My Creator God

Psalm 104 & Jeremiah 13, 14

Our family loves camping and finding new places to hike or kayak through God’s beautiful world. The variety of his creation is truly amazing! Desert, forest, plains, mountain, ocean. We love them all and the chance to explore a new little corner of His world we haven’t seen yet. And, along the way, trying to capture a photo to remind us of the beauty and creativity we had the privilege to see.

Psalm 104 is a beautiful poem of creation. I would love to make a photo book or photo wall with pictures from our family hikes and travels depicting each verse and phrase.

“He wraps himself in light as with a garment” (vs 2) – sunshine blazing in all His glory

“he stretches out the heavens like a tent” (vs 2) – expansive blue sky from horizon to horizon

“He makes the clouds his chariot” (vs 3) – white and multi-shades of gray amazing textured rolling clouds with shafts of sunlight shining through with the brilliant blue sky behind

“He makes springs pour water into the ravines” – hot springs bubbling from the ground and flowing down the mountain side

You get the idea. There would be photos of waterfalls, lightening, mountaintops, ocean waves on the shore, rainstorms, the moon, plants and animals, sunrises, sea creatures, and people. Each one accompanied with God’s text.

I recently taught a unit on creation to the adorable children in children’s church. And it was so much fun spending a week (or more) on each aspect of God’s amazing creation. We brought in shells and rocks and leaves and bird feathers to touch and play with. We matched plant photos to foods we eat and counted plant products in ingredient labels. (Do you know how many plants are in a box of Cheerios or mac’n cheese?) We classified plants and animals and brought in a bird expert. We watched videos and explored books on clouds and planets and sea creatures and the animal kingdom and the incredible human body. And all the things that we take for granted everyday.

Not only is God’s world a beautiful world – but so incredibly functional, too! He thought of EVERYTHING! The more I learn of science and the human body in particular, the more I am amazed at His creation.

I have never made anything nearly as intricate or useful as the smallest, tiniest, most simplistic, most ‘insignificant’ part of God’s creation. But, I do like to create quilts – little scraps of colored fabric (which came from a cotton plant) sewn together in patterns to make a cozy cover to bring comfort and warmth. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I were to meet someone who explained that those quilts just came to be one day – that it grew from nothing and became strings that wove themselves together and the fabrics cut themselves into the perfect shapes and even stitches magically formed just as they were needed to piece the top together and the materials used to create the final layered project appeared at just the right time and space and lined up just so to automatically go through the final steps to create my quilt. Foolishness. It is foolishness that leaves out the thought, intention, desire, creativity, vision, purpose and ability of me, the quilt creator. Or, equally painful – maybe they would give all the credit for the making of the quilt to another.

It makes sense that the Creator of the Heavens and Earth wants us to enjoy and admire His creation – and give Him all the credit He so much deserves. But, what happens when people don’t? What happens when they take away the glory that belongs to God and call it chance instead or give it to another? What happens when they refuse to listen to God’s words – the first recorded words being – “Let there be light”? What happens when they attribute God’s creation to another? We see in the book of Jeremiah. “These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless!” Jeremiah goes on in today’s reading to describe the drought, famine and sword that will be used in judgment of those who have stubbornly turned from God. Jeremiah 14 ends with God telling Jeremiah to speak to the people, telling them to acknowledge their guilt and wickedness and sins against Him and ask God to remember His covenant. The final verse of chapter 14 says,

“Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
    Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
    Therefore our hope is in you,
    for you are the one who does all this.” (vs 22 NIV)

Not only did Our Great God create this world for us – He made a covenant with us – He has power still today – and He holds out a blessed hope for those who acknowledge and worship Him for all He has done, is doing and will do.

Thank you God for your incredible Creation – help me see and appreciate each amazing part!

Thank you God for the rains today – help me see you at work today!

Thank you God for the hope you set before those who believe and worship you alone – a New Heavens and Earth that will be beyond all we can ever dream or imagine!

You are our hope – for you are the one who does all this!

-Marcia Railton

You can read or listen to today’s Bible reading passages at BibleGateway.com here – Jeremiah 13-14 and Psalm 104

A Price to Pay

Nahum 1-3

Nahum 1 3 NIV sgl

These three chapters make up the entire book of Nahum. At the beginning of this book we are told that it is the vision Nahum was given. This vision prophesied the downfall of the wicked city of Nineveh.  The language in this book is very vivid and paints a terrifying picture of the price that those in Nineveh were to pay.

God had been patient with Nineveh, but as Chapter 1 (v.3) reads, “The LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.” The people of Nineveh had for too long relished in the ways of the flesh. The LORD could no longer tolerate the filth that they spread.

If you may recall, this is not the first time that we are introduced to the people of Nineveh in the Old Testament. A previous book, Jonah, describes how the people of Nineveh had before turned against the LORD. Eventually Jonah made it to Nineveh and told them of what God planned to do because of their wickedness. The people of Nineveh repented of their ways and the LORD preserved them. However, in Nahum, we learn that the people of Nineveh had again turned from the LORD.

An interesting part of this event is how it would have been in the grasp of the people of Nineveh to avoid such a fate. Chapter 1 even talks of how we can look to the LORD in times of trouble. It tells of his goodness and his care for those that trust in him. If only the people of Nineveh had continued to turn to the LORD rather than to sin.

Sometimes, though, it can be easier to turn away from the LORD. When we turn toward him, there are many tempting things of the flesh that we have to turn away from. Taking part in these sinful acts is not usually difficult on our part. It is easy to sin. However, the consequences that follow that sin are usually never easy. Our sin creates many issues for us in life.

This can be paralleled to how we use our time on a daily basis. Watching another episode of our favorite show on Netflix may be easier than getting work done, but in the long run, which one counts? Watching tv may feel good in the moment, but as we look back on our day, we will feel less accomplished and possibly even stressed because we may feel behind on our work. If we had worked hard at the start, we would have avoided the stress and been left with a feeling of accomplishment.

So, if we initially put in the effort to turn to the Lord and trust in him, he will be our refuge. We will be able to avoid some of the heartache and discipline that would have followed us if we took the easy way out and fell into temptation. That does not mean, though, that if we follow the Lord, we will avoid all kinds of trouble. On the contrary, there will always be storms that we face in this life. If we turn to the Lord, though, we will have a rock to stand firm on during these storms. We will not be blown away by the heavy winds.

Hannah Deane

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nahum+1-3&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s Bible reading will be 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35 as we continue the story of God’s people in the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

In Need of Comfort?

2 Corinthians 1

2 Corinthians 1 3 4

A teddy bear, a hug from a friend, macaroni and cheese, a cup of tea – where do you turn to find comfort?  Any of these might work after a tough day when you are looking for a bit of comfort.  But what about if you have had a tough month, or maybe even a difficult season or a year of trials?

Paul is a man who chose to live all out for God, His Son Jesus, the Church, and the Coming Kingdom – and that meant some very difficult seasons and years of trials.  Persecution, being stoned and left for dead, a continuing health problem, jailed multiple times, and much more.  In the opening chapter of his 2nd (preserved) letter to the church in Corinth Paul says, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But, this happened so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (vs. 8-9).  Remember that 58 verse Resurrection Chapter in his previous letter to the same church – this is why it is so important to Paul – it is his hope – his comfort – what keeps him going even through a long difficult season – the God who raises the dead.  He is worthy of being relied upon.

I love the list of descriptions Paul gives of God in 2 Corinthians 1:3. God is worthy of our praise.  God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is the Father of compassion.  He is the God of all comfort.

He IS the God of ALL comfort.

If you find yourself in need of some comfort – turn to God.  He is the God of all comfort.

Too many times, instead, God is blamed for tough times and people turn away from Him.  He didn’t heal our loved one.  He didn’t help me get that dream job.  I flunked my math test.  My marriage (or my parents’ marriage) ended in divorce.  He could have stopped it.  He could have fixed it.  But He didn’t and it hurts.  So, I will turn from Him.  And the hurt festers and grows.

How much more comfort is there in turning TO God, even in the hurt.  The Creator God who made us. The God of compassion.  NOT the God of a perfect life filled with sunshine and lollipops.  But the God who is always present, always listening, always strong enough to comfort us in our tears or distress.  The God who loved us enough to let His Son die for our sins so we could draw near to Him.  The God who raises the dead.  The God who will send His Son to Earth again.  The God who is creating a coming kingdom greater than anything we can imagine.  This wise, loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God who reveals Himself in His Word.

If you are in need of comfort – look in His Word to find the God of all comfort.  Not sure where to start – how about with a collection of Bible verses called Father’s Love Letter.  There are video, audio, and printable copies at https://www.fathersloveletter.com/.  But, that’s just a start.  Grab your teddy bear and bowl of mac and cheese or cup of tea and open up His Word and find Him there.

And, not just for your own comfort – so that you then can be a comfort to others by sharing the God of comfort with others in distress.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

 

May You Be Comforted,

Marcia Railton