Encouragement for Today - February 21, 2006
Encouragement for Today
Susanne Scheppmann, Co-editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Jeremiah 31:3, “… I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (NIV)
My husband proposed on Valentine’s Day. We dined at an exquisite French restaurant. A gorgeous bouquet of red roses welcomed me to the quiet secluded table. We ate scrumptious seafood and steak. I anticipated the next romantic sequence in our evening out. After we ordered our coffee, the waiter brought out a tiny delectable cake. A sparkling one-carat diamond ring was perched in the center of the cake atop a red-frosted heart.
I bubbled with enthusiastic words of love and devotion, “I accept. Oh, I love you! This diamond is gorgeous!”
Without hesitation or a look of embarrassment, my new fiancé said, “It’s not a real diamond. It is a zirconium.”
Stunned I thought, Oh, I get it. He didn’t want to put the real one in the cake.
Wrong! This was my engagement ring. It was beautiful, but not real.
My husband and I often laugh at this story. (After five years of marriage, I did get the real thing). You see, whether the bling-bling was real or not didn’t matter. What did matter was whether his love for me was authentic. His love has stood the test of time through some very difficult moments.
We entered into this marriage as a blended family. Both my husband and I brought children into our new home. He has loved my children as his own. His loving-kindness wove us into a strong family. Without his authentic love, we could not have survived the long stretches of stress it took to adjust as a stepfamily. A big beautiful bling-bling could not have bound us together. However, his profound commitment pulled us through the tough times.
It is the same with God’s love for us. He loves us with an everlasting love. His loving-kindness draws us into an eternal love relationship. God’s love for us is eternal; nothing can alter it.
However, to find complete contentment we must love Him too. He longs for us to seek Him instead of the material possessions this world has to offer us. Jesus warned us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34, NIV). God wants to be the treasure of our hearts.
Three of my favorite verses illustrate how easy it is to allow God to become the love of your life.
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4, NIV)
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. (Psalm 27:8, KJV)
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)
He doesn’t hide from us!
Many times in our lives we seek the “bling-bling stuff”. God in His infinite wisdom knows what we need the most — His love. His authentic love endures the good times and the bad times. He desires for us to seek His love. He will be found, just as surely as I found the zirconium atop the cake.
When we seek Him, He rejoices over us as a groom does over his bride. “As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5, NIV).
So start looking for the treasure of Jesus’ love. It will be found and it will be the real thing. And He will rejoice over you — His bride!
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, so many times my eyes are blinded by the shiny fake bling-bling this world has to offer me. Today remind me to seek after the real thing — Your Love. Help me to realize Your everlasting love for me is authentic. Nothing can tarnish it. So I say to You, My heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Look through your jewelry box. Look closely at each piece. Do you have “bling-bling” that at one time you thought you couldn’t live without? How do you feel about it today? Take one piece of your jewelry, whether costume or the real thing, and wear it to remind you to seek Jesus today.
What material things do I treasure?
What will eventually happen to my most important treasures?
Do I believe I can seek God and I will find Him?
How has God shown me His love is authentic?
Mark 10:21, “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (NIV)
Psalm 19:9-10, “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” (NIV)
Job 28:12-17, “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says, 'It is not in me'; the sea says, 'It is not with me.' It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver. It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.” (NIV)
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst
Searching for God’s Treasures (audio set), by Renee Swope
Show Me the Way (music CD), by Gwen Smith