Monday, October 27, 2014

Lift Us Higher!

"Grace was given to each of us 
according to the measure of Christ's gift." 
Ephesians 4:7
We have to realize that mankind, all of us, 
must have done something terrible to merit Jesus, God's son, 
dying on the cross for us. 
Sin is terrible, horrible to a Holy God. 
And that's why Jesus gave the gift of His life. 
We are all recipients of God's mercy and grace. 
C.S. Lewis, when asked what made 
Christianity different from other religions, 
answered, "That's simple. Grace."
Victor Hugo's "Les Miserable" is a remarkably beautiful story 
about a man who made something of his life 
because he was the recipient of the 
unmerited favor of the Bishop of Digne. 
When the hero of the story, Jean Valjean, 
was released from prison on parole, 
he was given food to eat and a bed to sleep in by the good bishop. 
Valjean steals the silver and is arrested 
by the gendarmes and brought back to face the bishop. 
Jan Valjean was surprised when the Bishop says 
that he had given the silver to Valjean. 
"My friend, you left the best behind!" he exclaimed, 
and offered the massive silver candlesticks. 
These candlesticks were treasured by the Bishop 
because they were the last remnants of a 
formerly rich life, and presents from his great aunt.

In the musical, the Bishop sings to Valjean: 
"But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the Passion and the Blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for God!"

 Just as the Bishop recognizes that he was "bought" by God, 
ransomed to be reclaimed by God, 
we too should realize that Jesus' gifts of 
forgiveness, mercy and grace, should be passed on to others. 
Just as God gave us His Son as a free gift, 
we too should make our lives a gift to others.

 "If he cries out to me, I will hear him; 
for I am compassionate." Exodus 22:26
Last night I attended the Thanksgiving celebration 
Joe Dean Sola and his wife Ardis started this 
in 1997 to feed streetchildren. 
Now, they not only feed them, 
they help with putting them through school, 
tutoring, health programs, micro loans for parents, etc. 
They are even constructing a building right now 
in Project 6 to house 100 streetchildren.

 How did Joe Dean's dream of becoming a drug dealer 
transform into a vision to build a 
permanent home for streetchildren? 
He used to think the pages of the Bible 
perfect to roll marijuana in. 
Now his life is the Bible for these children!

The children and their parents know 
God's love and compassion because of the 
love and compassion of Joe Dean and the He Cares volunteers. 
When praying for a name for his foundation, 
God led Joe Dean to 1 Peter 5:7: 
"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because HE CARES for you."
To be able to help others, to love them and to care for them, 
we need to get a revelation like Joe Dean, 
that God indeed loves and cares for us. 
That God is compassionate and has His eyes on us! 
Only then will we be able to spread out our arms 
and have the love and strength we need to care for others.
Want to help 100 homeless street children have a place to call home? 

"...and a woman was there at the synagogue 
who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years. 
She was bent over and could not straighten up at all." 
Luke 13:11
Not much is known about this woman 
except she had been attending the synagogue 
and was crippled, bent over, unable to look up, for 18 years! 
Jesus saw her, called her over, laid His hands on her, and said, 
"Woman, you are released, freed from your sickness." 
She straightened up and began glorifying God.
There are many of us who need God's hands laid on us. 
Not only do we need freedom from sickness, 
but from low self-esteem, impatience, 
lack of confidence, failures in the past, wrong relationships. 
The list goes on. 
Many of us focus on our limitations, flaws, mistakes, 
and we can be as crippled as the woman in the synagogue. 
Sometimes those very things that we see 
as our handicaps can be what God will use 
to build His Kingdom, to bring Him glory.

I learned something about a golf ball. 
Did you know that golf balls used to be smooth? 
But then golfers noticed that their old balls, 
the ones with the bumps, flew farther. 
So they used their old balls. 
An aerodynamist explained that the nicks and cuts 
"reduced drag and induced turbulence in the air next to the ball". 
Now all golf balls have dimples in it!
We can say we are God's golf balls. 
God knows our imperfections can make us fly higher. 
He sees our potential, what we can become. 
I used to think waking up at 3 in the morning 
was a terrible thing. 
I couldn't sleep and used to stare at the ceiling. 
When I decided to get up, and read the Bible 
and meet with the Lord, I was at my most productive! 
I know many people who have used their disabilities, 
their past sad experiences, their mistakes, to help others.
Whatever we see as our imperfections, 
our weaknesses, let's see it through the eyes of God, 
and work with Him, and it will lift us higher!

or on Facebook and Instagram

1 comment:

  1. A great post Pasty, I like the story of the silver and the Bishop. The present in your art is very symbolic. Thank you for posting your beautiful art with us this week during our 155th challenge at Word Art Wednesday. I’m praying for sweet sunshiny days and I’m sending happy hugs to all. Carole


I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy