Christian Fantasy Author Lorilyn Roberts' Blog

Monday, March 4, 2013

THE TREASURE SEEKER: FINDING LOVE AND VALUE IN THE ARMS OF YOUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER


Guest Post by Teena Stewart




One of the toughest women's issues is that many women, even the most outwardly self-assured ones, wrestle with feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. Though women want to believe they have value, messages bombard them daily, telling them that if they don’t look a certain way, dress a certain way, drive a certain car, weigh a certain weight, or work in a certain type of career, they have little value..

Stewart casts God in the role of a heavenly Treasure Seeker who knows every woman’s true value and will stop at nothing to recover her, His cherished one. He longs to come into a close, loving relationship so that she can not only feel cherished but also cherish Him, the greatest treasure of all.
 
Through practical truth this Christian Living book will draw women closer to the Treasure Seeker who takes on the role of Master Jeweler and lovingly shapes, refines, polishes, even incorporating her flaws, to transform her into a jewel of stunning beauty. He will help her find her remarkable true worth so that she becomes the dazzling gemstone she was meant to be.

Unique accompaniments: 
  • Intriguing treasure stories
  • A study of the "Lost" parables including the lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the treasure hidden in a field, and the pearl of great price
  • Points to ponder at the end of each chapter for reflection and discussion
  • A chapter highlighting gemstone attributes allowing readers to determine which gemstone they are most like
  • A Treasure Seeker Jewelry line created by author/artist Teena Stewart available at a discount through her website when you purchase the book.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Teena Stewart's New Book
The Treasure Seeker




 Chapter 5
Viewed Through Expert Eyes

Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him [Jesus]. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing we do, yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14–15 NLT)

            God acts in the role of Treasure Seeker while searching us out, but He also is a gemologist and master jeweler. Gemologists primarily concern themselves with a gemstone’s characteristics. In what condition has the stone been found? What are its attributes and inclusions? A gemologist also may sell gemstones and provide appraisal services. Jewelers, on the other hand, focus primarily on the settings and design in which a gemstone is placed. Some jewelers also study gemology to become familiar with the properties of the gemstones they handle.
            A jeweler typically serves in an apprenticeship while learning the craft. The Jewelers of America require jeweler apprentices to pass written and “bench” tests on four levels, with certification being obtained on each level. The fourth level of certification is the Certified Master Bench Jeweler (CMBJ).1 The master jeweler is a skilled artisan who is an expert in his or her field. He or she appraises, sets or resets, cleans, designs settings for unset stones, redesigns old settings, sizes, and even custom designs pieces upon request.
            An artist has a trained eye to see space, color, texture, and groupings to know what is aesthetically pleasing. A woodworker values the grain and characteristics of the wood and knows how to shape, turn, and join the wood together to make a beautiful piece. So it is with the Master Jeweler. God delights in our makeup, much as a master jeweler appreciates the gemstones and jewelry with which he works.

God Releases Our Radiance
            Just as a master jeweler holds a stone under his scope to see its clarity and beauty, our Master Jeweler can look into our hearts and see our true nature. When we first come to Him, it is of a dark and cloudy composition. But when we enter into a relationship with Him, the murkiness is replaced with brilliance and clarity.
Our gemstone nature is much like a mirror. A mirror cannot create its own light source; rather, it bounces back light reflected into it. God designed us to reflect God’s glory. When we do, sin is no longer obscuring the beauty God instilled in us.
One of the best examples of God’s glory literally being reflected is the story of Moses on Mt. Sinai. He had been on the top of the mountain in God’s presence while the Ten Commandments were being transcribed. How anyone even could bear to be in the presence of such divinity and majesty and live to tell about it still baffles me. Surely the Lord had to hold back His true essence in order for Moses to be able to withstand it.
When Moses descended the mountain, his face still reflected God’s holiness. His countenance shown so brightly that the Israelites were afraid to come near Him. The Scriptures describe his face as “radiant” (Ex. 34:29). The word used here for “radiant” is the Hebrew word qaran2, which means to shine or send out rays. If you ever have tried to look at a bright sky with unprotected eyes, you know how painful it can be. You can’t stand to do it for long. Moses’ face shone like the sun.
David recognized the amazing transformation that comes from abiding in God’s presence. He wrote, “Those who look to him are radiant. Their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5). In the King James translation, the word is “lightened.” It comes from the Hebrew word nahar3. Who better to understand transformation than a humble shepherd boy who had been made into a great king? God had raised David up from a humble status and made him a brilliant jewel to shine before Israel.
Though David made mistakes, he never lost his sense of awe regarding God, and David felt humbled by how God covered up David’s shortcomings. One could turn to God without shame, illuminated by knowing that He is a compassionate, loving, and forgiving God.
            Paul, in Hebrews 1:3, wrote about Jesus’ radiance: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purifications for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” In this case, the word “radiance,” which is listed as “brightness” in the King James, is the Greek word apaugasma4, which means reflected brightness. It can also mean shining forth as rays shine forth from a light source.
            Phillip W. Keller, in his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, talks about radiance, which should shine forth from Christians’ inner light. He says, “Almost every day I am literally rubbing shoulders with men and women ‘on the other side of the fence.’ What is my impact on them? Is my life so serene, so satisfying, so radiant because I walk and talk and live with God, that they become envious? Do they see in me the benefits of being under Christ’s control? Do they see something of Himself reflected in my conduct and character? Does my life and conversation lead them to Him—and thus into life everlasting?”5
            Just as Jesus is an exact representation of his Father, reflecting His radiance, we become an exact representation of Christ when we commit to a relationship with Him. When we allow the Master Jeweler to take us into His hands and begin transforming us, we take on His nature. The more we imitate our heavenly Father, the source of this light, the more radiant we become.
             Matthew 5:14 speaks about this light, calling us the light of the world and a city on a hill. Our radiance hurts the eyes of a darkened world. It draws some people to the beauty they see. Others can’t tolerate its presence and seek to snuff it out.

He is Captivated by Our Beauty
            My love for books began when I was a young child. My father, whose formal education went no further than high school, was a self-educated man who loved to read. His books and children’s books lined our enclosed back porch. I grew up in the era of Dr. Suess and P. D. Eastman.
I fondly remember my older sister, Vicki’s, and my excitement when a new children’s book would arrive in the mail. My mother, never one to be extravagant with money, had for some reason determined this particular splurge to be a good investment, and for that I always will be grateful. I recall one particular children’s book series we had on our shelves. These rather thick books contained fairytales, fables, and children’s stories. Countless times I thumbed through them, reading and rereading favorites from these beloved stories.
            One of my favorites was The Plain Princess by Phillis McGinley. The king and queen spoiled and pampered their only child, Esmeralda, the story’s main character. She had everything a royal child possibly could want: a beautiful palace to live in and charming dresses and toys. As Esmeralda grew older, her parents struck an agreement that she should marry a certain prince. But the prince took little interest in the princess because she lacked one thing a princess should surely have—beauty.
Physicians and wizards attempted a variety of remedies to improve her looks, but none of those with whom their royal majesties consulted were able to change the princess’s appearance. In desperation, the king and queen placed an ad in the paper, offering a generous reward to anyone who could help.
A widowed mother with five children answered this ad and brought Esmeralda home to live in her house. She soon put the princess to work, having her help clean the house and care for the children. The more the princess learned to take the focus off of herself, the more attractive she became. By the end of the story, Esmeralda had been transformed from plain to beautiful. The transformation was not merely a surface alteration, but one that came from the inside out. She learned to care for others besides herself.
By the time Esmerelda returned to the castle, she was a lovely, changed woman. The obvious moral of the story—beauty comes from within.
Exterior beauty doesn’t impress God; it is what is on the inside that matters. Like the Master Jeweler who sees the exceptional beauty of a stone, He is enraptured by us. He wants to have an intimate relationship with us. Like a lover captivated by his beloved’s beauty, He can’t take His eyes from us.
The issue of whether Song of Solomon, written by King Solomon to the Shulamite woman, is merely a sensual love poem or something much deeper, describing the intimate and exciting relationship the Father longs to have with us, has long been debated. I believe that the book, like many other Scripture passages, holds a two-fold message. First, it details the very intimate relationship between two lovers, and second, it details the intimate we relationship God desires to have with us.
Chapter 4, verse 1 reads, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.” Much like Solomon and the Shulamite, our beauty so captivates our lover that we take His breath away.
In the movie Shallow Hal, the male lead character played by Jack Black falls madly in love with a woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow. He is smitten with her and, like the writer in Song of Solomon, gushes to his friends about this woman’s beauty and lovely attributes. His friends can’t make him see that the woman is actually grossly obese, and their judgment, which is based on external appearances, causes them to view her as both ugly and worthless.
Some days I’m rumpled and bone-tired, with dark circles beneath my eyes. My face is lined with age and fatigue. At my age, the beauty that once may have been there now has faded considerably. And yet Jeff still will call me “pretty lady.” Sometimes I think he needs to see an optometrist because I don’t think he’s seeing all too clearly. He looks at me through rosy lenses.
True love is like that, looking into the heart and holding the other person as dear and lovely. This is the type of remarkable relationship the Father has with us.

He Recognizes Our Elegance
Dictionary.com defines “elegance” as an elegant quality or a refinement. People who exemplify elegance are in a class all their own. Culture, sophistication, beauty, and charm together culminate into a unique aura called elegance. Women like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana come to mind.
On the other hand, I can think of many famous, beautiful women who do not embody elegance. Some women, despite their looks and wealth, are actually very crass. We read about their often-embarrassing exploits in the papers. Proverbs 11:22 cautions us, “Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”
Stanley Marcus, in his book Quest for the Best, defines elegance in this manner: “Elegance, to me, is a summary word denoting the ultimate in beauty, craftsmanship, and quality—all put together with taste. Elegance suggests selectivity, fitness, and authority—whether in decoration, personal adornment, or manners.”5
Master Jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé is renowned for designing elegant, golden jeweled eggs for the household of Czar Nicholas of Russia. Each egg is an incredible work of art in itself. The eggs’ beautiful, ornate exteriors are covered with precious metals and enamel and are encrusted with priceless gemstones. Inside of each egg is a surprise, often a masterpiece in miniature. Fabergé and his team of craftsmen carefully designed and selected precisely the right gemstones to adorn each unique egg. Each had to be fit for royalty. The care, craftsmanship, and selectiveness Fabergé used when crafting each egg made his name synonymous with luxury and elegance befitting royalty.
The Master Jeweler sees in us exquisite elegance. He carefully hand-selected us, His gemstones, as an adornment befitting a palace, and the king’s palace is precisely where we will remain, a shining tribute to Him, magnifying His glory for all eternity. Let us remember, then, while we remain in these fragile, earthly vessels, always to conduct ourselves with restraint and refinement so that others will be captivated by our unique aura of elegance and be drawn to Him.

He is Convinced of Our Quality
 “Your friend in the diamond business,” reads the slogan for the Shane Company, a national jewelry chain. For a number of years, the company’s slow-talking owner has appeared in radio ads promoting the business’s quality and service. The company set itself apart from the average jewelry store by claiming to avoid gimmicks, coupons, and sales. Instead, they touted excellent everyday prices, quality, and service. Today, the Shane Company has successfully branded itself as a trustworthy jeweler, a name synonymous with superior gemstones.
John Ruskin wrote: “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. It is the will to produce a superior thing.”6 Quality results from intentional, carefully-thought-out production and design.
During the building of Solomon’s temple, King Solomon (1 Kings 5:17) decreed that only the most costly stones were to be used for the temple’s foundation. The Hebrew word yaqar7, which is used in the passage, means costly. By dictating that only the most expensive stones be used, Solomon knew he ensured that the selected stones would be the best of the best. Every item that went into making the temple of the Lord was to be of superior quality, making the structure of the temple itself an act of worship to the heavenly king.
Like the retail buyer who hand selects the fabrics and merchandise to be carried in his chain of stores or the jeweler who insists on only purchasing the superior grade of gemstones, God hand selected us and chose us from thousands of others. He is confident that He has made an excellent choice, and well He should be, for He is the one who designed and ordained our purpose from the onset.
Unfortunately, many of us have difficulty believing we are indeed a quality gemstone. It is one thing to be told we are an exceptional product and another entirely to actually to believe it. Many women suffer from poor self-esteem. It only takes one callous word or one seemingly insignificant incident for us to descend into self-abasement. When we fall into these depressed patterns of thinking, we really are lying to ourselves.
Self-loathing grieves God, who wants only the best for us. Instead of self-abasement and self-loathing, He envisions affirmation and joy. Our challenge, then, is to remember that it’s not within God’s nature to make junk; therefore, we cannot be what we often think we are.
Just as God has instilled in us the best of the best, He also expects only the best from us. First Corinthians 3:13 says, “His work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.” Does our work and our walk reflect the Master Jeweler’s fineness? We should never forget to continue striving for excellence.

He Sees Beyond Our Flaws
            The Master Jeweler examines us with the eye of an expert. He clearly sees all of the lovely attributes that make us so desirable: our radiance, beauty, elegance, and quality. But He wouldn’t be an expert unless He also saw our weaknesses, including our flaws.
Though the words “oversight” and “overlook” seem to hold nearly identical meanings, they differ considerably. “Oversight” is when someone examines something but misses a key factor. The person might have been distracted or careless when doing the initial examination.
An excellent example of this is the clearance rack at your local clothing store. Many of us love a bargain, and you can’t beat the end-of-season clearance deals. But you also have to be very careful when selecting clearance items. For instance, you might find gads of one specific style and color in a blouse. (What? You mean you don’t want that chartreuse size three blouse?) Or mixed in with quality merchandise are sometimes irregular or damaged items. There have been times when I’ve thought I’ve found a great bargain, only to arrive home to find a pulled thread or missing button. Those instances were oversights on my part. Great sale prices temporarily blinded me enough to make me overlook the flaws.
But God actually sees our flaws, and He purposely overlooks them. We’ll talk more about this in a later chapter, but I think it bears merit here, so we will examine why God overlooks them—why the one who is without flaws is willing to overlook ours (Psalm 19:12).
First, God overlooks our flaws because He doesn’t want our shortcomings to stand in the way of our having a deep relationship with Him. Second, He knows that many of these flaws have come about because of tough knocks we have been through in life. They are a part of what makes us who we are.
J. B. Yeats wrote, “Personality is born out of pain. It is the fire shut up in the flint.”8 God knows our tough life experiences have an integral part of our formation. They add to our beauty and can be used to glorify God. He does not demand that they be eliminated because He knows doing so will cause irreparable damage. Instead, He wants us to trust His gentle touch and expertise as He works to make us into the treasure He knows we can be.

{Call-out Box:
Treasure and Gemstone Trivia
England passed a law in 1283 that made it legal for only those of noble birth to wear jewels.9}

Points to Ponder
1. How does it make you feel to consider God as a Master Jeweler?
2. Can you think of any other scriptural examples of God’s glory and radiance being revealed?
3. Have you ever met someone who reflects God’s radiance?
4. How does it make you feel to know that God sees us as beautiful no matter what we look like on the inside or outside?
5. What are some examples of Jesus reflecting His Father’s radiance?
6. It is not in God’s nature to make anything lacking in quality. How does knowing God made you make you feel? 

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The Treasure Seeker is available in paperback and ebook from and can be purchased at the following locations Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/anf7wza), Teena’s Website (http://teenastewart.com/) and Wine Press Books (http://tinyurl.com/a3v7byk) and most other book stores. The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com  Here’s the link.  http://tinyurl.com/b7zqou7


How to Connect with Teena

Her writing website  www.teenastewart.com

Twitter  @TeenaStewart1

Her art website http://serendipitini.com/

Her art blog http://serendipitini.blogspot.com/




1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing about The Treasure Seeker, Lorilyn

    ReplyDelete