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Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 2:9’

“This is our daughter, Diane,” explained Betty, a church member where my husband had just become pastor. “Diane actually attends another church in town, but sometimes she visits with us.” Betty smiled up at her daughter and wrapped an arm around her waist. “She’s a teacher, too.”

 

 

That was all Betty needed to say to launch Diane and me into a conversation about all things school. We quickly discovered both of us had taught third grade the previous year.

“Listen,” Diane interjected. “It’s summer; I don’t have anything important going on. Let me help you unpack or wipe down cupboards—whatever you need done.”

And so the following week, Diane and I spent a pleasurable morning emptying boxes, organizing the contents, and getting better acquainted.

 

 

“Tell me about where you teach,” I prompted, while we released china from its bubble wrap at the dining room table.

Diane began to describe her private school—just two classes at each grade level with only twenty-two or so children per room, highly involved parents, strong discipline, and just five minutes from our house. The more she talked, the more delightful her situation sounded.

“Now,” she invited, “tell me about your experience.”

I explained that the week before Moving Day, I’d completed my first year back in the classroom after a long hiatus as stay-at-home mom with our three children. It was no exaggeration to say my learning curve had been steeper than the students’.

Diane commiserated with my circumstances. She was well-acquainted with the process ahead of me, having moved from another state herself just a few years before: the prospect of substitute teaching in order to become known in the district, applying for positions, and interviewing.

 

 

If a position was offered, the next challenges would include absorbing the way another school system worked and mastering its different curricula—likely at a different grade level. No doubt, another steep learning curve loomed ahead.

But my frustration ran deeper than what I confided in Diane that day. The transition to this new community made no sense. We’d been perfectly happy where we were, and the previous church hadn’t wanted my husband to move either.

Such a change seemed counter-productive to us, but the state-level leadership of our denomination considered it necessary. We grieved and prayed; the kids and I cried.  We also wondered: what was God up to?

Before Diane left that day, she offered to submit my name for the substitute list at her school and gave me the address. Sometime later I checked out the location, heeding her warning that the campus was hidden among trees, the entrance on a one-block street. Who knows how long we would have lived there before discovering this school on our own?

 

 

The first call to substitute came one morning just as I began my work out. “Can you be here within the hour?” asked the secretary. In record time I was showered, dressed, out the door and down the road, playing “Farmer in the Dell” with preschoolers.

For lunch I expected to purchase something in the cafeteria. Silly me—still in public school mode. Here the kids and staff brought their lunches from home. When one of the other teachers learned I had no lunch, she scrounged up an instant cup-of-soup, crackers, a box of raisins, and a tea bag.

 

 

“I’m sorry that’s all I can offer you,” she apologized. But I was greatly impressed by her effort to take care of a woman she didn’t know. And first impressions count.

The school called often, offering me experience at various grade levels, familiarizing me with their curriculum, and allowing me to become acquainted with the friendly faculty and staff. I began to pray God would open up a position for me at this school. But as the months passed, full-time employment seemed unlikely. No one was close to retirement; no one was leaving.

In April, however, the headmaster offered me a position. One of the fourth grade teachers had just been elected mayor of her community. Trying to fulfill those responsibilities and teach was more than she wanted to tackle. I would start that August, which gave me the summer to prepare. An added bonus: my classroom would be right next door to Diane’s.

 

 

When that job opportunity opened up, it was as if God turned a spotlight on His plan. After the fact I could see how he’d miraculously arranged the whole sequence of events—from the moment Betty introduced me to Diane, to the headmaster’s offer of employment.

The disappointment over leaving my previous position had turned into a God-ordained appointment at my new school, a much better situation, and one that lasted twenty-two years.

 

 

Have you experienced a spotlight moment?  Tell us about it in the comment section below!

 

Photo credits:  http://www.asan.af.mil; http://www.flickr.com (2); http://www.pxhere; http://www.flickr; http://www.dailyverses.net; http://www.canva.com.

 

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On my right hand I wear a ring–just a small ruby solitaire, set in a narrow gold band with a bit of delicate embellishment on either side.

I’ve owned the ring since I was a young teen—a long time ago! Yet the ring is even older than I am, passing its one hundredth birthday back in 2004.

The original owner was my grandmother. Great Grandpa and Grandma gave her the ring in 1904, on her fourteenth birthday. On my fourteenth birthday, she surprised me by passing the ring on to me.

All these decades since, the presence of that little band continually reminds me of her—a kind, soft-spoken woman of deep strength and enduring faith. (I wrote about her a couple of years ago. You can access that post–“The God of Rachel, Clara, and Henry, Part 1”– here.)

Perhaps you, too, own a cherished possession that may not appear significant to others, but is highly valuable to you. In fact, you treasure it.

On a much grander scale, God treasures you. You are dearly beloved and precious to him.

Oh, no, some will say. Not me. I’m not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough to be highly valued.

That’s not what scripture says:

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(“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.  And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ,the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

God paid a very high price with the precious blood of his own Son, in order to make you his treasured possession. Evidently goodness, smarts, and talent have nothing to with it (Ephesians 2:8-9)!

And God doesn’t view you as ordinary, anymore than I consider my ruby ring ordinary.

Here are several indicators of the high value he places on you:

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  • You are precious and honored in God’s sight simply because he loves you (Isaiah 43:4). Just as God went to great lengths to bring his precious children of Israel out of captivity, so he has gone to great lengths to bring you into his family.
  • He is constantly thinking about you (Psalm 139:17)–preparing for your welfare, providing for your needs, guiding and guarding until it is time for your final journey to heaven.
  • He blesses you with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). It is not the material stuff of the outer life that satisfies; it is the wealth of spiritual blessings of the inner life. God offers: forgiveness of sin, freedom from guilt, peace of mind, joy of heart, wisdom, comfort and strength—to name a few.
  • God has prepared for you an eternity of absolute bliss (1 Corinthians 2:9).

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Think of it. God Almighty sees and appreciates your value, your beauty.

He speaks affirmation and restoration to your soul through his Word (Psalm 19:7).

He listens with wrapt attention when you call to him (Psalm 145:18).

He enfolds you in his wings of protection and comfort (Psalm 36:7).

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He is with you, for you, and in you.

Accept it, embrace it. Send your roots down deep into the truth:

You. Are. Highly. Cherished.

(Photo and art credits:  Nancy Ruegg; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.winterpastfinally.blogspot.com; http://www.faithgateway.com; http://www.thelovelyscribe.com.

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The exhibition of God’s glory

and the deepest joy of human souls

are one thing.

–Jonathan Edwards

(1703-1758, preacher, theologian, author)

 

Wooh—that’s a mouthful! I have to break that down into smaller bites.

God’s glory includes his splendor and majesty, infinite power and wisdom, creative genius and perfect engineering, absolute holiness and righteousness, and much more. God’s glory is, in part, the sum of his glorious attributes.

The exhibition of God’s glory is all around us in creation, and visible to all people (Isaiah 6:3, Psalm 97:6).

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But more profound:  God’s glory is made known to us in our hearts—to those who have asked Jesus to save us from the ultimate consequence of our sin, and to become Master of our destinies (2 Corinthians 4:6).

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How incredible that we can experience God’s glory here and now, although in a limited way. And how wonderful that the deepest joy of humans souls is a result of knowing him now—not just when we get to heaven.

Someday, though, we will witness the full revelation of his splendor, and that of his Son, Jesus. It’s beyond our wildest imaginings (1 Corinthians 2:9).

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Scripture does include a few glimpses, however. We see his:

  • Golden splendor and awesome majesty (Job 37:22)
  • Garment of light, wrapped around himself (Psalm 104:2a)
  • Clouds surrounding the throne (Daniel 7:13)
  • Belt of gold and gleaming, flaming eyes (Daniel 10:5-6)
  • Long robe with a golden sash across his chest, white hair, and blazing eyes (Revelation 1:13-16)

Charles Spurgeon eloquently expressed the glory of Jesus in a sermon, over 150 years ago. He proclaimed Christ…

 “…Radiant with splendor,

effulgent with light,

clothed with rainbows,

girded with clouds,

wrapped in lightning,

crowned with stars,

the sun beneath his feet.”

 

Doesn’t that give you holy goosebumps?

Yet there is more.

When he appears, we shall be like him (2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 John 3:2).

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Can you imagine? We will share in the radiant splendor of our Savior. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll finally be transformed into the holy and perfect beings we have always wanted to be.

And as we share in the glory of Jesus, we will enjoy incredible blessings that God has prepared. The following scriptures offer us tantalizing samples—to whet our appetites for what is to come:

  • There will be no need for sunlight; God will be our everlasting light. There will also be no more sorrow (Isaiah 60:19-20).
  • We will see Jesus face to face and finally have full understanding of all things (1 Corinthians 13:12-13).
  • We will bear the likeness of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:49).
  • We will reign with Jesus forever (Revelation 3:21; 22:5).
  • There will be no night and no impurity (Revelation 21:23-27).

Now, there are those who worry that heaven will involve a lot of cloud-sitting and harp-playing. Well, yes, there are clouds and harps.  (I, for one, am very glad for the harps–it’s my favorite instrument. And, I have to admit, there are some days when a bit of cloud-sitting and harp-playing sounds rather appealing!)

However, I agree with theologian, Albert Barnes. “To reign with Jesus” means we will share in Christ’s dominion of the universe, administering the affairs of all the worlds.” That sounds exciting and fulfilling (but mind-boggling) to me!

Such glimpses of our glorious future really are too much for my mind to absorb. But, oh how thankful I am that God has tucked them into his Word, to fill our hearts with expectation and hope.

Also worth contemplating is the eternal expanse of time we’ll enjoy God’s majesty and splendor. According to John Piper, heaven’s joys will actually increase as we discover more and more of God’s glory. “The end of increased pleasure in God will never come” (God’s Passion for His Glory, p. 37).

Then “the exhibition of God’s glory and the deepest joy of human souls” will indeed be one perfect, sublime, eternal thing.

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Lord God of heaven and earth, my heart shouts praise in honor of your glory! I praise you for being a holy God, completely separate from all else in the universe. No one is your equal in power, wisdom, creativity, splendor, or love. No one else is perfect in all he does. Thank you for your Word, where we can glimpse your glory and your plans–for our glorious and joyous future with you.

(Photo & art credits:  www.beforethebeginning.net; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.honestytalk.wordpress.com; http://www.verseaday.com.)

 

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