[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]
No flesh should glory in His presence. —1 Corinthians 1:29
Legend has it that Michelangelo painted with a brush in one hand and a candle in the other to prevent his shadow from covering his masterpiece in progress.
That’s the kind of attitude we should adopt if we are serious about wanting to display the masterpiece of God’s glory on the canvas of our lives. Unfortunately, we tend to live in a way that draws attention to ourselves—our cars, our clothes, our careers, our position, our cleverness, our success. And when life is all about us, it’s hard for people to see Jesus in us. Jesus saved us to be reflections of His glory (Rom. 8:29), but when we live for ourselves, our shadow gets cast on the canvas of His presence in us.
When the believers in Corinth were feeling too full of themselves, Paul warned them “that no flesh should glory [boast] in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:29), and reminded them of what Jeremiah said, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31; Jer. 9:24).
Think of your life as a canvas on which a picture is being painted. What would you rather have people see: the masterpiece of the presence of Jesus or the shadow of your own profile? Don’t get in the way of a great painting in progress. Live to let others see Jesus in you.
My life is a painting created by God,
And as such I’ve nothing to boast;
Reflecting the image of Christ to the world
Is what I desire the most. —Sper
A Christian’s life is the canvas on which others can see Jesus.
|January 24, 2017
When a Bad Day Becomes a Bad Year
SUZIE ELLERFrom: Crosswalk.com
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
It started out as a promising family day, with lots of good things packed in, until everything started going wrong.
Someone got impatient. Someone else got mad. Someone’s feelings were hurt.
Suddenly, the good day was a mess.
When it finally ended, there were a lot of reactions simmering in my heart, and none of them led in the right direction. I went over the day again and again. There’s something satisfying in rehashing a scene to justify my feelings, or to vilify someone else’s actions.
It’s also not really helpful.
This was family. We would get together again soon. If I nurtured those frustrations, I’d take them to the next family event like a bad side dish.
I sat outside that night and held up the day to God.
I asked Him to show me if I played a role in the conflict and, if so, what to do differently next time. I asked that He ease the emotions simmering just under the surface.
In today’s text, Paul reminds us we’re all imperfect. There will be days we have a grievance with each other. People will say the wrong thing. People will react in the wrong way. What we do in response can help us resolve the issue — at least in our hearts.
I have friends who haven’t spoken to their family in a long time. When I ask why, some point to the exact day an offense took place. Others have forgotten the original offense, but the feelings march on as if it took place yesterday.
In both situations, unresolved feelings were stoked and fueled.
One bad day became one bad week, which became one bad month, and it was still doing damage in the hearts of everyone years after the initial offense.
When I invited the Holy Spirit into my bad day, I was able to see some tired and stressed family members. I was able to pinpoint misunderstanding. Although I wasn’t directly involved (at least this time), I certainly played a part in moving it forward.
I needed to put one bad day in perspective and measure it against some really great days with these same people.
I needed to offer mercy, as I admitted the times I’ve said the wrong thing or arrived at an event stressed and out-of-sorts.
Has a bad day turned into a bad week? Are you still reliving that bad day or a bad moment? Talk to God about your painful moments. Share those unresolved feelings with Him.
We were never supposed to live our life tangled up in one bad day. As we ask God to help us move forward, we’ll not only find a listening ear but also help resolving the issues.
And that one bad day can take its rightful place in our thoughts and in our lives.
Heavenly Father, help me offer mercy to others, just as You’ve shown me mercy. I’ve held on to these feelings for far too long. I don’t want to be defined by one day, but live every day fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
From: Our Daily Journey
What’s your favorite way to listen to tunes? From vinyl albums to 8-track cartridges to cassettes to compact discs (CDs) to MP3s, we’ve enjoyed our music in ever-changing ways over the years. These days, however, more and more young adults are reaching back to buy vinyl records again with 12,000,000 units sold in 2015 alone. These fans are all about a music experience that lets them view and hold on to an album, not simply download songs into a device. Though vinyl might seem ancient and passé to some music lovers, for others it’s classic and timeless.
Long ago, a trio of exiled Jews were definitely not enjoying a musical experience. With “the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments,” they were commanded to bow down to a golden statue of a Babylonian king (Daniel 3:4-5). Staying true to the one true God, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to hit the dirt. Their actions ignited King Nebuchadnezzar’s fury as well as the flames of a massive furnace that the three were thrown into for not bowing low before the gold (Daniel 3:13,19-23).
The young men should have been turned to ashes, but they were spared by God’s miraculous power (Daniel 3:24-27). Having chosen to worship the “Ancient One” (Daniel 7:9) instead of some king who had recently burst on the scene, the trio not only survived, but they brought praise and honor to God by none other than Nebuchadnezzar himself: “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! . . . There is no other god who can rescue like this!” (Daniel 3:28-29).
When we’re tempted to fall for the gods of this age (money, power, pleasures, and more), may we instead remain in the timeless groove of our all-powerful, everlasting God.