While searching through the archives of GospeLines devotionals, I found one I had written entitled “Alligators on Cheap Shirts,” which received a few interesting responses.The emphasis in the article was that Christians should put on the armor of God rather than wear a cheap knock-off which is, at best, a mere shadow of the real thing.One testimony which came from the responses literally knocked my alligator socks off!Let me share it with you:
“What a great message today! This one hits home. When I was in high school the Izod fashion was in style. Many of 'us' tried to copy the shirts and/or wear the socks, watches, belts, etc. instead of the pricey shirts. If we only realized then that fitting into the preppy crowd was not as important as it seemed.
I found out recently that the ring leader of the preppy group for the class of '87 has been in prison for several years... for racketeering. And the vice-leader of this group was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife early last year. What leaders! Glad that Jesus led me in the right direction even at an earlier age.Despite many attempts, I couldn't afford the fashion that was required to be a member of this elite group of students who sat at the cool table in the cafeteria... thank God… literally!”
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when I cry because I cannot afford to let my children wear $200 shoes and $100 shirts; and, when I hurt because my kids are"outcasts" in their schools, comfort me with the knowledge that they are robed in righteousness and clothed in the garments of salvation. Amen and amen!
I've been cheated Been mistreated When will I be loved
I've been pushed down I've been pushed 'round When will I be loved
When I find a new man That I want for mine He always breaks my heart into It happens every time
I've been made blue I've been lied to When will I be loved
(Composed by Phil Everly; performed by Linda Ronstadt)
Sometimes, when we look in the mirror, we question ourselves because we [think] we are defined by the world’s standards.Trying to fit square pegs into round holes is not what God intended.
Just as cream rises to the top, our insecurities come to the surface -- what if I was thinner, prettier, younger, or smarter?How many of us think maybe, just maybe, if we were one of the above—we’d truly be loved?
We look at Hollywood’s standards for us and what the magazines say about us.We compare ourselves to others instead of celebrating our uniqueness.We don’t always love ourselves!
We are part of an ever-growing culture that says we aren’t good enough as we are.If we reinvent ourselves through self-help or purchase certain beauty products or have certain procedures, we’ll find love.Or, will we?
While I support improving one’s mind and getting in shape, I don’t want to be someone else.I can be the BEST at being myself; second best at being someone else!
Is being thinner, younger, prettier, or smarter going to make me a better human being?If I use society’s view as my barometer, perhaps some will think so.I beg to differ…
Thankfully, God’s view of me is much different.He loves me despite what my mirror, society or others tell me.He loves and accepts me just as I am.Hear the words found in Song of Solomon 1:5-7 (CEV):
"My skin is dark and beautiful,
like a tent in the desert
or like Solomon's curtains.
Don't stare at me
just because the sun
has darkened my skin.
My brothers were angry with me;
they made me work in the vineyard,
and so I neglected
Don't let the other shepherds
think badly of me.
I'm not one of those women
who shamelessly follow
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank you for creating me.I am Your child, unique though I am.Help me accept the woman that I have become realizing that I AM “good enough” because You have told me so.Your word affirms me even when others don’t.Your embrace lifts me up when others can’t.Thank You for Your faithfulness and for loving me just as I am.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday: June 27, 2007
"Alpha and Omega"
"I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:13
Jesus has many names, and each one blesses us in a different way. His name, "Alpha and Omega," comes from the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and it appears four times in the book of Revelation. There are at least two reasons our Lord calls Himself the "Alpha and Omega."
The most obvious is that He IS the beginning and the end, the first and the last. It speaks of the everlasting quality of Jesus, who was present from before the foundation of the world and will be on His throne forever. Our salvation is tied to the assurance that Jesus will always be there when we need Him, and even when we think we don't. Our God is eternal.
"Alpha and Omega" also extols His victorious nature. If Jesus exists just so we may proclaim Him as eternal, there would be no reason for Him to die on the cross. Instead, Jesus might have stayed in heaven where it was safe and left us to make it the best way we could. But that isn't His nature. He finishes what He starts! And the only way to bring completion to what He started in the Garden of Creation was to win a total victory for His people on Golgotha.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, my Alpha and Omega, I cannot count the many times I have wanted to quit, but was encouraged to continue on, because You did. I am glad that You are more than an absentee God who oversees his creation from afar; I am grateful that You did not wind the clock of creation and leave it to run on its own. Thank You for sticking with it for the duration, from beginning to end, from everlasting to everlasting." Amen and amen.
When Robert Frost wrote Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening he may have been thinking about the white beauty covering everything as the woods filled with snow.Even though it was "the darkest evening of the year," he enjoyed the beauty of "easy wind and downy flake."The woods were truly lovely, dark, and deep.
Have you ever watched new snow falling over the country side?You could be looking at a playground or a battlefield, a church yard or a cemetery - it doesn't matter.The snow covers everything and changes it into a white and beautiful wonderland, without spot or blemish.That's the way our Lord and Savior wants to change you.
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all…" (Psalm 34: 17-19)
Robert Frost ended his poem with these words:
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
We all have miles to go in this world before we sleep; and, many of those miles may be filled with trials and tribulations.However, our Savior has overcome the world and will take away all your sins and replace them with His joy and peace…
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…" (Isaiah 1:18)
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
My debut as Santa Claus at our company Christmas party was faced with more than a little anxiety.The greatest fear was that I might be a disappointment to some child by not living up to their expectations.Sure enough, the first little boy came up to me and announced skeptically, "You aren't the real Santa!"
Admittedly, I hadn't rehearsed for answering that question, so I said to him, "Would you like to feel my beard?"Still unconvinced, the little rascal followed me around the room, listening and watching me suspiciously for several minutes.By the end of the night, he was in my lap, laughing and talking openly about his wishes and desires, even making plans for a Christmas Eve entrance into his home, which had no fireplace.
Some people, when first introduced to Jesus, have similar skepticism.They are looking for a sign of authenticity, thinking that He is almost too good to be true.Who would love the unlovable, feed the hungry, care for the homeless, bind the wounds of the sick and injured, and never ask for anything in return?
We can hear about Jesus, read about Him, study about His life, but until we experience Him for ourselves we will not know of His great love for us.The more we follow Him, the more we will learn that He is trustworthy.At the end of the day, He will pass every test.
GospeLines Prayer:Faithful Lord, when we first met over a half century ago, You promised that you would never leave me nor forsake me.You have kept that promise.You filled me with your Spirit, anointed me with Your Power, and You have blessed me with everlasting Hope.When I, like Thomas, have questioned Your existence, you’ve allowed me to touch your side and your hands, to experience the scars of Your authentic love again and again.Hallelujah!Amen and amen.