You know where I am going with this. You know that I begin each morning in my sanctuary where I focus on scripture, devotionals, and my angels.
I have a collection of these wonderful angels. Most were given to me as gifts from dear friends. Each has a story to tell – each reminds me of someone special. Some have wings, others do not. I focus on their message. “Lift someone up today.” “Let the Chains of Love bind you to others.”
It was my first devo today that caused me to choose the word FOCUS as my focus.
Then each scripture I read – and each of the other devotionals seemed to reinforce those thoughts until I got to the last one for the morning. It was in a book titled, “Ever Faithful” by David Jeremiah.
And what do you think the title for today is? “Clouded Vision”
And the scripture for today?
1 Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.”
The story accompanying the title and scripture could not have been more perfect! (Thank you, David Jeremiah, for this!)
Have a great weekend, my friends. I am off to clean my windows. I need to see the world around me more clearly. How about you?
Windows to the Soul That’s what your eyes have been called May I look deeply?
I want to see you Know you at your heart’s level Open your windows
Seek and you will find But what are you looking for? Look into my soul!
Every week I have the privilege of doing a Bible Study with a few of my favorite residents at the Madison Valley Manor, our local nursing home.
We spoke about the importance of EYES, SEEING, FOCUS, UNDERSTANDING.
The lesson from In Touch, daily reading for devoted living, was based on Gen. 25:19-34. The title was “Spiritual Shortsightedness.“
The lesson demonstrated how focus on the temporal rather than the eternal can cause us to make decisions based on today’s desires or needs without considering tomorrow’s consequences. Notice the focus here:
This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son, Isaac, his wife Rebekah, and their twin boys, Esau and Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
The consequence of Esau’s shortsightedness was disastrous for him. If what we choose to focus on is temporal and selfish, our lives can be turned upside-down, too. What are you looking at? What are you looking for?
My friends at the nursing home and I interspersed music with our Bible reading and sharing. I played my accordion. They sang along. Do you know this one?
“Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus, To reach out and touch Him And say that I love Him. Open my ears Lord, And teach me to listen. Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus.”
When I look deeply Into your open windows Will I see pureness?
When looking at me Seeing into my soul’s depths Do you see the Lord?
He lives inside me He helps me practice restraint Who lives in your soul?
Open your eyes, Friend Let me see into your heart I know I’ll find love!
See ya tomorrow (God willing) Thanks for visiting JanBeek I send you love from my soul’s depth.
Proverbs is a wonderful book of wisdom. Have you read it clear through? I read one chapter in it everyday. It has 31 chapters. This month I’ll read three chapters on the 29th. We don’t have a 30 or 31 in February! Then on March 1st I will start over again, but with a different translation. I find the various translations help me gather new and deeper meanings.
Today’s chapter 27 verse 19 is a perfect example of the way different translations can add different nuances:
The Message paraphrased version by Eugene Peterson
“Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.”
The NIV (New International Version)
“As water reflects a face, so man’s heart reflects the man.”
KJV King James Version
“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.”
Each of those passages refers to the way a person’s heart reflects to that person (and maybe to others) who that person really is. Right? But, when I went to the CS Lewis Bibleparaphrased, I found this translation:
“Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another.”
To me that CS Lewis version says it is not just a matter of looking at the way our heart reflects to ourselves who we really are … and can be seen in our facial expressions… but it also says our “heart-scape” influences how we see others.
We see others through our own heart content and our own heart lenses. We may be blind to who they really are, like this girl on a branch is blind to her own reflection. We often don’t see ourselves as others see us. And we don’t see others as they intend to be seen.
Does your face mirror your heart? Or are there cracks in the space between your heart mirror and your face?
Do you see others through a lens of love, or is your heart-scape distorting what you see?
How Do I See Thee and Me?
Do I see thee through a clear lens, a pure heart, a heart of love and compassion?
Ask yourself: Do I see Me the same way? Do I see myself as God sees me? His redeemed, forgiven, beloved child? Am I gentle with myself? Am I open and positive? Do I see the positivity in others?
I see thee dearly. I see me clearly. We are not merely clones; we are beloved, unique children of God.
I love you! Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. Have a blessed day!
It did not occur to me until yesterday that the decade to come, the 2020s, lends itself so perfectly to the idea of CLARITY. When you have 20/20 vision, you have CLARITY. You have perfect eyesight.
The message at the “Jesus Culture” church in Folsom Sunday was delivered by a dynamic young woman named, Debra Giles, whose topic , “Every Word,” was all about looking into scripture, and looking at ourselves, and looking toward the future with Clarity.
20/20 VISION (12-29-19 sermon notes)
This is the end of The fuzzy and mean teens decade. This is the beginning of 20/20 Clarity. You are made In God’s image and you’ll see Clearly in these next ten years. You are made in God’s image, And you will hear through 20/20 ears. You are made in God’s image And this is the decade to say What is in your heart. Speak clearly from your 20/20 heart today. Speak, hear, and see with Clarity.
20/20 Clear Vision or Blurry?
As you welcome this new year, this decade of the 2020s, are you wiping the clouds from your life? Are you sweeping the fuzzy deterrents from your path? Are you putting away the distractions that keep you from moving forward with clarity? Have you decided what those things are?
Looking Clearly Forward and Backward
I am looking through 20/20 lenses at the freshness of this new day. I am looking at opportunities with clear anticipation. I am taking a backward glance at the things we have given away… and am grateful for the love and joy those things are bringing to others.
An example of such a thing given away is the little red Porsche that Bob & I used as our only means of transportation when we were first married. It is definitely a California car and I can see with clarity that it belongs here, with our son, Ty, and not parked in a garage in Montana because the dirt roads and snow-covered terrain are not conducive to safety for its low-slung frame. Our son loves it… and is taking such good care of it. Clearly, it belongs here!
With clear vision, I am looking forward to a future filled with new joys, new opportunities, and new friends. I see our church growing in love and filled with the Holy Spirit. I see our neighborhood enhanced by new (and old) friends building new homes and moving into our “hood” with their uniqueness and their hospitality a welcomed addition.
Happy New Year
It’s New Years Day, and many people are creating their list of New Year’s Resolutions. Can you see with clarity what your 2020 commitments need to be?
We were asked at dinner last night what our plans for the new year are. What are our commitments/resolutions? We went around the table. My grand-son-inlaw, Kyle, had a wonderful, impressive list. I commend him for his 20/20 vision of what he hopes to accomplish. When it came my turn, I said, “Walk the Talk” – – – see why?
What is your 20/20 Vision?
Have a wonderful January 1st – and do “Walk the Talk!”
Forgiveness is a two-way street. Not only do we need to forgive others, but we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes that is much harder than forgiving others.
So, as this decade of 2010 to 2019 ends, commit your heart to forgiveness. Let go of any hurts from others. Tell them so. And let go of those regrets that creep into your heart and cause you to scold yourself.
None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all say things and do things and think things that we regret afterward. Forgive yourself … and move on!
Let those mistakes (sometimes intentionally placed in our lives … so not mistakes at all) be building blocks toward a better you! With 20/20 CLARITY, let this new decade be a time of strength and sincerity, compassion and courage, challenge and change, faith and fearlessness.
Know in the midst of life’s struggles that you are never alone. In my devotional this morning, I am reminded of God’s love for me and His changelessness with Ps. 59:10
It is our fluctuating emotions that cause us to ask for forgiveness and then take back the guilt that God has taken from us. We try to forgive, but we remember. We remember our own wrongs. We suffer the wrongs others have inflicted on us, carrying them in our hearts long after we think we have given them to God. The devo from Guideposts for today tells me, “Stop that!”
Accept His forgiveness. Acknowledge His death that took away our sins. Know His changeless love and His unconditional acceptance of us. And pray with me the prayer Rebecca Barlow Jordan wrote as our “Faith Step” for today in the last entry of Daily Guideposts 2019:
“This coming year, as I confess any wrong things in my heart to Jesus, (either my own wrongs or those inflicted on me by others), remind me to thank Him for His changeless love and acceptance. (And help me imitate His unconditional love as I interact with others… and with myself.
My blog, “Loving One Another” is all about how to love, encourage, and inspire one another. Cristian Mihai of “The Art of Blogging” says we need to be able to express in 6 words or less why we blog and what we blog about.
I answered his query saying, “I spread love and inspiration daily.” That’s six words.
I augmented my answer by adding, “I plan to inspire, inform, entertain, and encourage.”
If we want to shine, to inspire and encourage others, to be unconditional, effective lovers, are there some tips we need to keep in mind?
Yes, I believe there are habits that lovers of people, lovers of animals, lovers of nature and of God, need to develop. I think they include these SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE LOVERS:
1. Listening with Intent
Effective lovers perk up their ears and really hear the voices, the sounds, the cries and laughter, the heart of everything around them.
2. Seeing non-judgmentally
Effective lovers look for the best in others. They see what they’re looking for. They see the person, animal or object as the Creator intended them/it to be. They imagine perfection, wholeness, beauty. They bring out the love that’s embedded in what they see.
3. Feeling with Compassion& Empathy
Effective lovers feel what others are feeling. They are compassionate and empathetic … not sympathetic. They don’t look at someone or something and say, “Oh, I feel so sorry for you/it.” They try to put themselves in the others’ shoes. They look for solutions. They offer real help. They fertilize the dying bush or bring the parched animal a drink.
4. Reaching Out
Effective lovers extend a helping hand without being asked. Their “feelers” are out looking for ways to help. They have a servant’s heart.
5. Taking Time
A habit effective lovers develop is the act of taking time for others. Whether it is visiting a friend who’s sick, caring for a pet while its owner is away, watering a garden, going to a nursing home, building a birdhouse or helping to complete a project, the effective lover is ever ready.
Knowing your own power is limited, knowing we’re all imperfect mortals who need divine guidance, effective lovers pray for others, pray for world peace, pray for endangered species and help in times of disasters and seemingly insurmountable struggles. Effective lovers reach for help beyond themselves.
We know our own limitations, and we know our own weaknesses. We know we do not always exhibit the kindness, patience and gentleness that effective lovers need. So, we ask for divine guidance and help from the One who strengthens us.
Effective lovers have staying power. They are tenacious. They are in it for the long haul. They are not quick to let go. Instead, they continue to love through thick and thin.
Like this beautiful spider web that is covered with snow, but hanging on for dear life as the wind howls outside my sanctuary, this web has a job to do. It will capture any insects that survive the storm … it will provide food for the spider that created it. It hangs on and fulfills its given purpose.
Being an Effective Lover involves listening, seeing, feeling, reaching, taking time, praying, and being tenacious… and it’s worth all that effort because you know:
“What you bring into the lives of others comes back into your own.”
Do you agree with these 7 habits or qualities for “Effective Lovers”? Do you have others you might add?