All That Is Precious

1 Peter 2:1-10

Throughout my life, I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. I have boxes of things that at one time were important but over time have lost their intrigue. And, as an unrepentant collector, I’ve realized that the thrill is in searching for and acquiring a new piece to add to the collection. Then my attention turns toward the hunt for the next item.

While we pile up many things that are important to us, very little of it is really precious. In fact, over time I have learned that the most precious things in life are not material items at all. Rather, it’s the people who have loved me and built into my life who are precious. When I find my heart saying, “I don’t know what I’d do without them,” I know that they are indeed precious to me.

So when Peter refers to Jesus as “a chief cornerstone, elect, precious” (1 Peter 2:6), it should resonate in our hearts that He is truly precious—our prized possession above everything and everyone else. Where would we be today without the constant unfailing companionship of His faithful presence, wise and perfect guidance, merciful patience, comfort, and transforming reproof? What would we do without Him? I can’t even imagine!— by Joe Stowell

Lord, help us not to focus on fleeting treasures but on
You, our most precious treasure. Teach us the joy
of reveling in You and Your loving presence
and provision in our lives.

Of all that is precious, Jesus tops the list.

Prayers Are Precious Jewels

The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers. 1 PETER 3:12

You and I live in a loud world. To get someone’s attention is no easy task. He must be willing to set everything aside to listen: turn down the radio, turn away from the monitor, turn the corner of the page and set down the book. When someone is willing to silence everything else so he can hear us clearly, it is a privilege. A rare privilege, indeed.

[Your] prayers are honored [in heaven] as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord.… Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.… Your prayer on earth activates God’s power in heaven, and “God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.” …

Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth.

The Great House of God

Strong in Grace

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1)

In the Old Testament, “grace” (used 69 times) is often applied in the sense of personal favors or physical blessings. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). In the New Testament, however, the term (used 156 times) often seems to emphasize God’s personal empowerment or the granting of His unique spiritual favor, as is clear in the wonderful passage Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Once the saving grace has been given, the believer is expected to use that grace with victory in mind–confidence that empowers our spiritual life and witness. We are to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Hence, we are to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10) as we wrestle against the powers of darkness that battle us unceasingly. Although “|we| can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth |us|” (Philippians 4:13), we must remember that those “things” include the entire spectrum of poverty to wealth and from hunger to satisfaction. God’s grace is strong enough to counter every worldly circumstance.

We must remember, however, that even the greatest heroes of the faith endured intense opposition, seasons of pain and privation, and occasionally were tortured to death (Hebrews 11:32-38). God’s strong grace is sufficient. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). HMM III

God who cannot lie promised

“God that cannot lie promised.” (Titus 1:2.)

FAITH is not working up by will power a sort of certainty that something is coming to pass, but it is seeing as an actual fact that God has said that this thing shall come to pass, and that it is true, and then rejoicing to know that it is true, and just resting because God has said it.

Faith turns the promise into a prophecy. While it is merely a promise it is contingent upon our cooperation. But when faith claims it, it becomes a prophecy, and we go forth feeling that it is something that must be done because God cannot lie.—Days of Heaven upon Earth.

I hear men praying everywhere for more faith, but when I listen to them carefully, and get at the real heart of their prayer, very often it is not more faith at all that they are wanting, but a change from faith to sight.

Faith says not, “I see that it is good for me, so God must have sent it,” but, “God sent it, and so it must be good for me.”

Faith, walking in the dark with God, only prays Him to clasp its hand more closely.—Phillips Brooks.

“The Shepherd does not ask of thee
Faith in thy faith, but only faith in Him;
And this He meant in saying, ‘Come to me.’
In light or darkness seek to do His will,
And leave the work of faith to Jesus still.”

Jesus – the rose of Sharon

“I am the rose of Sharon.” Song 2:1

Whatever there may be of beauty in the material world, Jesus Christ possesses all that in the spiritual world in a tenfold degree. Amongst flowers the rose is deemed the sweetest, but Jesus is infinitely more beautiful in the garden of the soul than the rose can in the gardens of earth. He takes the first place as the fairest among ten thousand. He is the sun, and all others are the stars; the heavens and the day are dark in comparison with Him, for the King in His beauty transcends all.

“I am the rose of Sharon.” This was the best and rarest of roses. Jesus is not “the rose” alone, He is “the rose of Sharon,” just as He calls His righteousness “gold,” and then adds, “the gold of Ophir”—the best of the best. He is positively lovely, and superlatively the loveliest. There is variety in His charms.

The rose is delightful to the eye, and its scent is pleasant and refreshing; so each of the senses of the soul, whether it be the taste or feeling, the hearing, the sight, or the spiritual smell, finds appropriate gratification in Jesus. Even the recollection of His love is sweet.

Take the rose of Sharon, and pull it leaf from leaf, and lay by the leaves in the jar of memory, and you shall find each leaf fragrant long afterwards, filling the house with perfume. Christ satisfies the highest taste of the most educated spirit to the very full.

The greatest amateur in perfumes is quite satisfied with the rose: and when the soul has arrived at her highest pitch of true taste, she shall still be content with Christ, nay, she shall be the better able to appreciate Him. Heaven itself possesses nothing which excels the rose of Sharon. What emblem can fully set forth His beauty?

Human speech and earth-born things fail to tell of Him. Earth’s choicest charms commingled, feebly picture His abounding preciousness. Blessed rose, bloom in my heart for ever!

Gather garlands of heavenly thoughts

His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers.” Song 5:13

Lo, the flowery month is come! March winds and April showers have done their work, and the earth is all bedecked with beauty. Come my soul, put on thine holiday attire and go forth to gather garlands of heavenly thoughts. Thou knowest whither to betake thyself, for to thee “the beds of spices” are well known, and thou hast so often smelt the perfume of “the sweet flowers,” that thou wilt go at once to thy well-beloved and find all loveliness, all joy in Him.

That cheek once so rudely smitten with a rod, oft bedewed with tears of sympathy and then defiled with spittle—that cheek as it smiles with mercy is as fragrant aromatic to my heart. Thou didst not hide Thy face from shame and spitting, O Lord Jesus, and therefore I will find my dearest delight in praising Thee.

Those cheeks were furrowed by the plough of grief, and crimsoned with red lines of blood from Thy thorn-crowned temples; such marks of love unbounded cannot but charm my soul far more than “pillars of perfume.” If I may not see the whole of His face I would behold His cheeks, for the least glimpse of Him is exceedingly refreshing to my spiritual sense and yields a variety of delights.

In Jesus I find not only fragrance, but a bed of spices; not one flower, but all manner of sweet flowers. He is to me my rose and my lily, my heart’s- ease and my cluster of camphire. When He is with me it is May all the year round, and my soul goes forth to wash her happy face in the morning-dew of His grace, and to solace herself with the singing of the birds of His promises.

Precious Lord Jesus, let me in very deed know the blessedness which dwells in abiding, unbroken fellowship with Thee. I am a poor worthless one, whose cheek Thou hast deigned to kiss! O let me kiss Thee in return with the kisses of my lips.