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“Suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Magical characters reach from movie screens and beckon me into their world. Theme parks offer fresh visits to childlike wonder. Incredible masterpieces fill museum halls and garden paths. I relish each chance to drink in the inspiration of imagination.

The Father molded each of us in His image. He crafted unique works of art, kissing individual personalities with a different spritz of His creative sparkle. In a delightful chat with a 72 year old Christ-sister yesterday, we explored our different means of reflecting God’s ingenuity. When I shared my work as a writer, she first defined herself as devoid of creativity. Yet, as we talked, her amazing talents with children shone (along with other strengths) as brilliant examples of imaginative gifts. The Lord engineered our differences to glimmer in harmonizing shades as part of His glorious design.

Imagination inspires, motivates, uplifts–a fantastic blessing. My coaching and writing professions require consistent supply of this priceless resource. I cannot inspire unless I drink copious doses of inspiration. My incessant thirst deems me ever thankful for each sip of creative fuel.

While magnificent, imagination fails to bless us as an end unto itself. Creativity must encourage the soul to seek something greater. Inspiration toward anything less than true hope leaves us empty. Our sparkling kisses of ingenuity must reflect the Father’s love to others. Each imaginative work which honors His touch will transform others’ souls.

In the midst of a bleak, discouraging world, we need splashes of inspiration more than ever. God designed us to “poke holes in the darkness until light bleeds through,” as Margaret Feinberg so eloquently put it. Hope must radiate from the edges of all our creative endeavors. Imagination glimmers with us on earth for a season, a beautiful tool to point others toward eternal hope.

What creative works will God use from your spiritual and natural gifts to offer hope? Comment and share with all of us, so we can inspire one another to persevere in His work of providing hope.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17).

Over a century ago, a man from a carpentry guild encouraged Americans to honor labor with a holiday. Since the late 1800’s, our nation has celebrated its work by laying it aside for a single day. Beach visits, barbecues, and bargains rally the hordes to seize their day off.

I don’t need a profound reason to embrace a holiday, do you? In fact, I scan my calendar to mark each one, counting the weeks I’ll have to wait between them. If I can just make it through the next two weeks, I get to enjoy that weekend away… then there’s only six weeks until the next event…then how much longer until Thanksgiving and Black Friday will I have to wait?

If I subtracted moments of anticipation from my life, I’d have little left. Mid-stride, I’m planning how many steps it’ll take to get to a resting place, or even the journey’s end. While a penchant for holidays causes no harm, suspending my joy until they arrive robs me of life.

Living everyday moments as anointed by God’s presence will give my life back. Another Carpenter establishes the work of my hands, a greater thing to celebrate than a day without duties. His favor pours vitality into my spirit, mind, and heart with greater power than the extra hours of rest I look forward to enjoying.

When I stand before the Lord to account for the time He entrusted to me, I wonder if He might ask, “About your life, Tina…were you there?”

How would  you respond if He asked you such a question?

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