Let’s start off with an example that includes pictures! If you are like me (and I am going to assume that you are)…you are totally and completely awesome! Oh wait…that isn’t were I was going with that. Tee hee! *wink wink* *slap on the back* *nudge nudge*
Okay…if you are like me, you enjoy picture examples. (Like little kids books…they are able to keep the child’s interest because they have pictures.) I am not only trying to keep your interest in my sea of words…I am using them to help prove my point. (And…they allow me to show off my beautiful children. (All bias aside.)) I am also banking on them helping you to remember my point. Then you can, in your mind, recall my picture example…and I pray that the point I was making is soon to follow.
That is, after all, why I write. I want to inspire you to take what God is teaching you and live it in your day to day. I am aspiring to do the same. This is not a blog in which I am sitting on a throne of knowledge…bestowing my wisdom to my lowly servants. I am serving right there with you. I am sitting at the foot of my Father asking to be forever changed by His Words of life! I am the one beside you with a tear stained face. I mess up. I ask forgiveness. And I learn so that I know I am passing the test.
Let’s take a looksie at this picture I took of my nephew recently.
It was freezing cold and I asked my brother to bring his three sons to my house so I could do a real quick photo shoot. Well, just incase you don’t know or remember…we live in Northwestern Pennsylvania…so winter is in full swing. I had to shovel a path through some pretty deep snow to get to one of my favorite spots for black and white portraits. But the idea, the goal for my pictures, was to really capture my subjects. The real them. And the picture above, although handsome, just wasn’t cutting it for what I wanted.
Genuine. I wanted the genuine smile of my sweet and thoughtful nephew, Brady. I kept talking to him. Being silly and requesting for him to turn his head this way and that…look up, look down until…
I GOT IT! A real smile that truly captures this man…in waiting.
What is he to become? What type of ministry is God designing for him as he matures? What part of his testimony of God’s faithfulness is being written right now?
I don’t know the answers to this question…but I DO know that God has placed me here in his path. I am privileged enough to be one of his aunts. And I hold within me a powerful tool. I can come to his/our Heavenly Father on his behalf. I can pray for the man that he is to become. I can pray that the passions that God has placed within him will continue to be fed and encouraged by those around him. And I can pray for this leg of his testimony. The ‘test’ portion of it doesn’t promise to be easy. But Romans 8:28 has him covered. The grace of God. The strength of God. The will of God…they will see Brady through to be a more powerful man of God because of what he has been the victor over.
I am excited for God’s faithfulness to be shown to Brady. I am excited for his child-like faith to be strengthened. There is nothing like the
Let’s move on to my next picture example. My niece Brittany…
Everyone should know someone like her. She has the heart of a servant. She adores children. (Minus their germs.) And she is the definition of quirky. While I also loved this picture above…I wanted something not so traditional of my non-cookie-cutter-stylistic Brittany.
Voila! Adorable. Non-traditional. And a style all her own. I love it! I see much of my own little 6-year old daughter in Brittany…so it is fun to see how she might grow up to be/act. Like maybe she will wear a winter pom-pom topped hat in July because she didn’t ‘feel like doing her hair’. (And maybe she will willingly and proudly admit it! Haha!) I just love it! I think there should be more genuine people just like Brit. Honest, but still somewhat tactful, and willing to be unique and true to herself.
Now to get serious. I already see a couple of God-given passions in Brittany. I know that God can use them for His divine purpose and glory. So I await…as if on the sidelines. I pray…as though I am just an assistant to the
What does it mean to be genuine? All I know for now is that it means to be the same on Monday as you are on Sunday.
It means that we do as we say.
It means that we pray with the same passion no matter what the request nor who is requesting.
It means that we live as we say we do.
It means that we show love to all people.
It means that we speak words of life from our hearts. (If the words that automatically come out are not life-giving, encouraging, up-lifting words…then we look within ourselves to change. NO excuses!)
It means that we are always looking for ways to serve others without the expectation of reward.
It means that we are always growing and never content with how close we are to Christ.
It means that we search the Scriptures to find characteristics of God so that we can aspire be more like Him. (And also so the we are a good reflection of Him as His sons and daughters.)
It means that we teach what we actually do. (Not the ever-familiar, unspoken, hypocritical ‘do as I say…not as I do’.)
It means that we show compassion to all people.
It means that we practice mercy to the seemingly ‘undeserving’.
It means that we extend grace to our brothers and sisters. (Leaving no one out…lost or saved.)
It means that we show Christ through our actions and our conversations.
It means that we speak of Christ to the friends, family, strangers, the intimidating, the sweet, the
powerful, the common…all are worth your time for the gift of an eternity in Heaven. Your Sheperd would come back if it was only you who was lost. Imitate Him!
This year, let’s try to become a church that is genuine. Let’s look to our Maker and set our goals high. Let’s not settle for what has always been normal. Let’s not accept the slightest bit of darkness in our days. Let’s not lay in our own filth and wonder why we feel so dirty.
Be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Let His healing, saving rain wash you clean…and vow not to step in the path of filth again. WHY NOT?! Why can’t we become a church that lives like we are heirs to the throne? Genuine and real just like the smiles and prayers of these amazing nieces and nephews of mine…
Pray with faith like a child. They are!