Beautiful

Waiting for the lightIsaiah 45:9b  “Shall the clay say to him who forms it, “What are you making?” or shall your handiwork say, ” he has no hands?”                  
              Waiting for the filling of light
I think we can all relate to this verse when we consider the various creative projects each of us have put our hands to.  I have enjoyed creating hand sewn lamp shades over the years and each one begins with a shade design and fabric and trim. And an idea of what it will look like when finished. I don’t know why it is that always the end result has been completely different to how I envisioned it at the beginning. The amazing thing is that they are beautiful.  And they are just right for the particular purpose and environment they are in…
If it were possible, my handiwork would likely find a voice and question what I was making ~ it doesn’t know that finished it really will be lovely and unique, a one of a kind treasure.  The creation is beautiful because the fabric has yielded to the cut of the scissors and to the pull of needle and thread.
I too have been created but unlike me, my Creator makes no mistakes in His creation. He has expressed His creativity freely and flawlessly ~ our lives being the end result.  You are beautiful and don’t even know it because you can’t see yourself the way someone else can.
Isn’t that amazing to really consider ~ I am beautiful.  Read this with yourself in mind.  I am beautiful.  Look in the mirror and say it again, I am beautiful, I am a masterpiece, I am unique and I am valuable because of my uniqueness.  I am beautiful.  I Am lives within me and His beauty also radiates within me and around me and I am beautiful.
The Potter, the Master Creator is absolutely flawless, without error of any kind ~ His judgement is perfect ~ He asks us to yield, to willingly give ourselves over to the finishing work of His hands.  He asks us to be willing to be shaped and molded, stretched and fine tuned so that we bear the image of the fullness of the Son.  No matter how deeply we have dug ourselves into a pit, there is no place too deep for the Finishing Carpenter to shine His light on and then go to work perfecting and finishing.
He has the tools, His hand is skilled, using the tools well and wisely.  We may be in the Refiner’s Fire and feeling the heat, feeling the pressure but His hand is on the the kiln’s temperature gauge maintaining the perfect heat.
In yielding to the Lord we do truly come to a place in time where we no longer have to ask why. Our trust in Him gives us rest.  We have learned that God is a gentle and wise Craftsman, He stills us with His peace. He gives us confidence in Him and simple trust begins to override that place of questioning.    The answer to all of my whys is because!
Because He is the Creator and has the perfected, finished treasure in His mind.  Because He wants me to be like Him sharing His holiness.  Because He loves me.  Because His mercy, tenderness and compassion are all an expression of what He feels for me.  Because He yearns for me to know and understand that His tenderness for me makes Him so approachable.  Just think about the magnitude of these few words, they can forever change your heart….
Because He knows the deep and hidden things in my heart and even the most hurtful, most uncomfortable, awful secret I may try to conceal ~ He knows.  The Carpenter knows.  He wants it exposed to the Light and while it may look ugly and garish alongside the beauty He has created, the Light is a healing balm.
And so ~ I come to Him, seeking wholeness, receiving forgiveness, being honest and trusting His love.
Because unlike me, He knows exactly what He is doing all the way through the fashioning of this life of mine.  This life of yours.
He is the Alpha and Omega. He is amazing and you are beautiful.

 Psalm 119: 105     Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

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Throwing Comfort to the Wind

I have been thinking about why the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:72 “Your words are greater than gold”.

Mark 10: 46-52 tells the story of a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus (whose name, by the way means “son of the unclean’). 

I believe if we take a look into his life we will see that the treasure he discovered in his relationship with God was far greater than the gold and silver he had spent his life begging for.

… as you think of him…how his life may have turned out at the end…. how your life may turn out at the end if you consider that truly God’s Word is greater than gold.

Here at the roadside was Bartimaeus, blind, of poor reputation and heritage and his life was about to be changed forever! He had come to this spot for a long time and the only things familiar to him were the sounds of the people as they passed by and the feel of the dusty road beneath his hands.

Today though, he could sense the excitement crackling in the air, the swell of the people, well he was not sure, but by the sounds, it seemed to have grown larger.  He was jostled and nudged by the throng but was unable to travel alongside them. 

He hugged his old cloak to his body, for a short, quick moment relishing the comforting feel and smell of it.  How he had appreciated this garment over the years as it had protected him from cold and the heat of the sun and it was a dear familiar thing he had worn for years.  Because he was blind he could not see how shabby it looked now, but he could feel.  Sometimes, no matter how tightly he hugged it to himself the wind whistled through the holes and chilled his body.  Other times he really was hot and feeling flushed although the hood hid his face and his need of cleansing. 

The familiarity of it was as comforting as the feel of the dirt between his fingers, this place on the road where he had sat and begged for years.

Today it was different; he could tell by the smells and sounds all around him.  This Man, Jesus, this Son of David who was rumoured to be full of love and compassion and mercy was passing by and he sensed the excitement all around him touching and stirring his soul. This was no ordinary day and he was eager to be part of it.  He had heard people talking about miracles and healings;  and so he began to shout to Jesus not knowing where He was and the more people tried to quiet him the more insistently he shouted.

He could hardly believe his ears when he heard Jesus call him to come and swallowing hard he cast off his trepidation.  He rose and throwing off his cloak, throwing life’s comfort to the wind, he ran blindly, exposed and vulnerable. 

Kneeling at the feet of Jesus, he asked for sight to come into his beggar’s eyes.  The gift of mercy was freely given and Bartimaeus was rewarded with the gift of sight… he could see! 

His mind raced with the realization that this indeed was no ordinary day, what he had just received was so much greater than gold, and he knew his days of begging were over.

In the years that followed he had many experiences and opportunities to talk with people and it seemed to him that the Lord had given him a ministry gift  of exhortation for he found that he was always encouraging folks to cast aside being enveloped in familiar comforts, to dare to dream, to step out and trust God.

Some, like Peter and John healed the sick, others preached the Word, pastored, and prayed and each of them were living their lives and serving the Son in the area where the Lord had directed and called them.  In addition, every single one of them who had been serving the Lord over the years had to be learning to cast off their familiar, comforting cloaks.

He himself had taught many lessons using his old cloak as an example.  Why, he had even reached into one of its old pockets and taught how the Lord wanted all the hidden contents of our hearts surrendered to Him.  He had learned not to rely on the old things of his life and the old cloak had been a perfect example of how in our new life as Christians we are to put off the old self and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us the fullness of the Image of the Son.

Yes, he had enjoyed serving his Lord these past years and with a grin he knew his years as a blind beggar had stood him in good stead, somehow prepared him for this new way of life.

His new robes, although he still could not see them were robes of righteousness and garments of praise and the wondrous things that Jesus revealed from the pockets of these robes amazed him still.

God had been teaching him to trust Him as his source for all things and he had learned over the years that the One who he still could not see with his now seeing eyes had been faithful to meet every one of his needs and more!

He had grown to become a man of wisdom with keen insights into the ways and purposes of God. Freely he had received and freely he gave to people. His reputation as a man who had a word for the weary, a word in season and out was well known and people were always asking him to come and teach them about Jesus because they knew he had developed an intimate relationship with God.

Indeed, he had a vast and limitless source and the Lord had enabled him to encourage many in their walk of faith.  In his old age, peace filled his heart knowing he had been obedient to the calling of his Lord.

Truly, seeking Jesus and finding Him had been his greatest reward in life, his greatest discovery to learn that His words were far greater than gold. His life was lived now as a son of God, an heir of the King, pure, holy and altogether righteous. A beggar no longer.

Seeking the King with you on this journey of love and joy,

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He Calls Us Beloved

He gazed long upon  His beloved.  She was alone at the well and He saw her scars from the past and her fear of the future.

He knew it was the shunning and scorn by others that drove her to the well alone.  Craving she was and satisfaction and contentment eluded her as shame haunted her.

This place at the well, this was her alone space.  And here He was, right in her space, speaking with her face to face.  Her ears perked up as He spoke about being refreshed if she drank of the living water He wanted to give her.135

How did He know she felt so shriveled and dried up on the inside?

He wants to give her a gift unlike any she has ever received. He wants to quench that dreadful aching thirst deep within her soul.  She is thirsty, parched and her voice breaks as she chokes out the words as she dares to ask for His holy water.

He knows her thirst. He knows her hunger and longing for peace and fulfillment.  He knows her to the core, her desperation and longing to stop hiding behind her masks of indifference and bravado.

She implores and captures the heart of Jesus.

Jesus invites her to come into the light.  He is completely unfazed by the darkness and shame of her past as He asks.  

She hears Him, she hears the love in His voice.  She didn’t know how He could wash away her darkness and shame, but her heart knew – somehow, she could not explain it to herself, but she knew she could trust Him.  

He had revealed Himself to her by revealing who she was.

And that was the thing.  It was who she WAS.  He didn’t see her black listed, scorned, shunned and shamed.  He loved her.  She could see the love in His eyes, see it in the curl of His smile and the gentleness of His spoken words.

He called her Beloved.  Her heart bowed in awe of such love.

His presence was so pure. And yet He neither convicted, condemned or belittled her.  Jesus knew the depths of her  plunge.  He knew because her heart was fully exposed to Him.

He called her His Beloved.  The compassion Jesus showed her melted her heart.  Oh, the mercy and loving- kindness she felt from Him!

Listening to Him, she was amazed at the joy His presence gave her.  All of life seemed to funnel down to this one moment.  Filling her water jug suddenly seemed so trivial.

Deep within her heart and soul, settled peace rests. She knows she has found what she has been searching for all of her life.  Oh, she knew she had not lived as she had dreamed of as a child, but here was the Savior, the Blessed Messiah offering her a newness of life and she was saying Yes! to Him with her whole heart.

She received Him and accepted Him within her heart.  She felt different.  She felt clean and pure, determined to set for herself a brand new standard of faithfulness.

She bowed in worship as her spirit grasped how faithfulness was a quality she would grow in as she continued drinking of the Living Water.

She would never stand all alone and be lonely again.  She was one with Him, completely known and fully loved by Him.   Jesus, King of the Jews had chosen her as His daughter.

She no longer had to scurry about in the shadows.  She was encircled by the Light of His glorious love,  her sin was forgiven and she knew she was released from her burden of guilt and shame.

Jesus had set her free from burdens so long carried.  Joy overtook her as she realized she was a brand new woman lovingly fashioned and formed to bear the Image of the Son.142

She was Beloved of the Lord.

Laughter burst from her lips at the irony of it all.  She remembered all the details of her life as they flashed by in her memory.  She remembered, she saw pictures, she saw shame.  She saw Jesus loving her through it all.

Knowing her place in His heart, she smiled, her face glowing contentment. The joy of forgiveness.  Love unlike anything she had ever known. She loved Him and never wanted to leave Him.

She wanted to shout out her happiness, instead she found herself spurred into town.   The one once shunned, scorned and shamed, she had a message of hope to share.  She longed to share His love and goodness.

The Messiah had put a new song in her mouth and she would sing His song the rest of the days of her life.  She was His Beloved and His banner over her was love.

Others would hear this new song and they too would sing.

The song would spread all across the land, throughout the ages.

Today we hear the same song.  Can you hear it? Are you singing?  

He calls you His Beloved and invites you too to drink of His living water.

Linking here:  Grace and Truth

with you in His palm

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Fall Back

In my early years as a Christian hearing all the talk about “end times” caused me to be fearful and downright afraid and I made some huge decisions based entirely upon fear!  I had not yet cultivated  intimacy with God and am very thankful He was so patient with me.

Today I look at the happenings in life and find much to my surprise, that excitement rises.  It rises because I know that trust in God is required of my heart and much to my joy I have been learning that I can trust Him. Faith rises because I can look back a mere two and a half years ago and see how God lead us in a situation we thought might be His will for us.

When we chose obedience and surrender to that (even perceived) will, it was amazing to see how He made the way for us.  During those days I wrote in my journal, “it would be a really neat thing to let go of our hold on our life and allow God to have His way and do in our lives what He has planned for us.”

As soon as those words were written there seemed to be a release that took place and circumstances began to change very quickly.  He asks each of us to trust Him and we do because He has said He has good plans for us, plans that give us hope for the future.

Hope for the future cancels out all dread and worry. He, the Mighty One able to save has all of our times and seasons of life in His hands.  Our first priority should be, must be, to trust the God of Love whose plans for us are good and who spreads out hope before us.

And yet, are we able to still keep our confession of trust and hope and faith, showing love and kindness to one another when things do not go as well as we would like?  Jesus was able to do that.  It wasn’t just His outward behaviour that pleased His Father, it was the attitude of His heart and obedience came as a result of an inward abandonment to His Father’s care deep within His heart.

Jesus was consistent – not just because He was the perfect sacrifice – but also because He purposed to fall back on and into His Father’s arms.

Falling backwards requires a much higher level of trust and confidence in the person standing behind us than falling forward does.  We cannot see the One behind us because we are to walk by faith and not sight.

If we chose to nurture the act by faith, of falling backward into the arms of the Father, if we chose to learn how to abandon ourselves utterly to the King’s care, the question would not be raised in our minds “will He catch me?  is He paying attention?  is He ready?”

Once we have experienced the passion of His love for us how can we draw back?  It is the passion of His love that ensures He will never drop us to the ground but always hold us near His heart.

I believe with all my heart that abandoning ourselves to God is  paramount to the practicality of living in a consistent godly manner.  For when we live in that place of abandonment we can see bad things happen all around us; we can hear bad news, scary news and know with absolute confidence that a “thousand may fall at our side and ten thousand at our right side but it shall not come near to us because we have chosen to dwell in the secret place of the Most High”.  Psalm 91

Abandonment is knowing we can let go of our grasp on life, be free from worries and cares as we trust God to deliver us, cover us with His feathers and that He offers us refuge under His wings.  Abandonment grows as we experience His Presence in times of trouble and see His deliverance, His salvation and His mighty love for us.

Besides His amazing love, mercy and compassion, an outstanding attribute that Jesus had is the one we can cultivate in our lives that will give a completely new flavour in our everyday lives.

That attribute is abandonment for it will bless and cover every area of life.

  • We will not fear
  • We will not grow weary
  • We will not lose heart
  • We will not worry
  • Our love will not grow cold   –  Instead -
  • We will encourage one another
  • We will bear one another up in prayer
  • We will exercise patience and the fruit of the Spirit because we are choosing to habitually fall into the arms of Love as we abandon ourselves to the care of God, the One who never sleeps or slumbers and has His eye ever upon us.

To “fall back” is to cease from striving, to stop trying to make things happen and begin afresh to obey the commands of our General.

“Fall back” is an order given in war when it looks like defeat is apparent.                       “Fall back” gives us time to regroup, going forward again in the power of the                   Spirit and experiencing victory.

“Fall back” and see the salvation of our God.

The questions I leave for you to ponder are these:

  1. What are some ways you can cultivate a deeper trust in God?
  2. What are some ways you can prepare your lifestyle so that your trust and confidence in God are deep?

So remember, it’s all about intimacy with God and learning to trust and find rest in His Word.


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