Rested, Refreshed, and Ready to Serve | August 6th, 2018

Running through the sprinklers, swimming with friends at the community pool, church camp, Mom’s homemade popsicles, shucking corn and snapping beans from the garden with Dad, juicy watermelon, slip and slides, and at least one good, long road trip. Ahhh…the sweet memories of childhood summers! 

When I was a kid, I lived for summer. With no homework to be done and not a single care in the world, it was VACATION from the moment the last school bell rang until starting back up again in September. 

For kids, summer is a season filled with hours and hours of freedom to play hard and just relax. They do not weigh the pros and cons of how they are spending their time or think about whether or not they should be more productive. They just enjoy life! 

Something shifts, though, when we reach adulthood. For many of us, it feels foolish to “waste” time by goofing off or relaxing too much. As adults, we have created a frenzied lifestyle where every minute counts. We are impatient if we have to wait for anything. Time is money.

In our efforts to accumulate bigger, better, and nicer things, we spend all of our time working away at our job, six and sometimes even seven days a week. There is very little rest for our minds and bodies as we push ourselves to work harder and harder. We strive to be continuously productive, making good use of every moment. Paid time off goes unused and vacations become few and far between. 

When vacations are taken, many of us would never dream of leaving home without our laptops, cell phones, and other technical gadgets that keep us “plugged in” to work, social media, the news, and other things that cause us lots of stress. Sadly, summer is just another season. 

Take Time to Rest

Our all-knowing God knew that by the 21st century we would end up frizzled and frazzled with our minds and bodies constantly on the go. In His wisdom, He set the example for taking time to rest:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3

Without proper balance between work and rest, there are serious consequences. Decades of research supporting the 40-hour work week show that working longer can increase your risk of chronic stress, major depression, and heart disease. You become more prone to skipping your workouts, eating foods that are not as healthy for you, skimping on sleep, and spending less time with the people who matter most to you.

Serve God by Serving Others

When you have a good balance of work and rest, you are better able to do what you were ultimately designed to do…to serve God by serving others. It takes energy to serve, so it is essential to set aside one day each week to rest your mind and body from working. Think of it as pausing your shallow work one day a week for God’s deep work.

God has gifted you with unique talents and special skills. Rather than working every waking moment to accumulate more and more for yourself, God wants you to take time to rest and be refreshed so you can use your gifts energetically to show His love and grace to others through serving. It is a way of expressing gratitude for all He has done for you. 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

When you have a relationship with God, you will want to serve Him as a natural, love-filled response. The more you know Him by spending time with Him in His Word and realize how much He loves you, the more you will want to please Him.

As followers of Christ, we are to strive to be more like Him. Jesus was a true servant throughout His life on earth and even in His death for us. 

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Serving Benefits the Mind, Body, and Spirit

Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who give of their time to feel more socially connected which lowers the risk of loneliness and depression. 

A person’s physical health may also be rewarded through serving others. A four-year study between 2006 and 2010 was published in Psychology and Aging and found that adults 50+ who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. Blood pressure is a very important indicator of health because when it is elevated, it increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death.

Another benefit is that when we serve, God increases our faith by showing us our potential. Seeing what God can do when His power is at work within us gives us confidence to do even more for Him and to look for new doors He is opening for us to serve others with our gifts. 

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Ephesians 3:20

A couple of years ago, I was asked to teach a Bible study with a group of women at Exodus, a ministry that “empowers formerly incarcerated mothers and their children to achieve a productive and fulfilling life through Jesus Christ.” They fulfill this mission statement of theirs by giving the women a place to live with their children for one full year, teaching them vital parenting, employment, and relationship skills as well as money management and Biblical principles.

The Bible study I was asked to teach was one I had recently written and published titled, Beauty in a Life Repurposed. It was an open door for me to use my gifts of writing and teaching to serve. I was so blessed through my experience with these women and it gave me the confidence I needed to teach my Bible study to many other groups of women that followed as God continued to open other new doors.

Serving is an Investment in Eternity

When you take time to serve others, you may not see the results of your hard work right away, but you are planting seeds of generosity which will produce a generous harvest one day for eternity. 

Know that you are making a difference by investing in people who may come to know Christ through you because of the love you have shown them by serving. In time, either here on earth or in eternity, your blessings will be overflowing. 

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6

Take Time to Refresh

If you find yourself exhausted from overworking, make some changes in your life before you are forced to rest due to serious health consequences. Consider taking an extended period of rest, otherwise known as a vacation. 

Research has found that after taking a vacation, workers are less stressed and have higher levels of energy – exactly what you need to be able to serve God using your gifts with enthusiasm and vitality!

Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors. One of the best ways to recharge is to go to a place where you are outdoors, surrounded by the beauty in nature. It allows your brain to wander, rest, and recover from the wired world of digital communication and the frenzied pace and noise around you. There is a sense of peace you feel when you are in nature and far away from a stressful environment. 

Spending time in nature also increases your ability to pay attention. It activates the senses such as seeing vivid colors, smelling the fragrances of flowers, and listening to birds and other wildlife. Focusing on what your senses are experiencing gives your overactive mind a much-needed break, allowing it to refresh.

My husband Michael and I travel to a different vacation spot every year – a place where we have never been. It always involves the outdoors in some way. Last year, we went to Asheville, North Carolina which provided plenty of great trails for hiking. It was a place where we could slow down, de-stress, and even inspire our creativity.

Make it a priority to have an escape from your regular routine of responsibilities at least once a year. With a rested and refreshed mind and body, you will be more open to all the new ways God wants to use your gifts for His glory. 

I recently expressed my inspired creativity through designing this “Colors of Summer” necklace…yellow crystal beads representing warm sunshine, a blue druzy for cool water, and a coral tassel for the beach – one of my favorite places to completely relax.

It is a good reminder for me to take time for play and especially for rest. I want to be refreshed and ready whenever God has a new door He is holding wide open for me to serve others and in turn, receive an eternal blessing infinitely beyond my highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes!

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

If you struggle with wanting to serve others, ask God to reveal more of Himself to you so you can truly know Him and have a desire to serve out of love for Him.

Sparkler #2: Action

Make it a priority to balance work and rest, take time each day to be in nature, and find a place you can go at least once a year that will provide a stress-free vacation so you can be refreshed.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Be proactive and search for a new way to use your gifts in the community to serve others. Then, see how that bold step leads to God opening other new doors for you to serve so you can invest in your eternal blessing.

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

Designed to be Creative | July 16th, 2018

Do you have a favorite color? We all seem to have personal reactions to different colors as they stimulate our brains in very specific ways. My favorite has been orange for as long as I can remember. It brightens my mood whenever I see it. 

Orange is an energetic and fun color which I love to wear, especially during the summer months. I recently spotted these flip flops with bright orange straps while I was doing a little summer shoe shopping and could not resist taking them home with me! 

 

The Deeper Meaning of Orange

While tangerines, oranges, clementines, and sweet potatoes are all naturally orange, they represent something deeper. As excellent sources of vitamin C,  we have come to associate these plant-based foods and the color orange with life and energy.

Psychologically, orange combines the energy of red and the cheerfulness of yellow. Not surprisingly, orange is associated with creativity – the act of using your imagination to come up with new ideas and turning them into reality. I know that when I am able to use my creativity, I have a high amount of energy flowing through me and a definite sense of cheerfulness as I am getting to do what I enjoy. 

One of the ways I use my creativity is in hunting for old, vintage costume jewelry and repurposing it into something new and trendy for today. If I happen to come across a vintage piece of jewelry that is orange, it usually comes home with me, just like those flip flops! 

Here is a fiery orange Judy Lee clip-on earring from the 1960s that I repurposed into a ring. Being my favorite color, I tend to wear it quite often…

Home improvement retail giant, The Home Depot, has been nicknamed “Big Orange” because of the enormous orange sign displayed in the parking lot of their stores. They inspire creativity, even with young children, providing free Kids Workshops every month across the country. Kids get a free project kit for the workshop, a certificate of achievement and pin for a job well done, and a kid-size orange apron with the words: Build. Learn. Create.

The Dominant Brain Theory

Perhaps you do not consider yourself a creative person. Up until just recently, I did not think everyone could possibly have the gift of creativity. I viewed people as either left-brain or right-brain dominant.

The theory is that left-brain dominant people are those who think in a way that is analytical, linear, and methodical. Those who are more artistic and imaginative with a less organized way of thinking are right-brain dominant.

A team of neuroscientists tested the theory that people have a dominant brain. In 2013, they found after a two-year analysis that the magnetic resonance imaging of 1011 people showed there was no proof of this theory. Although the two sides of the brain function differently, they are always working together. No matter how we think, we are all wired to create.

The Purpose for Our Creativity

God made us in His image. As the King of creativity, the One who made the heavens and the earth out of nothing, He designed each of us to be creative just like Him.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

Why is it so important to God that every one of us has the gift of creativity?

People have not been put on this planet to live exclusively for themselves. God has a purpose for us to represent Him in a special, unique way. When we creatively use our gifts, it brings Him glory, especially when we are using them to bless others. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

I remember on the day of my wedding feeling very blessed by the creativity of my girlfriend, Carol Ann, whom I met many years ago in kindergarten. My faithful friend arrived in Dallas, all the way from Oregon, ready to help any way she could. 

God gave her the gift of delegating and she also had a creative eye for arranging food in a beautiful, appealing way. It was not long before she had my friends and family all working together in the kitchen in a very organized fashion to have the food ready for the reception immediately following my wedding ceremony. 

It was a huge job, but she seemed to pull it off with ease and through her creativity, made everything look as if it were professionally catered. What a gift she was to me that day! 

Made to Create

It is easy to sit back and do nothing with our creative juices, but it is up to us to discover them and then use them! I have a sign I purposely hung on the wall above my desk to remind me to use the energy God gave me to find new ways to create for His glory. I do this mainly through my writing and making jewelry, but also through my vocation as a fitness trainer / instructor, continually thinking up new, creative exercises for my clients and classes. 

Creativity is definitely hard work. It requires perseverence and commitment. Yes, it is much easier to be lazy and not create anything at all – to simply be a consumer of other people’s creations. But God did not make us to sit around and do nothing. That would surely suffocate our God-given creative gifts!

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Romans 12:11

John Piper wrote about this in his book, Don’t Waste your Life:

“God has not created us to be idle. Therefore, those who abandon creative productivity lose the joy of God-dependent, world-shaping, God-reflecting purposeful work.” 

There is great joy in using your creativity to produce your ideas into a reality. God has blessed you with creative ability to reflect His image and bring Him glory. And in turn, to bless others around you by not wasting or hoarding your gifts. When you use what He has given you, it greatly pleases God. 

You have gifts that no one else has. Even with 7.6 billion people in this world, your gifts and creativity are unique to you. God has made plenty of people on the planet who need your creative gifts. And you need theirs. 

What Can Keep You from Using Your Creativity?

1. Fear

Perhaps you are afraid your ideas will fail. Trial and error is a creativity essential. Dr. Dean Keith Simonton, a Professor of Psychology at UC Davis who studies creativity, found that the more ideas creators come up with, the greater their chances of producing an eventual masterpiece.

Thomas Edison, described as America’s greatest inventor, produced over 1000 patents including the phonograph, motion picture camera, and the electric light bulb. Edison learned much from many of his failed experiments. He admitted,I make more mistakes than anyone else I know, and sooner or later, I patent most of them.”

When Edison died in 1931, he left 3,500 notebooks behind which contained all of the details of his many ideas and thoughts. He kept his creative juices flowing constantly!

2. Lack of Desire

Maybe you have no motivation to be creative. It takes energy, determination, and perseverence to challenge yourself to think creatively. You may simply lack the desire. It is definitely a conscious choice you make to use it or lose it. 

Regular practice of using your creative imagination is important if you want to keep it. One study of 350 children found that kids’ natural tendency to daydream and wonder declines sharply around the fourth grade. By the time you are an adult, you become quite constrained by your thought patterns, comfortable in your thought techniques that require little effort or imagination.

God made you to thrive when you use your creativity. If you never use it, how can you possibly live life to the fullest in the way God intended? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you will want to please Him in all you do, including using, not stifling, your creativity through the gifts He has given you to bless others for His glory. 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” – Dr. Seuss

3. No Time

Perhaps your life is so crazy busy that you cannot imagine taking time out of your ultra-packed schedule to think creatively. The good news is that inspiration is all around you in nature. Such a generous gift from your Creator! Creative thinking can happen naturally if you take time here and there throughout the day to just let your mind wander without any external noise…no phone, music, or people talking to you. Just a little alone time in the quiet of nature where you have freedom to let your imagination and creativity run wild.

It has been said that some of the most creative people work for Apple. They regularly set aside time each day to brainstorm and allow their minds to imagine the seemingly impossible. It is absolutely necessary to take time out of your busy, hectic life to be able to think creatively.

I now understand why I have always been so drawn to the color orange. Using my creativity keeps life fun and interesting and gives me a reason to jump out of bed in the morning with renewed energy. 

Every day is an exciting opportunity to see how God can use your gifts through the creative ideas He gives you. Put aside your fear, get motivated, and find some time in your busy schedule to be creative…the way you were designed to be by the One who’s imagination is limitless!

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

If it has been a long time since you have used your creativity, ask God for His help with conquering your fears, boosting your motivation, and making the time for being creative.

Sparkler #2: Action

Take some time out of your day to be in nature without the noise of the world. Think about your gifts and how you can use them in new ways. Allow your imagination and creativity to be free!

Sparkler #3: Challenge

If you struggle with being creative with your gifts, keep your eyes and ears open to new opportunities where you can use them to bless others and see where God leads you with your creativity.

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

Pack Lightly…It’s a Short Trip! | July 9th, 2018

Every year, my husband Michael and I make it a priority to take a vacation far away from home for at least a week. I look so forward to getting away from all the stresses of life, having time to clear my mind and allowing my body to melt into much needed rest and relaxation. However, I do not look forward to packing my suitcase which is, of course, a definite necessity for the trip.

“Pack Lightly!”

I start packing a week in advance because I know how long it takes me to “pack lightly” as Michael often reminds me to do during this challenging process. That is the goal, an admirable one to be sure, but it seems to be a struggle for me every time. As hard as I try to limit myself, there are always things I have packed that I never end up using on the trip. I definitely fall short of the goal to “pack lightly!”

Two years ago, we began the long, three-month process of moving into our new home. We had the liberty to slowly go through every item we owned and give away anything that we felt was not absolutely necessary to keep. We filled our garage and several truck loads of things that no longer had a purpose for our lives and experienced great joy giving to many people in need. As I prepared for the move, I was continually reminded of Michael’s words: “Pack lightly!”

Invest in the Kingdom

Life is a short trip compared to eternity, but we spend so much of our precious, limited time “packing” for it. Hours of our lives are spent working hard to buy so many unnecessary things we think we might need for this trip called life, but they have no eternal value. We collect, store, and hoard meaningless items that simply gather dust and are rarely used. They might bring us a bit of happiness during the moment we first purchase them, but that quickly wears off and simply does not last.

Jesus knew this when He taught about worldly riches…

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Learning to pack lightly in this life provides so much freedom to spend more of your time and money on that which has eternal value, a wise investment in the Kingdom of heaven.

Find a Passion with Eternal Value

I have found several worthy organizations that I am quite passionate about which have a true Kingdom focus. Several of those I love to support include the pro-life group Human Coalition, a missionary family serving the Lord in Albania through Campus Crusade for Christ, the homeless recovery program Dallas Life, my home church Lake Pointe, and a wonderful ministry in Dallas called Exodus whose mission statement is to empower formerly incarcerated mothers and their children to achieve a productive and fulfilling life through Jesus Christ. 

One other organization I am very passionate about is Recycled Pomeranians who rescued my little fur baby Emma from a rundown puppy mill so I could have the opportunity to adopt her.

Now, you might be wondering what kind of eternal value can be found in supporting a dog rescue organization, but believe me, there is plenty! This story is one of many beautiful examples…

Pathways to Hope

In 1981, a woman named Sister Pauline Quinn began the first dog training program for prison rehabilitation called Pathways to Hope, believing it would offer inmates renewed hope through the love of animals as she had experienced for herself.

Throughout her life, she was abused and tortured and thrown into 14 different institutions 36 times. When she was released, she lived on the streets and found a stray German Shepherd. She named the dog “Joni” and took care of her as her own. Joni helped her start the first of many prison dog training programs.

Here are a couple of touching quotes from Quinn’s experience with her German Shepherd…

“Through Joni I learned about God’s love. She helped me build my self-esteem.”

“Dogs love us unconditionally, and people need that — especially people who are wounded, they need to feel loved. So the dog is very much a healing tool.”

Find what you are passionate about – something that has eternal value to give of your time and money. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!

You are Held Accountable

There is another very good reason to invest in that which has eternal value. When you leave your earthly home, you will have to stand before God, giving an account of yourself to Him including your thoughts, words, and actions. Also, in the way your time, treasure, and talents have been spent and used for the glory of God and for the good of others.

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:12

Whatever it is for which you spend hours of your life working hard, saving up, and buying for yourself here on earth, it will always pale in comparison to anything you will have in your eternal Home in heaven. Instead, why not focus your time and energy on the things that have Kingdom value and will give you true fulfillment?

Leaving it All Behind

When my precious mother passed away in March of 2012 from breast cancer, it struck me that she did not take a single thing with her from here. Not the lovely decorations in her home, not her hard-earned diplomas, not her favorite outfit or most treasured piece of jewelry, and not even a single gift I gave her for the many wonderful birthdays and holidays we celebrated together. It was ALL left behind.

After she abandoned everything here on earth taking nothing with her, I began to wonder, What was awaiting her when she got to heaven to take the place of her earthly treasures?

Water of Life

The Apostle John was given a vision of the incredible beauty of the new heaven and new earth, also called the Holy City or the new Jerusalem. It is described for us in the Bible in the book of Revelation throughout chapters 21 and 22.

The description of this magnificent eternal destination for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior was my inspiration for creating a line of bracelets I called my “Kingdom Collection.”

In addition to the twelve gemstone bracelets (City Splendor) I designed representing the foundations of the wall of the city and a pearl bracelet (Heaven’s Gates) representing the pearl gates, I added one more to the collection called Water of Life made of quartz crystal gemstone beads based on Revelation 22:1-2a:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.

Your Calling for the Kingdom

Clear as crystal. If only our understanding of the reasons why God asks us to do certain things for His Kingdom was always that clear! Using your time, treasure, and talents in the way He has called you may require a lot of hard work and effort without much, if any, gratitude from others. You might even find yourself questioning whether you are doing any good for anyone, especially if you cannot see the harvest from your labor. Perhaps you may never see that harvest while you are still here on earth. But it is always a wise investment to allow God to use you for His highest purposes and to listen to His calling. Aside from that, there is nothing you can experience or buy in this life, no matter how fabulous it may seem at the time, to bring you true fulfillment.

How wonderful to know there will be no need to go through the stressful challenge of packing a suitcase for our final destination as it will all stay behind. I can tell you, that is a big relief for me! Jesus has everything we will ever need, ready and waiting for our arrival.

As we are continually pulled by all the enticing pleasures and treasures the world has to offer, it may be difficult for us to comprehend the value of packing lightly, continually investing in that which truly matters for eternity. But the moment we step into our magnificent Home in heaven, it will all become like the flowing river of the water of life…clear as crystal.

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

Ask God to help you pack lightly for this life, focusing your efforts on that which has eternal value rather than on striving for meaningless things that only offer temporary, earthly value.

Sparkler #2: Action

Find an organization with a Kingdom focus that you can be passionate about where you can give of your time and money to glorify God.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Make it a priority to honor God and bless others with all of your thoughts, words, actions, time, treasure, and talents.

*Click here to read more about Sister Pauline Quinn’s incredible story

*Sister Pauline Quinn photo by Steve Wideman | For The Compass

*Click here to go to the Kingdom Collection website

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com. 

An Unblemished Entrance into Eternity | June 26th, 2018

A few days ago, summer officially began. The temperatures are already heating up into the triple digits here in Dallas and it is only June! With the warmer weather, however, it is my favorite time of year to wear my jewelry made of this month’s traditional birthstone, the pearl, because it is no longer hidden underneath coats, hats, and long sleeves.

The History of the Pearl

Pearls have a long and fascinating history. It is the oldest known gem and for centuries, was considered the most valuable. It is also a symbol of unblemished perfection. The meaning of the Latin word for pearl is “unique” as no two pearls are ever exactly alike.

All over the world, pearls have been esteemed as precious and valuable. As early as 2300 BC, pearls were presented as gifts to Chinese royalty. In ancient Rome, which began in 753 BC, pearl jewelry was considered the ultimate status symbol. Pearls were considered so precious that Julius Caesar passed a law in the 1st century BC limiting the wearing of pearls to only the ruling classes.

Long before the discovery of oil, the Persian Gulf was at the center of the pearl trade which created a great source of wealth in the region. In Western Europe, ladies of nobility and royalty wore very elaborate pearl jewelry which created an insatiable desire for pearls. By the 19th century, the demand for pearl jewelry became so high that oyster supplies began to diminish.

The Rarity of Natural Pearls

Natural pearls form when an irritant, such as a parasite, works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is secreted to coat the threatening irritant to seal off the irritation. This coating is called nacre, a crystalline substance known as mother of pearl that creates the iridescence seen in pearls. Over time, after several layers are deposited to produce a thick layer of nacre, a lustrous pearl is formed. The luster is the quantity and quality of light reflected from the pearl’s surface. The higher the luster, the longer the durability and life of the pearl.

Up until the beginning of the 20th century, the only way to harvest pearls was for divers to risk their lives by descending at depths of up to 100 feet to retrieve oysters. It was a dangerous job with very limited success as thousands of oysters would deliver only a mere three or four quality pearls.

A natural pearl with value is found in approximately one out of every 10,000 wild oysters! A man by the name of Frizz could easily vouch for that. He is one of the last remaining divers on the Tennessee River. After 18 months of diving, Frizz found only three pearls, all from the same muscle shell. I am sure this was quite disappointing for him after putting forth so much time and effort to find them! Natural pearls are definitely rare and valuable.

So just how valuable are natural pearls? In December of 2015, an extraordinary strand of 45 white to light cream graduated natural pearls became available at an auction in Boston. The strand had come from the collection of a prominent British American family and had been purchased during the late 1800s. It ended up selling for the astonishing price of $2,211,000! These rare, natural pearls were definitely regarded as valuable!

Heaven’s Gates

The Apostle John was given a vision of the new heaven and the new earth described for us by him in the Bible throughout the book of Revelation. After knowing what I now know about pearls, I must admit the description of the gates is difficult for my human mind to fathom!

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. Revelation 21:21a

Can you imagine each gate made of just one single pearl? What an awesome sight that will be as we enter into our eternal Home!

While I was designing gemstone bracelets back in 2012 for my Kingdom Collection based on John’s description of heaven after Jesus returns, I added a freshwater pearl bracelet to the collection. I decided to call it Heaven’s Gates as a reminder of the spectacular pearl gates awaiting us when we arrive.

These pearl gates will always be open because there is no night there. Normally, a city’s gates are open during the day and closed at night to protect against enemy attack. But because there is no night and no enemy to fear, the gates will always be open.

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. Revelation 21:25

We also know this about the city and its pearl gates:

 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Revelation 21:12

As a symbol of unblemished perfection, it is not surprising that the gates are made of pearls as nothing impure will ever be allowed to enter through them. Thankfully, God made a way for every one of us to enter even though we are sinners, far from unblemished! Just like the nacre covers the irritant in the mollusk for protection, Jesus covers our sin with His shed blood, the highest price He could pay, so we can be pure and holy, protected to be able to enter through those perfect pearl gates into our eternal Home.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1

Entering Through the Pearl Gates

Although everyone is welcome to enter through these pearl gates, not everyone will. There is one simple requirement…to accept Jesus’ gracious, merciful, and loving invitation to be with Him for eternity by acknowledging He is your Savior – that He alone can save you.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

If you have accepted His invitation, your sins are wiped away forever and your name is permanently written in the Lamb’s book of life. You will be free as one who is unblemished and pure to enter through those breathtaking pearl gates when you pass from this temporary life on earth into your eternal Home!

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:27

Yes, those natural pearls are extremely valuable. But you are far more valuable to God. You are His child, created to be completely unique and unlike anyone else in the whole world. He paid the highest price to be with you for eternity by giving His life, shedding His blood so all of your deepest, darkest sins could be completely covered with His radiant light and flawless purity. Like the beautiful, lustrous nacre of a precious pearl.

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

Admit to God that you are a sinner and acknowledge that He is your Savior. Ask Him to forgive you, making you pure and unblemished so you can freely enter those pearl gates into eternity with Him when you leave your temporary home here on earth.

Sparkler #2: Action

Never forget your value to God and how much He deeply loves you and wants to spend eternity with you.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Live your life in a way that is pleasing to Him in all you do, knowing you belong to Him and are His unique child, so His radiant light can shine through you.

*Read more about Frizz’s pearl diving story here

*Click here to go to the Kingdom Collection website

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

God’s Gracious Gift of Eternal Security | June 19th, 2018

Heaven…it was all I could think about after my mother passed away in March of 2012. Being as close as a mother and daughter could possibly be, separation from her here on earth was incredibly painful for me. 

I had no doubt her spirit went to heaven immediately after she took her last breath. She loved Jesus with everything in her and had given Him her heart many years before. I knew at that moment of death she was right there, fully alive, in His presence. 

Desiring to learn all I could about where she would be residing for eternity and where I would one day be reunited with her, I began to do some reading in Revelation. It is the last book of the Bible describing what heaven is going to be like. Revelation was written by the Apostle John who was given a vision of the end times as well as what heaven would look like after Jesus returns. His writings are just a glimpse of the unimaginable magnificence of our eternal Home… 

A New Heaven and a New Earth

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. Revelation 21:23

The Wall of the City

I continued to read on about the incredible details of this brilliant city…

The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. Revelation 21:19-21

These last few verses about the foundations of the wall of the city really caught my attention. I have a passion for making jewelry out of gemstones, so I was excited to read about the stunning beauty of this amazing wall made of precious gemstones! 

After reading, I felt inspired and got to work designing jewelry based on the wall of the city as a symbol of the beauty of heaven. This greatly comforted me during my grief. I knew my goodbye had not been final and I would see my mother again one day, surrounded by beauty.

My Kingdom Collection

I began researching each of the gemstones listed in the verses describing the foundations of the wall of the city and found that most of them could be purchased as beads. Some were quite expensive (like the sapphires and emeralds), but I was able to find gemstone beads that looked very similar. 

Before long, I had created a collection of beaded bracelets representing the twelve foundations which became known as my Kingdom Collection. I gave the name, City Splendor, to this part of the collection.

Our Longing for Security

This wall of the city has so much meaning. It is not only a symbol of the beauty and magnificence that will most certainly be surrounding us, but it also represents something that each one of us deeply longs for…security. The statistics prove it. Security products are a booming business right now. The global security market is predicted to surpass $100 billion by 2020 with home security systems accounting for an estimated $47 billion of the total security market!

Security provides protection as well as freedom from fear. That freedom comes when you know you are completely safe from anything that could ever threaten or harm you physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. I longed for that after losing my mother. Everything on this earth, including your loved ones being here with you, is temporary. You cannot place your security in a single earthly thing. It can all be lost. 

Security is found only in the eternal. Whenever you are in need of true security, you can turn to Jesus Christ who is your solid rock, fortress, Savior, protector, shield, and place of safety.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

In 2011, my husband and I took a vacation to Puerto Rico. We visited a National Historic Site in San Juan called Castillo San Felipe del Morro which was built years ago during the 16th century. It had been a defensive military fortification and a major part of San Juan’s harbor defense system. And it was powerful. Because of it, no enemy ship could navigate its waters without great fear of being captured. 

I look at that photo and think about how protected I am having God as my fortress who gives me an eternal security beyond the most secure fortress ever built in this world. Nothing can touch my soul. It is completely secure because it belongs to Him.

Your Personal Invitation 

Heaven, our eternal Home created by our great protector, is completely safe and secure. It is a place where we are separated from all sin and evil, fully protected in every way. All that we are given there can never be lost, stolen, or taken away. No need for any home security systems there!

Its citizens are those who have accepted the invitation to live there eternally by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. This is required because sin separates us from God. Since we are all sinners, Jesus (the sacrificial Lamb) had to die on the cross to pay the penalty (death) for our sin so we could be purified, worthy to enter such a beautiful, secure, and perfect place when we die. It is undeserved grace. All that we need to do is to say “yes” to His invitation! 

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:27

It is also a place where, just as on earth, we will never be separated from God’s love because His love is eternal. We can rest secure in that promise! 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Once you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have eternal security knowing your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. Your new address is permanent, everlasting, and completely secure.

Preparing a Place for You

Our eternal destination that John describes throughout Revelation is still being prepared for us today. The spirit of anyone who dies before Jesus returns goes immediately to heaven to be with Him – a temporary heaven until the new heaven and new earth are ready for us.

There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:2-3

Jesus will come again one day just as He promised. He is preparing an amazing place for you filled with magnificent beauty, security, and inseparable love. Best of all, He is inviting you to live there with Him for all eternity! If you have answered “yes” to His gracious invitation, you will find something even more beautiful there than the twelve foundations made of precious gemstones…the Lamb’s book of life with YOUR name permanently inscribed inside. 

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

Turn to Christ in prayer when you need true security, telling Him your fears so you can live in freedom, knowing He is always there for you as your solid rock, fortress, Savior, protector, shield, and place of safety.

Sparkler #2: Action

If you have not done so already, accept Jesus as your Savior and your invitation to live in the eternal, glorious Home that He is preparing for you right now.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Tell others about the invitation God has for them to live with Him in a perfect Home filled with beauty, security, and love for all eternity.

*Click here to go to the Kingdom Collection website

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

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