Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 1:18’

paintingMy mother can paint a decent picture. Me? I understand things like perspective and lighting, but only through a camera lens.

Still, I’ve been painting a metaphorical picture for many years now. And often, I didn’t even know it.

My “paint and brushes” are selfishness, willful ignorance, irrational anger, ignoring the needs of others, and self-centred greed.

Each is just a smudge of color on a canvas. But after all these years, those smudges have created a large and unappealing picture of someone who, time and time again, falls short of who I’m meant to be and misses the mark of what I should be aiming at.

How can I fix this painting? Especially when I keep adding to it like a drunken shopaholic with a fistful of credit cards?

The answer is simple: no matter how hard I try, no matter how many self-help books I read and no matter how many reruns of Oprah “fix up your life” episodes I watch, I can’t.

But there is a solution, once I figured out who can help me. It’s God who created me (and you), who put all sorts of gifts inside me (and you), who knows the kind of person you and I can be and the sorts of things we can accomplish.

God also knows every smudge I’ve put on that painting and every smudge you’ve put on yours. And He’s the one who offers the simple, life-changing solution: a guy named Jesus. He turned the ancient world on its head with offensive ideas like loving your enemies, forgiving someone who hurts you or your loved ones, and having a real, day-to-day relationship with God.

When the Roman authorities of his day put Jesus to death, they didn’t know they were also making a way for everyone who believes in Jesus to have their lives turned around. His death was the payment I didn’t have to make to have my ugly painting turned into white, clean canvas.

Want some evidence? I found it the words passed along to us through an ancient prophet: “Though your sins are like scarlet, I [God] will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

Just as important as making payment, Jesus’s death—and His resurrection, described by several ancient Jesus biographies—opened the door to eternal life with God for all who believe in Jesus. When my days on this earth are finished, it’s just the end of the opening credits; the glorious 3-D Imax movie hasn’t even begun yet.

Anyone can have this. No matter how big and ugly your painting is, by accepting and believing in what Jesus did, you can have a brand-new canvas that God can use to create a picture of love, grace and new life. So, why not put your paint brushes aside and join me?

Read Full Post »

SnowFranksCottageThere’s nothing like a blanket of fresh snow to get the nature photographer in me excited.

That snow creates endless picture opportunities because it covers up all manner of unappealing features (a majority of them man-made, I’ve found) that ruin otherwise good photo subjects.

Covered with snow, they disappear and landscapes are transformed into smooth, white wonders that dazzle even the most cynical, unartistic eye. I’ve come to realize this reality is also a metaphor for our lives.

My less appealing characteristics – pride, jealousy, selfishness, lack of communication (I’m sure you can name a few that apply to you) – are like ugly piles of smelly garbage on a pristine landscape.

So what is the ‘snow’ that covers them up? It’s nothing you or I can provide, no matter how long and hard we try. But consider this quote written by an ancient prophet: “Even if your sins are as dark as red dye, that stain can be removed and you will be as pure as wool that is as white as snow.”

That’s a pretty important statement because it tells me that God, my creator, can undo everything I’ve done to ruin the landscape of my life. He has a standing offer to transform the ugly parts of all our lives – the bad things we’ve done and the good things we’ve failed to do – through Jesus of Nazareth, an amazing guy who many people believe is His Son.

Jesus paid the price to have ugly parts of our lives removed from God’s sight through His death and resurrection. He’s the snow that transforms our landscapes and God offers Him to every person on this planet because God knows us better than we know ourselves. And He knows we can’t fix things on our own.

Want evidence? Then how about these words from one of Jesus’s earliest and most influential followers: “There is only one God, and there is only one way that people can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who as a man gave himself to pay for everyone to be free.”

So, how is your landscape looking today? Like it or not, I’ll bet it needs some cleaning up and I’ll bet you haven’t been able to do that. So, is it time you checked out God’s offer to do it for you? Post your answer below and let’s have a conversation.

Read Full Post »