Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘human nature’

Whiter Than Snow

Remember singing that song in church? “Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. Jesus can wash me whiter than snow.”

I always wondered what that meant. I mean, after all, snow is white. How can you get whiter?? God showed me last week when we got an unusual snowfall here in the deep south. The beautiful, large white snowflakes fell against the dark of night and left us with about 2 inches of snow on the ground. It was gorgeous and delightful since we haven’t had a snowfall like that since 1989.

As I glanced across the yards in the light of day and saw the snow-covered lawns, it dawned on me what that song meant. Snow blankets everything including dirt and causes it to be white and clean-looking. That’s how Jesus’ blood covers us. Our dirt is covered and made clean in God’s eyes because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary.

I love it that God gives us analogies in nature to understand some of His greatest truths, don’t you?

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Stigmatized…for life?

This is a game that you can play in the privacy of your own mind.  Think of our current president.  What is the first word that comes to mind?  Too easy?  OK, here’s another.  Think of your best friend.  What comes to mind?

We all stigmatize each other whether we want to admit it or not.  Even if it is just one word descriptions like “cheesy” or “funny” or “hairy.”  How do we break away from that or is it just human nature?

I noticed this morning as I was reading Scripture that a lot of Old Testament folks were stigmatized or typecast with a one word description following and it stuck.  For instance, Rahab is listed as “Rahab, the harlot.”  Wow…even though she helped the 2 spies escape in Canaan and was in the lineage of Christ, her former lifestyle remained a part of who she was.   All of the actions that we do are woven together like a huge tapestry that makes up who we are.

Several others that are familiar are “Mordecai, the Jew;” “Ruth, the Moabitess,” and “Jesus of Nazareth.” 

Back then, they didn’t have last names and middle names like we do today to distinguish us from others so they tagged them according to their birthplace, their profession or who their parents were.  

Some of our typecasting helps us to mentally picture someone if we know several women named Valerie.   Valerie—the hairdresser or Valerie—the tall blonde.

What about ourselves?  How do others picture us?  Do we leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth?  Our first impressions can be lasting ones, especially if that is the only time someone sees us.  Are we nice and courteous? 

I’m going to share something with you that I am so totally ashamed of but I’ve asked forgiveness from the Lord and from the offended parties and we are fine but I really wish it hadn’t happened.   It was a painful lesson.

I was working with my sister and she took on a partner who was very blunt, up-front and could be abrasive.  One day, she told me that I didn’t need to be so nice and I needed to stand up for myself.  Well, instead of running it through God’s Word first and seeing if her advice was Biblical, I took it and used it one day…much to my dismay.

Our water bill was due and we didn’t have the money to pay it.  They had shut it off– on a Friday of all days.  So, I thought I would “stand up for myself” and a little voice whispered, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  I opened a door inside myself that I don’t ever want to see again.  When I called the water company, the girl I talked to got the full force of my anger plus road rage and I said some stuff that I wouldn’t dare repeat.  She hung up on me.  I would have, too.

As the day progressed, I tried to validate my stance but the more I tried, the worse I felt and the worse the situation got.  I was so guilt-ridden that I couldn’t stand it.  I prayed and asked God to forgive my mouth and my behavior and then I had to call and apologize to the lady at the water company (and all of the other people I involved in this tragedy).  She wasn’t going to take my call until I told the other girl that I was calling to apologize. She accepted my apology and I told her that it was not like me to do something like that.  She told me that she figured I had a bad day.  Nope, just took some bad advice.  But you know what?  I’ve not talked to her again and I don’t remember her name but I guarantee you she will remember me and not in a good way, even though I apologized.  I ruined my testimony with her. 

What lasting impression are you leaving on people that you meet? Are you known as “Johnny…the quitter”  or “Suzie…the constant talker” or “Joan…the prayer warrior?”  What is your testimony?

One great thing about God is that no matter how badly we screw up, He can fix it.  He will use it for good.  It’s encouraging to me to know that He loves me in spite of myself.  He knows me intimately and yet still loves me.  So much of my life can be related to Old Testament heroes and I use them often to help get through tough times. David messed up, yet God used him in a mighty way. 

It’s just so much easier when the Lord can use us willingly.  I’m not saying it’s hard for Him.  Nothing is too hard for Him and nothing shocks Him.  It’s easier on us when we willingly obey.  All of His precepts are there for a purpose.  His laws are there to help us and keep us safe because He loves us so much.

I hope this has helped you to think about your behavior and testimony.  Be kind to others—even a simple smile to a stranger may brighten their day. 

Thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love!

Crow’s Feet, Cow Lick and Duck Tails

I just finished a three-hour cleaning blitz on my house. It needed it badly. When you have four cats, a dog and two teenagers…well, you get the picture. 

I recently signed up to be an independent Mary Kay beauty consultant.  What is so ironic about it is that it comes on the heels of Beth Moore’s Esther Bible study that we are wrapping up at church.  Back in Esther’s time, beauty was a treatment.  It had nothing to do with who you were as a person.  When Esther was taken into the harem to be presented before King Xerxes, she, along with the other women were given 12 months of treatments.  Six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. Wow…were these women in their natural state so bad?? I guess if they were hard-working maybe they had calloused hands or feet. Their skin may have been dry from the desert sun. In order to be Queen, you had to appear pampered and it took a year to get these ladies’ where they were looking pampered.

I so firmly believe that beauty begins on the inside.  We could be the most gorgeous woman on the outside but continually spew venom, criticism, and cut people down, people will look past the beauty and see the ugly on the inside.  Think about these Hollywood “beauties.”  Once you read a tabloid cover while standing in the supermarket line about how nasty they were to a “commoner,” it changes your attitude toward them, doesn’t it?  I used to wish I was as beautiful as they were but I’ve come to see that they live shallow, hollow lives.  Some of them are so thin, you can see their ribs.  How sad is that?  I’ve seen ads in the local paper here looking for extras for a film that Robert Redford is producing and they only want women that are size 0-4.  That’s not a woman. Have you noticed that women that small don’t have any boobs to speak of, naturally, because they don’t have the natural fat that God gave them. So, then they go have implants, which make them sick or kill them.  Botox makes them look permanently scared or like their lips got sucked into a vacuum cleaner.  Fake boobs, fake hair, fake nails, tummy tucks, liposuction, botox…where does it end?

Vanity…vanity, all is vanity.  King Solomon had it right. 

Why can’t we be comfortable in our own skin?  This is who God made us to be.   He never makes mistakes.  Who cares what others think about us?  It is the Lord that we should aim to please.  He’s the only One that counts.

Human nature is to judge from the outside inward.  We tend to size people up by the clothes they wear or the car they drive or their hairstyle.  It isnt until after we get to know them that we see who they are…their personality, heart and soul.

When you look in the mirror each day, what do you see?  I see every physical flaw.  I have a cow lick on the side of my head which makes my hair stick out in the wrong place.  I have crow’s feet around my eyes when I smile.  I have hair that grows funny on the back of my neck causing the layering pieces to look like I have a duck tail.  I see my not-so-white teeth.  I see my double chin.  I see signs of aging.  Sometimes, I wish there were no such thing as mirrors.  Of course, then we might scare people to death if we didn’t have a chance to fix our frightening hair before we left home, right?

I’ve been married 23 years.  I remember when I first saw my husband, my heart did backflips.  He was HOT. I called him a “hunk” and my mother-in-law never let me forget that.  Through the years we have both changed physically.  It is a natural part of aging and some of it has been our own fault of over-induldging.  But you know what?  When I look at him, I don’t look at his looks.  I see him:  the man inside, the man I fell in love with. 

You know what is so wonderful about the Lord?  He sees inside.  He searches our hearts.  He knows us intimately and still loves us unconditionally.  What a wonderful comfort that is! These physical bodies will be left behind when we are taken home to be with Him and I cannot wait to see what my glorified body will look like.  White teeth?  Beautiful, long raven hair without gray streaks? No wrinkles or freckles?  ~sigh~

I remember the first time I read Revelation and it described Jesus with white hair like wool and a white robe, I panicked inside.  Strange, right?  Well, all of my life, as I’m sure with you, man’s depiction of our Lord and Savior has been with brown hair and blue eyes.  That’s our image of Christ.  That’s not what He looks like. He was born a Jew.  How many middle eastern people have you seen with brown hair and blue eyes?  I wondered why Hollywood always put that spin on it.  I guess to make Him stand out from the rest.  The most accurate to me, was Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”   Jim Caviezel had those eyes that were very expressive and his hair and eye coloring were that of what I would expect from Jews of Jesus’ day.  Of course, Revelation does use a lot of descriptive terminology that is not necessarily literal.  The white could be literal but then again it could signify purity.  Jesus is pure and holy.

Each of our personalities are different and our minds are shaped by what we read and watch on TV.  I have really cut back on what I watch on television because once it is in your mind, you can’t just etch-a-sketch it out.  The old saying “garbage in – – garbage out” is true.   As children of God, if Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of your life, then you have the mind of Christ but you also still have your natural mind.  They are constantly at war.  Who wins?  The one you feed the most. 

Oh be careful little eyes what you see….

Be blessed in the Lord!

 

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