Genesis 3:1-24

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


  1. Genesis 3:15 Or seed
  2. Genesis 3:15 Or strike
  3. Genesis 3:20 Or The man
  4. Genesis 3:20 Eve probably means living.
  5. Genesis 3:24 Or placed in front

Prayer Focus for New Caledonia – Sunday, January 26, 2014







New Caledonia, Pacific: Bible translation is still a challenge as Melanesian languages are now used in the schools. There are five works in progress, and up to 20 other languages need further attention. Pray for the ongoing work and for the calling and equipping of new translation teams. Praise God for the completion of Bibles in Futunan and Wallisian and of the NT in Paici.


Created for Relationships

versailles-gardens     What would it mean if someone told you that they “felt close” to you? Among other things it would probably occur to you that something about the relationship had gone right.

That God created us for relationships is clear from Genesis 2:4-25. Yet, from the rest of Genesis it is clear that something has gone remarkably wrong (see Genesis 4). As we heard on Sunday, God the Father has sent his Son “to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross” (Colossians 1:20). Jesus’ people are seeking relationships as they were intended to, or more simply, they’re seeking communion.

God is presented as the Potter, the Gardner and the Builder, in each case working to provide for the relational needs of his various creatures. First, the earth is in need of a man to cultivate it – so God the Potter forms the man (Adam) from the dust of the earth (Adamah). The man is in need of a relationship with his King, so God the Gardner provides a wonderful garden just outside of his palace as the place where he can relate to his friendly Lord (Genesis 2:10). Finally, the man being alone is not good, so God the Builder makes a woman out of Adam’s rib to be his companion and helper in extending the borders of the Garden.

dirt hands

Notice that for every need, a personal relationship was God’s answer. Notice that in every case, that personal relationship was provided for nothing that the creature had earned or deserved. All was provided for by God; all was of the Lord’s creative and personal grace. Notice that the grace of God is experienced in relationship. Notice that the grace of God is not experienced only in the relationship between the individual man and God but in a complex of relationships. God created us for relationships, and Jesus is in the business of restoring them.

Questions for Conversation

  • Work is an interesting relationship we have with our environment.
    • What is your work?
    •  How do you relate to it?
    • Does work get in the way of a relationship with God?
    • Are the things of the created world distractions from relationship with God in Genesis 2?
  • How have human relationships helped you to relate to God? How have they helped you to relate to work?
  • In Ephesians 5:29-33 the Apostle Paul says that we are the bride of Christ? What connections are being made between Jesus and the Church with Genesis 2?

Prayer Focus for Netherlands Antilles – January 19, 2014


Challenges for Prayer

The Papiamento Bible was published in 1997 (TEAM) (Dutch and English are available as well). Pray for impact on the majority of the population who use it. Pray also for literacy programmes and more Christian literature in the language. There is a Christian bookstore on Curaçao. Biblical literacy will go a great distance in discipling and renewing the Christian population.


It’s All About Image – Genesis 1:26-31

Ceaser coin     Do you see the call to be an image-bearer of God as a privilege or an obligation? Do you see salvation as freedom from the call to be an image-bearer or freedom for the call to be an image-bearer?

Genesis 1:26-31 is the ticket to seeing that image-bearing is a privilege that Jesus came to restore. Just as God acts as Prophet, Priest and King, we are made to image him forth in those very roles too.

God acted as Prophet by authoritatively speaking the world into existence. And God said…and it was so…And God said…and it was so. He also lived up to the role by interpreting his work for us, telling us that it was good. We are called to use our language in similar ways as those who bear our Creator’s image. We not only are forgiven for lying or failing to pray for others but we also are given the Spirit to use our language to create edifying experiences. Additionally we too are called to make interpretive comments. It is risky business, as is all of life, but it is a privilege bestowed upon us at creation.

God acted as King by ruling and exercising full control when he created the environment. Nothing stood in his way as he made the heavens and the earth. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have not only been forgiven for, say, losing control of our cars in a night of drunk driving; we have been given the privilege of imaging our King as his vice-kings and queens. Male and female alike are called to “subdue and have dominion” over some of God’s creation (notice that time and weather are not included).

God acted as Priest by drawing near to his creation and blessing it, bringing about its full maturity in relationship to him. We see this early in Genesis 1:3 when the Spirit of God hovers over the waters. We see it later when he acts as priest to bless the human couple, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” By multiplying and filling the earth with the image of God, we had the calling to be that blessed presence. But, instead, humanity has been known to be a curse. Wherever we have ended up, there have tended to be wars and unrest eventually. Yet we are remade into Christ’s image through faith in his power and are able to be that blessed priestly presence in the earth again.

Oh, and we don’t have to have sex or children to be fruitful – although we aren’t averse to that. 🙂 Simply through the work of evangelism and discipleship, we participate in the call to multiply the image of God in the earth.

Questions for Conversation:

1. What role do you see most as a privilege? What role do you see most as an obligation in a negative way?

2. Can you think of stories from the Gospels of how Jesus perfectly fulfilled the roles of Prophet, Priest and King?

3. How does Jesus’ death and resurrection for us most reveal the image of God through him?

4. Where do you most need to grow as believer in Jesus Christ? Prophet? Priest? King?

Prayer Focus for Netherlands – January 12, 2014

Christianity in the Netherlands seems to have hit rock bottom. Less than 20% attend church with any regularity – the lowest figure in centuries. Possibly 65% of Dutch claim no affiliation with a church. Half of the nation’s church buildings have been destroyed or converted for other purposes, such as bars and mosques. The Church has effectively withdrawn from engaging society in the public sphere. But many think that hedonism and secular materialism’s emptiness are becoming apparent, and that church decline is slowing and even reversing. Pray for this opportunity to be seized by astute believers to regain momentum for church growth and spread the leaven of the Kingdom.




What’s on First? – Genesis 1:1-31


Whos on FirstIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. How? By the words of his mouth.

Words are important. God’s words, even more. In Genesis 1:1-2:3 we have the word of God regarding how the cosmos was created. These are important words.

The words in Genesis weren’t written yesterday, of course. Rather, they were written thousands of years ago, by an Egyptian-prince-turned-shepherd-turned-reluctant-prophet called Moses. And Moses was the speaker for God to an ancient people, Israel.  So God chose to communicate his word to a people in a specific time and place – which is a very different time and place from us today. Genesis 1-2, and the Bible as a whole, was not written to us. Nevertheless, the Bible was written for us.

Here’s the problem. Our modern ways of thinking aren’t always the ways in which the original writers and hearers thought. Our questions aren’t always their questions. The answers they were looking for weren’t always the same ones we are looking for. Therefore, confusion can ensue when we seek answers from Moses based on questions he wasn’t intending us to ask.

The problem is illustrated in the Abbot and Costello skit, “Who’s on first?” Since the two men aren’t speaking on the same terms, they misunderstand each other. In the same way, we can come to Moses on different terms than those on which he comes to us. Confusion is inevitable.

So, when we come to Genesis 1-2, we come with questions fueled by a culture that is used to speaking about creation in terms of physical material. Yet, generally, the Israelites came to the text asking questions of purpose. What was the purpose of the light, sky, sea, land, stars, animals and humans? Even more importantly, who gave this purpose to it all?

What we come away with is a message that no scientific text can give – a message of purpose. As Albert Einstein once said, “The function of setting up goals and passing statements of value transcends the domain of science.” God, through Moses, could have written a tome that would’ve outdone the greatest scientific thinkers of our day and on their terms. But instead he decided to write an equally truthful beginning to Genesis about the purposeful creation he designed by his amazing creativity – a creation designed to find its fullest joy in glorifying its loving Creator.


14th Day Ladies’ Event – January 14th

All women are invited to attend this month’s women’s fellowship event on Tuesday, January 14th at Brothers Encore (in Montclair) at 7:00pm. Please come prepared to share a funny story from your life or a time when someone used humor to encourage you. 🙂

If you plan to attend, please let Dorothy know if possible (text or call 571-330-8597; email Hope to see you there!

Prayer Focus for Nepal – Sunday, January 5, 2014

Answer to Prayer

There is a church planted in every one of the 75 districts of Nepal, and there are at least some believers in almost every people and caste group.

Challenge for Prayer

Socio-economic needs remain a huge challenge in this beautiful but troubled land.

a) Poverty and unemployment keep Nepal from progressing. Fully 47% are underemployed (working less than 40% of their available working hours). Pray for creative and sustainable means of gainful employment.

b) Young people comprise two-thirds of Nepal’s population, which is one of the world’s youngest and fastest growing. Most live in rural areas, deprived of education and opportunity. Illiteracy is widespread. Young people are vulnerable to economic exploitation, sex trafficking, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and radicalization (political or religious). Pray for changes here that offer young people hope and a future.

c) Despite becoming a secular democracy, Nepal’s social structures remain dominated by Hinduism. This perpetuates the caste system, which oppresses many, most notably Dalits who make up as much as 14% of the population. Caste discrimination is technically illegal but ubiquitous nonetheless. Converts from Hinduism to Christ usually become outcastes as well. Pray for the shattering of this unjust system.