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5 Brilliant Lessons Age Spots Taught Me

2 Sep

I didn’t know lion cubs are born with spots—brown rosettes—on their body. Almost like a leopard.LionCub_pogo_mm_Pixabay

A funny cartoon shows Daddy lion talking to his young cub.

“Don’t worry, Son,” the lion said.

“They’ll go away as you get older. They’re just youth spots.”

Youth spots are cute, but what about age spots?

Poet Elaine Bishop wrote, in “Poems of Hope and Humor,”

“When I woke up this morning, I found another spot.

I do not know what’s causing them, but I sure have a lot.

Grandma called them liver spots; that does not appeal to me.

Now I’m hearing age spots; Oh, Lord, that could not be.

I’d pass them off as freckles but that would not be true,

And I must always tell the truth whatever else I do.

As long as I’ve no name for them and I’m still in the dark,

I’ve decided I’ll call them my special beauty mark.” *

GrandmaDorothy_LOLWithGod_5BrilliantFactsAgeSpotsTaughtMeI always said I wanted to grow old like my Grandma Dorothy (pictured here). Yes, she had wrinkles and age spots, but her gentle spirit and kind heart always glowed.  She loved Jesus and it showed!

I just didn’t expect to see my own wrinkles and age spots so soon! 

As I sat in church one Sunday, I stared at my arm, counting the age spots:  1 – 2- 3 – 4. Oh, please! Enough already!

As I sat there, only half listening to the preacher at that moment, I was hearing another message. My age spots were “speaking” to me, and they taught me five important lessons. Brilliant lessons!

1. GET SMART: Use Sunscreen!

I haven’t been wise. Although I wasn’t a “sun baby,” since moving to California I’ve soaked up lots of sun just in daily activities. And I haven’t used sunscreen.

Damage is apparent, but it’s not too late to start. (I hope.)

I’ve read lots of home remedies for age spots (like a mixture of brown rice, agave nectar and lemon juice), and the market is flooded with potions for a price. (I’ll probably get emails from them!) But the truth is, we all get them. Some more, others less.  We need to get smart and use the sunscreen!

2. SEE REALITY: Beauty IS More than Skin Deep.

My Grandma is in heaven now, but I remember her true beauty. Whenever I looked at her face, I saw more than wrinkles and age spots. Her beauty truly was more than skin deep. Her beauty was deep within and it blessed all of her family and friends.

In extolling the virtues of the noble woman, the writer of Proverbs says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 HCSB).

Matthew Henry wrote, “…the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever.” **

I want that beauty of the soul, don’t you?

3. FACE TRUTH: You’re Terminal.

Hollywood celebrity Valerie Harper, diagnosed with brain cancer, said, “We’re all terminal; none of us are getting out of this alive.”

The Bible says much the same thing about our earthly existence. Unless the Lord comes to snatch us away (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we’re all doing to die (Hebrews 9:27).

We’re all terminally ill with a disease named “death.” 

Christians don’t need to worry about this fact. To be “in Christ” and to die is “gain” (Philippians 1:21). We go directly into the presence of the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

4. REDEEM TIME: Don’t Lose Opportunities.

Although we don’t know the final date for our tombstones, we have today to love and serve the Lord and people.

We need to “redeem” (buy up) every day, looking for opportunities. How?

There are many ways to redeem our remaining days. Here are just a few:

  • We can awake from our sleep and understand the times (Romans 13:11).
  • We can look carefully how we behave and be wise (Ephesians 5:15).
  • We can make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5b).
  • We can seek the will of God each day—our marching orders (Ephesians 5:17).
  • We can be filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18b) and under His control.
  • We can do all God calls us to do with all our might while there is still time! (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
  • We can set our mind on heavenly things, because really, the truth is we are “dead” to this life—with our lives alive in and “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Don’t live in such a way that your final day is filled with regrets. Where you have sinned, confess and repent … and then move on! God has much to accomplish through you until your dying breath!

5. REMEMBER HOPE: You’re Promised Another Body!

While the Christ-follower’s soul goes to be with the Lord, the body is changed later (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16). Our bodies are raised “imperishable”—perfect and free from all death and decay (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

This is part of the blessed hope (Titus 2:13-14) of the Christian’s eternal life. Our mind can be in the beginning stages of transformation now (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16). But someday our lowly body will be transformed to be like our Savior’s glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).

Our new body will never wear out or grow old, never get sick or decay and never die! 

And no more age spots!

Which of these lessons from age spots speaks to you today?  In light of your aging, how will you cooperate with the inner transformation God wants to produce in you?

– Dawn

* “Seeing Spots” by Elaine Bishop, Poems of Hope and Humor (AuthorHouse, 2013), p. 9 (Emphasis mine).

** Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 31:10-31

 

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Beauty Beyond Barbie – WAY Beyond!

7 Aug

BarbieDoll1959_pic_PinUpGirlCosmeticsHumor writer Rhonda Rhea got it right when she said, “Barbie boasts a figure that would only be feasible if she totally rearranged several of her internal organs.”

John Kehoe, Barbie’s biographer (1998) said the doll, at human size, would be 5’6″, weigh 110 pounds, and have these measurements: 39-18-35! *

Another comedian, Anita Renfroe, said, “I’d like to see a “Comfort Loving Barbie.’ They could accessorize her with sensible shoes, white cotton granny panties, elastic waist jeans and a flannel-covered hot water bottle.” LOL!

One woman’s story is an example of the extent some will go to feel beautiful … like Barbie.

Cindy Jackson, founder of the Cosmetic Surgery Network, transformed herself into a living Barbie with more than $100,000, because she wanted to appear “breathtaking” like her sister … even “glamorous.”

I grew up with a Barbie because my mom thought I should have one. (I’d rather have erector sets and Lincoln logs to this day!) I played with them with my sister, but I always thought Barbie was “too primp-y.” At age 9, my Barbie was much like that 1959 version in the photo. (It was my mom’s not-too-logical step up from a Tiny Tears baby doll, but maybe Barbie was all that was available at the time.)

Even as a child, I compared Barbie with all the women I loved and didn’t like what I saw in her.

She didn’t have my grandma’s wrinkles or my mom’s thighs. Her measurements weren’t like anyone I knew, and all the Webb family had short, stumpy legs. I thought her tiny feet would be better suited to a China doll.

But really.

What can you expect from a plastic, pin-up-perfect doll except unreachable standards and superficial everything?

Elisabeth Elliot, a godly woman who died recently (June, 2015), described these impossible standards:

“People’s standards, of course, differ. Usually, in things that do not matter, we set them impossibly high and thus guarantee for ourselves a life of discontent.”

Author and speaker Tonya Ruiz wrote, “God wants us to be smart. He wants us to use our brains and ‘consider’ what we do. … Barbie’s head is empty — yours is not.”

God not only wants us to be smart; He wants us to be wise, and He is the source of wisdom (Proverbs 2:6). He is the source of wisdom about beauty,  good body image and every healthy thing women seek. It does not good to compare ourselves with each other. We must believe what God says about us.

So what does God say?

I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well” (Psalm 139:14, HCSB).

After I became a Christ-follower, I discovered a beauty far beyond Barbie. I came to understand and embrace the beauty of who I am in Christ and why He created me.

Elisabeth Eliot concluded her thoughts on physical versus spiritual beauty with these words: “In things that matter we set them (standards) too low and are easily pleased with ourselves.”

I think this is the balance. There’s nothing wrong with beautifying our bodies to the glory of God. Even my no-nonsense Grandpa agreed it’s OK for women to “paint the barn.” But in what really matters — inner beauty — our standards are often vague or shallow.

The Bible encourages discernment about true beauty: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30; also 1 Timothy 2:9).

In other words, God looks on and is more concerned about the precious inner “heart” than the outer shell (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Peter 3:4).

Mary Kassian wrote, “The Lord wants us to clothe ourselves in fine, spotless garments of righteousness — in holy character and holy deeds. (Revelation 19:7-8). He wants us to be beautiful, and through Jesus, we are! The great story of the gospel is that God gives us the opportunity to clothe ourselves in the beauty of Christ.

“He provides the beauty,” Mary said, “and we don’t need to work or strive to measure up, nor do we need fear that we will fail to meet the standard.”

The King desires our beauty (symbolically illustrated in Psalm 45:11) because it is His gift to us, and it’s far beyond the beauty of a plastic doll.

How can you cooperate with the Lord as He makes your life beautiful?

* Reference to Kehoe: http://graphic.pepperdine.edu/living/2007/2007-03-22-barbie.htm

NOTE: Quotes by Rhonda Rhea & Anita Renfroe were found at ronandtonyaruiz.com.

– Dawn

In the Eye of the Beholder

26 Jun

Irving was just coming out of anesthesia after a series of tests in the hospital, and his wife, Sarah was sitting at his bedside.

His eyes fluttered open and he murmured, “You’re beautiful!”

Flattered, Sarah continued her vigil while Irving drifted back to sleep. Later, he woke up and said, “You’re cute.”

“What happened to ‘beautiful’?” Sarah asked.

“I guess the drugs must be wearing off, ” he replied. * LOL!

“Beauty,” it’s said, “is in the eye of the beholder.”

Sometimes we don’t recognize true beauty, especially our own. Our vision of ourselves is subjective and limited. We measure ourselves against model-like standards of “perfection.” We define beauty in such narrow terms. Who is to say a rose is more beautiful than a daisy? How can we compare a perfect day at the beach with a perfect day in the mountains? God’s creations are varied and unique, and to appreciate each one is to appreciate the Creator Himself.

One of the most beautiful women I ever met was partially blind and “ordinary-looking,” yet she glowed with an inner strength I desired as a young girl. I couldn’t get enough of sitting by her side, capturing her winsomeness and joy and learning from her vast store of wisdom.

The older I get, the more I understand that, though we are all “wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:12-14), no human is completely  beautiful this side of heaven. We all sin, and we are in varying stages of decay (slowly falling apart) until the day we die. In other words, we are all marred images until God transforms us (2 Corinthians 3:18). I think we’ll be surprised, maybe even shocked, by our beauty in Christ in heaven.

All true, lasting beauty comes from God. “Beauty is fleeting,” the scriptures say, “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).  Beauty includes character, gifts, purpose, faith and so much more than mere appearance.

The Christian knows there is more. When the Father sees the believer, He sees His Son (Colossians 3:3-4; Romans 8:1; 1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 2:13) –  and Jesus is beautiful. In Christ, Father God declares us chosen and special (1 Peter 2:9), loved (1 John 3:1), blessed (Ephesians 1:3), free (John 8:36) and more!

The Christian’s desire is to reflect Christ both now and in eternity, and this desire will be answered “in the eye of the beholder.”

We will behold Christ and we will be changed!

The Word of God says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). In that day, we we will be perfect and beautiful – just as the Creator intended.

Do you know your beauty in Christ? (If not, here is a perfect “mirror” for you to behold yourself.)

* From Cyberslalt.org, “Surgical Beauty.”

– Dawn

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