Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jurupa Adventure Part I:Beneath the featureless hills

5:39 p.m. Today's project was to take our grandsons to the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center, a nature park where the geological, botanical and paleontological features of the Jurupa Valley have been studied and displays constructed for educational purposes. Since I taught in the Jurupa area for 10 years, and Heidi teaches in the same school district now, I appreciate the hard work of volunteers, sponsors and staff in making aspects of God's creation accessible to the public, especially students.

Thousands of commuters drive past the Jurupa Cultural Center, hardly noticing the sign and the oxidized woolly mammoth on the north side of the 60 freeway west, between the Valley Way and Pyrite exits. The scenery is unremarkable to the casual eye, just rocky hills. But God planted many invaluable treasures throughout the area. As a fan of jewelry catalogs, I enjoyed viewing semi-precious stones like citrine, chrysolite, beryl, topaz and amethyst in their natural state, and pictured them polished to brilliance in the hands of a jeweler, and set between the diamonds they outshine.

Revelation 21:10-11 describes "the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven, having the glory of God." Verses 19-20 continue (NLT),

The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysophase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

Gerald Borchert, editor for Revelation in the New Living Translation comments on this passage, "Things that are precious and luxurious on earth are common building materials in heaven."

I would add, hills that appear rocky and featureless here on earth contain precious gems for those who labor to find them! Jesus spoke of seeking the kingdom of God, comparing it to a man who found hidden treasure. "In Matthew 13:44 He said,

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Thinking again of those "commonplace" hills, don't we often get chastened by the Lord for the conclusions we draw based on the surface appearance of a person, or the first glimpse of a situation? The prophet Samuel fell into this trap when he went to anoint the second king of Israel in I Samuel 16. He had assumed that the tall, older sons of Jesse would comprise the selection group for this high office, but God's choice turned out to be the youngest son David. God told Samuel, "The LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (v.7)

Did you know that God thinks of us as His jewels? In Malachi 3:16-17, God has "a book of remembrance written for those who fear the LORD and meditate on His name."

"They shall be mine," says the

LORD of hosts,

"On the day that I make them My jewels.

And I will spare them

As a man spares his own son who

serves him."

Then you shall again discern

Between the righteous and the


Between one who serves God

And one who does not serve Him.

Which one will you be, as we approach Easter, when Christians worldwide celebrate their salvation by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do not let another day go by without asking Jesus to be your Savior, to dwell in your heart forever!

Tomorow: Jurupa Adventure Part II: A flood of fossils

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