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Life is Beautiful - A Devotion

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I Chronicles 16:28-30 (NKJV)
Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved.

I have a beautiful life. You may not see it from the outside looking in. In fact, the joy and peace that our family has found in our faith in Jesus Christ is somewhat perplexing to onlookers. I believe some may even think that we are a little bit crazy. The beauty that has risen from the ashes of refinement represent those things that had to be removed to save our life and begin the process of true living. I wish I could adequately explain the process that I have gone through over the last three years of battling cancer with our son. I wish I could take people’s eyes off the tragedy of a life interrupted to see the Goodness and Glory of God coming from the Realm of Hope that we have entered. I did not name it that but his doctor’s did about the time modern medicine began to run out of options. His first relapse was in the summer of 2012 which statistically only would give him a couple of years at best. The other relapses significantly reducing his chances of survival dramatically but yet it is two years later, summer is ending and our boy is alive and well. God planned our life to be beautiful. He provided everything that we would ever need to have all of His Goodness. When sin was introduced things changed dramatically as people chose another way other than the one God plotted out. It was in our rebellion and distance from God that all these horrible things like sickness, disease, insanity, and horror precipitating so many tragedies that humanity must face day after day. God shut off access to the Tree of Life so His People would not have to suffer endlessly for their sins. He provided a sacrifice to pay the debt sin leaves behind – His Name is Jesus. God works endlessly and tirelessly to turn every detail of our life back to the good that He designed for it. (Romans 8:28) This beautiful life is worth having but it means that we must pay a price. The evil in this world will one day end forever. The enemy of us all is desperate to take as many of God’s Children a possible like a madman on the loose. If we want the Goodness and Glory of God in our life, we must choose to live in His Presence. This requires a choice. We must learn to worship God in the Beauty of Holiness!

Wonder from You Make Me Brace (Bethel)
May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King

In this worship song from the folks at Bethel called Wonder, we are pointed to the beauty of our King. Do you think He is beautiful? I have five children. They are all individuals with strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes obedient and other times rebellious as is the tendency of all humanity. But when I look at them, I never lose my wonder. From the moment they came into this world even until today, I am amazed by them. They are beautiful to me. They are wonderful to me. I have been married to my husband for more than fifteen years now. I am amazed by him. He is beautiful to me. Even as time changes his appearance, he becomes more lovely to me each day. Why? Why are they beautiful? The beauty that they have comes from the love that I have for each of them. I cannot imagine a day in this life without them. It would break my heart to lose them. I do not like when we are apart even when it is just going about daily life, growing up, getting married, and maturing. I want them close to me. If you will take your love and commitment to your family, now look to the Father – you will get a glimpse of His Intentions for your life. You are beautiful to Him. He loves you more than you love any other person in your life. If we could only discover the true potential of that love, we would live in the wonder of God and never take our eyes off of Him. Like wide-eyed children we would be so mystified that we must keep watching and waiting for what comes next. God is a person. We have never seen Him yet He exists. We must find a place in His Presence and remain there until Jesus Christ comes to take us home. He is coming as a Bridegroom to whisk away His Beloved Bride. Will you be ready when He comes?

Revelation 21:1-3 (NKJV)
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. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of 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.

We are preparing for the wedding of our first daughter who is to be married in just a couple short months. With all that has been going on with our son, it has been a challenge to stay on top of all the preparations. Obviously, we want her special day to be perfect. Laying in the hospital couch/bed with our son, I have a dream that it was her wedding day and nothing was ready. She stood in her wedding dress but nothing else was prepared as the guests began arriving. I woke up in a cold sweat. Ever since their engagement in January, we have planned and prepared even with the ongoing appointments and medical care of our son. So many distractions, but it is all coming together according to the plan. I say that to say that life is full of distractions and there will always be something in competition for your time and attention. The enemy uses such tactics in the anticipation that when He comes people will be left unprepared for the arrival of the Bridegroom for His Bride. The Spirit says, “Come…” but the church is not ready. (Revelation 21:7) The Lord has provided everything that we need to be His Bride (Isaiah 61:10) but we have tarried in putting it on. We have not prepared for His Coming. We are not ready for His Arrival. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:6-10

Ephesians 5:22-24 (NKJV)
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Oh, I can feel the bristling over this verse already. The “S” word is probably one of the most debated in the Word of God. It is not a gender-specific term but rather a covenant promise. To submit means to give over or yield. It is to present for consideration, approval or decision of another. God’s Will for our life is to live in submission to Jesus Christ. He is our Bridegroom. He is the Head of our home and Leader of our life. Beauty is that which gives profound pleasure or deep satisfaction to God. He loves our marriage to His Son through submission. God desires holiness. Consecration means to separate our life from this world and invest it fully in service to God. All of expectations and desires are to be in Christ alone. It is a process of exchanging ashes for beauty. But well worth it in the end. Our daughter and her fiancé are very young. They both were raised in Christian homes. They have never shared a room or bathroom for that matter. Each very independent but now must come together as one. Right now, they are in the euphoria of the fairytale unfolding before them. They have eyes only for each other both willingly giving up their way for the other. When they are married and the reality of covenant comes forth there will be a struggle. Everyone goes through it as we submit our life to God and each other. They will figure it out like all successful marriages do because they are first sold out to Jesus Christ who is the marriage mediator. As long as they seek Jesus first above all things and in all things, it will all work out. It is all part of exchanging our old life for a new life. But in order for their marriage to work, they must submit. We are called to first submit our life to God. (James 4:6-10) We are then to submit to all governing authorities no matter who they are. (Romans 13:1-4) Finally we are to submit to everyone else. (Ephesians 5:16-21) Jesus Christ submitted His Life for all of mankind. We are to follow His Example. How? Why? I don’t want the world to walk all over me. If you want a beautiful life, you must submit it by faith into the careful care of Jesus Christ. You must do what He says to do with confident hope in His Perfect Plan and Promise.

Romans 10:2-4 (NKJV)
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

I am very strong-willed to the point of outright stubbornness. I know the Lord must shake His Head all the times I keep ramming my head into a closed door intent on my way not His Way. He flinches each time I make contact and even goes as far to heal my aching head and broken heart. I have a beautiful life because my will is now to have His Will in my life. I had a friend tell me once to submit to my husband. I thought she was crazy until I tried it in my marriage. The results were miraculous. It is not about being right but faithfully believing that the Lord is perfecting all that concerns me even my spouse when necessary enough to keep peace in our home and give way. This works in all our life when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. Zeal for God is wonderful but short-lived just as an engagement. Once we are married to Jesus Christ, we must learn to submit our life to Him. All of it. The struggle to submit our life is the hindrance of our promise. The beauty of holiness is found when we submit our life to one another in preparation for our Bridegroom to come allowing nothing to stop us from being with Him forever. The struggle is real. Submission is not a fashionable or favorable term to our sinful nature. But those who yield their life to Christ must surrender it to Him in holiness. God makes a beautiful life in our submission. Who doesn’t want that? The Spirit of the Lord has come with a specific mandate for our life. He is to comfort, console and give us beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and a garment of praise all of which lends itself to a beautiful life. A life worth having. A life worth sharing with others.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

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