Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Pearl of Great Price

A merchant has a quest, he lives his life searching... will he find what he is looking for?

Once there was a merchant, who was seeking goodly pearls. Not just any pearls, he wanted them to be beautiful and worth a great price. He looked and looked throughout his whole life, striving to find really and truly good pearls. He found pearls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. There were some very beautiful pearls among them, but still, in his heart, he was not content. You see, he had a dream, and his dream was to find a perfect pearl.

He didn't know what kind of pearl it would be, he just knew that when he had it in his possession, he would be able to live in perfect peace, knowing he had the best there was. However, as the years went by, he gradually grew weary in his quest and in time learned to ignore that longing to find the true, perfect pearl. Instead he would try to fulfill his emptiness by indulging in flashy jewels from well-dressed, cool mannered men and beautiful women with flattering eyes. He would tell himself he was perfectly happy with these jewels and the company that came with them.
Alas for the merchant, such happiness never lasts, and he soon found himself more miserable than ever. The flashy jewels were now worthless, and the company he kept seemed to drain his very soul.
In his darkest hour, there came springing up in him again that longing for the perfect pearl. He began his search once more, doubtful that he would ever find such a thing, but still holding on to a faint thread of hope. He knew that, even if he died in his search, he would be satisfied, knowing he had tried.
One day, while walking through his home town, he noticed a small shop in the back corner of a small shopping center. He had seen it many times before, for it was right next to his own house.
He couldn't understand, but whenever he stood there looking at it, he always felt a pulling - an urge to go inside. He started to shrug off the feeling and walk away as he always had before, but something made him stop, and he allowed himself to be drawn to its doors.
As he got closer, he felt his longing for the perfect pearl grow and throb though his whole being. On entering the store, he was greeted by a small child, asking if she could help him in any way. He dimly heard his own voice telling her that he would just look around. He walked, as though drawn, to the back of the store where an old man was standing behind the counter. His wrinkled face creased into a smile, but his kind grey eyes looked as if he knew exactly what was wanted.
The poor merchant looked once into the gentle face of the old man, then down to the display case. There in a beautiful, black velvet box lay a perfectly round pearl, it's creamy white color seeming to shine as the moon.
When the old man asked the merchant if he would like to look at it, he simply nodded, unable to speak. He grabbed hold of the counter to steady his shaking frame. As the pearl was placed into his hand, the longing in his heart grew until he felt as if he might die. Turning it over and over in his hand, he looked for blemishes that he knew were not there. This, he knew was the perfect pearl - the one for which he had searched for so long.
At last he asked hoarsely, "How much?"
The old man leaned back and smiled.
"Oh, it's a great price, I've had it for a very long time, and it is the only one like it."
When the merchant heard the great price, his heart sank. It would cost everything he had to secure the pearl. However, he knew he must have it, whatever the cost.
Handing the precious pearl back to the man, he asked him to hold it for him and quickly strode out the door.
The merchant went home and sold everything he owned - his house, his belongings, everything but the clothes on his back. He sold all, and returning to the little store, he purchased the pearl. Now for the rest of his life, he would have peace, for he had found his pearl, that perfect pearl of great price.
The merchant spent many years and much grief trying to find his "Pearl of great price." He thought it could only be gained by constant searching and hard work. It never occurred to him that his prize was always right at hand. It was there for the taking, if only he would have been willing to look.
We, like the merchant, were born with a longing for a pearl pf great price.
Instilled in every human being is a longing for satisfaction and fulfillment. So in a sense, we are all seeking goodly pearl. We may try many things in an attempt to fulfill this longing. Hobbies, better jobs, college degrees, money, friends, travel entertainment, etc. may ease the longing temporarily, but these are simply counterfeit pearls or jewels. We may search endlessly and work diligently towards fulfillment, but until we have that Pearl of Great Price, we will continue to have that constant longing in our hearts.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
-Matthew 13:45-46
Jesus Christ is the Pearl of Great Price, a Jewel of undefined and inestimable value. All those who possess this Pearl are truly rich. The longing in their soul is satisfied, and ther is no need to search further for peace and fulfillment.
Just as the pearl, in our story, this Pearl of Great Price is readily available to all who are willing to look in the right place and to those who are willing to pay the right price.
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
-Romans 3:23
"The wages of sin is death..."
-Romans 6:23
Becouse of our sin, we are separated from God. This creates a longing in our hearts that can only be satisfied when this relationship is restored.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
-Acts 16:31
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;"
- Acts 3:19
We must be willing to repent of our sins and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness. He is the ONLY way -
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me."
-John 1:6
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
- John 1:12
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
- Romans 5:1

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Garden Fruits"

Another victory with my left hand! I don't know why I get so amazed at God working a miracle through my hands! I cannot write or eat with my left hand, but for some reason, when I pick up a pastel, my hand gets steady and confident. What a mighty God we serve!

 "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:" ~Proverbs 3:9

Friday, April 11, 2014

John 3:20-21

"Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

I kind of stumbled on my lesson this morning. With all that I have been learning about brokenness and being transparent in my relationship with God and others, these verses really summed it up. When I am doing wrong, I don't want to be reading God's Word, listening to godly preaching or music, or even conversing with godly friends! :-D So in a sense, I "hate" the Light, or even it's reflection! (verse 20) note: the word "reproved" also means "examined".

It fits, doesn't it? But when I am open and surrendered to the Lord, I am willing for my sins to be brought to the light so God can help me take care of hem how He sees fit. Wow! I can't believe I missed these verses before! They just fit so well!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

That Terrible Lie

What do you do when all the girls you know get their hair cut for the summer, and your parent's won't let you?

I have been pretty busy the past month, and didn't have a lot of time to write, but as I was going through my desk, I came across this, and laughed and cried over it. I thought you would enjoy reading it, even though it was written a long time ago. I kept the original spelling and grammar, for your amusement.

That Terrible Lie
It all began one day when I relized that every single one of my friends (girls) had shoulder length hair, while I had long brown hair that I could sit on. Just then I wanted short hair. "Mom?"
"Can you cut my hair?"
"You will have to ask your dad, but I don't think so."
Of course dad said no too, but I wanted to have short hair real bad. Then the dredful day came.
In June, 1999, I cut my hair. It was in the morning. After I woke up I couldn't stand it anymore, I grabbed my scissors and cut half of my hair of. I did it! I was horrified.
Franticly I tried to put my hair back on. (which I couldn't, but I wasn't thinking.) I went downstairs after I hid my hair, and told mom I had a dream that I went to the barber shop and got my hair cut. She didn't notice it. Then I bent over and picked up a book and then said "Mom! Look!" and I showed her my hair. She was mad. After she finished cutting my hair she "marched" up the stairs and looked for my hair in my room and found it. I told her I didn't cut my hair. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I lied about my hair. I was Jumpy, tired, and restless. Finaly I could not stand the stress becouse every time I read or heard the Bible, it seemed to tell about lieying or telling the truth. So I asked mom to come to her room and then I flew into her arms crying and I confessed. Then I asked her to spank me becouse I knew I needed it. Then mom and I prayed together I, asking forgivness and Mom, thanking God for letting me overcome my stuborness. That night I had the best sleep I had in months.

Monday, April 7, 2014

"Before the Masterpiece"

Here is another painting done with my left hand.

This painting tells a story, but depending on who you are, the story may be different. What does the title and this painting tell you? Please comment and let me know!

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." ~Psalm 119:105

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Idols of Daily Life

Most of us think of idols as something people worshiped a long time ago, but what we don't realize is there are many idols each of us have in our everyday lives!

I prayed before I opened my Bible that the Lord would teach me something from His Word. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular, I just wanted to get back into reading, enjoying, and learning from God's Word again.

I read a couple chapters in 2 Timothy and received some general encouragement and instruction, then turned to where I was reading through the Old Testament. I was reading in 1 Samuel and had just gotten to the part where the Philistines had taken the Ark of the Covenant. They put it in their temple next to the god, Dagon. When they went in the next morning, Dagon was fallen with his face to the ground before the ark. The Philistines set him back up again, but when they went in the following morning, he was down again. This time, his head and hands were broken off.

The thought struck me, how mighty and amazing God is! He can not tolerate an idol in His presence, but will bring whatever it is that competes for His place crashing down. I then thought about how we often have idols in our own hearts, and how we will allow other things to take captive our time and thoughts.

After a moment's reflection, I realized that there were two things that took up a lot of my time, and the majority of my thought life - reading books and earning money. There were also some other things I saw that, if I wasn't careful, could also become idols in my life: school, exercise, crafts. It's hard to think I would allow myself to devote more time and thought to these than to God Himself and His Word. I quickly gave these things back to the Lord and committed myself anew to Him, asking Him to take first place in my heart.

When we don't stop and give our "idols" to the Lord, He will often mercifully have them "fall", and take away what we have chosen to serve other than Himself. I know from experience that these are painful times of fear, remorsefulness, and bitter repentance. But God will be first place, the Supreme Ruler. If He's not first place now, then He will be on that approaching judgment day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

How thankful we should be for "second chances." God's mercy and Christ's blood that hides our multitudes of sins.

I pray that each of us would stop just for a moment and ask the Lord if there is anything that is competing for first place in our hearts.

God bless each of you as you strive for a closer walk with Him.

"Put away the strange gods,... and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you..." -1 Samuel 7:3

Monday, March 31, 2014

"Evening Sun"

This is the first painting done with my left hand. Because of my hand injury, I originally thought that I would not be able to work on my art until it had healed. God certainly proved me wrong! I cannot write or eat with my left hand, but for some reason, when I pick up a pastel, my hand is steady and confident. God has certainly built my faith in Him in this area!

 "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." ~Romans 13:12