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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sunflowers grown for wholesale
These are being grown commercially on a wholesale flower farm up the road from us. As we passed by yesterday the field workers were harvesting them.  This photo does not capture the beauty of the setting.  It appeared as though there were little faces with yellow hair and whiskers or colorful periscopes peeping through the rows of green foliage!

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"Fixing Our Eyes"

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18).

SIRD image (click to enlarge)

About fifteen years ago SIRDS were very popular. SIRDS are images like the one above that appear to make no sense at all until you focus your vision a certain way. Then a powerful image or word just seems to lift right out of the panoramic picture. I found an online SIRDS creator and created the image above but frankly I must admit for the life of me I can't see the words I intended to create, though I do know what I wrote and will likely be viewed by our skilled SIRDS interpreters.  I welcome readers to try and report to me if they see it.

Lorna was a lady in our church who knew that I enjoyed these SIRDS and gave me one with a Christian message. We hung it in on a wall in the overflow area of our church.  People would attempt to show me just how to squint or how to look at it at a certain angle, but even then I just couldn't see it. After someone would go to great lengths to help me find the missing picture they'd say, "You see it
now don't you?" I actually felt rather foolish and pressured to say "O yeah, now I see it."  But truth be told I never did.

It seems to me that the spiritual realm is in some respects like a SIRDS. As we look about we see the temporal realm. Now in many ways it's beautiful since we are looking at God's design, unlike the initial random, meaningless image in a SIRDS.

But like a SIRDS there's more to reality that we do not initially see and that is what the apostle Paul calls the "unseen" in the daily Scripture verse. Now I believe that by grace we can all see this realm, but it does require an intentional fixing of our eyes on this unseen realm. This is the essence of faith. One version states we "consider and look." The underlying Greek word is where we get the word "scope".

This illustrates a great spiritual principle.  I am especially mindful of readers who are going through difficult times as they read this. We hit upon this theme repeatedly for that is a large focus of our Daily Encouragement messages. The verse that precedes our text declares, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17). 

In God's plan of redemption the temporal troubles we see from day to day are one of the ways we share in Christ's suffering. But the future reward invisible to our physical eyes is that we will eternally share His glory. "If we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering" (Romans 8:17).

We encourage you to call this verse to mind when enduring a lengthy trial, keeping in mind that the trial is temporary but sharing His glory is eternal. We joyfully claim the first part of the verse and choose not to focus on the latter half especially when we get to the dreaded word, "suffering", but suffering and glory are both experienced in the life of the believer. This is evident throughout Scriptural teaching and also in the lives of Bible characters in their experiences throughout life.

There's also one other danger that the text addresses:  Not only do we need the awareness of the temporariness of what is seen when going through the hard times but also when we're enjoying the good times. We are a blessed people!  Moses warned the Israelites that when you prosper, don't forget the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:10ff). 

Remember in our present existence that which is seen is temporary, but that which we see through spiritual eyes is eternal. 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, in the maze of life's events where we're often a passenger on the rollercoaster of life's ups and downs, may we never lose sight of You.  You are the unseen but ever-present Shepherd who protects, guides and tenderly comforts us in all our trouble. Thank You, Lord, that when change is constantly about us, You remain steadfast, faithful, and dependable.  You are the Anchor that keeps us grounded in the unseen eternal truths that we build our lives upon.  Keep us faithful and help us to always believe!  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"
 Video  Selah  Video (Nice instrumental version followed by congregational singing)

"How Great Thou Art"  Video

"Open The Eyes Of My Heart Lord"  Video  MercyMe

SIRDS stands for Single Image Random Dot Stereogram 
Here's the website I used this morning that allows you to generate an image.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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