Helmut Thielicke, in his book, “How the World Began,” chronicles humanity in the first chapters of the Bible. In the chapter entitled, Man the Risk of God, he begins by writing that it cannot be mere imagination to think that at this point in the story of creation where the subject of man appears for the first time there is something like a pause in the flow of the narrative. Up to this point the words came forth in monumental monotony: God said, God created, God made. But now the composition of the story shifts, as it were, to another key. In other words, God halts and soliloquizes, saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
You can almost detect something like a hesitation. It is the kind of bated breath with which we are familiar when we approach a point in our decision-making and we must weigh the consequences for better or worse. We stop and stand off for a while, we ponder carefully the implications of what we are doing. Partnering with someone to make of life what you want it to be carries with it a risk. Those who commit to doing so through a lifetime know the codependence of success is predicated on partners working in concert with each other. 
So when God pauses before humanity is positioned into creation, we sense that there is a risk connected with it. Will the creation of humanity mean the coronation of creation or its crucifixion?  Have we added to creation what will maintain and sustain it or will it dismantle the intent the creation deserves? Will creation reach its pinnacle when there is added to its creatures a being who rises above the dull level of reflex and instinct, who is endowed with mind and will, and is capable of living as a partner and co-worker of God? Or is the creation of this being the first stage in a tremendous descent that starts with the Garden of Eden and leads to a disturbed and desolate earth that transforms the child and the image of God into a robber and a rebel, and through him carries war and rumors of war to the farthest parts of existence? 
Coronation or crucifixion of creation is the question. And we understand why God pauses and hesitates, for God is facing a risk. What a breath taking thought! Maybe that is what it means to be made in the image of God.  
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Monday, September 6, 2021
Labor Day
Genesis 1:26-27
Haven’t you paused in making decisions to calculate the cost particularly when partnering with someone else who is a co-partner in a venture? Certainly you can sense the pause in pondering if what is being created is going to achieve what is intended by the creator or something else. After all, decisions determine destiny. 
And this is the way it was. In setting over against himself a being to whom he gave freedom and power, God risked the possibilities that the child would become a competitor; that the child would become a psychopathological creature characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence seeing his existence as a rival of the Creator rather than a copartner who is codependent on all the Creator has given. Then would come the moment when humanity would no longer be gratefully conscious that he was privileged to be in the image of the Creator, but rather would rise up and cry, “I am the image of divinity,” or like Prometheus in Greek mythology, even revel in his equality with God. Psychology calls this a god complex. 
The first person to use the term god-complex was Ernest Jones (1913–51). His description, at least in the contents page of Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis, describes the god-complex as belief that one is a god. A psychosis based in uncontrolled narcissism, inflated arrogance, and a perceived need to subjugate and/or ridicule other individuals deemed to be inferior or unworthy and of lesser value. 
This original design within us, can be found in the words of this passage:

 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. 29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:27-31
Consider what it means to be made in the image of God as an autonomous creature with free will to choose and make decisions.
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
First, we are created in God’s image and likeness and this means that God created us to be partners with fulfilling the purpose of God’s intention for life and humanity.  
God ran the risk in the creation of a co-partner - not an automaton (robot), but a true partner who has the freedom to be creatively engaged in making of life what it has the possibility of becoming. Doesn’t that say something about the love of God? The greatest expression of love is in taking the risk to partner with someone and giving them the ability to make decisions as an autonomous partner
Partnerships require a few things: 
Acknowledgement that you are in a relationship. Co-partners acknowledge they are in partnership. Prayer speaks to this: Oh Lord..., acknowledges you recognize the Lord of life is the one in whom you live and have your being, as the giver of every good and perfect gift. 

Next there is affirmation. Co-partners affirm the nature of the relationship; there are certain expectations. You are to take control of what is in your care and manage it appropriately.  

Then there is the awareness of the activity in which you are to be engaged. Be fruitful and multiply, take control of the environment and creation upon which you rely to live. As you take care of it, it will provide and take care of you.   
Consider what it means to co-partner with God in managing life and creation.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Genesis 1:28-31
Secondly, manage what you have been given responsibly.  
The instruction the Lord gives is be fruitful and multiply. In other words, utilize what you have been given to produce and provide what you need. You need a posterity as a beneficiary of your labor. You need to control yourself with a discipline that manages all that is in your care; your relationships and the creation on which you depend for all you need. Take control of yourself and your life to manage your reality productively. That is the responsibility for which you will be held accountable. 
Imagine, God made you a co-partner in sustaining and maintaining what you have been given. The ultimate trust is the Lord trusting you enough to have you partner with managing what you have been given. Be fruitful and multiplyExtend your life through the process of procreation adding to what you were given. Imagine, God trusted you with what you need and gave you the responsibility to manage it so that it will continue to take care and provide for you. 
You have been given autonomy to make decisions about what has been entrusted into your care and keeping. You are trusted with relationships, the earth and all that is contained therein. You are to take care of it all. In taking care of it, it will take care of you by continuing to provide what you need to be maintained and sustained. 
Maybe a question to ask yourself is, “What has creation become under our leadership?” Seems like we have made a real mess of things. The disarray, division, destruction across all aspects of our communities, nations, societies - all point to the failure of our fulfillment of the responsibility for which we are accountable. We are to reproduce what promotes life but instead we have been purveyors of demonization of others, devaluing the worth of persons who are not like us, destroying peoples' dreams, hopes, and lives and thereby decimating the fabric of existence for those we don’t like.   
Consider what life and creation has become under our leadership with the choices we make.
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Thirdly, receive what you have been given as an expression of the love of the Lord
This venture of God in which God bound himself to humanity – and exposed himself to the possibility of being reviled, despised, denied, and ignored – this venture was the first flash of God’s love. God ventured, as it were, his own self; declared himself ready to suffer the pain the father endured when he let the prodigal son go into the far country and allowed deep wounds to be inflicted upon his heart, and still would not give up his child (Luke 15:11-32). This reaches its end in Jesus Christ. There, God exposed God’s self to His rebellious children, put himself at their mercy and let His most beloved die by their hand. 
Instead of writing off those who became a competitor rather than a co-partner, the Lord circumvents the consequences of the choice with another act of love. What started in love continues in love. God comes in Christ to reconcile the rebels that have ruptured the relationship and ruined what they were supposed to attend as a caretaker. God came in Christ to make amends for the atrocities of insensitivity, negligence and selfishness. God decided to redeem what has been ruined, to restore what has been ruptured, and revive the possibility of the original intent.  
Consider what it means that the Lord decided to redeem what has been ruined, to restore what has been ruptured, and revive the possibility of the original intent.  
Friday, September 10, 2021
When we stop and consider where Jesus gained the power to love harlots, bullies, and ruffians, we find only one answer and that is that He was able to do this because He saw through the filth of degeneration, because His eye caught the divine original which is hidden in humanity. Oh, if we could only see the divine original which is hidden in humanity. Oh, if we could recognize the image of God in human beings, just maybe we would see them differently, treat them differently, love them differently, work with them differently and accept them differently.   
This is what God thinks of humanity as creatures. God intends humanity to be His image, to be a friend. A co-partner to whom He is faithful and to whom He wants to give a meaningful life; one who is a co-partner in fulfilling the intention of the will of God for life.   
Imagine seeing humanity in the way God intended it to be. What a difference it would make if we could see as God sees. In Christ we see the intention of the Lord for humanity to manage life in all of its dimensions. Jesus epitomes the consummate co-laborer with God working together for the common good of all to make of the world what it has the possibility of becoming. 
Jesus is the epitome of what God is like and what God’s intentions are for humanity as a co-laborer in maintaining and sustaining relationships and life with all of its components operating in concert together as a symphony with every aspect of existence playing its part. 
Consider what it means to fulfill the original intent of God as a co-partner in caring and managing life and creation for which you are accountable. 
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Rather than give up on the risk that was taken, God sends Jesus as the only begotten of the Father to provide an example of living and loving the way God intended. God sent Jesus as the divine original God had in mind from the start.  
Jesus renews everything in us. He not only gives us a more sensitive conscious and mobilizes our will, but first and foremost He gives us new eyes. Then we see and recognize something else in our neighbor and ourselves. The image of God, that imago dei.
Imagine humanity operating like an orchestra with the Lord as the conductor and every section operating in concert to produce a rendition that responds to the conductor’s directions.   
In Christ, God ignites our imagination with a vision of the possibility of the original intent being achieved.
What does the cross of Jesus mean? / It's more than songs we sing, much more than that emblem on your chain. / But it means I'm free, yes, from the chains of slavery.
And the blood it shed won't let my sins remain, oh my.
Upon the cross my Savior died, the Lamb was crucified, / showed us love that his world had never known. / Oh what love divine, so divine, truer love you'll never find. So that we may live, love came and died alone, Hallelujah.
Well the Cross will always represent the love God had for me
When the Lord of glory, Heaven sent gave all on Calvary
Just for me, just for me / Jesus came and did it just for me
Just for me / Jesus came and did it just for me.
Donnie McClurkin,
Just For Me

2412 Griffith Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011 
Phone: (213) 748-0318