Monday, November 17, 2014

Beauty is Fleeting

 "What do you want me to do for you?" Luke 18:41
The Gospel reading today in the 18th chapter of Luke is about a blind man named Bartimaeus. He was begging by the road when he heard a crowd pass by. "What's happening?" he asked. When someone told him it was Jesus of Nazareth, he shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
The people in the crowd shushed him, reproved him, rebuked him, and told him sternly to be quiet. Perhaps if it was us, we would have been intimidatedand shut up. After all, we would have spent a lifetime living in the shadows, just waiting for someone to help. Perhaps we would have been afraid, unwilling to risk more censure. There were probably many blind and sick people who were shushed by the crowd as Jesus passed. But Bartimaeus is mentioned not only in Luke, but also in Mark where he is named, and Matthew, because he did not give up. In the Amplified Bible, the translation reads that Bartimaeus screamed and shrieked some more, "Jesus, have mercy on me!!!!"

 This reminds me of the story of the widow and the corrupt judge in the same chapter of Luke. Because Bartimaeus was persistent, Jesus could not ignore him. Just as Jesus does not ignore our prayers when we come to Him in our need.
One very important lesson I learned from this story is that there will be many who will try to stop us from praying. It may be the distractions of the world. It may be ourselves. We stop praying because we don't want to be disappointed, we stop because we are angry God does not mind us right away and answer. It may even be brothers and sisters in the church crowd, shushing us because they just don't believe God will make miracles today! Lesson? Pray without ceasing and don't give up!

 "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 30:30
Have you heard of the horrifying true story of the man who sued his wife because his daughter was "incredibly ugly"? First he sued her because he thought she had had an affair, but when the DNA tests showed that the daughter was his, he found out that her beautiful face was the result of a lot of plastic surgery! She had not told him, and so he was shocked when his daughter looked nothing like them!
Most women don't resort to a massive amount of plastic surgery to change their looks and bodies radically, but we do try our best to put our best face forward. It's easy to see how we look like because we have the mirror to tell us, but do we see the truth? The truth is that God thinks we are beautiful. In Psalm 139:14, David says, "I give you thanks because I am fearfully, wonderfully made."
The arch of our brows, the texture of our hair, the lift of our nose, the color of our skin... God took such care in forming all of these details to make us unique and beautiful in His eyes. God is an amazing artist and we are each His masterpiece! If we spend time with Him, we will be able to know how much He loves us and He can show us we are beautiful.

 I think the devil and the world connive to put lenses on our eyes so that we are more concerned with the outer us than the inner us. To God it is more important what we are on the inside. There is no mirror to show us. But it will be good to pay attention to how we look inside each day. Am I patient, kind, loving, encouraging, honest? Inner beauty is of so much more value to God than how we look outside.
I like this saying; "I can't wait till tomorrow because I get prettier every day!" Do we grow more beautiful inside every day? If we do, I guarantee that inside beauty will reflect outside in a way that is pleasing not only to God but others as well!

 "Always pray and not give up, do not turn coward, do not faint, do not lose heart." Luke 18:1
In Jesus' parable in Luke 18:1-7, there are two protagonists. One widow and one corrupt judge. Jesus used a widow in His story to emphasize her desperate situation. During His time, a widow had no influence, no social standing, no position in society. But she was able to get the judge to rule favorably because of her persistence. Jesus' sense of humor shows when He says the judge thought, "I care little for God or man but this widow is WEARING ME OUT. I am going to settle in her favor or she will end by doing me violence."
Jesus proceeds to give us the secret to the heart of God: "Will not God then do justice to His chosen who call out to Him day and night? Will He delay over them do you suppose? I tell You, He will give them swift justice."

Can you imagine how amazing that is? That we have the power to change the heart of God? I want to get into the habit of interceding right away when I hear of a need. Sometimes on Facebook, or on a blog or text message, someone asks for prayer. Wouldn't it be great if instead of just saying, "I will pray", we take the time to write our prayer?
Although we should act as if everything depends on us, much more should we pray as if everything depends on God, because it does!!! "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

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1 comment:

  1. I do think we see ourselves through worldly eyes often and we need to ask God to help us see ourselves as He would see us. I think we also need to do this when we are looking at others - to not focus on their flaws, but their beauty - internal and external.


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