Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” — Matthew 27:39-40
If ever a moment demanded a miracle, it was this moment. The crowds are clamoring and calling out for it. So are the two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus. Above all, it would seem that common sense demands it. Now is the moment. Now is the time to show them your miraculous power! In the course of Jesus’ misunderstood life, this is the moment He is most misunderstood. The crowd still clamors for miracles. But He did not come to give them miracles; He came to give them Himself. And on the cross He is doing precisely that. The cross reveals to us that Jesus’ greatest miracle was His refusal at that moment to perform a miracle at all. –Michael Card, Joy in the Journey
Another museum that Sarah and I explored in Amsterdam was the Bible Museum. They have a very interesting collection, as you can see below.
Large, old Bibles:
Several unique dioramas:
Other interesting artifacts and collectibles:
Today I’m sharing more great quotes from my journals. See if any of these speak particularly to your life and situation today:
Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands and step out into the invincible future with Him. — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you will get neither. — C. S. Lewis
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. — Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
To reach the point of Heaven we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it–but we must sail, and not drift, nor be at anchor. — Oliver Wendell Holmes
Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. –Leonard Cohen
God does not give us overcoming life; He gives life as we overcome. The storm is the strength. If there is no strain there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength. — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love-gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship…It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessing to others. — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust in them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through was a longing…For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we nave not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. — C. S. Lewis
I have found a Christian author that seems to articulate so much that I have been thinking about lately. He’s really focused on God as our sovereign ruler and King, ever present and powerful. Here is an excerpt, including two scriptures and a quote from another author, followed by a prayer:
Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed Him as His counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way? Who was it that taught Him knowledge or showed Him the path of understanding? — Isaiah 40:13-14 (NIV)
Who instructed God? Whom did He consult? think of what we’ve learned about the design of the human body–the amazing intricacy and efficiency of a single cell, the sheer magnitude of the connecting fibers between nerve cells in the brain. Who could have served as the Lord’s consultant on a design task like that? Could you or I?
It’s an absurd question, isn’t it? Yet we continually want to be God’s adviser in His providential workings. We continually want to tell Him how certain circumstances should be changed. Or worse, we question God’s wisdom when we can’t understand what He’s doing.
How fathomless the depths of God’s resources, wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable His decisions, and how mysterious His methods! For who has ever understood the thoughts of the Lord, or has ever been His adviser? Glory to Him forever! — Romans 11:33-36 (Charles B. Williams Translation)
To this end may the following words from J. L. Dagg encourage us:
It should fill us with joy that infinite wisdom guides the affairs of the world. Many of its events are shrouded in darkness and mystery, and inextricable confusion sometimes seems to reign. Often wickedness prevails, and God seems to have forgotten the creatures that He has made. Our own path through life is dark and devious, and beset with difficulties and dangers. How full of consolation is the doctrine that infinite wisdom directs every event, brings…light out of darkness, and, to those who love God, causes all things, whatever be their present aspect and apparent tendency, to work together for good. — Dagg, Manual of Theology, pg. 91.
So with joy and consolation let us stand in awe of the infinite wisdom of God manifested in creation, providence, and redemption. But let’s do more. One of the marks of a God-fearing person is to trust in the Lord: “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11). To hope in His unfailing love is to trust Him. As we stand in awe, let us trust Him, even when we don’t understand what He is doing.
O infinite God! Who has understood Your mind or instructed You as Your counselor? Before the universe was created it existed in all its intricate complexity in Your vast mind. Even the tiny cells in our bodies testify to the sheer brilliance of Your creative genius. But while we marvel at Your creation, we confess that we often wonder at Your providence. Help us to learn that You ways truly are higher than our ways, and that You are always working for our good despite the many things we don’t understand. May we fear You by trusting You. And may we ever praise You through Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen –Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God, pg. 94-95
Are any of you struggling with life events right now? Do you wonder how things could go so “wrong?” If you are trusting Jesus for salvation, you need not fear. God is sovereign and working all things together for good (Romans 8:28-29). We don’t have to try to control, manipulate, worry, be anxious or force anything to happen. It all comes together in His time and way, completely beyond our understanding, or weak efforts to control. Wait and trust; watch and see what God will do! Listen for His voice of calm, wisdom, instruction and assurance; trust Him, rather than trusting yourself.
This year will be the tenth year I’ve chosen a “Word of the Year.” This has meant so much to me; it’s been hugely impactful in my life every year. I thought before announcing my new word I would give a review of all the previous ones. It’s almost like God gave them to me in a sequential order, with each one building upon the previous one. Often, I would see several of my words in a single passage (as you’ll see below).
2009 — Hold
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. –Hebrews 10:23
He is before all things; in Him all things hold together. –Col. 1:17
2010 — Way
For the ways of the Lord are right. –Hosea 14:9
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of Your presence. –Acts 2:28
2011 — Trust
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. –John 14:1
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. –Hebrews 10:23-24
2012 – Refuge
In Thee O LORD, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame; in thy righteousness deliver me! Incline thy ear to me, rescue me speedily! Be thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! –Psalm 31:1-2
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. –Psalm 118:8-9
2013 – Journey
When our days there were ended, we departed and went on a journey. –Acts Acts 21:4
The angel of the Lord came a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, or the journey will be too much for you. –1 Kings 19:7
2014 – Presence
But now, by giving Himself completely at the cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in His presence. –Colossians 1:22
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your hand will lay hold of me. –Psalm 119:7-9
2015 – Pain
I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them. –Exodus 3:7-8
He took our suffering on Him and felt our pain for us. –Isaiah 53:4
2016 – Worship
I was caught up at once in deep worship. –Revelation 4:2
The best preparation for worship is not rehearsal, but surrender. –A. W. Tozer
2017 – Cast
Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you. –1 Peter 5:7
The twenty-four elders will fall down before Him, who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. –Rev. 4:10-11
Truly these words have been a huge help to me in my life. God speaks personally through words, images, messages, situations, difficulties. It’s been really powerful to see each of these words work in my life. The lessons from them have been progressive. I had to hold onto Him more deeply before I could understand His ways; then I was in a position to start trusting Him more once I understood Him better. I found myself in a safe refuge of protection but the next thing you know, I was on a journey of more discovery. I sought to be more aware of His presence, especially in times of emotional and physical pain. The result was that I began to worship Him in all situations as I learned to cast all anxieties and concerns upon Him. The next post will reveal my new word for 2018.
Here are more uses of my Word of the Year, cast:
And they came to Jerusalem; and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves… Mark 11:15 [KJV]
And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they called the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise, he callers thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. –Mark 10:49-50 [KJV]
And they brought him [the donkey] to Jesus, and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. –Luke 19:35 [KJV]
It’s time for more quotes from my journal. I love these thoughts about God–big, limitless, boundless.
The mercy of God is an ocean divine, a boundless and fathomless flood. Launch out in the deep and cut away the shore line, and be lost in the mercy of God. –A. B. Simpson
We misuse the words ‘boundless’ and ‘unlimited’ because the words ‘boundless,’ ‘unlimited,’ and ‘infinite’ all mean the same thing. They are words to describe God. In no way, shape or form do they describe man. We have a limit to everything about us. God, on the other hand, has no limits. We are not using words carelessly when we say that God is boundless, limitless and infinite. — A. W. Tozer, My Daily Pursuit, pg. 230
Bravo, God, Bravo! Everyone join in the great shout: Encore! In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might. — Psalm 96:7 (MSG)