words of inspirational wisdom
I Am a Pearl
I was doing some thinking the other day. That is a dangerous prospect, at times. But I digress.
I was thinking about what the Bible says about sin. Specifically, I was thinking about, as a Christian, my sins have been forgiven. I know that, because Jesus sacrificed himself for you, me and everyone else, that he took the punishment for all our sins, and bore them on that cross. When we are redeemed in the eyes of God, he remembers our sins no more. As it says in Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
God took our sins away, through His son. We are no longer judged by our past sins, because they have been removed from us. Yet, still we remember our sins. They come back in our memories. Things we have done, people we have hurt (not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally), and the list can go on. And I started thinking again about the blood of Christ. Blood that was shed for you and I. That purest of sacrifices that was made so that we might live free from the bondage of sin. How can we be truly saved and redeemed if our past still haunts us?
Then I thought of the pearl. And I remembered.
Most of you probably have seen pearls, strung in beautiful necklaces, adorning the necklines of ladies. Some have even said that the beauty of a pearly was “flawless.” But did you know that, in order for it to form, it started with a flaw?
That’s right. A flaw. An irritant. A gritty little piece of sand that got caught in an oyster, that the oyster just could not get rid of. (Kind of like a memory that won’t leave you in peace.) That tiniest speck of sand, or other material, gets covered in a substance called nacre, also called mother-of-pearl. Nacre begins to cover that irritant…layer by layer…over and over, until it is no longer rough and irritating, but smooth. Eventually, those layers have built up so much, that it results in the pearl you can now find on those necklaces.
Dear readers…our lives are the irritants. Not just the memories, but our sins. The bible says that all “have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But it is the blood of Christ that covers our sins, much like that nacre. That precious blood covers up our sins, over and over, until that sin in our lives is no longer recognizable. By accepting the salvation of Christ in our lives, we invite that blood covering. Over and over in our daily walk with God, and his Son, we are continually covered by that blood. His nacre, his blood, is creating a jewel that, when our time on earth has ended, and we are before our Lord, there will be nothing to remind Him of our sins…just a flawless pearl.
Accept His grace, and his love. Let his blood wash away your sins, covering up that which is flawed; making you an irritant no longer, but a beautiful, flawless pearl.
Divine Separation from God’s Love
Like most people, I suspect, I get some of my most insane and profound inspirations while taking a shower. Perhaps it is the hot water that begins to clear the fog from the brain, or just the solitude and rhythm of the pulsating shower that allows me to contemplate some things. Regardless, there was something that I began to think about that I wanted to share with all of you.
I have heard many preachers say, as I am sure many of you have, that we cannot be separated from God’s love. That was something that I really started to wonder about. What could make a Christian fall away from the mercy of God’s grace and his unfailing love. Were there any circumstances that could occur where God would say that we are no longer worthy of his love? That certainly wasn’t what I wanted to think about during a peaceful shower. So…after my shower, while getting dressed for Sunday service, I decided to do a little digging in the Word.
I started with Romans. It seemed logical. I had heard of the “Romans Road to Salvation”, so perhaps there was something there. And it was! Romans 8:35 asks the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Then I read on, and Paul answered the question just a couple verses later, giving his opinion by saying in verses 38 and 39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ, or Lord.”
As I was reading, something obvious, but usually overlooked, began to draw my attention. The beginning of the question. “Who?”
Who, indeed! Since Paul ruled out nearly everybody: spiritual beings, demonic entities, our past, present and future, distance, personal situations and troubles. There were two things that he didn’t include in this list. That is what I really started to wonder. What two things are those, you ask?
The first was God.
The second was YOU.
Well, I had to rule God out almost immediately. In Hebrews 13:5 it says to, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, or forsake thee.” He will never leave me, nor forsake me. I was always taught that God will always love you, no matter what. I recall a phrase that I remember hearing many times: Love the sinner, hate the sin. That is what God does. He loves us unfailingly and unconditionally.
That leaves YOU.
I began to think about that. Could I separate myself from God? (Not that I would want to, mind you. But just for the sake of argument, could I?) Unfortunately, I can. I have in the past. I am sure many Christians have, as well. During moments of crisis, extreme grief, emotional turmoil and other things we face, we turn our back on the ONE that has never turned his back on us. We reject Him. I have personally heard some say that they hated Him. I have heard some say that they didn’t care about the presence of a bad spirit around them.
Fortunately, all is NOT lost, so long as we breathe. We can still take time to regain that which was lost by our words and our deeds. We can STILL take Him up on the availability of His love. All we have to do is open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to the truth. The simple truth that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins.
In the Old Testament, families were called to sacrifice an animal to God to atone for their sins. However, with the arrival of Jesus, that practice became moot. HE became the perfect sacrifice. When Jesus died, it is written that the veil that hid the holy of holies in the temple was torn in half. Not torn…torn in half! In Jewish custom, only the high priest could enter the holy of holies…and he had to be purified before entering, lest he be struck down dead. Now, the veil was torn in half! No longer did man have to ask a priest to entreat God on his behalf. Here was God’s own perfect Son, who sacrificed Himself for me and you, tearing the divider between us and God, allowing us all direct access, through Him.
We are all loved by God. Only by our sins are we separated from His amazing grace. It’s time for all of us to remove that obstacle to receiving God’s love. It’s time for us to remove OURSELF. Remove our pride, our vanity, and our ego. Only then, when we have submitted ourselves, can we fully be filled with the fullness and majesty of his love.
I ask each and every one of you reading this to consider this question honestly…
What is keeping you from being filled with God’s love? And, why are you still refusing to accept His love?
Until next time…God bless
When I gave my life back to God by truly accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, I began to get a hunger that I have never had before. A hunger for knowledge, for the Word of God, and I began to read things and, I think for the first time in my life, began to get an understanding of the Word. Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not a minister, a theologian, or work in any church. I am just a man who wanted to share his thoughts. You may or may not agree, and that’s ok. I would urge each and every one of you to pray, and hear the truth in your heart for yourselves.
As I said, I am not a scholar, but I began to re-read some of the Scriptures that I read when I was a young boy. I grew up in a church in central Florida (Bethel Church of God in Bartow, Florida), I performed in all the children’s plays, and sang in the choir until I left the church to join the Air Force out of high school. I had exposure to it all, but I left it behind as I “lived life.” Sure, I remembered some of the Scriptures, and foolishly told myself that I was living a “good” life and that was all I needed to be a Christian.
Thank God for correcting that misconception.
As I said, I began to re-read some of those Scriptures. As I did, I began to see things in a light that I never saw them in before. I would like to share one of those with you now. Most of us can recite it by heart. But have you really stopped to think about what it means? I mean…really think? I am going to list it, verse by verse, and tell you what I started really thinking about.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
That seemed pretty straightforward, or so I thought. The Lord is my shepherd. The shepherd cared for his flock, and the Lord cares for us. Yep…pretty straightforward. I shall not want. Want. Want? That word just stuck with me. I began to think about its meaning. To want. In today’s society, when we say we “want”, what we are really saying is that we desire something. We want (desire) a new job, a new car, etc. But in truth, the meaning of to want is more in line with a need. I have heard the phrase “He doesn’t want for anything.” I knew it meant that the person being referred to had everything they needed. So, now I understood the verse to mean that He (God) is my caretaker. I am not going to need anything, because he will take care of it.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Wow. My shepherd is really making sure that I have no worry for (spiritual) illness or injury. Green pastures. He is providing me with the food that I need to make sure that I stay healthy. Still waters. I don’t have to worry about being swept away by a rushing river, because he only takes me to the calm waters.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
God is really taking care of me. He is giving me a peace in my soul that I have never felt. There is a calm within me now. I am truly restored. He is guiding me along my life. By keeping me on the “right” path, I bring honor to His name, and shine brightly so that other’s might see His glory.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Finally, I understood this! The psalmist David could not have known it, because it had not been written by Paul yet. According to Paul, the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). So, this valley he writes about is this world we live in. Since death is the result of sin, the shadow of death would be the permeating presence of sin. The shepherd’s rod and his staff were designed so that the sheep could always locate the shepherd if they were farther away, and that the sheep would know which way to go, knowing where their protection was. So, if I interpret it that way, then what David is saying is that “Although I am walking through this world with the shadow of sin all around, I am not worried. He is with me, I can always see him, and my soul can be content knowing he is there”
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Now, why would David say that? God preparing a table before him in the presence of his enemies? Why would he do that? Then I started thinking…again. Uh oh. I know that in the Old Testament, people were anointed when being designated as a high priest, or a similar office. Then I thought, through the blood of Christ, who sacrificed himself for us, we Christians became anointed. And yes, it is in the presence of our enemies. There are so many groups that would love nothing more than to see the Christians eliminated from the face of the earth. But through the anointing of God, through the sacrifice of His son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we have been elevated. We have been given the greatest gift that was ever offered, and ever could be. Because of our anointing as children of God, our cups do run over, full of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; full of the grace and mercy of God; overflowing with His love.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
What a promise! What a reward! Praise his Holy name!
To all of you that read this, I pray that something in here touches you. Feast upon the Word of God. Read it not just with your eyes, but with your heart. Allow it to fill you up. Let His love grow within you. Then walk through that “valley”, and fear not. For He is truly with us.