FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


Leave a comment

What Not to Wear

Chances are you have seen the American makeover television show, What Not to Wear.  The show featured participants nominated by friends, co-workers, or relatives or sometimes individuals who had nominated themselves.  The nominee was secretly videotaped then brought to New York City for a week of evaluation, shopping and hair and make-up styling AFTER getting a chance to watch their secret footage.  The show always ended showing a party in the participants’ hometown, where she would show off her new look to friends and family who would all, of course, comment on how impressed they were and how happy she looked.  Most importantly, from then on, the participant knew what not to wear!

Well, at least on her outer body.

Let’s face it, sometimes we struggle with getting dressed.  I seriously cannot be the only one who stands before a closet full of clothing (remember, I have a bedroom converted to a closet) and thinks, “I have nothing to wear!”  Nor am I the only one who faces an event (special program at church, class reunion, Thanksgiving dinner with family…) and feels compelled to go shopping for something to wear.  And somebody, other than me, has a couple of tags still hanging on some things that have been in the back of the closet for at least a few weeks, if not months.  Or years!

Yet, we tell ourselves we have nothing to wear.  We are convinced we have nothing to wear.  We honestly believe that we need to go shopping, borrow an outfit or pass on going to the event – because we have NOTHING to wear!  We tell ourselves that lie and swallow it hook, line and sinker even when the truth – that God has provided what we need stares us in the face.  And, in many cases, He has provided a whole lot more!

If we can so easily swallow a sweet little lie about not having anything to wear, even while staring evidence to the contrary in the face, what other lies can we readily accept?

Before we continue, this is a good time to remember that Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44).  Well, surely he is too busy to be bothered with something as simple as getting you to believe a lie about what is or is not in your closet?  No, he’s not.  Because it’s not really about your clothes at all.  Satan will do whatever he has to get you to distrust, doubt, shrink away from God and His Word.

Philippians 4:19 (ESV) says that God will supply your every need.  Check the Scriptures before that passage and those that follow and, unlike those little sale circulars that come in the mail, there are no exclusions and no fine print.  You won’t find somewhere else in the Bible that God says something contrary – “I will supply your every need EXCEPT…”  No every need means every need.  Satan does not want you to know that, to understand that, to believe that, to stand on that!  But he is smart; start with the seemingly little, insignificant, unconnected lies.  If he can get you to believe those (I don’t have anything to wear.  Hmm, maybe God didn’t really mean He would supply my every need?), He can get you to believe some even bigger lies.

Don’t believe me?  I won’t take the time here to go into detail, but just look back at Eve’s encounter with Satan in the Garden of Eden.  He was sneaky, crafty, strategic.  He wasn’t blatant, overt and in Eve’s face.  He just cast a stone or two of doubt about who God was, what God said and what God would or wouldn’t do.  You know the rest.

So what not to wear?  Don’t, like Eve, take on the lies of Satan.  He wants you dressed in a coat of defeat with a shawl of weak and flimsy resolve tied about your neck, carrying a backpack or handbag of insecurities, standing in shoes of doubt, pulling on a hat of confusion.

The What Not to Wear participant gets a Visa card and goes shopping.  She buys the foundation of a new wardrobe and is taught how to dress from that point forward – how to build on that foundation for a lifetime of smart and appropriate dressing.  It wouldn’t be enough to simply tell the participant what not to wear and not to teach her what to wear – and how and where to shop for it!

Consider deeply the following Scriptures:

Ezekiel 16:10-13 (ESV):   “ I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.  And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.  And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth.

Romans 8:15-17 (ESV):   “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV):  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Do you get the lessons of these Scriptures?  Do you understand what they teach us?  We are children of the one true King.  We are join heirs with Christ.  We are chosen.  We are Holy.  We are His!

No matter what Satan would try to tell us, no matter what he would put in our path to try to make us stumble, no matter what weapon he pulls from his arsenal…it is no match for what the power and authority we have in our Father.  And here’s the clencher, Satan really has only one weapon – lies!  While your Father has equipped you with many weapons and full armor, the key piece that you need to fight Satan is the belt of truth!  Not your truth (which might not be true – remember, you didn’t have anything in your closet to wear), but God’s truth.  This belt accentuates every figure and compliments every outfit; without it, you might as well be naked.  No well-dressed, Christian would be caught without it.  Put it on. And never take it off!

THIS WEEK clean your closet.  On What Not to Wear, the participant must bring her old clothes with her to New York.  They are tried on and sorted.  Occasionally one gets to keep a piece or two found to be acceptable.  Most end up in the trash can.  As Christians we are to test all things and hold only what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  We discard or throw away everything else.  What lies has Satan told you?  Lies about yourself?  Lies about a friend?  Lies about a situation?  Lies about a family member?  Lies about a relationship?  Test them against God’s Holy Word.  Keep that which is good and toss the rest!


Leave a comment

The Lifter of My Head

Over the past few days I have been reflecting on the many names of God. Someone once asked, “Why? Why so many names for the One true and living God?” Well, consider the many names we have for our family members and friends. Formal names and more intimate names that attest to our relationships. Mom, mommy, Mommy Dearest (smile, couldn’t resist). Dad, Pops, Daddy, Father. My Sweetie. My Honey. My Boo Boo Kitty.

Every Name of God attests to His character – who He is as well as to a relationship we can have with Him.

I think of God and pray to God using a variety of names with one of my favorite and most used being “Abba Father.”  It has long been supposed and broadly accepted that the ancient Aramaic word “Abba” is a term of familiarity that a young child might use to address his/her Daddy or Papa. That’s big for me; I was a bona fide Daddy’s Girl, so that my God would allow me to approach Him and to address Him as Daddy is big. But that He would embrace me, open His arms to receive me and His ear to hear my cries as His child? Wow! That’s even bigger.

But another Name has been on my heart. I woke one morning last week with it on my mind. It comes from Psalm 3:3 (ESV). “You, O Lord are…the lifter of my head.” The Lifter of My Head. Double Wow.

So many things, so many experiences make us hang our heads. Sometimes from shame, possibly from confusion, perhaps from exhaustion, maybe a sense of defeat or overwhelming grief. We hang our heads. We hang our heads. I’m convinced that sometimes we don’t even realize our heads are hanging; we have become accustomed to and accepted the defeat of that posture, so let me repeat. He is the lifter of our heads.

This Scripture paints for us a word picture, so make sure you get the complete picture. Naturally, in times of trouble, we hang our heads. So, it would follow to reason that as the lifter of our heads, God brings us out of whatever it is that caused our heads to hang. But go a little deeper. It also means that He will bring us into a situation and time that will cause our heads to be held high. There are several examples in Scripture where heads were lifted up. 2 Kings 25:27 tells us that the King of Babylon lifted up the head of Jehoiachin out of prison, and Genesis 40 says that Joseph foresaw that Pharaoh would lift up the head of the cupbearer and restore him to his position.

If men – Kings, Pharaohs – can lift heads and restore positions and wealth, just think what God can do for us!

It is David who is telling us in Psalm that God will be the lifter of his head. Understand the context of this passage. David’s son, Absalom, had rebelled against him and turned the people of Israel against him causing David to flee Jerusalem with little more than the clothes he was wearing. 2 Samuel 15 says that David climbed up the Mount of Olives, covered his head and wept. He hung his head.

David was King. He had resources at his hand. Though Absalom had turned the people of Israel against him, there were surely others that he could have turned to. He chose to turn to God. Why? You have to look closely at Psalm 3. Earlier in the passage David declared, “You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory” before adding “and the lifter of my head.” David’s choice of expressions – me and my – indicate a personal relationship and intimacy with God.

The past is irrevocable, irreversible and unchangeable. But Joel 2:25-27 (AMP) reads, “I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten…you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the Name of the Lord…I the Lord am your God and there is none else. My people shall never be put to shame.” Translation? He will lift your head!

Reflect on that this week!

Monday: Psalm 3:1 (NIV)

“Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me?”

Questions for Reflection:  What or Who is causing or has caused you to hang your head? Have you, like David, cried out to the Lord? If not, why not? If yes, what answer have you heard?

Tuesday: Psalm 3:2 (NIV)

“Many are saying of me, “’God will not deliver him.’”

Questions for Reflection:  Do you believe that God will deliver you? Why or why not?  What is the evidence of your belief?

Wednesday: Acts 4:12 (NIV)

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Questions for Reflection:  To whom or what have you been looking for strength, hope, restoration, salvation? How has that worked for you? What changes do you need to make?

Thursday: Psalm 3:6 (NIV)

“I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.”

Question for Reflection:  FEAR is false evidence appearing real. What “false evidence” have you accepted as truth? Jot down your fears and name specifically those things, people, emotions and situations that assail you. Pray very specifically about each one and make note of God’s responses to your prayers.

Friday: Psalm 3:8a (NIV)

“From the Lord comes deliverance.”

Questions for Reflection: Are you positioned and postured expecting deliverance? What are you doing in the meantime?