FULLY ALIVE!

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


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Naked Christian

For some time I’ve been following a blog, Chronicles of a Kid Next Door, written by Edmond Sanganyado.  Last week Edmond changed the title of his blog to I Am a Naked Christian.  In actuality, Edmond changed more than just the name of his blog.  He changed his focus.  He changed his purpose.

He changed.

I’ve thought a lot about his post explaining the change.  He wrote, “Today, I choose to be naked. I surrender before the Father, and watch as He removes the Son’s spotless rob of glory. I watch in awe as the Holy Spirit removes my garment of self-righteousness and sin. I am naked, but Christ clothes me with his glory.”

It seems that our focus is often more about what to wear, what to put on.  We are constantly bombarded by messages about our appearance and what we wear.  We are victims and slaves to fashion, style and labels feeling pressured to obey fads and trends.  And while it is not exactly true that “clothes make the man” (or the woman), how we dress and what we wear is important.

How often we have read the words of Ephesians 6 – “Put on the whole armor of God…Stand, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace…take up the shield of faith…take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV).  We read in 1 Timothy that “women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (2:9 ESV) and in Deuteronomy that “a woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak.” (22:5 ESV).

But before we can “dress properly,” we need to undress.  Just as you don’t poor new wine into an old wineskin (Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22), you don’t put new garments over the old.

Edmond wrote, “I choose to strip down all my perceived abilities. I choose to regard all my personal achievements, wisdom and knowledge as nothing, but sewage quagmire. The accomplishments that hid, my flaws and the praises that covered my folly, I throw them in hogwash. I cannot clothe myself in my capabilities anymore. I am done.”

I replied to Edmond’s post, “I’m stripping down and joining you!”  Since posting that response, I’ve thought about what I need to remove, take off, strip away.  Like Edmond, I strip away my perceived abilities – for me, it’s that independent self and that spirit of not needing ANYone.  Sometimes that has included God, or at least that’s what my actions and attitudes implied.  I refuse to dress one more day in self-righteousness.  I will not pin a spirit of independence to my chest like the big brooches I am known for wearing.  There will be no more necklaces of false humility.  Bracelets of selfishness will not jangle around my wrists, and I will not walk in shoes of arrogance.

The key phrase to show what caused God to become angry with the builders of the Tower of Babel comes in verse 4 of Genesis 11. “They said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves.'”  We were made to rely on God and give Him glory. Instead we have chosen to rely on self and seek our own glory—to make a name for ourselves.  Isaiah 43:7 tells us that God created us to display His glory, that is, that his glory might be known and praised.   In short, it’s not about us.  It’s not about me.

Today, I join Edmond in choosing to be naked. “I surrender before the Father, and watch as He removes the Son’s spotless robe of glory…and as the Holy Spirit removes my garment of self-righteousness and sin. I am naked, but Christ clothes me with his glory.”

THIS WEEK take a long look in the mirror, preferably a full length.  What do you need to take off?  Are you willing to strip – completely naked?

Read Edmond’s post at http://gracemusing.com/2015/09/19/for-the-first-time-i-am-a-naked-christian-this-is-why/.


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Lion Killing, Part 2

Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.  And he struck down an Egyptian who was five cubits tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.  Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors.  He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard. 1 Chronicles 11:22-25 (NASB)

The Scripture says, “He…went…and killed a lion.”

So, the question I left you with was, “How?” “How do you kill a lion in a pit on a snowy day?” “How do you kill your lion?”

You fight.

Sorry. I’m sure you thought I would be sharing a secret.

We know that Benaiah won because the Scriptures tell us. But they do not reveal the details. Sometimes I just hate it when the Scriptures seem to skip over some important detail, but then I stop and think. “God had a reason why.” Proverbs 25:2 tells us, “The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of kings is to search it out.”

So, while we still do not know all the details, we can be sure that Benaiah fought. He fought his lion. He didn’t simply lie down in the pit, cross his fingers, close his eyes and hope for the best. As a matter of fact, look back at Verse 22 and you will “search out” a clue.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. It seems that Benaiah wasn’t drug into the pit. He didn’t fall into the pit. Nobody pushed him into the pit. He went down. He went after his lion. He was determined to take it out! Easy? Absolutely not; it was a lion!

Turn the tables on your lion, the Devil, who prowls seeking to devour. He thinks he has you on the run. Like, Benaiah, flip the script and put him on the run. In an old joke, a Sunday School teacher asks her class what to do when Satan knocks at your door. A little girl responded, “I send Jesus to answer the door.” Ahh, out of the mouths of babes!

To defeat Satan we must turn to God (Matthew 6:13). To resist the Devil, we must submit to God (James 4:7). To stand against the Devil, we must put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-11) and arm ourselves with the greatest weapon, the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11).

Winston Churchill, rallying troops and indeed an entire nation, during World War II said, “You ask, “What is our policy?” I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and all the strength that God can give us…You ask, “What is our aim?” I can answer in one word: Victory…at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be… We shall go on to the end…we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.  Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in… Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

What enemy is greater than the Devil, our lion? None! We must, therefore, fight – in the fields, in the streets, in the pits on snowy days. Never give in. Never give in!