It's all Found IN Him

photo courtesy woodsy,
In church Sunday morning during worship, certain words started skipping across my mind. Words like...

...all things we long for, things we pray for, but as I thought about how we ask God for these things, it occurred to me that if we are seeking God with our whole heart, there is no need to pray for these things, for they are all found in Him. When we find Him, we have all these things, so rather than seek them, seek Him. I know this is no big revelation to most of you, but for some reason, it was a light-bulb moment for me. Now I can just focus on knowing God and experiencing His presence, sitting with Him and soaking up all that is in Him. When I do that, I will lack nothing, for every good thing is found in Him. 
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J.O.Y. – Jesus On You by Debra Torres

            Aeropostale, American Eagle and Abercrombie … oh my! Today’s brand-named clothing makes a heavy mark on our teen generation doesn’t it?  When my boys turned a certain age, and the hand-me-downs and Wal-Mart sale rack suddenly didn’t cut it, I had no idea what I was in for. I remember the day I found out. I was on a field trip with my son where I was surrounded by young teens his age. I was waiting in line for something and doing a bit of “people watching.” Looking at the kids around me, I was amazed at all brand names I saw plastered on their shirts and hoodies. It was an epidemic!

I’m really no different. In my day, we had our own brand names.  In the 80s folks wore popular clothes like Izod, ESPIRIT and Gitano. And for myself today, even though my choices are more for comfort and warmth, what I put on still matters to me. I guess there’s still a certain image I want to reflect. 
In some strange way, brand names  can seem to “identify” us with who we want to be. And yes, I’m talking to you “John Deere” and “Harley” fans too!
In a sermon I heard last Sunday, the pastor made a reference to the cross and having it as our identity. He talked about the importance of having Jesus “on” us. Pointing out someone in the back of the church, he said that he could see Jesus all over them. It was then that he made the cute acronym that I liked--J.O.Y – Jesus on you. You know, I know what he meant. There have been times in my life when I could sense the presence of God on a person so strongly that I could see it their eyes.
The Bible talks about this in Romans 13:14:  “Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”
I remember once when I visited a physical therapist for the first time, and she came out to the waiting room to greet me.  After introducing herself and talking with me a bit, the physical therapist gently put her hand on my back for a moment to lead me in the direction of her examining room.
Later, when I began to tell her about myself, she beamed. “I knew you were a Christian when I put my hand on your back,” she said, a believer herself. “I just felt it!”
She felt it?! What a compliment – probably my best ever. Because, you know, like most people, I love it when someone makes a positive comment something I’m wearing.  But it wasn’t the brand on my shirt she admired, nor was it the leather tab on my jeans, but it was Christ on me and in me – the hope of glory.
I remember reading about Moses’ journey through the desert with the rebellious Israelites. Whenever Moses would go up to speak with God and learn his commands, it says in Exodus 34 that: “the skin on his face shone because he had been talking with God.”
Wow! Now that’s some serious evidence of God’s presence. In fact, this was so powerful that it freaked out the Israelites a bit, and Moses took to wearing a veil over his face whenever he was done speaking with God!
So, when we’re dressing ourselves each day, we need to remember what’s most important to put on. And, I’m not saying that wearing brand names is a bad thing. In fact, I make my kids laugh when we visit a big mall and I make a bee line for their favorite teen clothing stores. Hey, I gotta keep up don’t I? But, as I’m working on my “cool mom” image, I hope that above all - they see Jesus on me. 
Ephesians 4:22-24 (New Living Translation)
throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (New Living Translation)

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

Psalm 149:4 (English Standard Version)

For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.
Debra Torres writes about life and the Christian walk in a way that’s real and personal. Check out her free devotions over at ChristianBlog Devotionals. It’s a down-home Christian devotional blog that'll water the garden of your soul.

©Debra Torres Copywriting and Design. Writer retains full reprint rights.

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Is Complaining a Spiritual Gift?

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The other day I teasingly called my Pastor a slacker. It's not true.  He's one of the hardest working men I know,  His response? "It's what I do best," which set me off.

Me: "I know just what you mean, Pastor. I am totally gifted at complaining. It's what I do best and I don't understand why I shouldn't be allowed to use this gift on a regular basis!" It was all in jest, but the thread of truth is that, by nature, I am a complainer. I've gotten so good at it that I often don't realize I'm doing it.

Yesterday my husband and I went to a huge antique store to browse. During the hour or so that we wandered through the booths I heard myself saying, "I'm a little dizzy. My stomach is a bit queasy. These prices are too high. Too bad we don't have enough money to stop and eat after we get out of here. I'm hungry. These stairs hurt my knees."

Now, all these things were true to a minor extent, but none of them were really stressing me. I wasn't really sick enough, sore enough or poor enough to complain. It just came out without effort or thought on my part. It's a habit. A bad habit. I know this and I need to change my thought processes and my words.

God must think so, too, because in reading my morning devotions from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, this is what it said...
You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent. Though you have faltered at times, you have not let go of My hand. I am pleased with your desire to stay close to Me. There is one thing, howeveer, that displeases Me: your tendency to complain. (ouch) You may talk to Me as much as you like about the difficulty of the path we are following. I understand better than anyone else the stresses and the strains that have afflicted you. You can ventilate safely with Me, because talking with Me tempers your thoughts and helps you see things from My perspective.
Complaining to others is another matter altogether. It opens the door to deadly sins such as self-pity and rage. Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put My thoughts into your mind and My song in your heart.
(Jeremiah 31:25; Philippians 2:14-15)
Ahem...uh, yeah, that hit me right between the eyes.
How about you?
Are you a complainer?
Why do you think we complain?
What do we get out of it?
Are you going to make any changes after reading this?
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

The Seen and The Unseen

Don't ignore the world around you, but subordinate your concept of this world to the unseen reality of a God who sees and knows and is in control of both worlds - the seen and the unseen.

Seek His guidance and wisdom for relating to this world so that you will see with His eyes, hear with His ears, love with His heart and minister with His hands. 

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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)
photo credit: mendhak via photopin cc