I recently spoke at a women’s retreat. The title of the retreat was “Reflections of God’s Beauty”.
I Peter 3:3-4 says; Don’t be concerned about outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
To have a gentle and quiet spirit, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Him our spirits are dead and our hearts are hard. He brings life to our spirit and gives us a new heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
So, if beauty comes from within, it has much to do with the condition of our heart.
Jerwmiah 29:13 says: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. When our hearts are filled with hurt, resentment, bitterness, and/or unforgiveness, it’s cluttered and we cannot seek God with all our hearts and are NOT able to be a true reflection of God’s Beauty.
So, what is in your heart today that you need to eliminate in order to reflect God’s Beauty? Maybe you have a need to forgive someone, repent from holding on to a sinful habit, or maybe you are withholding love from someone God has placed in your life that isn’t so easy to love. Be bold before the Lord today and pray: Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. Be a reflection of God’s beauty today.
Paul was speaking here of the things that might seem likely to separate a saint from the love of God. But the remarkable thing is that nothing can come between the love of God and a saint. The things Paul mentioned in this passage can and do disrupt the close fellowship of our soul with God and separate our natural life from Him. But none of them is able to come between the love of God and the soul of a saint on the spiritual level. The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that “in all these things we are more than conquerors.” We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.
Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against— tribulation, suffering, and persecution— are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
Taken frrom my Utmost for His Highest
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”…“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:3,6
After several months of discilping a women using the SALT marterial, she wrote this testimony that I would like to share.
Georgia’s Testimony (name has been changed)
“My entire life I thought I was a Christian. After all, I attended Sunday school, received a Bible, and took my first communion in the fifth grade. Even as a adult I was certain of my faith because of singing in the church choir, Bible study at church, reading the Bible, and praying at home. What a big “SHOCK” I had recently when I learned about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I had heard from believers about the “Peace” from God but hadn’t experienced it until after asking Jesus to come into my life. I repented from my sins and past behaviors and asked for His forgiveness. I’ve now made Him first in my life. I’ve been working with new “tools”, being discipled while going through the VCLi SALT series. It has given me wonderful knowledge to have a closer walk with our Lord Jesus. I’m now shouting with “JOY” on the inside and planning an outward expression of this joy with a baptism soon. I’m so blessed to be growing, changing, rejoicing, and loving our Savior and others. He saved me! I’m praying God will continue to show me His plan for my life. Praise the Lord!”
This Transforming Testimony is from a gal that I discipled:
A friend came into my office with a wall built high around her hard heart. She had a life full of high standards she had placed on others, and a barrel full of unforgiveness. She hadn’t spoken with her father for over 13 years. After going through several of the lessons, her heart began to soften and the walls began to fall. Here’s a short note she wrote to me:
“I did get a hold of my Dad and it was a heart pounding experience but was soooo great! We talked like we just had seen each other. He thanked me several times for calling. He asked about each child and I was amazed how much he knew about us from asking my sisters.”
“I want to thank you so much, Sandra, for your obedience to God to serve at VCLi. My life has changed and I can now grow in Christ! (Instead of being stagnant) There’s a song by Chris Tomlin sums up my heart: ‘My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, my God, my Savior has ransomed me, and like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace!’”
Forgiveness is life changing. When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we experience freedom through His forgiveness towards us. Then, when we choose to forgive those who have offended us, we experience more freedom. And when we humble ourselves and seek forgiveness from those we have wronged, we experience even more freedom. Here’s just a snippet from our SALT Social Area Workbook, lesson 3. God wants to heal your hurts and set you free from bondage.
Keys to Forgiveness
Notice that the keys to unlock the Prison of Unforgiveness are in your hand. There are four keys:
Key 1 – Forgive the Offense
You choose to forgive the person for the wrong that he or she did to you. Remember, you are accepting the blood of Jesus as full payment for what the offender did. You are choosing to no longer hold them guilty for the offense. You might pray something like this, “Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive (name the person who offended you) for what he/she did to me (be specific and name the offense). I believe the blood of Jesus covers their sin.”
Key 2 – Forgive the Hurt
After you forgive the offense, take the time to forgive all the hurt feelings you have experienced. “I choose to forgive him/her for the feelings that I experienced because of the offense.” (Be specific and list the emotions you experienced.)
Key 3 – Forgive the Ramifications
You choose to forgive the offender for how the offense affected all other areas of your life. “I choose to forgive him/her for all the ramifications (list them) caused by the offense.”
Key 4 – Repent of Your Sinful Reactions
You repent of your own sinful reactions. “Lord, I acknowledge that I have sinned too. I confess my sinful reactions (be specific). Thank You that the blood of Jesus covers my sins and that I am forgiven.”
You too can experience freedom by choosing to forgive those who have offended you.