Thursday, September 29, 2011

Putting the Bridle On and Taking the Handcuffs Off

"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue 
but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, 
is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, 
and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  
James 1:26-27

James summarizes the previous two paragraphs quite succinctly:  we are to put the bridle in our mouths and take the cuffs off our hands.  The reason for this is quite obvious, isn't it?  

Webster says, "Religion, as distinct from theology, is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law."

Therefore, when we are all talk and no action, even when we are spouting our  well-versed theology, James gives us the warning once again, as in verse 22, that we are only deceiving ourselves if we think that that is all that religious piety consists of.

We are to remove the handcuffs and tend the flock.  My daughters take meals each week to a widower in our church.  They sit and visit and keep him company for awhile.  Now and then I have the privilege of taking a meal to him, and I know why the daughters do it.  Not only is it a ministry to him but to them, as well.  They are exercising pure religion.

It is very difficult to wash clean a pair of cuffed hands.  The last part of verse 27 says that we are to keep ourselves unstained from the world.    Psalm 119:9:  "How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your Word."  How can an older woman, a mother with children, a man with many obligations keep himself pure?  Psalm 119:11:  "I have stored up your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (How do you spell Lord?  O-B-E-Y!)

Well, it's time to quit talking and start doing.  

Have a productive day,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Hearing Test

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, 
he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face 
in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away 
and at once forgets what he was like.  
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, 
and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets 
but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." 
James 1:22-25

I love to study the Bible, to learn and know what it says, to dig deeply into the things of God.  But how much do I love being a doer of the Word?  As I have spent the past few weeks reading and re-reading James 1 concerning proper response to trials and temptation  and  anger, I have learned something about myself.  I find it much easier to be a hearer of the Word than a doer.  Much easier.  I look in the mirror of God's Word all too often, forgetting what I look like as soon as I leave it.

A "trial of various kinds" has arisen this week.  Leave it to the Lord to test my faith while I'm studying James 1!  He is a faithful God who allows us the privilege of proving our faith.  Two days ago we were informed that the house that we rent out (because the economy is too weak for us to sell it) has a leak in the kitchen--apparently a big leak that has been going on for awhile.  Then we were informed that the renter has decided that it is not good for her health, that she wants to be released from her lease, and that she wants to move over a thousand miles away.  And then the insurance company informed us that the insurance that we have been paying may not cover it. 

My first response?  "Count it all joy, Gloria, when you meet trials of various kinds."  Don't get too excited yet about my great spiritual strength.  Unfortunately, my first response was yes, to think about that passage and then to immediately lose my appetite, become discouraged, and begin to wonder how in the world we would pay for this if the insurance doesn't.  I became angry with the renter, whose actions have not endeared us to her anyway.   Then I went to the Lord with it.  I came upstairs, read James 1 again, went back and read my blog posts of late (hoping that I didn't sound too spiritual in them and have to eat crow), and spent time confessing my sin of failing to obey immediately.  I like the hearing of the Word; getting my hands dirty is the hard part.

God is faithful.  He gave me the peace that passes understanding.  He assured me, through His perfect law of liberty, that this is for my good and His glory.  

Today I must go to the house, an hour away, and meet with the adjuster.  Today is another day, and I must determine in advance that I am going to be a doer of the Word, getting my hands dirty, and not just a hearer, deceiving myself.  

I would appreciate your prayers. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Whoa, Now!

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be 
quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness 
and receive with meekness the implanted word,
which is able to save your souls." 
James 1:19-21

We live in a high speed society, don't we?  I was in Dallas last week, and my mind cannot gather itself around all the highways and byways crossing and hovering over one another.  The cars speed past at breakneck speed, all in a hurry to get to their destination.  It looks to me that they may as well learn a little patience, slow down a bit, and forget the road rage.  It just doesn't help!  

In the same way, we tend to run our mouths incessantly, thinking that what we have to say is more important that the thoughts and opinions of anyone else.  We can't hear what others are saying because we are in too big a hurry to say what we have to say.  And our anger has a tendency to express itself in words, no less.  Words, words, words.......(Don't get mad at me!  God said so!)

In order to obey the command of God in James 1:19-21, we must all pull in the reigns (see horsey above), slow down a bit and consider what we are doing.  If our goal is to see the righteousness of God produced in our lives, we must put away the filthiness of too many words, too much anger and too little listening.  And we must do this:  "Receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls." (v. 21)

Matthew Henry said it this way:  "We must therefore yield ourselves to the word of God, with most submissive, humble, and tractable tempers: this is to receive it with meekness. Being willing to hear of our faults, and taking it not only patiently, but thankfully, desiring also to be molded and formed by the doctrines and precepts of the gospel.  In all our hearing we should aim at the salvation of our souls. It is the design of the word of God to make us wise to salvation; and those who propose any meaner or lower ends to themselves in attending upon it dishonour the gospel and disappoint their souls."

If we can attain to this, we are progressing nicely in the Christian life!  

Pulling in the reigns,

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Ultimate Gift

"And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons]by
[His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind 
of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample 
of what He created to be consecrated to Himself]."
James 1:18 (Amplified Bible)

This is the ultimate gift!  God the Father, the One who sustains us and strengthens and perfects us through trials; the One who gives us the way to bear up under temptation;  the Giver of all good things; by His own free will is the One who gave us birth--the new birth that lasts forever.  Mind you, it was not our free will, but His.  We did nothing to deserve this birth, nothing to merit being called His child.  In fact we did everything to deserve the death of hell, a rebirth into an eternity of separation from the One who created us.  (Isaiah 53:6).  

Just as the firstfruits of our labors are to be consecrated to God, so are we.  What a desire this should create in us to live a life of dedication and consecration to the One who gave us this gift of rebirth as His children!  As the Word of Truth brought us forth to become children of God, so should the Truth of the Word continue in our lives to bring us to a point of total abandon to Him.

Desiring to be a consecrated example of what He created,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Perfect Gift

"Do not be deceived, my brothers.  
Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of lights 
with who there is no variation or shadow due to change."  
James 1:16

 James has written to the readers about trials and temptation.  We saw that temptation is an allurement to do what is wrong.  Now he tells us not to be deceived.  Deceived about what?  

In context it appears that he is inadvertently telling his audience not to let the thought that God is responsible for our temptations (or our yielding to them) dominate their minds.  Since He cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He tempt any man to do evil, then we cannot deceive ourselves into thinking that it is He who is doing some inconceivable cruelty to us by causing temptation that we just can't bear up under.
But what about trials?  In our flesh trials seem like a horrible thing.  Why would a loving God allow trials in our lives?  As we saw in earlier verses, they are not bad, but beneficial to us as we count it all joy and steadfastly stand under testing.

I believe in my heart of hearts--not always in my flesh--that the trials of life are a part of that "good and perfect gift" from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation.  If testing can make us perfect and complete, lacking nothing, then they are a good and perfect gift from God. 

I thank my Lord that the trials that He allows in my life, though unpleasant at the time, are there to make me more like Him.

My sweet friend Angie, who lives daily with trials, posted a wonderful post today and listed eight things that will encourage you in the midst of trial.  Click on her name to see them. 
Desiring to stand strong,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tea Party, September 2011

"Favor is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, 
but the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

Our September tea party, with the theme, "That Girl in Your Mirror," was a big success.  Our focus was on developing the inner beauty of the heart.  My heart's desire is to see these girls become as beautiful inside as they are on the outside.

The girls brought goodies for the "dips" party
They looked beautiful as always.
Only 8 of them.  Where's Lilly?
Tea, of course, in each girl's favorite tea cup
Fresh flowers for the occasion

A simple but pretty table

fruits, graham sticks and cookie bites for chocolate dip and mixed fruit dip

pizza dip with homemade bread sticks (recipe at the end of post)

spinach dip with veggies

They decorated mirrors for their craft

 Thanks for joining our party.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Pizza Dip
--1 cup pasta sauce
--1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
--10 pieces pepperoni, diced
--1 cup shredded mozarella cheese
Put in crockpot on low for 1 hr.  Serve with bread sticks.
Bread Sticks

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon dry parsley (optional, for decoration)

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)

  • 1 more teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

  • These are good and easy and they get eaten up so fast that you may have to make a double batch.
    Begin with your favorite big bowl. Measure your flour, salt, garlic powder, parsley and baking powder into it. Stir the dry ingredients together so that the salt, garlic powder, parsley and baking powder are evenly distributed throughout the flour. Now pour in your milk. Stir with a big spoon until you get a ball of dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. You may have to dust the ball of dough with a little flour if it seems sticky to you. Gently knead the ball of dough right there in the bowl about 5 or 6 times. Now place your dough on the counter. You may place a sheet of waxed paper under it you like. Using a rolling pin or sturdy bottle roll the dough out into a rectangle shape. If the edges get all scraggly then use your hands to press them back up into main rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You are aiming for a rectangle that will fit into a 9 by 13-inch pan. When you get the dough the right size, set it aside.
    Meanwhile place the margarine in a 9 by 13-inch pan. Place the pan in the oven at 425°. Allow the pan to preheat and the margarine to melt. When the margarine is melted, carefully remove the pan from the oven. It will be very hot, so don’t burn yourself. Sprinkle the second teaspoon of garlic powder and the 1/2-teaspon of salt into the pan. You do not have to use the extra salt. My crew likes their bread sticks salty so I always use it, but it isn’t vital. Now, very carefully lay your rectangle of dough into the pan, over top of the margarine. Next cut the rectangle into narrow strips. I use a pizza cutter for this because it seems to work the best. A sharp knife will work too though, so use what you have available. My method of cutting is to cut the dough in half and then cut each half in half and then each quarter in half, going on and on until I have a lot of narrow strips of dough. The margarine will creep up between the strips. This is normal. It is what gives these bread sticks their texture. After cutting your strips, place the pan in the oven, still at 425°, and bake them for 20 minutes. They will be brown and crispy when they are done. If desired you may serve them with small cups or bowls of spaghetti sauce or seasoned tomato sauce as a dip. Alternatively, they make a great hot bread with any Italian style meal like lasagna, spaghetti or anything of that ilk.

    Oh, How Tempting!

    "Let no one say when he is tempted, 
    'I am being tempted by God,' 
    for God cannot be tempted with evil, 
    and he himself tempts no one.  
    But each person is tempted when he is lured
    and enticed by his own desire.  
    Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, 
    and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."
    James 1:13-15

    The difference in trials and temptation?  Let's hear from Noah Webster:

    TRIAL: n.  The state of being tried or tempted; exposure to suffering that tests strength, patience, faith, or the like; affliction or temptation that exercises and proves the graces or virtues of men. 

    TEMPTATION, n. The act of tempting; enticement to evil by arguments, by flattery, or by the offer of some real or apparent good.

    1. Solicitation of the passions; enticements to evil proceeding from the prospect of pleasure or advantage.
    2. The state of being tempted or enticed to evil. When by human weakness you are led into temptation, resort to prayer for relief.

    As we embrace trials versus temptation, something happens:
    One is productive in our lives; the other is destructive.
    One brings joy; the other brings death.
    One produces patience; the other produces evil desire.
    One completes us; the other destroys us.

    It is so easy to disparage in the midst of trials.  God's will for us is to endure with joy, knowing that He has  great prospects in mind for us.

    In our flesh it is also easy to give in to temptation.  But knowing it is not from God, we can only blame ourselves. 

      1 Corinthians 10:13-14
    "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it.  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry."

    When we give in to temptation, it becomes an idol in our lives.  Oh, that we may resist!

    Praying, "Lord, deliver us from evil,"


    Friday, September 16, 2011

    The Crown of Life

    "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, 
    for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, 
    which God has promised to those who love Him."
    James 1:12

    Some things are just difficult to write about, because I haven't been there and in my flesh really don't want to go there.  I looked up the cross reference on the crown of life, and it is from Revelation 2:10:  

    "Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, anf for ten days you will have tribulation.  Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life."

    Could it be that the trials that James is speaking of here are more than just the "diverse trials" that we often find annoying?   I am going to let a couple of men who endured great trial speak for themselves.

    William Tyndale Born 1484 ? -- Martyred October 6, 1536
    At last, After much reasoning, when no reason would serve, although he deserved no death, he was condemned by virtue of the Emperor Decree , made in the Assembly at Augsburgh (as is before signified) and upon the same brought forth to the place of Execution, was there tied to the Stake, and then strangled first by the Hangman, and afterwards with fire consumed in the morning, at the Town of Filford, A.D. 1536; crying thus at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice, "Lord open the king of England's eyes."

    Text taken from pages 301 to 306 The Second Volume of the Ecclesiastical History: Containing the Acts and Monuments of Martyrs:
    Latimer & Ridley burnt alive at Oxford in the year 1555.
    Then they brought a lighted fagot, and laid the same down at Ridley’s feet; upon which Latimer said calling out from the fire, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. (from Foxe's Book of Martyrs) 

    I know this is not an exciting post people will enjoy.  But I do want to stay true to the Scriptures.  Our purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  We must glorify Him in whatever role He calls us.

    On a lighter note, today is tea party day for my granddaughters.  Next week I will try to post pictures.

    Have a blessed day, and remember:  God gives us gracre and mercy in everything.  Our trust and confidence is in Him and Him alone.  The crown of life is promised for those who love Him.

    With fear and trembling,

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Fading Flowers

    "Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits."
    James 1:9-10

    The green "grass" is actually crabgrass, a weed thriving among the dying grass.

    Every gardener in the south fights a battle with crabgrass, an invasive weed that tries to take over the yard.  It seems no matter how hard one tries to rid his lovely grasses of the pesky weed, his fight is still on.  I learned something very interesting though,  about crabgrass; when other grasses of the field have withered up and died, it becomes a very tasty treat for cattle.  They thrive on it, and it actually has a sweet taste to them.  They eat more and even gain more weight than when grazing on other summer grasses and grains.  

    Aha!  I see a lesson here! As I thought about the crabgrass, the unloved and often rejected member of grass society, it reminded me of the poor in James 1 as compared to the rich.  Let's say that the rich are the costly grasses that the farmer so painstakingly planted.  They have their day of glory:  when conditions are right, they thrive while the poor (crabgrass) struggles to make it.  Interesting isn't it, that both struggle through their own trials.  But life has its turns.  

    The rich stand to lose infinitely more, and their struggles are so much more severe.  As providence would have it, last night our speaker at church preached on overindulgence.  One of his propositions was that overindulgence will leave you loathing what you love and loving what you hate.  (I wonder if that's how the farmer feels once the grasses he has planted begin to die and the crabgrass pops up, still available for food for the animals?)  But back to the planted grass.  Every gardener who has experienced the death of his rich grass because of the crowding out of the crabgrass understands this concept.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Just as the grass begins to dry up and fall to the ground, just as its beauty perishes, so does the wealth of the wealthy.   For those who have experienced that trial, I'm sure it is a great one. 

    The poor can exalt though, because God has purpose for them.  They have no worries about losing things, about who will get their inheritance.  Their struggles may be less severe than those of the rich. In the end, they are better off.  And somehow I see them somewhat like the crabgrass.  They have their struggles, but they also have great purpose.  And again, as we look at the trials of both, we realize that only in the midst of them does our true purpose shine. 

    So what in the world does all that mean for me?  The first part of verse 9 uses the word "boast."  So in what am I to boast?  A great verse comes to mind:

    "But let him who boasts boast in this,
    that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD 
    who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.
    For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
    Jeremiah 9:24

    Boasting in the Lord,

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
    James 1:5-8

    Painting: The Mayflower by Mike Haywood

    What an interesting day I had yesterday!  I began this study in James, wrote about steadfastness and joy under trials, and spent the day fighting discouragement and joylessness.  Isn't it just like the enemy?  The temptation to throw in the towel is often so very real and so difficult not to give in to, especially when one is writing about it!  I spent much time in prayer last night pleading with the Lord.

    I am encouraged to go on.  God has much more to say on this matter through the apostle James.  So where do we go when we begin to feel the pull of the enemy, when we begin to feel like our steadfastness is giving way to discouragement?

    We are to ask God for wisdom.  If wisdom is " the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good, (Noah Webster) or, my favorite, "Seeing life from God's perspective," then certainly when we are in the midst of trials which we cannot rid ourselves of, then we must turn to God.  In order to receive wisdom from Him, we are to:
    • Ask for it.  (Simple enough!)
    • Ask in faith.  (Okay, I believe God can do anything.)
    • Do not doubt.  (Do I feel a little nausea coming on?)
    Let's get this next picture engraved on our minds:
    • A ship is in the ocean.
    • A strong wind has come up.
    • The ship is being driven by the wind.
    • The ship is being tossed about by the wind.
    • It is unstable.

    Wreck of the SS Catala at Ocean Shores, WA. Wrecked in a storm 1965, picture taken in 1976
    That is a picture of humankind when we ask God for wisdom in the midst of trials and refuse to believe that He will provide it.  Seeing that I get really seasick, that scenario seems quite nauseous to me! I DO NOT WANT TO BE DRIVEN BY UNBELIEF!  I DON'T WANT TO BE SHIPWRECKED!

    Matthew Henry said, "Wisdom shall be given to those who ask it of God, provided they believe that God is able to make the simple wise, and is faithful to make good his word to those who apply to him."
    God is able
    God is faithful.

    I must believe that my Sovereign God will give me wisdom to endure the trials that He is allowing in my life.  He alone is worthy of our trust.  He is our Steadfast Hope.  He is the Director of the things of life.  

    Thankful for a God who keeps His promises,

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Pass or Fail?

    How do you fare?  "A"  plus?
    Or do you fail the test?

    "Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect 
    and complete, lacking in nothing."  
    James 1:2-4

    This is really not something that I like to think about.  Trials, you know.  But interestingly enough, the greatest joy that I experience in life often comes from the trials that come along.  I don't ask for them; they come often enough without having to ask.  So if you have not experienced much in the way of trials and are looking for greater joy, just wait.  They will come!

    We touched on two things in these verses:  trials and joy.  An interesting combination it is.  Why do trials bring joy?  And when do they bring joy?  

    They bring joy because they are a test of our faith.  Indeed they are.  I heard many say about 9/11 that God had deserted us.  Some refused to believe in a God that would allow such atrocities to happen.  Others began to question their faith.  No joy was theirs; for those who "professed" to believe, when their faith was tested, threw in the towel.  

    Various trials bring joy when we are  steadfast.  We cling to the promises of God.  We look back at the trials of our forefathers and say with David:

    I am still confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
    Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
    Psalm 27:13-14 

    A great promise follows when we hold on steadfastly; we are mature and complete and lack nothing.  It seems so out of the norm, so opposite what we think in our finite minds.  And yet God says that maturity and completeness in our lives comes from enduring with joy the trials that are set before us.

    This is a hard subject to write about, seeing that even knowing that trials produce completeness in my life, I still dread them and think that I would rather not go through them.  And yet from past experience I know that as I trust the Lord , He does all things for my good and His glory.

    Enduring, believing, hoping,

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Last Man Standing

    Grape vines

    "Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered,
    as when the grapes have been gleaned:  there is no cluster to eat,
    no first-ripe fig that my soul desires.  The godly has perished 
    from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind;"
    Micah 7:1-2a 

    As I look back at 9/11/2001 and numerous other events in our recent history, sometimes I find myself in the same state of pity as the prophet Micah.  I feel somewhat like the last man standing.  His judgment, without doubt, will come down and come down hard on those who have committed such atrocities.  He is not blind.

    And then I look at my own life and recognize that I, too, am in need of God's mercy.   
    What caused the incidents of 9/11?  
    Black, ugly sin. 
    And what causes me pain in my own life?
    Black, ugly sin.

    I, too, can be an empty cluster of grapes, useless and without effectiveness.  That is what had happened to Israel during the time of the prophet.  They had forsaken their God, joined the masses who worshiped vain idols, and become like the fig tree that was past bearing figs. 

    In the midst of their sinful desertion of the God of their salvation, the prophet makes this wonderful statement:

    "Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over 
    transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?
    He does not retain his anger forever,
    because he delights in steadfast love."
    Micah 7:18

    What brings me great rejoicing is that God, in His steadfast love, has already given me mercy through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  My sin has been cast into the depths of the sea.  He has pardoned my iniquity and passed over my transgressions.  Therefore, without guilt I may serve Him as a fruitful vine.  I can say with the prophet, 

    "But as for me, I will look to the Lord;  I will wait 
    for the God of my salvation; 
    my God will hear me." 
    Micah 7:7 

    Grape tendrils clinging to the wire provided by the grower

    The grower of grapes places support wires for the tendrils of the grape vines to grasp onto so that they don't fall.  If you are laboring under a load of sin, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have the privilege of looking to the Lord, the God of your salvation.  Confess and forsake; He will hear you.  If you do not know Him, Jesus Christ is the answer.  He is the means to your salvation.  If you cry out to Him in genuine repentance, He will hear you.

    As we attend to our duties this week, let's be fruitful vines and productive fruit for our Lord. 

    Still standing on often wobbly feet,

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    I Can Only Imagine

    My mother in 1938

     This wonderful song was sung at my mother's funeral seven years ago. As I finish up my posts about our future home in Heaven, I encourage you to listen to this most wonderful, inspiring song.   I would exhort us all to consider these verses as we go into our weekend.  Have a good one!

    "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."
    Colossians 3:2
    "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
    Hebrews 12:2

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Dim Mirrors and Dull Glasses

    A dirty mirror

    " For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
    Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
    even as I have been fully known."  
    1 Corinthians 13:12

    Have you ever looked into your makeup mirror and seen little but hair spray or a conglomerate of hair spray and dusty makeup?  Or better yet, how many times have you picked up your mirror and seen messy little hand prints all over it?  Needless to say, you looked through a mirror "dimly."

    As I grow older I become more and more aware of how true it is that we only see the shadows of what is to come.  A few things hit me as I read this passage:

    First, I see youth, vibrant and with the idea that they are pretty smart, quite wise, and know much.  They often think that mom and dad are really out of the loop, not too smart, lacking in wisdom, and don't know much at all about the important things.  It's just the bent of children to underestimate the distance that their elders have traveled.  They haven't been there yet.  Their mirror is dirty, but they don't realize it.  When they look into it they think they see a pretty cool reflection.  (Is "cool" cool anymore?) 

    Then I realize, sadly, how little I know, how much there is to learn, and how little time I have left to learn it.  My daughter reminded me yesterday that I could have 30 years left; my mother did when she was my age.  But at the same time we don't know the span of our years.  The Proverbs encourage us to "number our days so that we may apply our hearts to wisdom."  Proverbs 90:12.  So I want to make the most of the years that God has prepared for me.  And even yet, I see only through a mirror dimly. 

    Hopefully as I mature in Christ my mirror gets rubbed a little cleaner, but it is still dim.  Someday--Praise God!--I will know even as I am known.  As Grandpa Persson says, GLORY!

    "But, as it is written,
    'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
    what God has prepared for those who love him;'”—
    1 Corinthians 2:9-11

    This is my husband's eyeglass collection.  He goes to Dollar Tree and buys them for a dollar.  When a pair breaks he takes them back and gets another pair.  When he needs a new strength, he goes and buys another pair--or two or three.  When those become too weak, can guess the drill.  He tends to lose them, so he buys more, or stronger, or..........I'm sure this isn't all of them.

    Anyway, no matter how strong our glasses are, and no matter how "clean" our mirror is, we still see dimly and cannot imagine what God has prepared for us who love Him.  I have a feeling we would all be clamoring for heaven if we could only imagine.

    While we wait to see the big "reveal" we have much to do.  Let's work on cleaning those mirrors and getting our prescriptions right.  Let's fulfill God's purpose for us as we "glorify Him and enjoy Him forever."  Let's learn and teach and obey as we prepare for GLORY.

    Cleaning my mirror and adjusting my glasses,