Our Losses Reveal Our Hope

Our Losses Reveal Our Hope (Biblical Hope We Can't Lose) by Jean Wilund via www.InspireAFire.com

Our Losses Reveal Our Hope (Biblical Hope We Can't Lose) by Jean Wilund via www.InspireAFire.comHey!

I’m blogging over at InspireAFire today.

Click on over there and find out what I lost, and what it taught me about Biblical hope verse Please! Oh, please! Oh, please! hope.

Our Losses Reveal Our Hope

Thanks!
Jean




God is Incomprehensible

God is Incomprehensible: From the Never-ending, Ever-growing List of the Character Traits of God. (www.JeanWilund.com)

What??

There’s much I don’t understand. Surprising, I know.

For instance, I’ll never understand how I can sit on my porch in South Carolina and talk into a small handheld metal box that transmits a living image of me to a satellite in space and then to my daughter’s phone on the beach in Hawaii, which then shoots her image to the satellite and back to my phone for an hour as we chat casually, instantly, and seamlessly.

What?!

I don’t understand any of that — except the part where she’s sitting in Hawaii, and I’m on my back porch in South Carolina.

Oh, and the talking part. I get that, too, sort of. Ok, not really. How do our brains tell our vocal chords what vibrations to make? And how do our bodies turn them into words other people understand?

If I can’t understand all the wonders of the world God created, how do I begin to understand Him?


God is Incomprehensible

Incomprehensible — the inability to be understood. 

God is beyond our ability to understand fully.

We can understand much of God, but not all of Him.

If we combined all the brilliant minds in history into one super brain, it wouldn’t be enough to comprehend all God is.


For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
~ I Corinthians 2:11


God is unique unto Himself. No one and nothing is like Him.

When we try to explain what He’s like, we have to grab images we can understand to explain the God we never can.

But beware. Many try to reduce God to an image they not only can understand but one they think they can control.

Words like “appearance” and “like” pop up whenever we try to explain God. Even in the Bible.

God is like the sun in all its glory, except more. Much more.


As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.
~ Ezekiel 1:28


If We Can’t Comprehend God, Should We Even Try?

Absolutely, we should try. But understand…

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.
~Deuteronomy 29:29

God only keeps some things secret.

We should seek to understand God as much as He’ll reveal Himself to us and then accept the rest as “the secret things” that “belong to the Lord.”

God wants us to know Him. He even gave us a thick Book to teach us about Him.  


Understanding God is Incomprehensible Makes a Difference in Our Lives Today

Like all of God’s character traits, understanding that He can’t be fully understood makes a difference in our lives today.

For some, understanding and accepting this is a stumbling block. For others, it’s a path to peace.

Some people refuse to believe what they can’t understand. That was my husband at first.

When friends first introduced Larry to Christ, he battled trusting in Him because too much of the Bible seemed incomprehensible. He refused to trust what he couldn’t understand. For years.

Then one of those friends, Karen, shared a verse with him:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
~ Proverbs 3:5-6

God is Incomprehensible: From the Never-ending, Ever-growing List of the Character Traits of God. (www.JeanWilund.com)This verse helped Larry realize that his finite ability to understand an infinite God would always be limited.

He recognized that if God were small enough to be understood, He wouldn’t be big enough to be God.

After thinking on Proverbs 3:5-6, Larry knelt down on his knees in his bedroom and placed his faith in Jesus Christ.

He’d found a God he couldn’t comprehend but could fully trust.

Don’t let God’s incomprehensibility be a stumbling block. Let it be a springboard to a life of faith.

When we rest in what we know and don’t fight over what we don’t, we can experience peace in normal everyday life as well as in the midst of heart-wrenching trials.

I don’t have to understand why God wants my oldest daughter to live 4,766 miles away right now. I only have to trust Him. 

He knows my heart and how I miss her while she’s in Hawaii. And He cares.

He’s with her always. He can reach her no matter where she goes.

And He knows how all this fits into His bigger picture for our good and His glory — even if I don’t.
If #God were small enough to be understood, He wouldn't be big enough to be God. #GodIsIncomprehensible Click To Tweet

I don’t have to understand why God has allowed my friend’s child to suffer unrelieved pain for months. I only have to trust Him.

He knows what’s wrong and how to heal him.

He knows the desperate desire my friend feels every moment to see her son enjoy life again. And He cares.

And He knows how all this fits into His bigger picture for our good and His glory — even if they don’t.

God gives us what we need to know when we need to know it.

Let’s not confuse wants and needs.

We want all the answers, but we don’t need them.

We need to trust in the One who understands all. 



God’s Word on His Incomprehensibleness

All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
~ Matthew 11:27 NASB

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
~ Romans 11:33 NASB

Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.
~ Psalm 145:3 NASB

“Can you discover the depths of God?
Can you [by searching] discover the limits of the Almighty [ascend to His heights, extend to His widths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]?
His wisdom is as high as the heights of heaven. What can you do?
It is deeper than Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead). What can you know?
“It is longer in measure [and scope] than the earth,
And broader than the sea.
~ Job 11:7-9 AMP

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
~ Isaiah 55:9 NASB


God may be incomprehensible, but He’s not unapproachable.

Seek God with all your heart. When you come to know Him as He reveals Himself in each of His character traits, He’ll make your life more than you could’ve hoped it to be.

Only God knows what that will look like, but you can trust Him, even if you can’t comprehend Him. 

The more I come to know #God the more I understand He can't be fully understood. #KnowingGod Click To Tweet




E-Bible or Printed Bible? Why I’ll Never Give Up My Printed Bible

E-Bible or Printed Bible? Why I'll Never Give Up My Printed Bible by Jean Wilund via www.JeanWilund.com

I sort of freaked the other day. I couldn’t find one of my Bibles. The one in the photo above.

I bought a new study Bible a few months ago that I’ve been using lately and couldn’t remember where I’d placed the other one.

My heart ached at the thought of all I’d lose if I couldn’t find it.

And it inspired this post.

E-Bible or Printed Bible?

Do you have any E-Bible apps on your phone?

I do.

I have a few I love, but I can’t imagine ever substituting a printed Bible for a digital one.

When I travel, I take my printed Bible with me. If I’m going to be gone long, I’ll even take my thick study Bible.

And I write all over every page.

If you’ve ever been in a Bible study with me, depending on the Bible I brought with me, you may see me tuck it in my lap.

I’m hiding it from you.

When people see how many notes cover the pages of my Bible, they get a little bug-eyed.

So Many Notes!

If you’ve seen the lovely modern style of Bible journaling with its artwork and flourishes, you won’t find that in mine.

Nothing beautiful about my handiwork, unless you enjoy microscopic notes in every nook and cranny.

It’s not that I’m super spiritual. I’m just super forgetful.

I’ve read quotes in my Bible and thought, “Wow. That’s powerful. When did I write that quote?”

I’m looking at my own handwriting, but I have no memory of having read it before. I certainly don’t remember writing it into the margin.

E-Bible or Printed Bible? That is the Question by Jean Wilund via www.JeanWilund.com

The Best Argument for Using a Printed Bible

Blogger and author Tim Challies had made the switch to E-Bibles over printed ones until he flipped through George Müller’s, Amy Carmichael’s, and William Carey’s Bibles.

Check out Tim’s post and see their Bibles: The Best Argument for Using a Printed Bible

I feel even better about writing all over the pages of my Bible after seeing theirs. I’m in great company.

Who knows what will happen to my Bibles after I’m gone. I pray others will pick them up and be blessed.

What Will God Do With Your Bibles?

Imagine being able to light a fire in the faith of one of your great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren through one of your Bibles.

Picture them stumbling upon a note you’d scribbled in a corner of the book of John that strengthens their understanding of God.

What if they come to faith through reading your Bible?

I ran across an old calendar of my great-grandfather’s several years ago. Before I found it, I’d had no idea if he was even a Chrisitan. But then I opened the pages of his calendar and found Bible verses and a simple statement of faith in God’s sovereignty that I’ve never forgotten. He wrote: What is, is best.

I never met my great-grandfather, but he touched my life through a note he wrote long ago.

On almost every page of my Bible, I’ve scribbled insights and explanations from great commentaries and teachers.

I’ve noted reflections and connections I’ve seen in the Bible as the Holy Spirit has led me through His Word.

And I’ve poured out my heart as God has poured in His Word.

No, I can’t imagine ever giving up using a printed Bible.

Having said that, I do love E-Bibles, but not as my main Bible.

Click to read My Top Five Favorite Bible Study Apps via www.JeanWilund.com

Click to read My Top Five Favorite Bible Study Apps via www.JeanWilund.com

I’ve written a couple of posts on Bible Study Apps I love. And I’ve got another in my mind to write soon.

Bible Apps are wonderfully helpful, but they’ll never replace my printed Bible.

My husband said it makes him sad to see so few people bringing printed Bibles to church anymore. I agree. #TeamPrintedBible

What about you? Which do you prefer?


E-Bible or Printed Bible? Which do you prefer? #Bible# TeamPrintedBible Click To Tweet

E-Bible or Printed Bible? Why I'll Never Give Up My Printed Bible by Jean Wilund via www.JeanWilund.com




How the Books of the New Testament Are Organized

Welcome to the Bible: How the New Testament Books are Organized via www.jeanwilund.com

Confused Yet?

If you were brand new to the Bible and started in the New Testament, it might confuse you at first.

My friend Ray received a New Testament and started at the beginning — like most people do with any book. 

He loved the story of Jesus in Matthew and looked forward to what the next book held.

Surprised to find that the book of Mark was basically the same story, he shrugged his shoulders and kept reading. 

Then he flipped to Luke.

Same story.

He kept reading but said, “If the next book is the same story, I quit!” 

He turned to the book of John. And began to read. And kept reading anyway.

Fortunately, God had already grabbed Ray’s heart. He’d transformed it by the truth Ray had read — now four times. 

When he flipped to the next book, Acts, he realized all 27 books of the New Testament are not the same story after all. But they are about the same person, Jesus Christ.

The New Testament is organized like the Old Testament, by the type of literature contained in it. 

Let’s take a look:

The Five Groups of the New Testament


1. The Four Gospels

(Mattew, Mark, Luke, and John)

The Gospels tell the most important story of all — Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

The four books follow Jesus from the crib (the manger, to be exact) to the grave and up into heaven after He rose from the dead.

Just before Jesus rose to heaven, He told His closest friends, the disciples, to go into all the world, preach the gospel, and make new disciples (students of Jesus Christ).


2. The One Book of History

(Acts)

The book of Acts tells of the extraordinary acts of the apostles of Jesus as they went into the world to share the gospel and make disciples.

Amazing events occurred along the way.

Peter raised a woman named Tabitha back to life (Acts 9:36-42).

An angel later miraculously snuck Peter out of prison (Acts 12:6-18).

Paul and Silas were shackled in prison singing praise songs when an earthquake shook the prison doors open. (Acts 16:25-40)


3. The 13 Pauline Epistles and Hebrews

(Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews)

Epistles are letters written to specific groups or individuals but for public benefit.

The Pauline Epistles are letters from the apostle Paul, not a woman named Pauline.

Paul had once been Saul, a violent enemy of the church. But on his way to arrest Christians, he met Jesus.

On the road to Damascus, Jesus changed Saul’s life forever. God resurrected Saul in a way. He transformed him into Paul, one of the greatest preachers and church leaders in history.

And a prolific author.

Paul wrote 13 letters to churches and/or individuals addressing concerns and teaching spiritual truths.

He may, or may not, have written the last book in this group, the book of Hebrews. No one knows for sure.


4. The Seven General Epistles

(James, 1, 2, & 3 John, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude)

James, John, Peter, and Jude wrote a total of seven letters to the church in general (all Believers) instead of to specific churches or individuals.

Each epistle addressed different concerns or themes as God’s Spirit directed them such as love, faith, and false teachers.


5. The One Book of Prophecy

(Revelation)

The final book of the New Testament, and of the Bible, is titled in English the Book of the Revelation to John.

It’s usually shorted to Revelation, but often mistakenly called Revelations.

Revelation is the only book that’s solely dedicated to prophecy and offers a blessing to any who study it.

It describes, in literal terms and brilliant symbolism, the second coming of Christ to set up His eternal kingdom and deal the final blow to Satan and his demons.

Revelation’s soundtrack would be epic.


Next Time

Next time we’ll zoom in further and look at the benefits of having the books of the Bible broken down into chapters and verses.

We’ll also look at the challenges it brings — challenges you may not have considered but must. 


Ever wondered how the New Testament is organized? #Biblestudy #God Click To Tweet

Welcome to the Bible: How the New Testament Books are Organized via www.jeanwilund.com


PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES

In case you missed these earlier posts in the Welcome to the Bible series, click the photos:

1) An Introduction to this Introduction to the Bible:
See the Big Picture

Welcome to The Bible: So Much to Confuse and So Little to Understand -- Wait a Minute. Strike That. Reverse It. -- See the Big Picture to Increase Understanding and Reverse Confusion (via www.JeanWilund.com)


2) An Overview of Who Wrote the Bible:
A Thick Book With Lots of Authors

Welcome to the Bible: A Thick Book With Lots of Authors — An Overview of Who Wrote the Bible


3) Books, Chapters, & Verses, Oh My!:
Why Two Testaments?

Welcome to the Bible Why 2 Testaments? via www.jeanwilund.com


4) How Are the Books of the Old Testament Organized?

Welcome to the Bible: How the Old Testament Books are Organized




How Are the Books of the Old Testament Organized?

Welcome to the Bible: How the Old Testament Books are Organized

How Are the Books of the Old Testament Organized?

Are you like me? Did you assume the Old Testament is in chronological order?

It starts out like that in Genesis. “In the beginning . . . Day one . . . Day two. . . Then . . .Then . . .”

It continues like this through Exodus.

But then the books begin to intertwine. And the timing of events becomes confusing if you think it’s all written in chronological order.

So, how are the books of the Old Testament organized?

They’re ordered in groups by the five main types of literature contained within the Old Testament.

 Literature teachers around the world just smiled.


The Order of the Old Testament


1. Law (Pentateuch) — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

Collectively, the first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch or the Law of Moses.

The Jews call it the Torah, which means Law, but the Pentateuch is far from just a list of laws and rules.

The Pentateuch is not a list of Shalls and Shall Nots.

It’s the beginning of the compelling and true story of the whole Bible — God revealing Himself to man and restoring man back into relationship with Him.

But what does Law have to do with the story?

The story begins with how God created a perfect world, which man wrecked by bringing sin into it when he broke the one law God had given.

The story continues throughout the first five books.

It shows how God’s plan, which He set from eternity past, for our salvation through Jesus began to unfold. Part of this plan involves His giving Moses and the nation of Israel the Law of Moses.

The Law is our teacher.

It teaches us the depth of our sinfulness and our utter inability to keep the law and thereby save ourselves. And it reveals our desperate need for a Savior. Our need for Jesus. (Galatians 3:19-25)


2. History —Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther

These authors tell the storied history of Israel with its rise and fall of kings, particularly David, and a few nasty queens.

Ever heard of Jezebel? Not a nice lady.

God weaves in hints of Jesus through it all, including the sobering, tragic stories of what happens when people run after other gods, which are only false gods.

Hint: It never ends well. But it certainly confirms God’s grace is staggering.


3. Wisdom & Poetry — Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon

These books are written in poetic form and filled with wisdom and truth, as well as pictures of Jesus and His love for His people.

King David, his son Solomon, and many others wrote to encourage faith in and obedience to God.


4. Major Prophets — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel

Prophets were God’s special spokesmen. They acted as preachers of God’s Word, predictors of the future, and watchmen over the lives and hearts of Israel.

These prophets wrote during the time of the kings, after King David.

David’s son Solomon didn’t rule as you’d expect a man to whom God had give such wisdom to rule. He worshipped other gods as well as the one true God.

After Solomon died, God ripped the nation of Israel into two kingdoms. Israel in the north and Judah in the south “Because they have forsaken Me . . . and have not walked in My ways” (I Kings 11:33). (See I Kings 11:30-34.)

Some of the prophets wrote to Judah. Others wrote to Israel.

Some wrote before the Babylonian exile when Judah was taken captive to Babylon. Some wrote after the exile ended and many returned to Jerusalem, Judah’s capital and where God’s temple had been.

They all warned them of danger and pointed to the coming Savior, Jesus.

The “Major Prophets” weren’t more important than the “Minor Prophets.” They just wrote longer books.

Isaiah has 66 chapters.

Jeremiah has 52.

The prophet Jeremiah also wrote Lamentations. It only has five chapters, but since Jeremiah wrote it, it gets to hang out in the Major Prophets category.


5. Minor Prophets — Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi

The Minor Prophets are short books with big messages also written by prophets.

Each focus on Israel’s relationship with God. They warned Israel of the importance of following the Lord and revealed important aspects of God’s character.

Many, like Jonah, contain some of the clearest pictures of Jesus. (Matthew 12:39-41)

Obadiah only has one chapter. Hosea and Zechariah are each 14 chapters long.

Ever wondered how the Books of the Old Testament are organized & what they're about? #Biblestudy #Jesus Click To Tweet


Welcome to the Bible: How the Old Testament Books are Organized via www.JeanWilund.comWe’ve only looked at a snapshot of the Old Testament books.

Next time we’ll look at a similar glimpse of the New Testament books.

Then we’ll start diving deeper.

We’re getting our feet wet in the Bible one toe at a time. 



PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES

In case you missed these earlier posts in the Welcome to the Bible series, click the photos:


1) An Introduction to this Introduction to the Bible:
See the Big Picture

Welcome to The Bible: So Much to Confuse and So Little to Understand -- Wait a Minute. Strike That. Reverse It. -- See the Big Picture to Increase Understanding and Reverse Confusion (via www.JeanWilund.com)


2) An Overview of Who Wrote the Bible:
A Thick Book With Lots of Authors

Welcome to the Bible: A Thick Book With Lots of Authors — An Overview of Who Wrote the Bible


3) Books, Chapters, & Verses, Oh My!:
Why Two Testaments?

Welcome to the Bible Why 2 Testaments? via www.jeanwilund.com