Heavenly Facelift

mirrorI ran into a friend yesterday, one I had not seen in a long time.  At first I thought him the brother of my friend; the resemblance was striking, yet the difference caused me to doubt.  Then he spoke to me and all doubts disappeared; it was my friend.  His appearance had changed because of weight loss which radically changed his physical appearance.  Could weight loss or coloring of hair cause a person’s appearance to change so drastically that friends would be fooled?  Better yet, could an encounter with God change behavior, outward actions, and friends would know it – not because they were told in words, but because it showed!

Shortly after I met my friend, I witnessed a toddler throwing a tantrum while walking beside her Dad at a flea market.  Blond hair fell away from her pretty little face as she looked up with admiring eyes toward her father.  “Daddy, I want that dolly!”  She had caught sight of a china doll sitting atop an antique display.  “No, Honey, that dolly would break and we would both be sad.”  Wise man, I thought to myself.  She did not see the wisdom in his advice.  Immediately the beautiful face contorted to an ugly copy of herself and she screamed, “I want that dolly!!”

For the next few minutes I watched him explain the fragile condition of the doll and why it wouldn’t be a proper toy for her.  Obviously, he was spending time with a child who was not under his guardianship 24/7.  The temper tantrum normally worked with whomever she spent time with, but now he had no choice but to pick her up bodily and leave with her screaming all the more.  She proved my point; her actions revealed her heart.  Sometimes we reveal what influences us by our actions.  What influences your reaction to life’s incidents?  Do your actions reveal your time spent with the Father?

If we look into my favorite BOOK would we find any good examples of character shining forth in every walk of life?  How about Job – who lost everything, yet praised the name of the Lord?  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21) Or Daniel –who was told NOT TO PRAY to his God. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home, in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:10) Their actions revealed their faith, their time spent with God.

Faith is a mysterious thing.  The longer practiced the stronger and more obvious it becomes.  Why don’t you put my point to the test?  Spend more time with our Heavenly Father and see if it doesn’t change your appearance, internal and external.  You will help your friends see the difference in the way you look, the way you speak, and the way you act.

Mirror, mirror on the Wall

mirror    There’s a Bible verse in a prominent place above my desk so that not a single time of sitting down, I don’t see and read it.  “Humble yourself (Sharon) under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6,7)  The obvious reason for its location is the constant need for me to remember the danger of pride.  No one likes to spend time with someone consumed with their own importance.  Have you conversed with friends who often interrupt you just to insert their own advice, experience, or bragging rights?  I don’t want to be that person.  How about you?

This danger not only involves your attitude regarding yourself, but stretches to your opinion of family members and friends.  Pride swells within me when someone asks about my children or grandchildren!  My mouth gushes with praise of their accomplishments and personally speaking, we should be able to share those feelings, but at the same time restraint should act as the reins to pull back our enthusiasm.   Paul advised us to remember, “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)  We (nor our loved ones) can do anything without God granting us breath, ability, and strength.

Our Bible has SO MUCH to say about the dangers of pride.  My favorite admonition against being prideful comes from Proverbs 16 where pride shows itself just before destruction, right before a great fall.  And to be humble with those who humble themselves is much better than to split the profit with others who are full of pride in their accomplishments.  (Prov 16:18,19) What a picture of the attitude of criminals leading other gang members!  Their initiation often involves crime and cruelty while the leaders brag of their superior evil deeds.

John advised that we not get attached to the world’s view, those things popular today.  “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world (like that) the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of this world.  The world is passing away with its lust but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

     So, brag on your family!  Share positive praise of others, but remember the danger of pride and the advantages of staying humble.  God wants us to influence our world for kingdom purposes, but not by becoming prideful or arrogant.  He will use those who humble themselves in the effort to lift up others.   If you need the praise of someone else, let the Lord take care of that.  If concerned that you are not getting the credit deserved, put yourself in the mighty hand of God and He will lift you up at the perfect time!  “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips.” (Prov. 27:2)