Thursday, November 9, 2017

Beauty or Blooming

I was recently tagged in one of those social media crazes, this one asks you to post pictures of your life. "Seven days, seven black and white photos of your everyday life. No explanation, no people, challenge a friend each day." Sounds fun, I'll play along. Coming up with something to take a picture of is the easy part, not giving an explanation, well that's another thing. The first day I posted a picture of the campfire we enjoyed after taking care of some of your leaves. Today is the second day and I just can't post the picture without sharing the conversation that surrounded it.

a message about beauty from Ephesians
Black & White Photo Day 2 of 7

There are two hibiscus trees trees in the foyer of our church. Each has its own window for sunlight, they are planted in matching pots and they receive the same care, however, they are starkly different in appearance.

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The first tree is tall, round, full of lush green leaves and seldom flowers. The second tree is shorter, misshapen, sparse, has yellowed leaves and blooms often.

While chatting after Bible study today, Sue says, "Oh! I see that tree finally has a flower on it!" Pointing at the second tree she said, "That one over there doesn't look very pretty because it puts all of its energy into blossoming."

Connie reiterates, "I like how you put that, 'It doesn't look very pretty because it puts all of its energy into blossoming.'"

Let that one soak in for a minute.
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For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)
The first tree spends all of its energy making beautiful foliage. It puts on a beautiful facade but only seldom flowers. It makes me wonder where I put the bulk of my efforts, and where you put your efforts? Do we spend our time making life look 'just right', like the world says we should? Do we seek outward beauty? Do we try to drive this car, wear that size, own that big house, take those elaborate vacations, __________, ____________, ___________? ...only to produce an occasional 'flower' for Jesus?

The second tree spends all of its energy making blossoms. It doesn't worry about looking pretty, just creating those big beautiful flowers for others to enjoy (lots of them). And I again wonder how do I bring joy to others, how do I lift them up and encourage them? And, how do you? Are we actively engaging with people (Christians and Non-Christians)? Are working on inward beauty for our selves and others? Are we building them up and encouraging them? Do we embrace the joys of our unique spiritual gifts?

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Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:22-24, ESV)

Let's get ugly in our worldly lives; let us not concern ourselves with what the world expects. Let's focus our efforts on what God is calling us to do. Let's not let the evil one steal, kill and destroy; Let's have life, and have it to the full. 

Let's life lives in FULL BLOOM for Jesus.

**Inspirations taken from my friends at Cottonwood Church and The Armor of God Study by Priscilla Shirer**