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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Devotionals / A Reflecting Pool Welcome Guest
    A Reflecting Pool
          ...that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) God's Word applied and experienced in everyday life: a devotional-style meditation on a selected scripture passage, and how God has made His word active in me. "A Reflecting Pool" is part anecdotal, part instructional, and usually inspirational. Please visit my other site at http://educatedguesser.blogspot.com

    Sun, Nov 5th - 2:23AM

    An Obscured Reflection



    Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. --1st Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

    Many people are familiar with the concept contained in today's verse. Although I prefer using the NIV translation, many people are more familiar with the wording of the King James Version which uses the phrase "through a glass, darkly." It is an effective metaphor that can be used for describing our limited perception of God's plan and purpose.

    When a phrase such as "through a glass, darkly" is used, I have a tendency to ignore it, as it is on the verge of becoming cliche. However, last night those four words made their way into the recesses of my brain and have been marinating in thought juices ever since. Last night at church, our pastor used this phrase as part of his discussion about God's omnipotence and his righteous judgment, particularly as it is described throughout the book of Revelations and also used as the text in Handel's "Hallelujah!" chorus. Pastor Hamilton described how our view of judgment and justice is very much influenced by our own experiences.

    During a portion of the pastor's discussion, I had been, admittedly, not paying too much attention. The wall we face in church is almost entirely covered with windows, and I had been staring complacently at the reflection of our congregation. "Through a glass darkly"--those words got me thinking. I'm pretty sure it was the word "darkly" that hit me the hardest. From where my husband and I were seated in church, I could not see much of the world outside. The lights in the sanctuary were on, which when combined with the blanket of darkness lying just beyond the glass, dramatically obscured even my own reflection in the window pane.

    This is what the world is like to those of us who see through the eyes of a Christian worldview. Even when our immediate surroundings are illuminated, the reflection of Christ in us is still badly out of focus. It won't be until we are actually in His presence that we will know and experience the full truth of His omnipotence. Because we live in a dark world, we sometimes have to strain our eyes to make out even the faintest light on a nearby hillside. There are times when it feels like there is nothing out there that is luminescent, let alone bright enough to guide us.

    The day will come when we will know fully who and what God is. We will know the fullness and richness of His love and mercy. We will rejoice with the angels as His judgment is carried out once and for all. Our present experiences and expectations of God's eternity and the ways we share in that is but an obscured reflection. How wonderful and exciting it is to know that all that will change in the twinkling of an eye, and He shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!

    Excerpted from Pools of Grace Copyright(c)1999-2006 Lauren G. Beyenhof. All Rights Reserved

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    Fri, Sep 1st - 2:35AM

    When All Is Said and Done



    To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowlege and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. --Ecclesistes 2:26 (NIV)

    When watching the world around me, it is easy to think that other people are better off, that they have more exciting, less stressful lives and can achieve great things without hard work. In moments of selfishness I tend to think that I am the only person around who hurts in the ways I do.

    The truth is, life isn't fair, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that if life were fair, we would all be far worse off than we even think we are now. Although there are countless hundreds of things that I don't understand about God's world, it brings me peace to hold onto the things that I do know to be true. I know the Bible is true, and that is why I find encouragement in this verse.

    When all is said and done, God chooses to impart His brand of justice on the world. To those who are faithful and please Him, this verse says that He gives wisdom, knowledge, and dare I say it...happiness! Not only that, but there will come a time when we no longer have to labor without gratification. In fact, sinners will be given the task of gathering up and storing wealth in order to hand it over to us.

    As is usually the case when reading a single Bible verse, I don't believe that this one should be taken literally. Rather, I believe that it is meant to provide us with a hope that there is benefit to be had by living a life serving the Lord. That may not be a simple answer to finding a meaningful life, but it certainly is one key to avoiding a meaningless one.

    Excerpted from Pools of Grace Copyright(c)1999-2006 Lauren G. Beyenhof. All Rights Reserved

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    Thu, Aug 31st - 3:53AM

    Strong Relationships



    Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. --Ecclesiastes 4:12

    The influence of Christian family and friends is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I consider myself very fortunate to have so many people who support me with prayer, and who can encourage me in my walk with God. There are times when I am truly amazed at the sheer number of people whom God has placed in my life. I realize that not everyone may have as many fellow believers in his or her life. I have some friends who are the only Christian in their entire extended family, and sometimes feel very lonely because of that fact.

    As I thought about this verse, A few different things came to mind. One is the old saying "no man is an island." That is quite true, especially for Christians. We are all members of the body of Christ, which includes many people. However, there are times when we are isolated from fellowship with other Christians or feel lonely. Even in those times, we are not alone. God is with us at all times, no matter what.

    Another thing I thought of is the fact that there is "safety in numbers". As Christians we are all spiritually assaulted on a daily basis. The enemy attacks us in many different ways, and standing up to temptations can be difficult. Accountablity within the Christian community is important because it gives us a chance to strengthen the relationship of fellowship we have with other believers, as well as give the light of our witness to shine more brightly.

    God blesses us with friends. There was a time when I thought that I would become happier if I just had more friends. Based on this verse, it looks like all I really need to fulfill the social part of my spiritual life is to have God and at least one other person who has a close, intimate, growing walk with Him. I am blessed to have exactly those kind of relationships and I hope that those who do not, will be blessed with them soon.

    Excerpted from Pools of Grace Copyright(c)1999-2006 Lauren G. Beyenhof. All Rights Reserved

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    Wed, Aug 30th - 3:31AM

    A Matter of Skill



    If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. --Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV)

    In late September of 1998, I began one of the biggest undertakings of my life. I started college. I had done well in high school and with a few Advanced Placement credits to my name, I welcomed the challenge that lay before me.

    My first quarter grades were a disaster. The study skills that had served me so well in high school fell far short of the workload that I attempted. One afternoon at orchestra rehearsal, a new friend of mine could sense my frustration and simply asked how things were going. Being an eager freshman who valued the opinions of the upperclassmen, I begged him to tell me how he had survived the rigorous schedule of cellular biology, general chemistry, and calculus.

    With a smile, Keith shared with me this verse. He reminded me that not everyone can be the top student and that as corny as it may seem, all we can ever really do is try our best. I held tightly to this verse for the rest of my college career. I thought of it often as I prepared for midterms and finals. I thought of it most often when I was unable to take a full courseload or had to repeat a class.

    At some point I even copied this verse onto an index card and taped it to my bedroom door at my parents' house. Oddly enough, the card remained long after I had moved out. On the eve of my college graduation, my husband and I spent the night in my old room. The next morning as I put on my cap and gown, I saw the verse and smiled as I remembered the first time I ever heard it.

    I left for my graduation ceremony smiling to myself and thanking God for giving me the skill I needed to bring sweet success. I may have been swinging a dull, unsharpened ax for the last 6 years, but what a joy it is to know that all the effort was worth it.

    Excerpted from Pools of Grace Copyright(c)1999-2006 Lauren G. Beyenhof. All Rights Reserved

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    About Me

    Name: Lauren Beyenhof
    ChristiansUnite ID: lgrace
    Member Since: 2006-08-30
    Location: , California
    Denomination: Presbyterian
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