I enjoy discovering tangible visible pictures which are able to point us to spiritual truth, so sometimes I worry I fill my blog with these too familiar analogies that have been heard over and over. The image to which I am referring, I first encountered in a book by Corrie ten Boom. She was sewing an intricate needlepoint design. When she worked, if she looked at the back, it was a bunch of knots and tangles that made no sense. When she turned it over, varied colored threads and stitching were interwoven to create a beautiful picture.
In this present life, we may only see the tangles and knots, but God knows how everything will appear once the tapestry of our life is turned over. The black grief and trials that crisscross and obscure our understanding of the here and now are merely the background of our eternal future where the gold thread of grace and the red thread of redemption triumph.
My life is but a weaving Between my God and me. I cannot choose the colors He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow; And I in foolish pride Forget He sees the upper And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly Will God unroll the canvas And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful In the weaver’s skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares; Nothing this truth can dim. He gives the very best to those Who leave the choice to Him. – Author Unknown
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks. Romans 1:21
And here begins the decent into darkness and depravity. It is easy to gloss over this phrase as I read further into the chapter about exchanging the glory of the incorruptible God for a corruptible image of men or animals, exchanging the truth for lies, and committing indecent acts. This progression culminates as God gives them over to a depraved mind and they are filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, and greed while lacking understanding, mercy and love.
This terrible downward spiral results from neglecting to honor God and give Him thanks. Ingratitude is the gateway sin opening the door to darkened hearts, futile thinking and the pursuit of ungodly passions.
And of this is I am guilty: a hundred plus times every day, I miss the opportunity to honor God or give thanks. This is my wake up that gratitude is not optional if I want to choose life and not death.
I stumble thinking I have to FEEL grateful. Some days I do, but on other days I have to purposely write down a few things to acknowledge as gifts (not entitlements) from God. For example, a hot shower, electricity, sight and a delicious cup of coffee frequently make the list, but these things are temporal. I thank God that my name is written is His book of life and He is returning to take me to be with Him forever. I thank God that He has sealed me with His Holy Spirit and hears my prayers (even if I don’t see an answer) and that His peace is my fortress in the storms of life.
Like love, giving thanks and expressing gratitude is an action not a feeling.
I once heard someone ask, “What would happen if you wake up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?” What would I have?
In Romans 7, Paul asks why he doesn’t do the things he knows he should. This is how I feel when I fail to be grateful, and yet each time I recognize my lack of gratitude it presents an opportunity to remember the gospel and allow the kindness of God to lead me to repentance. For His unfailing love and unending mercy I am grateful.
Poiema is my favorite Greek work. The depth of the word was the reason I chose it for the name of this blog. Similar to our English word poem, poiema signifies workmanship, masterpiece, a poem or work of art. It is only found in 2 places in the Bible. In Romans 1:20, creation reveals the invisible attributes of God. In Ephesians 2:10, we do!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned out for us long ago.
I had been feeling like a sloth because I wasn’t doing anything notable for God, so I decided to meditate on this verse…
God is the artist, not me.
The good works of my life will flow from who He is, not from my planning or striving.
Others will notice and be filled with gratitude and awe toward God, not me.
I am an amazing, one of a kind piece of art and so are you! As you read this blog, I hope it helps you to remember you are treasured and loved by God and that He is using you to manifest His grace and truth to a lost and hurting world. You don’t have to figure out what to do for God as I was trying to do. Long ago, He planned your works and His plans and purposes will stand for all eternity.
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.
The heavens declare the glory of God. And your life, dear friend, is also a declaration of the glory of God!