Month: October 2020

Naked Before God

fig leaves

My wife worked as a phlebotomist for a medical lab. Her job was to go to nursing homes and draw blood samples that doctors had ordered for their patients. She told me that she looked down a corridor one day while she was at one of these homes, and an elderly woman was walking towards her. The woman had on her blouse but had forgotten everything below her waist. Suddenly, my wife heard a nurse say, “Margaret, did you forget something!”

Unlike Margaret, Adam, after he sinned, knew he was naked. We learn this in Genesis 3:7, “Then the eyes of both [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” 

Naked Before God

Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin, but they were found naked because they’d lost God’s holy covering. Moses, too, felt this pain, for the glory of God, which radiated from him after meeting with God, faded, leaving his face exposed to the people. We read:

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. –  Exodus 34:29

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. – 2 Corinthians 3:12-13

Adam and all his descendants have battled their loss of God’s perfect covering. From simple necklaces to elaborate robes, humanity has tried to hide this forfeiture. Still, people try to hide their sins from God. Our nakedness should be a reminder that sin causes God’s divine covering to be lost, leaving us exposed to God and the world.

Let Us Run

During this time of tumult and trouble that is ripping apart families and friends, neighbors and nations, we need to stop pretending that we’re ok. That’s what Adam and Eve did when they dressed in fig leaves. They were not “ok,” and neither are we. The sins of our nation are our sins. These sins in each of us are exposed to God. We cannot hide them. So let us run to our Father, confess our sins, and repent of our sins that God might remove them and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Let us pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)” 

I pray that none of us would be a “Margaret.” 

Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay 

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Joy is Better

four boy playing ball on green grass

When my kids were growing up, they enjoyed watching the Ren and Stimpy cartoon show. The show was incredibly dumb, incredibly annoying, and incredibly addicting. Countless times, the show sucked me into watching it with my kids. And I laughed – I’m kind of ashamed of being entertained by such inane dialog.

The “Happy Happy Joy Joy” song was first heard in the sixth episode of the first series of “Ren and Stimpy” and is the 78th greatest moment in Nicktoon’s history. I’m not sure what this implies about our great nation’s people, but it’s probably best not to research this.

Happy is Good, but joy is Better

Being happy is healthy. We all like to be around happy people, except in the morning. 😉 Happiness is a good characteristic for us to develop, but it is not an essential trait for Christians. So what is? For a believer in Jesus, a consistent element is joy. Christians are joyful people. We are full of joy. How can we not be when the Holy Spirit lives within us (John 14:26)? How can we not sing, “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy?” Well, maybe that’s not the best song for us to sing.

Happiness tends to be based on what happens. If good things happen, then we’re happy, but when the travails of life fall upon us, it is our joy that distinguishes us from the world. We read in James 1:2-3, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” And Jesus said, “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:23)

Crushed to a Single Ember

There are times in most of our lives when our joy may be crushed to a single ember. We may search within ourselves and not find the joy that God imparted to us. In those times, we should pray as the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Inexpressible Joy

God loves us (Romans 5:8). Let us be as the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Peter to write, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” (1 Peter 1:8

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Public Prayer

people sitting on dining chair in front of table

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.Acts 20:36

Saying Grace

When you were young, were taught this simple prayer? I know I was. Perhaps, we have taught our children this prayer to “say grace” before a meal.

God is Great,
    And God is Good,
Now we thank Him,
    For this food.

Public Prayer

Practicing “public” prayer is incredibly valuable. Whether it’s a prayer with others around a kitchen table or prayer at our local church to close a Sunday school class, people need to learn how others pray, and we need to be comfortable praying in public.

One of the things my wife and did, and still do, when we go to a restaurant (yes, they’re open in my state), is to hold hands to form a circle with everyone at our table. Then one of respectfully, but verbally prays that God will bless this time of fellowship and the food we are about to partake.

When we have friends with us, I am often surprised that some mature Christians are uncomfortable with this outward display of our faith. This unease comes from recent shifts in our society.

Unease is a New Thing

I’m old enough to remember when most people “said grace” over their meals. Unfortunately, in our misguided quest to not say something that might be contrary to another person’s beliefs, we have squelched the only One that can give a person eternal life.

I’ve prayed, in public, with people in China. I’ve prayed in public when Hindus from India were at my table. Guess what. I asked. They were not upset. (It might be different now in China.)

Christianity was Considered a Cult

When we consider Acts 20:36, we find that Paul and a rather large group of people knelt on the beach, in public, and prayed. During the time of the apostle Paul, Christianity was considered a cult. The Roman Empire had dictated that the official religion was polytheistic, based on Greco-Roman gods’ pantheon.

When Paul knelt to pray, he was doing something very foreign to nearly everyone at the ship’s dock, but that didn’t hinder Paul or the fellow Christians with him. This public display of Christianity is because Jesus commissioned them, and us:

And Jesus came and said to them,All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

We Need to Tell Our Story

We must always be gentle, humble, compassionate, and respectful when we tell our testimony and the Good News of Jesus. Still, we must speak. It is imperative that we walk our faith and not withhold anything that points others to Jesus.

Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” – Luke 6:22

Photo by Elisey Vavulin on Unsplash

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