Friday, November 21, 2014

Bearing His Image....

I noticed some new lines on my face recently as I look slack-faced into the mirror. They're by my mouth and I'm certain weren't there a couple of years ago.  I've had my fair share of towards-middle-aged body angst in the past few years and I think I've come out the other side.  It's OK to look in the mirror and see this.  But still it's strange to see changes, to not quite recognize your own face.

I wondered why these particular lines and moved my face around a bit.  What I discovered surprised me!  They're not worry lines, frown lines, lines of discontent.  They're lines put there by lots and lots of SMILES.   

People tell me that I tend to smile a lot, but living inside my own skin the past ten years there were lots of days I sure didn't feel like it.  I feel a bit like I've compounded what was a relatively easy life until that point and had most of a lifetime of experiences since.  It's been exhausting at times.

So to look at my face and see smiles lines was a huge testimony to my own heart.  A testimony of the faithfulness of my Father and to HIS joy that just doesn't make sense--but is authentic all the same.

We all have those times where we feel like we're choking on dust, unable to breathe. Dust of trials, troubles, despair.  Days of feeling like we just can't take any more.  Days when we're tired of witnessing pain.  Days when we feel bloody and flayed.  Days when our own image surprises us because we look so normal, because it's just not a reflection at all of how we feel inside.  

I Corinthians 15:49 says, "Just as we have born the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven."  

Hope!  The breath of heaven is coming.  Strength in our bones, joy in our hearts, no more decay. Come, Lord Jesus.  

"Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal......"
                                        ~David Crowder

One day we'll never breathe dust again.  Until then we still have a hope, a compass, a focus.  We can 'fix our eyes' on Him.  (Heb. 12:2)  In fact, that's the only security that will last!   

I saw one of those articles about how amazingly big the universe is yesterday.  Really blew my mind once again!  (The Universe is Scary) It's hard to imagine anything so gigantic while we are so absolutely insignificantly small.  And yet the Creator is unfathomably bigger still.  (Ahhh, breathe in a bit of that Heavenly air.)

"May this be our prayer, "I do not want to turn my eyes from you, O God.  There I want them to stay and not move no matter what happens to me, within and without."
                                        ~Saint Catherine of Genoa

Focused unwavering because, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."  (Is. 26:3) "The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts." (Ps. 28:7) "The Lord sits enthroned over the flood." (Ps. 29:10) 

So we can bring Him our dusty hearts today just exactly as we are. We can be filled with His incomprehensible joy.  We can be blessed by His acceptance and embrace His peace even if we never understand it this side of Heaven.

We can began to 'bear His image' more and more now and live a life that is nothing short of a miracle.

Here's a song that will surely help us on the way today!!!  You'll want to heart this:  Come As You Are

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The God of Glory, Our Friend

Not really an article but a reflection to be read slowly and thoughtfully considered:

Sometimes life seems like we're going from one battle to the next. Trials happen, hurt and sorrow happen. It's easy to be consumed with the present.

But vision only comes when we take a step back, when we focus less myopically on the trials of today. When we see the road already traveled and the victories along the way that bring encouragement.  And that helps us remember WHO He is.

"And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." 
                                                         -I Col. 1:17

God brings order.  He is the glue, the One who brings rhythm, the conductor.  Before all, in all, through all.  He is.  He is the I AM.  He is the One who has already won not only the battle---but the war.  And this is what He says:

"The Lord will fight for you, and you only have to be silent (some translations 'be still')."
                                                                    -Exodus 14:14

"But, God,.....?"  "Be silent, my child.  Be silent and trust me.  Be still and know that I AM."

"Ahhh, right, God, I forgot that for a moment." Or a few days, a month, whatever.  "When my heart is faint (overwhelmed).  Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."  (Ps. 61:2)

He is our Father, our Victor, our Champion.  And amazingly He is our friend.

"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." 
                                                                     -John 15:15
Friends with GOD.  


Don't feel like He's there today?  Listen a bit more closely.  Shut out the noise, take time to contemplate and LISTEN.  

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord..."
                                                                              -Jer. 29: 12-14

It's often not an instant fix, it's a process, but His Presence is worth it.  How much value do we place on that?

"But He will not reveal Himself openly and communicate His glories and bestow His treasures save on those who He knows greatly desire Him, for these are His true friends."
                                                                                                   -Teresa of Avila

Our side of the friendship: seeking Him. Showing Him that we want Him, need Him, care.  And ultimately blessing us far more in return.

The God of Glory, our friend.  

Pause and reflect.

A wee smile before you go!