Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blessings... and Treasures in Jars of Clay

A thought occurred to me a few days ago. It was one of those thoughts with staying power, the kind that keep returning in different ways and at different times.

When God makes His face shine on me, I want to shine back in Jesus.

Why is it so incredible that the God of all time and space would desire to shine His face on us After all, He gave us His beloved Son Jesus.

The thought comes from Scripture; here’s the wonderful blessing from the Bible that you may have heard before, Numbers 24-26:

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

The thought led me to the Blue Letter Bible,, on the Internet. That’s where I learned a great way to enjoy God’s Word. Put the word, shine, into the search bar and then follow the thread through all the scripture it returns! Read the Bible, tracing that thin thread throughout the Bible - see the lives, hear the voices, and touch the minds of those serving God as the story woven through the wonderful tapestry of scripture unfolds. When something’s on your heart… search! Knock and the door will be opened to you!

I’ve gleaned part of that particular journey in the following ideas. After all, the Lord’s face, shining on me; what could be more amazing than the God of all, pure and perfect love, shining on me? David, a man after God’s own heart knew this and even though his transgressions are chronicled for all of us to see, proving him to be a man, like us; he knew to return to God for his provision and to ask for God’s forgiveness and blessing.

Psalm 4, a Psalm of David… eight beautiful verses, David crying out to God in his distress, asking for His favor, and in verse 6, saying:

“Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord.”

And again in Psalm 36, in verse 16, saying:

“Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”

Again in Psalms, 67, 80, and 119, others asking the same blessings. And then, our Lord Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, just after the Beatitudes where He beautifully teaches us important moral tenets of the faith… as Matthew 5:16 records:

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Shine back! Shine in a way that shows the love you have received and understood, the love that you have learned and shared; is on display for all to see, in who you are and in what you do. But that is all done for His glory, the glory of our Father in Heaven.

Then Paul teaches, encouraging us throughout Second Corinthians Chapter 4, and in verse 6:

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

Verses 4:7-11 continue:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”

Treasure in jars of clay, this light from the shining face of our Father in Heaven, bestows a love so great that His Son, was given for us; that He loved us so much His Son was sacrificed for our wrongs that we might have a way to our Father again. It is a story of love, a story of reconciliation, a story of pursuing and sharing that love.

That this treasure might live in jars of clay, that our faces might be able to shine back to our Father in Heaven is a miracle. The light is that of our Lord and Savior Jesus, and it means our relationship can be restored through this love - offered and accepted. When God makes His face shine upon you, may you shine back in Jesus. That’s what I want to do.

Given to us in the Bible, a remarkable and miraculous revelation of God Himself to man, the story of our creation and history unfolds; our foibles and our deceits, our folly and our crimes – transgressions against His perfect love. And of course, the chronicled lives of those who loved Him imperfectly, but for one. It is a story whose tapestry weaves tightly through millennia and on throughout all time to teach the Truth in a way that we might understand and know God. The recorded story lays a red carpet for Jesus, and transcribes the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus, for us to know and understand.

Can we, these jars of clay, shine? Yes we can, the light of Jesus can shine brightly through us. That light shining to the glory of God can change the world and make it better than man can dream. It does that one life at a time, as each comes to know the relationship Jesus has for us, to restore us to our Father.

God Bless.