Monday, February 09, 2015

Excellent in Every Way

"The Lord is my Shepherd..." Psalm 23:1
My husband likes to tell of the time he visited a shepherd and his flock.
He offered to take care of the sheep while the shepherd took a rest.

"Well, you see that's the problem. See if they'll eat if you give them food."

 My husband got the food and called out to the sheep. They did not come near. When my husband would go near, they would move away warily.
The farmer then explained, "They're nearsighted. Can't see you.
But they know my voice."

 He called out, and they came. In John 10, Jesus says, "The sheep will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of a stranger."
Do we know the voice of our Shepherd?

 "Let us move on..." Mark 1:38
As Christians, we usually find a way to serve others following Jesus' example. Sometimes we feel we don't do much good, we hardly make a dent when we help people, because there is just so much need and desperation around us.
That is why it is so important to follow Jesus. In Mark chapter 1, after Jesus spent much of the night healing the sick and expelling demons, he rose up early the next morning to go off by Himself to pray. While He was praying Simon and the other disciples found Him. "Everybody is looking for You!" they said. There were many more that needed healing and had all sorts of needs!

 What did Jesus say in response? "Let us move on." He needed to preach the good news in other places. He was very clear about His direction, and all because He spent time with His Father, our Father. If He hadn't gone off to pray, perhaps He would have followed His natural inclination in Mark 6:34 to have pity on the clamoring crowd and stay.

 It's easy to see here that Jesus, like us, was limited by His physical body. He couldn't be in several places at the same time. Like us, there was a limit to His time, His strength, His resources. And so it is a comfort to me that Jesus showed us an example. He did not heal everyone everywhere. He got His instructions first and obeyed. But we see the seeds He planted has grown beyond Galilee and have reached me here in the Philippines today. We too need to get our marching orders before we go out and serve. Then we can be sure that our time and effort will not be given in vain.

 "God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 25, 31
This verse is repeated 6 times in the 1st Chapter of Genesis. In Genesis 1:31, in the New Living translation, we can read, "Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was excellent in every way." What was the point of creating a world excellent in every way? Of course God who is the ultimate "Creator" can't make anything less than excellent. But the fact that He took so much care with the world also bears witness to how much He loves us, don't you think?
The spectacular Taj Mahal was created for the remains of the 3rd wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Emperor was devastated when his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth, and he built the mausoleum to show his devotion. The Emperor described the beautiful Taj Mahal thus: " In this world this edifice has been made to display thereby the creator's glory."

If a mere man can come up with this gem of a building for his dead wife, how much more will God show His love for His people who are living in His image? The earth's glory has dimmed somewhat through the ages because of man's carelessness and willful destruction. But God did not give up. Jesus heralds the new creation.
In the Cathechism of the Catholic Church (CCC349), we can find that " the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation."


  1. I needed to hear the message of Jesus recognizing his limitations while in the body, so he listened for the voice of his Father and obeyed. He didn't beat himself up for not being able to do everything. He just obeyed and moved on, without guilt. Yep. I really needed to hear that. And, of course, your beautiful paintings tell the story so much better than mere words.
    Blessing hugs,

  2. Thank you for sharing this message today. It is a great reminder to pray continually and listen for our "marching orders>" I so often get distracted by the tyranny of the urgent. I need to remember the Ann Voskamp quote, "Life is not an emergency." I hope you have a lovely day!

  3. A good reminder not to give up believing, praying, meditating God's words and following God. Beautiful!

  4. Anonymous6:24 AM

    Thank you for your message and for sharing at The Weekend Brew.

  5. I have spent many days overwhelmed by the needs around me, but I am so gratefully learning to seek Him first to see if He has asked me to meet these needs before I rush out. Because if I am always rushing I might be very well missing where I am actually supposed to serve.

  6. I love this - seeing the images you use to produce some of your artwork and the way you've overlaid it on scripture. Beautiful.


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