It’s My Pleasure

The Bible declares, “God does what he pleases” (Job 23:13b) .

For human beings, this declaration about ourselves would reek of arrogance and highest pride. Or as a good friend of mine says about haughtiness, we’d be “ addicted to self-significance.”

Colossians 1:16 reminds us of the purpose of creation: “All things were created by him and for him,” implying the same fact that “God does what he pleases” for it’s His. One night as I shared this thought in our devotions around a campfire, watching the sun set over beautiful Lake Michigan, my 13-year-old grandson blurted out, “Isn’t that rather selfish of God?” To the human mind, and not only the young ones, the answer would seem to be, Yes.

The fascinating truth, subtle yet illustrious, is found in Job: “Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?” (38:25-27).

Why? For God’s pleasure as He counts the trillions of stars, calling them each by name, for He takes pleasure in His creation.

A nocturnal cactus, growing up the palm trunks near the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean in central Florida, boasts of a large gorgeous white flower. When the first orange, red, and yellow rays of the sunrise ripple across the Atlantic waters, the blossoms wither and fall off. Why all this seeming wasted display of beauty for a few moths to experience? Don’t forget. Creator-God is enjoying those white blossoms all night long while at the same time “His eyes are roaming throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are steadfast toward Him.”

Job, through all of his suffering, kept asking, “Why God? Why?”

John MacArthur in his study Bible suggests a satisfying response: “God cannot be required by man to give all the reasons for what he chooses to do.”

It’s comforting to know that God reveals what we need to understand about Himself. There’s also the anticipation that when we’re in heaven with Him–we’ll have all eternity to discover some of the unanswered “whys” as He continues to take pleasure in His sons and daughters.

For now, our hearts in deep gratitude keep repeating, Thank you, Almighty God, for including us in your “doing what pleases you.”

You are Royalty

Royalty“I thank the Lord for my time in the hospital,” I replied when my doctor asked me in my follow-up appointment how things went. “The nurses treated me royally.”

He was a military doctor and in his usual straightforward no-nonsense way, he said, “Well. Why shouldn’t they? You are royalty.”

I looked at him wondering what he meant. Nobody ever called me royalty.

Then he added, “You’re a child of the King. King Jesus.”

I know he is a believer. But I was still surprised by what he said. He had never said anything like that before.

His response made me think of Romans 8:17. “Now we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,” the King of Kings, since God has adopted us as his sons and daughters. What a blessed
warm, personal relationship, for everything Jesus owns, we own. And you also, dear Christian, are a member of this family.

The Holy Spirit wrapped that gracious, almost unbelievable truth, around my heart one early morning, a few years ago, while leaning on a balcony rail overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The sun splashed reds and yellows across the water and God reminded me of that adoption.

I bequeath to you
   every sunrise I’ve painted,
all originals.

Yes, doctor, we are both royalty.

Haiku Images

I thought you might appreciate reading through the Haiku Cluster that the judges thought were worthy of first place winner in the competition. All of the haiku spring from the Scriptures related as listed.

Appropriate for the Easter season is “To say ‘I love you’ God sent a cross.” The truth that we are co-heirs with the eternal Godhead is incomprehensible, but the Scriptures certainly remind us how rich we are in Christ.

If a haiku or two moves you and you would like to share your thoughts, I would love to meditate on them with you.
A HAIKU CLUSTER
I bequeath to you,                                                                   Romans 8:17a
every sunrise I’ve painted,
all originals. -God

Adam, while you slept,                                                           Genesis 2:21-22
God slipped Eve into your bed,
then he left, smiling.

To say “I love you,”                                                                  John 19:17-18
we send flowers or a card,
but God sent a cross.

Five little fingers                                                                       Luke 2:7
squeeze young Mary’s nose and face
as God lies on straw.

Often mothers ’ prayers                                                         I Samuel 1:27
mend the broken jars of clay
they molded from birth.

Silent, by a grave,                                                                   II Corinthians 1:4
arm around a friend, healing
a hole in the heart.

Before life’s bookends                                                         Amos 4:12b
squeeze away your last-held breath,
prepare for closure.

Incredible Inheritance

Early one morning, leaning on the balcony and looking at the Atlantic Ocean, I witnessed–for the first time–how rich I am. As the sun peeked over the horizon, rays of orange, red, green, blue, yellow, and indigo washed the sky and dyed the Atlantic a variegated bobbing blanket. That morning, God wrote a haiku and let me record it.

I bequeath to you

every sunrise I’ve painted,

all originals.

The psalmist says that every sunrise is God’s revelation of himself, reaching the entire world. 19:6 The Lord has given me new “eyes” to see that revelation, for each sunrise now reminds me of his power, his majesty, and his wisdom: his power that causes the earth to revolve around the sun; his majesty that sets every morning sky afire with shifting color patterns; and his wisdom that burns the horizon with controlled heat and light distances from the earth’s surface so we neither freeze or nor fry.

Creationists estimate the earth to be 10,000 years old. When we multiply that number with 365 days, we learn that God has spread his watercolor palette 3,650,000 times–and on the same canvas. The Master Artist of the universe has painted these millions of sunrises for his glory.

The light that dawns upon us is that, according to Ephesians 1:18, those sunrises are our inheritance as part of “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” And they belong to us, for Romans 8:17 promises  that “we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” I’m really rich!

J. B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians 1:18 as “the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians.” God is the glorious artist who continues sketching on his palette new sunrises and will continue doing so until he speaks the new heaven and new earth into existence. I long for the day when Christ will become my eternal sunrise. He paints for his pleasure, and we experience the pleasure of his magnificence.

So read your will, found in the Scriptures, to discover how rich you are in Christ. Everything Christ owns, you own! When you claim your inheritance, then you won’t live an impoverished spiritual life. You’ll know how rich you are!

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Meditate on your inheritance found in Ephesians 1:3-14 until Christ’s riches fill your coffers to overflowing.