September 1, 2013
SEEKTHE ABUNDANT LIFE ®
“O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (Psalm 104:24).
God’s Creative Work
Your Majesty by Karen M. Leet “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1). The earth, O Lord, reflects Your glory. I look out at the surging sea— so vast, so deep, so mysterious—and I am reminded of You, almighty God, our maker and our creator. O Lord, the sea waters slide upon the sand at dawn, and sunlight glitters on great splashing waves, and I cannot see the end of it.
How can we look out upon the amazing oceans of our world and not lift our hearts in praise and celebration to You, O Lord? Teeming life is hidden beneath the ocean vastness. Creatures beyond imagining prowl the deep, unknown to us. How can we look out upon the amazing oceans of our world and not lift our hearts in praise and celebration to You, O Lord? The bounty of all You have made astounds me, Lord, our God. I see distant mountains in the dusk; their tops vanish in clouds. I see You, Lord, in the great sprawling mountains touching the sky.
Stars shine in the night, O Lord, as if with both hands You tossed them up like clusters of precious jewels. If I lie on my back and try to count them, O Lord, it would take me a hundred thousand lifetimes to try. And even then, I could never count them all. Trees, O Lord, poke gnarled fingers high and wide. Those trees stood old and solemn when wars raged over a hundred years ago, witnesses to our fathers’ fathers. Trees bear fruit to satisfy our hunger. For this we lift grateful hands and give You thanks. O Lord, our maker, You have opened the bounty of Your provision and blessed us time and again, though we have not deserved Your great goodness to us. Flowers with their fragile beauty and sweet fragrance, clouds scudding across blue sky, and grass that bends and bows before gentle breezes are testimony to Your providence. So are leaves that change through the seasons and rain that brings life to parched ground. O Lord, our bodies are so wondrously made, so complex and so intricate; with integrated systems all working simultaneously to sustain us. Senses—of touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell—enable us to experience the physical wonders of Your world. Your indwelling Spirit
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leads and guides us, transcending time and space.
What joy this world brings us, and what hope for the world to come! Can anything be more astounding than that? O Lord, You are mighty, beyond our human comprehension, Your power beyond our understanding, and Your thoughts beyond anything we can imagine. Yet You forgive
us when we falter. You carry us when we fall. You comfort us when we fail. And beyond all this, Lord, You gave us Your Son as our Savior. Because of His sacrifice we can live forever with You in a world beyond this one. What joy this world brings us, and what hope for the world to come! O Lord our God, almighty and beloved—how excellent is Your name in all the earth. How or when have you experienced God’s creation in a way that left you speechless?
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Everything and More by Kathryn Lay When I was young and first learned about how God created everything, I knew God loved us very much. Why else would He create so many interesting, different, and amazing creatures to share our earth? Why not humans only, the ones in His image? Psalm 104:24 says, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom has thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”
Why would He create so many interesting, different, and amazing creatures to share our earth? When I was sitting by a bonfire at the youth camp where I accepted Christ, the leader told us to look up at the stars and the moon. I had always enjoyed science, but as he read Genesis 1:14-19, my nonChristian heart swelled at the wonder of God’s creation: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so” (Genesis 1:14, 15).
Hearing the Scripture, I realized that all those beautiful stars, the moon, and the sun that warm our days weren’t just scientific realities that made life on earth possible. They were proof that God created everything we needed even before He created us. My uncle, a scientist and disbeliever in God, is eager for me to understand that everything we see in the sky is natural, a result of millions of years of growth and change. But I tell him that even if he doesn’t believe that God is there, God created the skies, planets, constellations, moons, and asteroids that he has studied. He created them for those who believe and those who don’t. All that we both need has been provided, whether we call out to God or not. In the last few years, I’ve watched my husband lovingly build his garden, planting and caring for the food that would fill our stomachs. My own garden of flowers brightens my days whenever I walk past them or keep them watered and weeded. I anticipate with joy eating the delicious peaches ripening on our trees. Genesis 1:11-13 tells how God brought forth grass, seeds, and the fruit trees. Our world could’ve been simple—a few foods for our survival. God might have made our bodies need only one type of food, day after
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day. Why instead create the abundance of vegetables, berries, fruit, and plants for our taste buds to enjoy? Why the variety of trees, shrubs, bushes, and flowers to please our
Where You Live!
God created everything we needed even before He created us.
1. “ Creative” people enjoy new and different things, while “concrete” people are naturally logical and steady. Are you more one than the other? Which?
eyes? Everything we need and beyond is what God created. Both believers and nonbelievers work to maintain and preserve our world: to keep air and water clean, to stop the extinction of animal and plant species, and to prevent erosion of land. Yet, Christians recognize creation as an expression of God’s majesty, and they respond with praise to Him. In what aspect of creation do you most appreciate God’s extravagance?
by Dan Lentz Questions and Activities for Small Groups Based on the International Sunday School Lesson Text.
Read Psalm 104:5-9, 24-30 2. W hat part of God’s creation amazes you most? 3. W hat would you say to someone who does not believe that “in wisdom” God made it all? 4. T oday’s Scripture says that when God opens His hand, the people are “filled with good.” How has God’s open hand satisfied you recently? Incorporate into your prayer time both a creative way and a concrete way to praise God.
Photo: Brand X Pictures | Thinkstock® For more Small Group ministry resources visit www.smallgroups.com.
Evidence of Greatness by Tammy Darling Everything we need comes from God’s creation: bread from wheat grown in the ground, paper that comes from trees, clothing that comes from the cotton plant.
Learning more about creation increases my praise of the magnificent God we serve. Aluminum is made from clay called bauxite. Glass is produced by melting silica, a fine white sand, in combination with soda (sodium bicarbonate) or small pieces of old broken glass called cullet. Steel, the most commonly used metal in the world, is made from three principal raw materials—iron ore, limestone, and coal. Crayons are formed from wax which comes from bees, and chalk is made from limestone. More than a quarter of all prescription drugs on the market have plant origins. The National Cancer Institute has ongoing collaborative programs to screen plants and test plant chemicals as possible new drugs to treat cancer and HIV. God thought of everything when He made the earth; but human beings have not yet discovered all of
it. Learning more about creation increases my praise of the magnificent God we serve. To express thankfulness to God as Creator, we must first recognize His hand in all He’s made. Learning about the “hidden” things God created excites me. Each time I unearth a new piece of knowledge regarding creation, I have a deeper understanding of the God who fashioned the universe and made me a new creation in Christ. The majesty of creation inspires praise of the Creator.
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David responded with these words: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4). Creation reflects and reveals God’s character. However, we should never focus more on what is designed than on who designed it. Consider the evidence of God’s love all around you. As you pay greater attention to His work, you’ll be inspired to worship God and proclaim His goodness to the world. How do you learn about “hidden” aspects of God’s creation?
SEEK® Him Daily Monday, September 2 Living Creatures of Every Kind Genesis 1:20-25 Tuesday, September 3 Made in the Image of God Genesis 1:26-31 Wednesday, September 4 Formed from the Dust Genesis 2:1-9 Thursday, September 5 In the Likeness of God Genesis 5:1-5 Friday, September 6 Made a Little Lower than God Psalm 8 Saturday, September 7 Created in the Likeness of God Ephesians 4:17-24 Sunday, September 8 Created Male and Female Genesis 2:18-25 Lesson for September 8 God’s Image: Male and Female Genesis 1, 2; 5:1, 2
Key Verse O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches (Psalm 104:24).
Dawn Korth, editor Margaret K. Williams, project editor Jonathan Underwood, senior editor
Photo: iStockphoto | Thinkstock®
Volume 137, No. 4
SEEK® is published quarterly by Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, Ohio, www.standardpub.com. Copyright © 2013 by Standard Publishing. All rights reserved. Do not photocopy or reproduce. Lessons based on International Sunday School Lessons. © 2010 by the Lesson Committee. All Scriptures taken from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated. Cover photo © Medioimages | Photodisc | Thinkstock®.
SEEKÂŽ The Word
Todayâ€™s Scripture Text
God Creates Psalm 104:5-9, 24-30
5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. 6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. 8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. 9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. ................................ 24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. 25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. 26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.
27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. 28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. 29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. 30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.
September 1, 2013