June 30, 2014

Glory Bearers

Glory Bearers

In the beginning, God created bright, brilliant light. A sun that would warm and dancing around it planets--Earth. He created an expanse of stars--heavenly bodies which would sparkle like glitter; which would later guide mankind to new territories of beauty to discover. In the beginning, God created bodies of water and beaches that would house seashells and tiny creatures to be hunted down by barefooted children as valuable treasures housed in old jars to take out later and remember the thrill of the seeking. In the beginning, God created valleys filled with wildflowers colored with hues artists would try to mimic in their mirroring works. Mountains to climb that would leave us in awe and fear at the summit. Oceans to sail through, lakes to plunge into by a rope hung on a nearby tree, rivers to skip rocks on.  

He creates entire kingdoms of animals and vegetation; carves and forms the earth. He went and created a universe above and beyond us so vast we cannot even begin to comprehend where it may end... if it even does. God looks upon it declaring it good, but then He says something utterly remarkable: "Let us make man in our image and likeness."

So God creates Adam from the dust of the earth. Adam--a man of strength, valor, and virtue; Adam--made in His image and likeness. And from Adam, God fashioned Eve in His own image and likeness. Eve was beautiful in every sense. She was a woman of strength, valor, and virtue in her own right as well; a crown for Adam's life after God. Together they became one flesh and the first to ever covenant in marriage. Together they were to steward this new creation; Adam would lead, Eve would help. Together they displayed and encompassed the glory of the Trinity: God, Son, Holy Ghost. In this they were perfect, life was perfect, earth and everything about it was perfect; all was perfect and harmonious in the universe.

Of course, anyone who's read beyond Genesis three knows that this utopia does not last long, and it all becomes fractured, laced with death--sin. And God the father promises to undo all this wickedness that was done in the hands of mankind. At the appointed time He sends a Savior, Jesus Christ, to rescue, redeem, reconcile, and heal everything. It's the greatest thing to ever happen in the whole of history. This work on the cross is life changing in every way, and even now He is making a path back to Eden which those who call themselves Christians will one day go home to. 

I've glossed over and condensed a great deal here. But there's something else here you and I gloss over and try to condense on a very daily basis; we often don't even think about it: We were made in the image and likeness of God, made in the Imago Dei.

After the fall this still remained. It cannot, in fact, be undone for the human. Regardless of size, age, background, motivations, what we say, do, or think... every single human being is made in the Imago Dei. Don't misunderstand: This side of heaven we're depraved, sinful, and imperfect. We still can't do anything value apart from Christ. But the sheer fact that all humans are image bearers speaks massive volumes of the capacity each individual carries within them.

We each hold the capacity to sub-create through all the various crafts and materials. We've created incredible things over the course of history: whole movements with our words and actions, architecture and works of art, forged families and friendships, safe havens, and berry pies. I could go on and one, but you get the idea. Even minute things seem so large when we sit and dwell on all the intricacies that are in place there.

There is absolutely nothing ordinary, nor plain about this life or a single human being. Nothing coincidental. All the memories and moments that make up a lifetime for one person are monumental in themselves.

As image bearers of this great God we were meant to hold and shine the glory of Him for all of those around us to witness in a million different, messy, beautiful, profound ways.

And sometimes I shudder by just how unmoved we seem to be over this, especially those of us who call ourselves Christians. Are we not the ones to see the Imago Dei in everyone, even in those who are not yet followers of the one, true God? We're supposed to be the hands and feet God uses to awaken those around us to this truth: That there's a God who made you, loves you so much that he sent His only son, Jesus, to free you. And that being made in His likeness means that in His leading and guiding, you have such a great capacity to shine His glory!

See, sometimes the best and most powerful evangelism tool you have is this: Living your life fully awakened to the beauty, brilliance, and love of Christ.

When people encounter that, in many ways it sells itself. Jesus can sell and defend himself.

Christian brother or sister, you don't have to scream, you don't have to defend, you don't have to fight and throw blows. You just have to live awakened to Christ. You just have to let Him love, heal, and use you, because that's how He in turn loves, heals, and then uses others. You have to let God be glorified in your life (which is far more like living poetry than anything else in this world), because that's how He awaken others that they were made for glory themselves as well.

June 12, 2014

Home Behind The Sun

Home Behind the Sun Book Review
The sweetest things in all my life has been the longing... to find the place where all the beauty came from. ~C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
Written in the vain of Ann Voskamp and C.S. Lewis (a rich, poetic deepness), Home Behind the Sun: Connect with God in the Brilliance of the Everyday is a beautiful collection of exposés that explore seeking and admiring the beauty in our everyday lives, as well as in one another. As image bearers, we were created and designed as vessels to hold God's glory. This is what makes us what Willard and Locy call 'brilliance makers.' It's such a weighty truth that so often we forget in the daily activities of our lives. But, throughout the book, the authors beckon us to stop and see God's glory all around us, because life through these lenses is anything but mundane or ordinary. Life is a messy, beautiful, divine adventure to be had and enjoyed.

Home Behind the Sun hinges itself on these glory truths but then takes the reader on a journey to see what it actually looks like in the life of the author's everyday lives, with the hope that the reader themselves would start to see all the glory God wants to shine in their own. As a lover of poetry and literature, I enjoyed having tidbits of the likes of Lewis, Longfellow, and Flannery O'Connor painted into the work. Really, one could pick up and read any chapter they wished at the moment; no need to read in the regular linear fashion. Reading the words in this book was like opening a window to let warm sun rays in to shine. It's a book I will keep out to pick up whenever I need reminding of how extraordinary all of life, from the big to the minuscule, truly is when I start to gaze at it as God would.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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