Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth. He will fulfill the desires of those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him; He also will hear their cry and will save them.”
Today’s Study Text:
“See what an incredible quality of love the Father has given us, that we should be permitted to be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!”
I John 3:1
“The Reflection In The Mirror”
“What dynamite we handle when we lift a mirror or bend toward one”
When I look at myself in a mirror, what do I see?
Does my image reflect who I have been told I am?
What image of myself do I think God sees?
“Father-like, He tends and spares us,
Well our feeble frame He knows;
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes;
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Widely as His mercy flows.”
Henry Francis Lyte
“God does not love us because we are valuable. We are valuable because God loves us.”
Fulton John Sheen
Several years ago, when company work took me “on the road” and I ended up spending more time than I liked crammed in airline seats, I decided that checking luggage was a no-win situation, and I might add, this was before all the restrictions resulting from the “9/11” tragedy. I purchased one of those functional totes that slipped easily under the seat of a plane, and I was able to cram all my necessities of life into one bag. Getting through the travel maze became much easier. This certainly isn’t the case now!
However, I found that certain items in my carry-on luggage didn’t always survive the journey very well. The first casualty of my new found travel routine was a hand mirror I had purchased in college. It had a plastic border which was as tough as iron. But during one trip – the mirror inside cracked in half – a perfect line running from top to bottom. The mirror didn’t shatter or fall out of its plastic frame – there was just a big line down the center of the glass.
Even though the mirror was broken, it was functional, except for the place in the middle where the reflection of my lips was distorted and didn’t come together evenly. Putting on lipstick became a little game to see which side of my mouth was higher than the other. It didn’t take long to realize if I looked on the left side of the crack, I could get my whole mouth into a spot where everything looked fine. But, the rest of my face was distorted and cut off.
About this time you might be thinking to yourself, “Why didn’t she just get a new mirror?
Well, the fact is, I became comfortable with that old mirror. It continued to travel with me. And no more cracks formed. I had it a long time. I got used to a line running down the center of my face. My distorted reflection became all too familiar. So I settled for less. I became content with the “cracked” look.
Today, in our devotional we are planting seeds. Those tiny morsels that grow and bloom into something beautiful when tended with water and loving care. And we are just like plants. The seeds we sow, what has been planted in us, grows up to become the reflection we see in the mirror of our lives.
If you were told years ago that you were ugly, when you look at yourself now, that may be the only image that comes into your mind. If you were told you wouldn’t amount to anything, this might be the vision you carry with you everyday. I know what I’m talking about because for years I carried deep inside me the words penned in my “Annual” as we called the book produced at our high school each year containing the pictures of all the faculty and students. One of the school traditions was that on the day those “photo albums” were released, school let out early so we could ask our friends to write a few words in our books. Believe me, no messages in those “Annuals” ever received the Pulitzer Prize for literary excellence. But sometimes, as happened to me, a written comment struck a note so deep that it still hurts me to think about it today as I write to you.
I asked a guy I thought rather cool to sign my annual so I passed the book down a row of seats in Chemistry Class. Since he was sitting in the back row of the classroom, from my seat near the front I could, with a side-ways glance, see if he wrote anything, which he did not. But the girl in front of his seat grabbed the book and the two of them got to laughing as she wrote in my book. Now I knew who had signed my book previous to this point in time so it wasn’t difficult to identify where a new comment had been made. After class, as I was walking to my after-school job, I stopped under a secluded tree and searched for the notation and sure enough there it was on a page filled with small advertisements. One “ad” had been redone to form a rather pathetic looking daisy flower with some of the petals falling off. And at the top, a neatly penned headline read: “To A Wall-Flower.”
Now I’m not a person who used to cry at all. Emotions in our household were not to be on display. As I’ve said before, the mantra of my family was – be on an even-keel. And so through the years, I buried a lot of emotions, but the day I read the words, “Wall-Flower,” the flood came big time! The mile walk to work was pierced with the cries of a 16-year-old girl’s broken heart. “How could someone be so mean?” I thought to myself.
But an interesting thing happened to me because of those demeaning words. Yes, it took time. But one day, when I was meeting with one of our companies largest clients, located next to the White House in Washington, D.C., it hit me that somewhere along the line, I didn’t act or feel like a “Wall-Flower,” because I had come to know “Someone” who told me I was His daughter and He was the King of the Universe. And when you know you are loved like no other person on earth – what do you see when you look into the mirror? Not a cracked picture of yourself! I know it to be true. So I encourage you to get a new picture of who you are. Get a new mirror – God’s mirror. We need to see ourselves as God sees us. We need to look into God’s heavenly mirror where an unblemished reflection is all we can see.
The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Christians living in the city of Corinth, evidently realized they were having a problem with their “mirrors,” as well. Here is what he told his young friends:
“Now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim or blurred reflection, but when wholeness comes, we’ll see in reality.”
I Corinthians 13:12
To more clearly understand what Paul was saying, I reread the entire chapter, especially verse 11 that leads into the text I referenced. In this verse Paul says: “I was a child but as I matured, grew, came to know Jesus better, my childish, imperfect view, my flawed view, my cracked view was replaced with God’s reality. A real view that sees me in His perfection.” (Paraphrase, I Corinthians 13: 12).
The cracked mirror of my “childhood” is replaced with a perfect mirror of God’s “personhood.” I become what He sees for He is transforming my life every day. And Paul ends verse 12 by saying that soon, “I will (you will) understand, clearly, how I am understood and viewed by God.” It’s all in what I’m looking into. My cracked mirror – or God’s perfect mirror.
If you happen to think there’s just too much damage done – if you feel your mirror isn’t only cracked, it’s shattered, then I want to share these beautiful words written by theologian J. I. Packer, in his book, Knowing God:
“There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love for me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me.”
God has looked in “His” mirror and He loves what He sees. It’s you in all your beauty, reflecting His image. No cracks. No flaws. No blemishes.
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.”
I John 3:1,2
“And we, with nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, as God enters our lives and we become like Him.”
II Corinthians 3:18
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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