Psalm 96:6-7 (NLT)
Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. O nations of the world, recognize the LORD; recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong.
What constitutes a beautiful life to you? Are you living the dream? Are the deepest desires of your heart a daily occurrence? Is your home filled with joy and laughter? Do you dread the next day or moment? I believe that we all have the potential for a beautiful life but few are willing to do what it takes to have such an existence. Yes, Jesus warned of us of the end times with natural disasters, utter chaos, wars and even a love that has grown cold. But that doesn’t have to be the life that you and I live as Children of the Most High God. It is a matter of choice. Honor and majesty surround the Lord in His Glory. His Presence is filled with Strength and Beauty. We must recognize what is available in the Lord and decide that He is indeed glorious and strong to pursue the things that He has promised found only by those who choose to live in His Will, Way and Word. To honor God means to live with high respect for who He is. We honor the Lord when we live a life of honesty, fairness and integrity in our relationship with Him and other people. The Majesty of God is His Supreme Power and Authority. Just because you may not believe that it is true, you will understand the error of your ways when we are kneeling at the Feet of Jesus Christ. God is the Source of Power in our life. You cannot have the Life that God promised filled Love, Mercy and Grace without it. You cannot overcome sin without the Power of the Blood of Jesus Christ so don’t bother trying to do all the right things without true repentance. The strength that God gives His People is the quality of physical, emotional and spiritual strength (body, mind and soul). It is the ability to withstand or exert great force or pressure with the wisdom to know which is best. The Beauty of God’s Presence allows mere human beings to experience the intense pleasure and deep satisfaction of abiding in the Presence of God now and forevermore. God delights our sense (physical) and pleases the mind (emotional and spiritual aspects) of our life if we choose Him to be our Source of Life. He will give me pleasure and satisfaction no matter what the circumstances of my life look like or the overwhelming pressure that I am under because in His Presence I can use His Power rather than relying on my own. In this place, I can have a beautiful life so why live anywhere else?
Genesis 3:1-7 (NLT)
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
You know the old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. I think it applies here. The enemy uses lies to war against people every single day. Because people do not know the character and nature of God or His Son, Jesus – they believe it. The woman was convinced that the lie of the enemy was true so she reacted to her impulses. The tree was beautiful. The fruit “looked” delicious. However, she did not understand the wisdom it contained or how it might impact her life so she blindly believed the enemy and subjected her life and her lineage to sin producing hardship and death for generations to come. Mind you, God completed creation before Adam and Eve came along. Stay with me, creation was complete. He did not add to it or take away from it as a result of their choices that day. The Plan of God including future and hope promised to His People was already set in writing. It did not change in that moment which means that you and I do not have to settle for a life less than God’s Best but can still have it as His Word promises. The problem lies in our inability to disconnect from the lie of the devil and embrace the Truth. God is Love. He loved you and I so much that He could not bear to remain separated from us forever. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to make a way for us to return to right standing or righteousness with God. This would once again give us access to the Power and Potential of His Kingdom so that we can have a beautiful life once again. The choice is ours today and every day – do we embrace the Truth (Jesus Christ – the Word wrapped in flesh) or do we continue to believe the lie relying on our eyes to show us pleasure and satisfaction rather than pursing it with our heart? It is the choice between life and death. It makes a difference when it comes to blessing and cursing. Fear causes us to rely only on what we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch but faith allows us to have what cannot be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched which are those things delivered by confident hope that His Promises are not only true but well worth having!
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Why would anyone think that Jesus Christ can give them a beautiful life when Christians are probably the most miserable and pathetic bunch of people they know? Faithless believers have starved the church of its power because very few people are connected to the Source. I have been cussed out by Christians followed by a “bless your heart” so many times I cannot count. I wait on people at work who will reveal that they have seen me at church only after treating me horribly smiling as if I was the one who passed the test. The church is hungry, hurt, sick and weak and then wonder why no one wants to hear about the Lord. If God has nothing to offer them, then why would they waste their time and energy that is already stretched to its limits? Why are you wasting your time? Please do not be offended. If you are not experiencing the benefits and blessings of His Kingdom as promised, then faith is generally the problem. You don’t really believe that God can or will do what He has promised so we try to facilitate it our self and call it God. I find that most of the time when God does something in my life it is too incredible for me to ever take credit for it. On the other hand, if I don’t recognize all the little things that He does each day and give Him glory for that then what good is my message anyway because now I am only boasting about me. The progression from power full to power less is simple. In Isaiah 44:12-17, it tells the blacksmith takes what God has given him and attempt to make something out of it in his own strength. It says that he grows weak in his efforts to creation. The wood carver begins with a block of wood (potential) and builds an image of a human being in it. It gives it human beauty and puts it in a shrine. He did not grow the wood or even think up the image that he engraves in it, but pride tells him to take the credit for it. It goes on to tell us that he cuts down wood that he did not grow to build a fire to warm himself confident in his ability to care for himself. We take what God has given us, provides for us and does in our life, pride slaps our name on it and we believe somehow that it is up to us to create a beautiful life. God wrote out a life plan (Psalm 139:16) and then gave us everything we need to complete it. (Philippians 4:19; Philippians 1:6) It is a good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Everything works together to the fulfillment of this good plan in God’s Hands. (Romans 8:28) He perfects that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) The problem is not with God’s Plan but my ability to stick to His Plan without allowing pride to convince me that I can do a better job with my life than God can! The Lord has made a way for His People to step back into right standing or righteousness with God and reconnect to the Source of Life – a beautiful life that is more than we could ever think of or ask for. (Romans 11:15-20) We are that stick that is grafted back in to become a mighty oak of righteousness flourishing in the Presence of God. The ashes are the offering of our life as we give all that we are to His Plan rather than carving idols in our life that are meaningless. Rather than giving our life to other people, careers, ideas, or idols of any kind, we must step back into the Presence of God through repentance directly into righteousness and learn to live there.
Mark 14:3-8 (NLT)
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly. But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.
The woman in this passage is described in Luke 7:36-39 to be a “certain immoral woman”. She was a prostitute. Apparently a very successful one in observance of the alabaster jar of expensive perfume worth “a year’s wages”, nevertheless she took the “beautiful” jar that represented her life and gently opened the lid…no she broke it and poured the perfume over the head of Jesus as an offering and sacrifice. She broke the jar because she fully intended to pour it all on Jesus. She did not anticipate needing the jar in the future because she would now become a vessel containing beauty and worth. This is the kind of sacrifice and offering that will produce a beautiful life when beauty moves from the five senses of our life to become a sacrificial offering to the Lord. The disciples did not even get it. Perhaps they suffered a bit of disappointment that this journey did not turn out as they expected. There would be no future palace on earth just many persecutions and prisons. Then, of course, there were all the Pharisees in room full of religiosity and arrogance with cups shiny on the outside but filthy on the inside as they lived like whitewashed tombs full of the remains of those like the woman that they had judged harshly. (Matthew 23:26-28) Be careful lest we all be judged in our condemnation of others. Jesus was not described as beautiful on the outside but showed inner beauty based on His Integrity and Character that produced a blameless life and perfect sacrifice. (Isaiah 53:1-5) The Lord told Samuel not to judge by personal appearance what is inside another person because God is looking at their heart. (I Samuel 16:7) What does your heart look like? I want mine to resemble a broken jar that has become a vessel radiating the Glory of God! (2 Corinthians 4:7) This woman discovered the secret to a beautiful life the moment she fell at the Feet of Jesus Christ the Lover of Her Soul and accepted Him as Savior and Lord. By choosing to remain there, she had the power and potential of a beautiful life according to His Plan. The moment that we think Jesus is no longer worthy of sacrificial worship – we move from His Feet to a Pharisee. To believe anything we can produce or have is worthy of keeping or embracing rather than sacrificing for Jesus Christ is to believe the lie and reject the Truth! What are you withholding from the Lord today? It will make a difference in your life.
I Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
These words were mainly directed to wives, but I think these are qualities that God desires in all of His People. It seems that men and women alike are concerned with the appearances of life. It may not be appearance as in physical beauty but certainly connected to power, influence and success. Clothe yourselves in beauty that comes from within. How to have a beautiful life in four easy steps – 1) Give your all. Each day look deeper and deeper within your heart and life for more to sacrifice to the Lord. You will discover more and more the closer you align your life with His Way of living. Whatever you hold back from God, do not expect to have the very best of. Nothing is made beautiful until subjected to the Presence of God who is the Source of Life. 2) Grow in faith – Without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord which puts you in direct opposition to Him. To enter a righteous relationship and experience His Mercy, Grace and Love requires faith that produces hope in what is not seen rather than humanly produced. Here’s a hint – religion is humanly produced. Faith allows us to flourish in God’s Strength and Power taking a load off of us so we can live a happy life of worshipping the Lord in all seasons. 3) Gain knowledge through His Word – Stop being ignorant because it carries a strong warning. People perish from a lack of knowledge. You have access to the Truth so to live apart from it is an act of omission. Read the Word of God. Study His Word. Listen for His Voice to discern the Word and apply it to your life. Yes, there are guidelines to live by each one leading to a beautiful life as you learn to walk free and apart from sin! Finally 4) Get more grace – God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense available for you to use every single day so when you fall you can get back up again and not miss anything that He has for you! Where sin once abounded – His Grace abounds even more. (Romans 5:19-21) The greatest lie of the enemy is the one that produces guilt telling us that His Blood and Sacrifice is not enough. “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) Do this and you will have a beautiful life!
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.