The Bible In Two Weeks: If you want an overview of the entire Bible, these passages, which you should be able to read easily in 14 days, will give you a kind of “Cliff’s Notes” view of the Scriptures. The reading plan is here.
Amazingly Small Things: While I love to glorify God through what we can see through the lens of the Hubble Telescope, being astonished at gigantic images we cannot begin to comprehend or ever hope to see with the naked eye, I am equally able to praise Him for His tiny creation, things so small they can only be seen with a special scanning electron micrography. Take a look here.
Video Classroom Teaching: If you want to “take a class” with a well-known theologian, pastor, teacher, writer, these series of videos are now available free online. Taught by Dr. R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries, they are entitled “Chosen By God” and can be viewed here.
How Suffering Is A Blessing: This article/blog written by a Christian counselor can speak to anyone who wants to be able to put despair, suffering, hardship, difficulties in the proper God-centered perspective. He illustrates his main point by telling of a counseling situation, then goes from there to teach how each one of us must undergo suffering. His premise is “personal suffering is the thing we fear the most.” You can read and meditate on the article here.
During the past few months, I’ve had two different occasions for which I’ve needed to look back through several years of our family’s photograph albums. The first was to pick out pictures to make a memorial video for my mother’s funeral. The second was to choose photos to be used during my husband’s retirement party. Although these have been two quite dissimilar reasons for perusing through the album pages, each time I’ve been so thankful I took snapshots of events, occasions and even everyday activities. At no time was I sorry I decided to pick up my camera and photograph someone. In fact, I have instead asked myself, “Why didn’t I take more pictures?”
If there’s one word that describes what photos do for us, it’s the word remind. Since a photograph “freezes the moment,” when we see that moment again, we are able to remember the feelings we were experiencing when that situation was happening. We get to relive both the happy and sad times, perhaps realizing, with the passage of time, that the sad times weren’t as sad as we thought they were then, and that now the happy times bring another round of happiness as we view the scenes again.
It’s especially joyous to view photographs in the company of friends and family and have them share these moments with us. If they were there when the pictures was taken, and they express their impressions and feelings, then you’re able to understand them and their emotional makeup even better, and if they weren’t there, but you are explaining the scene or the people, then your retelling of the situation puts things in a better perspective for both of you.
Like a photograph, the reading and teaching of God’s Word is a form of reminder. In 2 Peter 1:12, Peter writes, “I shall always be ready to remind you . . .” and then he writes again of the importance of pursuing holiness and seeking righteousness. Paul does the same thing in his letters, and the entire book of Deuteronomy is a “photo album” from Moses to the people of Israel. The pages of Scripture are reminders of truths we’ve heard and experienced for ourselves, of God’s purposes He has planned for us from eternity past and certainly of people, including His Son, He has placed in His Word to give us a picture of who He is.
Similar to the joy of sharing our family photos, when we open up God’s Word and share these people and events and truths and insights of Scripture with each other, we gain new perspectives and notice little details we’ve never seen before. Perhaps the best similarity between the Bible and a family photo album is that His entire Word is simply an incredible portrait of His love for us in the face of His Son, Our Savior Jesus.
I would definitely suggest taking more pictures, but much more importantly, take the time and effort to view the revelation God has given us of Himself through Scripture.
The Prison Gates Opened: John Piper writes an encouraging word about difficult obstacles in life after having meditated on the story in Acts 12 of Peter being released from prison by God’s hand. Acts 12:10 says, “The iron gate leading into the city opened of its own accord.” From this verse, Piper notes, “If God has a good purpose for you — and he always does — every gate will open of its own accord. That is, we can’t make it open. We pray. We work. And we wait. The accord belongs to God.” Read the full devotional here.
Thinking About God: One of my favorite bloggers and writers, Tim Challies, wrote in a recent blog about A. W. Tozer, a theologian, writer and pastor from the last century and this statement he made: “what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Asking another person or yourself the question, “What comes to your mind when you think about God?” will reveal not only a knowledge of God but the depth of that knowledge. See the full article here.
Earthquakes and Hurricanes: Are you hearing the footsteps of Jesus in recent weather and disaster stories? You’re not the only one. Joseph Farah, columnist for WorldNetDaily writes, “He’s trying to get your attention. Are you paying heed? What will it take?” You can read his full article here.
An Interview With Paul In Jail: Here’s a fictional account of one of the Apostle Paul’s old friends coming to see him while he’s locked up in a Roman prison. He asks his friend, “Has Jesus Been Worth It, Saul?”
A Starry Sky From Joshua Tree: Here’s a time lapse video of a meteor shower and the galactic core of the Milky Way as seen from Joshua Tree National Park. See the heavens declare the glory of God through The Milky Way.
Evolution Refuted: Here’s an animated video from the website, Answers In Genesis, which offers insights and answers to the evolution debate. It only lasts about two minutes and it’s simply called Evolution.
A subscriber to my blog recently wrote to ask me that question after we shared with each other some feelings about our loved ones’ dying. I’ve been asked this question before, so I know others often wonder about being able to recognize our dead friends and relatives once we enter into Heaven ourselves. I do believe we will know and fellowship with each other in Heaven, although these relationships will be so different from what we experienced here on earth because they will not be tainted by the blackness of our sin nature, they will not be marred by our emotional weaknesses and they will not be limited by our lack of intellectual understanding and discernment. In other words, our relationships with each other in Heaven will be just perfect!
Here are some Scriptural reasons I believe we can count on knowing each other in Heaven. In Genesis, each time one of these men died, it is noted, “he was gathered to his people.” When David’s child died (2 Samuel 12:23), he said, “I will go to him.” These were words to give comfort, and they wouldn’t have comforted if there was to be no recognition of each other in Heaven. In the New Testament, there is the enlightening account of Jesus being transfigured (or showing a little bit of His pre-incarnate glory) before His disciples (Luke 9). Moses and Elijah arrived from Heaven to talk to Jesus about His upcoming death, and the disciples easily knew who these men were. I believe they “knew” in the same way we shall “know” each other in Heaven. Paul mentions in several of his letters that he looked forward to seeing those who were his converts in Heaven.
Besides our loved ones, we will also share our Heavenly lives with the millions of other believers who are called the “children of God” (John 1:12). These descriptive words were chosen by God to paint the picture of Heaven as a family setting, to paint the picture of Heaven as a place of relationships. Paul says we will “be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). So, yes, I believe we will recognize those we have known on earth, and we will also know those whom we had never met while in this earthly life because we will all be in a perfect relationship with the One who brought us all together as a family.
“Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)