“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones.”
Proverbs 15:30 NIV
So many people today own cameras and take photos on a regular basis. If you don’t own a camera, chances are if you are a new parent or grandparent, you will be purchasing a camera soon. We love to take photos of those we love and the places we go. We are so afraid we will forget that cute face or the beautiful scenery. I for one take lots of pictures. I’m a little overboard because I take photos of pretty table settings and yummy buffet spreads that I prepare for the holidays. I take photos of my gardens and of all the beautiful flowers I plant. I snap shots of my grandchildren doing everything from A to Z. For example: picking apples – viewing a zebra at the zoo! I also take photos of every extended family event and gathering we attend. When our friends visit, guess what…yep…snap, snap! Our holidays are recorded for future generations to enjoy! Not only do I take hundreds of photos I am also an avid scrapbooker.
I take pleasure in scrapbooking because it seems to be a way of preserving our memories for our family to enjoy. Scrapbooking also allows me to make comments and record stories of God’s faithfulness to our family. Hopefully, the pages that I so lovingly put together will be a tangible legacy to remind those who follow that we loved God and each other. I also find scrapbooking to be a restful hobby that allows my creative juices to flow! In a strange sort of way scrapbooking also provides me with a type of rest and relaxation that squishes out the stress in life brought on by my responsibilities.
I don’t exactly know why I feel I need to take these photos when I actually have a very active photographic memory. When someone offends me, I take my imaginary camera and snap a photo of that event. When someone takes advantage of me, I snap that shot as well. When someone speaks unkind words to me I take a photo and save it to be carefully placed in my mind’s scrapbook of memories. When I am pushed aside or overlooked by another that certainly is a Kodak moment! All throughout my day Satan says, snap that, take that, did you get that one? Satan loves for me to scrapbook all the pain and hurt I have experienced in life. The purpose is to preserve in my mind those negative memories in my mental scrapbook so that I can my relive my pain and remember my offenders over and over again. Not to mention the mileage I will get out of sharing those photos with others.
But Jesus says, “No my daughter. Do not harm yourself in this negative way. Give those photos to me. It is not your battle to fight or to remember. I am a just God. Vengeance belongs to me not you. Scrapbooking all the negative stuff in your life will only drag you down. It will cripple your spirit and make you an ineffective Christian. In no way will viewing these photos ever glorify me. I know that you may always remember the hurt you have experienced but you must choose not to focus on the same events over and over again.”
Deep down in my spirit I know that Jesus is right. I know that Jesus remembers the events that brought him pain and suffering. He remembers the trial, the mockery, and his friends forsaking him. No doubt he remembers the pain of the scourging, the long walk to
the cross, the humiliation, the unkind words, and the crucifixion. But our Lord
did not and does not focus on those things. Instead he considered it all joy to
do the will of his Father, even his death on the cross. He chose to focus on
his love for His Father and for all humanity. His job was to redeem not remember.
So today I will walk in the garden enjoying the first evidences of spring. The green shoots of our daffodils are poking through the soil in the wooded area of our back yard. There are tiny buds on the redbuds, and the beautiful hellebores are blooming! This newness signifies for me a fresh start. It is a glorious day to ponder my Savior and his perfect ways. As I think about Jesus and his attitude I am persuaded to let this same mind that was in Christ Jesus be also in me. I am convicted to search my heart and find any stray photos that I may have forgotten to destroy. I want to burn my mental scrapbook of negative photos once and for all. Every photo I have ever taken recording the wrongs that were meant for my harm must be destroyed. I dare not hang on to even one. It will be good for me to remember that “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30 NIV So I will strive to look and see only those things that bring joy to my spirit. Today I am going to resolve to take only future photos that reflect a cheerful look and will bring joy to my heart and to the hearts of others. These beautiful photos will not be damaging but instead they will help me share the gospel of good news and give health to my bones and to the bones of others.
My next scrapbook will be a creation of joyful happy memories. There will be photos to help me remember God’s faithfulness and provision. I will pile up stones of remembrance and take a photograph so that I will always recall the many times God has shown up in my life and in the lives of all those I love. I will snap photos of all his abundant blessings! I know right now that one single album will not contain the whole of all the positive photos I have been privileged to save in the scrapbook of my heart. I will share these photos with all who will look at my scrapbook and God will be glorified! Yes, this will be a scrapbook of joy filled with beautiful, memorable, mental photos of praise and snapshots of gratitude as I recall God’s faithfulness to me.
- Are you currently harboring a scrapbook of negative photos in your heart?
- Do you find that reliving old hurts and pain is damaging your spirit?
- Would you consider mentally burning your scrapbook of past offenses?
- Are you willing to ask God to help you begin a new scrapbook of God’s faithfulness and provision to you?
- Will you be sure to also scrapbook photos of your joy, praise, and gratitude?
Harboring past pain and hurt is so damaging. Forgive me when I choose to take photos of my hurt, my pain, and at times my broken heart. Forgive me when I carefully preserve and embellish each of these photos in a scrapbook for safe keeping. Give me a love for you that overshadows my own selfish interests. Falling in love with you Jesus is what I want to do. I want to be so busy loving you that I will not even notice when someone offends me. Keep me scrapbooking the joyful times you have so lovingly blessed me with over the years. I want to record the peace and joy that I have experienced even in times of trouble. These are wonderful memories not to be forgotten. I want to remember every precious memory you have woven into the tapestry of my life. Heavenly Father, I thank you for your love, grace and faithfulness to me. Now Jesus, smile for the camera…I want to take a huge photo of you that I can share with others. I know that I can not really do this so I pray that you will do what you do best. I pray that you will change me in ways that will reflect who you are so that others may see you through me.
Jesus, it is in your name I pray. Amen.