Lord, open the creativity that is locked away in my mind and let it burst open colorfully. Allow it to paint wonderfully an empty canvas. May its beauty and color simply reflect the radiance of your manifold glory. My hope is to scream out the artistry and originality of you’re unparalleled ideas. You are relentlessly creating masterpieces from these clay vessels and you somehow fashion them to reflect your image. I want to create and be original as you are but I cannot do it alone, I need your guidance, your thoughts, your inspiration, with your amazing grace influencing my heart and mind. The art I want to create is my strong desire to articulate and yell at the world “there He is!!” Ironically, the creation of the universe and all that we have still isn’t enough. Still, this unbridled passion will only grow more wild because it is a part of me — a part that has yet to be let loose…..To glorify you and enjoy it is mans ultimate resolve.
(J. R. Miller, “How to Live a Beautiful Christian Life” 1880)
We may think that our lot is especially hard—and may wish that it were otherwise. We may wish that we had a life of ease and luxury, amid softer scenes—with no briers or thorns, no worries or provocations. We think that then we would be always gentle, patient, serene, trustful, happy. How delightful it would be—never to have a care, an irritation, a trouble, a single vexing thing!
But the fact remains—that the place in which we find ourselves—is the very place in which the Master desires us to live our life! There is no haphazard in God’s world. God leads every one of His children by the right way. He knows where and under what influences, each particular life will ripen best.
One tree grows best in the sheltered valley, another by the water’s edge, another on the bleak mountain-top swept by storms. Every tree or plant is found in the precise locality to enhance its growth. And does God give more thought to trees and plants—than to His own children? No!
He places us amid the circumstances and experiences in which our life will grow and ripen the best. The peculiar trials to which we are each subjected—is the exact discipline we each need to bring out the beauties and graces of true spiritual character in us. We are in the right school. We may think that we would ripen more quickly—in a more easy and luxurious life. But God knows what is best for us—He makes no mistakes!
There is a little fable which says that a primrose growing by itself in a shady corner of the garden, became discontented as it saw the other flowers in their mirthful beds in the sunshine, and begged to be moved to a more conspicuous place. Its prayer was granted. The gardener transplanted it to a more showy and sunny spot. It was greatly pleased—but a change came over it immediately. Its blossoms lost much of their beauty, and became pale and sickly. The hot sun caused them to faint and wither. So it prayed again to be taken back to its old place in the shade. The wise gardener knows best, where to plant each flower.
Just so, God, The divine Gardener, knows where His people will best grow into what He would have them to be. Some require the fierce storms; some will only thrive in the shadow of worldly adversity; and some come to ripeness more sweetly under the soft and gentle influences of prosperity—whose beauty, rough experiences would mar. The divine Gardener knows what is best for each one!
There is no position in this world in the allotment of Providence, in which it is not possible to be a true Christian, exemplifying all the virtues of godliness. The grace of Christ has in it, potency enough to enable us to live godly—wherever we are called to dwell. When God chooses a home for us—He fits us for its peculiar trials.
God adapts His grace to the peculiarities of each one’s necessity. For rough, flinty paths—He provides shoes of iron. He never sends anyone to climb sharp, rugged mountain-sides, wearing silken slippers. He always gives sufficient grace. As the burdens grow heavier—the strength increases. As the difficulties thicken—He draws closer. As the trials become sorer—the trusting heart grows calmer.
Jesus always sees His disciples, when they are toiling in the waves—and at the right moment He comes to deliver them. Thus it becomes possible to live a true and victorious life—in any circumstances.
Christ can as easily enable Joseph to remain pure and true in heathen Egypt—as Benjamin in the shelter of his father’s love. The sharper the temptations—the more of divine grace is granted. There is, therefore, no environment of trial, or difficulty or hardship—in which we cannot live beautiful lives of Christian fidelity and holy conduct.
Instead, then, of yielding to discouragement when trials multiply and it becomes hard to live right, or of being satisfied with a very faulty life—it should be our settled purpose to live, through the grace of God—a patient, gentle and unspotted life—in the place, and amid the circumstances, He allots to us. The true victory is not found in escaping or evading trials—but in rightly meeting and enduring them.
The questions should not be, “How can I get out of these worries? How can I get into a place where there shall be no irritations, nothing to try my temper or put my patience to the test? How can I avoid the distractions that continually harass me?” There is nothing noble in such living.
The questions should rather be, “How can I pass through these trying experiences—and not fail as a Christian? How can I endure these struggles—and not suffer defeat? How can I live amid these provocations, these testings of my temper—and yet live sweetly, not speaking unadvisedly, bearing injuries meekly, returning gentle answers to insulting words?” This is the true problem of Christian living.
As you walk by someone in the candidness of life and see them smile, you immediately believe that their joy is complete or their life is full. But just as fast as that happiness has come, that happiness flees and it is no more. Some of us speculate about our own lives because we want to feel the happiness we observe in the candidness of life. However, just like yours, their happiness doesn’t last forever. Happiness is a pursuit in everyone’s life and although some people have it more than others, I am inclined to believe that happiness has no ultimate root in assurance or security. Happiness is healthy and natural to pursue, but not at the expense of total dependance upon it.
I find in the short time that I’ve been alive, the people who are the happiest are those who are content with who they are and what they have. The people who I have come across who are the least happiest are those who aren’t. They continually spend themselves and their money to buy happiness that cannot be manufactured through material nor obtained by cashing a check. Sure, there’s a minimum level of happiness in that, I’m not saying there isn’t but what I am saying is that there is a fat line between striving for happiness and just being happy with who you are and what you possess right now. Adding fresh clothes to your wardrobe and buying new things is a part of life and a part of change but what it shouldn’t be is a part of your pursuit to obtain happiness, because happiness is not found in external things. Momentary happiness is triggered by external objects. This sort of happiness is shallow. True happiness is triggered by a different sort of treasure, one that cannot be seen on just a surface level. It’s the treasure in your heart, the deep riches locked in the chambers of your heart. Sometimes people will see a glimpse of that treasure when you interact with the world and love those around you. Sometimes they’ll see it in the mundane ways of everyday life, when you offer them food, smile, or even give them a lift when they’re stranded…. To be continued…
Squirty (Taken with instagram)
Front of my place (Taken with instagram)
Candid (Taken with instagram)
Sign (Taken with instagram)
Our key to the crib!! (Taken with instagram)
This world is full of deep pleasures. If they weren’t deep, we wouldn’t pursue them. We wouldn’t drown ourselves in them, nor would they ever consume us. We throw ourselves in front of them like oncoming traffic. However, they’re also shallow because they don’t deeply satisfy, they only temporarily medicate. This is a paradoxical deep. How can something that is so deep be so shallow?
What’s deeper than our own deep pleasures? The deeper question I pose is this: what is deeper than what we PERCEIVE to be deep? This my friends becomes the world of difference. If in our own world of pleasures they are perceived deep and someone more satisfied than us comes along and says they aren’t, we would say that person is mad!
I would venture to say indeed that there is something absolutely deeper than what we perceive. Something more pleasurable than what we can individually possess or acquire on our own. Being satisfied in one person alone all the time without tire, anguish, nor by obligation. Pure pleasure, blissful mystery, with total mental cognition and recollection. Such is only experienced through the avenue of faith. Even this is a paradox. How can something be perceived if it can only be grasped through faith-something that you cannot see? Oh the truth, enshrouded in mystery. I guess you’d wonder how could I claim to know truth right?
What if I were to create a personal work of art that had life in it. Imagine it could speak, feel, think, and work. Imagine it could love and hate, imagine and create, eat and sleep, produce and tear down. Imagine again for just a minute that life you just made decides to totally ignore you and pursue its own affections and desires. It decides it knows what’s best for itself. It doesn’t think twice of consulting it’s creator, not knowing the creator is very present and very knowledgeable of what will truly satisfy that life.
My friends, this life that I speak of is you and I, and the creator is Jesus Christ our God. We mimic identically the fallen state of man caused by man through the universal treason that we call sin. Sin seeks its own good, although that good is not really good. In fact its sick, twisted, and self-seeking. Sin is purposeful in rebelling and neglecting God because it wants to worship an idol, which can be anything if it’s not worshiping God.
This is the paradoxical deep. But you can make it absolute by finding your deepest pleasures in Jesus the Christ, our God and Savior, who offers eternal life through salvation given freely by Gods son, Jesus, the perfect sacrifice. His atonement was and is definite and sufficient for all who repent and return to their creator God and refuse no longer to worship created things, but choose life that is only in Jesus. This is where the deepest pleasure is found. He is our life, light, joy, peace, love — He is our source.
“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him -
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” - l Corinthians 2:9,10
“Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.” - Psalm 42:7
“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?
It is higher than heaven-what can you do? Deeper than Sheol-what can you know?
Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” - Job 11:7-9
“Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory