What Are You Reflecting?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

It seems that I am surrounded by Disney’s princesses once again. Our little granddaughter, Caroline, is obsessed with them. I find myself digging through old boxes and bins, pulling out little dolls of all sizes, stuffed animals, and even princess clothes that belonged to a little girl from days gone by, her Aunt Terrilyn.

It seems like yesterday that she and I would watch Sleeping Beauty over and over and over. She could sing along with all the songs and sing she did! And now, sweet Caroline is just like her. I found an old dress up outfit of Snow White and Caroline loves to put it on and enter that enchanted world of make believe. Snow White was always my favorite princess when I was a little girl. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Mirrors are not just for fairy tales.

What are you reflecting? Pin image

Often times we gaze in a mirror and make all of the necessary adjustments so that our appearance is just so. A blemish here, a hair out of place there, a wrinkle or perhaps a smudge. And presto! We fix it. We walk away looking “better”. Our reflection lining up with what we want to look like.

There is a mirror that is the best mirror ever made.

It is the Mirror of God’s Word. It is a mirror for us to read and in that mirror we see what we are and who we should be. The answer to the age old question “Who’s the fairest of them all?” is in that precious book, His name is Jesus.

“You are fairer than all the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore, God has blessed You forever.” Psalm 45:2

If we call ourselves his children and we claim to know Him, why wouldn’t we want to look like our Heavenly Father?

He is, indeed, the fairest in all the land. If we read this powerful book and we walk away from it unchanged, forgetting what we read and not living according to its teachings, we are indeed ugly. True beauty begins with the Fear of the Lord!

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
 -Proverbs 31:30

There is an old saying: “Your actions speak so loud I cannot hear a word you are saying”

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. – James 1: 22-25

May we not only become hearers of the Word, but doers as well. So then we can say:

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Jesus
Mirror, mirror in my hand (the Bible), who’s the fairest in the land? Jesus
Let me look like Him. Jesus
 

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What Eggs Can Teach You About Your Heart

My friend has a friend who has chickens. She sells the eggs that these chickens lay and I have found myself in egg heaven! They are beautiful…. if an egg can be beautiful. When I bake with them the cookies seem to taste better the cakes higher. When I cook with them the food seems more delicious. And when we hard boil them the yolks are golden.

What do eggs have to do with our hearts?

With the obsession I have over these eggs (side note: she puts one blue egg in each dozen), I am reminded that you can never unscramble an egg. Once it is scrambled and that golden yolk mixes with the white, the deal is done. No turning back. So when I have to separate the yolks from the whites I am oooohhh so careful.

How much more should I be careful to guard my own heart.

“Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

The King James Version puts it this way:

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

I once heard it said our bodies are the temple of God and our hearts are the doorway to the temple.What eggs can teach you about your heart

The Psalmist gives me direction how to care for my heart—my doorway. I must guard it with all DILIGENCE. I must have a blockade over it to protect it with DILIGENCE.

I must watch it.

Observe it.

Like a prison guard watching over the prison.

DILIGENTLY.

For out of my heart (my inner man) flow the issues of life.

All of my desires and motives and intentions come from my heart. What I watch and read. The conversations that I have and plans that I make all take root in my heart. How quickly the weeds can take root and begin to grow. Crowding out the Word of God that should be rooted and established.

At times I find myself thinking oh, that won’t hurt anything…..but it always does. Just like a bit of the yolk mixed in with the white—scrambles the egg.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

What a reminder that I cannot have a clean heart on my own. I can guard it DILIGENTLY, but my prayer is always to Him, and Him alone, the Purifier of my heart and spirit.

Father, make me separate from evil, make me holy like You.

Live in me, control me, keep Your Hand upon me.

Take my heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh

And I will:
Protect it.
Guard it.
Watch it.

And I will dwell on what Paul wrote to the church at Philipi.

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8

My heart… His home.


“We must look upon the world, with all its delights and all its attractions, with suspicion and reserve. We who love our Lord and whose affections are set on Heavenly things voluntarily and gladly lay aside the things that charm and ravish the world, that our hearts may be ravished with the things of Heaven; that our whole being may be poured forth in constant and unreserved devotion in the service of the Lord who died to save us.”
Amy Carmichael

 

Why I Choose to Embrace Aging

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
2 Corinthians 4:16

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. I keep getting reminded that my birthday is right around the corner! When I was a kid having a June birthday was wonderful. It almost always fell on the last day of school for 12 years. My birthday parties were usually outside and summer fun was beginning. I remember the days when years seemed to crawl by. And now…..blink….and another one has passed. The amazing thing is—I don’t feel as old as I am. 😊. It is when I catch a glimpse of myself walking by a mirror in a store or I see a picture that someone has taken that it dawns on me the reality of life. Everything has changed.

Isn’t’ it funny how day by day nothing changes , but when you look back, everything is different….
C.S, Lewis

Change is very hard for us. (well, some of us.) I do not like to “quit” anything. To stop doing something that I have always done, or done for several years, pains me. And yet I know that something else awaits around the corner. There is one thing that I will never quit. And that is this journey that I am on toward my King and my Heavenly Home. I cannot get sad or discouraged at the toll 58 years takes on a person when I reflect on the promise I am given in 2 Corinthians.

So, no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day.
We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison,
because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

We don’t give up.life is short Pin Image
We don’t quit.
We don’t faint.
We don’t get discouraged.
We don’t lose heart.
We aren’t cowards.

The earth suit (this body) that I wear is suffering wear and tear and years.

BUT EVERYDAY

My internal man, my soul, my conscience, I like to call it “the real me” – is in a state of “God ever-transforming me”. He is completing the process of making me like Him.
I am being changed every day into his likeness!

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

And we allthat means every believer – we are being transformed.  “A continual, progressive transformation” into the likeness of Christlikeness.

Our goal is to be like Jesus in moral likeness.

Holy. Pleasing to Him.

With that said…. let the years roll by! It is a normal process that my body will get weaker and older ON THE OUTSIDE. But inwardly? I am gaining new strength.
I resolved years ago that in my older years instead of getting surly I would ask HIM to help me….

Get sweeter
Act kinder
Work harder
Be more tolerant
Show more love
Be ever forgiving
Always praying
Study His Word more

And that my latter would be greater as His handmaiden than the all of the years before.

Let’s put it this way….

The years and the pain (that at times come with it) are only reminders to me that I am winning a permanent, glorious and for sure reward!

What I see and feel is temporary but what I know and cannot see is eternal!

And that my friends is worth singing about!

What Does It Mean to Be the Fragrance of Christ?

Flowers – aren’t they beautiful?

All of them. I do not think that I ever saw a flower I did not like! (Though that may have been obvious by my choice of imagery and design!) I love the colors, the smells, the canvas they provide when they are all growing together.

There are a few that I especially love: Peonies, Lily of the Valley, Roses, Gardenias, Honeysuckle and LILACS. Those are some of my favorites because the perfume that oozes from them is extravagant. It is rich and full and you can smell it when you walk past them or when the wind blows.

I notice this year more than ever that the perfume coming from the flowers is lingering in the air. With my love of lilacs, we put in some small ornamental lilac trees by our back porch. They bloomed a couple of weeks ago and the fragrance has been floating in the windows of our house.

It’s more than just their temporary beauty!

The scent is so sweet and lovely—I think to myself surely this is a glimmer of Heaven. With our windows open it is the first thing that I smell in the morning and the last thing at night. Fragrant. Sweet. Full. Lingering…….

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in victory through Christ. God uses us to spread his knowledge everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume. Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. To those who are being lost, this perfume smells like death, and it brings them death. But to those who are being saved, it has the sweet smell of life, and it brings them life. So, who is good enough to do this work? Certainly not those who are out there selling God’s message for a profit! But we don’t do that. With Christ’s help we speak God’s truth honestly, knowing that we must answer to him.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

I cannot help but think of these passages in 2 Corinthians today—I am reminded that:What Does it Mean to be the fragrance of Christ?
• HE leads me in victory over the enemy.
• HE is the one that disarms and silences the foe.
• HIS Name is as Ointment poured forth!
• HE gave His life as the Perfect Sacrifice and Fragrant Offering to God.
“With Christ’s help I can speak God’s Truth honestly, knowing that I must answer to Him.”

Now my life becomes His Fragrance oozing from me and it permeates those around me.

To some it will encourage, build up, edify, convict, pull them toward him, help to persuade, be pleasing.

To others it will sicken, it will be a stumbling block.

But I desire to be the sweet smell of Life! I read this description and I quote “to diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge” That is my privilege! Your privilege! To be an influence for Christ.

May we be diffusers that disperse and distribute the aroma the sweet-smelling fragrance of the knowledge and the wisdom that comes from KNOWING God!

ginṓskō

to know Him by experience

to know Him personally

to know Him by relationship.

The sweetness of the fragrance of my lilacs has NOTHING on the beauty of the Fragrance of Christ in me…..The Hope of Glory!

Little Flowers Remind Us to Appreciate Life’s Storms

I love to sing. I could sing day and night and night and day. I love music almost more than anything—when I was a teenager there was a song that was a favorite of mine.

Little flowers never worry
When the wind begins to blow.
And they never, never cry
When the rain begins to fall.
Oh, it’s wet and oh so cold,
Soon the sun will shine again.
Then they’ll smile unto the world,
For their beauty to behold.
When the clouds begin to gather
And the wind begins to blow,
Little flowers don’t complain,
Though they’re tossing to and fro.
Oh, I guess they’ve learned the secret,
They don’t fret because they know,
If it never, never rained,
Then they’d never, never grow.
So, let it rain, let it rain, let it pour,
Little trouble keep on knocking at my door,
If we’ll learn the right from wrong,
It will help to make us strong.
Lord, please help us learn the secret,
Even little flowers know,
If it never, never rains
Then we’ll never, never grow.

Little Flowers, by Heritage Singers

Many years later (more than I care to count) I find myself singing those words often. At 16 years old—it was the melody and the sweetness that grabbed my heart. As a woman many years under her belt—children—grandchildren—joys and sorrows—gains and losses… those words bring me comfort and hope.

There is nothing that can happen today that God is not in charge of.

Nothing. Nothing.

So, let it rain, let it rain, let it pour,
Little trouble keep on knocking at my door,
If we’ll learn the right from wrong,
It will help to make us strong.
Lord,
please help us learn the secret,
Even little flowers know,
If it never, never rains
Then we’ll never, never grow.

Pin Image for Little Flowers Remind Us to Appreciate Life's StormsHe is God in the storm and often times of the storm.

He is the Master of the Wind and the Calmer of the Sea. He controls the waves and tell them where to stop. He knows my lying down and my standing up. He is the glory and the lifter of my head!

WHY SHOULD I WORRY AND WHY SHOULD I FRET.

I can cast all of my cares on Him; for He careth for me.

“casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].” 1 Peter 5:7 amplified

It is in the storm where we grow most.

My heart is a dwelling place for His Presence. I rest in the knowing that in the rain, in the storm is where I grow.

I bought hanging baskets of ferns for my front porch and I have had them in my garage. My friend stopped over the other day and told me “Ginny, put those out—they need the wind to make them strong.”

We are like that at times. It is in the wind and the storm that we have our biggest spiritual growth spurt.

I will not worry, I will not fret. I need not be anxious. For HE is at work in me and I can trust that He knows what He is doing!

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

Why We Should Never Let Our Guard Down

I have a picture that hangs above my bed, which says, “Be always on the watch…” Luke 21:36

Be Always on the Watch pic from my bedroom

I have moved it around my house several times—always trying to find the perfect spot for it. Ultimately it has rested in our bedroom—a constant reminder to me that it is MY duty to …”be always on the watch…” Other versions say:

  • But watch ye at every season (ASV)
  • But stay awake at all time (ESV)
  • But be circumspect, attentive, ready in every season (Wuest)

They are not the words of just anyone, but words that Jesus spoke. I am often at times overwhelmed (most all times!) when I begin to read and ponder this Word that has been given to us. There is so much that I do not understand and probably never will. But when I read words written in red ink that tell me, want me, remind me, encourage me to ALWAYS BE ON THE WATCH, I best take heed!

Be on the watch for what?Why We Should Never Let our Guard Down

What am I to be on guard against? Verse 34 could not be more clear!

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Worrying
  • The things of this world.
  • The cares of this life.
  • That my worldly interest would not become more valuable than my eternal ones.

One commentary put it this way: that I would not be OVERCHARGED (made heavy) with this life.

I find that it is so easy for my mind to become consumed with my “to do” lists… my heart burdened with worries and fears for those around me… the unknown of tomorrow consuming my thought.

YET I AM TOLD.

I am warned to not let this happen! I am told that these things will cause me to be unprepared on the day of His return!

I must take heed of the snares that can beset me.

There is another part to that verse.

What do I do while I am watching?

Be always on the watch and PRAY that I will have the strength to escape these things and to stand before the Son of Man.

  • Wait
  • Watch
  • Pray

I think of how one weed in my garden turns to two and then to three. If I do not take care of it, soon it will be overgrown and the beauty that should be there is hidden.

So, with you and I. When the snares and cares of this life consume us, our beauty is hidden from those around us. Our fragrance is lost in the stench of worldliness.

May we do what Scripture tells us:

  • Be alert and sober-minded for prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)
  • Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
  • Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming… Be alert! (Mark 13:33, 37)

“By the anxieties and worries of this life, Satan tries to dull man’s hearts and make a dwelling place for himself there.” St. Frances of Assisi

What Andrew Teaches Us About Comparison

I find myself thinking about the disciple Andrew these days. I cannot get him off my mind!

I have read the passages in John 1:35-43 more times than I can count.

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). John 1:35-42

Andrew. I now like to say An-DREW. He drew others to the Messiah—The Christ!

If someone were to ask to pick a disciple to talk about—I highly doubt that Andrew would be one!

What the Disciple, Andrew, teaches us about comparisonWe go for the top dogs first!

  • PETER
  • JOHN
  • JAMES
  • MATTHEW (why not—he wrote a book)
  • Maybe even JUDAS!

Andrew? I don’t know.

To be honest I never gave him much thought.

And suddenly – there he is! Encouraging me to be like him!

ALWAYS POINTING PEOPLE TO Jesus.

Here are some facts about Andrew:

  • His name means MANLY
  • He was a fisherman by trade
  • He was a disciple of John the Baptist who pointed him to The Christ
  • It is believed that Andrew was THE FIRST ONE CALLED
  • He was a TEAM PLAYER
  • He did not have to carry the ball
  • He did not have to have the solo!
  • He was happy to play second fiddle

When he recognized who Jesus was—one of the first things he did was find his brother, Simon Peter, and bring him to Jesus.

He was the disciple that found the little boy in a crowd of 5000 and knew what that child had in his lunch! He saw the past the multitudes and into the eyes of one little boy.

Andrew concentrated on individuals! He was more concerned in getting people to Jesus than who got the credit for it or was in charge! He knew that Jesus was the WAY! And he was willing and determined to bring people to Him!

It seems that he has little craving for accolades. He seems to move quietly, speaking when he has to.

He was not the foundation or the pillar of the church—he was one of the rare people that don’t mind taking a back seat as long as the work gets done!

HE WAS A SERVANT

But what has caught my attention the most? The short conversation between Jesus and Andrew.

Jesus—“Andrew, what do you seek?”
Andrew—“Rabbi, where are you staying?
Jesus—“Andrew, Come and you will see”

And the rest is history! Andrew spends the day with Jesus—and his life is forever changed.

I want to be more like Andrew.

I want spend time in the Presence of Jesus.

I want to be willing to play whatever part He asks me.

I want to be His servant.

I do not want to compete with the person next to me—but I want to bloom where He plants me.

I am reminded of a flower garden. Various colors—different scents. Some grow tall—some cover the ground. But together it is a masterpiece that draws our attention to look at it. To delight in it.

I want to DRAW people to Jesus. Don’t you?

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it—it just blooms”