"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
May 22, 2019
Last week I wrote about being naked before God (read it if you've not yet done so); vulnerable, nothing hidden, and allowing the Light (Jesus) to reveal anything that needs to be dealt with.
This week I would like to share what the Bible says about everything that God has given to us in which to be clothed. If we cover ourselves and continuously stay dressed in those things, then we will be well protected and have a strong, amazing, intimate relationship with Jesus! God has designed for each of us the ultimate wardrobe.
I'm mostly going to allow scripture to say what needs to be said this week; for God's Word says it much better than I ever could.
So let's start getting dressed!
"He will provide for those who grieve in Zion -- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." (Isaiah 61:3)
"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy." (Psalm 30:11)
"I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels." (Isaiah 61:10)
"In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" (I Peter 5:5)
"Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty." (Job 40:10)
When speaking about the virtuous or noble woman, Proverbs 31:25 says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."
"Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 13:14)
"And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes." (Galatians 3:27)
"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony." (Colossians 3:12, 14)
"Therefore put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:13-17)
Wow! What an amazing covering that God has given to each of us. But it is up to us to get dressed and wear the garments that He has for us to wear. God will not force us to clothe ourselves in the wardrobe that He has made available to us, but it brings Him great pleasure when we choose to do so.
Several years ago I bought my stepmother a really pretty sweater for Christmas. I had seen her wear sweaters over her dresses to church, so thought it would be something that she would like. As soon as she opened it she said, "I don't think I'd ever wear this, so if it's okay with you, I think I'll just take it back and exchange it for something that I like better." I was so disappointed that she didn't like my gift and chose to not keep it.
Yet we often do the same with God. "Thanks a lot, God, for this gift you've given me to clothe myself in, but I choose not to keep/use it." Instead of wearing the garment of praise, we choose to clothe ourself in heaviness and despair. Instead of being clothed in joy, we choose complaining and self-pity.
Just look at everything that God has given us to wear as clothing: garment of praise, joy, salvation, righteousness, humility, glory, splendor, honor, majesty, strength, and dignity. But He has also given us Jesus in which to clothe ourselves; for we are to put on Christ, like putting on new clothing; we are to be continuously enveloped by the presence of the Lord. We are also to be clothed with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, gentleness, patience, and love.
Many of us can recite the armor of God that has been given to us so that we can resist Satan and stand firm in our faith, but we fail to keep that armor firmly in place at all times. Every single day we need to make sure that we have the belt of truth buckled around our waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place. Our feet should always be wearing the gospel of peace, so that we are ready to share the gospel with others. The shield of faith should always be firmly in place so that we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the devil. And the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, need to consistently be in place.
When we choose to be clothed with all of these things and have the armor of God in place, then we won't be battling fear, worry, doubt, self-pity, guilt, and all the temptations and things that Satan will throw at us. We will be more than conquerors and over-comers!
Not only do we have clothing for our present bodies, but when we put on our heavenly bodies, God has also made provision for covering us.
"We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life." (2 Corinthians 5:2-4)
What a wonderful day that will be when we put on our new bodies that will live for all eternity and never grow old and decay; nor will they be sick or diseased or know pain. That will be awesome!!
But in the meantime, God has given us provision for our earthly bodies. He doesn't want us to be so focused on eternity that we forget to clothe ourselves with joy and praise and all these other things during our years on earth. Let's live joyfully and be covered with all that God has given to us!
A few months ago, I overheard a boy, about 10 years old, who was trying to fool his mother about something. I don't remember what; maybe whether he had homework to do. He tried one thing after another, but she saw through every lie he tried. Exasperated, he said, "Why doesn't she ever fall for anything." Simple: she is older, smarter, and wiser than a 10-year-old. She can't really read his heart, or know what he really thinks, but she was able to see through his evasion.
God does see through us even better. He knows us from inside out. So why do we ever try to deceive Him?!? We should catch on eventually that He is far wiser than any of us.
I'll shift a little bit, then come back... Have you ever tried to put on clean clothes before taking off the dirty ones? I've actually seen someone change into marching band clothes, then pull out other clothes from under them. It isn't easy, and you can't change every article of clothing that way.
So, now to bring it back... We need to strip off all of our old, dirty covering before we can put on all the right coverings. Sometimes, like little kids, we might need help. But we do have to slough off the old coverings before putting on the clean, perfect clothing. If that seems too much, you can start with switching your top, then socks... But it all needs to go.
Remember, God sees through it all anyway. So it won't embarrass Him.
Easy Angel Food Pineapple Cake
1 Angel Food Cake Mix
1 can crushed Pineapple
Mix dry cake mix and can of crushed pineapple together; for real, that is it -- only those two ingredients! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.
Other variations: dry chocolate cake mix and 1 can of Coke mixed together; or mix a dry white cake mix and 1 can of Sprite together.
When I was in my early twenties, our youth pastor sometimes asked me to help out with various youth events. One of the things that we did one time to raise funds for a youth event was to auction off the services of the youth, youth pastor, his wife, and myself. People would bid on each of us and whoever bid the highest would get that particular person for a day to do a specific job. When it came time for me to be bid on, to the chagrin of his parents, my cousin's teenage son begin bidding on me. What for? He wanted me to come and mow his parents lawn for him, which was his chore that he was supposed to do. Low and behold, if he didn't bid until he won! His parents were so embarrassed and I'm sure that he was in so much trouble afterwards!! When I got to my cousin's home that Saturday, their son was out and about running around with friends. They kept apologizing; but honestly, I thought it was a bit funny; but could also see why they would be aggravated at him. To get out of work, he probably had used up all of his gas money for his car (he was around 16 at the time) and all of his spending money. I started mowing and they had an old push mower that barely would run. Their yard was all sloped and was hard to mow. The mower kept dying so my cousin would have to come out and work on it. Finally, he gave up and told me that I had mowed enough, so had me help him wash his car and he called it good.
Even if the answer is not what I want;
God, You are still good! - TobyMac
We love you!
Loretta & Jon