Archive | April 2012

Will you come to me if you have nothing to gain from me?

Do you ever worry over whether anyone has anything to gain from knowing you and being with you? I know I have. It was one of my major concerns in relationships for a long time. I wanted to ensure that I was a worthwhile friend, relative, significant other. I looked around me to find out what made a good friend.

I looked at the popular people or ones that were really good at making people listen to them and pay attention to what they did. I wanted to be like them. I thought that people who made the biggest noise must be the only ones that others noticed or cared about. I thought I had to strive to be a celebrity to be anything at all.

I’ve found that that’s not true. I need to be me. And I need to live every day so that the fullness of who I am comes out to others. If I am giving them something other than myself, then I am wasting their time. Someone else could probably pull off a better version of the fake “me” anyway. Plus, I’ve discovered that if you really are yourself, people will like you. And the ones who don’t like the real you wouldn’t be doing you such a big favor if they liked the fake you.

Not everyone is going to like me. What a pain that was to my pride at first. It was actually a shock: Me? People not like? Are you kidding? I’m so unique…and special…who wouldn’t want to like me? But, as I have really thought about it, I’ve come to a different conclusion: Other people are unique and special–why then don’t I like everybody, especially if that’s the prerequisite for affection? The fact is I don’t. And I don’t think I’m called to. I’m called to love everyone, but that doesn’t always mean that feeling and a deep soul-connection will be involved. Sometimes it’s just a matter of the will, an act of obedience. I do what is consistent with God’s nature because He has put it inside of me and called me to cultivate faithfulness in it. This is all I should really want. Throw in a couple, or one really good friend and I’m good. And I should want the same for others too. If I’m not their special friend, that’s okay. If they don’t particularly like me, I don’t have to fix that either. They can be who they are and I can be who I am. I just pray that the love of God covers all and fills all. With that I will be content. That’s all I need. In this way, more will be made of God’s miracle-working love than of our ability to naturally get along with everyone we meet. It will be shown that God’s favor on us has the ability to overflow others where we would have no favor to extend. That is a thing of beauty, isn’t it?

 

Natural feminine beauty laid aside for a divine make-over

Real beauty isn’t something we have to strive for, it is something we have to receive–like garments of righteousness from Christ that we need to put on to be adorned with them. We put them on to display His righteousness in us. We show off a beauty that super-abounds us, reaching out to the world and extending the gift. This is why we find it possible to abandon self for Christ, because there is so much that will be gained to replace the flesh that we leave behind.

We do not have to worry or fret over what we look like–whether inside or out–we need only seek to have Him reflected in us. With that settled, we can live more conscious of Him and others. We can live as He’s called us to live. We can live without being overly encumbered by ourselves. And that is what real beauty is.

Is it worth it to be real when you don’t like what real looks like?

Is a beautiful woman free to be real? Can she bare her soul and still be beautiful? What about all the stuff inside that isn’t beautiful? What if people judge her by that instead of by the parts of her that look nicer? Is it worth it to be real if these what ifs happening is the consequence?

Yes, I believe it is. I believe, in ways we don’t understand, being real makes us more beautiful. After all, these are the parts of us that God sees anyway. And if He is not put off by our gross depravities, should we concern ourselves with whether others are? Isn’t that a waste of our time? A terrific neglect of grace?

For we are most beautiful when we are living for Christ–making Him our single focus. When we do this, we realize nothing else matters. Nothing else can take our peace away. And everything about us that needs to be tended to does not worry us anymore because being in the presence of God ensures that everything is being tended to by God Himself. The peace and confidence in God that we get from trusting Him in this way will unmask for ourselves and others what real beauty is. That sounds like something that could make being real worth it, don’t you think?

Hiding in the company of the Light

Can ordinary women be strikingly beautiful? Can their femininity impact their world in a significant way?

Yes! I think it is most definitely possible. Even more importantly, God thinks that you and I can bring something valuable to our world. Maybe you say,” I don’t have all the beautiful feminine gifts: I don’t sing well, dance, flirt, fuss over beautiful things, shop, primp or promote my ‘wears,’ so what can I do that’s both wonderful and feminine? What about me could possibly be striking or influential? If I haven’t seen it yet, then it can’t exist!”

But God says differently. He hasn’t made any one of without a purpose. We are unique and intelligent–would God put such an investment into us if He did have a design for us to fulfill in His universe? He couldn’t; that’s not like God. Now, albeit, sometimes His purposes are unclear or seem to be compromised by the obstacles He allows in our lives, but that does not mean that they’re not there. Maybe we just need to ask Him to give us eyes to see them. Or, faith to believe them.

God’s purposes always call us to depend on Him to see them accomplished and to be refreshed as they are worked out in our lives. God working out His purposes for us may mean that He ushers us into the darkness for a while. But, when He does, let us remember that some of the most beautiful things are formed in the most private and inaccessible places. Therefore, we can afford to be here with our Lord–no matter how dark it gets. We can have confidence because we know the Light is right beside us and He will ensure that we come out with Him for the revelation of His glory.

Crunchbase: is.gd is a company (Consumer Web), acquired by Memset.

I thought you were more beautiful…than that

Why does beauty sometimes create conflict among us? Why is it at times a burden to be borne–whether we seem to be the ones who have an over-abundance of it or someone else does? Why must it be the highest status symbol among certain individuals or groups? Why does it seem to have the power to determine whether our lives are good or bad?

Essentially, I’m asking: Why does beauty seem to effect who we are in such a deep way and why does beauty so often prove to be a means of dividing people from each other? Is beauty a bad thing or is it good? Do we have to have a certain measure of it to be all right? Or would it be better for us if we really didn’t have any at all?

It seems to me that beauty can often have two sides, though both are rarely seen at the same time. To some people it seems that beauty has only a pleasant affect, while to others it seems that they suffer for their connection with it. Or, for a time in your life beauty can seem a blessing, but then your circumstances change, and the same becomes a curse.  People’s standards change, or your face and body are irreparably damaged. Either way, the beauty you used to rejoice in is now a reminder of your loss.

The thing is, that beauty in this world is not impervious to change. Neither is it impervious to jealousy, disdain or the abuse of proper esteem. The reality is that sin taints everything that we know about beauty this side of heaven. If we root our lives in what we can flaunt or experience of beauty in this age, we will come away empty, having nothing to show for the investments we have put into it.

The beauty the world touts becomes bitter to everyone who comes in contact with it; everyone who fills him or herself with it. But this beauty is so because it a beast ravenous for what it ought to be–caged in a place where it does not belong. Beauty was meant to reflect God and His perfection, and any form of beauty that does not, must serve God’s enemy and be displayed to discredit and abuse Him. Beauty loses its meaning when separated from God, while still not losing its power. What a frightful thing for something to have power and no purpose, no carefully-planned direction!

So how can this be changed?

Yield your beauty–and that of others around you–to Him who redeems all things, making them point to Him once more. Then you shall find peace in beauty that He wields for His own design. Do not lift up beauty for its own sake, but look for the One who is beauty personified and lift Him up. This is what gives beauty meaning, when He can be seen in every example of it. This is what gives beauty its tantalizing value, when every experience of exposure to it makes our souls long for the One who is behind it all. Yes, this is knowing what beauty means and letting its power move us toward something worth knowing, a connection that transcends forever.

Finding beauty…anywhere?

Beauty is a difficult thing to handle. I don’t think, as humans, we do so well in defining it. We get caught up in its trappings and so quickly lose our understanding of its essence. Maybe this is because we forget that beauty is not something that can be created so much as it is something that can be found. Beauty is a revelation of the imprint of God. We can miss this reality because we live in a world over-populated by mock-originals. We are surrounded by examples of beauty that has missed its point. Woman after woman diminishes the beauty God has given her with attempts at meeting the wishes of men rather than uniting herself with the Giver of her beauty.

This is a type of self-atoning, as she tries to make herself lovely while rejecting Christ’s loveliness that is offered to her. She wants to have her own beauty–she thinks such a thing is possible by becoming her own person. She does not realize that her own person was lost upon the exit of Eden. She cannot recover it unless the works done at Eden are superseded by a great Redeemer: One who can reconcile her origins and who she is now with the God who made her.

Nothing we do to ourselves can add to or take away from ourselves. Only what we do with God will determine what version we become of what we were originally meant to be. Beauty is not an isolated quality. It tells something of where its possessor comes from and to Whom the object belongs. Beauty is like a price tag that communicates value, but this value does not stand alone. It is determined based on the value that the proprietor gives it. This is based on what the proprietor has invested in it and what he expects to receive from it.

The only difference between us and the object for sale, that I give in this illustration, is that we were never pieces of merchandise put up for sale. In the days when our Proprietor first unveiled us to the world, we sold ourselves against His will. We sold ourselves to sin and worthless living. Now we live with the consequences of this sale in our bodies, minds and spirits. But, one thing that we have not been able to discard through all of our personal mismanagement is our price tag, or value card.

Sometimes the world tries to pretend that because it is stained and torn, that it no longer holds legitimate promise of who we are. Others will go so far as to try to convince us that there is no such tag. They either ignore it or, when we confront them with it, they disregard it as something that we affixed to ourselves because we are really very hopeless wretches.

The problem with all these methods of removing from us our sense of value is that the Master Proprietor is still mindful of our value. We do not have any value of our own left, having separated ourselves from Him, but to Him we are still objects He wishes to make recipients of His tender mercies. Regardless of what’s happened to your card, He is still after you! The one affixed to your person may have been lost, but the one He connects with your soul has not been lost.

He went to your new task-master and has bought you back at the cost of inestimable loss. He paid far more than you were worth to your enemy-master. He considered your value to be worthy of His death. He did this not because your value tag looks so spotless or because you’ve maintained your value so well. The condition of you, the object He came after, is not what drew Him back–it was love. He still loves the one in which He invested His time and attention. He is not giving you up without a fight. You are His and He will have you back.

The only question now is, will you go back? You are free to go, but you can choose to live as though you still belong to your sin-master and that nothing has changed. You can ignore what’s been done for you and spurn your old Master with fresh animosity. Or…you could raise your voice with a grateful, “Yes, I’m coming with You, Lord!” And He will accept you into the place that He has made for you back home. He will call you His own and once more you will bear the tag He gives you, only this one will be monogrammed with His name, and the value on He possesses. Yes, you will be treated as though you are of infinite worth, for your identity has now been permanently linked with He who is of infinite worth.

Every victory over a grudge is the perfect gift of God

Every victory over a grudge is the perfect gift of God.

Are you looking at your life, trying to find what good things you have received from God?

Come, see these things. They are all yours in the abundance in Christ.

Without Him, such victories could not be yours!

Wikipedia: from definition: —used as a function word to indicate a starting point of a physical movement or a starting point in measuring or reckoning or in a statement of limits.

Beauty is being everything…you’re supposed to be!

Beauty is being everything God wants you to be today!

(I know it’s simple, but somehow I think it’s something we need to be reminded of repeatedly if we’re to live it.)

The Free Dictionary: To a previous place, position, or state: left home but went back again.

Beauty is waiting

Beauty is waiting for the One who made us beautiful to appear.

Waiting is not being satisfied with our own beauty–whether we see an abundance or lack of it–but longing for a deeper experience of His beauty.

Longing is not listening to the voices that tell us who we are and what we’re worth, but hearing just that One important voice.

Hearing is deciding to let our hearts be led to the One to whom we belong.

Belonging is not about making ourselves desirable, but the desire of the One who loves us taking over.

Desiring is not looking for meaning, but recognizing that God has given us meaning.

Meaning is the evidence that we are persons who have been called to be relationship with God.

Calling is not a job description that we have to fill out, but a way of being what the Designer made us to be.

Being is not realizing that who we are is enough, but glorying in the fact that God in us is.

Glorying is understanding that God is the only One who gives His creation glory.

Understanding is not something that we stir up within ourselves, but the benefit we get from having God’s presence inside us.

Benefiting is not using God for our own ends, but receiving from Him the end of who we are.

Receiving is reveling in a love undeserved and unmeasurable, that’s every day showered on us.

Reveling is not anything less than worshiping the One for whom we were made.

Worshiping is not forgetting who we are, but discovering who He is.

Discovering is letting who we are fully encounter He who is more than we are.

Encountering is not knowing the way, but enjoying the fact that He does.

Enjoying is not a mystery that anyone truly knows but God’s children.

Knowing is with all your heart believing that God is who He says He is.

Believing is not wishing, but turning your heart from unbelief.

Turning is not spinning around and around, but setting a new course.

Setting is choosing to focus the entire being on the truth that God declares.

Focusing is not being changeable, but angling yourself toward Christ.

Angling is not believing that you always know the best direction, but trusting that God does.

Trusting is letting the Holy Spirit lead and embracing everything He lays on your heart to do.

Embracing is not a natural relation a sinner makes with God, but kneeling helps it happen.

Kneeling is not trying to be religious, but admitting you’ve failed at being righteous.

Admitting is not the end, when you remember the God-Man who was righteous on your behalf.

Remembering is a way we breathe life into our souls.

Breathing is not fighting for life, but letting it flow through you.

Letting is not trying to make it on your own merits, but exalting God’s ability above your own.

Exalting is the product of a life lived solely for God.