Psalm 19:1 - "The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
Ecclesiastes 11:7 - "Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun. For if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all."
"We can and should rejoice as we live the life God gives us. There is color, light, warmth and beauty in God's world. There are people who say and do kind things. Life brings many delightful moments." (Your Father Loves You by J.I. Packer, August 21 reading)
Articles have been written about the benefits of getting out in nature, for our health and emotional well-being. Personally, I have found that if I am in a bad mood or feeling unmotivated, a walk in the woods is the perfect remedy. My spirits are lifted and I have new energy and joy. When God created his world, he was pleased with his creation, pronouncing it good.
C.S. Lewis wrote: "Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are 'patches of Godlight' in the woods of our experience."
There are so many parks and preserves in south Jersey, right here tucked in and around our own neighborhoods, which provide many opportunities for us to enjoy God's creation. It's an adventure to explore them all, and I believe God is delighted when we delight in the beauty of what he has made.
So go take a hike!
Martin Luther wrote on this passage: "Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him and say, 'Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness. I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You became what you were not, so that I might become what I was not'." What a great and wonderful exchange! Was there ever such love???
Volumes have been written by theologians and greater thinkers than I am, but isn't the love of God an amazing topic to consider. John in his gospel (chapter 21, verse 25) writes: "Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."
The Love of God has a verse that sums it up:
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
Think about the people of Israel. Although they were rescued out of slavery in Egypt and saw God do amazing miracles, time and time again they strayed from God and went back to worshiping idols. God called their idolatry adultery. They forsook him over and over again. And God over and over again, rescued them. He never forsook them or stopped loving them. It is amazing to think about. I would have given them up after a second or third time. But God never gave them up. NEVER! Then how can we doubt his love for us, because we are as unfaithful as the Israelites were. We forget God, we live our lives as "functional atheists." BUT after Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice of his own blood for us, God tells us in Romans 8 (verse 39) that nothing - NOTHING - can separate us from his love. His love is powerful, eternal, faithful.
1 Corinthians 13:13 says, "These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." Love lasts forever. When we see our Lord face to face, we will no longer live by faith and our hope will be realized. But love will remain - stronger than ever.
J.I. Packer in Your Father Loves You, the September 7th reading, writes: "By giving his love to us, God has voluntarily bound up his own final happiness with ours. He has in effect resolved that henceforth for all eternity his happiness shall be conditional on ours. Thus God saves not only for his glory but also for his gladness!"
Romans 8:31-39What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.