By Jarrod Spencer -
Most of you have probably heard for the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” It is a song that I have sung for as long as I can remember. The main verse that is sung mentions that whether you are “red, or yellow, black or white, [children] are precious in His sight.” We normally associate this with the color of one’s skin, to which it doesn’t matter, because Jesus loves all.
I want to take the concept of color into a little bit different direction. We all are a different color and together we make an awesome looking rainbow array of colors in this world.
We all have different skills, talents, favorites, desires, passions, education background, family background, and the list could go on. This brings us to this week’s quote:
The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow. Take your own color in the pattern and be just that. – Charles R. Brown
If you’ve never had the chance to ‘break light’ with a prism, it is really a pretty cool thing to see. What seems like just ‘light’ becomes red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Plus, there are variations of each one. There are more intense colors within a color and more dull colors within a color.
Our world is much the same way. The light will come down and be broken up into all of us. People made up of all types of talents, passions, desires, goals, etc.
We are not all administratively minded.
We are not all passive.
We are not all OCD.
We are not all parents.
We are not all CEOs.
We are not all miners.
We are not all artists.
We are not all musicians.
…get the point?
You are a person of color. Not pertaining to the color of your skin, but to what you are ‘composed’ of, inside. Sometimes you’ve been molded to become a certain color, people may have encouraged you to pursue something that you wouldn’t have tried, so they helped you become the color you are.
Appreciate whatever color you are…whether you are red, or yellow, black or white, you are still “precious in His sight” and your color is who you are.
And who you are is awesome!
Enjoying my ‘color’!
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created” (James 1:18 NIV).
By Jarrod Spencer -
2013 is upon us. Did you resolve to do anything this year? How is that going? Of course, we’re only a few days into the year, so hopefully you haven’t lost any “battles” with your resolve thus far.
I didn’t make a resolution, just a goal to read through the Bible with a “One Year Bible.” It has been going well.
I came across this quote at the end of last year and thought it may be a good “resolve” for some to think about in 2013. It focuses on how to have a happy year and also how to create one for others.
With that said, let’s look at this poem from Edgar Guest…
A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
- Edgar Guest
So often we think about how we can create a New Year’s resolution that will benefit ourselves. This poem suggests that when we go about the year let’s not just think of ourselves, but think of others.
How will you benefit others?
PRAYER: Dear God, Show me how to touch Your world in 2013.
By Janet Morris Grimes -
Cap’n Crunch and the Cereal Killers. The Dead Sea Squirrels. The Band Formerly Known as Sausage. The Dukes of Hazardous Material. Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program. Guitarantula. Shirley Temple of Doom. Vampire State Building. Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of Death. Amputatoe. Pooper Scooper of Love. Chronic Halitosis. Stuck Zippers. Gopher’s Bow Tie. Intellivisionairies. Elizabeth Taylor’s Husbands. Hockey Teeth. People With Chairs Up Their Noses. Pontius Co-Pilot.
These are all actual names of actual bands. Music groups. But I wonder what type of music they might offer.
I marvel at the creativity, the sense of humor, and the way a name can tell you nothing about what you might get if you open up the package to hear more. Am I likely to be moved by a song from the Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of Death or the Shirley Temple of Doom? Do the Dead Sea Squirrels have anything inspirational to offer me? Do I want to be a part of the Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program?
There are many times I hear a song on the radio for the first time and think, “Wow! I wish I had written that.”
Whether I love the music or not, I love the creative process and am drawn to it when I detect it in others. I may never hear a song by the Intellivisionairies or Guitarantula, but I am already impressed by them because of the cleverness of their chosen names.
Our God is the Creator of all things. He used color and scents and tastes to develop a beautiful and harmonious world. He stretched the neck of the giraffe and squished in the nose of the Pug for reasons only He will understand. He demonstrates a marvelous sense of humor and continues to create on a second by second basis.
I believe He created us to do the same, by sharing those same creative genes with us. Or is it creative jeans?
Regardless, I applaud those who find a way to do it. I may never be a fan of the music from The Band Formerly Known as Sausage or Pontius Co-Pilot, but I am a fan of the One who created them.
Because creating is one of the most worshipful things we can do, to lay our gifts, whatever they happen to be, at His feet.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for creating us to be creative. Use our talents to point others toward You.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).
By Cynthia Ruchti –
I remember more than once hearing my mother comment on some childish prank with the words, “Be careful. That’s going to leave a mark.”
She may have been talking about slipping the old fashioned kind of clothespins—someone does remember clothespins, right?—over our noses. Or she may have been referring to the practice of grabbing a sibling’s wrist with both hands and twisting in opposite directions. “Snake bite!” Followed by hysterical laughter and a chase scene.
“Be careful. That’s going to leave a mark.”
One of my sons, who shall remain anonymous, stuck a suction cup to his forehead the day before school pictures. Left a mark.
I wonder how many moms peer through a tattoo parlor window at their teen son or daughter and think that thought.
The phrase resonates today in a different way for me. What if I focused even more attention this year on making my life one of worship, worshiping the Lord every chance I get, in every circumstance, no matter the situation or how difficult it is, and for even the smallest moment of joy? What if…?
What if I determined to weave worship into every life experience in a more intentional way than I already do? What if I gave voice to the praise in my heart more often?
That’s going to leave a mark.
It’s bound to leave a mark on my life.
What a beautiful, invisible tattoo it would be if this new year were marked as a year of worship, if my life were one continuous stream of ceaseless praise to the God who made me, the God who planned out my days, the God who already knows what this year will hold, the One who sustains me through it all!
Ceaseless praise. That’s going to leave a mark.
PRAYER: Even though I know others will be watching, Lord, this is really between You and me. Hold me to this course, I pray! Hold me to the commitment to make worship a re-MARK-able part of this new year.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise for our God. Many people will learn of this and be amazed; they will trust the Lord” (Psalm 40:3 CEB).
By Carin LeRoy -
Recently my neighbor knew a family who had a fire in their house, and she asked if my husband had a spare pair of shoes she could take to the husband. We remembered a pair of casual nice leather shoes that didn’t fit my husband that were never used. They were sitting in the closet gathering dust, so I gave her the pair. My neighbor was grateful, and I felt good they were going to someone in need. As I thought about those shoes, I began to think that giving those was not a sacrifice because we couldn’t use them anyway.
How much do we sacrifice for others? As Christians, we go to church most Sundays, give our tithe, attend small group, maybe give a gift to a missionary and fill our lives with good and honorable things. But these things are not sacrifice. Mothers forgo a career to raise their children; fathers give up comfort and peace to work hard and support their family; and parents forfeit their desires for their children’s needs. These are ways we sacrifice for family.
When we are self-absorbed, we focus on our own needs and desires and are not willing to give for the sake of others. Many marriages fall apart because one or both partners refuse to compromise or meet the needs of the other. Sacrifice means we are willing to deny ourselves in order to bless others or to bless God. We relinquish for the benefit of another.
I think of a missionary pilot and friend who flew a small single-engine plane for years helping others. He flew into isolated areas taking in supplies and food, carrying out those needing medical care and making sure that he was meeting the needs of those in his area. His work cost him his life one day as his plane crashed into the side of a mountain after encountering bad weather. He sacrificed for others.
Do we live a life of sacrifice? Or are we self-absorbed? Christ is our ultimate example. In Scripture we read in Philippians that “Christ made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant.” Why? Because He knew that living in obedience to God’s will was worth the sacrifice of his own life—even death on a cross. Out of His great love, Christ left all the glories of heaven and His deserved place beside His father to sacrifice His life for us.
As we move into this new year, let’s remember that a life of obedience and a willingness to sacrifice is the truest form of worship.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Your great sacrifice and willingness to come to earth and die for my sins. Keep me mindful that a life of true worship stems from a life of obedience and sacrifice.
“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow– in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11 NET).