Clothed in Christ

Born with a bent toward sin.  Naked in need of the covering of grace.  Take up the cross and find a wardrobe overflowing with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  A dream-closet filled with articles of clothing that reflect the character of Christ.  Hanging in that same wonder-filled space, stuffed in the back so no one can see are the items that should have been tossed away years ago.  Anger, resentment, hate, bitterness.  The choice ever before the eyes, and the heart.  What shall I wear today?  Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with Him.  Micah 6:8

Obstacles as Opportunities

All life fashioned by His hand.  All events filtered through His fingers.  Trust born in the light, blooms in the dark as He works in silence, invisible yet with effectiveness.  Always working for His glory and the good of those who love Him.  In the debilitating despair, in the depths of disease, in the darkness of death.  Where are You?  My God, why have You forsaken?  Silence does not mean distance.  A never-sleeping Yahweh clears the path strewn with trials or carries the beloved through them.  

A Thorn in the Flesh

The radical, persecuting tentmaker turned itinerant Jesus freak.   Heavenly revelations beyond the imagination.  Earthly troubles beyond bearing.  Shipwrecks.  Snake bites.  Beatings.  Imprisoned.  Lashed.  Stoned.  Robbed.  Weary.  Sleepless.  Hungry.  Thirsty.  Cold.  Naked.  Content.  Martyred.  To live is Christ.  To die is gain.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties.

The Sovereign Lord

The fearful enemy gathers.  Outnumbered beyond measure.  Strategize.  Gather the armor.  Prepare the weapons.  Spread the alarm.  No.  Pray.  Fast.  Cry out for guidance.  Act with courage.  When alarmed, resolve to ask of the Lord.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  Wait.  Watch.  And then plunder the enemy.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer.  He enables me to tread on the heights.  Habakkuk 3:19

 

Exclusively Inclusive

Utopia in a delightful garden.  In the beginning.  A slithering snake hisses luring lies.  God is holding back His best.  You will not die.  You will be like Him.  The thought tickles the mind.  The image pleases the eye.  The taste delights the tongue.  Eyes now see nakedness and shame.  Death.  Banishment.  Suffering.  Separation.  The road to the cross begins.  Our need.  The Perfect Mediator Who will pay the ransom for all.  The One Who will set the prisoners free from their sins.  The Defender and Advocate.  The One Who lives to intercede for His own.  

Saved to Serve

Do not become weary in doing good.  Persistence.  Fighting the good fight.  Run without growing weary.  Walk without feeling faint.  Be lifted on the wings of eagles.  Soar high above the storm.  To those whose hope is in the Lord.  In weakness, He is strong.  In the darkness, He is the Light.  I will not let You go until You bless me.  Even if I am crippled by the fight.  May the limp in my step remind me that I am blessed.  I am saved to serve.  You served to save.

The Highest Honor

Ambassador.  Soldier.  Saint.  Last.  Doulos.  The meal served.  The betrayer gone.  A heaviness hangs over the room.  Without fanfare He rises to remove His outer robe.  Stripped down to a servant.  Steady hands gather a bowl filled with water.  A cloth for drying wraps His waist.  No, Master, never wash me.  Appalled at the idea of a King Who serves the least of these.  Gracefully and fully grace, He kneels before them.  Tenderly, lovingly, intimately He cups each filth-stained foot in His capable hands.  The One that created is making them new.  Confusion.  Discomfort.  Uneasiness.  The water flows over the grime of life.  All too soon, the blood will flow.