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My Ugly Glasses And Your Hunt For Beauty

 

My ugly glasses and your hunt for beauty

 

 

In second grade, I got the most hideous glasses. They covered half my face and were about as thick as two Krispy Kreme donuts. I longed to lose them, but I was blind as a bat without them . . .

Catch a glimpse of these glasses—and hear more about my hunt for beauty—in this short video.

My Ugly Glasses And Your Hunt For Beauty” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Les Miserables And The Relationship In My Head

Last month my friend turned thirty, and a small group of us got together to celebrate her life and friendship. After a lovely dinner in an idyllic outdoor garden, we drove to the local civic theatre to watch the play Les Miserables. Even though I’m familiar with the story, it wasn’t until I watched the play that I realized Eponine and I have something big in common. More

Are You A Judas?

When Pastor Walter Price told us he’d be preaching on Judas Iscariot, my ears perked up. I’d never heard a sermon preached about the disciple who betrayed Jesus. (Have you?) Walter didn’t disappoint. And boy, did he sober me up when he said,

“Judas knew the blessings of proximity to the things of God, he did a lot of great things for God, but he didn’t know God.”

Every August our staff gets together for one week to refocus on Jesus before we launch into a new year of ministry. With just three weeks ’til my book releases, this Seek Week found me cranking out bored woman“book” work (book marketing, book website, book interviews, book, book, book)–and cold-hearted. I was working for Jesus, but I sure wasn’t enjoying Him.

I’ve never thought about all the great things Judas got to do. Here’s just a peek from Matthew 10:

He [Jesus] called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction (v. 1).

Just to be sure we don’t miss it, Matthew lists all twelve names of the men Jesus sent out, ending with

. . . and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him (v. 4).

Judas was there. Check out the mind-blowing miracles Judas performed:

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them . . . “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (vv. 5, 8).

Not only did Judas do miracles, he saw miracles right and left. In Mark 6:43, Judas ate ’til he was stuffed—and then he brought home a whole basket of bread and fish—after Jesus fed 5,000 people with a skimpy five loaves and two fish.

And yet, Jesus hadn’t captured Judas’ heart; money had. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver—enough silver, at least, to buy a field (Matt. 27:3–10). Judas’ story puts skin to Matthew 7:21–23, the most sobering words of Jesus in the Bible—at least in my opinion:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”

So I need to ask, are you busy doing things for Jesus without really loving Him? Are you telling others about Him without delighting in His beauty yourself?

If so, let me help you out by giving you a glimpse of Jesus’ beauty. Just before His death, Jesus tells the same twelve men that one of them is going to betray Him. He then leans over to Judas and says, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” The passage continues,

“Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him” (John 13:27-28).

Did you catch that? None of the other eleven disciples suspected Judas. Jesus had never treated Judas any differently than the rest of His disciples. All along Jesus knew what was in Judas’ heart, how Judas would betray Him, but Jesus loved Judas all the same. I don’t know about you, but I find that beautiful.

My prayer for you—and me—is that we would never be too busy working “for” Jesus that we miss “drinking from the river of His delights” (Ps. 36:8).

Are You A Judas?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

How Close Do You Want To Get . . . Really?

You should’ve seen it. This Sunday, the church gymnasium was transformed into the bustling city of Jerusalem around A.D. 30. After I’d joined the tribe of Ephraim and received a bag of denarii (Roman money), I sat down cross-legged in the temple, right in front of the veil leading to the Holy of Holies (where I never would have been allowed in real life).

That’s when little Sarah came over and squeezed herself onto my lap. Then, when the shofar blew signaling it was time to move on to the next station, Sarah slipped her little hand into mine as we walked a few steps to the synagogue. She sat in my lap again as we learned to sing the Shema in Hebrew and stayed close all morning as we went from booth to booth.

And then, while we were at the potter’s shop, I heard a shout, “It’s Jesus!” If I hadn’t already been told that the Sunday school teacher Chris was playing the part, I wouldn’t have recognized him with that wig of long, curly, dark hair. He slowly wove his way through the crowd of 400 people, hugging the children as he went.

Sarah pulled me forward, not content to watch from behind a wall of people. I let her pull me so far, and then I slowed, not wanting the adults to wonder why I was crowding Jesus and not letting others have their turn. But Sarah wouldn’t let up. I stopped, she strained. She pulled, I resisted. Finally, she dropped my hand and went around the mountain in the middle of the room so she could get to Jesus.

Sarah wasn’t the only child who did this. Instinctively, all the children wanted to get as close as they could to Jesus. Maybe that’s why Jesus told His perturbed disciples so many years ago,

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:16–17).

As I saw the difference between me and Sarah, I couldn’t help but wonder how close I would’ve tried to get to Jesus if I’d been alive when He walked this earth. Would I have been willing and desperate enough to cry out loudly with Bartimaeus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”—even when everyone around me was telling me to just be quiet? Or would I have been more like Nicodemus who came to Jesus under the cover of night so no one would see?

More importantly, how desperate am I today to get as close as possible to Jesus? Am I content to hang back and observe Him along with the grown-ups, or am I pressing forward with the children to stare up in wonder at Him?

I’m afraid I know the answer, and oh, how I long for that to change. So thank you, Sarah. You have no idea what you taught me this week. I want to be like you when I grow up.

PS: What do you think it looks like to want to get close to Jesus today?

How Close Do You Want To Get . . . Really?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.