Yesterday, as we prepared to leave to attend our uncle’s funeral, I thought about how we look at each other. Although we are made in the image of God, we look at each other differently. There are eyes of compassion, love, judgment, joy, sorrow, pain, celebration, and yes even hate.
Press the pause button for a moment, and recall someone special in your life. Maybe it is your mother, father, grandparent, spouse, friend, or a child. Bring that person into your mind’s eye. What and how do you feel? Are you smiling, right now? Does the very thought of that person brings joy to your heart? When we look at these special individuals, we look at them with loving eyes. My uncle looked at me with loving eyes. I knew his look. It was a look of acceptance and appreciation. I was valued, and important to him. Everything about me was okay, and in return I looked at him with loving eyes.
Our Lord looks at us with the most indescribable loving eyes. Everything about us at divine levels we can’t even imagine is filtered with love. He looks at you and me with eyes of love – smiling eyes, hopeful eyes-grace filled eyes. Only His loving eyes could look at us and say yes I will go to Calvary. [John 3:16] Only His loving eyes could see our sins, and love us anyway. 1 John 4:8 “God is love.” Only Jesus could look at us, and despite our mistakes, flaws, challenges, see the beauty of our destiny with Him. Jesus loving eyes looks at us daily, and sees God the Father’s crowning achievement in creation with love and compassion. [Proverbs 10:12 (b) “…love covers all sins.” NKJV.] What a glorious thing it is to know our Savior looks at us with those loving eyes.
I challenge you to look at others with the loving eyes of Jesus. It is our role as His ambassadors to demonstrate His love to this hurting world. They need to see His loving eyes through us. So look at someone with His loving eyes, and let them experience being appreciated, and accepted and loved.
“Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing in the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7 NASB
Godly contentment seems like a lofty goal since we are plagued with constant messages of volatile markets, and ever – changing political climates both here and aboard. The harbingers of doom and gloom-the news and entertainment media fill the airwaves with images of death, destruction, grief, sorrow. And along with these are the conveyors of every conceivable pleasure laden items, and substances, all waiting to snatch away our peace of mind. “Vanities of vanities, all is vanity.” How can one expect to maintain a sense of peace within or achieve Godliness? 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” NIV
God promised our minds would flow and remain in perfect peace and harmony when we focus on Him. We will never be content with this world’s vain riches. Nor can our minds withstand the endless onslaught of messages and images designed to attract and distract us from our divine purpose. Our soul craves for the living, soothing water of Christ-the Prince of Peace. It is His message, and His image that establishes contentment and peace. Only with the power and presence of Christ can we place all things and experiences in their proper place. “The earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof.” Recognizing everything belongs to the Lord, and that we are merely His stewards means freedom. So let go of the entanglements, and the sin that so easily besets us, and lay hold of the peace and contentment that passes all understanding through Christ, our King.
The recent joy of our niece’s high school graduation was also wrapped in sorrow because of passing of our last uncle. Family members are experiencing different and varied streams of emotions of joy, sadness, pride, regret, fear, guilt, love and hope. Life transitions should increase our awareness and reflection, if we are to learn and grow from them. If not, the law of diminishing returns will activate, and those clanging bells and cymbals will captivate our thoughts like a video game filled with a vortex of fragmented situations and circumstances.
In the midst of the joyous, and the profound, stop, and allow God’s wisdom to guide you. Hidden within each experience is God. His presence shining through reminds us that all things are His, and on loan to us. This is His time, His people, His world.
“Create in me a clean heart, so that I may serve thee… ” Become my sweet heart song O’ Lord, fill me with your joy. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Forgive me Oh God for my sins…only you….only you can cleanse me. You, O’ Lord are mighty. You, Oh God are awesome. You Oh God are worthy of all the honor, and all the praise. You, O’ Lord can heal me, restore me. Create in me a clean heart so that I may serve you. This is my prayer. This is my heart song.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers. A great deal more is made of Mother’s Day than Father’s Day. Just give him a tie, or a wrench, and we’re done. Being father is one who sacrifices, prays, loves, works, protects the family, encourages our children to reach their divine potential is a father. Many within our communities may never receive recognition for their God- given role as fathers. This Father’s Day, let us resolve to express our heartfelt appreciation to our men who serve as fathers to our children. I thank my dad, my beloved husband, uncles, brothers, nephews, cousins, friends, and sons for being fathers. I am grateful to God for allowing me the privilege of being part of their lives, and witnessing their growth as men, and as fathers. I am thankful for their acts of love towards my children, grandchildren, and the children in our communities, and circles of love. They are truly Kings among men. They deserve our respect, honor, appreciation, prayers, and love. Happy Father’s Day to all.
In Prayer and the Coming Revival by Andrew Murray, he wrote “Prayer is the one power on earth that commands the power of heaven. (paraphrased). The one power that bring heavenly power to earth. The one power which combines the natural and supernatural. It gives light and peace, joy, and all the benefits of heaven. James 1:17 states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” [NKJV]
To receive the glorious benefits of heaven, to transform the world around us prayer is needed. Take note my dear brothers and sisters we need to pray more. Prayers like that of Hannah, whose barren womb was opened up to receive the good gift of a son. We need to pray like Nehemiah, who when he heard of the conditions in Jerusalem prayed and receive wisdom to begin restoring the walls. We need to pray like David, whose prayers filled the pages of our Bible with words of repentance, despair, hope, compassion, love and appeal for others. These prayers and others changed the lives of the one who prayed, as well as recipients. We are told to pray without ceasing…to make our petitions known to God. To pray is to invite heaven to reside on earth – the corrupt to know the incorruptible. Through it [prayer] our feeble hands touch the hem of His garment and receive power. Amazing Prayer transforms our minds, and prepares our spirits to become better instruments for His use. At our church we have a motto: Prayer, Praise, and Participation = Power. Focus on your prayer time, and strive to really pray, so more of those good and perfect gifts can be realized in your life.
Ever spent days getting ready for guests? You clean and clean, but there always seem to be more and more dirt. Things overlooked due to our over committed schedules get attention. Piles of things that needed to be put away or organize, are now a priority because someone’s coming. Increased time and energy is expended to make the house sparkle and shine. With laser focused eyes, you notice every little speck, and the whole place gets a deep cleaning. Everything gets put in its place-all neatly tucked away or displayed. What about you? How are you looking? Do you need a deep cleaning? Is there a blemish in your character that needs some attention? Are there piles and piles of issues that should have been put away, or better yet throw out? What thing have you buried so deep that needs the cleansing power of Christ ?
I remember for years mom would have us do a spring cleaning. We spent days getting into every nook and cranny of the house. Everything was completely washed. Walls scrubbed, mattresses aired out, nothing was off-limits. We clean the house from top to bottom. It was an annual ritual. We didn’t like doing it, or the amount of time it took, but in the end when all was completed there was contentment, and blessed peace. And it looked good.
Sometimes, we need to do a “deep cleaning” on our body temple. This physical space our spirits occupy belongs to God, and He expects us to keep it clean and in good condition for His work.
When was the last time you did a deep cleaning? If it hasn’t happened in a while, then I recommend you start today. Get into every crack and crevice. Wash your mind, body and spirit with the healing power of Christ’s living water. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind [2 Tim 1:7]. Use the power of God and begin cleaning your spiritual house today, and experience the blessed peace of Christ. You will look good inside and out. Romans 12:1-2
God made man in His Image.[Genesis 1:26-27] Within man’s image, the essence of the divine resides, and man was originally designed to reflect that essence, and to carry out God’s plans. Man was told to prosper, reproduce, and subdue the earth; be a steward – a reasonable manager in the administration of his duties on the earth. Man’s image should mirror and be in alignment with our Heavenly Father. What a glorious gift and inheritance! And yet stories like the one involving the slain students near the campus of Auburn University, you can’t help but to grieve. Our people perish for a lack of knowledge. So many don’t know who they are and what is their purpose.
Made in the image of God, and yet we hate ourselves. Our reflection has been damaged, distorted and diseased by the enemy. We no longer reflect our original image, nor carry out the purpose and plans for which we were designed.
But there is good news! Our image can be restored! Christ, our Savior, the hope of glory is our master conduit through which we are remade into a new “creation.” With His precious blood, He restores our divine image and set us on the path to our purpose. Through Christ we prosper, reproduce, and fulfill our duties. Through Christ the world learns the truth about – man’s image. Reflect today!
In my last post I incorrectly quoted from the movie Pollyanna. The inscription on her necklace was “If you look for the bad in people you shall surely find it”, Abraham Lincoln. The major theme of the movie was to look for the good, not the bad. Whatever you look for in people, you will see it.
Philippians 4: 8 [KJV] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Form an opinion of those things which heighten, elevate us and those around us. People need to see the true, see integrity, see justice, purity, beauty, and the good. They need to see they are made in the image of God.
The moment we behold [with our soul] as with the clear light of Christ, we are transformed, and so is our world. Light removes the darkness. It penetrates the heart and spirit, and take us to the sacred place of forgiveness and love.
Your good eyes shining on the poor soul who has lost their way will be like a drop of water in the dry desert. Let resolve ourselves to see the good, and share the Good News today.
Recently, I watched an old movie starring Hayley Mills “Pollyanna”, who came to live with her maiden aunt after the death of her missionary father. Her aunt Polly was extremely wealthy and ran the town. Its citizens followed a strict code of conduct and weren’t particularly happy. Pollyanna’s character, upon arrival introduced the philosophy of “The Game.” Her father taught her to look at the bright side of things, even when disappointed in circumstances, or in people. “If you look for the good in people, you are sure to find it” was the inscription on the necklace given to her by her father. There are more than 800 happy texts in the Bible Pollyanna told the Pastor portrayed by the late actor Karl Malden. He went and looked up every single one of these “happy texts” and it dramatically changed his ministry, and relationship with the townspeople.
Cynicism, malaise is creeping into our thoughts, actions, and deeds. Are you looking for the good in people at the home, the supermarket, store, bank, school or on your job? You might say, you don’t understand what I’m going through. You don’t understand the news I just received. My kids, my spouse, my job, my work, my life….there is nothing good here now. You are so wrong. Good is always present. “Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from Heaven above, with wisdom, power and love, our God is an awesome God” are lyrics from a song sung by Helen Baylor. Our awesome God has given abundant life. He has given us the perfect planet in which to live. He has given us his Only begotten Son Jesus to rescue us from the wages of sin and the grave. He has given us family, opportunity to use our gifts and abilities, and so much more. We are his beloved children, stewards and ambassadors who should be looking for the good in others. The world needs us looking through the lens of good so they can have hope. So go find a happy text in the Bible, and then play the Game. Remember: When you look for the good, you will surely find it.
1 Corinthians 13