God is Perfect

GodIsPerfect

I like to take pictures around my yard, neighborhood, and traveling. I put some of them into a folder on my computer, and my desktop app scrolls through them.

This one showed up this morning when I opened my laptop, and my first thought was, “Isn’t God perfect?”

I mean, look at the perfection of the blossoms; the individual blossom attributes; the branches; each color and how they blend and mingle with the other colors; the sky; and how they all go together in blissful beauty.

And the camera can’t even capture the essence of the perfection!

God does all this for His glory and for our blessing.

I am blessed. How about you?

Lenses

Most of us wear some type of lenses at one time or another in our lives. Lenses are designed to alter our natural vision. Sometimes the vision is “corrected,” sometimes it’s magnified, sometimes it’s darkened, sometimes the colors are changed. It all depends on what lenses you’re using.

The lens we use changes the way we look at the world.

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There are other kinds of lenses, too: lens of self, of our culture, of drugs or alcohol, our backgrounds, family, our church.

What kind of lens do you use?

As we grow up, we naturally use the lenses we are handed: the way our family interacts, how we are treated, things we learn, incidences that change our vision, and lenses we adopt to adjust our vision of ourselves and the world. Sometimes our lenses are smudged or cracked.

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As teens, we delight in changing lenses often, swapping out with friends to see what the world looks like through different lenses. This often extends into young adulthood.

Eventually, we settle on lenses that “feel right,” that are comfortable. Our vision might change with circumstances such as marriage, children, death of loved ones; then we adjust the lenses we already have and hope to see more clearly. Some people just continue to use the same lenses they’ve had, even from childhood, and live with the blurriness of life.

In our natural state, we learn from and respond to those things which we see. The way we see things determines our response. The kind of lens we use becomes vital. If we’re not using a lens that provides clarity, we respond to a distorted image. Our response is distorted accordingly. Other’s perception of us includes our distorted response, filtered through their own clear or distorted lenses.

Do we watch television through cultural lenses?

Do we raise our children using our familial lenses?

Do we interact with others, in the workplace or in our community, through the lenses of self, or drugs or alcohol?

Things can get really messed up!

But God.

Isn’t there always a “But God?”

Yes. ~joyful smiley face~

But God gives us eyes to see. Before we come to know God through Jesus our Savior, we are spiritually blind. We cannot use spiritual vision at all. When we receive His Holy Spirit, God gives us new eyes. They are perfect eyes, but often and often we swap out for the lenses we are used to.

Lenses1

Have you ever put on someone else’s glasses? It can really mangle what’s out there! Reality is misinterpreted. When we don’t use the proper lenses, we see a skewed picture. We can stumble and fall over things we missed, or grab onto something that isn’t what we thought it was.

Every time we read His Word, God sharpens our vision. We can see through His eyes, feel with His heart, and receive life with clarity, undistorted by human perception. His Spirit can direct our eyes to zoom into important Bible passages, or needs of others; or He can color our natural perception with His love. He can give us x-ray vision to see through the facades others put on, and see into their hearts. He can show us cautions or open doors, spiritual forces that are invisible to human eyes. He can sharpen our perception of Who He is, causing us to fall on our knees before Him.

When you come to God’s Word, remove your lenses. Pray God to equip your vision with clarity. Try not to put any other lenses over God’s perfection while you read, or throughout your day. See the world through God’s eyes. You have His eyes. Use them.

Because I Don’t Want To — What??

BecauseIDontWantToWhat

I’m thankful to God for 1. Instilling within me a desire to do right and, 2. Giving me the parents I had who reinforced that character trait.

“I don’t want to” was never an option for getting out of doing the right thing. It just never was. So I am taken aback when I hear of people opting out of a responsibility or decision or action based solely on “I don’t want to.”

What??? I don’t get it.

What died or went wrong inside a person who backs out of commitments because of a selfish desire to not get the heck out of their cocoon of comfort? Whether it’s doing the dishes, or getting in the car to be with a friend in need, or attending a function, or giving a hug; if it’s the right thing to do, my feelings about a matter are moot. After God quickened my spirit and took up residence within me, I have the impetus and direction to move at His will and pleasure. Sure, my flesh often intrudes:

  • He does NOT deserve a hug right now.
  • I’m too tired to go do that.
  • I’m mad, and I’ll have to wait until I feel like it, or it won’t be worth it.
  • I don’t like that person, anyway.
  • I’m busy with this, and it irritates me to stop what I want to do and go minister to someone else.
  • I don’t have time.

So what? It’s not about me. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. It’s about loving others, about obeying God, about blessings and not sinning.

James 2.16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

James 4.17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

We may think that we’re serving ourselves by keeping to only what we want to do; but that’s not how God designed us. He designed us to serve one another, to receive our greatest joys and peace by doing good unto others.

If we do not act in accordance with God’s design for us, we spiral down into selfishness, ungratefulness, and stinky attitudes.

And even though that’s inviting, we don’t want that. Really.

Step into the light. That means putting off the flesh, and putting on Christ. Be Jesus to those who need you. God will let you know which ones, and He will bless you. HE WILL BLESS YOU.

Stumble and Pray

StumbleAndPray

James 3.2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, this one is a perfect man, able indeed to bridle the whole body.

Who among us has not stumbled? Where does that stumbling go afterward?

  • Crawling around, blind
  • Cursing our situation
  • Sitting and wailing and wallowing
  • Jumping up and running into more stumbling blocks
  • Realizing we are on our knees, and praying

If we reverse the order listed above, and first realize we are on our knees, and we pray, then all the other responses are moot.

Hosea 14.9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

1 Peter 2.7, 8 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

There are many ways we stumble. We can trip ourselves in our own sin. We can walk in darkness and stumble over unseen obstacles. Others can trip us, even when we walk in the light.

Although they vary in some ways, stumbling is akin to tribulation. These will happen in our lives. God allows such things. Why? Because He loves us. This is how we learn, how we are disciplined to look up and look to our Savior.

Are you on the ground? Allow yourself to stay there and contemplate. Allow God’s Holy Spirit into your heart to search and try you.

Psalm 139.23, 24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 91.9-15 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Aren’t I Worth Anything?

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In me there dwelleth no good thing.

There is none righteous, no not one.

Nothing to the altar can I bring.

No salvation can be won.

 

All have sinned, no glory of God.

My righteousness is as filthy rags.

All my things with dung are shod.

Guilt within ever nags.

 

Can’t I do anything worthy of praise?

Is my good not good enough?

I should give up; nothing pays.

I’ll never be able to come up to snuff.

 

So goes the human and fleshly mindset:

We think of ourselves and want to matter.

Let us consider the Divine aspect

God’s ways are higher; we must our ways shatter.

 

I have loved you with an everlasting love,

I shield you with my strong right arm.

Look not below or within; look above

I will in no wise allow you harm.

 

With tenderness and mercy God has arrayed

With care each detail of His magnificent creation.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made

To manifest God’s amazing celebration.

 

It’s YOU! He celebrates each detail of you.

He loves to work through each facet of your

Unique personality, whatever you bring to

This life and those God brings to your door.

 

God has designed each child with delight.

He created us to need Him, He wants us near.

We can be whole only as we are right

And dependent on Him for all we hold dear.

To the Actor in You

ToTheActorInYou*

Have you ever acted in a part? A play? Church skit? I used to participate regularly in theatrical productions, and I very much enjoyed acting. It let me express sides of people that I wouldn’t have the nerve or courage to otherwise express. I got to slip out of who I was for a time, and be someone else. I could play another person with full abandon because I wasn’t responsible for that person: I was under the authority of the director. I could shed my entire personality and clothe myself with another persona.

As I was reading in Romans 7 this morning, a little something clicked.

What if being a Christian is just a little akin to acting a role? There are too many finer points for there to be any firm parallels, mind you, but the thought of it made it a little easier for me to visualize living for Christ.

When we become a Christian, we die to self, and are re-born in Jesus. We become a new creature. [2 Corinthians 5.17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.] We have a new role, because we are a new person. If we follow the actor analogy, we slip on a new character (although, in reality, the new character is not a role, but who we actually ARE). Romans 7 is about wrestling with the flesh: knowing that it’s not really YOU any more, but knowing also that you follow that old flesh sometimes, anyway.

Sometimes it’s easier to play a role when you acknowledge it’s not really you. Take on the role of Jesus. Immerse yourself in His character.

Analogies:

  • You get a script to follow (the Bible, if you will).
  • The Character you assume is well-developed and well-researched. You have a whole book to read about Him.
  • When you are “in character,” you might say or do things that are not in your (fleshly) character. But you can be more comfortable in staying in character because you are under the authority of the Director. There is no need to insert any of “you” into the role you play. However, the Character is revealed through you, personally.
  • When you step out of character, you are not following the Director, and are failing to follow the script. You might ruin the plot. As in Romans 7, sometimes you may slip and fall back into your own character. All it takes is a look back at the Script.
  • If you extemporize on the dialog, you may change the meaning of the delivery, and indeed, the whole plot. Again, another reading of the Script will bring clarity.
  • When you play the Character correctly, you are putting off all nuances and definitions of who you are in your flesh. You put on the whole Character of Christ.
  • The more you play the Character, the more you become like Him.
  • A strong actor will carry the other actors in a performance; will indeed change the tenor of the whole production.

Romans 13.14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

 

*image from google images