Keeping My Eyes on Jesus

I was perusing a social network I belong to and I was curious what one of my friends was up to, so I decided to look them up by name. In a hurried, distracted way, I started typing, and realized I had typed ‘Jesus!’ Then a thought struck me… You may ask me, “Was it me?” or “Was it this person or that person?” and my answer would be, “It should be!” You see, the thought that struck me, was that we should see Jesus first when we think of, or see anyone! The blood of Jesus should wash away any preconceived notions or labels we have about a person, any person. We should view all people through the atonement of Christ’s death and resurrection. That is how God views all of us. He sent Jesus to wipe the slate clean. God offered everyone a fresh start through the blood of Jesus and we should do the same. It is not our responsibility to point out other people’s sin or shortcomings, the Holy Spirit does that. It is our responsibility to love them and accept them. We are to view them through the eyes of God. We are to see them with the new vision that we were given, when we accepted Christ as our Savior. We are to offer the perfect love that is extended to us.

God doesn’t look at us and see ‘sin’ ‘race’ ‘unlovable’ ‘addict’ ‘leper’ ‘sick’ ‘poor’ ‘heretic’ ‘nefarious’ or ‘reprobate.’ Instead He sees those he is calling back to Him, those he created.  He sees ‘purity’ ‘one race’ ‘loved’ ‘free’ ‘unblemished’ ‘whole’ ‘rich’ ‘faithful’ ‘humble’ and ‘pardoned.’

wm Lv DSC_0034

We are to look beyond their sin and see them in their original purpose that God intended for them, no less than he intended for us. When we hold ourselves up to be better than anyone, we are missing the mark of His perfect Love. Perfect Love looks beyond the perceived faults of others. 

When I recall the story of the crucifixion, I remember how the physical veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom and how it symbolized the breaking down of the barrier between God and man. Our ability to approach God became wide open! The partition between God and man was removed. Man didn’t remove it, God did. It was removed by Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. Another type of veil is removed through redemption… the veil of sin is removed from our eyes. The veil of sin skews our vision and by allowing it to be removed, we start to see with the vision of God. Our vision begins to become his vision and little by little, we get glimpses of the world as God intended us to see it, his original purpose. As we grow in maturity, our vision becomes clearer and more expansive, until those we see, are seen through the blood of Jesus. Their frailties, their perceived faults are not seen, their sins are not seen; instead, the chosen are seen, God’s people are seen, his creation is seen, those whom God loves are seen.

Who was I thinking of when I typed that name? Was I keeping my eyes on Jesus while I typed? I honestly believe it was just a distracted mistake, but it did cause me to pause long enough to think and write. Who do I think of when I speak with total strangers? Who do I think of when I call my friends or family members? Who do I envision? Do I see them or do I see Jesus? I need to remind myself to keep my eyes on the Jesus in them or the Jesus that died for them.

And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Romans 5:9-11

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:13-14

Seasons and Senses

Oh to be like…

A floating Autumn leaf…

Windswept with the breeze,

Gliding gracefully through the world.

A lacy wintry snowflake…

Softly caressing,

Touching everything with enchantment.

A Spring blossom…

Hued in pastels,

Delighting the eyes in love.

A cool Summer stream…

Gently babbling,

Quenching thirsts and refreshing souls.

Oh yes! I hope…

To whisper words of comfort,

So others might hear.

To touch with hands of healing,

So others might feel.

To imbue the colors of this world,

So others may see.

To provide water for the thirsty,

So others can taste.

But may I always be…

A gentle fragrance, an enticing aroma,

Of all the seasons and senses wrapped into one.

— Kimberly Alligood (8-2012)

Sensual Thanksgiving

As I ruminated this week on what I have to be thankful for, I was thanking God for my five senses; sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch. While I pondered on each sense, I began to think of how blessed I am. We take our senses for granted.

Without my vision, I could not be a photographer. I would never know the beauty surrounding me in a visual perception. I would not be able to see the glorious colors and the uniqueness of every plant, each person, every food, and the nature that I hold captive through my lens.

I also thought how monotonous eating and cooking would be without the sense of taste! I love to create in the kitchen, to blend savory spices and make wonderful culinary inventions. There is sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami! I particularly like the umami (savoriness) in home grown vine-ripened tomatoes! Whatever the flavor, the consumption of food would be rather humdrum without the sense of taste. My grandmother blessed me by teaching me the fundamentals of cooking. I’ve grown and expounded from the principles she shared.

How would I enjoy those palatable delicacies without a keen sense of smell? It is a glorious thing to walk in the kitchen and smell the aroma of apples and cinnamon baking. Then there’s the fresh scent of my grandkids after a bath, all cuddly and loving. Aromas elicit memories. I can open a bottle of talc my great-grandmother used to wear, which I have, and be flooded with a plethora of memories! Oh, how she would sing all the time or whistle! She was such a happy person.

I remember walks with her down the quarter-mile path to our house on a crisp autumn day. I loved the smell of our pecan orchard, a bonfire burning in the field, moist fall leaves exuding fragrance, and the perfume of the woodsy breeze which surrounded us. She would always have a song to sing and the thought of being able to hear her delightful melodies brings a smile to my face. I reveled in listening to her stories of how she grew up and the jokes she shared. How different my memories would be without having her voice to reflect back on. Often at this time of year, I think of the folk songs and hymns she sang and how they have enriched my life. She was white-haired, blue-eyed, ample-busted, slightly rotund, diminutive in height, and constantly smiling!  Furthermore, she was a very loving person who had to have a hug every time she saw you, even if it was just later in the same day. I relish those hugs from long ago and I try to pass them on to my grandkids.

To cuddle, to enjoy snuggling up with one of my grandkids sitting on my lap while I read them a bedtime story or sing them a lullaby is delectable! I miss the feeling of touch when I am separated from those I love. A hug from one of my kids or family can really brighten my day. I love walking hand in hand with my husband on our treks into the woods to hike or capture nature. To feel his hand touching mine and be comforted by the fact that he is near brings contentment to my heart. A gentle loving touch is so important! When we hug someone or touch their hand to let them know we care, we impart love.

   

Embrace the senses you are blessed with and Thank God for blessing you. May your Thanksgiving be a visible, delicious, aromatic, and euphonious caress of all your senses. If you lack any of the five senses, I pray that God blesses you more abundantly in those you do have. Relish that God made you Uniquely you! I wish I could share a hug or gentle touch with all who are reading this!

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; 
      you formed me in my mother’s womb. 
   I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! 
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made! 
      I worship in adoration—what a creation! 
   You know me inside and out, 
      you know every bone in my body; 
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, 
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something. 
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; 
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you, 
   The days of my life all prepared 
      before I’d even lived one day. Psalm 139:13-14