Ugly is as Ugly does
(Actually that’s a tweaking of Forrest Gump’s life verse which was, “Stupid is as stupid does.”)
‘Ugly’ is an ugly word and it is used sparingly in the Bible (the cows in Pharaoh’s Genesis 41 dream were ugly). The Message version does use the word quite a bit, but never in describing a person’s appearance.
Neither should we, if only because we are all created in God’s image. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it follows that ugliness is also in the eye of the one who is checking people out. Could anyone see a graceful swan hiding inside the Ugly Duckling?
Even knowing this, I so often judge a person by their looks—by my perception of what is attractive—or not. Before I know anything about someone’s character, personality, experience or background, I tend to judge their outward appearance.
Though King Saul was ‘the handsomest man in Israel’ (1Sam 9:2), his good looks masked what was in his heart. The Israelites adored him—at first.
For years I’ve been puzzled by artist’s images of Judas Iscariot (who Jesus had picked to be one of his twelve buddies). Scowling, swarthy, shifty-eyed; ‘foxy’ and ‘dark’ and ‘twisted, would pretty much describe the face of Judas in illustrator’s paintings. They color him ‘ugly.’ In short, he just looks like a natural-born betrayer/killer. Even a child could pick him out of a lineup with the other disciples.
I wonder though, if Judas was perhaps in reality just the opposite—handsome, hunky, open-faced, honest-looking and trustworthy? Why else would the others make him their treasurer? (John 13:29) Even at the Last Supper they didn’t suspect him to be the backstabbing double-crosser that was dining snugly within arm’s reach of Jesus. I can just imagine him smugly sitting there, deceitfully joining in with the others as they nervously begged Jesus, “Is it I?” (Mt 26:22)
On the other hand, Jesus is usually shown to be handsome, as he went around in ministry, teaching, gathering little children to himself, healing the sick and gently holding a lamb in his arms. That image is enhanced by songs that start off like, “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild . . . “ that wonderful old hymn by Charles Wesley: http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/e/gentleje.htm
And yet, any physical description that we have of Jesus, seems to be quite different from what we’ve been shown. When Judas betrayed Jesus, he identified him with a kiss, probably because he was so physically ordinary-looking that he would go unnoticed in a crowd. In his prophecy, Isaiah is very blunt in his description of Jesus the Messiah:
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
(Isaiah 53:2-5 The Message)
So it seems, there is a tendency—perhaps even a readiness—for us to judge a book by it’s cover, to forget that physical beauty—or handsomeness—is only skin deep. It’s the heart that radiates real attractiveness, which is what truly leads to good character.
My mother, when she needed to scold me for some act of disobedience or just plain bad behavior, would say, “Peter, handsome is as handsome does.” But my Mom, who is now with Jesus, might tell you that when I was a boy—like many boys—I did some pretty ugly things. (But knowing her, she wouldn’t say a bad thing about anyone.)
Take-Away from Dean Sherman’s Camps in Europe
We are on earth to manifest the life of God; not a belief system.
God commanded us to rule on earth; when we are in good relationships with God and others, we rule: when we have bad relationship, satan rules in our place.
We rule over hurts by forgiving.
The blessing of God is on relationships: not independence.
Why are church leaders controlling? Because they think that God is.
Jesus came to serve and satan is the controller.
Plus one more from Joyce Meyer . . .
Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult; you may be given a cactus but you don’t have to sit on it
Five New Books
Click on a book image for more information
Resting In His Presence
Learning to rest in Him is a continual thing. When we returned from Asia recently, the Lord asked me to cancel everything for the next three weeks and rest in Him. He said, “Your body will feel tired but you’re not sick; your mind will forget, you’re not getting old; I want your spirit to get built up now in a greater way. You have to rest in Me and abide in Me to do this.” (read Jn 15:1-17; Ps 16:8-9)
During this time so far, here’s more of what I sensed the Lord say:
“The warfare to be led by My Spirit is enormous, learn to be still and know that I am God, I have called you and I will do it. (Rom 8:12-19; Zech 4:6, 2:10-13; Ps 46:10-11)
“‘Doing’ is very subtle; it’s not about ‘Being’ in My presence”.
“There’s an art to being led by My Spirit, there’s a quietness and a strength. (Isaiah 30:15(a); Zeph 3:17) You will be recognized by others who are also being led by My Spirit. There’s an individual resting in Me and a corporate resting and waiting on Me.
“You will know the power of prayer when you are resting in Me. The prayers of righteous people are powerful and effective because they pray according to My will, not their minds and emotions. (Is 32:17; James 5:16-18)
This resting in Me will become a lifestyle. It’s a rest of faith. (Heb 11:1-2) When you love someone, being together isn’t a waste of time . . . sitting together, working together, walking together. We were created for this sort of relationship.”
That is what I sensed the Lord say by His Spirit and by His Word. I hope it will be an encouragement to you.
- Take time to enter into His rest.
- Give Him your burdens and anxieties and don’t take them back.
- Trust Him and listen quietly to Him.
The enemy is out to rob, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come to give you life more abundantly. (John 10:10-11)
Learn to rest in His presence.
Love and Blessings
2013 Summer Camps Report from Europe
Great weeklong times of worship, teaching and fun in Italy, Sweden, Romania, Norway & France were enjoyed by hundreds–with some coming from overseas. Watch http://www.intouchcamps.net for next Summer’s lineup, coming soon.
Camps, Gatherings & Refresh 2013
Early October Melbourne, Victoria: Click here to contact Marg Auty for date and details
October 12 Eudunda, South Australia: Click here to contact Linda Hoffman
Nov 6 – 10: The Turn Aside Gathering, with speaker, Pastor Dean Fujishima, ?Peter & Donna Jordan & Team — click here for information
And Finally . . . To Ponder.
Can I be so right . . . that I’m wrong?
Till next time,
The Small Print
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