Becoming a Child Again

This is my friend Aurora Jean, child of God.  She is one year old.  We have been having conversations similar to the one posted below for about 6 months now. She is gifted with the ability to express and communicate and can’t help but use these gifts in any way possible. Prior to expressing herself verbally she would lock eyes with me and then converse with me using her eyes, facial expressions and wiggly fingers and toes.  When she talks with me I see His image. I see redemption. Aurora Jean, child of God.

 

 “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

Certainly most would agree that this verse refers to a child’s utter dependency on parents or care-givers for life and survival. So too in the Kingdom. We are utterly dependent on the Triune God for life.  But what if Jesus also means that we should use our giftedness like that of a child; naturally, unashamed and uninhibited? That’s the way young kids live. That’s the way Aurora is. She can’t help being herself. She hasn’t learned not to be yet.

Maybe you feel like your giftedness is insignificant, especially when you compare your gifts with others. That is a lie! Truth is that you were created in God’s image. You are His image bearer. What is insignificant about that?  God isn’t asking you to use something you don’t have. Use what you do have. He is really good at taking the ‘insignificant’ and making it significant. He changed water into wine, a handful of fish and loaves into a feast for 5000 and 12 disciples into a band of believers more numerous than the sands of the sea.  Will He not also take the gift you use and multiply it for His glory?

Some of you may feel that your gifts are damaged. Others may have buried their gifts long ago and don’t know what or where they are. To this I hear the Creator say,  “Let’s blow a fresh wind onto those ashes and create a beautiful fire again.  Let’s do some exploring and digging to uncover that treasure within!” He delights in restoration!

Becoming a child again. Utter dependence and trust in the Father for life and from that love relationship the security and freedom to be oneself.  That’s child like faith. That can usher in some Glory. That can change the world.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece

 

Failure?

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

Hmm…. Being a dreamer I can come up with some pretty far fetched things! For you realists out there, the question isn’t pointless. It gives clues to what’s in my heart and important to me.  For example, I may not travel to and walk on the moon, but I do have an adventurous spirit that needs expression. I may not come up with a cure for cancer, but I do have a heart and hands that desire to heal the sick. This question is great for stirring up vision in our lives.

But the question for today isn’t, what’s my vision. The question for today is, what’s hindering me from attempting my vision? Why don’t I just go for it? Most often the answer is ….Failure!!

Failure can be defined as:  A lack of success, non-fulfillment, defeat, collapse, fiasco, debacle, catastrophe, disaster, flop, washout, dud, loser, underachiever, disappointment, write-off, insufficient. Implicit in the word ‘attempt’ is that there’s a chance of failure, a chance of experiencing these painful things in my life. Been there, done that! Failure hurts. Who wants that? Not me!

How acquainted with failure are you?  Maybe the two of you are so intimate that you are best friends. Maybe its a nickname someone has bestowed upon you.  If your name is failure there is certainly no reason to try anything. Why would you even dare to dream? You’re a failure.

What an incredibly sad and discouraging way to live. What do you and I give up when we so closely identify with failure in this way?

Truth is we do fail. We all have times when we don’t achieve the end we had hoped and planned for. Sometimes we make stupid choices. Other times someone else’s stupid choices mess things up for us. Then there’s the times when the product, service or skill we offer isn’t chosen.  Worse yet, how about the times when we aren’t the person someone else wants in his/her life. Failure, failure, failure!!

But suppose you and I dare to think differently of failure. What if we choose to not let failure have such a powerful negative affect on us. Instead, what if we choose to see failure as having the power to create something new in us, through us and for us? Redemptive.

Would you step out in faith with me and receive this gift? Would you trust and believe that something beautiful is being created in our lives right now?  That doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the hurt or live with the consequences of our failures, but it does mean that we don’t stay there. We don’t let failure tell us who we are. We don’t let the fear of failure dictate our actions. Why? Because there is One who redeems us and all the dark ugly areas of failure in our lives.  He makes us beautiful and He does it for no other reason than He loves. It’s who He is!

What would you and I attempt if we knew we could not fail?

 “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Oh that our answer would be…whatever He asks.

Unhindered….live the masterpiece!

Who are you Jeb Bush?

Who are you? Simple question. Not so easy to answer.

Recently I had the opportunity to ask this question to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, son/brother of two Presidents. Many people think they know who he is based on his family. Word on the street is that Jeb is thinking of making a run for the White House. If so, I want to know who he says he is. When given the chance I inquired by saying,

“You aren’t your father. You aren’t your brother. Who are you? In a sentence or two, can you tell us who Jeb Bush is? Who are you at your core? What is your personal mission?”

He looked at me thoughtfully and  replied, “Wow! Now that is a great question. No one has ever asked me that before.” After a long pause he said, “I have never thought of that. I guess I do need to differentiate myself from my brother and dad.” .After another thoughtful pause he proceed in a lengthy attempt to answer the question. I can’t recall the specifics of what he said, but I did get the impression that he loved his family deeply and compromise was important to him.

How do you and I hinder ourselves when we aren’t able to articulate who we are? We can be certain that if we can’t do it others will eagerly step in and do it for us. We leave ourselves vulnerable to being tossed and swayed by every whim, popular opinion or desire of others. This can easily get us off the path we desire and are designed to be on. Then, one day we wake up and ask, “How did we ever get here!”

What would life look like if we could clearly and concisely articulate who we are? What comparison, anxiety and regret could be avoided!  What empowerment, peace and freedom could be released! Think of the time that could be saved, all that could be accomplished and the dreams that could be fulfilled!.

Who are you? Strip away the roles you play, the jobs you perform and the place and family you come from. What remains true about you? What makes you, you?

Not sure? Start with the One who created you. What does He say?

It’s a beginning and it all begins and ends with Him.

Unhindered…Live the Masterpiece

Unhindered

You are a masterpiece. You are no accident, no mistake. You are not unwanted and unnoticed. You are the Creator’s most outstanding of creations. You are one of a kind. You were chosen before the foundation of the world was created. Your inmost being was fearfully and wonderfully knit together. You arrived at exactly the proper time in history. You are a treasure of great worth, a pearl of tremendous value. Never before and never will there be another as unique and magnificent as you. You are a Masterpiece!

Masterpiece. What a beautiful word. What would life look like if you and I truly believed and embraced this? How would our world be different if we were not only to be the Masterpiece but live the Masterpiece?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are His MASTERPIECE, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do!” Eph. 2:8-10

It is very clear that salvation, life, is found in no other place than Jesus Christ and faith in His death, burial and resurrection. Salvation is from grace alone. God didn’t and doesn’t wait until we have it all together and doing all the right things to extend His love and life to us. God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What’s the purpose of good works then? It’s here that we often get confused and misunderstand their role in our lives. Good works do not give or ‘keep’ us in salvation. Never has. Never will. When we think they do we can get mighty self-righteous or become pretty discouraged and hopeless.

Good works are how we display God’s glory. A masterpiece reflects and displays valuable and priceless characteristics. It is the artist’s most outstanding and brilliant work. We are God’s living masterpiece. When we move and operate in the gifts and talents He has given us we can’t help but display Him. We actually become a sweet aroma of God to those around us. We become salt and light. We become a city on a hill that can’t be hidden. We draw others to Him and we cover this earth with His’s glory!

I have heard it said that our ultimate purpose in life is to know God and make Him known. Put simply, faith in Jesus Christ is how we know God and good works is how we make Him known. However, how we each make Him known, how we live the Masterpiece, is as different and unique as each person. To live the Masterpiece is to respond to God fully as the person He created and redeemed me to be. This is what Bob Hamp of Freedom Ministries calls true freedom.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews12:1

We each have a race to run. The specifics of the race are unique but the outcome is to be the same; Glory to God.

Unhindered is a place where you and I will be stirred up, inspired and encouraged to discover and run the Divine race marked out for us. Our world is filed with people craving and looking for purpose! It’s time to rise up and be the persons we were created to be!

UNHINDERED…live the masterpiece!