Pearl of Great Price

Pearl of Great Price

by Joni Eareckson Tada

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
When he found one of great value,
he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46

One day my father-in-law, Dad Tada, presented me with a family heirloom, a string of genuine pearls.  He told me they had been harvested in Japan, not far from where he lived much of his life.  I was captivated by the milky, soft glow of each perfect pearl.  Ken draped the pearls around my neck, and I wheeled to a mirror.

As I admired them, Dad Tada explained how a pearl is produced.  A tiny bit of sand lodges in the flesh of an oyster and becomes an irritating intrusion.  Unable to expel it, the oyster covers the particle with layer after layer of a milky secretion until the irritation has become smooth, round, and acceptable.  It also, inadvertently, becomes a precious gem.

A pastor once wrote, “Pearls, unlike other jewels, are drawn from the animate creation.  (Other jewels are made from rocks and crystals and are mined out of the earth…)  Pearls are produced by life — a life which has overcome the working of death.”

Jesus, the Pearl of Great Price, is unlike any other.  He is the precious gem set apart from the rest.  He lived in such a way that He overcame the working of death.  He is superior because His love poured forth from a life wounded by pain.  He has become our example.  We experience irritants in our lives, but God gives layer after layer of grace until the irritation becomes smooth and acceptable.  What was an intrusion becomes a precious gem for all to admire… and for God to receive glory.

Pull your string of pearls (imitation or not) from your jewelry box and hang them over the mirror above your dresser for a few days.  They will brighten your bedroom and your appreciation for Jesus, the One and Only Pearl.

My wounded Savior, teach me through Your example to let intrusions in my life become pearls.  Remind me how You transform pain into beauty.

Joni and Friends


Copyright © 1998. More Precious Than Silver, Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

The Love of #Christ

The Love of Christ

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor
demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither
height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39

The supreme reason that you can and should trust God through suffering is found at Calvary, for no better argument can be voiced apart from the cross. That He would endure the full fury of hell so you could escape it should tell you something as you face your own hellish circumstances.

The greatest love scene in the world happened when Christ hung and bled on the cross. It was God saying, “Look, see, this is how much I love you!” What’s amazing is that He played out this love scene while we snubbed Him in cool, callous indifference. Who would want to escape that kind of love, or ignore or deny it? And what Christian could ever dare doubt it? Christ died for you. What love!

Sometimes after I’ve snapped at a friend or chipped in my two cents’ worth of gossip, I catch myself thinking, “Oh, God, these are the things that nailed Jesus to the cross…I am so sorry.” Human logic tells me that He should turn away from me. But nothing, absolutely nothing can separate me from His constant outpouring of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Often we twist God’s arm for the “reasons why” before we decide to trust Him with our circumstances. We want the blueprint spread before us. But the bruised and battered apostle Paul who probably had every reason to wonder “why,” never said, “I know why all these things are happening.” Rather, he said, “I know in whom I have believed.” The love of Christ was enough.

Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.


Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 By Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

An Impossibility

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An Impossibility

by Joni Eareckson Tada


“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

—John 1:14 (NKJV)

We talk a lot about the Incarnation as Christmas draws near. Incarnation is a Latin word that means “taking flesh.” God “took flesh” and became the human Jesus. We say that so glibly. But the idea is so impossible.

God became flesh? It’s like accepting that a battleship can fit into a bathtub. A skyscraper can fit into a dollhouse. A field of wheat can fit into a cereal box. More than that, it’s like making blue paint out of blue sky. We can’t fathom such things. In the same way, we can’t imagine the God of the universe becoming a baby.

It’s so odd. After all, the whole point was that God wanted to rescue us. But a baby can’t rescue anyone; babies need rescuing themselves. Maybe because God couldn’t make Himself greater to impress us, He made Himself smaller to attract us.

And the Christmas story is attractive. In all history there is nothing like it. If you stroll through cities around the world, you will see imposing monuments to outstanding men and women. But have you ever seen a statute of a famous person as an infant? You never see George Washington portrayed in a stroller. It would be silly.

But it’s not silly to honor the Lord of the universe as a baby, because this child signifies the Incarnation. That God took on flesh is amazing and incredible, like an oil well fitting into an oilcan, or a mountain squeezing into a molehill. God became flesh-Wow!

To help you think about what an amazing act the Incarnation is, make a list of all the qualities Jesus gave up or limited to become a baby. For example, He who is the Light of the World chose to dwell in a dark womb for nine months. You’ll be amazed at just what Jesus’ choice meant for Him — and for you.

Emmanuel, God with us, words seem impossibly small and unwieldy to try to express the immensity of Your love for me, and the gratitude I feel. Help me to live today in a way that would honor the sacrifices You have made for me.


Taken from More Precious Than Silver.  Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada.  Published in Print by  Zondervan, Grand Rapids.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

Alive and Active

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Alive and Active

by Joni Eareckson Tada

 

“For the word of God is living and active…”  Hebrews 4:12

One minute the night skies over Bethlehem were cool and quiet; the next minute someone turned on the light switch.  Stars that were twinkling suddenly stepped aside as the veil of heaven parted for an instant.  An angel stepped through the curtain of night, threw out his (or her?) hands to let loose divine fireworks.  “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'” (Luke 2:13-14 KJV).

Not long ago, I decided to paint this scene.  But I wondered, How do you paint an angel… much less one rejoicing?  I knew that the moment was packed with powerful emotion.  After all, the Word of God is living and active.  Those angels must have been jumping up and down for excitement!  That’s all the inspiration I needed.

I also needed someone to model as an angel.  I called my secretary into the art studio and asked her to stand on a chair and drape a sheet around her.  “Now,” I said when she was ready, “throw up your arms and yell, ‘Surprise!'”  She gave me a funny look and so I added, “Think of your happiest memory!”  She rubbed her chin and then an idea donned.  Throwing back her head she hollered, “Whoopee!”  I quickly sketched the joy in her face.  In no time, I had my angel on the canvas.  It was the best painting of angels I had ever rendered.

This month you will see lots of Christmas cards and store windows displaying the word “Rejoice!”  You’ll sing about joy and carols and read about it in the pages of scripture.  Smile when you say it… see it… or sing it.  After all, the announcement of the angels was the Word of God, alive,  active, and full of joy!

You, Lord Jesus, are what the joy is all about.  This alone makes my smile effervescent.  I rejoice!


Taken from More Precious Than Silver.  Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada.  Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

I’m Joy-Happy

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I’m Joy-Happy

By Joni Eareckson Tada

“But may the righteous be glad and REJOICE before God;
may they be HAPPY and JOYFUL.”

—Psalm 68:3

We’re often taught to be careful of the difference between joy and happiness.  Happiness, it is said, is an emotion that depends upon what ‘happens.’  Joy by contrast, is supposed to be enduring, stemming deep from within our soul and which is not affected by the circumstances surrounding us.

It’s an appropriate linguistic distinction, I suppose.  But I don’t think God had any such hair-splitting in mind.  Scripture uses the terms interchangeably along with words like delight, gladness, blessed.  There is no scale of relative spiritual values applied to any of these.  Happiness is not relegated to fleshly-minded sinners nor joy to heaven-bound saints.

The terms are synonymous in their effect and too difficult to distinguish when we experience either one.  Would you, for example, respond to the wedding of your daughter with joy or with happiness?  Are you happy that your friend came to know Christ or are you joyful?  Is the moment of euphoric delight in worship of Him on Sunday morning just a happenstance or just as much a part of Jesus’ promise regarding our redeemed souls?

To rob joy of its elated twin, happiness, is to deprive our soul of God’s feast.  Seek both as part and parcel in all circumstances.  When your soul is stirred by a deep contentment, be happy.  When a delightful moment strikes that is quite outside yourself, be joyful.   Don’t think about which one you are supposed to feel.  Accept them both as a gift from a God who is rich in all such emotions.

Lord, I seek the blessing of a joyful heart, the gladness of a happy countenance, and the delight of Your eternal pleasure today.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends

(Emphasis mine)


Copyright © 1998. More Precious Than Silver, Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

God’s Autobiography

Shared from Joni and Friends.

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.”
 John 1:1

Novelist Robertson Davies once wrote, “To ask an author . . . if his work is autobiographical is like asking a spider where he buys his thread.” No author ever weaves words from someone else’s being. They are always his words, reflecting his soul.

God reveals His soul to man through the Bible in a way that no other book is able. The Bible is history, wisdom, and poetry. It is unparalleled as a compendium of theology, philosophy, and ethics. It is a gospel tract, distilling the essence of man’s relationship to Him but it is also an epic, introducing us to the immensity of an eternal God. 

Though the Bible contains all these things, it is at its heart, an autobiography. The Bible is all about God. Through even the most twisted and unlikely narratives, some even tawdry, we see God’s soul reflected to us. God is revealed as Jacob grasps after that which is rightfully his. God is showcased through the remorse over Ai, the complaint of Job, the anguish of Jeremiah. God is the voice behind the peoples’ shouting and singing over the new temple of Solomon; He is the echo behind the weeping over the rebuilt one of Ezra. God is the silence of the four centuries before Christ and the exultant glory in the night sky of Bethlehem.

Every word speaks something to us of His soul. It is not just from the prophets’ mouths that we hear His lament over Israel. We hear it in the very telling of the captivity itself. It is not just from John’s apocalyptic pen that we learn of God’s coming judgment. We can see God’s wrath reflected in the agony of His Son on the cross. It is not just from Jesus’ mouth that we learn of God’s love. We know from His daily walk with sinners like you and me.

Treasure His word today. In everything you read you will come to know the Soul of God, He who is the lover of your soul.

Father, write your words on my heart today that I might be your story written to a lost and dying world.

Blessings, Joni and Friends

Davies, Robertson. The Merry Heart, (New York: Penguin Group), 1996, p 27.


Copyright © 1998. More Precious Than Silver, by Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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It Came to Pass

This is another wonderful devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada

It Came to Pass

“But it came to pass within a while after…” Judges 15:1  KJV

PearlsOfGreatPrice-JoniEarecksonTadaWhen I was talking with an African sister in Christ in a small Ghanaian village, I was impressed with her quiet, humble spirit. She wore brightly colored tribal clothes with a turbanlike headdress. Although I guessed she was young, her hands were weathered and lined. After she shared her testimony, I asked what her favorite Bible verse was. A knowing smile spread across her face and her eyes lit up. Without hesitation, she replied, “And it came to pass.” I gave her a puzzled look. She added, “Everywhere you look in the Bible, there it is, my favorite verse.” It was a familiar phrase from God’s Word, but I had never heard anyone claim it as their favorite. I asked her to explain. 

“Joni, it is a hard life we live in our country. The weather is harsh and our crops sometimes fail. It’s at those times we don’t know where the next meal is coming from. We have no money, nothing to offer our children. But we have God!” she said in a hearty voice. “And we know he will take care of us. We can look at the misery around us and know that God will see us through. Then we can smile and say, ‘It came to pass.'”

“And it came to pass” reminds me of 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you.” I don’t face drought and failing crops, but I am in a wheelchair; it’s why I appreciate the words, “After you have suffered for a little while.” Our troubles are but momentary according to 2 Corinthians 4:17, and very soon hardships will be behind us. What hardship are you facing? Thank the Lord that you’ll soon say, “It came to pass.”

Lord, keep me from a complaining spirit. Give me the courage to trust You no matter what I lack in life.

Blessings,

 Joni and Friends
www.joniandfriends.org

Pearls of Great Price
Copyright © 2006

by Joni Eareckson Tada
Published in print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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