A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
1 Peter 2:9-11
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Here you are another day, in another week and I wonder do you see yourself as part of a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people belong to God? Are you declaring the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light? It is sometimes a difficult transition from identifying with who we once were to who we are in Jesus. Sometimes our life is still weighed down by baggage from the past. We have allowed the past to define us as broken, as failures, sinners, un worthy, un accepted, lost causes with little or no hope of real change. We love Jesus but we trudge through our lives with heavy weights and chains about our feet. You drag through each day trying to be a better person, trying to do enough good to our weigh the sins you feel powerless to over come.
How do we get from here - to there when there is a huge canyon bigger than the Grand canyon between who we are now and who it is God calls us to become in Him.
The artist Georgia O Keeffe who was famous for painting of flowers and New Mexico has two quotes that inspire me. She said in talking of Cerro Pedernal, a mountain depicted in may of her paintings.
“It’s my private mountain,” O’Keeffe had said. “God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it.” Her ashes were scattered on the mountain when she died.
She also said "One day seven years ago I found myself saying to myself - I can't live where I want to - I can't go where I want to go - I can't do what I want to - I can't even say what I want to... I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to. (Georgia O'Keeffe)
There are things in our life that we do have in our control even when life does not seem to be going how we might think it should. You have control of your attitude. You have control of at least some of your time. You can be depressed, bitter, angry, and filled with negativity or you can choose to turn to God in thankfulness, trust, hope and faith. Georgia O Keeffe got a hold of something that many people miss. She made a choice to do something she loved, she decided to paint as she wanted to. If we paint the world around us in prayer and mix it with time in his presence we become more and more like him. Our lives begin to reflect him. Perhaps it is God who is painting on the canvas of our lives and the more we center our lives in him the more our lives reflect his glory and his love even when the colors being used seem to be dark and foreboding. He desires to be with you and walk with you even when the way before you seems dark and you feel that you have lost your way. Call to Him - he will answer.
I want to give you a practical example of how you might turn your attitude to one of thankfulness. This Saturday my kids and I spent many hours doing long needed cleaning projects around the house. We've been busy and while we often tidy up the place we rarely get to the deeper cleaning projects. So we cleaned the fridg, and the stove and gave the bathrooms more than the once over. We cleaned the window sills that tend to grow mold because of our nearness to a wet land. I told them when we started that as they were cleaning they needed to remember to be thankful that they had a house to clean. We were all tired when we finished but our cleaning time was not marred by grumpy attitudes. Nor did I have to nag at them to help. They have seen first hand the lives of many of our homeless friends and it was not difficult for them to be thankful to have a house to have to clean even if it meant giving up part of their Saturday to do the cleaning.
So today is before you. What will you make of it, how will you spend it. What little choices can you make to begin to do more of what you love to do. How can you take some little step of faith into God's greater purpose of being who He is calling you to be. Can you begin to see yourself as called, chosen, a royal holy priesthood belonging to God. Proclaiming to those still trapped in darkness how he has brought you up out of it. You may still be a work in progress, we all are. How can you by the choice and things with in your control make your world a better more positive hope filled place?
Dear Lord, Help us each to be released from finding our identity in the past but to begin to find it in the truth of your word. Your word says we are accepted, we are chose, we are desired and wanted. Your word calls us a royal priesthood. Your word says if we will abide in you and you abide in us that we will bear much fruit. Make our live fruitful. You say that it is you who causes us to will and do your good pleasure. Make us hungry for your word and your presence. Transform us by the power of your love. Help us find those things that you have designed us to do and to be and to rejoice in knowing and loving you. Help us to identify and define our selves in the light of your word and in the glory of your smile. May we please you in this day.
I love this quote from this video of Georgia O Keeffe sharing about painting in the land she loved.
"I thought someone could tell me how to paint a landscape, but I never found that person. I had to settle down and just try." Georgia O Keeffe Perhaps it is time to settle down and just try and to quit looking for someone else to tell you how to paint your life. Only Jesus can truly help you figure that out. (If you are reading by e-mail click the post title to go to the Mosaic Devotional site to see the video if it does not come through.)