God’s Purpose for the Bible
It really doesn’t matter to God, nor does it affect you or anyone around you: if you own a Bible, read a Bible or even if your name is found engraved on the cover. What matters to God and has real significance to the world around you; is whether your name bears the noticeable process of God being engraved on your humble and thankful heart through Christ’s saving and sanctifying grace in your life. The releasing of your life to God, as you freely let Him engrave His will and ways on your heart through the creative and regenerating work of the Holy Spirit; is God’s loving intent and the real purpose for of any Bible you may have in your possession!
The Crushing in the Early Hours
Seeing beyond what our eyes see.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV).
We have to trust our eyes. We use them to understand and navigate our daily world, activities and responsibilities. We use our eyes to see beauty and yet at the same time our eyes see things that are unpleasant. Our eyes both gather data and filter information allowing us to make decisions and choices around us. They can also be a determining factor in how we perceive our own attractiveness and value. Those that have lost their ability to see with their eyes will have to rely on their other senses to facilitate what they cannot see using those senses as their eyes unto their world. Yet our eyes can also deceive us in our own thinking, adding a sense of permanence to what might be temporary. Thus we have to be careful with what we look at and how it we use it, for our eyes guide and guard our heart at the same time.
Beyond our physical eyes … we all have spiritual eyes as well. These eyes sense, gather and filter via our conscience the colors and hues of right and wrong in our living. If we are reborn unto God and His Spirit lives in us, we not only reborn to sense right and wrong but we are reborn to desire the life of God and His instructions and desires for us. Thus our spiritual eyes should help us perceive and avoid things that are harmful, evil and would lead us away from God and grieve His Spirit which is alive in us.
Still, even as our physical eyes can be clouded by physical problems in our eyes; our spiritual eyes can be clouded by spiritual problems that turn us away from God’s purposes and desires and may let us formulate opinions and values that might be faulty. We might see ourselves as stronger and more invincible then we are. We might value the things as permanent and yet they might be the most temporary of all things. Sufferings and difficulties might seem of no value and yet they might develop our faith and character as they someday will bring the eternal blessings of God to our lives. Only God can give us a deeper and more truthful understanding of the things around us in any given moment or season as we trust Him in faith which is far beyond what our limited spiritual eyes can now perceive.
We were created for more than what our physical eyes can see and we need to let our spiritual eyes be completely open to the faithfulness and goodness of God. Much of what God desires to give us, cannot be seen or perceived at any given moment in time but as we obey and trust Him in faith, we will find that He is working in us to give us what is of eternal value and blessing.
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 KJV).
Suggested Bible Reading … 2 Corinthians 4 & Psalm16
What We Are
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV).
Do we really grasp what we have been given? We are children of God because of Jesus Christ our Lord. We have been given everything from the riches of heaven. We are heirs in His kingdom and cannot be displaced or separated from Him as His child.
No matter who we are … whether we are rich or poor, neglected or privileged, forgotten or remembered or loved or unloved … there is a God who loves us. Beyond all circumstances, relationships, needs and pain there is a Heavenly Father who loves all the people of the world without partiality (Romans 2:11). There is not one person alive on this earth that He does not desire to adopt as His child through the redemption and grace of Jesus Christ.
All who come to Him and become children of God are given riches that do not fade or pass away and satisfy every need of the soul. All who come to Him are given a secure and the blessed relationship that is overflowing with the goodness and richness of God as our Heavenly Father throughout our days on this earth and into the fullness of eternity. Our Heavenly Father knows everything about us and desires to give us everything that will nourish and sustain us as He makes and forms us into His true children, reflecting His love and grace. He has placed this precious gift of true and full relationship into our hands as a free gift through Jesus Christ our Lord. In that relationship we also become heir to the riches of the Father who freely gives “more than we can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
We are all poor in ourselves and lost in our sins but we can all become children of God and heirs with Christ to the great inheritance of riches in grace that comes in our precious relationship with our Heavenly Father. We can know we have a Father loving us more dearly than we can ever imagine. No matter what we face or endure, we have in Christ … abundantly more than we need to be victorious in it by the constant power and presence of the Holy Spirit . We have been given a relationship and inheritance beyond our understanding. Rejoice in it, treasure it, be ever aware and thankful for it. Live fully as a child of God for that is what we are!
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ (Romans 8:14-15 KJV).
Suggested Bible Reading Romans 8 & 1 John 3
Tears and Joy
How can it be that our eyes can overflow with liquid emotion and our hearts can ache with intense joy at the same time? How can it be that the journey between tears and joy is as short a time span as it takes to wipe away a tear and touch the place where your heart is overflowing with joyous emotion?
What do tears have to do with joy? During the moments of intense stirrings in our heart we may feel joy intermingled with tears as we can experience both overwhelming emotion and elation because of the deeply held connections in relationships or ib the convictions of faith or belief. Holding a newborn child or hearing expressions of love from someone who loves us which overflow with feeling and significance might bring tears and joy. Seeing something special or rare with our eyes can bring tears and joy intermingling with each other because of an incredible vibrant sunset in the physical world or a moment of compassion, reconciliation or forgiveness in the relational realm between estranged or distanced family members or friends.
Sometimes the joyous realities of the love of God and His ever-flowing grace towards us in our need for salvation and forgiveness can become overpowering to our senses and our emotions to elicit both tears and joy at the same moment.
At other times, tears flow from our deepest anguish when words falter and fail. They can seem to come from an endless source of heartbreak as they bathe our face as grief and sorrow pour forth. These tears ache with questions and broken-ness in endless waiting and joy cannot be seen or much less found. At times our tears come as think of our gracious and loving God and remember His grace as we travel through difficulty or repentance.
Jesus walks with us, throughout all of our days upon the earth gifting and granting us incredible experiences with Him. He celebrates with us in those joyous times and weeps with us in our deepest anguishes. In addition, He waits for us to join Him in eternity when “Death is swallowed up forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces” (Isaiah 25:8). This is really too deep for us to really comprehend. It is beyond our human understanding to comprehend an eternity when our tears will be wiped away and our joy will be fulfilled in the presence of our Lord forever. Still, we get a tiny glimpse and small sense of those feelings in the blessings we have when we experience tears and joy at the same time.
And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9
The warm Place
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17, NIV)
In most places on the earth there are seasons where life in its elaborate and complex multifaceted forms unfolds and enfolds with times of new life, growth, rest and the passing away of what was before. In most places there are also changes in the temperatures of the seasons and the colors that associated with each of those chapters of the year. As each season transitions from the old to the new, people might long for a particular season to linger or for the new season to come with haste. For instance, as winter passes with its white and cold, people long for the new life of spring and are anxious for the warmth of summer.
As the seasons change and as we go through good days and bad, it is always good to remember the faithfulness of God in the days that have passed by. No matter what you have gone through, He was there with you. As you look back on the blessings and what you have been privileged to be granted as gifts of grace, we can be thankful. As your life changed and as you aged, felt joy or adjusted to difficulties or pain … He has not changed. His mercies were upon you.
It is a comfort to know the warm place that we have in our relationship with our gracious Heavenly Father. It is not a place of coldness nor is it a place of extreme uncomfortable conditions such as searing heat but a place of true warmth and joy.
His love is steadfast. His interest which is ever protective and ever watchful … it has never turned from gazing upon your life. His loving comfort is always being applied through the presence of the Spirit and is even now being applied, even if we are just slightly aware. Yet we are given more, as our God, also brings new mercies to us to add to all we have. Amazing! Be thankful for His great love, no matter what the season and know this same love is the only real hope for all the seasons to come. This is by far the most important reality and truth of His great love for us as His children. As we dwell with our Heavenly Father in the relationship as His child, it is a warm place of comfort, strength and provision beyond compare. Take time to rest in the warm place, God will always provide. It is a warm place like no other.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23 KJV).
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us (Romans 5:1, NLT).
We can hold in our hands, objects that are deemed precious because of their intrinsic value in their content such as precious metals or jewels. We can also hole in our hands, things that have become precious in their rarity as they have accumulated or been assessed great values such as antiques, collectible items of countless variety and substance.
We can treasure in our hearts and memory: moments, occasions and seasons in our relationships with others that become precious because we both value and esteem them in the highest regard because of their meaning, significance and rarity.
Yet what is most precious in our time on this earth is being precious to someone or having someone precious in our lives. It is in these invaluable relational aspects of connecting and becoming beloved or having someone beloved in our lives, that we find the most precious of all that is precious.
Even beyond our relationships with those precious to us, is the most precious of relationships with our Shepherd, Savior and our Heavenly Father. To be named precious and held as precious by Jesus as our tender Shepherd brings comfort in the most of discomforting moments. To be redeemed by a dying Lord even though we are completely unworthy, sinful and hopeless in our position and to be made holy and precious by His loving sacrifice is absolutely indescribable. To be considered precious by the Living God liberates us with a living hope beyond compare. Finally when we realize we are beloved and precious as a child of the Heavenly Father, we find a security and peace in our spirit and soul that is simply amazing. What an amazing thing it is to be loved and precious in our relationship with the Living God! Amazing, simply amazing!
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life (Isaiah 43:4, ESV).
Suggested Reading … Isaiah 43
The Greatest Treasure in the World
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:44-46, NLT)
If we come across a great treasure … would we not go after it with abandonment? Would we not do everything we could to claim it or do whatever is required to possess it? Would we not sell everything else, sacrifice of our time and efforts and possibly be willing to even mortgage the future because we realize the true value and worth of the treasure to us?
The true treasure of a relationship to God and to be part of His kingdom as His child through Jesus Christ is the “Greatest Treasure” one can find on this earth and yet it goes beyond our days on this earth. Thus it has more value than all the treasure of the earth. It is totally priceless. Having a relationship with the Living God as our Heavenly Father is so great and so astounding in comparison to any other treasure on the earth that to evaluate, assess, or appraise the contrasting importance to other treasures would border on absurdity and madness. Yet the “Greatest Treasure” in the world is often not even noticed or claimed even though it is freely available to all by the grace of our Savior for the taking.
Other times the priceless treasure of knowing Christ is set aside for treasures of the earth that will pass away with as valuable as moth ridden useless cloth or old rusted metal. Other times the priceless treasure of being a disciple of Christ is abused by neglect, carelessness and lack of appreciation of its real and eternal value. Other times people worry about the cost of the sacrifices in possessing the treasure of Christ while at the same time holding unto the useless treasures of the world. The greatest treasure in the world is being a child of God through Jesus Christ! When we truly seek, follow, respect and trust in Christ with all our heart … we will find and realize He is the greatest treasure and sweetest reward in this world and the only treasure which will go with us into eternity. There is no other treasure like it! There is no other treasure like it!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, ESV)
Suggested Reading … Matthew 6
The Dwelling Place
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2, NIV)
God purposes for a relationship with us as His children are not for us to come and call on Him from time to time at our convenience as a place of visitation. His love is unlimited and extravagant for us (1 John 3:1) and His desire in that great love is abundant provision, powerful protection and to lavish upon us favor and grace as His children.
How often we knock on the door of the shelter of His love only to be lured away by glitter of false abodes that offer only momentary comforts and elusive provisions. How often we come into the shelter of God’s provision and protection only become dissatisfied and walk out the back door because we think there are better accommodations in other locales.
We cannot find rest for our eternal spirit in the transitory dwelling places that surround us nor can we really find a place of guaranteed shelter for all the days of our lives. We cannot find refuge and relief for our soul from the assaults against us in a fallen world, in our fractured, frail and fruitless attempts at self-preservation that we hobble together as defensive protection. We can only build up or bolster together so much structure to protect us from the harmful and destructive forces around us.
God does not want us to visit Him from time to time. He wants us to dwell and abide with Him. He wants to shadow us with His favor. He wants us to trust Him and His ways that we might always have true rest. He longs to offer His protection and provision in all things and for all times. There is no refuge, fortress or shelter that will satisfy our soul and spirit as a dwelling place. We were created to dwell with God and through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ we can abide with Him every day on this earth and throughout the countless days of eternity.
Suggested Reading … Psalm 91