Monday, May 17, 2010

Looking Good On The Inside

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)

Too often I am concerned and spend too much time and money trying to look attractive and adorning myself outside and as a result, neglect spending a penny or the effort to decorate my inner self. I sometimes even allow it to affect the way I start my day! Why do we judge ourselves, make the mistake of judging others, or think that they judge us by the way we look on the outside? The way we look on the outside doesn't reveal what our true value is, and I am ashamed to say that many times I find myself in this position. Wouldn't it be better if we  looked at people's hearts the way God does?

"Oh Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8) 

Although makeup, jewelry and clothing are tools that can enhance, they can also detract from a lady's God-given beauty. True beauty begins on the inside. We need to praise God for the qualities that make us unique and special, and quit spending so much time trying to remake ourselves. God knitted me together completely to reflect the person He sees in me, and He didn't need my advice on how to create the perfect me!

"Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." (I Peter 3:4)

Being beautiful on the inside, which is is in your heart and your mind, is all about displaying your love and your gifts, and learning something everyday that will build you up and add value to your life. Instead of spending wasted time in front of the mirror, or wasting money on excessive clothes, accessories and stuff, the happiness and glow that is shining through our face and our character is really what is reflected inside of our hearts. This is what is pleasing to God; this is how we show our love for Him.

"As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man." (Proverbs 27:19)

~~Beauty of a Woman~~
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes,
Because this is the doorway to her heart,
The place where she resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows.
The beauty of a woman
With time, only grows.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mother's Love

Being a mother is a very blessed and meaningful role that God chose to give to me, and being the child of a mother who loved, cared, and encouraged me throughout her life is a love I carry with me every day.

My daughters were certainly a gift from the Lord..."Don't you see that children are God's best gift?" (Psalm 127:3) Caring for my children, meeting their needs, and embracing them in both joyful and troubled times, was (and still is!) a unique gift from God. He chose me to conceive the two most beautiful daughters a mother could ask for, and to have a unique and crucial role in their lives. As my role of motherhood changed  and developed as they grew, the love I shared for them never ceased; it flourished! And as a result I have been blessed with not only daughters, but best friends!

"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever." (Unknown)

My mother was a precious, unique and godly woman who lived a life that brought grace and glory to our household. She was always behind me, supporting me with tons of love and patience. As I grew older, got married, had a family and also a career, nothing brought me greater pleasure than spending time with my mother. She had the most influential lead in my daughter's lives, loving them and giving them the most empowering love a grandmother could possibly give. The emptiness that I still feel now that she is gone, sometimes consumes my emotions. But I can feel her presence and know that she is forever in my heart, and continues to inspire me and the decisions I make every day!

"God could not be everywhere and therefore He made mothers!" (Jewish Proverb)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Through Faith; Not Merit

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2 8-9)

I think that for many Christians, our definition of faith and salvation is often something we "psych" ourselves into; we put on a show (even though it is often with good intent) to do good works in which to gain merit and appraisal. But our salvation is not based on our good works; salvation depends on the grace of God alone. The bible makes it clear that we cannot win salvation; it is free as the absolute gift of God received by faith. Our love for Jesus Christ must be real and heartfelt, and I do believe that our genuine faith in Christ will provide a changed life and good works. If we claim to have faith and believe in Him and do no good works, then we most likely do not have genuine faith.

"He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does. The good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." (Ephesians 2:10~Message)

Merit is defined as: "Claim to respect and praise; excellence and worth. Something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation, a commendable quality or act..." As Swindoll writes in Insights on Romans, "The righteousness of God is received through faith, not our own merit."

Many people think they can obtain salvation and get to heaven because they are successful and/or because of their status or position. But faith and salvation is not a work or something that is earned; we receive it by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and receiving His gift with open arms. No matter whom we are or how important our status is on earth, we will not receive eternal life without accepting Jesus as our Savior. Selfish pride and good works are not like faith and good works. One serves as a narcissistic behavioral attitude in which we rely on what others think when we are giving and helping. However, a work produced by faith is acting upon and serving others with a sincere heart and genuine attitude, regardless of whether other people are around to acknowledge it or not. It's our real character.

"Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle" James 1:17~Message