The Knowledge of the Holy – God’s attributes and the Trinity (chapters 3 and 4)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from our second week. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

In “The Knowledge of the Holy,” A.W. Tozer will examine many attributes of God, such as God’s self-existence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Before going any further, let’s first define “attribute.” What is an attribute?

An attribute is “a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.”

Dogs and cats have many similar attributes, but dogs and cats also have many different attributes. A dog has four legs and a tail. A cat, too, has four legs and a tail. A dog barks, but a cat meows. A cat can climb a tree, but a dog can’t.

People are created beings, created in the image of God. We were created with a mind and a body. We were created to think and speak. We can change and grow. We can grow better or worse over time. We can have bad days. We can be honest one minute, but dishonest the next. We can be kind and helpful for many hours of the day, but still have sinful thoughts and habits.

How would you describe yourself? What traits describe you? Are you tall or short? Do you have curly hair or straight hair? Are you loud or quiet?

How have you changed over time? How do you change even in the same day?

I would describe myself as friendly and outgoing – but I’m not always friendly and outgoing. Sometimes I feel shy. Sometimes I have a headache and I want to sit quietly. Sometimes I enjoy being alone to read a book or take a walk.

I would also describe myself as critical. Critical means that I notice when other people make mistakes. When I’m reading a book, I often notice a spelling or grammatical error. Being critical can be painful for my husband, my children, and my friends. But I am not always critical. Sometimes I am so full of grace that I surprise myself!

I am praying for God to help me remember that God loves me even when I say something wrong or have a mean attitude. God is growing me and helping me to be less critical of others and to speak words of encouragement.

God is not like a human. God’s attributes are unchanging. God was never made.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God is the same every minute of every day. God is the same today that he was the day He created the universe! God does not grow or improve over time.

God has never sinned. God has never had an evil thought. God never gets tired or sick.

Additionally, God has complete unity in Himself. God is ALWAYS ALL of His attributes. God is 100% loving, 100% holy, 100% just and 100% merciful … at-the-same-time … always.

As Tozer puts it, “An attribute, then, is not a part of God. It is how God is… The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God…. Love, for instance, is not something God has, and which may grow or diminish or cease to be. His love is the way God is, and when He loves He is simply being Himself. And so with the other attributes.” (Chapter 3)

In Chapter 4, Tozer considers the Holy Trinity. How can God be ONE, and yet also exist in THREE persons? The trinity is difficult for everyone to understand.

In our modern scientific world, we think we should be able to fully understand everything. We want to know exactly why it rains and exactly how gravity works and exactly how atoms hold together. The truth is, though, that we do not fully know how these things work.

“Every man lives by faith,
the nonbeliever as well as the saint;
the one by faith in natural laws
and the other by faith in God.”

A.W. Tozer

As an atheist, I had faith in science. I had faith in evolution. I had faith in my history textbooks and the news media. I believed and trusted in science, but I did not believe or trust in God.

Tozer wrote this book before the invention of the internet. Tozer wrote, “We cover our deep ignorance with words, … we are ashamed to wonder, we are afraid to whisper “mystery.””

Today if I want to know how my car works or how to make jianbing 煎饼 for myself, I can simply type my question into the internet and get an answer in less than 60 seconds!

When was the last time you realized that you didn’t know the answer to a question in your own mind, or a question that someone else asked? How did you feel? What did you do?

Today in 2021, “google” is a verb I often use. When my son asks me what the capital of Mongolia is, I might say, “I don’t know. You should google it.” This means, “You should look on the internet to find the answer.” If I wanted to learn more about the trinity, I could “google it” to read what scholars have to say.

Tozer refers to several ancient Christian creeds such as the Athanasian Creed which help us to better understand the triune nature of God. For example, the Athanasian Creed says, “Thus the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God: And yet there are not three gods, but one God.”

If I went on a Bible website such as www.Blueletterbible.com and searched for the word “trinity” written in the Bible, I wouldn’t find it … because it isn’t there.

There are many things that God says in the Bible without a complete explanation of the details. In many ways the trinity is a mystery that we don’t fully understand, but the Bible does have many examples of God’s three-in-one existence. Let’s look at these four passages together:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26a)

“神 说 : 我 们 要 照 着 我 们 的 形 像 、 按 着 我 们 的 样 式 造 人.” (創 世 記 1:26a)

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

以 色 列 阿 , 你 要 听 ! 耶 和 华 ─ 我 们 神 是 独 一 的 主 。” (申 命 記 6:4)

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water,
and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, 
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)



的。” ( 3:16-17)

Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)

” ( 10:30)

The triune God worked in unity during creation (Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:16, Job 26:13, Psalm 104:30), during the incarnation of Christ in His mother Mary (Luke 1:35), during the atonement (Hebrews 9:14), during the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:32, John 10:18, Romans 1:4), during salvation (1 Peter 1:2) and the indwelling of a Christian (John 14:15-26).

That’s my King

Holy, Holy, Holy Song

Trinity Children’s Song

Holy, Holy, Holy in Chinese

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea,
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who wert and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

The Knowledge of the Holy (preface, chapter 1 and 2)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from our first week. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

We are all effected by our mental image of God.

  • Do you think God is angry or mean?
  • Is He busy and uninterested?
  • Does He care about you, your family, your country?
  • Is God all-powerful?
  • Does He see and know everything?

How would you describe God in just one sentence?

I would describe God as the Almighty creator and ruler of the universe, full of steadfast love, justice, and mercy. But I’m afraid that I also sometimes feel like God is far away, so I try to take care of my life by my own strength instead of depending on Him.

In the book, “The Knowledge of the Holy,” published in 1961, A.W. Tozer says that most modern Christians no longer have an accurate view of God. He says that most modern Christians have replaced a HIGH, BIG view of God with a LOW, SMALL view of God. This has happened gradually over years and generations. We have not done this intentionally, rather our view of God has been reduced so slowly that most Christians are not even aware it has happened.

Do you think it has improved since 1961 or gotten worse?

One consequence of our world’s low view of God is immoral attitudes and actions by both Christians and non-Christians. One reason immorality is becoming so common is that people today have a wrong view of God.

How do you see a low view of God causing people to make immoral choices – lying, stealing, sexual immorality, gossiping, pride?

We must have an accurate belief of who God is, so we can think about Him rightly, worship Him rightly, and follow Him rightly. Unfortunately, we often make God more like us. We make God in the image of man. We imagine God to be more like a human, but we are wrong!

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19)
“神 非 人 , 必 不 致 说 谎 , 也 非 人 子 , 必 不 致 後 悔 。他 说 话 岂 不 照 着 行 呢 ?
他 发 言 岂 不 要 成 就 呢 ?” (民 數 記 23:19)

“Thought and speech are God’s gifts
to creatures made in His image.”

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 1)

We speak because God speaks. It is essential to use correct words to describe and think about
God, but it is also essential to actually believe the words that we say about God.


What you truly believe will determine your thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

We can say aloud a statement about God, a “creed,” such as these first two sentences of the Apostles Creed, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.”

But do we truly believe this, or do we just say that we believe it? Do you truly believe that God is the Father Almighty? Do you truly believe that God created the heavens and the earth? Do you truly believe that Jesus Christ is really the Son of God born from a virgin mother?

The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal (worldly) problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long.

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 1)

When you believe in an all-powerful eternal God, then you can encourage yourself that your time on earth will not last very long…. But when you believe in an all-powerful, eternal God, then you have an even greater problem: you must obey and worship this all-powerful, eternal God! But … When you believe in an all-powerful, eternal God who sent His own Son to die in your place, trusting in the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then God can FREE you from those fears!

You can truly and rightly believe that God loved you while you were a sinner, that He redeemed you by the blood of Jesus, and that He has freed you to obey and worship Him rightly through His Son, Jesus Christ! Praise GOD!

In Chapter 2, Tozer describes God as “Incomprehensible.” “Incomprehensible” means = not able to be understood. We cannot fully understand God because God is not exactly like anything or anybody.

We learn by using what we already know
as a bridge over which we pass to the unknown.

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 2)
Jianbing – YUMMMY!

If you were trying to tell me how amazing a “Jianbing” is, you would describe it using things that I know. You might say, “They’re like crepes wrapped around a crispy chip with eggs and potatoes, a yummy sauce and onions.” But no matter how hard you worked to describe it, I wouldn’t fully understand it unless I tasted it. YUMMY!!!

St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

I remember when my husband and I visited the world-famous St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow, Russia. I had seen dozens of picture and videos of it, but until I saw it in person, I had no idea how breathtakingly beautiful it was.


I’d heard women tell me how incredible it is to give birth and what a miracle adoption is, but until I gave birth myself, and until I adopted my own son myself, I simple couldn’t really understand. What a gift to be a mommy!

“Whatever we visualize God to be, He is not,
for we have constructed our image
out of that which He has made …
and what He has made is not God.”

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 2)

John, Isaiah, and Ezekiel all tried to describe their visions of God and heaven, but they couldn’t fully do it. They were limited by human language and experience.

When have you experienced this? When have you tried to understand something, but you couldn’t understand it until you experienced it for yourself?

In God’s great goodness, He sent Jesus, His own Son, God in the flesh, to live on earth with men.

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Colossians 2:9 ESV)
“因 为 神 本 性 一 切 的 丰 盛 都 有 形 有 体 的 居 住 在 基 督 里 面.” (歌 羅 西 書 2:9)

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“道 成 了 肉 身 , 住 在 我 们 中 间 , 充 充 满 满 的 有 恩 典 有 真 理 。
我 们 也 见 过 他 的 荣 光 , 正 是 父 独 生 子 的 荣 光.” (約 翰 福 音 1:14)

Though we are unable to fully describe or understand God because He is incomprehensible,
God has revealed so much about who He is in His Word! We should study the scriptures
diligently and we should trust that God will reveal Himself to us by faith, as we worship Him
each day with humility.

Let’s close our time together singing, “Behold Our God,” worshipping God together with our
hearts, souls and minds.

The Great Revealer

Have you ever seen my favorite TV couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, in their most excellent show, “Fixer Upper?”

This amazingly talented couple help their clients select a home in need of help. Then, the Gaines complete an incredible rehab on these “needy” houses. The show culminates on the last day with a big “reveal” to their clients of their new, improved house.

The highlight of the show is the moment this giant, billboard-sized poster of the “before” image of the house is opened up to reveal the “new and improved” exterior of the home as the client stands in awe and tears of amazement.

As I was working on my previous blog post “Hidden in Plain Sight,” I was prompted to do a little word study into this word, “REVEAL.”

I confess, I am a bit of a “word junkie.” I love to study where words came from, their roots. So when I see a word with a prefix like “re-,” I sometimes get this sneaky desire to see where that word came from, especially when the word isn’t obvious. What is a “veal” anyway? Surely not a baby calf!

It turns out that “-veal” actually comes from VEIL. Like a bride removing her veil, revealing her face to her excited groom, to reveal comes from the French and Latin for unveil, to remove the VEIL.

How cool is that?

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes, for removing the veil that prevented me from seeing you. Lord, help me to be waiting and watching for the day Jesus is REVEALED, the day when I will see Him face to face.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 2 Corinthians 3:12-16 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV

A simple, but powerful, way to read through the Bible – John 6

I share with you one simple way that I’ve found to really personalize and apply the scripture that I’m reading that day.

Read through the Bible, one book at a time, one chapter (or a portion of a chapter) each day. Each day, choose one specific verse that really speaks to you that day and use that verse to write out a prayer.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw the signs, but because you ate your fill of loaves.”

John 6:26

Father, I want to follow You because it is true, because I believe, because You are REAL. You are the true and living God, not a figment of my imagination, not my fairy godmother, not a genie in a bottle. I don’t want to pray to you like I’m wishing on a star or on my birthday candles. You are not the God of “cross my fingers” and hope You will give me whatever I ask for.

I see you and I follow you because you are REAL and Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. You have opened my eyes and I can never go back. I pray that you will use my life, my words and my testimony to spread the good new of the gospel and bring many to know the truth of Jesus.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

A simple, but powerful, way to read through the Bible – John 1

Let me share with you one simple way that I’ve found to really personalize and apply the scripture that I’m reading that day.

Read through the Bible, one book at a time, one chapter (or a portion of a chapter) each day. Each day, choose one specific verse that really speaks to you that day and use that verse to write out a prayer.

Today I read through John 1 and chose John 1:34 for my verse of the day.

“And I have seen and borne witness
that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:34

I wrote this prayer based on that chapter and verse.

Father, thank You for making Yourself visible so that we can be Your witnesses. Thank you for the witnesses who came before me, for John the Baptist who told his disciple Andrew who told his brother Peter, and for Philip who told his friend Nathanael. Thank you for those who have told me their stories, testifying to the realness of God! I pray that You would make me Your faithful witness. Give me the wisdom and the words to testify to the TRUTH of what I have seen and heard. I pray that my children and my husband and those that I’m discipling would be Your faithful witnesses, too, not giving way to fear, not being ashamed of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world. Amen.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how this worked for you. How do you study the Bible every day?

Where is your Focus?

On the Problem or the Purpose?

On the Father or the Failure?

On the Trials or the Triumph?

On the Savior or the Storm?

Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world. Why are we surprised? But Jesus also said TAKE HEART, I have OVERCOME the World!

Daily we have to actively choose to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the JOY that was COMING endured the cross.

We, too, can endure and overcome with hope and peace … because of our FAITH in our Risen Savior who conquered death. We, too, know that JOY is coming. These trials are light and momentary when compared to the eternal WEIGHT of GLORY!


I’m looking forward to ETERNITY with Jesus. Who wants to join me there?

The road is indeed narrow, but Jesus made a way! Jesus made a way where there seemed to be no way. Jesus made a way to reconcile sinful man with Holy God – by His death on the cross, paying for my sins.

Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him, but WOW what GOOD NEWS that there is a way at all for a sinful woman like me to spend eternity with a good and holy God!!!

Who needs to hear this good news today? If God’s given you this hope, go share it with someone who needs it!

TWIG

A Long Look Back at 2020

For all of its tests and trials, 2020 was a good year, full of God’s unfailing kindness, mercy and love, if we choose to look for them.

On this first day of 2021, I want to look back at 2020 and remember.

January 2020

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

If you made it this far, Thank you!

Let me share something with you, we all have to choose where to place our focus.

Do you want to dwell on the masks on the faces and the big dream wedding that never was?

Or do you want to be thankful for the people wearing the masks and the wedding that still happened?

Even right now, at this very moment, I’m finishing this post from the E.R. waiting room as my husband got rear-ended by a speeding car while sitting at a red light.

Will I dwell on the totaled vehicle or give thanks for God’s protecting hand?

Last month I chose a new word for 2021: LOOK!

Look up. Look to Jesus. Look at what is eternal. Fix my gaze on God’s goodness.

TWIG

A Few Good Friends

I’m on Day 6 of a 40 Day Facebook fast. I’m using a devotional by Wendy Speake called “The 40-Day Social Media Fast.” Today’s devotional was entitled, “A Few Good Friends” and it hit me right between the eyes.

I spent most of my teenage years as an outsider. As a brainiac and an atheist, though I wanted to fit in, I didn’t.

As an adult and born again follower of Jesus, I never want others to feel left out, like I was.

I cast my net wide.

I love everyone.

I invite everyone.

Any age, any skin color, any religion, any economic level, whatever – I love you all.

I love to greet the new people who wander nervously into church. I love to seek out the person sitting in the corner at a party. I love to make the newcomer and the outsider feel appreciated and valued.

8 or 80, male or female, made up or beat up, I want to be your friend.

The struggle for me is that love isn’t always reciprocated, even in the family of Christ. Sometimes I’m too serious, too friendly, too deep, too religious, too loud, too … whatever. And it still hurts me more deeply than I wish it did. 😰

I love getting likes and shares on my FB feed (and my blog). I purposely share some fun family photos and silly memes on my Facebook feed, just so people don’t think I’m too “religious” or too “deep.”

The most personal things I write, which are usually both deep and religious, don’t garner nearly so many likes or shares, but I keep on writing them because that’s how God made me. I think these writings are some of the works that God has prepared for me to do, that God has uniquely designed me to write. (Ephesians 2:10)

Thanks to each of you for being on this journey with me. Whether you’re one of my 3 special friends or whether we’ve never even met, I love you and I want you to know Jesus.

Your love or disdain for me does not change my value in my Father’s eyes. Whether you like my post or not, Jesus likes me. In fact, Jesus died for me, and His approval is all that really matters. ❤

“We don’t need everyone to like us, love us, invite us, or include us. In God’s economy, two or three faithful friends make for great wealth.”

Wendy Speake, The 40-Day Social Media Fast

What does God value?

This is my lesson for this week. May it bless many and bear fruit to the glory of Jesus.

I am the younger of two children. I have only one sister. She is older than me. Her name is Kristan.

Growing up, I was always competing with Kristan. I never felt like I was as good as her. She was a quiet girl who didn’t cause much trouble. I always thought she was prettier than me. She was taller than me – and she still is. She was an excellent piano player while I struggled through my piano lessons.

Because I felt like she was better than me in so many ways, I tried to be better than her in other ways. I showed off by being talkative, friendly, outspoken, and loud. I earned awards in science fairs and debate competitions. I went to a special school for the top students in my city, yet I still felt like I was in her shadow.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever compared yourself to someone else and felt like you weren’t as good, as smart, or as pretty as them?

Last week we talked about what people like to share on social media like WeChat and Facebook.

I think one reason why people like sharing on social media is because they want people to praise them. We all want people to think we’re smart, beautiful, kind, and good. We all want people’s praise.

Now that I am an adult, I still find myself comparing my strengths to others’ weaknesses. I like to share the highlights of my week when my family did something special. I don’t share the moments when I got mad at my husband. I don’t share when my house was a mess and I served frozen pizzas for dinner. I don’t share when I spent 2 hours scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. I want to show the good things my kids or my husband or I did. I still want so much for people to praise and value me. This is still a struggle for me.

How about you?

I want to show you a short video of a young man with Down Syndrome speaking at a meeting for some American government leaders. While you’re watching this video, I want you to think about how you feel watching this young man and how you would feel if he was your son.


You can watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/vtS91Jd5mac

If you were this young man’s mom, would you be proud to call him your son? Why? Why not?

Now let’s think about our own families. If you had a son, would you value him more if he was the top student in his Chinese class? What if he won a track meet or an English competition? What would he have to do to make you proud?

What about God? What does God value? What makes God proud? To find an answer, let’s consider the story of the shepherd boy David who grew up to be the King of Israel. The first king of Israel, King Saul, had disobeyed God and God was looking for a new man to be king of Israel. God sent His prophet Samuel to a man named Jesse to find a new king from one of Jesse’s sons. When Jesse’s first son arrived, Samuel thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed,” but Samuel was wrong.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him.
The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.”” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

但耶和华对撒母耳说:“不要看他的外貌和他高大的身材,因为我不拣选他。
耶和华看人不像人看人,人是看外表,耶和华是看内心。

Let’s try reciting this verse together. First, you can listen to me say it. Then, we will say it together.
Finally, I’d like a few sisters to try it by themselves.

God had chosen Jesse’s youngest son who was out in the field caring for the sheep. As we are told in Acts 13:22, God had chosen David, the son of Jesse, because he was a man after God’s own heart who would do everything God wanted him to do.

Does that mean that David never sinned? Does that mean that David never broke God’s laws? No, it doesn’t. In fact, David committed adultery with a married woman and had her husband killed. Yet, David was repentant over his sin. David grieved over his sin and turned to God for forgiveness. David held fast to God and had faith in God even when life was very hard.

So, what exactly is in a man’s heart which makes God value him?

What do you think, sisters? What makes a person worthy to be called God’s child?

God created each and every person in His very own image. Every single person ever made was created in the image of God – no matter their skin color, no matter their wealth, no matter their intelligence or ability level, no matter how much money they have. Every single person has value in the sight of God because every single person is created in the image of God.

But not everyone is God’s child.

Jesus “came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:10-13)

The only thing that can make you God’s child is faith, faith in Jesus Christ, the only Son of our Heavenly Father God. This alone is what makes you worthy. Faith is the greatest value.

And even this faith is a gift, as we read in Ephesians 2:8, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

As you trust in God, then He will strengthen you and guide you to do great things for Him. He will change you, grow you and make you more like His Son as you trust in Him.

Like I once worked so hard to be better than my sister, when I became a Christian, I worked so hard to earn God’s love. But I was wrong. There was nothing I could do to deserve God’s love.

“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might,
let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this,
that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD
who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

耶和华这样说:“智慧人不可夸耀自己的智慧,勇士不可夸耀自己的勇力,财主不可夸耀自己的财富。
夸口的却要因了解我,认识我而夸口;认识我是耶和华,我在地上施行慈爱、
公正、公义;因为我喜悦这些事。”这是耶和华的宣告。

Let’s try reciting this verse together. First, you can listen to me say it. Then, we will say it together.
Finally, I’d like a few sisters to try it by themselves.

God delights in steadfast love, justice and righteousness. Yes, He does. And He wants us to do these things, too, but He wants us to do them by faith. He wants us to obey Him by faith.

Jesus chose the intellectual Paul, a Jewish Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians, to share the good news of salvation with the lost. But Jesus also chose four common fishermen like Peter to spread the gospel. Does Jesus love the intellectual Paul more than simple Peter? No.

As Paul wrote in the beginning of his letter to the church in Corinth,

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,
not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29
)

弟兄们,你们想想,你们这些蒙召的,按人“人”或译:
“世上的标准”、“世界的标准”来看有智慧的不多,有权势的不多,出身尊贵的也不多。
但是 神却拣选了世上愚笨的,使那些有智慧的羞愧。他也拣选了世上软弱的,使那些刚强的羞愧。
他也拣选了世上卑贱的和被人轻视的,以及算不得甚么的,为了要废弃那些自以为是的,
使所有的人在 神面前都不能自夸。

Do you think if your child got better grades or your husband had a better job, then God would love you more?

Do you think that if you were prettier or smarter or richer, then God would love you?

What if you memorized more Bible verses or prayed more or went to church more often, then would you be worthy of God’s love?

What if you gave all you owned to the poor or gave up your life as a martyr for Christ, then would you finally be valuable to God? (See 1 Corinthians 13 for more on this!)

Look at these pictures of my husband and my son in our backyard. My husband is much taller than my son when you look at them up close, but when you compare either of them to the height of the trees, they are both so tiny.

We may like to compare ourselves to one other, but when we compare ourselves to God, then we see how short we truly are. None of us are perfectly good, wise or holy. Only God. God loves you because He is God. He is your Creator, and He wants to be your Father. There is nothing you can say or do or think to make yourself worthy of His love.

In your own power,
you are unworthy and undeserving,
but in Christ Jesus you have infinite worth.

I don’t know whether you need to hear this because you need to be reminded not to show favoritism to your children or your coworkers or your friends, or because you need the reminder that you can’t earn God’s love, but I know that you need to hear this. 

When you place your trust in Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. When God looks at you, He sees His Son, Jesus Christ, in your heart. Jesus Christ is who makes you worthy and valuable, completely worthy and infinitely valuable, and Jesus Christ is the truly the only one truly worthy of praise.

Let me encourage you to share this good news with someone else this week.

Worth, Value and Worthlessness

This is my lesson from last week with the international women’s discipleship group. I pray it would bless many!

WORTH can describe either a monetary value (cost) or a personal, moral value. This coat is worth more money than that coat. Spending time with my mom is worth more than watching TV. Let’s try this dialogue to learn more about the word “worth.”

  • Abby: Hey, Mom. Look at these shoes! Aren’t they cool?
  • Mom: Yes, they are. Those shoes are beautiful. How much do they cost?
  • Abby: $120.
  • Mom: Wow, Abby. They are so expensive! Are they worth that much to you?
  • Abby: Not really, Mom. I found this pair over here. They’re only $40 and I think they’ll be great.
  • Mom: Good work, Abby. I think these shoes are worth $40. Let’s get them.

When we’re buying something, we look at how much the thing is worth. How much will I pay for a car or a house or a pair of shoes? How much will I pay someone to clean my house or take care of my children? It depends how much it’s worth.

VALUE has a similar meaning to WORTH. VALUABLE has a similar meaning to WORTHY.

Let’s try this dialogue to learn about the words, “value” and “valuable.”

  • Betty: Honey, I love you so much. I really value the time that we spend together. Thank you for taking me out for dinner tonight. I had a great time.
  • Husband: Betty, I love you, too. You are my most valuable treasure. You are worth so much to me!

We can also use the word “WORTHLESS” to describe something that is not important, something that is not valuable. Worth + less = not worthy.

In looking at the Bible for “worthless,” I really liked this Bible verse. Let’s learn it together.

“Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word.” Psalm 119:37.
求你使我转眼不看虚空的事;又使我在你的道中存活。

First, listen to me say it, then we will say it together. Finally, I’d like three ladies to try it on their own.

“Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word.” (Psalm 119:37 NLT)

Just like we have limited amounts of money, we also have limited amounts of time. Our lives here on earth won’t last forever. There are only 24 hours in a day. There are only 365 days in a year. We don’t want to waste our time or our money on worthless things.

One way you can see what is valuable to you is by looking at where you spend your time and your money. Pay attention to your calendar and your bank account.

If you suddenly had three hours of free time what would you do?

  • Go shopping or go to a fancy restaurant?
  • Clean the house or play with your children?
  • Read through WeChat or read through the Bible?

I’d like three new women to share their answers.

If you were surprised to receive an extra 1,000 yuan, what would you do with it?

  • Would you pay your electric bill or buy your groceries?
  • Would you buy a new purse or a new book?
  • Would you give it to your parents or to someone in need?

I’d like three women to share their answers.

Let’s look at another Bible verse about what is valuable versus what is worthless.

Job 28:17-18 says, “Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal.
It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold.
Coral and jasper are worthless in trying to get it. The price of wisdom is far above rubies.”
黄金和玻璃不能与它比较,纯金的器皿不能与它交换。
珊瑚和水晶都不值一提,取得智慧胜过取得红宝石。

We can also show what we value by what we think about and talk about. What do you fall asleep thinking about and wake up thinking about? What are you excited to talk about to your parents, friends, kids or husband? What do you post on social media?

  • Your cats or your kids?
  • Your favorite movies and music?
  • A new restaurant or a new coat?
  • A Bible verse or prayer request?

I’d like three new women to share their answers.

As a women’s group, we want to value what God values. We want to love what God loves.

We’re going to talk about this more next week, but tonight let’s just look at this one Bible verse:

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry,
or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
(1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT)
不要单注重外表的装饰, 就如鬈头发, 戴金饰, 穿华丽衣服;
却要在里面存着温柔安静的心灵, 作不能毁坏的装饰, 这在 神面前是极宝贵的

What is valuable to God? What should a woman value? What should a woman not value?

Further reading: Proverbs 31:10-31, Matthew 6:19-34