FULLY ALIVE!

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


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Let God Finish

When I was a younger woman – and before there was Cable TV, I enjoyed watching the PBS Channel. PBS was the precursor to HGTG, Food TV and all the other DIY channels. One of my favorite shows was The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Take a look at an excerpt of an episode in time lapse:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCLyUSqmr_k

Bob would begin with a blank white canvas, clean brushes and an assortment of colors that always seemed to include Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Blue. From those few resources and in a matter of minutes, Bob would create a masterpiece, but as you watched him paint, you couldn’t help but wonder because his work never looked like what he said it would be. He would smear some blue over here, some yellow over there then spread a little black over it all, add some streaks of white then scrape some of the paint off and, as the French say, “Voila!” There, right before your eyes would be a beautiful scene – a forest, a cabin, a trail, a bubbling brook. You could almost hear the birds chirping, smell the pine trees and feel the coolness of the water.

You just had to let Bob finish his work.

Our lives begin as blank canvases. Along the way the canvas gets smeared with a little sweat, stained with a few tears, streaked with happiness and scraped with pain. Looks like a mess. But “we are God’s masterpiece…” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Let God finish His work.


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Anything You Want

When I was a young girl, my Dad told me that I could have ANY thing that I wanted IF I was willing to do an honest day’s work for it. “As a matter of fact,” he said, “if someone has something to give you, they will let you know. In the meantime, plan on going to work to get what you want.”

And so, I began working when I was 15 years old. I’ve worked since with the exception of one year during undergraduate school when I literally begged my Dad to give me a break. “Can’t I have just one semester without working?” I whined. And one semester is what he permitted. Then it was back to work – two jobs, sometimes three.

I remember teaching school full time, working in a Department store 20 hours every weekend and managing an after-school tutorial program two afternoons a week while attending Graduate School full time. And that was one of my “easy seasons.” For another season, I taught school Monday through Friday and worked in a hospital laboratory Friday nights, 16 hours each Saturday and 16 hours each Sunday (a 40-hour weekend) – two full time jobs.

I’ve worked in schools, hospitals, offices and department stores. I even (this is the honest truth) sold cemetery plots door-to-door. Finally, I am retired – honestly. I get the check every month. And I still work two jobs!  Why? Many reasons, but partly because my Daddy created a true workaholic and partly so I really can have what I want…without charge cards.

I doubt my Dad was the first or only parent to tell his child that they could have what they wanted if they worked for it. That was not just the mentality, but the prevailing attitude, spirit and belief of our day. You want it? You work for it. For many, there was much truth in that thinking, and they have the homes, cars, clothing and “toys” to prove it.

But there is one thing that working cannot bring you.

Eternal life.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) makes it clear that we are saved by grace, through faith – and this is not from ourselves. “It is the gift of God” and not by our works, “so that no one can boast.” No one can buy or work their way into Heaven. It is the work of Christ and His work alone that opens wide the doors of Heaven for us to enter.

Isn’t that good news? It is for me; I can only imagine how many jobs I’d have to work to go to Heaven!