Paint Your Treasure in Hues of Gold and Purple. (Wear Out That Highlighter.)

pexels-photo-272337.jpegIn the Survey of God’s Goodness in Joshua 1-5, Pastor Larry Trotter described himself as a treasure hunter:

When you open your Bible, look for God. [Among] lots of fascinating, wonderful, delightful things in the Bible — God’s will, Geography, Culture, Language, Poetry, Literature, all kinds of things you can learn about, but I want to suggest right at the center of it all, we should open our Bibles to look for God.

I look for insights into who God is, to what he’s like. I’m looking for what the pages of scripture show me is good and beautiful about my God. I look for that intentionally. I’m on a treasure hunt of sorts — and God is that treasure.

So, even above looking for God’s will and God’s guidance, I find it helpful to look for glimpses of God himself. (Larry Trotter sermon, BOUGHT, April 15, 2018)

Author and Pastor Robert Morgan wrote:

When I was a college student, I had the privilege of being taught by Ruth Bell Graham, who opened her home to me on several occasions; and I was impressed by her personal “collection” of memorized verses. “Some people collect paintings and some collect coins,” she said, in effect, “but I collect Bible verses.”

Treasure collections concentrate value in a single place. Most coin collections are small, so you could easily see and examine them. A collection of family recipes may be bulky, but could be precious and highly useful.

I, too, have made a collection in my Bible study, similar to Larry’s and Mrs. Graham’s. I’m searching for passages that tell us just about God himself using clear statements. I just highlight these passages purple. My “oldest” treasure in the collection is:

Psalms 3:3 — But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

God is a shield. God is my glory. God uses his power to lift my head. This tells me a great deal!

Another in this collection is from Nehemiah:

Nehemiah 1:5 — And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,…

And another from Luke:

Luke 1:68-69 — Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,

Every passage asserts something direct and specific about God. I pull them out in prayer and reflect on the God I’m praying to. I use these to open LifeChange Fellowship; if we’re to be Mature & Ministering Worshipers of God, these scriptures are a straight line to worship. After 6 years I’ve found over 300 direct statements that are eternally true about God. I’m proud of my collection.

And because I have highlighted them, I see them as I’m reading. These bright, clear statements occur in unexpected places, like:

Malachi 1:11 — For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

So go on your own treasure hunt. Buy a highlighter, and go searching. Wear out your highlighter, and treasure your collection.

iPhone6_TextHighlight
Highlighting in the OliveTree Bible Study app. Other apps provide similar functionality that allow you to save and access your highlights anywhere.

Full disclosure — I don’t actually use a paper highlighter. Instead, I highlight in my Bible Reading app, Olive Tree Bible Reader. My highlights are automatically visible on my phone, my iPad, and my desk computer, and in every Bible translation I use. But beware: some apps won’t keep your highlights. For example, Amazon Kindle will delete your old highlights — don’t let that happen to your collection!

By Mark Lindsey