Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And the Lord said, ‘My Presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.’”
Exodus 33: 14
“We must lean upon Him and allow Him to carry our load. An aged, weary woman, carrying a heavy basket, got onto the train with me the other day, and when she was seated she still kept the burden upon her arm! ‘Lay your burden down, mum;’ said the kindly voice of a working man. ‘Lay your burden down, mum; the train will carry both it and you.’ Aye, that’s it! ‘Lay your burden down!’ The Lord will carry both it and you! ‘I will give thee rest;’ not by the absence of warfare, but by the happy assurance of victory; not by the absence of the hill, but by the absence of the spirit of fainting. ‘I will give thee rest.’”
J. H. Jowett
Today’s Study Text:
“The sum of Your Word is truth (the total of the full meaning of all Your individual precepts; and every one of Your righteous decrees endures forever.”
Psalm 119: 160
“Why I Love Studying the Bible” Part 3
“From the Beginning”
“The Word is the face, the countenance, the representation of God, in whom He is brought to light and made known.”
Clement of Alexandria
What impact on my life does God’s Word make?
What does it mean to me to know that as the Psalmist states “God’s Word endures forever”?
“The Bible was given to bear witness to one God, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, through Christ, Redeemer of sinful men and women. It presents one continuous story – that of human redemption.”
M. F. Unger
“The Bible is a rock of diamonds, a chain of pearls, the sword of the Spirit; a chart by which the Christian sails to eternity; the map by which we daily walk; the sundial by which we set our life; the balance in which we weigh our actions.”
I am fortunate to have been raised in a home where “music” was an essential part of each day. Whether it was my sister and I practicing the piano at 6 A.M. and 6:30 A.M. every Monday – Friday; or it was music from our stereo record player; or my dad humming some favorite hymn – our house was never really quiet. The fact is – many of my fondest memories center around music and this was a generational pattern passed down through time.
Whenever our family went to my grandparent’s canyon ranch, I’d run straight to their old RCA turntables and put on 5 records in a stack. (Some of you are simply too young to remember stacking records and turntable – it is OK!) Anyway, these particular records were called, “The Longine Songs of Love and Romance.” The songs were old-time love songs performed by a male chorus as well as orchestral arrangements of romantic songs which had their birth in aged classical numbers.
As you can imagine, time and continuous wear took their toll on the black vinyl albums until the day that some very beautiful music could barely be heard as the record needle began to pick up every scratchy sound.
Then one day, in our modern electronic era filled with computer technology, I found two brand new sets of these albums for sale on EBAY. And they weren’t that expensive either. I don’t need to even tell you what I did. I purchased both sets! Several weeks later, I called my mom and said, “Do you want to come by our house and hear something?” I dangled a carrot by telling her that she’d love the surprise I had.
A few weeks later, my mother and my niece Bethanie came over to my house. Off our bedroom was a small sunroom with two old-fashioned wicker chairs in it. I got my mother and niece seated and then I went over to my old stereo from college, lifted the lid on the turntable and started to play one of the records which contained a favorite old song of my mother’s, “Among My Souvenirs.”
Maybe it was that moment or the beauty of the day but for whatever reason, tears started to roll down my mother’s cheeks – and to be honest, my cheeks as well. My young niece Bethanie who was only 10 years old looked at us like we were crazy and said, “Why are you two crying?”
I looked at her and smiled when I said, “You aren’t old enough to understand the memories that come to our minds when we hear these old songs. Grams and I are reminded of the family history which embraces these old tunes.”
I’ve thought about that experience more than once as the years have rolled by for the longer we live, the greater our perspective becomes as we look back over the experiences which paint the history of our lives.
The Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “perspective” as a vista or a view. It refers to the depth of how we see things. Perspective can help us recognize that there are dimensions even in our relationships. And “perspective” also assists us with the subjective evaluation we place on people as well as events. Thus, the longer we each live, the greater and more informed our perspective becomes.
I share the definition of “perspective” with you because if there’s something the Bible does better than any other book or piece of reference material, it is to give me and you “perspective.”
What other book is there which starts with the very beginning of time and gives us a roadmap that ends with these words: “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last (the Before all and the End of all) (Revelation 22: 13, Amplified Bible). Praise God! We don’t just know how things on earth began, we know how they will end, too!
One of the critical reasons we began to study the Bible from the beginning – Genesis 1: 1 – clear through to the end – Revelation 22: 21 – is that as we witness God at work in creation as well as His merciful response to the poison of sin, we are able to gain a perspective on who God is and how He relates to His earthly family, as wayward as we happen to be.
Just think back on our studies several years ago entitled, “Why God Loved David.” As together we uncovered the faith and folly present in David’s life, I found my heart filled with great hope that if God’s love was deep enough and wide enough to encompass all David’s mistakes as well as mighty victories, then my Father would certainly accept me into His heart of immense merciful understanding. But from David’s life, I also learned through our study of Psalm 51 that like David, when I come to my Father asking for a pure heart, He will wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Not too long ago, a dear friend was confiding to me that she wondered at times what life was all about. There’s so much suffering and sin. Too much avarice and evil. As I listened to her run through a list of the legitimate problems present on earth, I recall thinking to myself, “If I didn’t have the Bible, if I didn’t know Who created me and planned my life; if I didn’t know I had a Savior who rescued me; and if I didn’t know that someday soon, we are promised, there will be a new heaven and a new earth – I might also throw my hands up in hopeless despair.”
Thank God that He has provided us within His Word a testament to His creative power in the beginning; of His redemptive power today in your life and mine; and His everlasting power throughout eternity. I love being able each day to reach for my Bible knowing that from beginning to end God’s Word endures forever. What a profound blessing we have in God’s everlasting Word.
“Where is Thy God, my soul?
Confined to Scripture’s page,
Or does His Spirit check or guide
The spirit of each age…
Give of holy works,
Bestow Thy sacred power,
And aid me, whether work or thought
Engage the varying hour.”
Thomas T. Lynch
Come Sing a Song of Faith
“Come sing a song of faith,
trust in God’s constant word.
Born of the Spirit’s breath,
in Jesus seen and heard.
Though testing times shake our belief,
faith whispers through our pain and grief.
Come sing a song of hope,
promise for future days.
Vision and strength to cope
in life’s perplexing maze.
For though we live through troubled times,
the resurrection hope still shines.
Come sing a song of love,
shown in a holy birth.
Loving so far above
all other love on earth.
A love that suffered pain and loss,
yet made a triumph of the cross.
Faith, hope and love hold fast.
Then, with God’s final word,
Faith realized at last.
Hope finds its longings heard.
And love will have so much to give
when with our God at last we live.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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