Not long ago my sister sent me some photos of flowers in her garden for me to paint. When I first saw this flower I was struck by the vibrant color and unique shape. Usually a flower’s beauty is seen immediately and not hidden.
Sometimes the uniqueness captures our curiosity causing us to pause and check it out. Isn’t it amazing how God will create something with a unique shape, a vibrant color, or both to capture our attention? When I see a flower like the first one above, that’s unique and different, I want to flip it upright to see underneath it. As I studied this hidden gem, I thought about how God sees our inner beauty. But what do we see? Do we see the outside of a person, their cloak that hides their true beauty? Or like God, do we see the inner beauty of a person? I’d like to say I always see the inner beauty of people but unfortunately that isn’t always the case.
Usually when I meet people, I’m friendly, non-judgmental, and accept them as they are. However, there have been times I’m sad to say when I’ve seen someone and judged them based on appearance. When I’ve had to ask for forgiveness because of my attitude. I think it’s called being jaded. When you’ve seen the uglier side of life, it can happen. You base your opinion on past experiences instead of the present. It can happen to anyone not just people who’ve seen the uglier side of life. Regardless, it’s inexcusable considering that we as God’s children aren’t supposed to be that way. Not anymore. Not when we are a new creature. When we’ve put away the old and put on the new. We are to have wisdom and discernment and sometimes, we’ll feel that nudge from the Lord cautioning us to be careful, that’s when we need to listen. But when we look at someone based on appearance, that isn’t of the Lord and that’s when we need to repent of our judging attitude. Jesus tells us
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
He also said,
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
But unfortunately it happens. If we only see with our eyes, and not listen with our ears, we’ll miss out on the true inner beauty of the person God created them to be. When we do we are the one to miss out on a hidden gem. God bless!
Have you ever shared something with someone and before you could finish speaking they interrupt you by talking over you to tell you something that they or a family member did was better? Or maybe you’ve walked up on a group of people standing around talking and it was as though each person had a better story to share, a better item, or their child did such and such and well, you get the idea. I can remember walking up on a group of people talking all at once trying to make themselves heard and of course no one could hear what the other people were saying.
I wonder. How does God feel when He is talking to us, and we interrupt Him talking over Him, and simply not listen to what He is saying? I can almost envision Him rubbing His chin deep in thought and then stepping back holding up His hands and saying something like okay when your ready to listen, I’ll be over here waiting for you and then He steps back. I can almost see the Lord strolling by stopping next to His Father, waiting with Him as He prays for us, interceding on our behalf. Can you hear the Father sighing and Jesus responding with a light chuckle saying something like You did send Me to save them and God replying with a remark similar to this…I did and I love them dearly but do they realize they’re acting like children? Can you hear the deep belly laughter as Jesus agrees and continues to intercede?
I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
Jesus goes on to say in verse 20
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word
That’s you and me! If Jesus was willing to die for us because God asked Him to do this one thing that we might have a relationship with Him; and Jesus did it out of obedience to His loving Father, shouldn’t we stop and listen to what the Father is saying to us? To grow and mature and not stay as children? I can almost see the smile as His children pause and run back to Him saying…Forgive me for not listening to You earlier, please teach me, tell me what You want me to know. I pray you will take the time to stop and really listen to what God has to say to you. God bless!
Passing by a tree lot on the way to church one Sunday, I was surprised at how crammed the parking lot was with vehicles. It wasn’t even 8:30 a.m. yet people were vying for a parking spot bringing traffic to a near stop. I must confess I couldn’t help but wondered how many would make it to church that morning. As quickly as that negative thought entered my mind I repented and asked the Lord to forgive me for my attitude. Who was I to judge anyone? We all have something that can easily distract and draw us away from our relationship with the Lord if we aren’t careful. Something that is for sale if we aren’t careful to guard it, to protect it.
As I thought back to that day, the Lord reminded me how easily someone can be to be drawn away from Him. That when we take our eyes off of Him, we become vulnerable and open a way for the enemy to take territory from us if we aren’t careful. Just as we have to take time and nurture our relationships with family and friends, we must also take time nurture our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus gave up everything just so we could have an opportunity to become sons and daughters of God. He died that we could live. To nurture such a valuable, precious relationship, we need to spend quality time with Him and not only seek Him, but listen when He speaks. Reading the Bible is important. It’s how we learn about everything that God wants us to know. Prayer is important. It’s how we communicate with Him. But listening is the most important thing we can do to get to know Him. To grow our relationship with Him.
But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.
To dwell safely and be secure without fear of evil…isn’t it worth taking the time to listen? God bless.
These days it seems as though the enemy is running at full strength, attacking everyone any way he can. For the past week I’ve struggled with my writing in both the blog and my text devotionals. I’ve been tired and every time I promised myself that I would go to bed earlier the opposite happened. It took me a moment to realize where my problem lay and it started with the enemy knocking on my door and me unwisely opening the door. How you might ask? It all began…
Here it is the start of a new day. Yesterday’s problems have passed and today’s slate is…wait full? How is this so? It’s a new day and you haven’t even left your bed yet. You just opened your eyes and already your slate is full? How can this be? How indeed. Why did you wake to the morning remembering yesterday’s worries? After all they belong to yesterday, today is a new day. A new dawn. A fresh start, yet your slate is already filled with worries, regrets, stress and you haven’t even gotten out of bed!
Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for I trust in You. Teach me the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.
Psalm 143:8 AMP
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
Meditate on God’s truths before you start your day. If there are any residual worries of yesterday, you can know that the enemy is messing with your mind and trying to start out your day in chaos. Don’t let him succeed in taking territory from you that isn’t his to take. Take back that territory and don’t let him steal from you what belongs to you. There is a reason we are told to forget the former things and not dwell on the past, it’s already gone and there isn’t anything we can do about it. We can only look at what is in front of us for today and take care of those things.
Now it’s time to get out of bed and start your day. God bless! ❤