Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: A Part of God’s Mosaic

Bowl Plaza mosaic*Today’s post is written by my friend Jane M. Tucker. She is the author of Lottie’s Gift.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1)

Hebrews chapter eleven describes many people who accomplished great things by faith in God. I have sometimes heard this chapter called the “Hall of Heroes,” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” These titles conjure images of a museum where the portraits of Bible heroes like Abraham, Moses and Rahab hang on the walls. Gold name plates nailed to the picture frames tell who they were, and what they did.

The idea feeds my pride. Someday, I’ll be as great as they were. Someday, I’ll deserve to hang in that hall, too. It isn’t a healthy way to approach my faith walk.

Because the Hall of Fame idea is a trap for me, long ago God gave me a different visual: A mosaic, made of millions of different stones, each one reflecting His light with infinite beauty. In the Master’s hands I am a stone, tumbled to a high polish by time and trial, until I am fit to take my place among all the other precious and unique stones in His timeless design. The idea of a mosaic is reflected in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (emphasis mine).

The mosaic image holds three advantages for me:

  • I measure myself rightly. I’m not so much a portrait, grandly set apart in a gallery for all to see. I’m a stone, precious to my maker, but not more so than His other precious stones.
  • I see myself in relationship with other believers. Our triune God is all about relationship. One lovely stone is admirable, but it gains even more beauty when placed with all the others to form a greater whole.
  • I remember that God wants everyone to join his family. A missing mosaic tile is instantly noticeable. God needs all his precious stones if his artwork is to be complete.

Now, let me be clear: The portrait painter and the mosaic artist are only metaphors for a God we cannot fully describe. Metaphors clothe the intangible with concrete images, but they are limited. Martin Luther called God a mighty fortress, and David called Him a rock, and those metaphors also have their limitations.

What metaphor for God speaks to you today?

When she’s not gallivanting around New York, Jane M. Tucker works and plays in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband and three nearly grown kids. She writes about the people and places of the Midwest on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland. Jane’s novel, Lottie’s Gift, about an Iowa farm girl with a big gift for music and the sister she loves with all her heart, is available on Amazon.com and at CrossRiverMedia.

*Photo by Jane M. Tucker

Midweek Morsel: Loving Others, Showing Them God

7452197640_7c4d4e9aea_zDid you realize that when you show love to others, you are in fact showing them a bit of what God is like? Since the Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8b), it follows that God can be reflected through our loving acts and words towards others.

In the book Bittersweet—Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, author Shauna Niequist points out this truth especially as it applies to loving the heartbroken. Consider these words of hers and recall if this has been your experience as well:

“I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over.”

What a privilege to show God to a hurting soul, huh? Let’s remember that our expressions of love to the heartbroken can have deep and even eternal impact. Let’s show them love. Let’s show them God.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7a

*During your times of heartbreak, has someone reflected God to you through their loving deeds?

*Flickr photo by lucidtech, Creative Commons License

Dream Like Crazy

13026914033_d92fcaf0b0_zDo you have a dream? If so, be encouraged by my post today. Over seven years ago I wrote a piece called “Dream Like Crazy” for my very first Life Notes newsletter, and the dream I shared in that piece is in the process of coming true right now. That’s right, my first book will be released on July 1st!

So won’t you read “Dream Like Crazy” today and rejoice with me at how God is honoring the dreams of little ordinary me. Hope it encourages you to pursue those dreams of your own!

Dream Like Crazy (written in November 2008)

Are you a dreamer? I am. When I sleep, I dream like crazy, but for the past several years, I’ve become a dreamer of a different sort. I’m a writer now, and writers have to be dreamers. Not only do we have to dream up ideas and words, we must have vision—dreams and goals—if we hope to have our work published.

My writing dream didn’t start until I was 40 years old. Just as the world was telling me I was over the hill, I saw a new hill to climb. And even though I’ve had to take a couple of detours along the way, I’ve been climbing slowly but surely ever since. One step at a time.

The dream to touch other lives through my writing has grown over the years. When I began, I just hoped to have some articles and poems published, but within a few years, a desire to write a book took root as well. Now I have more than one book project tumbling around inside my mind and out onto my keyboard. I continue working at my ongoing goal of having more of my work used in various publications, compilation books, and on greeting cards, but now my dream encompasses seeing books of my own published as well.

A book sounds like a pretty big dream for a small-time gal like me, doesn’t it? Especially given the fact that my over the hill 40th birthday is now a distant memory. You know what keeps me pressing on, though? I believe God has given me my dreams and called me to write. I’m just following his lead.

As far as traditional book publication goes, I know the odds are stacked against me. In the publishing world, the market is more competitive than ever before. Some might say, “Why bother? Why go to all that effort? You’ll probably never get a book contract.” And you know what? They may be right. If so, I’m okay with that. I still feel incredibly blessed to have any of my work out there touching the lives of others.

Even so, I’m not ready to give up my dream of book publication. Those voices could be wrong. Jesus said, ‘”…with God all things are possible…'” (Matthew 19:26), and after all, God is the One who has given me my dreams as well as the ability to write. I’m just getting ready for his blessing. Just doing my part to see my dreams become reality!

*Do you have a dream? Take it to the Lord and get ready for His blessing!

*Sign-up for my free Life Notes newsletter is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Our Powerful God

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Do you need a reminder today of God’s great power?

Sometimes if we’re not staying in close communion with our heavenly Father, we can begin feeling like everything is up to us. And that can be a very heavy burden to bear. Instead, we need to remember that we have the all-powerful God of the universe in our corner. We can let him carry the load.

The Word of God is filled with descriptions of the power of God, but today let’s look at just a few verses about the power of the Lord’s voice. After reading these verses, we’ll never want to rely on our own power again!

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

. . . The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.

And in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’” Psalm 29:3-5; 7-9

Awe-inspiring, huh? And this is just one aspect of God’s power! I wonder if any of us are standing in need of God’s power today. Let’s call on him without delay!

*When has God shown himself all-powerful to you?

*Flickr photo by chris chabot, Creative Commons License

Adventure Booster

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If you read the last issue of my Life Notes inspirational newsletter or if you caught my blog posts in January, you know that adventure is on my mind this year.

Adventure is my theme word for 2016 in fact.  But since it’s easy to forget a theme word as the year goes along, I thought June, the mid-point of the year, would be a good time to go a little more in-depth with it here on the blog.

So here is an acrostic of ideas and avenues for adventure—an adventure booster so to speak. Even if adventure is not your own personal theme word for the year, maybe you’ll find something here to incorporate into your life this summer. No time like the summer for adventure, right? Enjoy!

Ask someone to join you in trying out a new restaurant or ice cream shop.

Drive to a familiar destination by a new-to-you route.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen, a special needs camp, or other outreach for those in need.

Educate yourself on a topic that interests you.

Notice the amazing beauty and creativity of God’s ever-changing sky each day.

Travel to a place you’ve always wanted to visit.

Unwind with a new-to-you book and a different variety of chocolate, coffee, or tea.

Risk a physical challenge that will push you out of your comfort zone or test your limits.

Enter a contest that spurs you to excel at one of your talents or abilities.

So here is the challenge: If an idea here caught your eye, determine now to make it your next adventure. It’s time to get out there and do something new!

“I will sing a new song to you, O God . . .” Psalm 144:9a

*What adventure are you going to try?

*CCO Public Domain photo