I’ve just returned from a Sunday afternoon bicycle ride, something I do all too infrequently. The weather today is unbelievable. There is just one word to describe it, and that’s the title of this post. Wow! God has outdone himself today — well, maybe not quite that extreme, but man, what a beautiful day to rejoice and be glad in!
And that made me think of a quote from the Jesus Storybook Bible which is a paraphrase of Psalm 19:1-2:
The Heavens are singing
about how great God is;
and the skies are shouting it out,
“See what God has made!”
Day after Day… Night after night…
They are speaking to us.
If you are unfamiliar with this delightful book for children of all ages, I encourage you to correct that deficit soon. It deserves to be at the top of every parent’s or grandparent’s list of bedtime/anytime read-to-me books, or for that matter as a book to read and enjoy just for one’s self.
Sally Lloyd-Jones created this collection of Bible stories with beautiful prose, whimsical humor, and a good smattering of wisdom and insight. Each story is framed so that the reader can learn how the whole Bible speaks of Jesus. The artist Jago (no surname given) contributed unique and appealing illustrations that perfectly set-off each story and prose.
From the introduction:
You see, the best thing about this Story is — it’s true.
There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle — the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
And so we begin at the beginning. Ms. Lloyd-Jones doesn’t skimp on creation. 8 pages of prose and picture detail the beginning of the beginning.
God spoke. That’s all. And whatever he said, it happened.
God speaks everything into being — in a Lloyd-Jones paraphrase, of course, that paints vibrant word pictures that makes the story come alive. (Jago’s artistic contributions don’t hurt any either)
God said, “Hello light!” and light shone into the darkness. God called the light, “Day” and the darkness, “Night”. “You’re Good,” God said. And they were.
As most Bible storybooks do, The Jesus Storybook Bible covers the normal ground — Adam & Eve, Daniel & the Lions Den, Jonah & the whale — the stuff you’d expect to find. But also included are the stories of Naaman, the Syrian general who was sought healing from Elijah, and even a section about Isaiah and God’s promise of a savior. Some of Jesus’s sermons are presented at a child’s level, and the book concludes with John’s revelation.
I particularly enjoyed the Sermon on the mount. After sharing how God clothes & feeds the birds & the flowers, Jesus says
“Little Flock, you are more important than birds! More important than flowers! The birds and the flowers don’t sit and worry about things. And God doesn’t want his children to worry either. God loves to look after the birds and the flowers. And he loves to look after you too.”
Jesus knew that God would always love and watch over the world he had made — everything in it — birds, flowers, trees, animals, everything! And, most of all, his children.
Even though people had forgotten, the birds and the flowers hadn’t forgotten — they still knew their song. It was the song all of God’s creation had sung to him from the very beginning. It was the song people’s hearts were made to sing; “God made us. He loves us. He is very pleased with us.”
It was why Jesus had come into the world; to sing them that wonderful song; to sing it not only with his voice, but with his whole life — so that God’s children could remember it and join in and sing it, too.
Glorious! That’s the word for today, and for the message of God’s love for a wayward world. What a joy to have a perfect book to celebrate that love, and what a day to enjoy it in!