Today’s post contains the notes from the second part of a talk I gave recently at the Ladies’ Scrapbook Retreat at Lamoine Christian Camp. I hope you can enjoy it in its unpolished form. Part one can be found under the Mama Mia Monday section of my blog.
Adding to the concepts of templates and adhesives, tonight we are going to quickly talk a little about cropping. Cropping is great when it’s a picture. Snip, slice, or chop, whatever method you prefer, we remove unwanted or unnecessary images from our pictures, leaving us with a close up what we really wanted to focus on—the thing which leaves the greatest impact on those who will look back through the pages of our lives.
Well, you guessed it. Not only is God in the template business, and the adhesive business—God is in the cropping business.
God desires to trim us, shape us and crop us in ways that leave a focused image of Him—one that will also leave the greatest impact on those who come into contact with us.
And like we eagerly go at the cropping of our pictures, we CAN eagerly embrace the cropping that God wants to do in us.
We call it cropping. Some call it chiseling, molding. I like what God calls it—sanctification—a setting apart, being freed . . . from sin.
John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. –God crops us through His word.
I Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. –God crops us in order to keep us pure and ready for His coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. God crops us because we are His.
When we allow God to trim, shape, crop, or prune us, we are allowing Him to reveal to the world more of His character, more His grace, more of Him. As the unnecessary and undesirable parts of our life are cropped away we have a greater impact on those who see us.
Sometimes I think we confuse cropping with corner rounding. Corner rounding is just, well; it’s just making the picture look a little more inviting, a little softer maybe. But corner rounding, well, it’s really just cutting corners. And cutting corners is not cropping. You just can’t cut corners on the sanctification process. It takes commitment!
In I Corinthians 4, The apostle Paul asked the Corinthian people how they would like to be cropped suggesting two methods: a whip or in love with a gentle spirit.
Ladies, I would ask you the same question, “How would you prefer the Lord to crop you????” Yeah, me too, gentle trumps whipping every time. . . In my mind, but in my actions, sometimes not so much. . . .
Don’t be afraid to ask the Lord to crop away the parts of your life that may need to go. It may be an attitude, a habit, a grudge or fear. Ladies, let him crop so that He can shine through you for the world to see.
Now as we work our way through our weekend, we have talked about our templates, our adhesive, the cropping process and to finish it all off, we embellish.
Just the word itself is pretty awesome. Embellish. . . .It just sounds fancy y’know? It doesn’t really sound like a sit in your pajamas in a big gym in the middle of the night kind of word.
Embellishing is like a work of art. Embellishing is to beautify by or as if in ornamentation to adorn. And adorn comes from the word adore.
So again, The Lord had this down way before we did. He has adored us, and adorned us since the beginning of time.
Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I Peter 3:3-4 remind us that the beauty and adornment that God desires doesn’t come from our clothes or hair, but the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit
I John 3:1 tell us that God makes us beautiful—he adorns us by lavishing us with His love
I think that God’s embellishing work is really a lot like ours. Most of our books look quite a bit the same on the outside. But when you look inside you see what makes them special. You see the love, the care, and the personal touches that make the stories on the pages captivate our hearts.
That’s how God loves us. He is a God who works from the inside and on the inside. You know our outside is just a shell that will someday pass away, but as we set our hearts to follow His template for our lives, adhering His truths to our hearts, willingly letting him gently trim away that which isn’t needed, His lavish and abundant love transforms the pages of our lives into His-story– A story that reminds us who we are, where we come from and can ultimately point us to where we are going when the One who loves us returns.