Tuesday 16th August 2016 - Daily Reading:
Matthew 13:44-46 - What Price a Life? From the book 'Closer' by Rob Carter

We had just moored the 'Disciple Ship' house boat at the stunningly beautiful Elephant Point on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. Our plan was to sail further up the lake the following day to a remote fishing village called Mukuyu. The plan was to encourage the small group of believers in the daytime and hold evangelistic outreaches in the evenings. For now though, we were just enjoying God's creation. Right by the boat, in addition to elephant there was hippo, buck, amazing birdlife and (my least favourite) the crocodiles. On other occasions we had even seen buffalo and lion.

We had some free time so I clambered down the vertical metal ladders to the sandy shore and warily ventured a short distance from the boat to read my bible and pray. As a city boy I will never be 100% comfortable with unseen wild animals lurking around! A few minutes later I stumbled across a very interesting palm-size rock. It was hard and dirty on one side but on the other it was a shiny white crystal formation. It immediately struck me how this was a picture of the work that Jesus had done in every believer through his own sacrifice on the cross. At conversion He takes our sin (the dirt) and hardness of heart to reveal the beauty of God's image in us (the crystal).

That rock became a perfect visual aid as I spoke in Mukuyu the following evening. I could see the delight in the villagers eyes as they began to understand something of God's love for them. This revelation would mean freedom from the fear and oppression of ancestral spirits and other demonic powers because 'there is no fear in love... but perfect love drives out fear' (1 John 4:18).

Many were set free as the thousands of stars in the remarkably clear night sky displayed the glory of the Lord. In His parables Jesus often started by saying 'the Kingdom of Heaven (or Kingdom of God) is like...". The parable would illustrate a Kingdom principle or attribute of God. In this story He tells of a merchant (the Lord himself) who finds a fine pearl (you or I) and He desired to have it so much that He gave all that He has to buy it and own it. Now, the best football players move between clubs for unbelievable sums of money. Their perceived value is enormous. Yet God the Father way surpassed every record transfer fee in giving His only Son - His most treasured possession - in order to purchase us for Himself. The price was the blood of Jesus. As a father myself I have understanding, although very limited, of what this would have meant. Our children are priceless. This whole passage shouts to us... You Have Great Value!

I wonder. Do you have a problem with low self-esteem? Do you find it hard to like yourself? There is one thing you need to know and accept right now... you are precious in the eyes of God. When He created you in your mother's womb, He didn't make a mistake. He made you just as He wanted you to be. Whatever you look like, whatever your personality or IQ, or whatever you have done in the past, none of this affects the Lord's valuation of you.

Today I encourage you to stop resisting and simply accept God's love for You, His treasured possession. Victorian author Mary Ann Evans summed it up perfectly when she wrote: 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.'.

Start today.

This is a daily devotional written by Rob Carter, and is taken from his book 'Closer'. The book is available from Amazon and is also available as a Kindle Version. Alternatively, you can contact Rob directly at robxcar53@gmail.com for a paperback copy of the book.

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NEWBOLD BAPTIST CHURCH