Walking With the Risen Jesus – Week 1 Devotional

Walking With the Risen Jesus – Week 1 Devotional

Easter is a reminder that we serve a risen savior!  Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, there is no reason to hope and there is no call to serve—and every single person in the Family of God is called to the mission of God!  Yet all too often, we wander—choosing our own path—consequently, we miss the opportunity to experience God’s presence and receive God’s blessing.

During this Pentecost season, I will post a weekly devotional to guide us on a journey with our risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Sunday I will post a new meditation, Scripture, and a set of challenge questions.  I am doing this with some people in my church-family and I invite you, my readers, to join us by posting your own questions, experiences, and prayers.

Meditation

Today the Church celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Easter is at once both a deeply personal and necessarily communal experience. Robert Webber offers the following insight about the Paradox of the Easter message.

Easter is the source event of all the events of the Christian year. It is like the neck of the hourglass. Every event of the Christian year flows into Easter, even as all the events of the Christian year flow from Easter.

Evangelicals affirm that Easter day, like all the other saving events of the Christian year, is a factual and historical day. On Easter Sunday the two sides of the Easter event are to be affirmed. When Easter day is reduced only to a fact day, we intellectualize the event. If I focus only on the evidence of the resurrection fact, the reality of the resurrection in me is removed and the meaning of the resurrection spirituality becomes lost.

There is also a danger, however, in overinterpreting the resurrection event in me. We live in a highly self-focused world in which everything is interpreted in terms of what it can do for me. Greg Wilde, a friend of mine and a teacher at the Institute for Worship Studies, captured the concentration on self that has become a real problem for the church and its emphasis on true spirituality in the following way:

In all past paradigms the self has been subordinated to systems—moral systems, social systems, political systems, even physical systems, like gravity and environmental conditions. In the last 30 years, however, or perhaps gradually since the second World War, for the first time the self has been cut loose to become supreme, sovereign, all-important, a system unto itself, no longer subordinate to any moral code but its own, no longer needing anybody outside the self, no longer needing to agree with anybody to receive validation, and even technology has advanced to the point where we no longer have to obey gravity, or stay above water or even stay on the planet! We can do anything and it has killed us.

While the resurrection is for me, it is not a self-focused event as in advertising that states, “It is all about me, you know!” Maintaining the paradox of both the Easter fact and faith is the key to Easter spirituality. Paul clearly provides the subjective guideline: “You have been raised with Christ…. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1, 3 NIV). So what does it mean to say that Christ has been factually risen from the dead and this same Christ is to be risen in me? What is the Easter message? The answer to this question must focus first on the Easter fact and then, and only then, on Easter spirituality.

Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time : Forming Spirituality Through the Christian Year (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2004), 143–144.

Today, I challenge my church-Family to embrace this Easter Paradox of the personal yet corporate Gospel.

Scripture Reading

Old Testament

Psalm 16 (ESV)

A Miktam of David. 1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalms

Psalm 150 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! 3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

New Testament

1 Corinthians 15:12–20 (ESV)

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Gospel

John 20:1–8 (ESV)

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

Challenge

  • Each day this week, examine your daily habits. How has the Spirit of Christ used the historical reality of the Easter message to change you?  Your actions?  Your values?  Your priorities?
  • How have you experienced the power of the Easter message—your own personal death and resurrection through Faith?  A Healing?  A freedom from guilt?
  • Do people see the Easter message in your eyes? Has the image of a living-Christ in you helped transform the people around you?  The Lost?  Your family?  The Church? If not, ask yourself, why not?
  1. Week 1 Devotional
  2. Week 2 Devotional
  3. Week 3 Devotional
  4. Week 4 Devotional
  5. Week 5 Devotional
The Dissolution of DOMA… Sort of…

The Dissolution of DOMA… Sort of…

In 1996, the news was replete with stories that Hawaii was about to pass a law that would recognize homosexual marriage.  The concern, at the time, was that all other states would be forced to recognize marriages sanctioned in Hawaii. In response, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Bill which was signed into law by then Democratic President Bill Clinton.  This Act (DOMA), was  bipartisan legislation  that gave states the option not to recognize marriages from other states and it defined the term “marriage” for all federal legislation to mean the union of a man and a woman.  

Seventeen years later, the Supreme Court has heard a case which calls into question the legality of DOMA’s Section 3. The question at hand, “does the Federal government have the legal standing to ‘impose’ its definition of marriage on the States?”

After listening to the 2+ hours of oral argument and reading the transcript of “UNITED STATES v. EDITH SCHLAIN WINDSOR” here are some of my observations.  This is by no means a comprehensive analysis, just some thoughts on what I think might be important to the decision and coming debate.

As a side note, unlike the lawyers in Tuesday’s case regarding CA’s Prop 8, I thought both of the lawyers in this case were far more polished.  I was particularly impressed with the Mr. Clement’s ability to think on his feet and answer direct questions without wavering.

People As Economic Units

At several points in the proceedings, individuals and couples were referred to as “economic units”.  Take for example this bit from Justice Alito.

Suppose we look just at the estate tax provision that’s at issue in this case, which provides specially favorable treatment to a married couple as opposed to any other individual or economic unit. What was the purpose of that? Was the purpose of that really to foster traditional marriage, or was Congress just looking for a convenient category to capture households that function as a unified economic unit? — JUSTICE ALITO

Regardless if it is used by big corporations or big government  I take exception to this terminology as it reduces human beings into a commercial product.

Bill Clinton the Bigot?

So how did we get to this point where we are debating marriage?  It seemed the lawyers for the plaintiff wanted to paint all supporters of DOMA as religious-bigots who wanted only to suppress gays and deprive them of marital bliss. In their worldview, Congress and Bill Clinton did not pass DOMA to preserve uniformity in the Federal system, but to reinforce a moral discrimination and in so doing they violated the Federal Equal Protection Act.

The Solicitor General makes the case as follows,

” …It was enacted to exclude same-sex married, lawfully married couples from Federal benefit regimes based on a conclusion that was driven by moral disapproval. It is quite clear in black and white in the pages of the House report which we cite on page 38 of our brief -­” — GENERAL VERRILLI

Eventually, the Justices got both Ms. Kaplan and General Verrilli to concede that there were legitimate reasons why some people supported DOMA, but Chief Justice Roberts came back to this later and asked Ms Kaplan to explain why “morality” of marriage was before the court.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, but you just referred to a sea change in people’s understandings and values from 1996, when DOMA was enacted, and I’m just trying to see where that comes from, if not from the political effectiveness of — of groups on your side of the case.

MS. KAPLAN: To flip the language of the House Report, Mr. Chief Justice, I think it comes from a moral understanding today that gay people are no different, and that gay married couples’ relationships are not significantly different from the relationships of straight married people. I don’t think -­

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I understand that. I am just trying to see how — where that that moral understanding came from, if not the political effectiveness of a particular group.

As we saw in the oral arguments from HOLLINGSWORTH v. PERRY. marriage has become a political football defined by an evolving culture and nobody can predict all the long-term consequences.  From my perspective this ongoing social upheaval will not be good for marriage or for children.

Marriage Is Already Equal

One of the biggest points of discussion in the court was the ideal of equal and uniform treatment under the law.  This, we can all agree, is an important Constitutional ethic in the United States.  Here is one comment from Justice Sotomayor I found interesting for several reasons.

But what gives the Federal Government the right to be concerned at all at what the definition of marriage is? Sort of going in a circle. You’re saying — you’re saying, we can create this special category — men and women — because the States have an interest in traditional marriage that they’re trying to protect. How do you get the Federal Government to have the right to create categories of that type based on an interest that’s not there, but based on an interest that belongs to the States? — JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR

First, while the ultimate goal is equal treatment of individuals, she discusses the preservation of States’ rights which will have significant bearing in the final decision.

Second, I was intrigued by her assertion that the Government “created” the special category of “men” and “women”.  What could this mean?  My suspicion is that she is saying that the Government has falsely recognized only two genders, male and female, but this, in her view, is a false category that does not recognize all the possible categories of gender.  Thus, in her view, to define marriage as only between a man and woman is unequal treatment because it excludes other “legitimate” categories of gender identity.

My interpretation seems to be bolstered by Justice Sotomayor’s later comment,

So they can create a class they don’t like — here, homosexuals — or a class that they consider is suspect in the marriage category, and they can create that class and decide benefits on that basis when they themselves have no interest in the actual institution of marriage as married. The State’s control that. — JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR

From my perspective, there is already fair and equal treatment because under current marriage law, every man has the right to marry one woman, and every woman has the right to marry one man. It seems that the only “special category” being created is by the courts who want to redefine marriage based on special categories of gay or lesbian “love”.

This is probably the most important point for future consideration beyond marriage. if one rejects the notion of two sexes and embraces multiple Genders, then they would, as Sotomayor does, conclude that any and every law that recognizes only two genders is unjust. The repercussions of this for business and religion in America are going to be significant and unavoidable.

No Middle Ground

Some folks have tried to play Solomon and split the baby, as it were, by suggesting we should have two categories; Marriage for heterosexuals and Domestic Partnerships for homosexuals.  Given the following comment from Ginsburg, I don’t think this is likely.

They’re not — they’re not a question of additional benefits. I mean, they touch every aspect of life. Your partner is sick. Social Security. I mean, it’s pervasive. It’s not as though, well, there’s this little Federal sphere and it’s only a tax question. It’s — it’s — as Justice Kennedy said, 1100 statutes, and it affects every area of life. And so he was really diminishing what the State has said is marriage. You’re saying, no, State said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage. — JUSTICE GINSBURG

This later exchange between Justice Alito and Ms. Kaplan seems to reinforce the Justices’ dislike of a “two-marriage” solution.

JUSTICE ALITO: Well, let me get to the question I asked Mr. Clement. It just gets rid of the word “marriage,” takes it out of the U.S. Code completely. Substitutes something else, and defines it as same-sex — to include same-sex couples. Surely it could do that.

MS. KAPLAN: Yes. That would not be based on the State’s -­

JUSTICE ALITO: So it’s just the word “marriage”? And it’s just the fact that they use this term “marriage”?

The “two kinds of ‘marriage'” seems to come too close to the rejected doctrine of “separate but equal” and so in the long-run, I don’t think any law that has two “kinds” of marriage will pass the Supreme Court.

Concerns of Federalism

Both the more Liberal and Conservative Justices were equally concerned about preserving States’ rights.  Justice Kennedy tried to get Ms Kaplan, the lawyer for the petitioner, to address the Court’s concern by asking the following,

“You think Congress can use its powers to supercede the traditional authority and prerogative of the States to regulate marriage in all respects? Congress could have a uniform definition of marriage that includes age, consanguinity, etc., etc.?” — JUSTICE KENNEDY

Later this gets intense as Ms Kaplan continues to ignore the questions of Federalism from both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia in hopes to focus solely on the issue discrimination.

MS. KAPLAN: It has certainly been argued in this case by others that — whether or not that’s in any way the powers of the Federal Government. For the reasons Justice Kagan mentioned, we think the federalism principles go forward a novelty question. I think whether or not the Federal Government could have its own definition of marriage for all purposes would be a very closely argued question.

JUSTICE SCALIA: I don’t understand your answer. Is your answer yes or no? Is there a federalism problem with that, or isn’t there a federalism problem?

What seems clear, is that Federalism will be the key for the Justices.

My Prediction

I think the Justices will strike down Section 3 of Doma as a violation of States rights. This will be a mixed win for both Liberal and Conservatives.

The Liberals will be happy that gay marriage laws will be upheld in the 9 states who have already passed laws (and once again valid in California).

The Conservatives will be happy that traditional marriage will not be defined as “discrimination” and this should also preclude the Supreme Court from supporting future Federal law that redefines marriage.

Ultimately, the debate will go back to all 50 States and we will spend the next decade fighting political battles and passing laws to support one view or the other.  Get ready because this is going to get worse before it gets better.

No Winners

I was in complete agreement with Mr. Clements closing remarks.

” …The reason there has been a sea change is a combination of political power, as defined by this Court’s cases as getting the attention of lawmakers; certainly they have that. But it’s also persuasion. That’s what the democratic process requires. You have to persuade somebody you’re right. You don’t label them a bigot. You don’t label them as motivated by animus. You persuade them you are right.” — MR. CLEMENT

We live in a Constitutional-Republic where we have the right to disagree on these issues.  However, as long as Liberals continue to call anyone who disagrees with them a “bigot”, there will not be progress.

I will close then with some good insight from my brother David Flowers who writes,

Let’s be honest. If this is the way progressives are going to frame the issue, reflecting the typical polarities of hot-button issues within politics, they are only going to perpetuate the vitriolic climate in society—a climate they say that they lament. But I do wonder if they’re not being just as divisive and dishonest as the folks over at Westboro Baptist.

The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Genderless Marriage

The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Genderless Marriage

The United States Supreme Court is now debating DENNIS HOLLINGSWORTH, ET AL., Petitioners v. KRISTIN M. PERRY, ET AL. which will prove to be one of the most sensational decisions of our time. In short, they are deciding if Proposition 8, approved by California voters in 2008, can stand in its defense of the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman.

Having listened to, and read, the entirety of the oral arguments let me make three observations.

First, I am thankful to that I can live in a country where all of this debate is freely open to the public.  Most people around the world do not share in this blessing, so for that freedom of access I am thankful.

Second, although Justice Ginsburg sounded quite feeble, I was truly impressed by all the questions asked by the Justices. I don’t care what label one ascribes to them; liberal or conservative, they all did a great job of poking and prodding the attorneys for both sides of the case. In addition to their legal insight, the Justices entertained by making the lawyers on both sides look a bit silly.

Finally, here is my guess. I believe the court will not make a decision on the constitutionality of Prop 8. Instead, because Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Attorney General Kamala Harris refused to defend the law passed by the people of California  I believe the court will rule that there is no standing and send the case back to CA. If this happens, Prop 8 will be nullified and gay marriage will again be legal for Californians. I hope I am wrong though because there is more at stake here than this one case.  If the court rejects the case on standing, this will effectively cede power to the Politicians and diminish the voters’ voice in all future propositions.

Now, regardless of how The US Supreme Court decides this case,  the oral arguments bring up some important issues that go beyond the legal definition of marriage.

The Right to Genderless Marriage

Ultimately, the importance of this case is not only about how marriage is defined, but how society will define human “gender”.  How many genders are there?  2 genders? 5 genders? Unlimited genders?

When asked by Justice Kennedy if marriage is a legitimate gender-based classification or if the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman equated to “gender discrimination”, Mr. Cooper replied,

“…marriage itself is a gendered institution, a gendered term, and so in the same way that fatherhood is gendered more motherhood is gendered…” — MR. COOPER

So in essence, what is before the court is not only whether gays and lesbians can marry, but are we willing to accept the proposition that marriage is really a genderless institution? And looking forward, will we be a genderless society?

We have already seen these debates taking place in our schools. For example, in 2010 a Human Rights Commissions in Maine argued that limiting gender to male and female only is defacto discrimination. Fox News reported,

The commission is taking heat over a controversial proposal to ban schools from enforcing gender divisions in sports teams, school organizations, bathrooms and locker rooms. It says forcing a student into a particular room or group because of his or her biological gender amounts to discrimination.

So whatever the Supreme Court rules in this Prop 8 case, there will be repercussions far beyond the definition of marriage.

Marriage Is Not Discrimination

The argument from those who support gay marriage is that anyone who holds to the traditional definition of one man with one woman is an enemy of diversity and a bigot. To that point, I found Chief Justice Robert’s question salient.

“I’m not sure, counsel, that it makes — I’m not sure that it’s right to view this as excluding a particular group. When the institution of marriage developed historically, people didn’t get around and say let’s have this institution, but let’s keep out homosexuals. The institution developed to serve purposes that, by their nature, didn’t include homosexual couples.” — CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS

Marriage, as a societal institution, was never designed to exclude or discriminate  it is simply an endorsement of what has been a human practice for time immemorial. To phrase the marriage debate as “anti-gay” is to simply distort the reality of history.

Justice Scalia makes this clear in his lengthy exchange with Mr. Olson. He begins as follows,

“I’m curious, when — when did — when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted?” — JUSTICE SCALIA

After some rather entertaining banter, through which Scalia exposes the foolishness of Mr. Olson’s argument, we come to this significant exchange.

MR. OLSON: It was constitutional when we — as a culture determined that sexual orientation is a characteristic of individuals that they cannot control, and that that —

JUSTICE SCALIA: I see. When did that happen? When did that happen?

MR. OLSON: There’s no specific date in time. This is an evolutionary cycle.

The importance here is that according to Mr. Olson, sexual identity itself is an evolutionary process that changes with the desires, passions, and politics of society.  This, of course, is a conveniently corrosive argument that serves his immediate legal purpose, but will eventually strip away any foundation for sexual identity.  If you think LGBTQ is a long abbreviation for the currently accepted genders,  wait until Mr. Olson’s argument really takes hold in our culture.

Marriage Has Meaning

Words have meaning… but for those who embrace Semantic Mysticism, that is no longer true. Justice Sotomayor gets to the heart of this debate with her probing question,

“Mr. Olson, the bottom line that you’re being asked — and — and it is one that I’m interested in the answer: If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what State restrictions could ever exist? Meaning, what State restrictions with respect to the number of people, with respect to — that could get married — the incest laws, the mother and child, assuming that they are the age — I can — I can accept that the State has probably an overbearing interest on — on protecting a child until they’re of age to marry, but what’s left?” — JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR

Traditionally, marriage is defined as “the consensual and loving union between 1 man and 1 woman”.

The current debate says this is discrimination and must be redefined as, “the consensual and loving union between any 2 people of any gender”.

But the problem here is that if these words are always evolving, then this definition too is only transitory:

  • Consensual? — Why must marriage be consensual? Why can’t a 40 year old man marry a 10 year old girl.  Or who says NAMBLA is wrong?  Why can’t a 50 year old gay man have sex with a 7 year old boy?
  • Loving? — Why must it be loving? Who says we can’t have arranged marriages? And besides, what does love even mean?  Who gets to decide how that word is defined?
  • 2 People? — Why only 2 people? What if 1 man loves 5 women and 3 men?  Why can’t they are be married together?
  • People? —Why only a union between people?  If evolution is right and we are all animals  and if PETA is right that animals have the same rights as people, then why can’t a boy marry his dog? Who are you and I to discriminate against such love?

Justice Sotomayor’s question is a good one and legally, if “marriage”, “sex” and “gender” are all evolving terms defined with each new cultural paradigm, then there is no legal reason to deny any of the above adaptations.

The best response to the spiraling irrationality of this Semantic Mysticism, is the simple observation by Chief Justice Robers.  He says,

“Sure. If you tell — if you tell a child that somebody has to be their friend, I suppose you can force the child to say, this is my friend, but it changes the definition of what it means to be a friend. And that’s it seems to me what the — what supporters of Proposition 8 are saying here. You’re — all you’re interested in is the label and you insist on changing the definition of the label.” — CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS

The case before the US Supreme Court is not about protecting rights or promoting diversity, it is about redefining the meaning of marriage  to suit a political purpose and, in the end, destroying any possibility of cultural relevance.

Legality Is Not Morality

So here we have it, the people who once argued that marriage was a form of female slavery and all sex inside of marriage was institutional rape, now argue that marriage is the fundmental right that will bring equality to all people.. Oh, how times and political tastes have changed!

How will this all turn out?  Time will tell, but for the disciple of Jesus Christ, here is an important reminder, legality does not determine morality and the US Supreme
Court does not define our Gospel-mission.

 

Scars That Bring Glory — A Woman’s Perspective

Scars That Bring Glory — A Woman’s Perspective

My friend Amber shared this incredible testimony and I had to pass along. Please read and allow the Spirit of God to use your scars to bring Glory!

In every person’s life there comes a time when a hurdle is in front of them, sometimes even a mountain. These obstacles often seem too big for us, but then we turn to the Lord knowing that He is our only hope. It’s often necessary for a time of trouble to arise in order that we come to the next level of depth in our relationship with him.

Sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes physical, often both. No matter which, a wound is made in the beginning. Difficulty is painful and this is how the wound occurs. As time passes and we trust God and let him carry us through each small step of recovery and healing, our wound begins to close, leaving a scar. Often the scar fades, but the deeper the pain, the more likely a scar will stay with us the rest of our lives. Some scars can be sore for a long time, less deep wounds might leave a scar that is only visible.

As often is the case, we do not see things as God does. Picture a large scar on the body. Is your first thought of something you want there? I would imagine you think more along the lines of ugliness or something you would want to heal and make dissappear. We do not appreciate the scar for what it is in the eyes of God, we take away from the beauty of this simple design of God by trying to take away our unique circumstances and past. We try to limit beauty to the view of this world instead of trying to see through the eyes of our designer.

I was thinking about scars recently. I once had a deep wound in my marriage that wasn’t all that long ago. It was very painful for both my husband and myself and at the time we both wished that it had never happened and that we could take it back, make it all disappear. Time passed and by the grace of the Lord we worked through our pain. He healed our wounds and closed them slowly, bit by bit. Often I would think that the pain was healed and something would come along that bumped my scar and caused a bit of pain again, this still happens once in a while. For me, I think that this scar will be one that stays for my entire life, but God has changed the way I view it.

In the beginning I prayed for what I wanted. Lord, take away the pain and make it as if it had never happened. Please heal my wound and make me as though I were new again. I knew it was in his power. As time passed, God showed me that to heal my pain and not leave a scar would defeat the purpose and take away from His glory and the good work that He had done. We had ugliness in our lives before the actual wound even took place. I was, in essence, asking to be placed right back there where I had started. God used a deep wound to create something more beautiful than what had been there before. The scar is part of the beautiful creation He stuck in place of the old. The scar is a reminder of what the original product was and how He had taken such imperfection and created something beautiful in its place. As I have grown and continue to do so in this area, I find that I would not reverse this painful time for anything. Yes, it was harder than anything I have endured in my entire life so far, but it has produced more good in my life than anything that I have ever walked through. I embrace my scar as a reminder that God has done so much in my life and has taken my ugliness and created something new.

I have started to see all scars as beauty. They tell a story of endurance and strength, of God’s majesty, His ability, His love. A scar shows the strength of a person to make it through imperfect times. If I am to just see the improved creation with out seeing the before picture, it takes away from the beauty. If you show me a makeover in a home and don’t give me a before picture I will probably think that it’s nice, but if you show me what was there before I might be amazed at what could be done with such a wretched place. Do you see what I mean? Having the scar brings more glory to God because it is his “before”picture.

We have to stop seeing through the eyes of the world because we are not called to see as they do. Beautiful is God’s glorious creation and all that He has done. If we pray for Him to give us His eyes, we have to be willing to look through them. We have to be willing to look at things the way He does, not the way we have learned through our environment. Scars are not a thing of beauty to the culture we live in, and I wonder if this is partly because we, as God’s children, don’t embrace them. Nature embraces its beauty, the other creations of our Father do not doubt themselves, they just are. They do what they were created to do because they were not given the choice to do otherwise. When we let go of our worry and lack of confidence (which I myself have a very hard time doing), we allow God’s glory to shine through. The closer we come to the natural beings he created, who were naked and felt no shame, meaning they were comfortable and proud of who God had made each of them to be, the more our beauty can shine through. When we allow that to happen then even the world cannot deny fascination. Those that are not followers of Christ still see His creation in nature and appreciate it, they cannot help but see its beauty. So were we designed to be. So should we strive to be.

My question that I have been asking myself is, am I trying to fit into the world’s image of beautiful, or God’s? Am I inclined to cling to the route that is less painful, or am I choosing to embrace the road that might be less comfortable, yet produces more growth and more reflects my Father’s glory? I am still figuring out the answer to this and I think that it will always be a process of growth, of becoming more comfortable with the creation that I am designed to be.

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