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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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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.

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!

Have the best day ever.

It doesn’t take much to bring a smile.

 

This image sure does bring a smile to your face.

I came across it in my phone’s photo library. Don’t know if someone sent it to me or if I found it myself. But it immediately made me smile. So, I in turn sent it to two people. And both wrote back right away. One said it was just what she needed. And the other said she had been thinking about me at the same time so she found the timing just perfect.

 

No effort needed.

After hearing from both these ladies, I began thinking about how something so simple brightened their day. There was no cost involved. Very little effort on my part. But huge payoffs all around. They smiled. And that made me smile.

Let’s spread a little sunshine.

Knowing how easy it is to spread a little sunshine, let’s think about doing it more often. Here are just a few thoughts on how we can bless others.

  • The minute someone comes to mind, be proactive. For me that typically means using Siri to set a reminder for a time when I can actually do something or make a plan.
  • Don’t let anything get in the way. A quick “I’m thinking of you” text or note means as much to a recipient as a gift delivered to the front door.
  • Baked goods hand-delivered or mailed are always appreciated.
  • Pray for that person. Right then. Later, let them know. Praying for others is always so appreciated.
  • Do something tangible. Be specific. Offer to bring a meal, “babysit” a child or their elderly parents while they go out. Offer to clean the bathrooms or do some laundry.
  • Drop off a plant or a single flower.
  • Send a card. It’s rather old-fashioned but who doesn’t like getting fun mail rather than just bills in their mailbox!

The ways to bring a smile are endless. But don’t put it off. Find someone to bless today.

What are your thoughts? How do you bring a smile to someone?

Mimi

 

Oh no! Not the scissors.

Aging has some fascinating aspects.

There are the typical face crinkles (wrinkles actually, but the word crinkles sounds a bit gentler), the annoying aches and pains that remind us we’re not as spry as we once were, the occasional brain fog where we tend to look for our glasses, only to discover we’re already wearing them. And a thousand other things that serve as continual reminders that though we’re not old, we are indeed aging.

But this reminder is annoying indeed.

While some reminders are mere annoyances, others seem to mock us. For example, something we all need to do but don’t necessary share with others: clipping our toenails.

Some opt for pedicures. But this frugal gal knows she can pocket $25 and do it herself, so she does. Typically, without any issues.

Of course, it is getting more difficult as each day goes by. Here’s why. I can no longer leave my feet on the ground, bend down with scissors in hand, and actually see what I’m doing. I wear progressive lenses and that very small reading or magnified portion is so small I am unable to get close enough to really see what I’m doing so I can ensure not only a straight cut across the nail but a straight cut without injury to my toe.

The solution?

Sample pedicure position minus the sock.

Glad you asked. As you can see in this picture, I lift my foot to the bathroom counter to get better access with the bright overhead lighting. This worked for years in my Orlando house, but our new house has higher counters so it’s nearly impossible to get the leg up, position the foot in the best light, and hold still long enough to make THE CUT.

This endeavor is quite the balancing act. And most times goes off without a hitch. But then this happens. As it did today. But I didn’t just drop the scissors; I yelled “Oh no!” like dropping them was the worst thing in the world. I guess at the moment it really was. Here I was, leg on the counter, ready to proceed with my own version of a pedi, but the scissors were now w-a-y down there. What to do?

Still the sock…but look down, w-a-y down on the carpet.

I had to detangle, get the foot off the counter, bend to get those pesky scissors, then figure out all over again how to get back into position to finish up.

In reality, dropping the scissors is just a minor annoyance, though at the time it seemed a huge hurdle to overcome, hence the “Oh no!”

Two things come to mind.

First: it really was no big deal. Annoying yes. After all, it’s not easy to “un-pretzel” yourself, bend those aging knees, then get all the way back up on the counter into just the right position to finish what you started.

Second: it is indeed a mocking reminder that I am aging and need to embrace adaptations that make life more manageable, sometimes easier.

Does this mean I’m old? Of course not. But as each year marches on, my body changes. My abilities physically and mentally are different than they used to. And my perspective needs to change as well. Because how I feel about all this will set the barometer for whether I can embrace this new phase I find myself in or whether I will despair and lament what’s been lost.

Some encouragement.

The Bible, my life guide, reminds me of what God has in mind for my aging years:

  • Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. (Proverbs 16:31 NLT)
  • Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:12 NIV)
  • Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
  • Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged. (Proverbs 17:6 NLT)
  • I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28 NIV)

With promises like those above, there is never a reason to lament. I still have much to offer others. I am being renewed every single day. And God is still speaking to and through me. And that’s not the half of it! There’s so much more.

Here’s to each of us finding the “more” in our own lives. The more that God promises. And the more that He takes delight in giving us.

Mimi

Off course.

Visited Costco two weeks ago. Typically, that’s a $100 or $200 hit. Today it was a $900 one!!!

Two eye exams, three new pairs of glasses ordered, and a $135 shopping trip. Yikes, that adds up fast!

Feeling Grateful

But today, instead of being miffed about spending all that money, I’m actually feeling grateful. I’ve been having daily headaches for about a month. Tough ones, every day around 4pm. The eye doc feels certain tweaking my script just a bit and getting a slightly bigger lens with more reading area will resolve them.

And ever since Greg got new glasses two years ago from a competitor, he’s been getting dizzy when he wears them while walking. His glasses are quite expensive so he didn’t want to think about purchasing new ones. But he’s basically been miserable and not wearing the glasses as much as he should. The eye doctor discovered his lenses were not allowing his eyes to work together so she tweaked his script as well which should correct the error and allow him an easier time while wearing them.

In both our cases, the scripts were close; they just weren’t close enough. And with some very slight adjustments, the encouragement is that our troubles will be fixed. Which means no more late afternoon headaches for me and the dizziness for Greg should abate as well.

Being off just a bit can have an effect on…well, everything!

Sometimes we make big deal choices and super bad decisions that really mess us up and take us further from God. And most of those are easy to spot. But other times it’s little things, like the prescriptions on our eye glasses. Things that seem insignificant. Things that most people would ignore.

But over time, these small decisions, small “disobediences” to God result in getting us further and further from Him. And they can have devastating effects.

It doesn’t take much to get us off course.

Our friend Bob Taylor used to remind us that even a tiny deviation at the beginning, if not corrected, will continue to get us farther and farther from the Lord. And this type of path is so dangerous because we don’t really know how far we’re straying until we’re really far away. At the beginning we feel as if we’re right next to the Lord but the illustration below shows how devious this thinking can be as we’re lulled into thinking all is well when in reality we’re in trouble. (Imagine this is one long piece of paper, rather than three segments. If you look at the far left of the top illustration and see the far right of the bottom one, you can see how being very slightly off course ends up with disastrous results.)

The Narrow Gate

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Even choices that aren’t necessarily wrong but lead us just ever so slightly away from God rather than toward the narrow gate He is asking us to enter, carry consequences and can interfere with our relationship with God.

I want to be aware daily of my Christian walk. I want to make good choices that please God, where my utter dependency on Him is evident, and that result in an ever-closer relationship with the one who is my whole purpose for being.

Mimi