Sunday, November 21, 2010

Butterfly Praise

Butterflies are fantastic; beautiful, graceful, and captivating.

We are surrounded by butterflies during the spring, summer, and fall. They change from a caterpillar to a chrysalis and emerge with wings, flying high out of our reach. They visit our gardens, landing on plants just a few feet away, and drink nectar from flowers. We can't help but stop to give God the glory for these beautiful creatures.
Just like when I'm with butterflies, I find that after I've been talking to certain people in my life, I find myself often thanking and/or praising God because of them.
Watching butterflies causes me to praise God. Thinking of others often causes me to praise God. I have to ask myself if I live my life in a manner to cause others to praise God because of me. Does anyone ever leave my presence giving praise to God because of what I am?

• Have I made someone’s life easier today?

• Have I helped someone who is going through a difficult time?

• Have I been a blessing to someone?

I should start my day by asking God to make me a blessing to someone else and for my life to bring praise to him.

Galatians 1:24

"And they praised God because of me."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hidden Beauty

Hidden beauty is all around us.  Things that we consider drab are quite often actually stunningly beautiful.  We just don't look at the whole picture.

The Great Leopard Moth is one example.  When this moth is sitting still, it's a simple white and black moth. 

But when the wings are moved to the side, bright sunlight reveals an iridescent metallic blue on the topside of its abdomen. This blue is rarely visible. The brilliant blue stays hidden under the wings.
Another moth with hidden surprises is the Io moth. When resting during the day or at night, it's a rust or yellow colored moth, depending upon whether it is a male or female.

When the upper wings are moved to the side, its large eye spots are visible.

The rust colored moth is a female. The yellow moth is a male.
The male Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly is a drab dark black butterfly until it is seen in bright light.  The light refraction reveals a bright metallic blue color that is absolutely beautiful.

This hidden beauty makes me wonder about other people.  Am I missing some of the ‘beauties’ of life by looking only from one angle or only in certain lights?  Some people show their real beauty when times get rough.  Some show their beauty when someone is in need.  At unexpected times, people show their beauty in different and unexpected ways.

There are those who value outward beauty and later find that inward beauty is more important. Most of us fall into this group of people. We learn about real beauty when we are purchasing a sofa (beautiful but uncomfortable), a house (gorgeous but drafty and with bugs), or meeting a person (beautiful/handsome but has a nasty nature).

So what is beauty?

The greatest beauty in this world is Jesus. But in person, he was not beautiful. Man's renderings in ink, charcoal, paint, and every other media illustrates Jesus as a fairly to very good-looking man. Yet according to Isaiah 52:2 he was not a good-looking man. "... there is no beauty that we should desire him".

The real beauty of Jesus was not that of facial features of physical form. His real beauty was his love for his Father and for us; mankind. Real beauty is God's love.

It's the manifestation of God's love in people that is valued the most in difficult times. When things are going good, we may want to be around the things that are more visibly beautiful. But when rough times hit, we want the true beauty of the actions of love in our lives.

What actions?
  • bringing a meal when we're unable to cook
  • paying our bills when we're unable to work
  • holding our hands when they're empty because a loved one was taken from us
  • praying for us when we're in need
  • spending time with us when we're lonely
  • picking up our prescriptions when we're unable to drive
  • caring for our loved ones when we are unable to do so
  • sometimes it is simply holding a door open for us with a smile and a 'good morning'
  • (the list is as endless as the needs of mankind)
After appreciating the beauty of God's love, we should first focus on obtaining the true inward beauty of that love within ourselves.  Second, we should focus on appreciating the other real beauty around us, the beauty inside our fellow man.

Isaiah 52:2
... there is no beauty that we should desire him.