God's Story

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Overview

God has told us His story. Do we know it?

Anne Graham Lotz leads you through the first eleven chapters of Genesis, unlocking hidden messages in the familiar stories of Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the ark, the Tower of Babel, and others. She thoughtfully illuminates each moment of Creation with inspiring insights and probing reflections to better reveal God, the Creator of us all.

In God's Story you will thrill to the beauty,...

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God's Story

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Overview

God has told us His story. Do we know it?

Anne Graham Lotz leads you through the first eleven chapters of Genesis, unlocking hidden messages in the familiar stories of Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the ark, the Tower of Babel, and others. She thoughtfully illuminates each moment of Creation with inspiring insights and probing reflections to better reveal God, the Creator of us all.

In God's Story you will thrill to the beauty, majesty, and tenderness of God's personal involvement in creating the world, and you will come to recognize the Creator's infinite power at work in your life as well.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849920929
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 702,684
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, is the President and Executive Director of AnGeL Ministries, a non-profit organization offering Christian outreach. She is the award-winning author of ten books, including Just Give Me Jesus.
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Read an Excerpt

GOD'S STORY


By Anne Graham Lotz

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2009 Anne Graham Lotz
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-2092-9


Chapter One

I AM THE GOD OF CREATION

I Fill Your Emptiness

Genesis 1

Sir Isaac Newton once had a miniature model of the solar system in his office. The sun was positioned in the center of the model with the various planets displayed in orbit around it. One day a fellow scientist walked into his study and when he saw it exclaimed, "My! What an exquisite thing this is! Who made it?"

Sir Isaac Newton replied, "Nobody." The scientist looked amazed as he said skeptically," You must think I am a fool. Of course somebody made it, and he is a genius."

Sir Isaac Newton got up, walked around his desk, and put his hand on the shoulder of his friend as he said earnestly, "This thing is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you and I know. I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker. Now tell me, by what sort of reasoning do you reach such incongruous conclusions?"

The same sort of reasoning that believes in the evolution of the universe from an amoeba in some prehistoric pool would lead to theconclusion that a bomb set off in a garbage dump could produce an intricate Rolex watch! All of creation makes a mockery of such reasoning!

When have you observed the blazing glory of a tropical sunset or an exquisite lady's slipper tucked into a rocky crevice in the forest, or a baby's birth and first lusty cry, or a bird weaving her nest, hatching and feeding her young, or the soft, silvery shimmer of moonlight on the ocean waves, or a hummingbird suspended in air, or a V-shaped flight of geese migrating north, or the blinding flash of a jagged bolt of lightning splitting the darkness ...

when have you observed these things and wondered, as Sir Isaac Newton's friend did, My! What an exquisite thing this is! Who made it?

When we thoughtfully consider the world around us, we instinctively know our environment is not some haphazard cosmic accident but the handiwork of a Master Designer. The earth did not come about by the snap of some giant fingers but was deliberately planned and prepared in an orderly progression of events. Like planet Earth around us, our lives are not a haphazard cosmos, either. They were deliberately planned to be filled with the beauty of love and joy and peace and purpose-with God Himself. Such plans for our lives, as for planet Earth, need careful preparation.

Finding Meaning in the Preparation of the Earth

In the beginning, there was nothing in the universe except a vast, endless emptiness. There was no time, no history, no life, no light, no sound.

Just an immense black hole. Then, in all of that eternal empty nothingness, there was a misshapen blob that swirled in water, minute in size compared to the endless expanse surrounding it. It was enveloped in inky blackness, empty of everything and anything we might name, recognize, or find familiar.

One of the very first steps the Creator took to fill the emptiness with life and beauty and eternal purpose was to prepare it by His Spirit: "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" (Gen. 1:2).

Prepared by the Spirit of God

The preparation by the Spirit of God may have taken days, weeks, months, years, or millenniums! The only information we are given is in the second verse of Genesis when we are told that "the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." The invisible Spirit of the Creator enveloped and permeated the misshapen blob that was dangling in the midst of the vast black hole.

The description of planet Earth as it existed in the beginning is also an amazingly accurate description of the lives of many people today-lives that are formless, with no shape or discipline or character; lives that are void of meaning and joy and satisfaction-empty on the inside; lives that are in the darkness of ignorance, depression, despair, separated from God; and lives that are covered with water-the "deep"-having no stability or security.

How does a person whose life is empty experience changes that will result in a full, happy, meaningful life? The first necessary step is the preparation of the Spirit of God.

Penny and Johnny Sanders have been close friends for years. I first met Penny when she began attending the Bible study class I was teaching. Soon after she committed her life to Jesus Christ, she began praying for her husband, Johnny. Johnny never went to church, drank up to a fifth of alcohol and smoked three packs of cigarettes every day, and was dangerously overweight. Penny not only prayed for Johnny herself but enlisted the prayers of others for him.

Although Johnny was a successful businessman, he was not a reader. He never even read the daily newspaper. But several months after Penny began praying for him, they were both invited to a church Sunday school class social. At the social they heard several Sunday school class members discussing plans for a Bible study. To Penny's astonishment, Johnny indicated he was interested in joining it but expressed the opinion that he would get more out of it if he had his own Bible. Penny intensified her prayers! She knew Father's Day was approaching, and she used the opportunity to suggest to him that she and the children would like to give him a Bible.

Within a few days Johnny asked Penny to go to the local Christian bookstore and help him select his gift. He began his selection process by pulling from the shelves all the various Bible translations he could find. Then he sat down on the floor of the store, spread the Bibles out around him, and began to compare the various features and language. He finally decided on one, and Penny purchased it for him.

He began his search for God with a bottle of liquor in one hand and his new Bible in the other! Within a short period of time he was convinced through his reading that God loved him and had the power to transform his life. For the first time in his life, he got down on his knees in prayer, confessed his sin, asked for forgiveness, and invited Jesus Christ to come into his life and take control.

Within one week, Johnny quit drinking, smoking, and overeating as the joy and peace of God flooded his heart and mind. He enlisted in the weekly Bible study, which continued the wonderful transformation of his life. As of this writing, his children each know and serve the Lord, he himself is an elder in his church, he sponsors a Christian youth fellowship at a local university, leads a men's weekly breakfast Bible study, and bears radiant testimony to the power of God to transform an empty life into one filled with the blessing of God through the preparation of the Spirit and the power of the Word.

Prepared by His Word

God brought about change in planet Earth not only through the advanced preparation of the Spirit but through the daily proclamation of His Word. The phrase "and God said" occurs ten times in the first chapter. Was His Word like a still, small voice whispering in the darkness? Was His Word rumbling and loud like a peal of thunder? 5 Was His Word full, musical, reverberating like the sound of rushing waters? Or was it an expression of what was on God's mind, communicated by an Agent, a Person who carried out exactly what God wanted? Regardless of the form, we know that every day of Creation, God's Word went forth, every day it was received, and every day some change took place in response, until progressively, day after day after day, the earth was transformed from emptiness to fullness of life and beauty.

Is your life empty? Do you want to experience real, lasting, God-pleasing change so that you are filled with satisfaction, peace, joy, love, purpose-abundant life? Then don't look to a drug, a bottle, a pill, a therapist, a once-a-week trip to church, or even a weekly Bible study.

Look to God's Word for yourself. Read your Bible every day in order to understand, apply, and obey it.

As we long to grow not only in our faith but in our Christian character so that others can readily see Christ in us, we need to live in the power of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to His Word. This transformation is a continual process that is brought about by daily saturating ourselves in the Scriptures, then living it out on the anvil of our experience.

Do you know someone who is desperate for change? Someone who is: controlled by alcohol? dependent upon drugs? embittered by injustice? crippled by abuse? bound by anger? isolated by pride? depressed by worry? consumed by jealousy? panicked by fear?

God's Word has not lost its power since the beginning of time! The same power that transformed planet Earth from that which was void, dark, without form, and in a fluid condition to that which was teeming with life, clothed in beauty, and reflective of the image of God is available today to change and fill empty lives. There is no life so shattered and devastated that it is beyond God's power to redeem and transform it. The process of transformation that invariably takes place through the preparation of the Spirit and the daily application of the Word is illustrated by what took place in the beginning of planet Earth.

Finding Meaning in the Transformation of the Earth

In the beginning, the earth was empty of any real, life-sustaining substance. It was suspended in blackness, swirling in water, with no discernible shape. The first change necessary was to illuminate the darkness in which it existed.

The Illumination

In the beginning there was no dawn to end the night, no sun to warm the day, no moonlight reflected in the swirling water, no silhouettes against the sky, no sky, no horizon,

just a never-ending night! "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was ..."! (Gen. 1:3). What was that first light like? Was it a soft, gradual illumination of the darkness? Was it a shaft of brilliant glory? And how was it possible since the sun, moon, and stars were not brought into existence until the fourth day of Creation?

Scientists tell us that there is light in the universe apart from the sun, such as phosphorescence or the light from radiation or the aurora borealis. And the Bible tells us physical light is associated with the very presence of God-so much so that in heaven there will be no need for a sun, moon, and stars, because the light of God's glory will illumine everything.

Perhaps on the first day of Creation God lifted the veil that had hidden Him from earth, and in some way the glory of His presence was revealed! Perhaps it was an explosion of light energy similar to the "big bang" referred to today as a theory of Creation. Whatever the unknown technical explanation may be, we know the light came in response to God's Word.

God didn't leave our environment in a murky, dusky twilight." God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day" (Gen. 1:4-5).

While the light described was literal, it has wonderful analogy and personal meaning for you and me, because light in the spiritual sense represents the truth, clarity, spiritual understanding, and discernment we receive from God's written Word. The psalmist praised God because "the unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."

In what area of your life do you need illumination? Discouragement about the future and the direction we have chosen, depression over the lack of fulfillment in our lives, or disillusionment by our previous attempts to find meaning for life through organized religions can all plunge us into the darkness. Do you ever wonder,

"Why am I here?" "What is the meaning to my life?" "Why is genuine happiness so elusive?" "Why am I lonely in a crowd?" "Why am I so restless inside?" "Why do I feel guilty?" "Why do I feel afraid?" "Is there a God?" "What is God like?" "How can I know God?" "Is there life after death?" "Where am I going?"

God's written Word and the answers we find there turn our darkness into light. God's Word "is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

I wonder if the mind of Saul of Tarsus searched for truth through similar questions. He had filled his life with organized religion in order to find God and through Him, meaning for his life. He testified that he was "circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless." Yet he lived in the darkness of ignorance, thinking he was serving God while all the while he was separated from Him. While he pursued with a vengeance what he perceived to be the truth, suddenly "a light [blazed] from heaven, brighter than the sun." And Saul of Tarsus was confronted with the revelation of God's glory in the person of Jesus Christ! While the light temporarily physically blinded him, at the same time it opened his spiritual eyes to the truth. Later he exclaimed, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." And the life of Saul of Tarsus was forever changed through his personal encounter with Jesus Christ from that of a blasphemer to a proclaimer of the truth-from one who left destruction in his path and was headed for eternal darkness to one who offered eternal life in Jesus' name and ran his race of life for "the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award" on that day.

Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, is the light of the world! The apostle John said that "in him was life, and that life was the light of men." His life is our light-our meaning, our reason for living, our fulfillment and satisfaction and joy and peace!

Many people today are searching for the Light. I talked to the nephew of a dear friend who was looking for the Light in Buddhism. He shared with me that he felt he would find the Light when he could adequately describe the difference between the colors black and red!

I talked to another young man seated beside me on an airplane. He was going on a backpacking trip into the Adirondack Mountains because he believed the mountains he worshiped were the Light! On my trips to India, I have met various Westerners making the trek to a guru because they were seeking the Light through meditation and human homilies!

Where are you looking for the Light? Are you searching for the Light through a career? a family? a reputation? an education? money? travel? entertainment? pleasure? sports? sex?

John says the Light has come! He is the living Word who was in the beginning with God, who Himself was God, who became flesh! His name is Jesus!

Whom do you know who is living in darkness without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and therefore is separated from God? Surely, if God could lean down out of heaven and invade the life of Saul of Tarsus, shining His Light into Saul's life in such a way that his life was transformed, He is able to do the same for you and me and anyone we know!

Once the Light penetrates the darkness, our understanding and wisdom are enlarged. The dimension of our lives is increased.

The Dimension

In the beginning, when the light appeared, it revealed a planet that was black and white and gray. There was no color. The planet was just a misshapen blob submerged in water. If we had been present, all we would have seen would have been some prehistoric, stagnant pond. To the untrained eye, it would have appeared to have no potential at all.

Do you know anyone like that? Sometimes, even with the Light on, only God can see the potential in a human life. The potential can be totally invisible to others, submerged in waste, in filth, in sin and rebellion and violence. How do you react to such a person? Sometimes, a person's life can be so hopelessly ugly I just want to turn the light off! But praise God! He turned the Light on and began to draw out the potential: "And God said, 'Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.' So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse 'sky.' And there was evening, and there was morning-the second day" (Gen. 1:6-8).

(Continues...)



Excerpted from GOD'S STORY by Anne Graham Lotz Copyright © 2009 by Anne Graham Lotz. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

My Gratitude for the Women ... and for the Wind....................vii
Introduction: Genesis: The Memoirs of an Eyewitness....................ix
Prologue: The God You Can Know....................xv
I am the God of Creation 1. I Fill Your Emptiness....................1
2. I Mend Your Brokenness....................28
I am the God of Compassion 3. I Forgive Your Sinfulness....................59
4. I Uproot Your Bitterness....................80
5. I Redeem Your Wastedness....................104
I am the God of Salvation 6. I Share Your Loneliness....................127
7. I Overcome Your Helplessness....................146
8. I Calm Your Fearfulness....................161
9. I Understand Your Weakness....................180
I am the God of Redemption 10. I Reject Your Religiousness....................200
11. I Banish Your Hopelessness....................221
Notes....................234
Devotional Guide....................251
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2011

    Disappointed at first.

    I LOVE BOOKS and so when I first signed up to review books for Booksneeze, excited at the oppurtunity to receive free books, I looked through the available titles and chose this one to read first...but when it arrived and I began to read it I realized it was a mistake. Probably by my own fault this book was not the novel I was expecting but rather the real life story of Kimberley Kennedy.
    I decided to read it anyways but I had a difficult time being captivated by her story and found myself not wanting to continue, knowing that I had to. Just recently I picked the book up again to complete it and found it easier to read this time. I found that this book includes information that though it may not be Kennedy's original ideas, is stil helpful; things such tools for dealing with grief and pain of relationships (but could be related to other life experiences) and how God will help you through that. I also like that she included a few men's perspective about ending relationships and not just a woman's point of view. Overall this book isn't my favorite, but it did redeem itself from my original opinion of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    Helpful...and uplifting

    To be honest... At first I thought that this was going to be just another sob story about a jilted bride... I was totally mistaken. Left at the Altar was an uplifting guidebook for repairing our spiritual relationship with god. Now let me say, I am not by any means a "religious" person but, this book had a tone and calmness that actually helped me in my own life and made me feel a little less lonely in the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Man's Rejection, God's Protection!! wonderful statement

    Kimberley Kennedy takes her real life experience and pens the novel, Left At The Alter. A story of Hope and Healing for every woman who has felt the Heartbreak of rejection. Kimberly has what every woman seeks. A wonderful career, A wonderful man, A good family and Friends. She is now only one day from saying "I Do' to the man she is going to call her 'husband' and spend the rest of their lives together. Everyone is gathered at the church for dress rehersal when her finance sister walks into the church and calls for everyone attention. Kimberly is in the pastor study with the pastor and her finance as he tells her, "I can't do this'. Kimberly is devastated!! Back at her apartment family and friend try consoling her. Because Kimberly is a well known anchor woman in Atlanta, the news is going to hit the airwaves like jumping jacks. How will she deal with this all? Kimberly candidly details that day. She even has her sister detail exactly what was going on in the church right up to the point everyone in attendance was told that the wedding was postponed. Kimberly book begins with a heartbreak wedding rejection but her book provides rejection from love in relationships and marriages. She complements her story with other women who have been rejected and how they also over came the PAIN. Kimberly states that her first anger was toward God not her finance. She felt God should of protected her from this heartbreak. She guides readers through examining motives, thoughts and feelings. The book is not only about her point of view and other women but therapist and counselors and a chapter from the perspective of men who have rejected women. All the advice that Kimberly gives she sums it up to one thing: having a relationship with God. Even though she thought she was a Christian, it was through that awful scar of rejection that she encountered that helped her understand God's unconditional love and mercy. She pens her testimony of overcoming the pain, guilt, and emotional feelings that plagues her body when rejection leaped aboard so that others will be able to identify, understand and know that life is not ending and hope is at the door, just walk in the steps she has already placed guidance and you too can experience victory over rejection. This is a wonderful easy paperback read. Make a great reference too. you will find yourself making notes through out the book. Its painful yet joyful, its overcoming and thought provoking. Indeed share a copy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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