Loved to Death

Have you ever really loved something or someone so much that it hurt? The other day I heard someone say excitedly, “Oh I just love that show to death”! It caused me to wonder where that expression came from. I love words, and as a writer, realize the power they have. Where did that phrase originate? Have you ever said it?

Photo by Linda Jackman Photography

Have you loved something or someone that you would die for? It prompted me to ponder what has that kind of value in my life? My spouse and my children, “some” of my family members, but that is about it. I’d love to have a house at the beach but I wouldn’t kill for it, nor would I die for it.

What would it be like to be loved to death – imagine it. Loved so well and so much that you couldn’t stand it, you couldn’t speak or breathe you just felt nothing but love 24-7?

We don’t have to imagine, because we all have been. Jesus loved us to death. Literally.

Jesus Loved us to Death. Can you feel the power in those words? He didn’t give up on us. He knew we were going to try and fail and some of us not try at all. He knew we would lie, cheat and steal. He didn’t give up on us. He gave it all up for us.

Sometimes I feel like quitting, giving in and throwing in the towel – on myself, and on my projects. Nurturing, growing, improving, maturing me; it seems like so much effort. Sometimes I feel worthless and undervalued mostly in my own eyes because of my shortcomings and my failures.

But Jesus loved me to death.

In light of those words, quitting or giving up seems like squandering or wasteful. If Jesus thought we were worth dying for, and he is all knowing and never wrong. Why is it so hard for us to see ourselves as worth that? Worth dying for.

Perhaps it is the lenses we use to view ourselves. The world’s lens tells us one story, while the spousal or kid lens gives us another image. Then there is the parent or work lens which can give us a totally different perspective. The view changes based on the lens we are looking through.

Since no one ever gave up more for us than Jesus, we need to look at ourselves through His lens. It isn’t easy and it isn’t natural. I have a dear friend who struggles to do this ever and she is miserable. I have other friends who are confident women and it seems easy for them to use the “JESUS” lens. Personally, I struggle with it and it hinders me.

I am going to try harder to see myself through the Lenses of the ONE that loved me to death. Join me!

Point to Ponder:

What lenses are you using to view yourself? How would your life be different if you saw yourself as Jesus sees you – worth dying for?

Image is Everything

Images. For my friend Linda images are everything. She is a professional photographer with Linda Jackman Photography (http://lindajackmanphotography.com/), images are her livelihood. She can tell a story with a photo. She has a gift for not only capturing the right emotion as it happens, but also creating that emotion through visual manipulation. The right light, a filter here or there and a conveniently staged prop and a simple flower can become a gift being given by a petulant child, or an ethereal shot of an infant appears to be a heavenly angel.

Images can evoke emotion. Recently I watched the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and was taken right back to five years ago with a heavy heart watching the devastation of property and people. The other day I was sent a photo that made me laugh hysterically. When I see images of child trafficking or animal cruelty I get angry. Looking at photos of my father can make me wistful and photos of chocolate, well they make me hungry!

While images can provoke us, they can also deceive us. Advertising is full of deceptive images that tell us to drink this, take that so you can look like this. I recently viewed a video that showed how an average gal with ordinary features was transformed into a billboard beauty. Did you ever see the commercial for the square Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger years ago? My son talked about it for days. I saw the disappointment on his face when he unwrapped the burger and uttered the words, “This wasn’t what it looked like on TV”, while it was a good lesson it came at his expense.

One of the coolest verses of the Bible about creation is Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” and then verse 27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Seriously? We are created in God’s Image ponder this a moment. That same GOD that created the heavens and the earth AND created you…actually created you in HIS image – His likeness. Basically – Image is everything.

A pastor once said, “You might be the only Jesus that people see.” We sang a song in church yesterday the chorus went like this:

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a Crimson Stain
He washed it white as snow

As established above, images are powerful and these words reminded me that if we’ve accepted Christ and believe that he paid it all…our image is white as snow. We can’t live in the past, because God put an end to it when he allowed Jesus to pay our debt.

Point to Ponder: What image do we project and what does our image evoke? Are we the real deal? Or are we morphing what others see on the outside? Are we living in the past or walking in spirit and in truth? What is hindering us from being authentic?

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