begin where you are 2/6/17

Read: Psalm 136:1–9

Bible in a Year: Exodus 36–38; Matthew 23:1–22

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 19:1

 

I came across a solitary flower growing in a meadow today—a tiny purple blossom “wasting its sweetness in the desert air,” to borrow from the poet Thomas Gray’s wonderful line. I’m sure no one had seen this particular flower before, and perhaps no one will see it again. Why this beauty in this place? I thought.

interwined-heart-purple-and-silver-hi

 

Nature is never wasted. It daily displays the truth, goodness, and beauty of the One who brought it into being. Every day nature offers a new and fresh declaration of God’s glory. Do I see Him through that beauty, or do I merely glance at it and shrug it off in indifference?

All nature declares the beauty of the One who made it. Our response can be worship, adoration, and thanksgiving—for the radiance of a cornflower, the splendor of a morning sunrise, the symmetry of one particular tree.

Author C. S. Lewis describes a walk in the forest on a hot summer day. He had just asked his friend how best to cultivate a heart thankful toward God. His hiking companion turned to a nearby brook, splashed his face and hands in a little waterfall, and asked, “Why not begin with this?” Lewis said he learned a great principle in that moment: “Begin where you are.”

A trickling waterfall, the wind in the willows, a baby robin, the blue sky, a tiny flower. Why not begin your thankfulness with this? —David Roper

Father, may we always be reminded that You have placed beauty here because it reflects Your character. We praise You! What are you thankful for today?

[God] is the beauty behind all beauty.   –Steve DeWitt

INSIGHT: This worship song praises the wonders of God’s creation and His providential intervention for His people. The repeating refrain is, “His love endures forever.” The list of items for which to thank God, our Creator, are vast and extensive: God is good (v. 1), He is over all other “gods” (v. 2), He is the Lord of lords (v. 3), God alone does great wonders (v. 4), God by His understanding made the heavens (v. 5), He placed the earth on the waters (v. 6), He made the great lights (v. 7), He made the sun to govern the day (v. 8), and He made the moon and stars to govern the night (v. 9). As we behold the wonders of nature, we marvel at their Creator.  Dennis Fisher

 

are good works the way to earn a blessing?

Good works can never be the means to eternal life. However, those who have received God’s gift of salvation will demonstrate that God is in their lives by the way they treat those around them. By contrast, those who repay evil with evil demonstrate theat they have not been truly transformed by God’s grace.

eternal life

 

1 Peter 3:9-12

 Do not repay evil for evil or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead—it is for this reason you were called, so that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For,

“The one who loves life,
wanting to see good days,
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit.
11 He must turn away from evil and do good.
He must seek shalom and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of Adonai are on the righteous
and His ears open to their prayer,
but the face of Adonai is against those who do evil.”[a