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Posts Tagged ‘#2corinthians4’

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“You can’t read a book by it’s cover”

“Still waters run deep”

“He’s a gentle giant”

Those quotes are reminders that what we see is not always an accurate indicator of the person within.

So many times my first impressions of a person, or upcoming event, were completely inaccurate, because my impression originated in what I could see.

The Bible reminds us t0 “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

As this school year is coming to an end, as our eyes tend to look at the struggles in front of our faces (and those in this school year). For students it might be the perceived impossibility of exams, for parents it might be what is viewed as a tough school year with our child (in or out of school), for school staff it might be a sense that we did not do enough to assist the students in our realm of responsibility.

Are we focusing only on what we can see?

Are we seeing the difficulties of our present situation magnified by end of school year fatigue? Are we looking at this year as loss? Failure?

What we can see and imagine as the ‘fall out’ from this school year is such a small view of what has actually been accomplished, being accomplished.

At this time of the school year I am often tired, discouraged, beaten up and guilty for my failings. It is usually about now that I see out an intense focus on 2 Corinthians 4:

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.

If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

May our eyes be focused, not on what we see and is temporary, but on what is unseen, and eternal.

 

 

 

 

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IMG_1197.PNG As I sat in the school library, my attention was grabbed by a group of grade eight middle school students, working together on a group project.

It was one young man, in particular, who caught my gaze.

He was awkward … in every way possible.

His glasses kept slipping down his nose.

His round face, and body indicated that his upward growth had not yet stretched him vertically.

His clothes looked like ones a mom would buy (I’ve been that mom) without asking his opinion (though, to be fair to mom, maybe he didn’t really care what he was wearing).

He slouched in his chair, feet dangling inches from the carpeted floor.

Although his appearance was awkward (and I’ll bet his voice cracked, as well) it was the conversation with the girls in his group that captivated my attention.

The girls, oozing that early maturation that adolescent girls benefit from, were obviously speaking a language that he had yet to learn. They were talking quickly with their lips, as well as with their demonstrative hands. They giggled, they planned, they organized the role of the awkward boy in their project. The other boy in the group had an athletic build, and he smiled and laughed with the girls, causing the girls to hang on his every word. He was not awkward but amazing!

The young man looked like a fish out of water, totally and completely out of his element, his comfort zone, getting deep into uncharted waters.

And the girls giggled.

I have talked with this awkward young man. He is bright, makes wise choices, has compassion on others, is a great student … academically and behaviorally, he has a twinkle in his eye that makes one feel safe, heard, valued.

Here is what those giggling girls need to know:

that plain caterpillar will emerge from his adolescent cocoon a beautiful, graceful butterfly.

Now he might still not fully understand the language of females, and he may never have the buff body of an athlete, but the wise choices he makes, the use and development of the brain in his head, and his compassionate heart will grow him into a man of honor and success.

Right now, those girls are oblivious to this … right now he is oblivious to this.

Watching this young man in his group reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4:18

“So we fix out eyes
not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen

since what is seen is temporary
but what is unseen is eternal.”

So often, in the midst of the difficult, the ugly, the painful or the … awkward, we simply cannot ever imagine life being different or better. Our focus is completely on the mire of today. But God can see our future … all of it.

He knows where we are heading, and He plans to go there with us.

Just like me watching the scene in the library, believing that this young mans future looks so much brighter than his present, God looks at us in our awkward life situations and He knows what is to come for our lives, for our eternity.

Today is just a step in our life, lets keep our gaze on the unseen, who sees all.

 

 

 

 

 

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Life can leave your cup depleted. Responsibilities can leave your cup exhausted. People can leave your cup empty. Even church can leave your cup barren. Life has seasons that drain … well, the life right out of you.

One day, as I was having an empty cup day, I wondered what it was that would fill me up again.

People were not the answer … to be honest just about everyone in reach was standing on my last nerve. It was feeling like everyone wanted a piece of me … they wanted my ear, my thoughts, my time. I was tired of voices, demands, whining and more demands. The sounds of the voices around me were similar to the auditory effects of fingernails on a chalkboard.

Everyone was taking, everyone was wanting their cups filled by me, and there were no offers of giving … of refilling my cup.

Usually, when I need my cup filled, and people aren’t offering to fill it, I go for a walk. Communing with creation can outdo any psychiatrist’s sofa, or bartender’s stool. But, my cup was void of available time to enjoy the rejuvenating effects of a walk on my favorite trail.

It seemed as though there was nothing and no one that was available and desiring to fill my cup. The emptier it got, the emptier I felt. The emptier I felt, the more firmly in place were my self pity pants. I was wallowing. Really though, it was valid wallowing … I was begging for a refill, and no one was willing to take the time to throw me a line! I was drowning in despair …

Then, the still small voice said, “you are choosing to drown in your own despair.”

When I ‘hear’ (not audibly, but in my heart, in my soul) something like this I head to Google, because I know there is a ‘rest of the story’ to be found. I know that voice is a voice of reason, and I know (without a doubt) that it is God’s voice, calling out to remind me of what I already know … and have forgotten. So, I Googled (I love how that word is both a noun and a verb … I am learning grammar, through working in a grade 9 English class 🙂 ), and there it was, in 2 Corinthians 4:

“Therefore … we do not lose heart …  we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us … We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart … Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Some days I cannot wait to rid myself of this existence as a clay jar … I want my unseen, eternal body, I want my unseen, eternal life that awaits me in heaven. Where my cup is always full, because it is only my God who can fill it. But He fills it for me here, today too … my clay covered ears and eyes and mind just do not always acknowledge or remember that.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

Psalm 23:5-6

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