom that we struggle to embrace.

Do you feel like you are living in a blessed and holy time?

How could God bless you that would make you feel more holy?

 

Page 43   Remembering did not encourage believers to look or listen for the sound of the Lord.

 

Page 44   May service to others be how our living faith is recognized.

 

Page 45   The Israelites were given rules to direct them, but did not allow God's unchanging nature to guide the rules. You cannot legislate morals - morals are reflected in legislation.

 

Page 46   When my son was four years old his Sunday school adopted materials that branded him a sinner - never worthy of God – oh - but Jesus loved him. I would not train a dog that way: BAD DOG – BAD DOG – oh - but I love you.

 

Page 46   The prodigal son learned, but his brother still questioned even after watching him struggle. A lesson learned is always better than a lesson taught.

 

Page 46   It had to be a shock to Adam and Eve when they saw how others were living in community. The way we view life in other communities expands our relationship with mankind, and our relationship with God.

Page 48    God has spoken through many voices over several generations guiding worshippers from sacrificial offerings toward worship being a way of life.

Page 49   Worship beyond physical covenant signs and burnt offerings is faith - faith is a matter of the heart. A circumcised heart that we offer back to God.

 

Page 50   Israel's priest had fallen away from listening. Because they did not seek - they did not see.

 

Page 50   By the 4th Century AD “Constantine the Great”, formally recognized Christianity as part of the State, defining a believer with the first Nicene Creed in 325AD. Adding layers of definition will inherently separate people.

 

Page 52   I am always amazed how men try to define God.

 

Page 52   The world is due for a revival of God's Kingdom on earth. As always, it will start in the pews - when Christians treat other Christians like Christians.

 

Page 54   Is the healing of the nations not enough purpose for us to justify our living?

 

Page 55   Is loving your neighbor the manifestation of your worship?

 

Page 57   Jesus paused for people. Surely, we can give that much to each other.

 

Page 57  The question is never WWJD do? We know what Jesus did.

 

Page 57   Scripture tells the generational story of how mankind's understanding of worship is transitioning from practicing religion - to faith being a matter of the heart. Today many of us struggle to accept that our relationship with God is built on a humble heart.

 

Page 59   We know repentance is good for the soul - and apparently good for revealing the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

 

Page 60   There are occasions I would appreciate hearing the words spoken, “Whatever grievances I'm holding against you I wish to release and move forward”. Or better yet, maybe I could speak those words to another. Forgiveness is not about right and wrong - it is about hurt and healing.

Should we apply forgiveness to ourselves as well as other?

 

Is forgiveness how we are released to move forward with grace?

Is that what grace looks like?

 

Page 60   Many of us say things we have not always thought through. Maybe that is when we should pause. Jesus did exactly that when an adulteress was brought to him for judgement.

 

Page 61   Matthew 18:18   I tell you the truth, whatever binds you on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

 

Page 61  If I am to experience resurrection life on any level before my ascension, something within me must die to be reborn.

 

Page 62   So I ask myself, what part of me is actively engaged with the needs of those around me? How sad must it get before the love of God compels me to feel pity?

 

Page 63   Each new covenant provided a better hope by which we draw near to God. Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

 

Page 64   Maybe the greatest gift we can give our children is to die with peace in our souls. If we can find rest in that moment, the next generation may find rest while living.

 

Page 65   I cannot change past decisions. I am allowing the spirit in man more influence in my daily living. If I continue that path, I will have done my best - no regrets - God will care for the rest. That is enough for me.