Category Archives: God looks at the inner person

Refining Moments Don’t Have to be Defining Moments

Standard

And some who are most gifted in the things of God will stumble in those days and fall, but this will only refine and cleanse them and make them pure until the final end of their trials, at God’s appointed time.

Daniel 11:35(TLB)

We’ve all heard stories of famous celebrities and athletes at the pinnacle of their careers, gifted with incredible talent and success, who make reckless decisions causing them to stumble and fall. Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, the media quickly exploits these stories to an audience eager for any morsel of juicy details.

There are even biblical examples from our Superstars of Faith who stumbled:

  • Noah became shamelessly drunk on wine.
  • Abraham doubted God would give him and Sarah a son, so he took matters into his own hands and fathered a child with Hagar.
  • Moses lost his temper and disobeyed God’s instructions, costing him the chance to enter the Promised Land.
  • David committed adultery and had a man murdered to cover up his transgression.
  • Peter denied that he ever knew Christ.

We don’t have to be famous to find ourselves in the same types of situations.

We’re all imperfect humans, capable of missteps along the way. Our mistakes aren’t always reported in the judgmental view of the public eye or recorded in the Bible for generations of people to read, but we often find ourselves under the microscope of shame in our own eyes, feeling completely defined by our failures.

For believers, God uses these painful experiences to refine us.

The industrial process of refinement takes a substance with imperfections and impurities, purifying it to its most usable form. The spiritual process of refinement works the same way, only God purifies our lives to bring us to our most usable form for His kingdom.

Refinement removes our impurities.

When we emerge on the other side of the refinement process, we are cleansed and polished, more perfectly suited for God’s call on our lives. Without the cloudy imperfections, we shine for God’s glory!

As children of God, our Refining Moments don’t have to be our Defining Moments.

Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Peter are famous for their faithfulness to God and their work in His kingdom ~ NOT for their failures. Their Refining Moments were not their Defining Moments!

God promises that He can make all things – even our failures – work together for good in the lives of His children. (Romans 8:28) He wants to use every detail of our story for His glory ~ even the times when we stumble and fall.

 

Related Scripture:

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 1 Peter 1:7 – 9 (MSG)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Advertisements

God Uses the Ordinary for Extraordinary Purposes

Standard

IMG_3961

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.
The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
 

On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I was awakened each morning at dawn to an exquisite sound…the beautiful song of the Clay-colored Thrush.  Before I ever spotted one of these birds, I was mesmerized by its beautiful serenade.  And when I finally saw one of them, I was surprised by its bland appearance, and I was even more surprised when I learned that this plain-looking bird is the national bird of Costa Rica!  In a country full of flashy and iconic birds – such as the macaw, toucan and motmot – why in the world would a tawny-brown bird that blends into the scenery be chosen as their national bird? But then when I connected this ordinary bird with its ethereal song, it became extraordinary in my sight.

The Clay-colored Thrush has achieved national bird status not by being showy, strong, colorful, huge or any other superlative. This common bird gained its status by simply using its God-given talent of singing its beautiful song. It has a tendency to live close to humans and is widespread throughout the country of Costa Rica, so each day its residents are all awakened by the same lovely sound – a rich, enchanting call which unifies the entire nation – making it an excellent choice for a national bird!

This ordinary bird is a great example of how God uses ordinary people for extraordinary purposes. God knows what’s in our hearts, and He’s not concerned with outward appearances. Most people spend hours each week maintaining their outward appearance, but they spend very little time developing their inward character and seeking out God’s purpose for their lives. Samuel almost overlooked David as God’s choice to be king of Israel, because he was young with a ruddy complexion, and he did not have the outward regal appearance of a future king. Not everyone is destined to become a king, but God has designed each one of us with a unique and meaningful purpose in mind. Live your life the Clay-colored Thrush — use your God-given talents and “sing your life song” to make an impact in the lives of those around you. Don’t let any excuses (such as your age, physical abilities, or outward appearance) stop you from fulfilling the extraordinary purpose for which you were designed!

Marvelously Made

Standard

knit together

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.”

Psalm 139: 13 – 16 MSG

You are a special creation ~ marvelously made in body and soul by God!  No one else on Earth is quite like you.  God shaped you from nothing into something, and knit you together, bit by bit, into the extraordinary individual that you are. Like an open book, He watched you grow from conception to birth; He knows the rhythm of your heart, every bone in your body, and every hair on your head.

God created you with a unique purpose in mind, and each one of your days on Earth have been ordained by your Creator.   In fact, the days of your life were all prepared for you before you even lived one day.  God knows you intimately, inside and out.

He was there from your beginning, and He is with you right now.  No matter what you may be going through in life, God loves you and is watching over you every single moment.

You are His Masterpiece!

Beauty That Never Fades

Standard

030111_1128_LoveWithAct1.jpg

…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit
is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:4b

Most of us spend a great deal of time and money on our outward appearance.  A portion of our day is devoted to preparing ourselves for “public appearance.”  We spend time grooming, shaving, tweezing, moisturizing, drying, brushing, combing, and powdering.  We carefully apply make-up and select our outfit and coordinating accessories.  For some of us, this is a time-consuming process and one that we would never omit from our day.  When we are finally ready to step out of our homes, every detail is in perfect order, from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes.

While we care deeply about the image we portray to the world, God’s word tells us in 1 Peter 3:3-4 that what matters most is not your outward appearance – the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear or the cut of your clothes.  What He cares about is your inner disposition.

 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  
Rather, it should be that of your inner self,  the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

Just as we devote a portion of our day to taking care of our outward appearance, we should also spend time attending to our inner self.  The more time you spend reading God’s word and talking with Him in prayer, the more you will radiate His spirit from within.  Your relationship with Christ will be evident in your attitude, your words, your actions and your gentle spirit.  You will shine with a light from within, and others will be drawn to Christ.

 “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Psalm 34:5
 

True beauty begins inside.