I think many of us struggle with the way we look.  If we only understood that God made us the way we are we might think that other’s expectations and our own isn’t important.  The way that God sees us is the most important thing of all because God doesn’t look at the outward appearance the way that we or others tend to do.  Many people judge us from our outward appearance and not by what is inside.  What is inside is what really counts in God’s eyes and in God’s eyes it’s the only thing that’s important.  The outward man or woman is not of eternal importance…it is what is inside as Jesus once said “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person” (Matt 15:11) so we must keep our focus on what really defiles a person and it’s not what’s outside that does it but what comes out of the person’s mouth for that reveals what’s in our hearts.
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How true this is.  You can put lipstick and earrings on a pig but inwardly they’re still a pig so Peter writes that “the hidden person of the heart” is precious to God and the “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quite spirit” to God is “very precious” and that’s all that matters eternally.  We’ll all get new bodies someday anyway and so why should we be so preoccupied with what we look like when God only cares about what we are like on the inside? Biblical Verses Image
While many white musicians gravitated toward country, folk, and old-timey music to express their spirituality outside of traditional Christian hymns, Black Gospel music drew heavily upon the traditional spirituals that had been passed down from the days of slavery, picking up its more driving rhythmic emphasis from blues and early jazz. Composer and singer Thomas A. Dorsey crystallized the style in 1932 with his epochal "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," and went on to compose a great many songs that later became standards. When performed in the churches, the music was traditionally sung by a choir, with individual soloists sometimes taking the spotlight; this often happened in a form known as "call and response," in which either the choir or the soloist would repeat and/or answer the lyric which had just been sung by the other, with the soloist improvising embellishments of the melody for greater emphasis. As the music developed, these soloists became more and more virtuosic, performing with wild emotion (and, in the South, physicality) in order to properly express the spiritual ecstasy the music was meant to evoke. The music was quite egalitarian in terms of gender, as both male and female performers -- Brother Joe May, Rev. James Cleveland, Mahalia Jackson, the Clara Ward Singers, etc. -- gained wide renown among both black and white audiences. The small-group format was also prevalent, with major figures including the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Soul Stirrers, the Swan Silvertones, and the Dixie Hummingbirds; in general, these groups placed a greater premium on smooth vocal harmonies, although some performances could approach the raucous energy (if not quite the huge sound) of a choir-with-soloist group. As the years progressed, black gospel and black popular music influenced and borrowed from one another, reflecting the gradual change of emphasis toward R&B; black gospel also had an enormous impact on the development of soul music, which directed gospel's spiritual intensity into more secular concerns, and included a great many performers whose musical skills were developed in the church. As a recognizable style unto itself, black gospel music largely ceased to develop around the 1970s; progressing racial attitudes had helped black popular music reach wider audiences (and become more lucrative) than ever before, and tastes had turned towards the earthy hedonism of funk and the highly arranged, sophisticated Philly soul sound. The former wasn't quite appropriate for worship, and it wasn't all that practical to duplicate the latter in church services. However, the traditional black gospel sound survived intact and was eventually augmented by contemporary gospel (an '80s/'90s variation strongly influenced by latter-day urban R&B); plus, singers like Whitney Houston continued to develop within its ranks. Bible Verse Image
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I’ve always liked the lyrics of the popular hymn that state “It is well with my soul.” It was only when I researched some of the background for this post that I learned some of the story behind these famously sung words. Did you know that words to this hymn were penned by Horatio Spafford after the tragic loss of ALL 5 of his children? You can read the story behind the hymn and the full lyrics here.
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"Blessings & Prosperity" is a 21" x 15" black framed art print. This artwork features jars of fruit, wooden bowls and a spoon on top of a counter with words about the fruit of your labor by artist John Rossini. This totally American made wall décor item features an decorative black frame The print has a protective, archival finish (glass is not needed) and arrives ready to hang. Bible Verse Image

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