FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Do You See What God Sees?

Years ago a colleague (Mary) said, “One day you look in the mirror and you ask yourself who in the world is that?  You feel so young in spirit and even in mind, but your neck, hands and that person in the mirror will tell you otherwise!”  I laughed, and Mary simply said, “You’ll see.”

It’s 23 years later, and Mary’s “prophecy” has come true!

I tried to blame it on the mirror.  You know, since research has proven that there are “skinny” mirrors (sometimes used in dressing rooms to make you appear slimmer in clothing and to boost sales), I figured there must be “old” mirrors though for the life of me I cannot imagine why someone would create one.  And who would buy one though obviously I had one?  But there they are…crows feet, scratching all around my eyes.  Take heart, they’re not alone; the gray hairs in my brows are keeping them company!

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you see that you were fearfully and wonderfully made? (Psalm 139:14)

Do you see the apple of God’s eye? (Psalm 17:1)

Do you see God’s treasured possession? (Deuteronomy 7:6)

Do you see that you are made in the image of God? (Genesis 1:27)

Do you see what God sees?

Satan offers us trick mirrors.  He would have us see ourselves as less than our God created us to be.  In his mirrors we see all our shortcomings. We see our struggles and inferiorities.  We see shame and embarrassment.  We see the stain and guilt of sin.

But if our life is hidden with Christ in God – if we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, then whenever God looks at us, He sees Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God covering us.

Superstition says it’s bad luck to break a mirror, but I say smash whatever mirror Satan keeps holding before you and look into the mirror of God.  See what He sees – YOU – His child. (John 1:12)  A new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  A fellow heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)  The righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)  A temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)  One who is chosen, holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), redeemed and forgiven (Ephesians 1:7), complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10) and dearly loved (Colossians 2:12).

Now that’s the mirror you need!

THIS WEEK, take a look in the mirror.  Do you see what God sees?


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Labels and Colors

This semester I am teaching two special education classes at my Alma Mater.  I lived a “special ed” life for a number of years – teacher, Program Director, Regional Consultant – before moving into other areas of education and administration.  But as others who have majored in Special Education will tell you, “once Special Ed, always Special Ed.”  You just can’t get away from it.

So, here I am preparing future educators to work with students challenged by intellectual, physical or emotional disabilities.  Because none of my students are Special Education majors, the dialogue has been especially interesting.  Recently I lectured about the core principles of the federal law, IDEIA, including “Nondiscriminatory Identification/Evaluation.”  In one class deep dialogue around biases, prejudices and stereotypes ensued, so I required students to complete at least one hidden bias assessment and to report their findings, feelings and take-aways.

It turned out to be even more powerful than I imagined.

While there were some who seemed proud that the tests confirmed their biases which ran the gamut from “I really just can’t stand fat people because they are lazy and choose to be fat” (Yes, a student wrote that.) to “The test confirmed that I do not like people who do not share my skin color.  I wasn’t surprised. That’s how I was raised.”

Wow.

Thankfully, that was the minority.  The majority of students “got” what the assignment was about, and while they confessed some hidden biases, they wrote of their desire, prayer, conviction and determination to overcome them and to embrace every child regardless of his or her abilities, appearances or addresses.  As a retired educator who sometimes worries about the future of education, I experienced a moment of relief.

While 60 years have passed since the landmark Supreme Court Case, “Brown vs Board of Education,” and many laws declaring equal rights to all people now rest on the books, the fact remains that our nation is still greatly divided.  We see that every day in the media, in our workplaces, in our schools and in our communities.

During the past two years I experienced racism such that I had never before in my 50+ years of living.  I know history.  I grew up with the signs posted over water fountains and even in my pediatrician’s office distinguishing which fountains and which chairs were for WHITES and which were for COLORED.  But the blatant racism that I experienced every day in a recent workplace and in the town and community in which I worked was, was…  Well, I’ve left that experience behind, but I still don’t have words for it.

But there are words that I have to share with you, and I hope you will share them with your children.  They are the words to a song that I learned as a child.  “Red and Yellow, Black and White, we are precious in His site.”  And the color that matters, the only color that matters is RED – the precious red blood that Jesus shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)

And the only label that will matter in the end?  SAVED!