Can You See His Beauty?


Today is a little stormy in my town in Southwest Florida. Not really cold, but with gusty winds, grey clouds crawling across the sky, and temperatures in the mid-sixties, I’m reminded that we’re in the middle of winter. I know it’s snowing in other places, but here in our tropical paradise I forget. Looking at the sun streaming intermittently between the clouds today, it’s hard to believe it’s a frigid winter elsewhere, and we’re already half-way through the first month of 2021.

Thankfully, due to our warmer weather, there is a tree in the area behind our townhouse that spans the view of my patio and living room window. The elongated, dipping branches stretch out a handful of magenta blossoms as if it’s handing me gifts. A blanket of fallen blooms covers the ground beneath the tree. I watch as the wind scatters a shower of them to add to the carpet covering the grass.

Beauty.

In the midst of a dark world, beauty still reigns. I’m grateful this morning for the view. Grateful for the sporadic rays of sunshine and the blustery winds. Grateful that God is on his throne seeing everything, knowing all, and in control.

Time doesn’t exist within his realm. We live according to the clock, but he has already been here this day. Already seen the events still to play out. Nothing surprises him. So I can rest and revel in the beauty he offers us.

When I sit in this place of peace, listening for God’s whispers in the wind, I am transported into his kingdom. He placed man in a garden, after all, didn’t he? His desire was for us to walk and talk with him in the beauty of nature. And God doesn’t change. That’s still his desire today.

I know evil in the world rages. Our voices have been silenced by media, social sites, and masks. Lies are being called truth, and truth is repelled as a lie. Children are discarded through abortion and trafficking. Various religious groups persecute those who choose to follow Jesus in his way of love. Political tempers flare. Those who claim tolerance are intolerant of anything having to do with God. Even those who say they love God, show hate across various platforms. As the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:1-3,

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good…”

Sounds like our world.

But God still offers us beauty. Beauty for ashes, the Bible tells us.

God’s grace and mercy reach far past our sinful, prideful ways. His peace reaches out to us when we’re harried, hassled, fearful, and anxious. He longs for us with the love of a perfect father who wants our company, our input, our devotion, and our good. His call to us is to see him, know him, and love him in response to his immeasurable love for us.

He offers us so much. For so little.

Jesus paid such a great price so that we could belong and be with him forever.

Today, when a bit of beauty crosses your path—when the color of a flower, the majesty of a sunset, a blanket of newly fallen snow, the wave of the mighty ocean, or the towering of stately trees shows up—when the hand of God strokes his paintbrush across your landscape, will you take a moment?

Whisper a thank you. Consider the God in heaven who you may have overlooked, ignored, or forgotten? Recognize that in Jesus, you can live in a place of perfect peace in spite of the crazy ways of the current world. It only takes a moment to reach out in response to God reaching out to you. Quicker than typing out a text, we can say,

“Thank you for all you’ve made. Thank you for your love. Thank you for dying on the cross for me, Jesus. I’m sorry I’ve sinned against you. Please lead me into your kingdom today. I believe you. I trust you.”

Will you join me in beauty today?

If you say, “yes,” I’d love to know. Will you give me a thumbs up in the comments, or tell me your story? Or even just click like. I pray for my readers, and we all need prayer in these times, don’t we?

The Tale of Two Men


131 (2)Two men approached Jesus. They were both wealthy. They were both important figures in society with places of high position. One was named as a young ruler, the other’s name was Zacchaeus.

I know, not a common name today. But stay with me.

When Jesus came to town, the ruler sought him out to ask a very important question. You see, he had everything money could buy. He’d followed all the rules so he believed he was good. But the one thing he couldn’t put his hand on was how to live forever. He believed that was the only thing he lacked. So he asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life.

Jesus told him there was one thing he lacked. But it wasn’t eternal life. It was the right heart attitude. Jesus’s answer for the ruler was to sell everything he had and give it to the poor. Then to follow him. The Bible says the man went away and was very sad.

Did Jesus say the man’s money was bad? The poor were more important? He wasn’t allowed to have wealth?

No.

He simply pointed out that the man’s primary focus was on his money. The ruler believed he could inherit eternal life from Jesus, but he wasn’t looking for Jesus. He wanted a guarantee, not a relationship.

DSC_0141The second man, Zach (we’ll call him), heard Jesus was coming. The Bible says he ran ahead and climbed a tree just to get a glimpse. He wanted to be in the presence of Jesus and did whatever it took to get there.

Jesus spoke to him, calling him out of the tree and offering to come to Zach’s house for dinner. It says Zach came down at once and welcomed Jesus gladly. Even when all the people around him complained about him. Even though Zach had potentially treated people unfairly because of his job as chief tax collector.

And in the presence of Jesus, Zach’s life changed immediately. He joyfully offered to give half his possessions to the poor and repay four times the amount to anyone he may have cheated. Jesus never asked him to give all he had to the poor.

The ruler wanted eternal life. Zach wanted Jesus.

The requirement wasn’t to get rid of their wealth. Jesus gave them both instructions based on their heart posture. One went away in sadness, holding onto what he had; the other obeyed, opened his life, and was transformed.

Today, in the midst of unprecedented times, I believe Jesus is coming our way. He’s looking to bring salvation and transformation to all. We can be like the man whose focus was on everything he could get or keep for himself, or we can be like the other man who did whatever it took to get into the presence of Jesus.

Which one are you?

(Scripture referenced is Luke 18:19-30 & Luke 19:1-10)