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Dig a Little Deeper

28 May

A pirate captain was out to retrieve his buried treasure. After months of hard sailing his ship caught site of land, the land to Pirate_DugganArts_Morguefilewhich his treasure map had been leading. He and his first mate disembarked on the island to search out the buried treasure, which was supposed to lie hidden deep with in a swamp at the center of the island.

Sure enough, at the center of the island was a swamp, and the Captain and his first mate bravely entered the swamp. Soon the swamp began to get deeper, and the pirate’s feet, then ankles, and finally entire leg below the knees was covered in swamp.

It was at that time that the Captain banged his shin against something hard. He reached down, searched around, and pulled up a treasure chest. Prying the lock open, the chest revealed gold and jewels beyond imagination.

The Captain turned to his first mate and said, “Arrrr, matey, that just goes to show ye—booty is only shin deep!” *

LOL!

I am forever indebted to my Chemistry teacher who inspired me when I, as a high school sophomore, told him I “hated” chemistry.

“Dig a little deeper, Dawn,” he told me. I doubt he’d remember that quick statement, but it sure stuck with me!

At this point I can’t help but sing Disney’s catchy tune, “Dig a Little Deeper” from Disney’s “Princess and the Frog.”

But I digress.

Back to chemistry … I DID dig a little into my chemistry book and actually learn to ENJOY class—well, except for that time I almost blew up the chem lab.

I carry my teacher’s wise advice with me to this day.

Whether I’m struggling with trying to understand something about my computer, or trying to figure out how to conquer my gardening “black thumb,” I’ve discovered “digging” into the subject not only gives me answers and new strategies for learning and applying knowledge, it also deepens my appreciation for the topic.

In other words, I’m digging for hidden treasure, and loving what I find.

Case in point. One of the tough things for me has always been trying to figure out what made the Old Testament prophets tick—why God had them write such tough words, and if they had any meaning at all for me. So I plodded through Ezekiel and Micah and the other prophets, wondering why I struggled so much understanding them. In fact, at one point I gave up and started avoiding these prophets and their tough messages.

Big mistake. God wants us to know ALL of His Word.

But remembering my chemistry teacher’s words, I dug a little deeper, looking for the buried treasure in these Old Testament books. What did that look like?

  • First, I had to ask myself, “Do you even understand what prophecy means?” That was enlightening.
  • Then I started examining related history and geography. (I checked out some archaeology and looked at maps.)
  • I considered the different cultures represented.
  • I trudged through the boring repetitiveness in some chapters—they don’t all have a smooth “story line”—and eventually realized some texts were poems, conversationssermons or warnings to God’s people.
  • And I also asked if these books were all just “ancient history,” or if God had messages for ME in these books. (Yes, He did, especially concerning sin.)

As I read, studied and “dug in,” I realized I often had the same issues God’s people were judged for: phony religious attitudes, a rebellious heart, idolatry (things I put before the Lord), hard-hearted disobedience, ingratitude, selfishness, etc.

(Here are just a few examples of God’s “issues” with Israel: Exodus 32:2-10; 2 Kings 17:7-8; Nehemiah 9:13-17; Psalm 78:39-42, 59-62; Ezekiel 16:15-59; Hosea 1:1-2; Amos 9:8; Hebrews 3:8-11.)

And I found, God doesn’t take any lack of repentance lightly—theirs or mine.

I also discovered God calls His chosen ones to return to Him, be revived and restored, and enter into His rest (Nehemiah 1:9; Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 4:1-2; 15:19-20; 24:7; Hosea 6:1, 14:1; Joel 2:13; Zechariah 1:3)

Part of the treasure I uncovered in comparing scriptures:

Many of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus (with others to be fulfilled in the future Kingdom).

And that is what amazed me and brought me new JOY! As I was digging deeper in the Old Testament, I kept seeing the Lord—I kept seeing Jesus. He is the Redeemer, the great King, the mediator of a better covenant and more.

I would have missed deep treasures if I’d decided studying prophecy was too hard … if I hadn’t started “digging.”  

  • Is there something physical you hate to do? — Would digging into benefits of exercise or better nutrition help?
  • Is there some emotional struggle or mental confusion? — Would digging into the “why” of your feelings and thoughts—with the Word of God in hand—clear some of these things up?
  • Are there any spiritual questions that put you off a bit? — Would digging into some apologetics (in a book or online) give you a better foundation for thinking biblically?

Try to dig a little deeper. Ask the Lord to show you amazing treasures you might not find otherwise.

– *Buried Treasure Humor – Cybersalt 

– Graphic: Pirate, DugganArts, Morguefile

– Dawn

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The Christian’s True Dress Code

22 Apr

Employed by the human development center of a corporation in the Midwest, a woman trains employees inClothesOnHangers proper dress codes and etiquette.

One day, as she stepped onto the elevator, a man casually dressed in jeans and a golf shirt got on with her.

Thinking of her responsibilities, she scolded, “Dressed a little casually today, aren’t we?”

The man replied, “That’s one benefit of owning the company!” *

LOL!

In recent decades, there’s been a lot of chatter about workplace dress codes. While some disagree about these codes, clothes do impact how we feel, our confidence level and even how we interact in our relationships. Dress codes can create certain work environments (casual, stuffy, professional, artistic, etc.).

Did you know Christians have a dress code? I’m not talking about the modesty issue here (although that would be a much needed topic for another post), but rather, the special “garment” we’re to wear every day.

I love a passage in Isaiah that talks about how God “decks us out” when we are His own:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness….” (Isaiah 61:10a).

If you are a biblical Christian, you are draped in a robe of righteousness, and you can rejoice in that garment of praise! At one time, you would not submit to the righteousness of God, and kept trying to establish your own righteousness (Romans 10:3-4). But all your good works were like filthy garments before the Lord (Isaiah 64:6a).

But in Christ, that all changed. There was a great exchange!

“God made him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

“But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin]” (1 Corinthians 1:30, Amplified).

We could never stand before a holy, perfectly righteous God with our filthy garments.

Righteous robes are something we cannot provide for ourselves. But in Christ, we are acceptable because when the Father sees us, He first sees His righteous Son who died for us and redeemed us to God. What God requires (purity), Jesus provides.

“… you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NIV).

We are covered, enveloped by Him. Positionally, we are righteous. That’s how the Father sees us. Practically, we get dirty spots on our robes and need to confess and forsake sin. We need to live out the righteousness that is ours.

But in the future, NO spots!

When we fast forward to the end of the ages and pull back the curtain of eternity, we see the people of God forever clothed in fine linen, pure and bright, representing the “righteous deeds” of God’s holy people (Revelation 19:8).

Remember, our deeds are only righteous because we are purified and made holy through Jesus’ work to save us and make us “a people that are His very own” (Titus 2:14).

So we might say the Christian’s daily dress code is “the righteousness of Christ.”

Are you a Christ-follower, redeemed and walking in that righteous robe today? 

– *Cybersalt Digest’s Clean Laugh, Issue #3965, 9-18-13

-Dawn

 

The Fruit of God’s Love

26 Mar

Sorry. There’s really nothing funny about Resurrection Day. Oh there are lots of jokes about bunnies and Easter eggs, like:

  • Question: How many Easter eggs can you put in an empty basket
    • Answer: One. (After that, it’s not empty anymore!)
  • Question: How does the Easter bunny stay in shape?
    • Answer: Hareobics.
  • Question: What does the Easter Bunny have on his I-Pod?
    • Answer: Hip-Hop!

But jokes about Jesus who died on the cross for our sins and then rose to give us new life?

No. That’s not a joking matter.

But it IS a time for celebration. I can laugh out loud with joy that Jesus overcame death and the evil one and now calls people to new life.

About four weeks ago, I saw a sign at Hobby Lobby that was a play on the old Trix cereal commercial. The sign read:

Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus.

SillyRabbit_EasterIsForJesus_SignSeenAtHobbyLobbyWhile funny—and I did laugh—the sign isn’t completely accurate.

Easter is a secular holiday to celebrate spring; Resurrection Day is “for Jesus.”

(In truth, for the Christian every day is supposed to be for Jesus, but I’m making a point here.)

There are at least two days most Christians hold as sacred and celebrate: Christmas and Resurrection Day (which many still call Easter). They both commemorate something special about the Lord we love. 

It’s been my choice through the years to keep these days special, because in the midst of all the “fun stuff,” I want to honor Him.

Thomas Cotterill wrote these words that remind me why I love this day:

On this auspicious morn The Lord of Life arose;

He burst the bars of death, And vanquished all our foes:

And now He pleads our cause above,

And reaps the fruits of all His love.*

When I read that I suddenly thought: Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am a “fruit of all His love!”

Today, my prayer is,

“Thank you, Jesus, for this and every Resurrection Day that reminds us what You did for us! Thank you that I am the fruit of Your love.”

Jesus, God’s Son:

CrossOnBlue_ChristIsRisen_HCTSaves and redeems us (Ephesians 1:7-10; Colossians 1:13-14).

Forgives us (1 John 1:8-10; Luke 24:47; Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Makes us holy (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 10:10; Romans 6:18; 12:1-2).

Gives us life with Him now and forever (John 3:16; 11:25-26; 17:3; 1 John 2:25).

Understanding God’s way of salvation isn’t hard, but people are free to believe or not.

The Lord made the way of salvation plain

Do you know Jesus—not just do you know about Him, but are you living in a relationship with Him? If you know the Lord, celebrate this Resurrection Day with joy and peace in your heart!

 – * Hymn: “Awake, Ye Saints, Awake” by Thomas Cotterill.

 – Dawn

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