Does God look at you and see ugliness…or something beautiful?

My Apple News feed sent me the following blog post by Joshua Rogers. I’m so glad it came my way. Not only is this “guest post” a great reminder of how God sees us, but I’m now subscribing to his blogs. He is a believer who inspires and encourages. Read on and let me know what you think.

You may use the link HERE to read the story as published or simply read on as I’ve copied and pasted it exactly as presented.

From Joshua: If you think God looks at you and see ugliness—know this! 

One day when I was in my 20s, I was struggling with a lot of guilt and shame because I felt like the only thing God ever saw about me was my sin and brokenness. God must’ve told my mother.

I came into the dining room where my mom was and she said, “Joshua, look at that angel up there on the shelf,” and then she pointed to a ceramic angel behind me.

“Do you see anything wrong with it?” she asked.

“No,” I said.

Courtesy of Joshua Rogers’ mother, Paula J. Jones.

 

She went over to it and turned it around, and that’s when I saw that one of its wings was broken.

“I like that angel,” she said, “and that’s why I’ve positioned it so that I only see its beauty. I know that the brokenness is there, but I choose not to focus on it.

“Don’t ever forget that for the rest of eternity, God has positioned you in such a way that the only thing He will ever see is your beauty. That’s how powerful the blood of Jesus is.”

I think that deep inside, most of us believe that God looks at us and sees ugliness. Know this: That is not possible for believers in Christ who have received eternal life from Him. Jesus purchased our beauty on the cross and it can never be taken away.

Praise Jesus that “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We can have confidence that “through His blood” we are “accepted in the Beloved” (1 Peter 4:8, Ephesians 1:5-7).

Don’t grieve the fact that you have a broken wing – that wing is reminder, every day, of how much God loves you.

Final Thoughts from Mimi

I hope you found this simple story as powerful as I did. What a wonderful reminder that God sees us as absolutely beautiful.

Mimi

About Joshua

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If a little is good…then a lot is better. Right?

Wonder what you’re seeing in the picture? How about a HUGE miscalculation? A big mis-judgment? A plan gone awry?

They just didn’t look good.

The top washcloth is how my old towels used to look. They went with every paint color and were some of the nicest towels I have owned, as well as some of the prettiest to look at.

But over the years they have gotten dingy to the point that nothing was brightening up the white stripe any longer. They looked just as dirty coming out of the laundry as when they went in.

The initial plan.

Into the garage they went, becoming shop towels. They stayed there for months while I searched and searched for new, replacement towels. Didn’t like much of anything but finally settled on some plain blue ones.

But I wasn’t satisfied. The plain blue just didn’t have the wow factor the other towels had. So back to looking online and in stores. Yet I still couldn’t find anything that compared to the striped ones.

What to do?

I know; I’ll bleach them. People do it all the time. I knew they needed more than five minutes, but how long to let them sit in the bleach solution? Thankfully, online videos helped make the choice…about 25 minutes. Perfect.

Got the towels soaking and started doing some house cleaning. The 25 minutes came and went but I thought “Just a few more minutes would work even better.” Cleaning finished, it was time for some computer work.

An hour later I decided if 90 minutes was good, then certainly I should simply let them soak all afternoon. So, I did.

The Uh Oh Moment

Hours later I practically skipped to the washing machine and pulled the knob out to start the rinsing cycle. I waited with great joy for the wash cycle to complete so I could see my finished masterpiece.

But instead of brilliantly colored towels with nice white stripes, I now had what you see in the photo above…still dingy looking, but now yellowy, brownish towels that were no longer fit to dry any human body. (Glad I had one washcloth that never made it into the bleach so you could really see the difference.)

Lesson Learned

Directions are there for a reason. They often assist us in finding the best way to do something. They frequently save us time. And many times, they save us money, too.

As believers, we, too, have a need for directions: to navigate life, to learn about our Lord, to provide clarity and wisdom. And so much more.

Today, my prayer for myself and you as well, is that we will see our need to seek the Master Designer for His plan for our lives. And that we will completely trust Him, knowing His plans are to “prosper you and not to harm you…to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
I have refused to walk on any even path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
(Psalm 119:97-105)

Love, Mimi

Labor Day: A reminder of my hubby’s continual labor of love for me.

My hubby is a hardworking man. No matter what the task, he puts his all into it.

I laughingly tell others I don’t even know where the off/on switch is for the vacuum. He’s been doing the floors for decades…and the laundry…and the yardwork…and all maintenance both inside and outside, and so on.

Greg shows his love.

Greg likes to keep busy and shows his love by how he cares for me and our stuff.

While I was running errands the other day in my air-conditioned car, running into and out of air-conditioned stores, Greg was hard at work on an outside project in the intense Florida

After finishing up, he left his wet, sweaty clothes on a chair in the garage so they could dry out before he threw them in the laundry basket.

But as I pulled the car into the garage and saw Greg’s sweat-soaked tee shirt draped over a chair, my own heart melted at how much love he shows me every day.

Hopefully, you are able to see why as you look at the picture on Greg’s tee-shirt…the one formed by his own toil, his own sweat…a big heart.

You betcha I took a picture.

Because as soon as I saw it, I also saw the love behind it. The love that had him working in the yard enduring yet another 95-degree day. This love he has for me!

Greg’s demonstration of love is experienced daily. But there’s another love, an even more important revelation of love available to us.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What a powerful, truth-filled statement. Overflowing with amazing love for us, God provided a way to himself through the sacrifice of Christ.

Prayer

My prayer for each of us today is that we will cherish the loving sacrifice that came from the One whose heart of love for each of us is so much bigger than we can even imagine.

Mimi

Sweet love shown as we care for others.

Isn’t this the cutest picture? Recently, we had three of our four grands for a sleepover. I came across them combing each other’s hair and it just really tickled me.

We all desire to be loved and cared for.

Looking at the three of them, it would appear Callan had the best deal. He just sat there while Konnor combed his hair. He was totally immersed in being cared for.

Konnor also got to enjoy the sensation of having someone else comb his hair but he had to attend to Callan. Hmm, does that mean his experience was any less satisfying? Or does it mean he was blessed as he was blessing someone else?

And then we have Addie who combed Konnor’s hair without anyone to comb her own. Well, that doesn’t seem fair. Or perhaps she had the best opportunity to give selflessly to someone else.

It’s all about perspective.

I actually think all three shared similar experiences: the enjoyment of being cared for and in caring for others.

Often in life we are in a giving time. You see this as parents are raising children or when you provide care to someone without any expectation of getting something in return.

At other times, as we give or do for others, we are indeed are on the receiving end of a blessing. Perhaps it’s when your teenager acknowledges and appreciates all you do for them. Or as you take care of a neighbor, someone pitches in to help or provides you with a meal for your own family.

And sometimes, we are in a position to just simply receive…receive God’s blessing directly or indirectly through someone else. This may be one of the most difficult positions to find ourselves in because we’re so programmed to give that we often don’t know how to receive a blessing when it comes our way.

Wherever you find yourself today, know that you are blessed. And whatever your hands find to do, do it willingly, with love for others, and with a cheerful heart.

Remember this: The person who plants a little will have a small harvest, but the person who plants a lot will have a big harvest. Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Prayer

Father, may we give wholeheartedly to others, fully, completely, and cheerfully.

Mimi

 

 

 

Sometimes our to-do-list needs to wait.

Today I’m sharing a recent devotional posted on Our Daily Bread.

Because we live in a world that’s super-busy all the time, we can become so inwardly focused on our own to-do list, we may miss God’s gentle interruption asking us to do something on His behalf for someone else.

Read on and see if you can relate.

Scripture to Read

Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you. (Luke 6:37-38)

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

I headed into the post office in a big hurry.

I had a number of things on my to-do list, but as I entered I was frustrated to find a long line backing up all the way to the door. “Hurry up and wait,” I muttered, glancing at my watch.

My hand was still on the door when an elderly stranger approached me. “I can’t get this copier to work,” he said, pointing to the machine behind us. “It took my money and I don’t know what to do.” Immediately I knew what God wanted me to do. I stepped out of line and was able to fix the problem in ten minutes.

The man thanked me and then left. As I turned to get back in line, it was gone. I walked straight to the service counter.

My experience that day reminds me of Jesus’s words:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

My wait seemed shorter because God interrupted my hurry. By turning my eyes to others’ needs and helping me give of my time, He gave me a gift. It’s a lesson I hope to remember, next time I look at my watch. —James Banks

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, all of the time I have is in Your hands, a gift from You. Please show me how to use it to bring glory and honor to You.

Reminder: Sometimes our to-do list needs to wait.

Being willing to take a detour will often surprise and delight you.

Recently, we enjoyed a two-and-a-half-week road trip to visit friends and family up north.

For the return trip home, we planned on three days and two nights on the road. Partway through the first day of driving, we decided to continue on for another three hours. But soon we would question that decision as those three hours turned into four!

The flashing road sign advised us to tune our radio to a specific station that notified us of an accident that had completely shut down the southbound lanes. At about the same time, Google Maps spoke up to say it was rerouting us to leave the highway the exit before, take a 10-mile detour, and join up south of the accident.

We were good to go.

After reviewing the mounting delay on the Maps app, we decided it was best to take the detour. Since it was only a few miles away, we knew we’d be saving ourselves at least 30 minutes, maybe more.

The new plan continued to make sense until two miles before the exit when the traffic came to a complete stop on the interstate. Turns out, the traffic had back up all the way from the accident site, blocking the new exit completely.

I try, I really do.

I want to be okay with delays. But it’s not always easy. It was nearing the end of the day and we were looking forward to dinner out and an early bedtime at the motel as we planned to be up early the next day for the 10-hour ride ahead of us.

Traffic moved but only every 5-10 minutes, and for only 5-6 car lengths. And it was frustrating watching the timing of the delay continually count higher as restlessness built inside of me. I ate a snack, tried listening to music, and talked non-stop about sitting on a highway with a 70-mph speed limit!

Finally

After about 40 minutes the traffic seemed to be inching ahead a little faster. As the exit was nearly within reach we had a decision to make. Google Maps finally showed the slow-down time going down. What to do? Take a chance and remain on the highway…or exit the road on the proven route that would be much slower but definitely get us to our destination. We chose Option 2. And I’m so glad we did.

As it turns out, staying on the interstate was faster because soon after we left the highway, the accident was cleared and vehicles once again began to move at the speed limit.

But I relished in our decision to take the detour. First of all, I dislike sitting; I dislike doing nothing. So, to travel at any speed, even 15 mph, which we did at times on the side road, was better than sitting in traffic and not moving.

Our detour took us on back roads alongside of several miles of railroad tracks. We encountered S-turns like you wouldn’t believe. Train trestles ran over the road and concrete bridges helped us cross babbling brooks. We saw a country church in the middle of nowhere. And the sweetness of being in a forested area compared to a concrete highway was relaxing and at times blissful.

I loved our detour and by the time we arrived at our motel, we were both relaxed and smiling.

And…

I was reminded that we can’t always avoid trouble. We can’t always travel an easy route. But if we are willing to take a detour, we will often be surprised and delighted along the way.

How about you? Any delightful detours lately in your own lives?

Mimi

A Man and a Fork

Today I’m sharing with you a story sent to me by our friend and neighbor Robert. It illustrates a simple but power message.

Time to Get His Affairs in Order

There was a young man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So, as he was getting his things “in order,” he contacted his priest and had him come to his house to discuss certain aspects of his final wishes.

He told him which songs he wanted sung at the service, what scriptures he would like read, and what outfit he wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the priest was preparing to leave when the young man suddenly remembered something very important to him.

“There’s one more thing,” he said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the priest’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young man continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The priest stood looking at the young man, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young man asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the priest.

The young man explained.

“My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.”

“In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’”

“It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”

“So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’”

“Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.’”

The priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young man good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see him before his death.

But he also knew that the young man had a better grasp of heaven than he did. He had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice his age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.

He KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young man’s casket and they saw the suit he was wearing and the fork placed in his right hand. Over and over, the priest heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young man shortly before he died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to him.

He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right.

So, the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.

And just remember … keep your fork!

The BEST is yet to come!