Appearance

Do you remember the first time you ever saw a balloon before it was inflated?

I can honestly say that I don’t.

If I think about what that would have been like for me, though, I can imagine that I might not have thought that a colorful and small piece of stretchy plastic could ever have changed into an air filled toy that would bounce and float in the air.

Of course, I would have been wrong.

More than likely, my little child’s mind wouldn’t have considered any possibilities past what I could’ve actually seen.

As recorded in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, the Lord sent Samuel to anoint a new king.

Samuel was sent to a man named Jesse, who had several sons.

When Samuel saw Eliab, he thought that he would be the one that the Lord had chosen–but he wasn’t:

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:6-7)

When Samuel had seen seven of Jesse’s sons, the Lord had not chosen any of them.

Samuel asked Jesse if he had any more sons.

There was one other, who was tending to the sheep.

That son was David.

It was David that the Lord had chosen.

The Lord could see in David what others may not have seen.

He saw David’s heart.

He knew what David could be.

When we look at other people, it’s easy to just take them at “face value”—their apparent worth— isn’t it?

What do you think when you see a homeless person on the street?

An old man on a park bench?

A child running in the park?

A clerk in the grocery store?

We see them as they appear, but the Lord sees their hearts.

He sees the talents He has given them.

He sees their great worth.

He sees what they can become.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could try to see past appearances and look at others’ hearts?

appearance

Who Performs Miracles

Miracles.

They really do happen.

They happen because they are the business of God and God is at work.

A miracle happened just weeks ago when a friend for whom I had been praying for over a ten year period stood in my church with her family, seeking prayer.

A miracle happened today when I had a conversation about Jesus with someone that I have been praying earnestly for.

Both of these precious people are opening up to change and acknowledging their need for God.

I have witnessed and been a part of other miracles, as well.

It is important to pray.

It is not just important, it is of eternal significance.

I praise God for His work in the lives of the two people I just mentioned.

Even when we cannot see when miracles are on the way, they are still on the way.

You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples.

—Psalm 77:14

miracles

Cause to Grow

He waters the mountains from the upper rooms of His palace; the earth is full of the fruit You cause to grow.

 

—Psalm 104:13

 

I purchased some flowers a few months ago and placed them in a pot at the end of my front walkway.

For the longest of time, they were at a fairly consistent height and low to the soil.

Not even remembering what type of flower I had selected, I thought they would stay at the height they were.

Recently, the flowers began a growth spurt.

Some of them look like they may have actually doubled in stature.

God knew all along how tall these plants would get.

I just didn’t.

In fact, they may even grow taller still.

Have you ever thought that things were just going to remain the way there were without changing?

Have you ever thought that certain people would never change?

Have you ever thought that it would be impossible for you to change?

God is in control.

God sees who we can become with His strength and guidance.

It doesn’t matter if we expect it or not, God is still at work.

 

 

 

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The New

Just a couple of days ago, I downloaded a new operating system for my smartphone. 
I had learned about its availability and the positive things it had to offer. 
In making the decision to begin the download, I was aware that with the new operating system in place, there would be some changes that I wouldn’t be used to. 

The way that things had been would not all be the same. 
Some aspects of the system would be improved upon; some would be completely new and still others from the previous system would have been deleted all together. 
Although change is good, it is sometimes difficult to take that first step to incorporate it. 
Many years ago, I received a new spiritual operating system—one that changed me completely. 
My old way of living was becoming such a burden to carry. 
Things just hadn’t turned out the way I had planned. 
Even though I felt that I was in control of my life, my decisions weren’t always productive and many times they were harmful. 
With my level of discontent and disappointment, I knew that things needed to change. 

When I came face to face with the choice to allow Jesus to become my Lord and Savior, I was ready. 
Ready to get rid of the old way of operating my life. 

Ready for a new operating system—one where God was in control and guiding me. 

Asking for forgiveness of all that I had done to displease Him and asking Him to become the Lord of my life, I changed. 

God did come into my heart that day. 

Things have never been the same. 
It was the most important decision of my life. 
Are you tired of operating on your own through every moment, every hour of your day?
God is ready to change all that. 
Don’t wait another minute……

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Parched Ground

I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.

—Isaiah 41:18

 

If your life is barren, things can change.

If your life is dry like a desert, things can change.

Things can change when God brings the change.

Are you ready?

 

parched

A New Heart

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A changed heart.

A changed attitude.

What does that look like?

How does it occur?

You may have prayed, as I have, for someone’s heart to change.

It could be that they were unforgiving and angry.

You hoped for acceptance and calm.

They may have been cold and uninterested in matters of faith.

You longed to see their hearts tender and warm toward God.

People actually do change.

But how?

God can work in anyone’s life in any manner that He chooses.

Sometimes, I think that there can be a series of events that build upon one another, culminating in what seems to be an instantaneous shift in attitude.

I have heard the story of a famous author who was not a Christian.

After some believing friends had spoken to him many times about their faith, he suddenly came to believe in Christ himself.

Think of it this way—-

Imagine a wall–a high, brick wall.

On the other side of that wall, a beautiful scene of rolling hills and farmlands is visable.

A stone is placed at its base.

The next day, another stone is set upon it.

Day after day, other stones are positioned in front of the wall, some on top of others.

You decide the climb the stones.

Still, you cannot see over the wall and you are unaware of what lies beyond it.

Climbing back down, you go on your way.

As time goes by, more stones are placed in front of the wall.

Finally, they are reaching higher than before.

Deciding to climb again, you scale up the stacked stones until you reach the top.

Looking over the wall, you gaze at the beauty before you, seeing the hills and farmland for yourself.

God places many stones in our lives—

Things that people say to us about faith in God.

Acts of kindness and love from others.

Words from the Bible.

As we are exposed to each “stone” we climb higher and higher until one day, we see the truth for ourselves.

As we pray for others, we need not grow weary in our hope for them.

Each day,  a stone of testimony may be placed in front of those we love.

One on top of the other, they may form a spiritual journey of grace—

ending in a changed heart for God.

 

 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.

–from Ezekiel 36:26

 

 

 

 

 

Click to enlarge image.

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