Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reflective Sheltering

When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God, we become mirrors.  Oswald Chambers

Can we shelter by reflecting  the life of Jesus and mirroring His character?    It should be the goal of each of us to reflect Christ as we shelter.  If I shelter with resentment, does the one I shelter feel love?  If I shelter with impatience does the one I shelter feel peaceful?  If I shelter with obligatory giving does the one I shelter feel joyous?  

Typing these words remind me of something Paul wrote to the Corinthians.  If I gave everything I have to the poor...I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.  It's not just in sheltering that we spread love, joy and peace.  It's our attitude while doing these acts of shelter.

How did Jesus shelter the leper?  He touched him with gentle kindness.  How did Jesus shelter Martha when her brother died?  He cried with her.  Jesus sheltered the widow giving her only coins by bragging on her and the woman caught in adultery with a second chance.  He offered love, kindness, loyalty and peace. He changed lives.  And if our shelter is going to change lives, then we need to reflect His character. 

When one of my daughters was young (I'm protecting the guilty), she loved watching herself in the mirror.  Whether she was singing, playing the piano or talking to an imaginary friend, she watched her reflection.  She didn't want other family members to observe this practice -- She wanted to be alone. The best way I've found to be a reflection of Christ is to be "shut in with Him."  I found these beautiful lyrics but couldn't find the name of the author.


Shut in with God in a secret place;
There in the Spirit beholding His face;
Gaining more power to run in the race,
Oh, how I long to be shut in with God.

Shut in with God while kneeling in prayer,
Finding His beauty and glory there....
I bow in wonder at His awesome grace,
As He shuts me in His holy place.

As I'm shut in with God, my strength is renewed,
I soar like a eagle, I'm born anew...
O the wonder! O the grace!
As I'm shut in with God
in this holy place! 

As we shut ourselves in with God, We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Oswald Chambers said, "The greatest characteristic a Christian can exhibit is this completely unveiled openness before God, which allows that person’s life to become a mirror for others. When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors. You can always tell when someone has been beholding the glory of the Lord, because your inner spirit senses that he mirrors the Lord’s own character."

I want to spend time this week shut up with God...to rejoice in the wonder, to glory in the grace...to be a reflection of Him so my sheltering will produce love, joy and peace.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mailbox Sheltering: The Final

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

The sealing ministry of God the Holy Spirit is God’s final stamp of approval which guarantees that you will be in heaven forever. ~John Farley

Did you ever get a letter with the letters SWAK on the back flap?  If so, I don't need to tell you the letters stand for "Sealed with a kiss."  Most of us who received love letters saw this acronym on our envelopes -- and wrote it a few times ourselves.  However, it was actually begun during WWII when soldier boys were writing their sweethearts back home.  Only they used SWALK -- sealed with a loving kiss.

Hundreds of years before the gummed envelopes were sealed with a kiss, envelopes were sealed with wax.  (I wish I still had my seal from childhood days.  It added a specialness to personal mail -- ah, the nostalgic thought -- the burgundy puddle of wax, the press of the seal, the permanent embossing left on wax.)

A seal on an envelope was an indisputable seal of authenticity.  While reading this bit of trivia, a verse in 2 Corinthians came to mind -- [God] set his seal of ownership on us.

My mother at her writing desk
God has sealed us, signifying our redemption through His Son.  It's a seal of grace.  Undeserved, unmerited and amazing.  We are His.  I believe if we are wearing God's seal, the imprint of His Son, Jesus, will be evident in our life.

Sealing wax came in different colors: black for mourning, red for business, green for surgeons, white for religious orders and yellow or brown for ordinary people.  I want God's sealing wax on my life to be red -- red for the blood that cleanses me from sin.

Just as we heat the wax in order to apply it to our envelope flap, so we, too, are sometimes burned by the fire of life.  It is then our choice which seal of approval we will accept.  Beeswax was used for seals of long ago.  But because of the neutral and varying shades it was found that people could open the letter and reseal it with new wax; thus the need for a personal seal.

I refuse to allow Satan a chance to reseal my justification and sanctification, creating in me a mere imitation of who I am in Christ.  I want others to see Authentic Child of God written on my life.  I want His seal of approval.  I want the imprint of Jesus to be evident -- my heart sealed by God Himself.

O to grace how great a debtor?
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee...
Here's my heart Lord take and seal it --
Seal it for Thy courts above.

As we close this series of Mailbox Sheltering, I want to thank you for all your beautiful comments.  It's been obvious to me that many of you treasure the letter writing process.  You have pledged to put mail in someone's box.  I find joy in your friendships.  In many of you I see God's seal -- I hear Him say, "This is my seal. She is mine.  Learn of me through her."  With your seal from God, you shelter. You shelter your family, your church family and your "world-wide" family.  God sees and is pleased.  I feel and am blessed.  

When our sheltering on earth is over, those of us sealed by God will rise to meet Him.  I can't wait to meet Rebecca, Miss Kathy, Jen, Charlotte and Ginger, Glenda, Debbie and all of you who shelter me with your words.  I see God's red seal of redemption shining through you and one day I'll meet you around the throne. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

500 Follower Giveaway

I planned to do a giveaway to celebrate reaching 500 followers, but I was visiting in Pennsylvania and things like hitting a deer and totaling our van kept my mind occupied elsewhere.

I'm amazed that so many of you want to read my writings. And I'm thankful for each of you -- both for reading my blog and, for most of you, the way you challenge and inspire me while reading your blogs, too.

So here's the deal. I'm giving away a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate to one of you. I've tried to make the "rules" interesting and fun. There are 4 possible entries.

Become a follower or tell me you already are following

Vote for the book question on the right

Blog about the giveaway
Tweet about the giveaway

Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each entry. I sure wish I could give a certificate to each of you!
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