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Monday, July 28, 2014

Inspired by . . . perspective

 

You’ve heard the expression “can’t see the forest through the trees”? It’s about perspective. Looking at something so closely . . .

 

Ride_RestMagic

kk_restmagic

. . . that you miss the bigger picture.

 

LongShotofPier

 

Just the opposite can be true as well.

I think about perspective a lot.

When taking pictures, a different perspective can tell an entirely different story.

 

FerrisWheel_juststitched

kk_juststitched

 

But perspective is about a lot more than just seeing something from a different angle. It’s about understanding, too. Our perspective on something can be affected by what we know {or don’t know}, by our emotions, by our past experiences, etc.

Sometimes, we can look at a person or a situation, make a judgment – and be completely wrong. However, there are also times when two {or more} different perspectives can both be right.

 

FullShotofPier

 

Perspective is funny that way.

It’s not about our opinion, necessarily, many times it’s about how we view things – filtering them through our experiences.

 

FunHouse_juststitched

kk_juststitched

 

The book-made-movie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, has an interesting perspective on perspective. While I don’t agree with the author’s theology, the overall point of the book has merit.

Another book that has merit, with whose Author’s theology I do agree, says this:

 

But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Mark 10:31

 

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you,

do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matt 5:44

 

Pleasure_Pier

 

Where do wars and fights come from among you?

Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain.

You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss,

that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

 

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, James 1:2

 

A bit of a different perspective, wouldn’t you say?

Right?

Wrong?

or just different?

 

Whatever your answer, this perspective has eternal implications.

 

Blessings,

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Other perspectives:

On being wrong

On impaired vision

 

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

 

Inspired by . . . our true capacity

 

 

White_Egret_RobbinsQuote

 

Blessings,

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Inspired by . . . a merry heart

 

 

He who is of merry heart has a continual feast. Prov 15:15

 

Surely this doesn’t refer to a literal feast of food, does it?

Read on, Beloved.

 

The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Rom 14:17

 

BlackSwallowtail

Black Swallowtail

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh 8:10

 

FoxSquirrel

Fox Squirrel

 

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

giving thanks always for all things to God the Father

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 5:18-20

 

Dual_Dragonflies

Dual Dragonflies

 

By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God,

that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Heb 13:15

 

BlackChinned_Hummingbird

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

 

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;

though the labor of the olive may fail,and the fields yield no food;

though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls –

yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Hab 3:17-18

 

Gulf_Fritillary_Butterfly

Gulf Fritillary

 

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. 2 Cor 6:10

 

We also glory in tribulations. Rom 5:3

 

He who is of merry heart has a continual feast. Prov 15:15

 

Blessings,

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Inspired by . . . creation's manifesto

 

From the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature,

have been clearly observed in what He made. As a result, people have no excuse. Ro 1:20

 

Creation speaks to me of the character and attributes of God.

 

"Who shut the sea behind gates when it burst through and came out of the womb,
when I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it up in dark clouds,
when I set a limit for it and put up bars and gates,
when I said, 'You may come this far but no farther. Here your proud waves will stop'? Job 38:8-11

 

Consider the hummingbird. Her tiny feet, and barely discernable toenails fashioned by the hand of the same God Who commands the giant sea.

 

Hummingbird_Female

 

She weighs less than a nickel. The brilliant throat color on the male is not caused by feather pigmentation, but rather by iridescence in the arrangement of the feathers and the influence of light level, moisture and other factors.

 

BlackChinned_Male

 

What does she say to you about God?

 To me she declares His love of beauty. His creativity, and  gentleness.

 

Consider the Texas Spiny Lizard. You can see him {her?} clearly in these pictures. But if he were on an oak tree you'd be hard pressed to spot him unless he moved.

 

TexasSpinyLizard_scrapit

 kk_scrapit

 

Despite the name, these lizards are also found in Oklahoma and Northern Mexico. Their color and pattern varies greatly depending upon their habitat. They aren't quite as talented as the chameleon, but they are masters at camouflage!

 

Texas_Spiny_Lizard_Close


What does the Texas Spiny Lizard say to you about God?

To me he speaks of God’s provision and preservation.

 

Consider the Chinstrap Penguin. {Ha-ha! I can see you smiling already!}

 

Chinstrap_Penguin

 

These, adorable, medium-sized penguins are easily recognized by their white face and fine black line across the cheeks. They are found predominately around the Antarctic Peninsula and their favorite food is krill.

What does the Chinstrap Penguin say to you about God?

To me he speaks of God’s personality!

Can anyone observe these creatures for two minutes and not be overcome by their cuteness? Not I.

 

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;
And the fish of the sea will explain to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
In Whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?” Job 12:7-10

 

What have you observed in creation recently

that speaks to you of God’s divine nature?

 

Blessings,

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inspired by . . . the Shepherd’s eyes

What do you see when you look into the eyes of Jesus?

Or, better asked, what do you imagine you will see when you look into His eyes?

Pity

Compassion

Patience

Condemnation

Understanding

Kindness

Love

 ComeUpHere

 

For the next several weeks I’ll be joining Barbie and company in {re}reading Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.  If you’d like to join us, you can find more information here.

 

What stood out to me the most in the first chapter was what Much-Afraid saw in the Shepherd’s eyes.

Firstly, “his eyes were searching into the very depths of her heart and knew all that was there far better than she did herself.”

Much-Afraid noticed that his eyes, “had the power of reflecting what they looked upon” and “she could see her heart as he saw it.”

Much-Afraid’s desire to love, as natural and right as it seemed to her, was not the same as the Love that Shepherd wanted her to know. It was only when Much-Afraid looked at her desire through the eyes of the Shepherd that she could see it for what it was, a selfish and prideful sort of love. I need to constantly hold my desires up against the mirror of Truth.  Do they look the same? or do they appear as filthy rags? and if so, am I willing to surrender those rags for the pure, white, blood-washed gown that Jesus offers?

Secondly, Much-Afraid thought, “that he had the most patient eyes she had ever seen.” Yet, “at the same time there was something in them that hurt her to the heart,”

Reading this reminded me of a quote, also by Hannah Hurnard, that I have written in my bible at the beginning of the Song of Songs:

 

Beautiful_Quote

 

“Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible –

terrible in its determination to allow nothing

blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved.”

 

I think that terrible-ness is what Much-Afraid saw in the Shepherd’s eyes that caused her to shrink back in fear. Have you seen/sensed this terrible determination in your {heavenly} Father’s eyes? Don’t misunderstand this look for the stern “flashing eyes” with which the Shepherd looked upon Much-Afraid’s cousin, Craven Fear. They are very different. Remember, we come to Jesus as we are, but He does not leave us that way. He loves us far too much to do so. That is why, “Love and Pain go together, for a time at least.”

Finally, although Much-Afraid “so quickly acted like her old name and nature,” just minutes after accepting the seed of Love from the Shepherd, shame overwhelmed her and she never saw, “with what compassion he was regarding her.” Rather she assumed he was despising her for “her silly fears” and turned away. How often do we turn from God in shame and miss what He truly has for us?

There are those who are strong for the Lord. Who go forth, like Samson and David's mighty-men, standing strong and tall. Never wavering. But the majority of His people are weak, timid. A fearful flock. Even so, He gives us this promise:

 

BruisedReed

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench. Matt 12:20

 

In the words of C.H. Spurgeon:

“Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and loving-kindness! How it opens to us the compassion of Jesus—so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him; though He might well chide us for our weakness, He rebukes not. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoldering wick no damping frowns.”

Indeed, like Much-Afraid, we shall never see condemnation in the Shepherd’s eyes. Sin has to be dealt with, certainly, but Jesus dealt with it on the cross.  As Hannah Hurnard describes in this beautiful allegory, the seed of Love is a long, sharply-pointed thorn. It’s shape matches the scars on our Savior’s body exactly.

Just as the Shepherd looks at Much-Afraid,

the Lord looks at us,

“very kindly… but with full understanding.”

So, what do you see when you look in His eyes?

 

Blessings,

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Inspired by . . . Saturday Stillness

 

 

Hold on.

What’s your hurry?

Take

just

a

moment.

Breathe

deep.

Hold it.

 

HowGreat_Rose

 

Okay,

Exhale.

 

 

Have a wonder-filled day,

 

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Inspired by . . . beetles and zebras

 

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph 6:11

 

Ironclad_Beetle2  Ironclad BeetleBZieman_FrenchToastTexture

 

Ephesians 6, verse 12 and the ensuing verses are some of my favorite in all of scripture. Paul's words here could not be more timely to us today.

Think about all the people you brushed paths with this week who left you shaking your head, or worse, left you feeling battered and bruised by their words or actions. Then consider this:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,

against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph 6:12

 

This helps to give us perspective, doesn't it? It gives us a starting point from which to be more compassionate and to extend grace, even to those who wrong us.

Although Paul speaks of warfare and even calls us soldiers in 2 Timothy, it's important to remember that although we wrestle against spiritual wickedness, we do not engage in all out battle. It is Christ Who fought for us.

Our enemy has been defeated. The battle is won. It is finished, and was finished by Christ's work on the cross.

 

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,

forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corin 15:55-58

 

What Paul gives us here in Ephesians 6 is instructions on how to STAND.

 

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:13

 

We are to be like the little Ironclad beetle, who is of no threat to anything except the lichens growing on the side of the trees.

 

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Harmless, and yet God has given him an extremely hard exoskeleton. God has done the same for us. Our exoskeleton, if you will, is our FAITH.

 

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Eph 6:16

 

Ephesians 6 is not the only place where Paul plays the role of a fashion guru. In Colossians 3, verse 12, he tells us what garments are suitable for God's chosen people.

 

Put on, then, garments that suit God's chosen and beloved people: compassion,

kindness, humility, gentleness, patience. Col 3:12

 

After reading Lyli's inspiring post  a couple of weeks ago, I've hung a pair of zebra earrings on the lamp shade in my bedroom.

 

 

Every morning when I turn on my lamp they click together, reminding that it is not just the outer garments of clothing that I need to put on that day. As a child of God, a representative of Christ, I need to remember to put on the garments described in Colossians 3, verse 12 and following.

And when my path crosses those who are being used as instruments of wickedness in this world, rather than instruments of grace, I need to remember that I wear an armour that protects me against their fiery darts.

Proper use of the armour insures I'll be able to respond in peace.

 

Shalom,



 

 

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