Tag Archive | Jesus Christ

Do you know you’re beautiful?

IMG_1779 (2)“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'”

– 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

As I was getting ready for the day looking at myself in the mirror and thinking about an upcoming meeting with some people I had not yet met, I found myself wondering if I had the right “look”.

I’ve started thinking about coloring my hair again. It’s been five years and I’ve grown comfortable and content with my own color. But maybe it would help …

Then I noticed the scar on my nose. I had already bleached the tooth my daughter accidentally knocked when she jumped with excitement right into my jaw breaking the root. Maybe I should see what I could do about the scar. I’ve had the scar for eight years and rarely notice it anymore, but maybe …

I do want to lose some weight, exercise and eat better. I’ve been working on this and have been more on than off lately. Maybe some new clothes and shoes. I’m on the short side. Maybe I should think about what might make me look taller … thinner …

And the list could go on and on and on.

When I think of being seen, I worry about how I will measure up. Maybe no one will even notice me. Am I worth noticing?

The simple answer is yes.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

– Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

God has noticed me. He says I’m worthy of notice. God sees beneath my outward appearance and looks lovingly on my heart toward Him. He sees every flaw and loves me still. His work consists of not an outward fix but an inward change. He corrects the attitudes and problems in my heart that affect my outward ability to reflect His love.

And through all of this He says I’m worth His effort.

I don’t know if I’ll color my hair. I’m sure I won’t mess with the scar. I love to shop so maybe if I have some success with my healthier lifestyle I’ll treat myself to something special. And being short just helps me engage in conversation when I need to ask for help with something way up high on a shelf.

But I do know that I will continue to let God work on my heart helping me be more gentle and quiet in spirit. Helping me understand from where and whom my true beauty comes. And helping me to see people, showing me their hearts beneath the look they try to put on. We’re all trying to measure up to someone’s standard of beauty. Who’s standard will you look to?

Something to Consider…

Do you struggle with your appearance? Have others noticed your flaws more than your beauty? Know that God did make you beautiful. Ask Him to help you see yourself through HIS eyes.

Do you do the simple work of caring for yourself, your physical self as well as your mental and emotional self? Jesus Christ died for you just as you are, but  if you’re neglecting yourself, you’re not caring for the gift He has given you. He has made you for a purpose. Help yourself be ready and able to do all He has called you to do.

What do you notice first about others? Do you look at them and make judgments before you meet them? It may be human nature but know that’s not God’s nature. In Christ, we can see others from His perspective. Challenge yourself to see the beauty within first.

The Problem with Grace

Sun Rays“Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.” Philippians 4:23 (The Message)

Grace is difficult to grasp.

Even in a world that says we are free-to-be, there are rules upon rules upon rules.

Sentiments of, “Don’t judge me,” mixed with policies of zero tolerance. Love your neighbor to their face, but public bashing on social media is acceptable.

Some of you may scoff at it and say you don’t agree, but I’m thinking the clerk at the store, the co-worker in the next cubicle, the lady on the bus, the bully at school – they are each your neighbor. Have you read your posts about them? I’ve read mine and it’s not pretty.

God is stripping down the walls of my heart. He’s removing the old habits and thinking. He’s reshaping my heart because it must operate in a whole new way. I’m getting an extreme makeover, but I don’t get time to separate from life until it’s over. And it’s not a quick process finished in one week. At times it’s freeing and others it’s painful.

I’ve been reading and studying the Gospel of Matthew, really digging into the heart conditions that contribute to our sin versus those that solidify a foundation of love, along with the reasons we just won’t let go of our own way of thinking, our own way of relating to others. I admit I have a hard heart at times.

How does grace and truth come together in a way that doesn’t seem too naive to the troubles of sin nor too harsh about our need to do the “right” thing? Everyone has an opinion about what is right. I ALWAYS have an opinion. I try to save it until someone asks, but that doesn’t always work. There are times when I just need to speak.

What does mercy and justice really look like in certain situations with certain people? Everyone wants the other person to get what they deserve: get caught, be sentenced, pay their debt, but each of us wants mercy: understanding, a second chance (or unlimited chances), and someone to let us off the hook. I definitely don’t want to be caught and try to slide by. I want to pretend it never happened…and then I sit in my mistakes.

How do I let go of the rules that I can check and check off each time I want to know if something is good or right and instead, trust and follow completely the One who is only good? I want to know where He will lead me. I want to know what to expect. If I can’t see it, conceptualize what will happen, I struggle moving forward in obedience.

There are people in my life who have hurt me, yet I love them. I don’t spend much time with them, yet I care what happens to them. All this happens at a distance. So what does it really look like to love them up close when they don’t think they did anything wrong? In this, I keep God at a distance sometimes in my shame.

How do I live in this world, hating the sin, loving the sinner; recognizing there is good and there is evil while forgiving what others don’t understand or even what they do? How do I accept that they believe what they believe and will do what they do without having to agree, condone or go along with them? I don’t want to be accused, hated or rejected for what I believe.

Grace is so beyond how we live, how we think and what we hear.

Grace is a free gift, but we’ve been taught nothing in life is free. Everything has a cost.

And Jesus paid it.

Grace and truth came through Jesus. Jesus shows compassion because He understands our struggles and our need. He is kind because He sees beyond our mistakes. He is generous because He gives knowing we can’t pay Him back. He is gentle never forcing Himself on anyone. He is good because He lifts us out of the pit and places us on a firm foundation. And He is love because He restores us completely and there is freedom.

In order to even begin to understand Grace, you must first know Who it really is and trust Him, letting Him have complete control.

I’ve found the only problem with grace is me.

Something to Consider…

What does God’s grace mean to you?

How willing are you to offer grace, forgiveness, and mercy to others?

What struggles and heart conditions keep you from freely living in God’s grace? If you feel you do, how would you explain it to someone else?