“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5.
My morning is here!
Declare it! Live it! Walk in it!
One of my favorite times of the day is waking up. Not the actual waking up part (sometimes that’s a little hard 😉 ), but when I finally get up, I get to draw back the curtains and see the new day. It’s untouched. It’s filled with hope and promise. Whatever happened yesterday is not here for this is today. It’s that freshness that draws me in and gets my soul stirred for the possibilities ahead.
When we go on vacation one of the places we stay at is a condo in the mountains. It’s so peaceful. With coffee in hand in the morning, I head out onto the balcony and sit to admire the new day. The only thing I hear is the birds singing their song. The deer break twigs and rustle leaves when they walk. Sometimes you see the groundhogs and other animals eating their meals for the day. You get this sense about you that this is the way it was meant to be.
And it makes me wonder about a time when all days were meant to be like this. When there was a time when all days started in innocence and nothing was yet corrupted. When there was a time that man walked freely in the Garden with God.
I love gardens and I declare one day I will have a nice one. I’m working on it. We were meant to live the garden lifestyle. We were designed to reign in innocence and peace. The world we live in today contradicts the fellowship we were created to have with God. We were to have an up-close relationship with Him. After the fall the Bible tells us, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” (Gen. 3:8).
Let your mind go back, not to the sin, but to the experience of being with God in the garden. Adam and Eve experienced God on a level that no other being will have the privilege to. Surely this was not the first time God had paid them a visit in this fashion for they knew what it sounded like when they heard Him in the garden. They had a realistic divine view of the Almighty here on earth.
What would it have been like to have the Sovereign of the universe, day by day to come and see about me? What would it have been like to verbally hear the mouth that spoke things into existence speaking to me? What would it have been like to hear Him moving among the garden with my own ears and to know it was the Lord? What would it have been like?
There, before the Fall, fellowship with God was uninterrupted by evil. There the beauty of all God is could be seen by those He created. There, peace was the predominant feeling because the shaker of peace had not entered the scene. There, God spoke directly to man unhindered by fleshly desires. There, it’s hard to imagine, but life was nothing but good because the man knew nothing but God.
Imagine the best backyard barbeque. We sit around laughing and enjoying the company of others. Not that we are bringing the Sacred down to our level but in our finite understanding can we imagine in the garden, Adam and God chit-chatting about the day, about the animals, or about life in general? Can we imagine the way Adam’s heart must have felt assured every time He heard the voice of God speak to him? Can we imagine that when Eve was presented to her husband there was no fear, only love, because that’s all they ever received was love on the earth? Can we really imagine?
It may be hard for our minds to fathom such an age of innocence and honesty. It’s hard for us to see what this must have been like because now our view has been corrupted by sin. But I imagine it was glorious. It was nothing like we’ll ever know here on earth. In that garden, during that time, beauty is all that was seen with our eyes and with our hearts. God was all that was known. Oh, imagine.
It’s hard to put into words when everyone was right before God. It’s hard to describe from one’s soul a place of longing but never viewing. It’s hard to capture the essence of what being with God was like there, and yet my heart still yearns to know what would it have been like?
What do you think it would have been like to see the world at its best? What do think it would have been like to fellowship with God at your best? Where we live in the mid-Atlantic region we are expected to have rain most of the day. Even in this dreariest of settings, I’m looking at the trees swaying outside my window and imagining the beauty of that time. I guess that’s what it would have been like, beautiful because everything was in harmony with God. Beautiful represents their relationship with God and it represents the surroundings that God created for them.
One day we will experience that garden lifestyle again, that age of beautiful unbroken relationship with Him when we meet Him in our heavenly home. And I can’t wait.
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“Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8
Love makes the difference! There’s no way around it. God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus died because of love (John 3:16). And now we are admonished to have that same “fervent charity/love” toward one another. Christians are to have a love for each other that cannot be easily extinguished by life’s difficulties. Paul wrote, “Ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another,” (Gal. 5:13; emphasis mine). The love and compassion we have in us should be poured out freely to one another.
“For charity/love shall cover the multitude of sins.” God’s love, through His Son Jesus, covered a “multitude” of my sins and yours. We are to be imitators of our heavenly Father. Proverbs 10:12 tells us, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” Both of these verses pronounce love as a covering. It’s not that we don’t see, feel or hurt at the wrongs of others, it’s all about what we choose to do with it. Much like God (although we can never touch the capacity of His love), our love is to be so on-fire for one another that it causes us to look beyond the faults of others and see to the core of their very need. That’s how love makes a difference!
We are to be a people of prayer. It is written over and over again in the Bible and it is consistently taught throughout. We cannot be strong warriors without a strong prayer life.
We are instructed that our prayers are not just for us; rather, “for all saints.” Brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to continually lift one another up in prayer. If we don’t, who will? We are all trying to reach the same eternal destination and we need the power of one another praying us through.
Prayer is powerful! Prayer is authoritative! And, prayer works!
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18, NKJV
The beauty of God’s heart is most known to us through those wonderful things that make Him, Him. Traits and characteristics that stood to defend us when we should have been condemned.
Some portray God in the harshest sense. With gavel in hand at the least little infraction, we are automatically charged and sentenced. While God most certainly will judge all unrepentant sin, the beauty of His heart gives chance after chance, offering multiplied times to receive His forgiveness.
Hard, God is not. We could probably never know how many more times we have experienced His undeserved redemption, grace, and mercy at work in our lives than we did any deserved penalties.
The beauty of God’s heart wants to save, not destroy (2 Peter 3:9). Thus, He forebears with us and is longsuffering toward us. That means He’s not in a rush to convict as some suppose (but again, all unrepentant sin will be dealt with). Rather, His heart seeks to acquit; to exonerate one from guilt through Him, our Lord Jesus Christ, who bore the guilt we should have been marked by.
You see, the beauty of God’s heart is untouched by anything we can imagine. When we see Him set the spiritual captives free, the beauty of His heart understands that in our human capacity we will never comprehend the true and total cost of what it took to do that.
When we see Him heal we may rejoice in the miracle, but we will never understand with full clarity that there was never supposed to be a need for healing. The beauty of God’s heart sees the original wholeness that was intended from the beginning and that it’s only through the sadness of sin that this malady of the flesh has entered into the world. I imagine the beauty of God’s heart holds the simpleness of all that creation was intended to be when He spoke, “It is good,” (Genesis).
I imagine His heart holding everything that is good, and perfect, and lovely, and wonderful. Walking through the most beautiful field of flowers on the world’s most glorious day surrounded by the greatest peace this world has to offer could not even begin to scratch the surface of what we find in Him.
I imagine the beauty of His heart can be described much like His shining countenance found glowing from that Holy City in the Revelation. In it, there is brilliance and radiance. There is mystery, yet there is also a longing for intimacy with His creation. There is grandeur, but at the same time, it only takes the simplicity of faith to come near Him.
God watches mankind live after and pursue their own plans and purposes each and every day, yet the beauty of His heart holds the cares of each person and each choice we make, wayward or not.
The main thing is the beauty of God’s heart is intimately in touch with His creation; with you and me. No matter where we go, in flesh or just in thought, His heart knows and is involved.
As mighty, and holy, and sovereign, and omniscient as God is, why is He so mindful of us and our sometimes messy lives? The answer is because of the beauty of His heart. For above all, God is love (1 John 4:8) and His heart holds all the love that we can’t even begin to imagine, in the most beautiful sense, pure and undefiled from anything we can know down here, for each and every one of us.
Even when we reach that place in glory we may still not fully comprehend all the beauty His heart holds. But oh, how wonderful it is to experience it, feel it, and know the beauty of God’s heart holds a special place for me and you.
You are so beautiful to us and toward us. May we recognize the care You take to hold each one of us in the crevice of Your very being and may that realization cause us to draw nearer to You each and every day. In the name of Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray,
“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat,” Proverbs 13:4
All of us have goals and dreams, or at least, we should. All of us “desire” things we would like to see accomplished in our lives. But, desire can only get you so far. There has to be a proactive approach in order for one to see the fulfillment of these aspirations come to pass.
I love the Bible because it gives us so many true to life examples of these valued lessons. For instance, in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat and his people were getting ready to be attacked. The enemy had come against them and “Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord,” (vs. 4).
I want you to look at this picture Scripture represents. It’s one of great sadness. In verse 13, it describes “All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” It’s as if they were saying, “If not for us, Lord; then please remember our wives and children.” Awwww!!!
God’s response was, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s,” (vs. 15).
“That’s what I’m talking about! We don’t have to fight! Woo-hoo! Let’s go home and watch some TV!”
I’m playing. We all know they didn’t have TV, but what they probably had was a sense of relief that they didn’t need to proactively do anything to win the battle. Time to hit the couch!
While God did declare the battle was His, He has never been the promoter of laziness. Too many people want the victory without ever really doing anything. Too many people want to reach the next level without ever having to walk up the stairs to get there.
It’s too much work! Too many people get in prayer lines and the like; want God to do everything without themselves ever putting a hand to the plow to till something up.
God works in miraculous ways. God is a prayer answering God. Jehoshaphat and his people will find both of these to be true. He’s going to work a miracle and they are going to get a tremendous answer to their prayer. But, God has something that He wants them to do. He said, “To morrow go ye down against them . . . ye shall find them,” (vs. 16).
Then God reiterates, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle,” (vs. 17).
Then, He proceeded to tell them, “set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you… go out against them…,” (vs. 17).
Hold up! Wait a minute! If the battle belongs to God, I don’t understand why I have to go down there and set myself up like I am sure enough going to fight these people. Huh?
Because God said so. That’s why many of us lose out. We want to sit on the couch instead of getting up and following the instructions He gives. The “sluggard” wants the glory without the work.
In opposite of that, he that is diligent pushes forth to follow through. Sometimes it’s a hard thing to do. These people were put in the terrifying position to get in battle formation before the enemy; in front of people who were ready to annihilate them. Gulp is right!
Yet, they maintained their ground believing God’s promise. Verses 18-22a tell of the people actively praising God. Then, the tables turned on the enemies, (vs. 22b). “Every one helped to destroy another,” (vs. 23), and “none escaped,” (vs. 24).
The result they received was due to their diligence to follow through with the Lord’s instructions. “Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days gathering the spoil, it was so much,” (vs. 25).
You may not have to go fight an enemy but you have a goal to reach that will only come by diligence and obedience to God. I’m not promising you riches, but know this; any time you are diligent to work with God you will see success at the end.
Seek the Lord, He will help you to receive that “expectant end” Jeremiah speaks of, Jeremiah 29:11. Then, we can rejoice like Jehoshaphat because we saw the fruition of hard work pay off.
“The soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”