BY DONNA CHURCHILL
“And the two disciples heard him [John the Baptist] speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi (Master), where do you live? He said unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.”
This scripture is one I’ve gone back to time and again over the past several months, maybe even a year. I keep hearing Jesus say to me, “Come and see” at various times and in many different situations.
The first thing that strikes me in this passage is that Jesus turned around and willingly engaged with the disciples. They were just following Him and at that point, had not required anything of Him, had not even spoken to Him, yet He turned around and actively engaged with them. My paraphrase of what He asked them – What do you want? In other words, why are you following me?
It’s also interesting to me that they didn’t directly answer His question. I wonder if perhaps they didn’t know how to answer that question or even know themselves what they wanted from Him or why they were following Him. They didn’t even really know or understand who exactly He was yet. But what they said to Him, instead of answering His question, was another question – “where do you live?” I’ve pondered that a lot. What kind of question is that and why would they want to know? Did where He lived even matter?
But He didn’t seem to find this question strange. He simply said “Come and see.” He invited them to come and see. So not only did He willingly engage with them, He invited them into His world. In our world, we wouldn’t often invite someone we just met into our home, but He did.
Isn’t this the invitation He gives us every day?
Isn’t this what He says to us every day?
Come and see where I live.
Come into my world.
Come and abide with me.
To me, this whole scripture is an invitation to abide with Him and in Him. I think much and pray much about abiding in Him. It’s where I most long to be, but it’s also the place I walk away from more often than not. I usually spend the first part of my day in His presence, praying, reading, seeking and worshipping, but then I leave the “secret place,” walk into the world and find myself sometimes forgetting what I just shared with Him and what He just shared with me. I walk away from Him and into the cares of my world, forgetting that He goes with me.
Yet Jesus continues to invite me to “come and see.” He invites me to come into His world and dwell there with Him. In all situations I face…running errands, doctor’s appointments, luncheon dates, shopping, interacting with people, difficult situations, etc., He invites me into His world as I walk through them. He is with me 24/7 and wants me to be aware of His presence. That’s the key – to be aware. He wants me to abide in Him through all my day so when I deal with difficult people, difficult situations, etc, I’m aware of Him and what He would have me do. I need to be aware that He is right there with me and is helping me via the Holy Spirit to handle all that is placed in my path.
The disciples “came and saw where he dwelt and abode with him.” He wants us to come and see where He lives, where He sits at the right hand of God and dwell with Him, abide in His presence; have an awareness of His presence. He does not just come to us when we ask him; in fact, we have no need to ask Him, because He’s already there right with us, in us. We don’t need to pray or sing to conjure up His presence. His presence is always with us. What we need, what I need, is a continual awareness of that; an abiding awareness. I need to learn to dwell with Him.
“Come and see” with me.
BY MARY SPENCE
I have a favorite coffee cup. I got it from a potter in North Carolina when we were on vacation there with our family. It looks like sand with the surf rolling up on it. It's big and the perfect shape to fit my hands on a cold morning, when full of hot coffee. I absolutely love that mug. I paid $40 for it! Yes $40; for one coffee mug. Every time I used it I could almost feel the warm seaside sun on my face and the ocean wind blowing through my hair. But guess what? It's broken. Chipped in one of its trips through the dishwasher. Please don't tell my artist daughter that I put pottery through the dishwasher. I know, I deserved it. But anyway...I do not love that mug any less for its imperfection. It still fits perfectly in my hand when it's full of hot coffee. I still smile every time I use it, thinking about the memories of frolicking in the ocean surf with my grandchildren.
God is a lot like that. He knows we are cracked, chipped and broken. But He still loves us. In fact, He takes those broken things in us, and uses them to help others who are walking through similar challenges. In my own life I lived through a lot of broken relationships, had many hurts inflicted on me by others, and learned over the last 50 years to put up walls around my heart to protect myself. Walls to keep those who would harm me at arms length. But God needed me to break down those walls and let people in so He could use me as He planned for my life. I had to "unbecome" the person I had grown into, to become who God needed me to be. And I learned that He uses us even with our chips, cracks and dents. Maybe even because of them I guess. I believe that each time He holds us in His hands like my beloved coffee cup, He smiles. It doesn't fix that we are imperfect or blemished, or stubborn or plagued by sin. He loves us.
Remember Ephesians 1:4-6? "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves".
He loves us so much He made a plan from the beginning in the Garden to be reconciled to us by allowing His son to be crucified for our sin. He created us and knew us before we were born in our mother's womb and there is no sin so large that we can cause separation from our God. So rest assured, my friends, that God loves your cracks and dents. Even if you can no longer hold coffee. There is a place for you. And you are valuable to Him. "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God
prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for us. You knew us before we even existed and loved us enough to design a way for us to be in relationship with You. Thank you for your grace and your mercy. Nothing we have done in our past is too great for us to bring to you and be forgiven. Please continue to help us repair our broken places and move out of our comfort zone to be who you have designed us to be; living and serving you as you have planned. In your precious son's name. Amen
BY JORDAN MAYER
"'Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.'"
Have you ever felt burdened by your sin? Felt the tremendous weight of all your wrongdoing resting heavy on your shoulders? When we give our lives to Christ, we lay that burden at the foot of the Cross. And yet, I've come to realize I have a tendency to want to pick it back up again.
I remember a time when I was younger, although I can't recall what age, when I became obsessed with being clean. I don't mean a general concern for hygiene, but a kind of irrational need to keep my hands clean. Throughout the day I would find myself washing my hands constantly. I'm not certain how long this went on for, whether it was days or weeks. But it wasn't until the watchful eye of my mom spotted my odd behavior that I even realized what I was doing.
In some strange, bizarre way, my need to keep myself clean was tied to a time in my life where my sin weighed heavily upon me. I was feeling so burdened that I felt I needed a way to take care of it. It was in this chapter of my life that I felt the true power of the Gospel wash over me. While I had already committed my life to Christ, I think maturing in our faith involves these moments where what we know to be true in our minds becomes real in our hearts and lives. I knew that Christ had died for my sins, I believed it, but it was in this moment that I saw its power in my life.
This verse from Isaiah provides such a powerful image of what Jesus has accomplished for us. As a kid, my parents always used the analogy of a piece of paper. Our sin is like an ugly black dot on a pristine, white sheet of paper. By our own efforts, we may try many different ways to remove or cover up that black dot. And yet nothing truly works. But Christ doesn't simply hide or cover up our sin, He completely washes it clean. That ugly black dot vanishes and what is left is a perfectly clean page. Our sin, which once stood out in stark red, is made as pure as freshly fallen snow and as clean as a coat of wool. In Psalms, we are told that He removes our transgressions as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and Micah 7:19 tells us He casts our sins into the depths of the sea. And, in case we are worried He might bring them up again, the Lord promises to remember our sins no more (Isaiah 43:25). What wonderful promises to cling to!
If you find yourself weighted down by your sin, allow the full weight of the Gospel to rest on your shoulders instead. Romans 1:16 reminds us that the Gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes...". Christ bore the full weight of our sin so that we wouldn't have to. Leave what was accomplished at the foot of the Cross and don't pick it up again. Jesus invites us to accept a new yoke and a new burden, but His is a little different. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
BY JORDAN MAYER
"Be still, and know that I am God..."
I needed to hear this verse this week, and maybe you need to hear it too.
Life is hard sometimes, isn't it? We may go through periods of calm and peace only to be followed by times of stress and anxiety. I think the Psalmist captures these feelings well with the imagery used. The earth gives way, the mountains move into the sea, the waters roar and foam. These descriptions are the ancient equivalent of "my world is crumbling around me".
I notice that I can feel this way in a variety of circumstances. Most obvious, of course, are the sudden and shocking events that happen in all our lives. They truly rock our world in a way we can never prepare for.
However, we also face the "normal" trials and struggles of life, the daily hardships that are simply a fact of life here on this earth. These things present their own unique challenge. While not sudden or catastrophic, they are often lingering and agonizing. They are the things that make the Psalmist cry, "How long, O Lord? Over time, these slow agonies can cause us to despair and lose hope. So what hope is there to be offered? I think Psalm 46 tells us.
It begins with a reminder: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). I love that detail, "a very present help". God isn't offering His support from a far and distant command post, He is right there in the trenches with us. He is the bunker we run into to find protection from the enemy's attack and He is also the strength we need to do battle and take the hill.
And this Psalm assumes something. It assumes that we are in trouble. Praise God for miraculous deliverances, but much of our lives are marked by the troubles we endure. That is why these verses can be such an encouragement to us. We are not abandoned, God is with us! When we pass through the waters and rivers, He is with us. When we walk through fire and flame, He is with us. (Isaiah 43:2)
So when we are utterly overwhelmed, when we are depressed and ready to despair...be still. Be still and know that He is God. Whatever we might be battling or going through, either today or tomorrow or next week or next month, be still and know that He is God. He is our refuge, our strength, and a very present help in trouble.
You see, knowing that God is God means truly knowing who He is. When we are scared, we remind ourselves that we don't need to fear because He is with us (Isaiah 41:10). When we are anxious, we remind ourselves that He is our peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16). When we start to despair, we remind ourselves that He is our hope (Romans 15:13). When we feel too weak to carry on, we remind ourselves that He is our strength (Psalm 73:26). When all seems dark, we remind ourselves that God is our light.
Though the world may be crumbing around us, we simply need to be still and know He is God.
BY JOYCE PELLETIER
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
As I read these words, I am reminded of a situation I had recently.
My neighbor of 94 recently passed away. Her daughter came up from Georgia several months ago to take care for her. She is one of those persons who speaks her mind, whether it fits or not. There were a few times when she spoke her mind and it just didn’t set right with me. It put me on the defensive.
She was upset about the way we mow our lawn. She didn’t like the leaves on the ground. She was very vocal about how it should be done. My reaction in my inner being was defensive and held many unkind thoughts; yet I never vocalized it to her. My thinking was that the leaves just started to shed from the trees. It’s too early to rake. Our grounds people would take care of them when the time was right. She didn’t agree with that thinking. Frustration blocked my thinking. Yet I stayed quiet about what I was thinking.
Several days later, as she was walking back from the mailboxes, She stopped and started to chat about her mother. I asked her how long she was going to be able to stay. I could see the sadness in her face and that she was struggling. Rightfully so! She responded, “I’ll stay until Mom passes.”
My response was, “I’m so glad you are able to be here for her.” I saw grace in this situation and God gently reminded me to be still and silent about my recent experience with her. It was pointless anyhow.
The frustration from the previous encounter seemed to vanish as I saw the difficulty she faced in dealing with her impending loss. She was fighting to be strong, but she was just needing understanding, love and peace.
Once her mother passed, we chatted a few more times more and the wedge that was between us just wasn’t there anymore. I could understand her pain. I lost my parents and brother, so I knew her pain. Every one of us react differently to grief. This encounter convicted me I needed an attitude adjustment, not my neighbor’s daughter. It also showed me the need in another and their need for God as well as my own.
As Galatians states that we should live by the Spirit, we should “keep in step” with the Spirit as well. He will remind us of what we may need to do or say, because we are not our own. I’m so grateful to God for the lessons in knowing when to speak and when to be silent. Learning to pick my battles.
As we journey through Ephesians in our iConnect groups, the first few paragraphs tell us that God predestines us to become His Sons and Daughters. We never know how our existence affects others. As for my friend, she’s back home, mending from her loss, and like me, I am hoping she finds and responds to God’s blessings waiting at the door of her heart. I pray we all continue to “Keep in Step” with Jesus, as He has so much love for us.
BY JORDAN MAYER
"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God."
(Exodus 34: 29)
Upon reading this passage of Scripture, my imagination can't help but run wild. I wonder what that must have looked like. Here's Moses who has been gone for forty days and forty nights and as you see him approach, you realize he is glowing! Imagine what he must have looked like at night, let alone in broad daylight! What a strange and amazing sight all rolled into one.
Getting past my initial amazement at this detail, I then started to think about the idea of God being light and the impact that His presence has on our lives.
Simply being in God's presence had affected Moses in a visible way. Think about what this says about God. He is light without any darkness (1 John 1:5). He is all things good (Psalm 31:19). He is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3). In a different encounter, God had to hide Moses in the cleft of a rock as He walked past so that he wouldn't die (Exodus 33:20). Knowing all this, it's no surprise, then, that being in God's presence changes you.
In a similar way, when we are exposed to the light of the Gospel, we are changed! We are given new hearts and new desires (Ezekiel 36:26). What was once dead and dark is now alive and bright (Ephesians 2:5). When we accept Jesus into our hearts, the very presence of God takes up residence inside us! And the amazing thing is, He is there to stay. What God started with Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai, he has brought to fulfillment in Jesus who is the light of the world (John 8:12). And upon completing His work, Jesus sent us a helper that would be in us (John 14:15-17). Like Moses, this exposure to the presence of God starts to make our faces shine. Although we might not be glowing in a literal sense, the work that Christ has done in our hearts brings about a noticeable change.
That begs some questions that sting me with conviction. Can people notice that my face is shining? Is it apparent and obvious to the people I interact with that I am a follower of Christ? Is my life marked by a singular focus on Jesus? Is the light of the Gospel placed up on a stand for all to see or do I tuck it away under a basket?
Upon seeing this Great Light, Moses had a job to do. He was to return to the people and give them God's commandments. So too for us, when we receive the Good News we are called to share it. In Hebrews, the author reminds his readers that they have been called and chosen to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
I am reminded of Pastor Brent’s message from a few weeks ago, about how we should have a burden for the lost. The truth is that those who don’t know the Lord walk through life in darkness, as we once did (Ephesians 5:8). Remember what that was like. Darkness, despair, hopelessness. So I encourage myself and I encourage you by Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
This world is full of darkness. Be the light for someone today and point them to the Great Light.
BY DONNA CHURCHILL
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:…” “I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”
(Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7a, Psalm 40:1)
I recently stumbled upon an old post I had written on my own personal blog page dated back to December, 2016. It reminded me of something God had showed me at that time. And even though Advent season and Christmas of 2021 is just a memory, this was a timely reminder for me and I’d like to share it with you.
As you may remember from a previous post here, I mentioned that I love celebrating the Advent season; the time of waiting, watching and anticipating the celebration of Christ’s birth. I love the Christmas season and all its “trappings.” I always try to get my shopping done early so I can enjoy the season. I love relaxing at home on a cold winter’s night, enjoying the lights on my tree, reflecting on what this season means spiritually and watching Christmas movies that have happy endings. I love happy endings!!
The Christmas season, too, has a happy ending. All our anticipating, waiting and watching culminates in the celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Savior, the One who has come to save us from our sin and from ourselves. He comes with a promise and it’s because we know that, that our season of waiting is so full of joyful anticipation – we know that our hope will be fulfilled! We know the answer! We know that what (who) we’re waiting for has come.
What God showed me all those years ago focused on all the other waiting periods in my life; other periods of anticipation, watching and waiting. I think most of you are like me in the sense that there are things you have been praying for and waiting for for a very long time and you long, truly long to see God move in answering those prayers. Whether it’s for a loved one’s salvation, a healing, a prodigal child, a promised promotion or raise, deliverance from a besetting sin, or whatever it may be, we continue to cry out to God and wait for His intervention. Sometimes we pray with hope in our heart and trust that God hears and will answer, but sometimes we cry out in frustration wondering why God seemingly doesn’t hear or care about our pleadings. We wait, but not always with the confidence that what we wait and hope for will be fulfilled.
What if we embraced the answer to our prayer like it was a done deal and began to live in Advent (a waiting season; a season of preparation) of this promise?
What if we could wait in joyful expectation, just as we do at Christmas time, anticipating, waiting and watching, believing the promise is in our future?
What if we could just enjoy the “trappings” of this “season” right where we are at?
Enjoy what God is doing in our heart as a result of this time of waiting?
Enjoy the “lights,” the “music,” the “decorations,” God is “putting up” in our heart during this, our personal “Advent” season?
Jeff Goins asks it so well – “What if we fell in love with the in-between times, relishing instead of resenting them?”
What if God isn’t “preparing” us for anything other than this very moment?
Scripture tells me that God hears and answers my prayers, therefore I need to live in the assurance that His Word is true and wait in joyfulness, anticipating how and when He is going to move! But in that anticipation, I believe God is doing something in me, too.
When we are in a state of waiting, God is moving!! He’s at work in our heart; what if we embraced what He is doing right now even when we can’t see it? What if we just believe it?
“Waiting is not always a bad thing; it can bring its own joy – the thrill of anticipation.” David Jeremiah
Just as our hearts are filled with anticipation during the Advent season, we need to embrace the waiting in our own personal advent with anticipation and expectancy in our hearts and the wonderment of how and when God will answer our prayers!
Because, surely He will!
But what if we find the answer was in the journey all along?
BY MARY SPENCE
Living in a pandemic has changed me. This is hard; so hard. We are tired. Tired of quarantines and stuff being out of stock, and paying twice the price for everything. Worried about loved ones and friends who are struggling to fight off the loneliness and depression. Learning to do everything in a new way. Like remote doctors visits. I can say for myself this is a time like none other I have ever lived through. It is hard, isn't it? Wondering if it's safe to go. Wondering if it's ok to stay away. We are stuck in this world but not of it. Surrounded by fear, division and hatred. Feeling frustrated and worried?
Take a deep breath...
I know that fear is a symptom of unbelief. I also know that His Word says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
So l push through. Tell myself it's going to be ok. Try to trust in God's timing and His perfect plan. Trust on His grace and pray for His will. Even though it might be different than mine. What is the cure for a pandemic? Grace, God's peace, and Prayer. “Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'" (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
After all, we are not called to have all the answers. We are just called to be focused on Him, make Him our number one priority and He will do the rest. So what are we to do while we wait? How can we be used by Him through all of this?
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)
Our job is to pray. To reach out to others in distress. To offer a helping hand when someone else is in need.. As hard as it is for us as believers, just imagine how this feels to those who do not know Jesus. So take hope brothers and sisters. Even in these darkest days there is light. Be the light that causes others to see Jesus and believe.
Living in this pandemic has changed me. I look AT people when I talk to them now instead of past them. I listen to their words more closely now (mostly to hear through the mask). I watch what their body is saying in addition to their words. I am a much better friend since this pandemic has made me realize how delicate our hold on life really is. I have learned to treasure my time with my friends because I have seen how fast it can be gone. I have even seen that we can live without the "essentials" like toilet paper. My perspective on what is essential has changed. Yes, living in a pandemic has changed me.
Prayer: Father God. Help us to be strong in you. Show us the way when we are lost. Give us rest when we are tired. Cover us in your peace and protection. We thank you for your everlasting love and for the grace that you extend to each of us. In your precious son's name. Amen.
BY MARTHA CHEVALIER
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart"
Arriving home from school one day, years ago, my mom hollered out towards me, “they have arrived, your package is finally here!” I had ordered my first 3-pound package of live bees. My wish to tend a hive of honeybees was coming true, and I was scared! Simply put, I was afraid of bees. And now I had about 10,000 of then to deposit into the hive I had built with the help of my father and brothers. Truth be told, through the years that followed, I loved keeping bees. I most especially loved extracting the honey. Sticky, sweet and such a beautiful golden color. I loved the taste, the joy of filling up clear glass jars, and sharing my bees honey with family, friends, and neighbors. It’s been many years since I kept bees, but I literally still swoon when I spot the first wild honeybees stirring in the warm days of early spring.
Perhaps that’s why Psalm 19 remains one of my favorite verses of scripture.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb. Psalm 19:7-10
God’s word is perfect, it revives us. It makes us wise. It causes us to be jubilant, filling our hearts with joy. His word enlightens and reveals hidden things we didn’t know. (Jer 33:3) Jesus reveals himself in His word. He is God incarnate. (John 1:14) He is our warm, fresh daily bread. His words are more precious than gold, they are sweeter than honey.
Recently I had the honor of teaching a small group of adult learners basic Bible knowledge. These dear people were not in any way, shape, or form Christ followers. They were adherents to alternative lifestyles. Interestingly, they soaked it up, eager and attentive to learn what the Bible was all about. I told them about Jesus and honey and gold. What a privilege. What a joy.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
BY JORDAN MAYER
"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."
As we begin a new year, I find myself back at the beginning of the story in the book of Genesis. Like Noah and the flood, Abraham and Isaac, or Moses and the Red Sea, the creation account is familiar territory. So familiar, that I often find it challenging to ”see" it with fresh eyes. Not that I doubt that God can still teach me something from it, rather it’s my own human mind that is prone to gloss over the words, passages, and details that I have so often read. And so, as I started to read the first chapter, I prayerfully endeavored to set aside my preconceived ideas and notions. To allow myself to be once again caught up in the beauty, majesty, and wonder of the creation account.
As I started to read, one thing in particular continued to draw my attention. It was the role of God speaking in creation. “And God said” is repeated on each day of creation. God speaks and what is once formless and void explodes into light and then sky and land and seas and plants and stars and sun and moon and swarms of living creatures. All of this, by the power of His Word. No struggling or straining, God simply says, “Let there be”, and there was.
And yet His Word doesn’t simply fashion the material world, it breathes life into the creation. This is described most vividly with the creation of man. He is fashioned from the dust of the earth, but it is God’s breath that brings him to life. And then something amazing hit me from a passage in 2 Timothy. “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16). When God speaks, life is created. And the life-giving power of God’s spoken Word is also present in His written Word. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
When we open the pages of Scripture, we are not simply reading a book. We are reading the very words of Creator God. We are experiencing something living and active that has the power to change hearts and minds. The very best of books may entertain our minds, cheer our hearts, or give us some manner of wisdom to live by. But it is God’s Word, and God’s Word alone, that has the power to change lives for eternity. It reaches down to the very depths of our soul and points us to the one with the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
You see, God’s Word is Jesus! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). The same life He breathed into creation is the same life He offers us. It is the gift of eternal life. It is Jesus who can take what is formless and void and make it into something beautiful and full of life. So too it is Jesus who can take our bodies of death and declare us new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). New self (Ephesians 4:24). New birth (1 Peter 1:23). New life (Ephesians 2:5).