Brighter and More Beautiful

2 Corinthians 3:18 Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

Every year I try to come out with a verse for the year. I was thinking on it and thinking on it and did not get anything. I just felt compelled to keep working. I now have six websites to create content for and nothing to say! Finally, this week, I read what my pastor’s wife wrote years ago to focus her on her ministry. She has said she reads these verses every year to renew her vision and her passion for her ministry. They come from 2 Corinthians.

I decided to read through the book of 2 Corinthians last night. As I read I underlined verses that struck me as interesting. A few times I folded down the page so I would know which ones were especially compelling. (I should mention here that I have read this book through several times, each time in a different translation, underlining verses as I go.)

Since I had difficulty sleeping last night I was up in the dining room comparing the different translations of the verses I found in 2 Corinthians. Somewhere about 3 I finally dropped off to sleep still thinking of the verses I had read.

Brighter and more beautiful is the phrase that sticks out in my mind most of all. I loved the way this verse was expressed in The Message. The other translations talked about the glory of God and his light. When I think of the glory of God I think of the bright lights and colors of this world.

Recently I saw a sunset that was so awesome I couldn’t stop to take a picture. I searched the Internet but I couldn’t find anything like what I saw. I rousted my son and dragged him outside to view the sky. From the backyard, the clouds streamed across the sky in large swaths of color. It was the brightest oranges on an almost turquoise sky.

Coming around the front of the house following the clouds led me to the large floral arrangement of huge sprays of clouds showing oranges, then reds, then purples and blues as the sunset. The beauty of the clouds reflecting the light of the sun spoke to me of how great God’s glory can be. Because anything we see here in this world is a washed out replica of what is the spiritual reality.

Then to find this verse speaking of God’s glory as light made sense to me. I could see how as I grow closer to him his light will shine through me. It will splash onto others and illuminate the love of God for them. The more I become like him and let him work through me, the brighter and more beautiful a reflection I will be.

I cannot imagine what this year will hold. I long to see God work in me and through me. I want others to be blessed by God and for them to have the opportunity to grow brighter and more beautiful. So that is my verse for this year.

God give me grace and show me your mercy. Help me work through my doubts and fears of what I can when I let you be my guide, my strength and my refuge. Show me your plans, day-by-day, step-by-step, so that I will walk with you as you fulfill the destiny you have planned for me.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.

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