Ageless beauty

200901_omag_beauty_mirror_220x312And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into the image of Christ with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Our society is obsessed with appearances. Everyone longs for that youthfulness that will last forever. The media bombards us with everything from miracle creams that erase age lines, to exercise equipment and videos that will give you the body you’ve always wanted in just 30 days. Wow talk about fantasies and empty promises.

Ok truth is, I have bought in to some of these schemes (in my youthful stupidity) at one point or another.  Yep I’ve tried the creams and the videos. I know, I know, how shallow right? Shortly after the purchase, I would realize I was duped at the hand of the ever so crafty media, they had just found their newest sucker. Hey, at least I can admit it now, that’s progress right? As the wisest man who ever lived claimed, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” ~ Solomon

Just a little over a week ago, I just celebrated my 43rd birthday.  Upon reflecting over these last few years, I’d have to say that by far, my forties have been my favorite years yet. Yes, I can even say that in spite of the wrinkling, sagging and ever-increasing grey hairs.

I’m finding that true beauty only comes from the creator of beauty. It says in 2 Corinthians 4:16 that outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  I love that! Aging is inevitable, but God’s plan for renewal is far better than anything this world has to offer.

Renewal begins when we submit our lives to God and through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we begin to be renewed with the mind of Christ as the Holy Spirit empowers us to live for him.  God’s plan for us is transformation.  As we follow Him and spend time in his word, he begins to transform us from the inside out.

I am always reminded that God’s view of things is so very different from that of the worlds.  As it says in 1 Samuel 16:7b . . .  The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. God doesn’t care one hoot about the outside, he cares about our inside. I love God’s seemingly backwards ways!

When we let the light of Christ shine through the recesses of our lives it begins to transform us and the true beauty, which comes from Christ, begins to radiate from the inside out. Now that’s the beauty I want strive for.  This process will take a lifetime, but with it brings the promise of renewed hope! And as much as I am enjoying my forties, I know that the best is yet to be, eternity with my Creator who is the true source of ageless beauty!

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Patient Endurance

waitingWait for the LORD; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

I don’t know about you but I sometimes find waiting difficult.  All throughout the scriptures we find passages telling us to wait on God. Although waiting may be difficult, God has a purpose in everything he does. I think waiting on God helps us to have a single and consistent focus and I think God uses waiting to teach us valuable life lessons.

We live in a day and age of instant gratification, instant results, instant answers and instant fixes.  Heaven forbid we have slow access to online data, we’re stuck in traffic or that we have to wait in line for anything for more that five minutes, really?? Have you been to the DMV lately? teehee

I think one of the best things we can do for our children, especially in this day and age, is to teach them the value of waiting and to delay gratification because they are so used to growing up thinking that things come easy and instantaneously.

We all know that the truth is waiting is not easy.  And as much as we don’t like to wait, waiting is a fact of life that cannot be avoided. There is great value in waiting for things that are worthwhile and there is often a special blessing that comes with waiting. God often uses delays and waiting to teach us valuable lesson about himself.

I can think of many people in the bible who God uses waiting as a time of preparation for something great! A few off the top of my head are Noah, Abraham, Moses and Joseph.  Also when I think of waiting, I think of Israel’s journey to the promised land.

Yes they were headed to a land flowing with milk and honey. God provided for their release from captivity, the presence of God was with them and went before them, and God was there meeting and miraculously providing for their needs.

But when their focus was shifted to things other than God, he allowed them to sufferer the consequences of their sin because he was providing and they were not trusting. Wanting our needs met is not a bad thing, but when we seek do so apart from Gods purposes and plan, we are only asking for trouble.

We have the same parallels the Israelites had in our walks of faith today.  When we decide to take our fate in our own hands and run on ahead of Gods provision, instead of waiting on him and trusting in Him to daily meet our needs, we to can often suffer the consequences of our own actions.

There are many valuable lessons to be learned through waiting.  God wants us to be continually seeking him and spending time in his presence and in his word, waiting on and listening for Him. After all, he is our creator and he wants to be the Lord of our lives.

Sometimes we forego waiting on God, we somehow think God doesn’t know or understand what we are going through. We are basically not trusting God and we are believing a lie.  Then we fall prey to trying to handle things on our own, instead of trusting in our all-knowing and all-powerful God who promises to provide for all our every need (Matthew 6:26).

Waiting involves doing the right things, while avoiding the wrong things and trusting God in all things. Waiting on God strengthens us and our character.  When we learn to wait on God we seek Him and trust in his timing and his provision for us.  We know he loves us and wants what is best for us and he promises to give all things when we wait patiently for him (1 Timothy 6:17).

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Romans 5:4