I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and that proves to be true as “memes” have taken over social media. Reading anything of substance takes too long. We’d rather laugh at a glance.

I may be slightly obsessed with pictures myself; looking at other people’s photos is almost as fun as taking my own. Candids, with the silly faces and the stories behind them, are my favorite! Pictures equip us with memories to last a lifetime and enable us to relive those treasured moments over and over.

God must love pictures too since He often paints visuals through stories, providing mental images for us to understand better and recall more easily. Better yet, because too often we do forget, He writes on us permanently. In Jeremiah 31:33, the Lord says, “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” What an awesome promise! When it comes to tattoos, I’m more of a “hang it on your wall” kind of girl, but this – God’s stamp on my heart and mind – I like that ink!

As disobedient children, Israel repeatedly broke promises with God. Yet in this new covenant of grace He grants pardon and peace to all believers, Jews and Gentiles alike. In spite of our spiritual infidelity, God remains faithful. One commentary describes Jeremiah 31:33 in this way, “all these blessings they shall have, not by providence only, but by promise, and thereby they shall be both sweetened and secured… the law shall be written in their hearts by the finger of the Spirit as formerly it was written in the tables of stone… ready and familiar to them, at hand when they have occasion to use it… He works in them a disposition to obedience, a conformity of thought and affection to the rules of the divine law… that our duty may be done conscientiously and with delight.” What a beautiful picture! How’s that for a “Kodak moment”?

Whenever my family visits a new place, the kids (okay, me too) want a souvenir to remember the trip. But toys get lost or neglected in a week or so; t-shirts fade and shrink over time; fake tattoos peel within a week. Due to my large family, small budget, and love of photography, I found a frugal solution to actually purchasing the desired item. I pull out my camera and say, “Let’s take a picture!” This is met with rolling eyes and sighs but, honestly, do we need another mug? God already presents us with trinkets and treasures all through life. Looking past the more obvious gift of blessings, His teachings through trials are some of the most invaluable gifts. The schooling and scars mark our minds and hearts (more of God’s ink); these are souvenirs to be shared, especially with one about to embark on the same trip.

Truth be told, you don’t have to leave your little corner of the world to see God work. Even in your own backyard, life is an adventure! Like a rollercoaster with many twists, turns, drops and loops, it can be exhilarating or excruciating. Take comfort in this, we’ll never be on a broken ride because God designed the track! Sit with Him to stay on course. But, even if we love rollercoasters, hanging upside down isn’t always amusing. Though we like to portray picture perfect lives, pain is real. It’s relatable, attracting unsuspected audiences, because artwork isn’t always a sunset beach or flowery field; it can be deep, unsettling, even tragic. Cling to the Lord. Let this speak to those around you, displaying the beauty of it all is God in the midst.

Snapshots are seen everywhere we go. Emotions can be easily hidden by actions, but it’s our reactions that give us away (“out of the heart the mouth speaks”). These are the candids being passed around, good or bad. When it’s not pretty, be humble. Either way, show them Jesus. People are bound to notice God’s ink on your life. Some may even have questions, seeking a God-venture of their own! And may I add, without sounding cheesy…say, “Cheese!” Whether you’re stopping to smell the roses or tripping over railroad tracks, you’ve got every reason to smile. Picture this… God is written on your heart and mind, and you are inscribed on the palm of Christ’s hand (Isaiah 49:16). For the sake of party poopers, I won’t compare this to couples’ matching (clothes or tattoos – that won’t ever fade, sag or wrinkle!), but…we are marked by each other – God is yours and you are His. This invitation is for everyone. Some will flat out decline, some will choose not to choose (which is a “no”), but for those who eagerly say “Yes!”, the celebration starts here.

Share that picture – the world needs to know!

SHINE, always