. . . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.  (Phil 4:8)

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  (Ps 27:4)

 

Plague, fire and flood; wars, slaughters, refugees; hunger, hate and hopelessness. It seems to get more disheartening with every newscast.

In the span of my lifetime, I have never felt more need to intentionally stop and spend time gazing on the beauty of the Lord.

As I seek His face, I see the purity of his truth, revealed and lived in Jesus. I bask in the radiance of His love, the warmth of His forgiveness. I can rest secure in the gentleness of His arms, knowing the goodness of his purposes. I am awed by the sheer splendor of His holiness, the gift of His Spirit, His hands of mercy.

My gaze widens to what He has made.

I hear His joy in the laugh of a young child. I taste His goodness in the array of fruit He has provided. I see His light in the eyes of a new believer. His perfection glows in the petals of  flowers, His tenderness in a mother’s smile. His richness is all around me in myriad greens and blues and blossoming hues that delight my eyes. I laugh as robins take their vigorous baths, and smile as bright finches, cardinals and chickadees adorn my feeders. I thank Him that He is the glorious author of it all.

Then my gaze turns inward.  I crave the beauty of the Lord to dominate my mind. To do that, I must make a decision to keep on bringing my thoughts back to what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable or praiseworthy, and let them linger there. I can choose my focus, and the positive exercise of that choice is in itself a God-affirming decision.

I reflect than no matter how much humankind has marred this world, God’s beauty remains untouched.  That beauty can and does sustain us when we take the time to gaze and reflect and renew in His presence.

An unknown author has written:

Every morning lean thine arm awhile

Upon the window sill of heaven

And gaze upon thy God.

Then with the vision in thy heart

Turn strong to meet the day.

Lord, may we always choose to gaze on You, the source, the power and the embodiment of all that is beautiful.