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Wake Up and Smell the Pizza
 
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Here by Chance? Not a Chance!

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THE BIG PICTURE

The Love Perspective: Nose Art

By Todd & Jedd Hafer

CBN.com Here’s something fun to do next time you’re in an art museum. Okay, we know what some of you are saying: There will be no “next time” you’re in an art museum. In fact, there won’t be a first time. But don’t be too quick to say that. You might be walking around in a city someday and get lost and be forced to pop into a museum to ask for directions.

Or you might be right outside the doors to a museum when a sudden hailstorm hits—and you’ll have nowhere else to go.

And, of course, some of you reading this actually might like museums and visit them frequently.

Whatever the case, here’s your museum assignment: Find a large painting and stand as close to it as those burly museum guards will allow. Get your nose millimeters from the canvas if you can. Then stare really hard at the painting.

What you’ll see, most likely, is an unintelligible mass of paint globs and brushstrokes. From this vantage point, you can’t tell what the painting is supposed to represent. In fact, if you didn’t know what you were looking at, you might not even be able to tell it’s supposed to be a painting. It might look like a clown blew up—or threw up—on a slab of canvas.

To understand what the painting is about, of course, you have to take a few steps back. You have to take in the whole thing to see what the artist was trying to achieve. You must have perspective before things make sense.

You know where we are going with this analogy, don’t you? That’s right, our friend, art imitates life, and life is all about perspective.

Our first chapter is about perspective, because perspective will set the tone for this book, and your life. It will determine how you perceive what happens around you and to you. It will determine how you react.

We are convinced that so many of teens’ life tragedies—from suicide to sexual promiscuity to running away from home—happen because teens and the adults around them lose their sense of perspective.

We don’t want this to happen to you.

We’re about to hit you with a key truth that will be vital to keeping your life in perspective, no matter what happens. It’s a deep, profound truth, so you might want to write it down so you won’t forget it. Here goes: Jesus loves you, this we know, for the Bible tells us so.

Pretty cool, huh? Somebody ought to turn that into a song or something.

And please don’t dismiss those words just because they rhyme and you maybe heard them in Sunday school. Don’t say, “Sunday school Jesus is just for little kids. He is not relevant to life in the twenty-first century.”

Wrong. Jesus isn’t just for Sunday school. He is By-Your-Side-on-the-Way-to-the-Crisis-Pregnancy-Center Jesus. He is Holding-Your-Hand-While-You-Clutch-the-Bottle-of-Pills-That-Could-End-Your-Life Jesus.

The Bible promises you that nothing—NOTHING—can separate you from Jesus’ love. Addicted to pornography? Jesus still loves you. Gay? Jesus still loves you. A habitual liar too terrified to let anyone see the real you? Jesus sees the real you and loves you like crazy.

Everything else you will read in this book—more important, everything you encounter in life—should be evaluated with a clear sense of perspective.

Right now your nose might be pressed up against an ugly mishmash of colors and textures that make no sense—and are frightening, to boot. But take a few steps back. You are a work of art. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Your life is in the hands of a Master Artist. He has a purpose for your life. Don’t ever forget that. Trust in him. Watch as he reveals to you more and more of the Big Picture masterpiece that he wants your life to be. And as you see portions of the painting come together, hold on to that knowledge when you encounter a new section of the canvas of your life—a section that is murky and unfinished, or empty. So empty that it’s scary.

Perspective will revolutionize the way you live. So take two giant steps back and use it.

It’s hard to see the Big Picture when your nose is pressed up against it. Actions you take (and decisions you make) in the darkness of confusion and despair will likely be mistakes. So don’t act, don’t conclude, don’t decide until you’ve seen things in the light of God’s love. Because only in that light can you see clearly.

Every time you are depressed or face a crisis in your life, before you respond, please go through this exercise. Consider these words from Isaiah 54:10: “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

Say this verse out loud, then ask yourself, “In light of the fact that I am adored unconditionally by my Lord, Friend, and Creator, how should I respond to what is happening in my life right now?”

More excerpts from this book:

Introduction

Here by Chance? Not a Chance!


Excerpted from: Wake Up and Smell the Pizza by Todd & Jedd Hafer
Copyright © 2005 ; ISBN 076420033X. Published by Bethany House Publishers. Used by permission.

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