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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

 

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A Perfect Substitute

3 Apr

PeepDynastyI love Peep “creations,” like this “Peep Dynasty” diorama (left) created by Minnesotans Liz, Maddie, Drew, Matt and Ryan Mulcahy to resemble the “Duck Dynasty” TV show.

My sister-in-love, Janice, loves Easter “Peeps” candy and we’ve shared some of those squishy, sugary chicks or bunnies with her every spring. But they don’t belong in her healthy diet, so she firmly told my husband and me last year, “No more Peeps!”

JansBirthdayPeep_2015_croppedWe complied, until we saw this huge stuffed “Peep” (right). Jan’s birthday is two days before Easter, so Miss Pinky Peep was her special gift this year!

LOL indeed!

The stuffed Peep was a good substitute in place of her more tempting marshmallow version, don’t you think? It brought nothing but joy.

I’ve been thinking about “substitutes” lately — how the Bible mentions at least two kinds of substitutes. Here’s what I’m thinking . . .

1. It’s a good thing to find acceptable, even beneficial substitutes when we are tempted. The reason temptations are successful is, when they connect so deeply with our desires, we often choose to give in. As James, one of the disciples, wrote,

“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (James 1:14-15).

Actually, temptations arise from the world (1 John 2:15-17), our sinful flesh (Galatians 5:16-21) and the devil (1 Peter 5:8). So we can’t just say, “The devil made me do it,” or blame the culture. We are responsible for our choices.

Our example of dealing with temptation is Jesus Himself.  He was tempted as we are, yet He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). When tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11), Jesus substituted God’s truth for Satan’s lies.

God wants us to do the same.

When tempted, we must not rely on our own skill, our own wisdom or our own strategies. We must appeal to, quote and rest in the sure Word of God.

The Lord uses His Word to correct and transform us (Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 3:16). We can rejoice in that!

And we can ask the Lord to show us how to stand against temptation, perhaps by choosing an alternate activity or a godly option. Remember:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

When faced with temptations today, we must learn to use the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and the Word of God (Psalm 119:9, 11), to defeat our enemy. We must be watchful in prayer, discovering and becoming more alert to Satan’s strategies (Matthew 26:41). [A good resource for this is Warren Wiersbe’s book, The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him.]

We must not be ignorant of Satan’s tricks (2 Corinthians 2:11). Our crafty adversary twists scriptures (Genesis 3:1-5) as he masquerades as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He seeks “opportune” times to tempt us (Luke 4:13). We need the Holy Spirit to show us how to recognize and defeat the devil through the power of the Word.

We can always rely on the truth of the Scriptures to show us how to substitute healthy, godly, wise choices for spiritual growth and victory.

And then . . .

2. Jesus is my PERFECT Substitute. That’s another “substitute” concept that truly blesses me this Easter season.

God promised Adam and Eve a Savior would come (Genesis 3:15), but ironically, He spoke those words to Satan. From that moment, Satan knew he was headed for defeat. He likely sensed it again, before the cross,  when Jesus defeated him in the wilderness through the power of the Word. But that doesn’t keep Satan from trying to destroy God’s children. We must remember the promise of Genesis 3 and how God fulfilled it in John 3:16!

Yes, every believer has counted on God’s promise of a coming Savior since the Garden of Eden.

The blessing of Good Friday and Easter is that Jesus kept the law perfectly his 33 years, then died on the cross and rose to victory as our gracious Substitute.

JesusTheLambOfGod_OurSubstituteThe perfect Lamb of God died for our sins and rose that we might have eternal life, if we trust in His substitutionary sacrifice for us.

He took what we rightly deserved, and gave us what we could never deserve in ourselves. This was spelled out in Isaiah 53:5, which prophecies Christ’s “substitutionary atonement,” as well as many New Testament passages, like:

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God . . . He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness . . . For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous. to bring you to God . . . “ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).

Yes, Jesus, our Champion — Jesus our Substitute — rose from the dead and won the victory. And by faith, the victory is ours as well.

In summary, remember:

1.  To find victory over besetting sins, learn to substitute God’s truth for Satan’s lies.

2. We cannot save ourselves; we need a substitute to take our place. We must rest in God’s grace . . . in our Holy Substitute, Jesus.

Have you placed your trust in the perfect Substitute? Are you learning to find victory in the Word of God?

– Dawn

 

The ‘App’ We Really Need!

6 Sep

This so-called “App Generation” loves shortcuts designed to accomplish specific tasks. There are “apps” (applications) for practically everything these days.

For example:

  • “Weather Whiskers” is an app that delivers your local weather forecast with cute little kittens.
  • According to a NPR story, an app can help you track roadkill, if finding animal carcasses makes you happy.
  • There’s an app to help you design your own soda – you may have already seen it in dispenser form at some restaurants!
  • An app can help you watch out for invasive and dangerous lionfish – yikes!
  • Another app locates the presence of jellyfish populations. (I wonder if there’s one to help me find jelly beans? No, MelonMeterApp_adaptedI’m not talking about the Android Jelly Bean.)
  • The Melon Meter app allows you to put your phone on a melon and give the fruit a good thump. The app analyses the sound to help you determine if the melon is ripe.
  • If the melon is rotten, you might find it at the PareUp app, designed to help people buy restaurant garbage.
  • Lose your phone often? There’s an app that lets you shout “Marco!” and your phone will respond, “Polo!”

It’s estimated that 26% of all downloaded apps are used only once.

Just because there’s an app available, that doesn’t mean you actually need it. On the other hand, there’s one “app” that we all need!

Remember the story of the original Passover? (See Exodus 12:12-13, 26-27.) Blood from sacrificial lambs was applied to the  doorposts as a sign for God’s death angel to “pass over” the homes of the Jews, saving the firstborn of Israel while all of Egypt’s firstborn died.

Today, the yearly Passover ritual represents the death of Jesus, the innocent sacrifice – the Lamb of God (John 1:29). He shed His blood so we may be saved from eternal death and separation from God. He paid the penalty for our sins (Romans 4:23-25; 6:23; Isaiah 53:5-8).

When we trust in Christ’s sacrifice for us, God is APPLYING His shed blood to cover our sins (Acts 3:19; Romans 4:7).

We receive forgiveness of sin and come into a right relationship with the Lord. He lived a holy life to become our pure sacrifice, and then He died to save us; so Jesus bears our sins, and we receive His righteousness (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is a one-time application (Hebrews 9:12-14), but we must have it. Nothing, not even our good works (Ephesians 2:8-9), can give us eternal life.

Friend, do you have this life-changing app?

Christians – Can you share the Gospel using your phone? Jesus Film Media has an app to help you. Go to app.jesusfilmmedia.org on your smartphone, or search “Jesus Film Media” in the app store. (Story about the app here.)

-Dawn

Image, adapted, courtesy of sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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