Monday, September 27, 2010

Beauty & the Bible The Collection pt 4: "Ocean"

Moving on. If you're new to the blog, PLEASE go back and read the 3 previous entries. I know it'll be worth it. And thanks, I'm glad you're here!
As a recap, I'm imagining God as my personal stylist. I've tried on 3 looks so far during my style session. You've got to read all about it. "Salvation", "Active Wear", and "Fierce". All very different looks but equally essential parts of this collection.
As I look around for my next look I feel God going in a very different direction. A bit more serene. --I've been saved---I'm running here, there, and everywhere---I've even done some spriritual battle. But I can feel a draw that is pulling me to an outfit that's not so much for show but more for a comfortable, sweet, bonding time. I can't help but think of white, light, gauzy like material. So of course I imagine that God has planted me on the beach.
In the late afternoon I can feel the light warmth of the sun on my skin. The breeze that always seems to be present on the beach is flowing over me like an oh so soft touch from my Father above. How many times have you been on the beach around this time of day and felt that you didn't have a care in the world? "I could just stay here FOREVER!", I've said every time I've ever gone to the beach.
There were many, many times before I was married that when my life would get crazy, I would take off to the beach and sit alone with God just talking. One thing that always ran through my head was, "no matter what is going on in my life - this ocean is always doing the same thing. The waves rush in and flow back out. Even when a storm is hitting the ocean still does the same thing." I think I took comfort in knowing the consistent nature of this ginormous body of water. And it also brought into perspective how big God is. He controlled that ocean! He knew everything about it. And to think that He cares to know me too. While I can't take off to the beach anytime I want to now, I can bask in His presence. He IS what makes that ocean consistent. He is what can sustain me. He is what drives me and gives me hope.
Sometimes it takes these moments to recharge us. But much more than that they keep us close to our Creator. The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 It's those times that bring me peace and satisfaction. We were made to worship Him. As we spend time worshiping and reading God's word, we build a more intimate relationship with Him. I don't want to just be an "aquaintence" of God. I want to know what He thinks about an issue without ever having to ask. I wish I knew the Word so well that His thoughts would be mine automatically. Have you ever had a friend like that? One that you knew what they'd say before they could say it? Or how they would react to certain situations? Man, I want to be like that with God. (I've got such a loooooong way to go.)
In this outfit I am at my most natural state. No flashy jewelry. No makeup. Just me and God. I can spend time with Him and pray. Now there is prayer and then there is PRAYER! I know most refer to the Lord's Prayer as our example of how to pray. And obviously Jesus showed us the proper way to pray. But there are lots of examples of us regular folk praying in the Bible too. David was not always a saint and yet the he is known for being after God's own heart. The psalms are full of praises to the King. He also questioned God, committed himself to God, cried to God in fear. He looked for assurance. Look at Job with all of his trials. He spent lots of time conversing with God. There are countless books on prayer. Victory. Worship. Guidance. Vision. Repentance. The list goes on and on. But it all comes down to this--
Spending time with God builds intimacy.
James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." . He wants our all. James also says in Ch 5 vs 13-18 lots of great stuff about prayer --if you're suffering-pray. If you're cheerful-sing psalms. These are the things that God desires. Again, Psalm 149:4 "The Lord takes pleasure in His people. He will beautify the humble with salvation." If you're spending time focused on God and His will and His desires then you've got to be on the humble path. And He takes PLEASURE in that!
I was talking with my middle son about what this "outfit" would be and I began with telling him the key words : prayer - intimacy - something to do with the ocean - and purity. To my amazement, he immediately asked if I would be talking about the gulf between us and God. He began to speak about how we are here on earth but that one day heaven would be here in the new Jerusalem and we would be with God forever. He reminded me of the story in Luke where Jesus was telling about Lazarus and the rich man. Luke 16:19-31 tells of two very different men. The rich man dies and is in Hades and can see Lazarus in "Abraham's bosom". The rich man asks for Lazarus to dip his finger in water and touch him to cool him from being tormented in flames. But Abraham briefly sums up their lives and goes on to say in vs. 26 "And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us." WOW- what a great perspective God had given him just from hearing those few key words!!! That is one thing I love about the Bible, God can reveal something today and tomorrow show you something in the same passage that you've never seen before.
While I viewed this as an intimate bonding between me and God, my son saw the possible separation between God and man. And I believe both can be found in it. To prove his point
Rev. 21:1 says, "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea." And shortly after in vs. 3 it says, "...God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God."
Everybody sing: Oh when we all get to Heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be!!
Until then let's make sure we put on our "Ocean" outfit regularly and just be ourselves with the One who made us. This way we won't end up like the man who allowed a gulf to separate him from the Love that lasts throughout eternity.