God’s Love Letter To Us Is The Bible
Each morning when I reach my office, I have one simple habit—check all my emails. Most of the time, I’ll work through them in a perfunctory fashion. There are some emails, however, that I’m eager to open. You guessed it—those from loved ones.
Someone has said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. But perhaps on some days, like me, you just don’t feel like opening it and your heart doesn’t resonate with the words of the psalmist: “Oh, how I love Your law!” (Ps. 119:97). The Scriptures are “Your commandments” (v.98), “Your testimonies” (v.99), “Your precepts” (v.100), “Your word” (v.101, emphasis added).
A question by Thomas Manton (1620–1677), once a lecturer at Westminster Abbey, still holds relevance for us today. He asked: “Who is the author of Scripture? God. . . . What is the end of Scripture? God. Why was the Scripture written, but that we might everlastingly enjoy the blessed God?”
It is said of some people that the more you know them the less you admire them; but the reverse is true of God. Familiarity with the Word of God, or rather the God of the Word, breeds affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity.
As you open your Bible, remember that God—the One who loves you the most—has a message for you.
May I explore the mine,
May I its fragrant flowers glean,
May light upon me shine! —Hodder
The author of Psalm 119 (the longest psalm in the Bible) is not named. Some scholars say it was penned by Ezra, whose devotion to God’s Word is well-attested (Ezra 7:10; Neh. 8:1-9). Others say David composed it. Despite being scorned and ridiculed for trusting the Scriptures (vv.22-23,31,42,46,78), the psalmist did not waver but remained fully committed to them. In today’s passage, the psalmist affirms his deep love for God’s law (v.97) and testifies how constant meditation on it has made him wiser than his enemies (v.98), his teachers (v.99), and the older (wiser) men of his day (v.100). God’s Word provides wisdom and perspective for living.
“Your whole spirit….” The great, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit is in the deep recesses of our being which we cannot reach. Read Psalm 139. The psalmist implies— “O Lord, You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea. But, my God, my soul has horizons further away than those of early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature. You who are the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot discover, dreams I cannot realize. My God, search me.”
Do we believe that God can fortify and protect our thought processes far beyond where we can go? “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). If this verse means cleansing only on our conscious level, may God have mercy on us. The man who has been dulled by sin will say that he is not even conscious of it. But the cleansing from sin we experience will reach to the heights and depths of our spirit if we will “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). The same Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the life of our spirit. It is only when we are protected by God with the miraculous sacredness of the Holy Spirit that our spirit, soul, and body can be preserved in pure uprightness until the coming of Jesus-no longer condemned in God’s sight.
We should more frequently allow our minds to meditate on these great, massive truths of God.
[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]
You shall love the Lord your God . . . and your neighbor as yourself. —Luke 10:27
It would have been simpler just to buy a new hair dryer. But determined to save a buck, I decided to fix it myself. In order to loosen the screw that was buried deep in the handle, I took out the ultimate handyman’s helper—my pocket knife. As I put pressure on the knife to turn the screw, the blade folded back—on my finger.
I learned a lesson that day: I love myself. And I am urgent about meeting my needs. There was no thought of, “Well, I don’t really have time to stop the bleeding now. I’ll get to it later.” Also, there was a tenderness about how the need was met. I instructed my first-aid team (my wife and kids) to wash my finger gently and then to put the bandage on in a way that would avoid having the hairs on my finger pulled up when it was removed. My thoughts, words, and actions were driven by my love for myself.
To love “your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) requires the same urgent kind of love. It’s a love that notices the need of another person and won’t rest until it’s been met. It’s a gentle, tender love that thinks and acts carefully. It’s the sacrificial and compassionate love that a nameless Samaritan had for a fallen traveler. It’s the kind of love God wants to share with your neighbors through you.
Lord, help me see the heartfelt needs
Of those within my care,
And grant that through my words and deeds
Your love with them I’ll share. —D. De Haan
You cannot touch your neighbor’s heart with anything less than your own.
From: Through the Bible
Genesis 4:7 (NIV) 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
The first two brothers must have been taught by Adam to give an offering to the Lord. Perhaps the offering was a way of giving thanks for the abundance of the earth. It may have looked forward to the promised One that would deliver them from the dominion of Satan. God was pleased with Abel’s offering of a lamb, but not with Cain’s grain offering. We don’t know why, except that God looks upon the heart. This verse tells us that Cain’s heart was not right with God when he gave the offering. It was not the gift itself, as we later see acceptable grain offerings in the days of Moses. Cain’s offering was a representation of his heart. He did not do what was right in his heart, and so, his offering was not accepted.
One sin leads to another. That is the warning God gave Cain. In fact, like a lion waiting to devour us, sin waits to devour our lives. The loving heart of God reached out to Cain with the warning that sin would like to dominate him, to be the authority over him, bringing him to destruction. But then God told Cain the correct response is to master it. Don’t let it master you.
Is there sin crouching at your door, waiting to dominate your life? Master it! Don’t allow it to master you. We master it, just as Cain could have, by looking to the work of the Seed to come, the Savior. Because of what Christ did, we can master it! His resurrected life gives us the power to master it rather than be devoured by it.
Cain was about to plot a murder because of jealousy. Read the verse again. Think about how this verse applies to you each time that you give in to temptation. You can stop the cycle or go deeper into it.
Consider: If you are caught in a cycle of sin, you can still master it by the power of the risen Christ, the Seed that crushed the rule of Satan.
Micah 5:2, 4-5a (NIV) 2“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
4He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5aAnd he will be their peace.
When the Magi came to Jerusalem to ask where the Great King would be born, those who studied the prophesies quoted this verse. They knew the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Perhaps they thought His ancient origins were in David, or even further back in Abraham. They may have even pondered that His origins were in the King of Salem, Melchizadek, who met with Abraham. But did they guess that His origins were even before time began?
He was predicted to stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD. He had certainly brought them spiritual food and drink. (John 6) His answers and miracles showed Him to be standing in the strength of the LORD. The prophecy goes on to say that He would shepherd in the name of the LORD. That means shepherding with the authority of Jehovah. The religious leaders were often asking Him what authority He claimed when He spoke and acted as He did. He not only represented God, He is God!
They will live securely.”Do not fear those who can kill the body, but fear Him who can cast both body and soul into hell.” Jesus brought a security that went beyond the physical. He has freed us from the second death and the slavery of sin in this life. His greatness has reached the ends of the earth. He is our peace with God. He has given us His own peace.
Consider: The religious leaders stayed with Herod while the wise men went to worship Jesus. Go to Him and lay your gifts at His feet. Find His peace, and let Him shepherd you.