The Glorious Fall

I grew up in the deep southern woods of Mississippi--lots and lots of pine trees towered over our home. So when I moved "way up here" in Tennessee, the colorful fall season took me by surprise. Year after year, I am mesmerized by the radiant reds, the fiery oranges, and the brilliant golds that are bursting from the trees and bushes--incredible, breath-taking beauty.
I'm sure I am not the first to correlate God's seasons with His love story:

Fall represents His dying for us on the cross.
Winter represents His burial, enclosed in a death that we will never have to endure.
Spring represents His resurrection... a newness of life for all who believe.
And Summer represents the growth and abundance of this new life.

So, here we are again in the seasonal cycle; the glorious fall surrounds us. It's hard to believe these brilliant leaves on the trees are actually dying. But isn't that exactly what happened at the cross? Listen to Jesus' words to His Father, just before He was taken into custody:

Father, it's time. Display the bright splendor of Your Son so the Son in turn may show Your bright splendor." (msg, John 17:1)

Come to Me all you are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28
Two thousand years ago, the King of Glory hung on a tree, dying. His fiery passion for the world He loved held Him there, not the nails. His perfect crimson blood was willingly shed for you and me. And as our Savior's life was drained from Him, it was the most tragically beautiful gift to behold. Before the darkness of "winter" encroached, the Light of the World triumphantly cried out, "It is finished." Indeed, it was awe-full.

Today, this day, when I see the radiance all around me and watch these colorful trees of the field clapping their hands, I know why they're applauding. I want to join them in honor of the King that gave His life a ransom for many. And I too, just as the trees are "teaching" us in this season, want to die to myself so Christ can live radiantly inside and outside of me, drawing many to His marvelous light.

Yes, as I look all around me, I will praise Him, and thank Him, and worship Him... for His glorious Fall.

You Were Made for This

Creation reflects the creator. When you see a wonderful work of art, or watch an awesome movie, or read an incredible book, you naturally applaud the one who "birthed" the masterpiece.

Now look around you. Whether you're in the mountain range of Colorado, or by the oceanside of the Florida beaches, or in the hills and valleys of Tennessee, a majestic Creator can be applauded. All of His creation praises Him! I love how Scripture attests to this truth: Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy  (Psalm 96:11-12)

Let us remember and take to heart that we, too, are His creation. As a matter of fact, we are His crowning glory, the ones fashioned with hearts and souls and minds. He made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5).

So if the sun, moon, and stars, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, the mountains, hills, and valleys, if all of these things are praising His name, shouldn't we as well? And shouldn't we be leading the way?

Choose to praise Him today. Shout "thank You's" and sing adorations to the Creator of your unique and gifted self; because, human being, you were made for this...

Arise shine, your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1

Picture Scripture V

After I read a passage of Scripture, I like to close my eyes and see it come alive in my mind; the picture gives me more understanding of the words.
Today, I saw Psalm 116 in three different stages:
1. The psalmist is captured and he is crying out for help. "The cords of death encompassed me, and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow... I cried, 'O Lord, save my life.'" (v. 3-4)
2. The Savior hears his cry and delivers! "I love the Lord because He hears my voice...the Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me...He has loosened my bonds." (v. 1, 6, 16)
3. The psalmist then cannot help but give thanks and praise for His Savior's grace and compassion. He says, "I shall pay my vows (of thanksgiving) to the Lord, oh may it be in the presence of all His people...Praise the Lord!" (v. 18-19)
This psalm is the cycle of life, is in not? What cords are tied around you today? Worry, fear, doubt, pride, shame? Cry out to your Savior right now. He hears your voice and will faithfully cut these constricting chains. Leave these strongholds at the foot of the cross; don't pick them up again. And then, with free hands, loosened feet, and a full heart, GO to many and tell them what the Lord has done for you. Praise Him today for the continuous and redemptive act of love manifested at the cross. Yes, praise the Lord!
(see other posts: Picture Scripture, Picture Scripture II, III, IV)