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Category Archives: Words of Encouragement

Perspective

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. ~1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV

Have you ever looked at your reflection in something that was skewed or distorted? Maybe it was dim or hard to see? During Paul’s time, mirrors were nothing more than slightly convex disks of metal, either bronze, tin, or silver, that reflected light off their polished surfaces. They did not have the refractive backing of mirrors today; thus, images were always crude and misshapen.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen myself as a crude, distorted imitation of who God made me to be. Through my eyes I’m warped, cracked, discolored, dimly lit. I see myself as the glass half empty instead of half full. I see my life as a maze of endless stairways going up, down, and sideways. My perspective becomes as messed up as the skewed image of myself on a poorly reflective surface. Praise God that He does not see me that way! Praise God that, because of His Son, I’m able to be known as I am FULLY known: polished, refined, and perfect. Not by any power of my own, nor by anything I’ve done, but solely by the guiltless blood of the Lamb.

So next time when life presents you with troubles, when the enemy tries to distort the truth and hope of God’s ability to bring beauty from ashes, when the devil hammers you with a distorted reflection of who you are, hang on to the TRUTH that you are a fully known, fully cherished, fully loved, beautiful reflection of the One who made you!

Father, I thank you for the true perspective you have on our lives. For seeing and knowing us fully. For taking hold of any distortions that may come between who You know us to be, and crushing them into dust. Help us keep our eyes on You, the author and perfector of our faith. Help us see our lives, ourselves, and others as You see them. Help us keep perspective. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

 

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Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer


Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. ~Mark 6:31 NIV

As crooned by the late Nat King Cole, “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” are now upon us. A time for rest, relaxation…and a ton of activity.

So much for the rest part. Right?

The LORD knew a time of rest was important. In fact, it is one of His commandments:

“Six days a week are for your daily duties and your regular work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest before the Lord your God. On that day you are to do no work of any kind, nor shall your son, daughter, or slaves-whether men or women-or your cattle or your house guests. For in six days the Lord made the heaven, earth, and sea, and everything in them, and rested the seventh day; so he blessed the Sabbath day and set it aside for rest.” ~Exodus 20:9-11 TLB

Notice the “rest” God is referring to in the above passage is not just any rest. It is rest in HIM. Rest that is meant to revive and nourish body, mind, and soul. Even the word “Sabbath” points us toward an extensive intermission with the LORD.

So next time you’re stressed out with deadlines, WIPs, or just plain life, grab yourself a nice cool glass of lemonade, find a tall, lush, shade tree, pull up a favorite lounge chair or blanket, and spend a lazy hazy “un-crazy” day with the One who put the “R” in rest!

LORD, why is it that we feel the need to “do” all the time? Why is it so hard to rest? And even when we think we are doing the “rest” thing, why is it that we still allow our minds to race a million-miles-per-hour with the cares of this world? Teach us, LORD, what true rest is. Lead us beside still waters so we can drink of You and learn of Your peace–the peace that passes all understanding. Take us to that quiet place where we can bask in Your presence and lay all our burdens at Your feet. Thank you, LORD, for desiring to spend time with us. And thank you for exampling what true rest is all about. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

 

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Mother, May I?

Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 
~Proverbs 8:10-11, NIV

As a child, did you ever play the game, “Mother May I?One player is the “mother,” the other players are the “children.” To begin the game, the “mother” stands at one end facing the “children,” while the children line up at the other end facing the “mother.” The children then take turns asking, “Mother, may I ____?” and fill in the blank with a movement suggestion. For instance, someone might ask, “Mother, may I take five steps forward?” The mother either replies “Yes, you may” or “No, you may not do that, but you may _____ instead” and inserts his/her own suggestion. If the child forgets to ask “Mother may I?”, he/she goes back to the starting line. First one to touch Mother, wins.

Sometimes I feel I play that game with the Lord. I ask, “Father, may I take three steps forward?” But instead of saying “Yes, you may,” He tells me no and keep me where I am or, worse, moves me back.

Don’t you hate being moved back? I know I do. Staying in the same place I can *almost* handle. But moving back? It makes me shudder. Especially when I “know” God should move me forward. Yet the Lord, in all His wisdom, recognizes that sometimes moving forward is not the best for me. In fact, sometimes it can cause irrefutable damage.

Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. (Proverbs 4:13, NIV)

Oh how I wish that verse was my life’s mantra! How I wish I would trust God for every single moment of every single day. But, to be honest, I don’t. And many times when I see Him asking me to stand still or take a few steps back, I dig in my heals and do what I want. Yet even during those times of disobedience, those times when I ask, “Father, may I?” then turn around and do what I please, He’s there for me, offering unconditional love and grace with open arms.

Father, teach me how to listen. Bore into me a desire for Your instruction over mine. Remind me that wisdom—Yourwisdom—is more precious than rubies. That Your instruction and knowledge is more precious than gold, and that my ways can only lead to destruction. Even during those times when I feel like You’ve sent me ten steps back, help me trust that You know best. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting, for You alone are God. 

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