Precious in God’s Eyes

Everyone wants to feel wanted and loved. No one likes the feeling that they are worthless and unwanted. Yet at one point or another in your life, you will probably struggle with those feelings to some degree or another. And when you do, where will you look for comfort? The worldly individual will search himself for personal qualities that he thinks make him him valuable to society and full of worth in himself. But if, when plagued with feelings of doubt and despair, you try to find something good in yourself, you will come up short and void of consolation. Instead, turn to the ever-comforting Word of God, for there your heavenly Father provides all the comfort you need. There are many examples of God’s love for His elect people that can be found in the Bible, but I would like to look at a few in particular that really illustrate how precious God’s children are to Him.

If you are struggling with your sense of worth, simply consider the fact that God calls you His child. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (I John 3:1). God cares for those who fear and trust Him as a loving father would for his precious children. God loves His elect so much that He provided the way for them to become His adopted sons and daughters through their older brother and Lord, Jesus Christ. This is the only basis you and I truly have to be assured of our value. Without this knowledge, there would be no reason to believe there is any worth in ourselves at all and to do so would be vain and proud. You are a redeemed child of God, and He loves you as such. You have worth!

Another passages that serves as a comforting reminder to all of God’s children is Zechariah 2:8: “For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” God calls His chosen people the apple of his eye! The phrase “apple of the eye” refers to the center of the eye – the iris – which is one of the most protected parts of the human body. Think of how protective you are of your eyes, how you reflectively blink and shield your face to prevent anything from damaging your eyes. Think of how much you depend on your eyes, how even an irritated or dry eye can leave you unable to carry on with your daily activities. Think of how precious your eyes and the gift of sight are to you. That is the picture God is painting for His people. You are the apple of His eye, and He will protect you as His most treasured possession. That’s how precious you are to Him.

Another very comforting passage for God’s children is Matthew 10: 29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” If you are tempted to believe that you are noticed by no one of importance, this proves otherwise. Whether or not they are consciously aware of it, God is always watching and caring for His people. He holds you, his precious child, in the palm of His hand so that not so much as a hair can fall out of your head without His knowledge and will. How comforting!

Everyone wants to feel valuable, and many seek to find their worth in themselves. They try to find some good virtues in themselves that give them worth. But the only way you can truly find worth is as you view yourself as a beloved child of God through Jesus Christ. Then you possess the comfort that you are loved and treasured by the Almighty Jehovah God of heaven and earth. You are the apple of His eye. You are the object of His constant care and protection. You are His precious child. What more could you need?

Anna Langerak

Obstacles

A month ago we had a significant windstorm in the Grand Rapids area. Lightning, thunder, heavy rains and an isolated tornado were accompanied by high winds that leveled trees and knocked out power for two days or so.  I commuted to work that Friday morning alright, but when I went use the trails they were blocked with large trees that had fallen during the storm. I was unable to maneuver my bike around them. I tried one direction and couldn’t get through. I went the opposite way and faced the same problem. Finally I biked through Grandville and it ended up taking me longer to get home than I had anticipated.

This little experience is not that much different from our everyday lives. Sometimes God sends us trials and temptations that we find difficult to see our way through and get around. We often wonder why He sends us these things and if there is any escape from them. The answer to these questions is that God sends these things for our spiritual profit even if we don’t understand fully how they are going to work out for our good. God sends us trials, and gives us the grace to bear them. God provides an escape in the midst of the temptations of this life. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Cor. 10:13).

In other words, no temptation is outside of God’s control. God will not allow us to fall into any unplanned temptation or trial because He has planned and continues to plan all things. Sometimes the way through our trials and temptations may take longer than we would like, just like my commute home did. We all have obstacles in life. For some it’s a disease such as diabetes or cancer. For others the obstacle is being confined to a wheelchair either from birth or due to an accident. For still others it’s depression, eating disorders or family issues. Others experience unemployment.  Whatever the problem, we may bring our prayers to God and trust in His protecting care. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God in him will I trust” (Ps. 91:1, 2). When we place our trust and reliance on Him, we will never be disappointed in Him no matter how bleak our circumstances seem to be. May God grant us this grace!

Kevin Rau

Active Worship

Obviously, worshiping requires action. We physically get into our car and go to church. We physically fold our hands and pray, we physically sing out loud, we physically put money into the offering, and we physically sit and listen to the sermon. But are our hearts and minds working as well?

When we enter the Lord’s house every Sunday the first words that come out of our Pastor’s mouth is the “call to worship.” We hear God calling us to come and worship Him! When we sit down in church the familiar Bible passage, it quite often reaches our ears and goes no further. Maybe because we haven’t quite settled down and gotten our minds focused yet. Or maybe it’s because we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s the same every Sunday… we’ve heard it once and don’t need to hear it again.  As our ears physically hear these words, so must our heart, mind, and soul.

“O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand” (Ps. 95:6-7).

Active worshipers hear the call to worship and obey that call. They receive the votum and salutation, and they sing with their hearts the song of praise! They confess the Apostles Creed, instead of reciting it. They hear and understand the law, seeing how they have broken it the past week and are pricked in their hearts because of their sins. During the congregational prayer, they hear every word of their pastor. The words from his lips enter their mind, and they earnestly pray for the members of their congregation and the mission fields. As the Scripture is read and the sermon is preached, they eagerly hear the Word. They apply it to their heart, and use the knowledge to praise and serve the Lord throughout their life. They give their offerings with a purpose, and can sing the doxology and receive the benediction with a soul that has been fed!

A passive worshiper uses this time to think about the past or coming week. They tire at hearing the same law, and only sing joyful if it’s a “song they like.” They wonder why they never “get anything from the sermon,” and pine for another pastor who will grab their attention more quickly. The seeds that their pastor plants fall upon stony places, and then wither in the sun. They enter the sanctuary expecting to receive, but not interested in giving.

On this Saturday, take thought of the parable of the sower. Take the time to ask the Lord to prepare your heart, soul, and mind into good ground. Enter the house of the Lord, and actively praise and worship him!

“But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirty fold. Who hath hears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 13: 8-9).

Averly Kikkert