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The church is a collective of creators and co-creators working together in unity to paint a picture of God’s kingdom. God uses each of our gifts and talents to create a work infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. When God’s people respond to the ugly divisiveness and violence of the world with the beauty of love, peace, and unity - this is the beauty of the Church!
We see beauty in God’s creation because it is doing what it was designed to do—proclaiming the wonders of God and glorifying His name. We were created to worship and obey our Creator, and this does not limit our freedom, it unleashes it. Worship, much like obedience, is surrendering to something greater than us; to worship means to honor and submit to the greatness of God. Keeping one eye focused on that future picture will help us to surrender our lives to the Lord in worship now in the present with joy.
Great art reminds us that in the midst of tragedy there is always beauty. Jesus’ life was a masterpiece of light and vivid color which contrasted the harsh background of hate, betrayal and suffering of the world. Through His sacrifice, He turned the cross, a barbaric instrument of death, into a symbol of beauty and hope. The beauty of the cross is that in the very same stroke, it satisfies both the love of God and the justice of God. The beauty of God’s love at the cross surpasses any other beauty we’ve ever seen.
How you live your life daily is determined by your own imagination or vision of your future, your imagination of God and His kingdom and your place in it. What you imagine your future to be will form the way you live your life right now. If your hope is based on the things you want from this world, like power, money or fame, you will always have anxiety as they can be taken from you. A life of faith is less about gathering information and more about expanding the imagination; you need to think differently to live differently.
He who is the Creator God is the creative God, and He created us in His image and likeness; we have the ability to resemble, reflect and represent Him to others. He created us with imagination and curiosity, with the capacity to hope and to dream, and He placed within us the power to live an extraordinarily creative life. We are designed to create, to be a part of a process that brings something good and beautiful and true into the world.
After Ahab was killed, his son Ahaziah became king over of Israel. Not long after, King Ahaziah suffered an accident. How did he respond? Well, as it turned out, just like his father. He thought first not of God, but of Baal. Through the encounter Elijah had with Ahaziah, we see that bypassing God is foolish, negotiating with God is futile and living without God is fruitless.
When the rule of self leads in the hearts of God’s people, desires are distorted, poor counsel is welcomed, power is abused, and life is destroyed. When the reign of the Lord leads in the hearts of God’s people, sin is exposed, justice is faced, and mercy is tasted.
Kingdom service that endures involves Kingdom servants who encounter God’s presence and embrace God’s ways. God’s servants in a troubled world can count on three things: fierce threats around us, deep discouragement within us, and God’s renewing presence among us. Elijah had a mountain top experience, then fell into a dismal valley. God is there to meet us in the valleys, offering us rest and hope through His majestic whispers.
We learn from Elijah, a man just like us, that there are certain approaches and attitudes that make prayers effective. We must pray humble prayers. We must be specific with our prayers. For prayers to be effective we must also be persistent. Effective prayers are expectant prayers.
Above anything else in our lives, God wants to have all of our hearts, our worship, our focus, our adoration. We make trouble in our lives when we worship anyone or anything but the one true God. True servants of God know the essentials of devotion and cost. They know the error of false worship, and the only One worthy of our worship. Elijah proved to the people the futility and foolishness of worshiping and depending on anyone other than the One True God.