"Serenity and inner beauty come when you wait upon God. Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart." - quote from Chris
"who your soul is..." - quote from Joann
"lookin forward" - quote from Fran - now she wasn't really commenting on inner beauty when she said this but rather when I would be sharing this talk at her church. But, I thought it was a really neat concept - inner beauty is looking forward - not living back in the past or drudging up old things but looking forward...looking forward to what's ahead and not continually looking back.
"I think inner beauty means Gods love and peace coming through, from the inside out." - quote from Liz
"God's spirit living through me!" - quote from Krisinda
"Anyone with the fruits of the Spirit flowing freely, is very beautiful!" - quote from Eva
"inner beauty" is someone with Alot of love for their fellow man!" - quote from Thelma
"inner beauty, is caring, loving and a listening kind of person." - quote from Nora "The phrase inner beauty brings so many things to mind..a person's character...their morals and values...are they someone of good conscience... and of course the fruits of the spirit..." - quote from Melissa
"Inner beauty comes from being redeemed and allowing God to do His Almighty work in you... it's calmness you have within yourself because of what Jesus Christ our Saviour has done for us and living the way we should with Jesus in our hearts .." - quote from MaryAnn
And then I got this response from a guy - it really made me think and there's so much truth to it. "Inner beauty ...no such thing.... only a phrase used by a non believer to glorify self. A phrase used to substitute ...spirit......would you rather have someone say you have " inner beauty " as it is ..or would you rather them say " I see the true and living spirit of God " or maybe yet " I see virtue " I have only heard the phrase inner beauty used towards someone that was fat or ugly ... so one would use the words "they have inner beauty " to compliment them for lack of something to say...." quote from Tom
Then I went onto the Web and got some quotes from various places on there:
" what is real beauty? I want to say that inner beauty is the real one because if someone has beauty in his soul, he looks like a really beautiful person.The beauty looked at with eyes doesn't last forever. Instead of concentrating on outer beauty, we should concentrate on inner beauty. The point is that inner beauty is more important than outside beauty. So, if we make the effort to make our minds beautiful, we'll be happier." - quote from Jenny in Korea
"Youthful beauty fades with time, but, with cultivation, inner beauty grows richer. The good news is that it’s never too late or too soon to evolve your inner beauty. A good place to start is to create self-awareness by locating your passions and using them positively to create self-satisfaction. Then your inner beauty will grow and radiate to your outer self.
Take time to find your unique gifts and develop them. Get motivated to create self-satisfaction and a positive self-image. If you do this, you will make your life richer and more meaningful.1. Believe that you have an inner self to explore and that you are willing to let yourself develop your innate talents and gifts. Here are a few insightful quotes about personal development to ponder.
2. Create 2-3 positive affirmations, such as "My creativity is my gift, as I am open to it, I will be led." Or "I am a wonderfully gifted _________ and I am growing better every day." Repeat your affirmations 10 time each every morning to motivate yourself to grow, learn and experience the things you are passionate about.
3. Treat yourself to personal time away from family and friends to do something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled at least once a week.
4. Keep a private journal and write in it faithfully everyday. Let the distractions, injuries, worries, plans, hopes and ideas flow from your brain to the paper. This will help to clear your mind, focus on what is positive and release ideas and beliefs that may be holding you back.
5. Take time regularly to go inward with meditation or prayer."
- quote from Tomi Gion magazine in an article on Creating Inner Beauty"Do we realize that we would look the way we are, and an expression on our face is actually the reflection of what we are from within? We can camouflage the exterior, but what can we do to the interior? Our goodness or badness, generosity or animosity, or love or hatred, all show somewhere here or somewhere there on our bodies. If we are good from within, our face reflects a mesmerizing state of goodness; if we are not, we clearly show it through our expressions....Haven't you ever come across simple-looking, down-to-earth people who impress upon, and look good to you, in the first very instance? They are the ones who carry an inner, positive influence as a beautiful mark on their faces. Beauty is nothing but a mindset, and you are actually a positive or a negative mindset when you look beautiful, or do not." - quote from Phylameana lila Desy, About.com
So there are some good points in the quotes from the web…..but where is God in the picture? Is it just us and our positive nature and smiles that make us beautiful or is it God within us that makes us beautiful? Hmmmm.
When I think of Inner Beauty – I think of Christ living in me and it pouring out of me each day – radiating Christ’s love and care. There’s nothing great about myself as a whole – me alone is nothing, quite worthless actually and full of sin. But, with Christ in me, I am beautiful to God.
Attitude – I also think of our attitude when I think of Inner Beauty – the attitude I have is what can make me beautiful. Having a good, godly positive attitude is the key – it shines out as a great beacon of light. I often tell my girls, do you wanna shine or stink? Our attitudes can either shine and win people over or it can stink up such a smell that we’ll chase everyone around us away.
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – LIVING BEYOND YOURSELF
Life isn't always about the people around us changing.....it's about changing our own hearts to reflect more of Christ! We can't change others around us...we can only change how we view them, how we react to them and how we love them through the love of Jesus. Christ in ME - the hope of all glory! Now that's living beyond yourself.
You know ladies, we always have a choice....God will not make us do anything, we are not a puppet....each day is a choice. But we act out what we believe in our own physical bodies....what do you believe? God has given those who believe in Him, believe in His Son Jesus Christ, the incredible power of the Holy Spirit. Through Him, all things are possible. Through Him, we can live beyond what we are feeling or thinking...we can live throughout all aspects of the Fruits of the Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. We can live out all of those - they are already in us because the Holy Spirit is within us. Each of these has an action:
LOVE NEVER FAILS ** JOY COMETH ** PEACE RULES ** PATIENCE WAITS ** KINDNESS TENDERS ** GOODNESS DOES ** FAITH FIGHTS ** GENTLENESS BOWS ** SELF-CONTROL STOPS
God has taught us some wonderful things through this study. He wants to change our life and also our day! Victory happens one day at a time. I don't have to worry about tomorrow, a year from now, or 10 years from now. All I need to think about is what I am doing right now, how am I living for the Lord, in what ways am I reacting - through the fruits of the spirit or through the human flesh which cannot please God apart from Him. I need the glory of the Lord to fill my temple, my body - so that I reflect more of Him and less of me and my selfish desires and actions. When God fills me up, it pushes out my carnal nature, my fleshly humanness and makes room for His Spirit and His work in me and through me. Teach me how to do that more Lord. I need to choose each day whom I will serve - myself or God. I stumble and fall each day, I make mistakes....but God is constantly there with His unfailing love and never ending mercy and forgiveness. Through His faithfulness, He gives me a new chance each and every day, every morning to reveal the inner beauty from within.
BREAKING FREE & PEACE LIKE A RIVER
We just finished a Bible study called Breaking Free by Beth Moore. It was an incredible study. In it she gave a fascinating picture of Peace like a River – and having peace is a picture of inner beauty. I absolutely LOVE the analogy of the River. A river is a moving stream of water, it is a body of fresh water fed by springs or streams, it begins and ends with a body of water. God doesn't say we'll have peace like a pond....but peace like a river. His peace is a peace that we can have while life twists and turns and rolls over boulders. It's to have security and peace of mind and heart while life takes many bumps and unexpected turns along the journey of changes. Peace is submitted to God's authority, not resigning from all the activity of life. Peace comes from an active, ongoing, and obedient relationship with the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. He wants to feed us with the Living Water of His Holy Spirit and a steady stream of His Word until we have peace like a river. Peace flows from a continuing upland source, Jesus Christ, and is always a reminder that this life will eventually spill out into a glorious eternal life. This present life is not our destination! Hallelujah!! We who know Christ through a personal relationship with him, are continually moving over rocks, sometimes cliffs, through narrow places and other times wide valleys to a grand heavenly destination. This takes abiding with Christ, paying attention to God's commands through obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Why? Because God is incapable of making any mistakes whatsoever with our lives. He teaches us only what is best for us, He directs us only in the way we should go. God's way is the safe way, the right way, and the only peaceful way in a very chaotic world that we live in. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Col. 3:15). Through all of life, I can have "peace like a river" when I pay attention to God's commands and follow where He leads me. The key to having peace in my life is to submit to His authority through my obedience to Him. Obedience doesn't come easily for anyone - we all wanna do our own thing and go our own way and live life as we please. Obedience to God is not going our way, not doing as we please and not even speaking as we please. Peace is the fruit of righteousness and joy is the wine from that fruit. Joy will ultimately flow from obedience.
PLANETS & BLACK HOLE
Have any of you heard of Louie Giglio? He’s a phenomenal speaker. He has this Passion Video series out and at our ladies retreat last fall, we watched one of his videos called “How Great is our God”. My heart beat hard from the first moment it started to the very end. He began by showing us how vast our universe it is and how many galaxies exist out there – how many planets and stars and the sizes. The Sizes!! Did you know that our planet was not the largest planet in our galaxy? There are planets that are bigger than earth…but some of the stars! Wow! If I showed you a photo of one of the biggest stars out there, I wouldn’t even be able to put a black sharpy mark beside it cause the little dot would be too big to give you the actually size of this planet earth compared to the largest star that they’ve found. And these stars are millions of light years away! Our galaxy is huge!! There’s a black hole at the end of our galaxy and a photo was taken of it with the Hubble Space Telescope – and the image that is in that black hole is in the shape of an eye – very bright and shades of white – with the shape of a cross in the middle. God has his stamp on our great universe that He’s created!
We are all such a tiny speck in the largeness of the universe - it's amazing how important we as humans are to God....He made the amazing universe but He created US in HIS image and in HIS likeness! And He put US up above the importance spectrum waaaaaaay above the spectacular universe that He created! We are His chosen people - He created us with so much love and importance! I'm just so amazed! Okay, so here we are on this tiny planet earth, God’s chosen ones who He’s made in His image. Do you know of the intricacies of our body? How amazing are the workings of the eye alone! Or the blood system in our body…or the way our skin heals…..or the way our cell system works and how our body is made up of trillions and trillions of cells that if you stretched it out, it would fill up a whole whackload of encyclopedias with all the information that is stored up in our cells alone! We are an amazing creation - hand created and molded by our Great God. There’s absolutely no way that we could’ve evolved from a rock over trillions of years – impossible! We are too intricately designed! That’s not the best part yet though! Have you heard of Laminin? Louie Giglio had met a molecular biologist who introduced him to laminin. If you google it on the internet, you’ll see it for yourself. So, laminin is what they call the glue that holds our cells together so that our body can work properly. We don’t just have one of these in our body…we have tons and tons. Do you know what the shape of laminin is? A cross. Yep, a cross. The glue that holds all the trillions of cells together in our body is shaped like a cross. I got goosebumps. That’s inner beauty ladies. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ – the one He died on to redeem us from our sins and to give us eternal life, is stamped on the inside of our bodies as well as in this great universe that we live in. Colossians 1:17 says: He (Christ) is before all things and IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.” Now, that’s a really powerful passage if you ask me. Cause what's holding me together?? The cross of Christ! - and millions of crosses! Isn’t that incredible? That alone is inner beauty! I am so humbled by my Great God – by His Greatness and His unfathomable way that He puts everything together. I, Lisa Braun, am being held together by the cross of Christ. You are too! How much more beautiful can we become than that?? We can’t! God is everywhere - in the far reaches of this incredibly vast universe that we live in, down to every cell of our intricately designed bodies. There is so much proof of that everywhere we look! How Great is our God!?!?!?! We cannot even begin to imagine how incredibly great and huge He is!
What are the chances that out of the million replicas and symbols in the world, God chose the symbol of the CROSS to HOLD our body together. Literally, Jesus, my Jesus..HOLDS me TOGETHER..literally holds me together!! What more could I ever, ever, ever need?
WALK WITH RITA
The other day, I was out walking with a friend, and I was telling her how enthralled I am by this new baby living next door to me. We have a black family that’s recently moved in beside us and they just had a baby. I’ve never held a black baby before and I was just fascinated! I was telling her how incredibly different all of our hair is – some fine, some straight, some curly, some shaggy…. Many different babies have been born around me recently and I’m just fascinated by the eyes, hair and facial features of each one. The hair on this baby next door is black and lots of it…and the tightest curls – I love touching it. I have a friend who adopted a Spanish boy and his hair is black too but different and it’s straight and stands out sideways. I have a Chinese friend who’s hair is black too but a different shade and it’s straight as well but it molds down over her head. So many shades of black and so many types of hair –and the eyes!! We all have such different eyes! Oh the eyes of the different races of people that I’ve come into contact with over the past few years…in Bolivia, in Israel, in Amsterdam, in Jordan, in Egypt…..wow! God made us all so beautiful! Such beautiful people around us and I love to watch them. So, anyway, I ‘m going on and on and then my friend Rita (who is a nurse) she says the most profound thing… “but when we open you all up, you’re all the same.” Whoa! That’s inner beauty ladies! God made us all the same on the inside even though we all have different features on the outside. He put His stamp of approval on us – “Let us make man in our image.” Inside, we all have organs, blood flowing, veins, arteries, bones….you name it…and it’s wonderfully and uniquely made. The inner beauty is how God made us to work on the inside. Beauty from the inside out. Remember the cross – the Laminin – beauty from the inside – God’s stamp on each of us individually.
Ladies, it doesn’t matter what we do on the outside to try to make ourselves beautiful. It doesn’t matter if our bodies were completely mangled beyond recognition – we are beautiful! Christ was tortured, beaten and bruised beyond recognition – in the book of Isaiah it says that He didn’t even look human – and He was still beautiful! Why? Because He was God’s Son, God created Him, and He was doing the Will of the Father who sent him. We are co-heirs with Christ – we are God’s children, sons and daughters, princes and princesses. We are to be in this world but not of this world. We are often dressing like the world, talking like the world, competing like the world. God wants us to be different, to see different and to look different to the world around us. How do we do that? By being who He wants us to be and working on our beauty from the inside out. God is calling out to His people.
SCARS DON’T HURT
In closing, I’d like to tell you about a book that I’m reading right now. The timing of this book is amazing…only God can do things like this. Scars Don’t Hurt is a book about a Mennonite woman who shares my maiden name. She grew up in a family of 9 kids, her mother had mental illness, a couple of her brothers were drinkers, her father was a drunk and was never at home for days, weeks or months on end – he let his own wife and kids starve as he drank his wages away and lived with woman after woman supporting them and their children with food and clothing while completely neglecting his own family. He abused them greatly and also his wife. This woman, Margaret Davidson, was raped by her brother for years and also raped by her brother’s friend, her mother never ever hugged her and she never heard the words I love you from either of her parents. For years, she lived a lie and saw herself as ugly, shameful, and as an awful creation. She blamed herself and God and wanted nothing to do with Him. But, through miracles in her life, she overcame the hatred and allowed God to heal her and she began to see herself as beautiful. Why? God turned her ashes into beauty and she became a planning of the Lord – solid like a tree – that He might be glorified in her healing. (Is. 61:3) All of her pain, her bad memories and her nightmares, they’re all scars and the scars don’t hurt. Jesus can make painful memories into a scar – He can take the pain away. That’s inner beauty ladies. Margaret received a full revelation of God’s purpose in her life, in spite of all her pain. She’s taken her pain and turned around to help other women. The joy she received from her healing far out passed the pain of those horrible years of her past. Psalm 30:5 says “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” I had two friends who were extremely dear to me growing up, whom I’ve recently learned have both been sexually abused by brothers – one of them for years. I’ve cried together with them both. One of them is reading through this book right now as well, we’re reading through it together – she lives many miles away from here but we’re together in spirit, walking through this difficult journey. I was not sexually abused, but I was mentally and emotionally abused growing up…my mother suffered from mental illness and us kids can relate to some of the things Margaret went through in this book. I have a lot of bad memories of my own – shame has filled me at times of the memories I have of my own sinful deeds in my past – things that took place right here in this town. I lived a completely different life here years ago but now I am a different person today than I was 25 years ago. Why? I’ve allowed God to take over, to transform me from the inside out and I gave up my rebellion of wanting to lead my own life of selfish desires and worked on becoming who He wanted me to be. I used to put a lot focus on who I was on the outside and it often bothered me a great deal on how I was “shaped” on the outside….it still gets to me sometimes….I didn’t like who I was because I didn’t have the perfect body. But God showed me that I needed to be changed from the inside….He’s still continually changing me from the inside on a daily basis. Being involved in Bible studies and leading studies over the years is what has been transforming me – molding me into who God wants me to be.
With God, suffering is only temporary and His joy and peace make the difference – it’s that inner beauty of allowing God to transform you from the inside out – working the fruit of the Spirit through you and working together with God to become the person He created you to be.
Proverbs 31:30 NLT
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
Psalm 139:14 NIV
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
In the NLT it says “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
My Lord has created me so wonderfully. My heart yearns to be more like Christ, to be his beautiful bride – to have a heart like His – a heart of gold and to be a woman after God’s own heart – just like David. And look at the mistakes he made. But he was truly sorry for the wrong he had done, he repented and was a man after God’s own heart.
Psalm 27:4 NIV
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.