Short & Sweet: Mirror, Mirror

Ma—You’re so bad at the alphabet game!Mirror png

My youngest son teased as I epic-ly (is this a word?) lost, yet again, another round of the famous Car Alphabet game. I was struggling on “J” as my three men shouted “Z” at the same moment. Yep. I stink at Car Alphabet. Why?

It’s all about the eyes.

From chronic conjunctivitis, blocked tear ducts, light sensitivity, tracking issues, letter reversals, astigmatism to a torn retina, my eyes have always been an issue. I don’t ever remember being able to see well. By the time I was in middle school, I was legally blind without corrective lenses. But, I have always been very thankful for my glasses and the fact I could see at all.

Aside from the obvious visual side effects, my vision challenges have also affected my self-esteem. Not being able to clearly see what I look like has caused me to lack confidence and as a result to avoid looking people in the eye. Who can be confident not knowing if ones eye makeup is applied correctly or hair is combed smoothly?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.

Then came the mirror. Recently, my oldest sister introduced me to her latest purchase, an amazing techno-mirror complete with magnification and motion-sensitive LED lighting. Wow. Snow White’s stepmother would have been envious.

Within a few days I bought my own. I can see!

Make-up is smoothed to a flawless finish. Rogue eyebrows are brought under control in seconds. Dirty smudges are wiped away. The greatest transformation the mirror brought about though is how I feel about myself.

Knowing  the truth about how I look has brought me wonderful freedom and peace.

The Bible does the same thing—it give an accurate picture of what we are really like. Please read the verses below.

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:23-25

The mirror of Truth.

Interesting to note in Biblical times mirrors were not made from glass but metal—strong, tough durable—sort of like the Bible. The word used for mirror in James 1:23 is derived from optanomai, which means, to allow oneself to be seen.

Like my sister’s amazing techno-mirror, the Bible allows oneself to be seen,. It gives an accurate picture of the heart. Bad habits and character flaws are brought to light as we see ourselves reflected in the truth of scripture. Doing life with an obvious character flaw is like walking around with spinach in your teeth. Embarrassing! Everyone sees it except you. Like a real friend who tells you the truth, God has given us the mirror of His word so we can clearly see ourselves. He loves us too much to let us continue in our sin. When we clearly see our sin, we can ask God to wash us clean and makes us as white as snow.

Action Points.

  1. Look in the mirror. In the morning, before you do your hair or brush your teeth, look into the mirror of God’s word. Spend fifteen to twenty minutes meeting with God each morning in the pages of scripture
  2. What do you see? What is God showing you? What needs to change? If you can’t see anything that needs improvement you need to turn on the light or jack up the magnification on your mirror.
  3. Remove it. When God shows you a flaw, don’t pull out the concealer. Instead, pluck it out with prayer and God’s truth. Find a scripture that applies to your problem. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Pray it. Speak it. Keep it up until your problem is under control.

 

Life is sweet. Take a look in the mirror.

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To Do-ers List Day 2: Make Room for Him, Part 3

Christmas Bible study, Advent Bible study

As we continue to reflect on Day 2’s post Make Room for Him, here is a tool that Mary put together that may help you in your time spent with Jesus. This Bible Journal Graphics tool is yours to download and use as much as you want for ministry purposes — for yourself or for others as well.

The practice of journaling what you’re learning is helpful for many reasons. The physical process of putting pen to paper can also help implant the truth in our brains. Having a record to look back on over the years helps you to see how God is working in your life. So give it a try for a few days and see what you think. Here is a scripture you could use to get started:

Make Room Day 2 jpeg
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. [Mat 6:33 NIV]
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [Mat 6:34 NIV]

Blessings!

“Blue Letter Bible – Mat 6: Gospel of Matthew 6 (Blue Letter Bible: NIV – New International Version).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 4 Dec, 2015. http://www.blueletterbible.orghttps://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/mat/6/33/s_935033




Short and Sweet: Nothing but the Truth, by Mary Kane

Short&Sweetjpeg
Nourishment and refreshment for your soul.

 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:1-6

There comes a point in our life when we must make a decision about what we believe about God, heaven, life, and death. Who’s truth will we believe: the world’s, our own, or God’s.
Living by my own truth was a disastrous plan. The world of science did not have a remedy for my massive sin problem (Darwin could not cover my guilt and shame). Then I met Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life. His truth became my truth. His way became my way. His life became my life.
Let’s dig a little deeper into our verse.
Way: In Greek hodos, which means properly, a traveled road, a journey, a course of conduct, thinking and living.
Truth: In Greek aletheia, which means “what is true in any matter under consideration, in reality, fact.
Life: in Greek zoe, which translates “life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed …” to be fresh, strong, and efficient. Life only found in Christ, to live as we were created to be.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.
Action Points:
  1. Where do you want to end up?
  2. Is the way you are walking going to get you there?
  3. What is truth? Does truth depend on people or circumstances? What does truth depend on?
  4. Did any of the above definitions impact your heart?

Jesus is the way the truth, and the life. If you know you do not have truth, please click on one of the links below.

Life is sweet.

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Second Sunday of Advent

More Than A Baby coverKindleToday is Day 8 of our Advent devotional, the second Sunday of Advent, and our focus is on whether Jesus is the Messiah. John the Baptist is languishing in a prison cell, needing some encouragement from Jesus. Many of us may also go through times of doubt in our lives, so we need to understand that our faith is grounded on truth.

If you’d like a bit of background about Advent, you can read Day One’s entry.

To read today’s entry, simply click on the link below.

Second Sunday of Advent




My Failure, God’s Forgiveness

Last week was not a week that I am proud of.photo-20

My attitude was weighing me down, becoming progressively worse as the week went on. If I am totally honest about it, I have to admit that I was mired in anger, frustration, and stress and really didn’t want to listen to what God wanted me to do about it.

The result being that by the time I was willing to listen, I was pretty much a mess.

Had I just listened to God from the start, it wouldn’t have been such a painful process to fix things, but my stubbornness got in the way, so I had to do things the hard way. As a result, I spent some time in Psalm 51, which is a panacea for sin.  King David penned this prayer of despair and hope after he made a mess of his relationship with a married woman, Bathsheba.

As I read through his heartfelt plea, I added my own regrets to the Psalm and felt the refreshing words of forgiveness wash over  my soul. I decided to write a prayer of forgiveness based on Psalm 51 to help me truly remember this lesson. I share it with you in the hope that it will encourage another struggling soul. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings in the comment section. Remember, forgiveness is just a prayer away~

(If you’d like to download a free Bible study on forgiveness, just click on The Sinner for a study by Mary Kane.)

Pray on!

O merciful God,

Once again I come to you humbly, asking for your forgiveness, that You will remember my sins no more.

You love me with a depth of love that is difficult for me to fathom. It is not based on me living up to my part of the bargain, because I can’t do that. It is based on who you are and your unfailing love.

I know my sin all too well. Just when I think I have finally mastered it, it masters me. And I sin against you. From my earliest days, my soul has been marred by sin, yet you never give up on me. You continue to instill Truth deep into my soul and dangle tidbits of Wisdom for me to grasp until I am hooked by the absolute rightness of your way and the futility of mine.

I am sorry. Forgive me.

You scrub my soul with the hyssop of the blood of Jesus, making me whiter than freshly fallen snow. I draw a deep, life-giving breath and offer you my undivided attention, ready to learn from my mistakes, welcoming the joy and light back into my parched soul.

I ask to serve you with a clean heart and a spirit that is determined to cling to you. I need your presence with me and the Holy Spirit to guide my steps. Otherwise, I wander my own paths that lead to destruction and destinations far from you.

A broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart are the incense of my sacrifice to you. Released from guilt, my praises pour forth, and I am set free to proclaim all you are. You take my offering and heal me, one step closer to the person you made me to be.

Amen.

By Jane VanOsdol June 2013

OnlyByPrayer.com

If you would like a nice, printable copy of this prayer, click on this link My Failure, God’s Forgiveness for a pdf.