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What God Feels When People Judge You by Your Appearance

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Comments | 2 comments

My amazingly talented friend Ramon Presson (author, speaker, marriage and family counselor) asked me to submit a devotional for his new collection “However: the Great BUT’s of the Bible,” and I’m sharing it here with you. To read his other entries, swing by his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ramonpresson

However: The Great BUTs of the Bible

“…for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (I Samuel 16:7)God loves your heart

Have you ever purchased a candy bar, carefully taken the wrapper off, and then discarded the candy so you could enjoy the beauty of the wrapper? If you’ve done this, I’ve got news for you: you’re weird. But I’m pretty sure you haven’t.

I’m quite certain you’ve never done this because we all know better. We know the candy is the best part, and we know that pretty paper and shiny foil are destined for the trash.

I sure wish we could use this same wisdom when it comes to how we judge one another.  God wishes we would, too.

In I Samuel 16, God gives it to us pretty straight. He sends His prophet Samuel on a search for a new king for Israel. Samuel sets about looking for the right guy amongst the sons of Jesse, assuming he will surely be the most handsome of the bunch. And just when he thinks he’s found the one, God intervenes.  This is what He says to Samuel:

 “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (v. 7)

Samuel has picked out the tall, ripped, most strapping son of Jesse, and God refuses him. A quick look at the Hebrew definition of the word refuse takes it up a notch. The synonyms found include abhor, spurn, cast away, disdain, despise. This is not a casual brushing aside.

God doesn’t see what people see. He doesn’t choose what we choose. He’s not into picking leaders based on easily seen physical characteristics. In fact, from this portion of scripture, we could say God utterly despises judging people this way.

And I’ve got a couple of ideas why.

First, the Creator of Heaven and earth knows that the physical part of us is the only part that is going to turn to dust. He knows it’s just the wrapper (destined for the trash), and He knows that the heart inside is the best part. It’s the part He loves. It’s the part that will remain.

Second, I believe God despises a value system based upon outward appearances because He doesn’t want to be judged that way. I believe it grieves Him deeply when people judge Him for what they see on the surface level of life. He gets blamed for every evil. He gets blamed for death. He takes the blame for many things because people only glance quickly at the surface rather than diligently searching for…His heart.

God wants His children to know Him. And He wants us to know how to truly live. To live, we must believe that our battle is not of the flesh. Our victory is not of the flesh.  Our security will not be found in the flesh. And our beauty is not of the flesh.

“God’s definition of beauty has far more to do with what’s going on inside of us than what’s skin-deep. In fact, a search of the Bible will reveal no mention of body mass index, no mention of normal weight charts, no mention of point values for foods. Not only that, almost any time the word fat is mentioned, it’s used as a good thing—representing blessing.” (My Big Bottom Blessing: How Hating My Body Led to Loving my Life, Teasi Cannon)

Truth is…this world is not our home, and its definitions are not our definitions. We simply must choose which side we’re on.

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Why What you GET Matters Most This Christmas

Posted by on Dec 6, 2014 in Comments | 2 comments

Santa Holding Stack of Gifts

 

“Tis better to give than to receive.”

 

What a CROCK!!!

 

Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic…maybe it’s not a total crock, but I do believe it can be a trick—an over-used trick meant to keep us from THE BEST GIFT EVER!

 

Here’s what I’ve seen in my own life:

  • When I keep my focus on what I’m giving, I forget to take stock of what I’m receiving. Before I know it, I’m running on fumes, and as a mother of three (including two teenage boys), a middle school teacher, and a wife…running on fumes isn’t good at all.

  • When I keep my focus on what I’m giving without remembering what I’ve received, I can quickly become a score keeper—tallying up all that I’m giving and all that others are not giving. This is the perfect fertilizer for bitterness and resentment. Not good.

  • When I keep my focus on what I’m giving—whether I want to do this or not—I can begin to expect things to come back around to me. Entitlement can creep in. I’m giving and giving and giving around here. Isn’t it about time I get what’s coming to me?  Yuch!

I could go on, but I think you see my point.

 

Here’s what I see in the world:

  • When people focus on what they are giving, they can fool themselves into believing that giving nullifies all the other crummy things they do.

  • When people focus on what they are giving, it can actually be a deflection technique—a skillfully crafted method for keeping people out of a well-locked heart.

  • When people focus on what they are giving, they are apt to believe that if only their good will outweigh their bad (even if by a smidge)…that’s all they need in order to make it to heaven.

And that last one is the most devastating of all.

 

I feel so, so, so sad for people who believe that they have to give (and perform well) enough to make sure their good outweighs their bad. What a horrible existence, ya know? The constant wondering if one has done enough.  And what’s the litmus test for that? How can a human mind ever really know the magic point—the moment at which his or her good has stepped a foot in front of the bad?

 

I feel bad for folks who believe they have to keep giving and giving because…well, honestly… it just sounds exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I love to give. It’s fun to give. But I would hate feeling like I have to give to save my very soul.

 

And I feel bad for the folks who are working hard to earn heaven (or to earn God’s favor) because…well, they kind of look like…fools.

 

Don’t they know they are working their butts off for something that is being offered to them for FREE? They must not know. So, we’ve got to tell them. And this is the perfect time to tell them. Here’s the deal:

 

Christmas is truly, truly all about what you GET. It’s all and completely about what you’ll receive.

 

And here’s the thing God wants desperately for us to get:

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11

 

And He wants us to get this:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

 

HE gave! He GAVE! He gave!

 

What did God give? His own Son. To pay the price for us. To give us a free ticket to paradise. A ticket we don’t have to give enough to get. We don’t have to work enough to earn. We don’t have to do anything…

 

Except receive it. We need to GET it. Our friends and family members need to get it. Our hurting and dying world needs to get it.

 

Because God paid a high price for this free gift He’s offering. And besides…haven’t we been taught that it’s rude not to accept a gift?  Stop being rude to God, people!

 

And this is what I’ve discovered, as well: I truly can’t give anything… until I’ve first received the free gift of God’s eternal love. I’ve got nothing in me to give to anyone. Teasi Cannon is a total goofball who—when left to her own ways—always comes back around to empty. I can’t function at all without first receiving the love God’s constantly pouring on me.

 

And I don’t believe you truly can either. I don’t believe we can give what we haven’t first received.

 

So, let me ask you this: What are you getting this Christmas?

 

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I Want More of Less

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Comments | 0 comments

empty-box-gift

 

I want more of less
Less of me
Less of fear
Less of striving
Less of here
Less of aching for something when I’ve already got it all
Less of wading through the debris left to us by the fall

I want more of less
Less of looking for what I should do
Less of grieving over what I’m not instead of seeing myself in You
Less need for man’s approval when you couldn’t love me more
Less searching for my perfect place when here lay blessings galore

I want more of less
Less looking at the horizon while missing what’s at my door
Less worrying about my failures when it only traps me more
Less longing for tomorrow when Your gift is my today
Less pushing toward the finish when true joy is along the way

I want more of less
Less reaching higher when lower is where victory’s found
Less focus on one big thing when big things are all around
Less clinging to a hope that depends upon anything in me
Less brokenness and bondage when You’ve handed me the key

I want more of less, Father
For less means more of You
And that’s truly all that matters – all that’s right and true

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