How They Shine!
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
Years ago, while preaching the Word at a Bible conference, I noticed a young lady in one of the front pews who wasn’t listening to a word I was saying.
I could understand, however, for evidently she had just become engaged to be married. Her eyes were focused on the ring on the third finger of her left hand, and her heart and mind, evidently, on the young man who had placed it there.
With a pleased look on her face, and cocking her head from one side to the other, she gazed at that diamond from every angle. No matter how she looked at it, it shone — entirely apart from the quality of the stone. It shone because it spoke to her of him and of his love for her, and was the symbol of her betrothal to him.
For some time after I had concluded my message, my mind went back to that scene. The ring that had so occupied this young lady’s attention, made me think of the Bible, the very Book we had been studying that night. Examine that blessed Book ever so carefully; look at it from any angle and it shines! It made me think too of the grand Subject of that Book, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we believers have been “espoused… as a chaste virgin” (II Cor. 11:2). Unlike any earthly friend, He shines no matter how one looks at Him. Examine His words, His deeds, His personal attributes, from any angle and ever so carefully, and no matter how you look at Him He shines!
A Famous Young Man
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
Has it ever occurred to you how Timothy became so famous a young man?
H. L. Hastings tells of a group of British archeologists who, years ago, came upon a huge marble slab, evidently very ancient, high atop a mountain where no one would be apt to find it or remove it.
Experts were called upon to decipher the hieroglyphics which covered the marble monument. They found them to be a declaration by an ancient ruler of his great exploits, and an explanation that he had used this means of recording his deeds so as to secure to himself everlasting fame.
The trouble was that no one could find any historical account of a king who bore this name or who had accomplished the glorious exploits recorded on the marble slab! Thus the archeologists had found, engraved in marble, a glowing self-tribute to whom? It might as well have been to nobody!
By striking contrast, young Timothy has been well known by Christian people all over the world for nearly two thousand years! During all this time, without interruption, he has been read about, written about, preached about and used as an example of consistent Christian conduct. Yet, have you ever read one great deed done by Timothy? Have you ever read of one great sermon from his lips, one brilliant book or letter from his pen, one great exploit of any kind? No, you hardly know more than that he was a young preacher, a friend of Paul, and that he had been taught the Scriptures in early life by his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice (II Tim. 1:5), so that Paul could now write to him:
“…FROM A CHILD THOU HAST KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, WHICH ARE ABLE TO MAKE THEE WISE UNTO SALVATION, THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS” (II Tim. 3:15).
Scripture Reading: Revelation 7:1-3
“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
~ Revelation 7:3
In our reading today we see another scene unfolding from the opening of the sixth seal. In the previous scene we saw everyone reeling as the foundations of the earth tore apart and people had nowhere to hide. And now we see God’s mighty angels holding back the four winds so that God’s servants can receive his seal of protection. All who have faith in God and the saving power of the Lamb (Jesus) will be spared from the oncoming destruction.
Which group do you identify with? Are you in the company of God’s servants, people who live by faith? Or do you keep trying to run and hide away from God?
The tearing open of creation leaves no uncertainty. When God says the time has come, there will no longer be anywhere to hide. At this point we need to ponder God’s gift of grace. Because of Jesus, we can receive “the seal of the living God,” for he has conquered death and says, “I give them eternal life . . . no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
God’s seal on us is God’s way of saying, “I am your God; you are my people. I love and care for you more than you will ever understand. I am not here to let destruction come upon you but to give life to all who put their trust in me.” (See John 3:16.)
The gift of God’s seal is yours to embrace—a call and commitment to stand with all who identify as servants of the living God. Prayer: Lord and Savior, your grace and goodness are wide and deep. Thank you for your love and your protective care. Amen.
~ Jim Poelman