Try your hardest to be confident in who you are. You are enough - you are beautiful.
And when Christ who is our real life comes back again, you will shine with Him and share in all His glories.
What do you think God sees when He looks at you? Honestly. Take a moment and really dig deep into how you feel about the idea of God’s eyes on you.
I was listening to a spiritual exercise yesterday and it instructed me at the beginning to stand up and be seen by God. The idea was not that God couldn’t see me where I was sitting, but it was about having me face the idea of God looking me up and down from head to toe. I’ll admit I didn’t stand. I think I was a little afraid, no...I was very afraid to face that type of scrutiny. I know that God loves me and that He sees all of my beauty, but I still see all of my scars and my flaws and my darkness. He sees all of that and still sees beauty. Incredible. God said to us, “You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Solomon 4:7 (MSG) It’s right there in the Bible, in the Word of God, in the life breathed and inspired Word of God. His message for us says that I am absolutely flawless. It says that you are beautiful beyond compare. Can you say that to yourself? I’m crying right now trying to get the words out. Trying to put myself in that mindset and accept that level of love and forgiveness and acceptance, it’s really hard and I just pray it isn’t impossible. If I was recording this you would hear all my pauses as I sniffle and have to catch my breath through the tears.
I want you to understand how much God loves you and the amazing views that He sees in you every single moment of eternity. He has seen everything you are, everything you’ve done and everything you will do and He has seen a beauty beyond compare and someone who is flawless in His eyes since the beginning of time. Can you see that for even just a moment? Can you accept yourself fully and completely for just a second? Can you believe in your beauty inside and out? And what would your life look like if you could? How would that change you? I need to encourage you to read that scripture over and over and over again and believe that to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit you are truly loved and you are the Beloved. Let Him reveal that to you.
You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.
How’s life? Have you spoken to God recently? If so, what did you discuss? If not, why not? Have you picked up your Bible? If so, did you read it, and if so what did you read and what did you learn? If not, what’s holding you back? What’s happening in your life right now that could benefit from some time in the Word?
Yep, I just bombarded you with a whole bunch of heavy questions. That’s what I do. And yes, I smiled 😁 a cheesy grin when I wrote that. I am asking these questions because these are the same kind of questions I ask myself, the kind you, me and every other person on this planet need to take the time to reflect on. It all starts with the core relationship which is between us and God. So tonight I’m asking these questions as a way to bring you and I back to purpose behind these messages, to remind you to spend time with your loving Lord and Savior. Talk to Him. Bombard Him with questions and then let yourself be open to the answers.
When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
I was reminded yesterday why it is so important to experience this reveal. I was having a conversation with a well-meaning person who felt it necessary to tell me his opinion on my relationship with God. He proceeded to tell me what I needed to be discussing with God and how I needed to act in regards to my walk with Christ. This person actually told me that I was wrong in my thinking and proceeded to scold me. There was a time in my life where somebody telling me that would have spun me out. I have, on too many occasions, been dragged down bad roads that lead to pain and suffering by mostly well meeting people who told me what they believed God wanted me to know. Those experiences have left ugly scars in life. Looking back, my stomach turns thinking about the pain caused by other people's message for me.
Hallelujah, God has been working in my life and revealing Himself to me and in the process revealing my true self to me. This journey has allowed me greater discernment and wisdom, technically His discernment and wisdom, about my life and about my relationship with Him. I need to know me. I need to know Him. I need to walk this journey side by side with God. I need to know what He’s doing in my life. There are many things I need to know. Hallelujah, God has all the answers. Through my relationship with Jesus, through His relationship with me, I was able to thank this man for his concerns and then leave those concerns at God’s feet. I walked away from the conversation a but frustrated, but mostly able to leave it behind. Because I know myself and Jesus better now than I did when I was younger, I can step back and trust God to do the revealing of His true message for me.
The two greatest relationships we will have in life is with our Creator and ourselves. Let Him reveal His beauty to you and in the process you will get to meet yourself as well. I’ll make it easy for you, start with “hello.”
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
What makes you you? That question has been asked and answered by philosophers, scientists, clergy, your crazy aunt, and many more. It’s probably a question that will be asked forever. One of the things we search for in this life is a deeper meaning to our purpose and a greater understanding of ourselves. Why are we here and who are we supposed to be? We are made up of dreams and ideas and feelings and experiences and a calling on our lives. All of those things, when we tap into the truth of them, reveals God in us. Janet Ruffing said, “Our desires, our wants, our longings, our outward and inward searching—when uncovered, expressed, and recognized—all lead to the Divine Beloved. . . . All our desires ultimately lead us to God.” Our true desires, for security, for peace, for hope, for joy, reveal God in us. Our personal desires and dreams, like my desire to write and to counsel, reveal the intimate relationship and specific attributes God places in each of me. The more we learn about these desires and these ideas, our calling and purpose open up more and more of who we are, and more and more of who God is.
Going back to my desire to write, I want to write to tell stories, to express heart, express hope, express redemption and to tell stories that will inspire. God does that all the time. We have His word as a instruction book for life, full of stories that do all of that and teach us new things every day. He is revealing Himself the more He reveals me. And as He reveals me the more He reveals Himself. That’s what happens when Jesus lives in you, you will have Him as a part of you and all that which you were born too and for will be revealed. You are His beloved, let Him show you all that is in you that He loves so much. Let Him love on you, let Him reveal Himself to you and show you who the true you really is.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I put a hole in a wall. I drew another persons blood. I broke glass. These are just a few examples of the things that I did out of anger. There was a point in time in my life where my emotions ruled me. One of our strongest emotions is anger, and for me that is heightened because I have such a big temper and used to have a very short fuse. When my son hit his teenage years everything went bad fast. I struggled to be able to communicate with him any other way besides at really high decibels. We would just scream at each other over everything. There was nothing in those moments but our raw frustration and anger with one another. He ran away from home so many times it became more common for him to be away than to be home. He eventually left permanently. He moved out and I haven’t spoken with him...well, it’ll be three years next week.
In the midst of my anger, in the middle of my temper flaring up, when I am just so frustrated I want to scream bloody murder, God is there. When I finally let Him in, when I finally started to let go of my need to control and I just tried to hand it all over to Jesus, I began to change. I’m still estranged from my son. There is still a hole in that wall. The glass is still broken. A person from my past has a scar that I put on them. And, I am still angry a lot, I still have a big temper, but God can change everything. It isn’t I that have changed, it is God who has changed me. I feel so loved, I feel so protected, I feel Him within stretching me, guiding me, teaching me. It’s Him within me that has allowed me to stop with the knee-jerk reactions and to stop putting my pain on to others. I finally got the message: rejoice in the Lord always. It’s a simple message that is very complex. The Bible doesn’t say:
rejoice when I’m relaxed
rejoice when I’m at church
rejoice when the music is playing
rejoice when I’m at a party
— it says rejoice ALWAYS.
Yep. Rejoice always. Specifically, rejoice in the Lord always. That was the message that finally got through to me. That was the message that God used to introduce me to the real Him and the real me. That was when it all changed for me...getting that message through my thick skull. Finally, I understood what God was saying:
if I’m flipped off in traffic—rejoice
if I’m screamed at by my neighbor—rejoice
if I’m in a car accident—rejoice
if I can’t pay my bills—rejoice
if a family member does something stupid—rejoice.
I don’t rejoice in what happens, I rejoice in Him. That’s how I went from somebody who took out all my pain on others by screaming at them or breaking things or hurting them, to somebody who just wants to love. A couple years ago I said to my niece, “I like people, actually I love people.” You know what she did, she laughed at me. And then she said, “no you don’t!“ My own niece didn’t think I liked people. That’s how dark my life had gotten, the people in my life that I loved couldn’t even see how much that I actually liked being around them and being around others. They just saw my pain and my anger because for so long that was all I could show the world.
I don’t know all of your pains, I don’t know all of your struggles and I don’t know if you have put your fist through a wall; but I do know that no matter what is going on around you God loves you and He’s taking care of you and trust me when I say He knows so much more about your circumstances than you ever will. How will you respond? Will you just live out your life reacting to the crap, or will you rejoice? I choose joy!
And as Christ himself is seen for who he really is…
We humans have a love-hate relationship with the truth; and it changes depending on what truth we’re having to face. Last week my nephew decided to move to Twin Falls. He had gotten it in his head that if he did not leave immediately he would never leave the Treasure Valley. He believed he was stuck. That became in his mind a truth. So, he went to visit some friends in Twin Falls and had a plan to get a job there. A few days later he texted me and tells me he is going to San Francisco by mostly hitchhiking. With the last of his money he made it as far as Salt Lake City. And then he got stuck. He spent several days unable to get out of the city, hungry, alone, cold and in a lot of ways lost. It wasn’t long after that he told me he was coming back. He has a whole new plan now, it’s actually his old plan that he was talking about a year ago that he never did anything about. His perceived truth chased him away from the real truth of his life and dreams here in Idaho.
In my opinion, this entire thing had to do with a health scare. Just a few short weeks after a bad spell he was in Twin Falls. This trip was about running away from the truth about himself, avoiding his doctors, avoiding people around him that we’re going to ask him questions about his health and in general avoiding the truth that was weighing on him. In his case, he ran. I myself have locked myself away, ignored the truth, yelled at the truth and even beat it up a few times. The crazy thing is, it’s not always bad truth I am fighting against. Sometimes even the best truth can scare the crap out of me. It’s mental. I’m mental! But the reality is: we all are. There’s something very raw and vulnerable about the truth. And it doesn’t always have to be our truth either, just hearing truth can wreck us to our core. You would think that we would all want to run after something as important as the truth. Yet, we are terrified of it. When it comes to our relationship with God, when He reveals Himself to us, we are forced to face Truth. And not just any truth, but the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Capital “T” Truth! There is a reason why the world fears and in some respects despises Jesus, in part because of His truth and what it means about us. He is perfection that we can never be and yet we live that struggle every single day. We are told by society what perfect is and that we need to conform to those standards. But it’s all superficial, because we can never ever be perfect. But we can be loved by perfection. We can be saved by perfection. We can be raised up from our muck by perfection. The truth about love, the truth about hope, the truth about peace, the truth about who we really are undermines everything the world is trying to make us believe. Jesus reveals Himself in every moment of every day of your life, and He is just waiting for you to respond. Open your heart, open your mind and let Truth be revealed.
"God created us for a relationship with him and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God."
I was five years old when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My parents sent me to Vacation Bible School that particular week and the teachers talked about inviting Jesus into my heart. That night I talked to my mom about it and she explained to five year old me what Jesus was all about. I asked her to pray with me. That was the first time I gave my life to God. I can’t necessarily say that I experienced God or felt like God was revealed to me in some blinding light, but I knew something in my life had changed, a focus, a purpose had arisen in me even at that tender young age. Throughout my childhood it’s very evident that I was seeking a deeper understanding of God. I wanted more of Him. I was the one that dragged my mother to church. I was reading the Bible and memorizing scripture and asking questions. I sincerely wanted to understand who God was. I’ve always believed, even before I accepted Jesus into my heart, that there was a God and I knew that He loved me. Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich explain it like this, “Some people at this stage clearly and completely experience God first through their senses…we simply experience the presence of God.” God revealed himself to me through my faith and by creating a connection. His presence was felt even without the aid of a talking donkey.
There are some amazing stories of those fantastical moments where Jesus appears and shakes everything with His presence (Daniel 3, Matthew 14, Acts 9). Each of these reveals something new about our Savior. But, I think one of the most important things to take from this is how personal and specific each of these incidents are. Jesus reveals Himself to each of us in a personal way. To me, it was simply letting me connect with Him and sense His presence in my life. For Paul it was blinding light. How did Jesus first show Himself to you? How does He continue to do that in your life? How have you encountered Christ in the past 24 hours? What is your story of God’s presence in your life? I truly want to know. How did you meet your Savior? How did you, when did you, and where did you accept Him into your heart? Maybe God has revealed Himself many times, and maybe you’re still on a journey seeking that moment. Open your heart and mind to Him now. Let Him show His heart for you. Whether it’s a big shake up or quiet and steady touch or some where in between, God has something incredible and intimate just for you!
The Bible is full of stories of encountering God, people experiencing and reacting to the ultimate realization.
Sometimes they worship:
Along the way, Jesus suddenly appeared in front of them and said, “Rejoice!” They were so overwhelmed by seeing him that they bowed down and grasped his feet in adoring worship.
Matthew 28:9 (TPT)
At other times they simply obey:
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
Mark 1:17-18 (NLT)
There are those who weep:
Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
Luke 7:38 (NLT)
And those who ignore:
Excitedly, Mary told them, “He’s alive and I’ve seen him!” But even after hearing this, they didn’t believe her.
Mark 16:11 (TPT)
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world...
Have you stopped and thought about what that will be like? Jesus’s return will happen someday. It’s a day that is talked about in churches, but do you ever take the time to think about it. Admittedly, I haven’t done much thinking about it years. Due to an incident in my childhood I avoid thinking about it. When I was a kid I had a nightmare that Jesus came back. As I was swept up to meet Him in the sky, I looked back and noticed certain people, that I very much love, weren’t coming. I could see them standing on the ground and I tried to reach for them to bring them up, but I couldn’t reach them. I was very young when I had that dream and thinking back on it now it still turns my stomach and makes my heart race.
I have allowed fear to rule over this beautiful day for far too long. Fear gripped me as a child and stripped from me all the joy that can be found in reflecting on that day. My Jesus is coming back! I will get to experience something beyond imagining! The son of God is going to call us to Him!What does that look like, I don’t know. But, the truth of it is that this world is not my home and Jesus is going to take me to my home. It’s going to be a beautiful and amazing day when He comes. He loves me so much that He cannot leave me on this earth any longer He’s going to bring me to my real home.
This may all sound cliché, but it is far from it, because it is truth. Jesus loves you and one day He’s going to take you from this earth and you will get to be with Him in a way beyond your current understanding. Your heart, mind, body and soul with Jesus forever. What does your heart feel when you think about it? Are you like me, are you worrying about everybody else? Have you not really put any thought into it at all? Are you afraid of that day? Why? Maybe you have a picture in your head, what does that look like? Jesus has provided everything that we need on this earth so that we can get the tiniest glimpse of heaven. And one day, one amazing day, He’s going to give you the full on experience. “Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7 (NLT)). Close your eyes, shut out the world around you, just let your heart feel and let it imagine the experience of Jesus’ return when all will see the splendor and glory of the Lord. Don’t hold back, lean into it. “My little flock, don’t be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father’s great joy is to give you His kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (VOICE). If you feel fear or trepidation or anxiety, hand it over to God and just let your soul soar with Jesus. Take all your anxiety to Him, so you may be free to relish your time with your Creator, the one who will someday come back and bring you to your real home. How can you reflect on that today? Where can you find joy in these truths?
On that day when the Anointed One—who is our very life...
I wanted to make sure this message repeated, Christ is your life. Actually, let’s do this again, Christ is your life. Let’s take this very slowly:
Can you imagine wrapping your mind around that truth and the significance of what that could do in your life? It’s one thing to say we believe it, it is a complete other to live it, walk it out and fully immerse yourself in the truth that Christ is your life. I look at my mom and I see a woman who has dedicated her entire life to her family. Everything, practically from birth, has been about her family. As much as she loves Jesus, and she truly does love Jesus, she doesn’t walk the truth that He is her life. Her truth is that her family is her life. This is the woman who taught me the love of God. Her generous heart, her gentle nature and her loving demeanor showed me all those wonderful and kindly aspects of God that she shines out to the world. And as much as I have learned from her, and I have learned a great deal, I have not learned from her how to walk out the truth: Christ is my life. I actually can’t think of a single person that walks this truth fully and sincerely. I know several people working on it, but sins and the need to assert our will always interferes.
It’s my goal in life to completely immerse myself in God and trust and believe that He is my life, my all. Jesus walked that every single day, we saw Him do it from birth to death and beyond. He is our great example of how to believe and live as if God is our life. So what did He do differently? He prayed. When I say this I’m talking about how He lived prayer. Every moment of every day His heart was in worship and prayer with His loving father. He obeyed. No matter what the circumstances, He followed the will of God. He knew the will of God because He prayed, and that allowed Him to know God’s heart and mind and will for His life on this earth. And because He knew the heart of God and God’s love for Him, He knew His true self.
It sounds simple, pray, obey, know God and thyself. And yet, because we live in a broken world and we are broken people who live in our sin and allow temptation to rule, it feels like an impossibility. It is important to note that nothing is impossible with God. So if your heart is telling you to live as if God is your life, then let Him help you do that. Pray right now. Pray and ask Him how to live that life out and ask for the guidance and strength to do it right, to do it in His will.
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
To see things from God’s perspective, is that even possible as humans to see things from a perspective so infinite and awesome and beyond our understanding? I love this particular song by Brandon Heath, it immediately came to mind when I read that scripture from Colossians out of The Message. When I last wrote on Colossians I was focusing on the treasures in heaven, that which God has gifted to us and we get to experience a little heaven on earth. But this version takes the idea of the treasures of heaven and puts a spin on it that I really like. It isn’t necessarily about focusing on what’s above, but to see beyond the surface to what God has created here on earth. He created what we are seeing. He created the people that walk by us everyday. He created the trees that are growing outside. He created the birds that are flying over our heads. He created the stars we get to admire at night. He created you. He created me. We are His creation, we are treasures from heaven.
I find myself often pondering my role in the body of Christ. We each have a role, sometimes we might have more than one and sometimes it may change depending on the moment, the people, the needs for whatever God is asking us to do. I have questioned — often — why He created me. What could I possibly contribute? I am a loner, I am stubborn, I am distant, I am overweight, I am argumentative, I lack much ambition, I have never lived up to my potential, I rarely use my intellect choosing instead to hide myself away from the world. Yes, I’m listing off many of my bad traits and not listing any good. This isn’t some bash on myself, this is putting things into perspective. God has known since the beginning of time that I would turn out this way...and He loves me anyway. He is not deterred by my terrible eating habits. He is not put off by my weird obsessions. He is not angry that I’m still choosing my bad habits over building new ones with Him. He loves me, just as I am. He has a purpose for me, just as I am. I am a treasure, just as I am. I am a daughter of the King, just as I am. I am beloved, just as I am. I am His bride, just as I am.
Why? How? Because God doesn’t see the way we do. God loves in a way we can’t begin to understand, because His love isn’t conditional on what we do, but on who we are. He has eyes that see farther inside of me than I can ever expect too. He sees the woman He created to love and be loved by Him. He sees the woman that He has called to something specific...even if she argues with Him about it. He sees the bride who accepted Christ as her Savior. He sees the joy that I can experience in Him if I choose. He sees the love I can share with others if I listen and follow Him. He sees my pain and my strength to overcome it. He sees all of me. Imagine that....truly imagine that. God sees all of me.
Guess what, He sees all of you too. Every white lie, every lustful thought, every kind gesture, every angry feeling, every needle prick, every song sung, every idea considered, every moment questioning, every doubt that has passed through your mind....EVERYTHING!! There is nothing in your life, even things you don’t know about yourself, that God’s isn’t fully and completely aware of. He loves you. He sees you. Can you see yourself that same way? Not without His help. “See things from His perspective” the scripture says. Ask for His eyes to see yourself...your beauty, your pain, your truths, your potential, your scars...all of you. Ask for His eyes to see those around you, your family and friends and the person in the grocery isle. Ask to see creation as He intended it to be seen...with the eyes of the Creator. Embrace the gift He is offering...”Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ” and around you.