Beauty Over the Edges

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
    and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

“Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Her vermillion profusion captivates with wonder as it blazes resplendent against infinite blue. The royal poinciana tree that spends so much of its year unadorned and homely, except for its graceful umbrella shape, has set aflame the lazy early summer. Her arms are so wide it is difficult to capture the full reach of their splendor within a single picture frame. Her beauty spreads over the edges with grace and flourish.

Beauty beyond borders is uncontained and uncontainable. Isn’t that how the Lord’s vibrant, limitless loveliness makes its way into our lives and abroad this earth? Isn’t this how we as His people spread His fragrance so profusely that others cannot resist it? God-warmed hearts glow with love, and lives set afire by His Spirit burn with truth to reflect the magnificence and power of their life-Giver. The brilliance of His presence awakens the sleeping and searching soul to desire what He alone offers. Are we clean and eager vessels? Would we arise, and let our light shine?

Do I limit my reach in God’s world by a provincial outlook and carefully-protected borders of my space and time? How willing am I to branch out, to stretch my selfishly-set limitations and trust God for adequate energy and wherewithal to go where I have not before? Whom might the Lord want to influence for good and life through me, were I to make myself available?

It is vital I thrust my roots deep in His word, to draw nourishment to grow and bloom for Him. I must be careful that as I bear His name, so my behavior reflects His image and lovely character. As I grow, He will cause my gifts to bloom and extend my canopy of influence as He determines. The difference He makes through me depends on my yieldedness, His bringing, and His blessing.

Lord, bring to pass the extent of Your plans for the wide spectrum of Your people. As the branch of Your planting, cause me to so radiate Your glory that others swarm to Your life-giving light, limited only by walls of Salvation and gates of Praise. To You be all glory! (Isaiah 60:4-7,9,18,21)

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