The sign said, "Antique Auto Show." So, my wife and I decided that
a few minutes and stop at this car dealership and look at the antique autos. Really, we
were interested in seeing the ones that went back to the 50s and the 60s when we were
young. There was this one sleek, black '66 Mustang and it had a flawless exterior, a really
rich interior, and the hood was open so you could look at the horsepower underneath.
And there sitting on the engine block was a thick book of photos. It wasn't the guy's
children or grandchildren. It was his car, and at the beginning of this photo album
there were "before" pictures of this car. Well, let me tell you, it was garbage when he
started. The first pictures were of this rusted out wreck, this banged-up Mustang. That
must have been what he bought. And as you look through the book step-by-step you
could see the car was being slowly transformed. It took months and maybe years of the
owner's patient attention to get this beautiful classic. When the owner saw that wreck,
he saw more than a wreck. He saw something that others didn't see.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Judges 6. God is looking for
a general for his troops; someone who will be a mighty commander who will beat the
awful Midianites who have intimidated and terrorized the Israelites for years. And he
speaks to Gideon in verse 11, "The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the
oak where Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, 'The Lord is with you mighty
warrior.'" Verse 14 says, "The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have
and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?' 'But Lord,' Gideon asked,
'How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh. I am the least in my family.'
The Lord answered, 'I will be with you and you will strike down all the Midianites together.'"
Here is Gideon hiding in a pit. He doesn't look like a mighty warrior at all, and God comes
along and says, "Mighty Warrior." This is no mighty warrior. But God didn't see what Gideon
was. He saw what he could be and what He intended to make him. Same thing happened with
Peter. You know Jesus said, "Peter you're going to be a rock when I'm done with you." I can
imagine when people heard this they said, "Peter? Peter's a flake, man!" When
it came to Jesus,
He was a rock. Peter was always up and down - inconsistent. But see, God looks at what He
is going to make you.
He looks at you the way that Mustang owner saw that banged-up car. He sees value more than
you do. He knows the person He created you to be. "His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for
good works He prepared in advance for you to do." That's Ephesians 2:10. And His photo album
shows where you were and his step-by-step rebuilding.
If you believe how God sees you, then there's some important changes in how life should look
to you. First, when you're down about who you are, you look back at the old pictures. You look at
what you used to be. You are becoming something. Second, when you're down on yourself, you
realize you're not finished yet. The rebuilder is in the process. And third, when you're dealing with
other people, encourage the person God is building in them. Be part of the rebuilding project. Tell
people what they could be. Tell them the good you see in them - the potential. And fourth, if you're
a parent, don't get hung up on what your child is now. Look at what he or she could be and tell them
You, your friends, your mate, your children are all in the rebuilding program of Jesus Christ. Life
looks different when we see ourselves and we see others through Jesus' eyes. We see what we can be.
The Master is building you into a
classic. - - Ron Hutchcraft
*Not amalgamated with 'Thought & Humor'.
I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really
foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]:
"I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I
don't accept His claim to be God."
That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was
merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would
not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic --
on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg --
or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice. Either this Man was, and is,
the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse ....
You can shut Him up for fool, you can spit at Him
Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him
Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing
nonsense about His being a great hum! an teacher. He has
not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.
-- From Case for Christianity, by C.S. Lewis
*Not amalgamated with 'Thought & Humor'.
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Carnival Of Mirrors
It has been years since I've been to a fair, but I have fond memories
of the allurement known as the house of mirrors. In contrast to more
sophisticated and elaborate attractions, a house of mirrors works on the
simple assumption that to be surrounded by mirrors is a disorienting
experience. If you walk
through a house of mirrors with companions,
you'll find it difficult to tell which images are reflections and which
are actual people. To make matters more complicated, the designers
exploit the distortive powers of curved glass. One mirror will make you
appear short and squat, while another gives a long, lean reflection.
Sadly, the house of mirrors is all too similar to the disorienting
experience of real life. We constantly seek self-understanding by
measuring ourselves against other people, but this will provide us
with as many different and conflicting reflections as a house of mirrors. (1)
If I compare myself to one person, I may find that I fall short in many
categories, only to realize that I fall short in an equal number of
different categories when I compare myself to someone else. Measuring
myself against someone I perceive as flawed may make me feel good about
myself, but the feeling lasts only until a superior person comes along to
turn my self-image upside down.
Women are especially prone to make physical comparisons; I came upon
an article online that counseled women not to play the comparison game.
Yet the sidebar ad that accompanied the article (hosted by the site of a
well-known women's magazine) flashed pictures of beautiful women along
designed to help the reader look like them. The dissonance
would have been ironic if it weren't so common.
The comparison trap extends to areas beyond physical categories. Your
sense of your own intelligence, success, happiness, and even godliness
has a lot to do with the people you compare yourself to. While it would be
nice to smash all of the mirrors so that we wouldn't be always confronted
with distorted images of ourselves, this is not an option. We live in a
world of mirrors, and we cannot run from them.
Mirrors exist because we can't see ourselves; we need them. But the
problem with the comparison game is that it doesn't provide a true
reflection of who we really are. God's Word is the only mirror
accurately reflects our true identity.
The apostle James wrote, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive
yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not
do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after
looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like"
(James 1:22-24). It is possible that this man fails to remember what his
own face looks like not because he is forgetful, but because he is
bombarded with images that are not accurate reflections. When I begin
comparing myself to others, I quickly forget my true identity, the
identity which God has made plain in his Word.
Though I may tell myself that I should be as attractive as the women I see
in magazines or as successful as the people who graduated with me from
school, God's Word tells me that, by the
grace of God, I am what I am
(1 Corinthians 15:10). It tells me I am a new creation, God's work of art,
the salt of the earth and the light of the world (2 Cor. 5:17, Ephesians
2:10, Matthew 5:13-14). For me, reading God's Word once or twice a day
isn't enough to keep sight of these truths. I have found that I have to
memorize it so that it is with me throughout the day as I am assaulted by
distorted images in the glass of the world. When I'm tempted to compare
myself to others, I cannot do better than call to mind the true reflection
that is presented in the mirror of God's Word.
Betsy Childs is associate writer for Ravi Zacharias International
Ministries in Atlanta,
(1) I'm indebted to John Piper for this metaphor.
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