What is it about beauty that captures you, that draws you in? The deep oranges and golds of the perfect sunset, the tranquil crashing of the ocean waves onto the shore, the arches of the white toped mountain peaks proudly reaching into the sky, the sound of rain pitter-pattering onto the pavement, the peaceful breathing of a baby as she sleeps, the music that sings to your soul, the embrace of old friends, a smile from someone who loves you. My God is the greatest artist there is. His paintbrush has stretched across the land painting the most beautiful of things for us, his unworthy children. Too many times we see His beauty, and we pass it by, consumed with the trivial things of daily life, when all we have to do is stop.... To let ourselves be drawn in. To not just see beauty, but to experience it. To not just love beauty, but to find it. To not just have beauty, but to receive it.
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves. (The Weight of Glory- C.S. Lewis)
To have people who love me. To have a roof over my head. To have food on my table. To have an education. To have my health. To have friends. To have family. To have love. To be loved. To love God. Thanks. Amen.
Where did the other Dollar Go? Three men check into a hotel, the manager charges them $30 for one room with three beds which they share. The men go to their room and settle in, after a few moments the manager realizes his mistake, he over charged the three men, the room rate was only $25. He sends for the bellhop to return the $5 to the three men. On his way to the room the bellhop realizes that he can't split $5 between 3 men so he decides to give each man $1 and pocket the remaining $2 as a tip. The bellman returns the $1 to each man. In the three mens minds they each paid $9 for the room, or a total of $27, include the $2 tip the bellhop kept and that equals $29, what happened to the other dollar?
In honor of my Golden Birthday (turning 25 on the 25th- for those of you who don't know what a golden birthday is), I thought I would take you back in time to the day I was born!
News, January 25, 1981: 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived back in US. Mao's widow Jiang Qing was sentenced to death.
Music: Top 5 Songs of 1981: 1. Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes 2. Endless Love - Diana Ross and Lionel Richie 3. Lady - Kenny Rogers 4. Starting Over - John Lennon 5. Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
Movies: Best Picture: Chariots of Fire
TV: Top 5 shows in 1981: 1. Dallas 2. 60 Minutes 3. The Dukes of Hazzard 4. Private Benjamin 5. M*A*S*H
Clothes: Althetic wear, inspired by Olivia Newton-John's hit song and video "Let's Get Physical" makes headbands and legwarmers the garments of the moment.
Sports: January 25, 1981 - Super Bowl XV (at New Orleans): Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10. The second Super Bowl win for the Raiders (they won Super Bowl XI), this one belonged to Oakland all the way. They led 14-0 after one quarter, 14-3 at the half and 24-3 after three quarters. MVP: Raiders’ QB Jim Plunkett. Tickets: $40.00.
1981 was the only year that my Dad didn't care about the superbowl! He got ME instead!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Read it again.
For the first time, when I read this verse today, I didn't see a verse that is read at wedding after wedding. Instead, I saw something new, something refreshing, something that spoke to my heart. In my current search for my purpose in life, I consume myself with trying to figure out what I want to be and who I want to be. Love is not just an emotion, its not just something that we feel for another.... Love is everything that I want to be as a person. It's not the what, its the who! It's not just what I want to have for others, its what I strive to be. God is the who, the what and the why. He is love... and I love Him.
I saw a bumper sticker on the way to work today... "I may be fat, but you're ugly - I can lose weight!"
At first I chuckled. Then I began to feel sorry for the poor soul who was so insecure that they felt the need to pull others down to make themselves feel good. It seems as if each and every one of us is insecure in our own way... I'm fat, I'm ugly, I'm stupid, I'm unsuccessful, I'm not good enough... so, what is enough? If our focus is on our own failures and inadequacies, we'll be immobilized by self-pity or self-hatred. We oscillate between feeling good about ourselves and feeling bad. Our successes elevate our self-esteem, and our failures (or sometimes others' successes) lower it. It's a roller-coaster ride...I want off! Why do I continue to try to determine our my own worth. Why do I need to compare myself to others? It's in God's eyes that I matter. In His eyes, I am unique, irreplaceable, valuable, loveable, and perfectly made. To Him, I am beautiful- inside and out, because I am His!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
I have a garden. Did I ever tell you that? It’s a beautiful garden, filled with flowers of every kind. No flower exactly like the next. Nope, each one is perfectly grown to be different. I walk my garden daily, experiencing all of it's beauty. It is never winter in my garden… I am blessed to say that there has always been some flower in bloom at all times. Some flowers are perennials, popping out of the soil over and over again at different times in life. I also have annuals, that came and are now gone… some I have forgotten and others were so beautiful to me that I could never erase their memory from my heart. Each and every flower is precious to me, grown with a perfect plan in mind to bring beauty into my life at the perfect time.
Friends are flowers in the garden of life, grown with love by my heavenly gardener. Their beauty makes the walk through my garden each day something to look forward to, something cherished. I am blessed... for their prayers, their wisdom, their honesty, their laughter, their hearts, their love, and their friendship...they are my flowers, my precious friends.
Base is safe. He stands there, eyes closed, as if to not know that everyone is running away. He is left alone. At the base. Base is safe, secure, with Him. He starts to count... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11... as the numbers go higher and higher, everyone runs away, out into the playing area.
She is determined to do her own thing. She will not hide with her friends, she is going to hide so well that He will never be able to find her. She wants to be invisible, lost in the scenery, gone from His view. She runs, away from it all... searching... searching... searching... for a spot to hide... to hide from ever being found. She thinks He won't know where she is. She wants to be invisible, lost in the scenery, gone from His view.
The others distribute themselves, to find spots, good ones, tucked away and hidden from view. ...93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100... "Ready or not, here I come" He yells. They hear Him, and they fall silent. They listen to Him, looking for them, but they continue to stay hidden. They think He can't see them, but He can. They think they are hidden, but they aren't. They think they are safe, but they won't be... until they return to the base.
He comes, whether we are ready or not. He comes to find us, all of us. He sees us, no matter where we hide, no matter where we go, no matter what games we try to play. He waits patiently for us to return to the base, safely to the base...to be with Him. When we don't, He seeks us, He finds us, He knows us, He loves us. We hide... He will seek... but He will only find you if you'll let Him.
The Scene: My overpriced, tiny, 495 sq ft efficiency apartment, very near downtown Dallas. Its just big enough for what I need, small, but cozy. To make my oversized hotel room feel as if I have a bedroom and a living room, I have a bookcase separating my bed from my living area. The bed is in the back corner of the room up against two of the walls and closed in on the third side by the bookcase, leaving only the foot of the bed for entry.
The Problem: I have been missing the remote to my TV for several days now, and last night I finally got sick of getting out of bed to turn the TV off... I started looking for my maiden in distress.
The Search: Well, I didn't have to search far and wide, the land was not vast. As I crouched on the ground with my flashlight at the foot of my bed, I spotted it ... there was my maiden in distress... my remote... strategically placed, and perfectly out of reach, in the middle of the underside of the bed.
The Rescue: Had the maiden been near the side of the bed I might have been able to reach it while laying on the bed, but I couldn't. She had fallen, strategically placing herself in the middle under the bed, out of my arms reach. I spent the next 20 minutes stretching and reaching in the hopes that I could just move the remote closer to the side of the bed. I used every item I could think of to get under there, but not a single one would work.
The Solution: I stopped for a moment, thinking to myself... Could I move something? Yes, move the bed! You are a genius! ... nope, every time I tried to move it, the mattress would move, but the box springs and frame would not... Ok, maybe move the bookcase. Yes! that would work... nope, it didn't, way to heavy... Maybe I could carefully fit sideways in the 6 inch space between the bed and the wall? Yes! then I could reach!... I carefully laid down. Now wedged in between my wall and my bed, I realized that this was ALSO a very bad idea. I couldn't move my arms, I couldn't move my legs... now I was the one in DISTRESS! I was stuck, all alone, with no one to yell to... I am going to die, all alone, wedged up against the wall in my tiny little apartment [panic sets in]. I wiggled, ever so frantically, until I could get up onto one knee, almost ripping my arm out of its socket as I lifted myself back up to a standing position... Praise Jesus! I'm out! I won't die alone wedged up against the wall in my tiny apartment... glad that no one was there to see what she had just done to herself, she starts to give up. But wait...[light bulb flashes above her head] with this genius thought coming to mind, she jumped in bed, embarrassed that she hadn't thought of it sooner. This plan was bound to work, no fail. It was good one. The best she had come up with... Forget you maiden, I am going to Radio Shack tomorrow to buy a new universal remote.
Irritated, agitated, frustrated, resentful, anxious, stressed, tense, ill tempered... you know them well, these are the feelings of impatience. What is it about having patience that is so hard? Why are we so impatient with God, when he is so patient with us? When we are impatient we waste energy worrying about how slow things are changing instead of directing that energy toward the changes you desire. I read once that patience is the ability to accept your human frailty in the pursuit of personal, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. Hum?? I like that. What is your human frailty? What is your mountain to climb? What set of circumstances do you have to overcome? How are you going to handle them... with impatience?
Stepping outside, the back yard looks wonderful... lush, fertile, abundant, and GREEN. The grass between their toes feels great, like no feeling that they have ever felt before. They run, skip, laugh, and play, enjoying the yard that they had always hoped for... exactly what they had hoped for. God pours out sunshine, and rain, giving the land the strength to always grow, tall and mature. He is their gardener, watching over their grass as if it is his own, nurturing and caring for it with love. There is no need to look to greener pastures, this one is theirs. There is no need to wish for more, this one is theirs. Their grass IS greener... as green as they come.
Hope and fear... while these two seem to be on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum of life, they are in fact linked (if not one in the same). Without fear, hope need not exist... without hope, fear overpowers. With nothing in life to fear and nothing to hope for we are left with nothing... never to be satisfied or happy. Finding the perfect balance between hope and fear is the juggling act that we all perform each and every day of life. There are days when my head is in the clouds, and there are days when I am so ridden with anxiety that I can't sleep, but when I zoom out to see the big picture of life, I realize that this balance is what makes my life worth living. The path I walk along is dark. That darkness places a fear in my heart, but the hope that I have in my God has given me the peace to keep walking even though I don't know what is ahead. Into the darkness...
10. You have DVD's that you got for Christmas that need watching. 9. Showers are overrated. 8. Your couch will get cold if you're not on it. 7. If you don't do your part, delivery men will be outta work. 6. Slippers are better than shoes. 5. There are blogs to read. 4. Season 10 of Friends would only take 7 1/2 hrs to watch. 3. Your New Year's resolution was to work out more. 2. You stayed up late to watch TEXAS win the national championship on Wed! 1. Because I said you could!
Anxiety... apprehension... uneasiness... consuming every ounce of her being. Her stomach won't stop fluttering, as if awaiting a first kiss. It drops as it would on a rollercoaster. Anxiety... apprehension... uneasiness... pulling her down, off track. She can't focus. Work is fuzzy. Sleep seems distant. Thoughts haunting the back of her mind... she wants answers. She tries to distract herself, but she can't. Teeth clench. Phone rings. She sighes, not now. Her leg shakes like a dog having his stomach scratched. She clicks her pen like a metronome... click, click....click, click... click, click. She can feel her fellow workers getting aggravated more with each click. Deep breath... IN....hold, count to 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....OUT... it's not your plan, she says to herself... it's not your plan... it's bigger than you, ALL of it. You are not in control. You can't control it. You can't. Give it up... Give it up... Peace.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
Little children love to draw, they love to paint, they love to do crafts. Children are creative, with unhindered dreams and imaginations. The young like to discover, to experience life instead of fearing the unknown. They are easily influenced, shaped, patterned after their world. As adults, we still find ourselves patterning ourselves after the world... why? because it is easier than creating something out of nothing. A pattern is defined as "a consistent, characteristic form, style, or method". Romans 12:2 states "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will." Just as a child uses a pattern to trace, or a coloring book to draw a picture, we need guidance... we need help... we can't do it alone. God's will is perfect, unlike anything that we could attempt to create on our own. We don't need to remove the pattern, we just need to be transformed, no longer patterning ourselves after something worldly, but instead using a perfect pattern... a heavenly pattern.