Grace to Dye For

by Rhonda Rhea

I doubt that it’s a surprise to anyone that I am not low maintenance. Recently, though, I did at least shoot for being a little less of a budget drain. Like maybe a bit more “DIY” in a few areas. I decided to focus on the hair budget. No, not giving up the color. Please. I’d dye first (pa-dum-ching). I don’t think I’ll ever be so low maintenance that I’ll actually go color-less. But I thought surely I could color it myself. What could go wrong?

Oh my. Somehow, somewhere between the shake-this, the apply-that, and the rinse-the-rest, I managed some sort of slinging spill—a gazillion splotches of hair color in all sizes and shapes, all over the carpet. And did I notice I’d done it so I could clean it right up? Oh no. I had to wait the half-hour it takes to become one with the carpet. Most. Expensive. Hair color. Ever.

I told my husband, head hanging and shame-faced, that I’d made a major accidental art project in our bathroom. He answered, “That’s okay. It could’ve happened to me.”

Could’ve happened to him? What, when he colored his hair? He doesn’t have to color his hair. Also he doesn’t have hair. But I’ll tell you what he does have:  grace. And lots of it.

I thought about just adding some more dye splotches on the rest of the bathroom carpet. Because…leopard print! And though I still may put that DIY leopard rug idea on Pinterest, I decided against DIY-ing mine, because while my husband is full of grace, I don’t think he’s really much of a leopard-print-carpet-in-the-master-bath kind of guy. It’s good to know the grace is there if I need it, though.

My hubby is full of grace because he’s so full of Jesus. I so love how he frequently demonstrates the grace of God.

It’s amazing to me that despite how messy my life gets—whatever stains I may slop and in whatever direction I slop them—God’s grace is there. Unchanging. Steady. Always enough.

It’s God’s grace that saves us. Paul says in Ephesians 2:8, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.” (HCSB).

And it’s God’s grace that sustains us. When Paul was experiencing pain, the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, HCSB). For every difficulty we face, His oh-so-sufficient grace is waiting. It’s the kind of grace that holds us up when circumstances threaten to flatten us and life seems all too difficult. In every one of those circumstances, by His grace, He offers us absolutely everything we really need.

His grace is sufficient to save, sufficient to comfort, and sufficient to grow us into the faithful followers of Christ we long to be. And when we think we’ve seen all the grace there is, guess what? There’s more! Grace after grace. “Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness.” (John 1:16, HCSB).

Thank You, Lord, for your grace that cleans every one of my splotchy life-messes. And thank You for the “more grace” You give even after that.

Color me grateful. All the way to my roots.

“Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift.” Ephesians 4:7 AMP

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant for Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Rhonda’s book, Fix HER Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God-Renovated Life,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How does God’s grace impact you on a daily basis?

 

 

In Search of Peace

by Sandra Allen Lovelace

My days were busier than they’d ever been. There was no way I could keep up. Something would have to give, but what? I thought and prayed, organized and planned to no avail. It was as if I were trapped in a forest of responsibilities, unable to see any light. The escape route appeared one especially dark Saturday.

I called it a Day Apart—no alarm, no list, no schedule, no phone, no internet. Just me, my Bible, a notebook, and a pencil … for as long as it took. And it took a while. I checked the concordance for references to captive and freedom since that’s who I was and what I wanted. Surely I’d find some sort of strategy to handle my situation.

God is usually into a deeper process, and this confab was no exception. Rather than simply solve problems, the Father’s plan entails the transformation of minds and hearts. With what I found in the pages of my Bible, God worked to change my heart and guide my action. His Son came and gave His life for that very purpose—to ransom souls and empower the redeemed to enjoy new life.

Jesus explained His role with Isaiah’s prophetic words. “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim release to the captives, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18 NASB). Those weighed down with burdens of any kind are called to receive Christ’s gift and come out from under the expectations from without or within which drive us—into His arms of grace.

The Old Testament commandments had their place, to underline our inability to satisfy the standards of a holy God. But the once for all atoning life, death, and resurrection of His Son settled the debt. A whole new world of opportunity awaits those who walk forward in Him. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NASB

And He did not leave us to find our way and fight temptation alone. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17 NASB) The Holy Spirit indwells each believer to guide and equip us to meet the challenges ahead.

We don’t need to be overwhelmed by the obligations we face, nor succumb to their pressure. As we come into God’s holy presence the demands fall away. The more we adopt the truth of who He is and all He’s done for us, the easier it becomes to pursue His purpose in His peace.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 ESV

sandra allen lovelaceAbout the authorSandra Allen Lovelace is a continuing missionary, a pastor’s wife emeritus, and a home-school pioneer. She’s an award-winning speaker and author, and a sought-after mentor. Sandra’s a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). Her current manuscript is Wallflower Women: How We Got Stuck and Ways to Gain Our Freedom. She enjoys hiking with a camera in her hand, best done on an international adventure. Sandra and her husband Curt are transitioning to South Carolina.

Connect with Sandra on her website, or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner51xYzTxBG9L._AC_US218_ from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Sandra’s book,  Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!

Join the conversation: Have there been obligations in your life that held you captive? How did God provide the peace you sought?

 

 

Rocking with God

by Peggy Cunningham

 In the early mornings, I sit down with God and rock a while––with a puppy on my lap. A puppy at our age––senior citizens? What were we thinking?

We didn’t plan on coming home with a puppy the day we went to buy our Golden Retriever a sweater because he’d lost all his hair from chemo treatments. I had wisely warned my husband that morning ––”Don’t look at the dogs for sale.” I should have warned myself! There she was, a Shih Tzu. Our Shih Tzu, Kelsey had been gone six years. Never another little dog again turned into right now, this little dog. We brought her home to Jake. I’m thankful I didn’t listen to my own advice!

Now there is a puppy on my lap again. One morning, as I sat rocking with Zoey, I read this in my Bible:

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations underway. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed––or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38- 42 NIV

Every morning, Zoey chooses to sit on my lap and rock for a while just to be near me. Maybe she knows I won’t be sitting much the rest of the day. When I finish my reading, she goes about her day playing, napping, and going outside. But before all that, she chooses to be with me. Yes, she chooses what’s best before anything else––times of closeness with her master.

Isn’t that what Mary did? She chose to let the unimportant things go for the most important thing–time at Jesus’ feet. Maybe Martha, like me at times, was overwrought because of going overboard with preparations, unimportant things. She had lost her perspective. She was focusing on the service rather than the One she served.

We face the same kind of choice. It’s about loving God, not our schedules or to-do lists. We try to plan the things, and then seek the kingdom. If we heed Jesus’ words and seek Him first, maybe our priorities will be different; those overwhelming details we once thought important will dim in the light of His face.

Today’s (puppy) lesson: Let’s not be distracted and settle for less when God wants to give us more. Loving Him first will always be the best thing!

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia since 1981, where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a prolific writer. Peggy’s heart for children and vibrant imagination led the way to having two picture book series published, Really Rare Rabbits, and her new four-book series, Hooray for Holidays (releases quarterly in 2018.) She also writes devotionals for adults: Dancing Like Bees and a new one for women, Shape Your Soul, which will release in summer 2018.

Join the conversation: What things get in the way for you in keeping your focus on the Lord?

 

Into the Storm

by Dianne E. Butts

I followed my husband up the interstate highway, he riding his Harley Davidson, me on my Kawasaki Vulcan. We’d put a lot of miles behind us already that day after leaving the motorcycle rally in New Mexico, bundled up against the chilly early morning air. An annual ride for years, we knew the 460-mile trip would take most the day. We pushed hard to get home before sunset, grateful for clear skies and good weather.

We rode two-lane highways to Interstate 25, then north over Raton Pass into Colorado. Getting weary and with still more than two hours to home, we turned from I-25 and headed east.

That’s when I saw the huge thunderhead billowing on the eastern horizon, brilliant white in the afternoon sun. Storms in eastern Colorado can dump torrents of rain and damaging hail, not to mention the dance of dangerous lightning. We made our turn eastward, straight toward the storm.

I glanced in my rear-view mirror. Behind us toward the Rocky Mountains was nothing but brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky. Ahead of us, a towering storm.

For a moment I so wanted to turn back! Growing tired, I wanted the rest of the ride to be sunny. Pleasant. Easy.

Seriously, though, if I turned around and followed the sun, where would that get me? The way home was into the storm.

Another day, long ago, Jesus purposely told his disciples to head into a storm. Matthew tells us immediately after Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 men plus women and kids, “he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And…he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them” (Matthew 14:22-24, ESV).

The word Matthew uses here, that Jesus “made” them get into the boat, strikes me every time I read it. Jesus surely knew that storm was brewing and he was sending them right into it. Why would he do that?

Because he wanted to show them something more than they could fathom, something about himself, that he could not show them if they were not in the middle of a storm.

“In the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea…” (v. 25).

The day my husband and I turned toward that storm, either the road took us around it or the storm floated south, but either way we never ended up riding through the storm. We arrived home safe and sound. Tired, but dry.

Remembering that experience, when I catch myself longing for an easier, more pleasant journey, I resist the urge to turn back, away from the path God has me on. I no longer fear storms that appear to loom in my path. The Lord might remove them completely as he did that day, or stormy times may lie ahead, but he is leading me home. And I don’t want to go any other direction. We have to remember, even as Christians, sometimes the only way home leads into the storm.

“But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid…’

“And when [he] got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him…” (Matthew 14:26-27, 32-33a).

Dianne E. ButtsAbout the author: Writing for 25+ years, Dianne has written 300+ articles for Christian magazines, six books, and has contributed to twenty more books including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her screenplay placed as a finalist in the Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays and a short film she produced won Best Documentary and the Evangelista Award for clearest presentation of the gospel at the 168 Film Festival in August 2017. Dianne and her husband are 20+ year members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association. Learn more about her at http://www.DianneEButts.com, follow her film at bit.ly/ConnectFilms, read her blog for writers at www.ButtsAboutWriting.blogspot.com, and join her newsletter.

Join the conversation: What storms have you experienced? How did God reveal more of Himself to you at that time?

Doing the Impossible

by Sheri Schofield

“For with God, nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37, KJV

If you could point to one year in your life and say, “I was created for that year”, what would that time look like? For me, it was the year I fought to save my husband’s life. The battle took me to the Pentagon, Congress, National Security, The President of the United States, Gannett News Services and ABC’s 20/20 program.

Not once during that year did I feel adequate for the task! Yet, God went before me. Almost everything I had experienced in life until then had prepared me for that struggle. In the end, I won. My husband was freed. A law was passed, named after him, to prevent that particular injustice.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had said “no” to the battle challenge. I truly did not feel adequate! I was small, with a child-like voice. I was not qualified – in myself – to fight that battle. But I had God, and He was enough.

Are you facing some huge battle? A giant in your path?

The nation of Israel faced giants once. Israel was on the verge of great success and fulfillment. God had rescued the nation through Moses, parting the Red Sea for them to cross. Moses guided them to Mt. Sinai to learn about this one, true God. For a year, God provided manna from heaven for their food in the desert. He brought water from a rock. He provided all their needs as they learned about him.

Not long after they left Egypt, the Amalekites attacked them. Joshua led Israel in battle. While Moses raised his hands toward heaven and prayed, Joshua gained ground. When Moses’ arms tired and his hands fell, Joshua lost ground. So Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands until Joshua won, demonstrating that in God alone would power and victory lie.

Now Israel stood at the entrance to Canaan, the Promised Land. Moses sent twelve spies to gather information about it. They all came back with fabulous reports about the abundance and fertility of Canaan. But ten of the spies said, “The inhabitants are giants! In their eyes, we are like grasshoppers! We cannot conquer them.” But Joshua and Caleb, remembering the power God had shown, said, “Of course we can beat them! We’ve got GOD on our side!”

But Israel chose to follow the ten who did not trust God, resulting in God’s sending them back into the wilderness for forty years, until everyone who had refused to believe God had died. Only Joshua and Caleb remained. Those two great military men who believed God led Israel into the Promised Land. They alone of their generation saw the promise fulfilled.

Sometimes it is easier to do nothing rather than go into battle. Most people do. But not the Calebs and Joshuas! They gear up for battle, trust God for victory, and do the impossible. They become giant-slayers! They are victorious!

You can be a giant-slayer, too. We are here to establish a beachhead for the kingdom of God, for the return of Christ. Trust the Captain of our souls! It is our Captain who tells us, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19, KJV) You can win – in God’s power.

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Children’s ministry veteran Sheri Schofield was unexpectedly called on to save her husband’s life, a battle that took her to the Pentagon, Congress, National Security and the President of the United States. At her website, www.SheriSchofield.com, she shares this journey in her book One Step Ahead of the Devil then continues her ministry with the children’s book The Prince And The Plan.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Sheri’s book, One Step Ahead of the Devil,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What giants do you need to slay? Has God already enabled you in a struggle?

Family Matters

by Deb DeArmond

“Tact is the act of making a point without making an enemy.” – Sir Isaac Newton

I love this quote. Turns out Isaac Newton was not just a gravity genius. He apparently was a relationship guru as well. Must have come from a big family.

I was raised as an only child; my only sibling was 16 years my senior. By the time I was two, he had gone off to college and never returned to our home state. We grew close only after I grew up. So, as a child, I had my folks all to myself. I never needed to call “shotgun” to ride in the front seat, never had to split the last cookie with a younger sibling and never had the heartbreak that comes with being asked to sacrificially yield the last of the ice cream to another child in the family.

Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it? I won’t lie—it was a great life. One I discovered (later in life) my friends envied. But it turns out, there was a dark side.

I never learned to share. Or at least to share graciously.

When required to do so in the midst of a school event or neighborhood pow-wow, I was known to be demanding, bossy and loud about what I wanted. Later I learned it was behavior considered immature. Who knew?!

Experience had taught me differently than it had my multi-siblinged comrades.

I eventually developed the ability to effectively relate to others, but it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t overnight. And now I wonder how I ever avoided being pushed out, pushed down, or simply outcast. I’m very grateful looking back that it hadn’t gone that way.

Now, as a full-grown adult, I watch as we all struggle with the urge to “have it our way” even in the relationships that are most important to us in life: our marriages or family members – adult kids, sibling in-laws, aunts, uncles, even grandparents have their preferences. It’s hard not to campaign for the thing you want. It can be tough to set aside your own preference without feeling sulky and sullen.

But it’s also not okay to simply let the loudest voice lead.

How do you cope? For starters, stop being the loudest, and start being the clearest voice— to bring a sense of peace and order when the conversation begins to give way to self-interest without regard for the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of others.

We can have candid, open discussion without damaging the people we love the most. Effective communication skills and using the Word of God as our guideline is a foundation that will stand every time.

Here are two Spirit-led reminders, designed to help us walk in love.

Show deference. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves…” Romans 12:10 (NIV). Putting the interests of another above our own is counter-intuitive to the flesh. Deferring to others will always cause people to sit up and take notice, because it’s not how the world does things. So this action serves a dual purpose, as it draws attention to our great God.

Be willing to give up your own preference. “…[Love] does not insist on its own way…” (1 Cor. 13:5 ESV). Spirit-led love is not Burger King. It’s not always going to go our way. Set your preference aside and listen. Be willing to be changed by what you hear.

And remember: how you say what you say matters. Volume does not equal leadership.

So, remember, tact counts. Just ask Isaac. Turns out that apple bonk on the head must have loosed some real Godly insight!

When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways,” 1 Cor. 13:11 (Passion).

DeArmond-29 copyAbout the author: Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. A writer and professional speaker, Deb addresses topics related to the family and women. Her books include: Related by Chance, Family by ChoiceI Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last and Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! Deb’s books help readers, whether engaged, newlywed, or long-time married, create the life God meant marriage and family to be. You can read more from Deb at Family Matters/Deb.

 Join the conversation: What challenges do you face in communicating with family? What has God taught you about this?

Wrapped in His Feathers

by Amber Weigand-Buckley

 One of the greatest miracles in my Dad’s life happened in the last few months that he was on this earth.

In one day, one heart attack took him from the place of being a very strong 71-year-old, 6’3” man to a man who was in need of constant care. This began a year of terrible suffering.

579888_0c924d03b872484b874976b3bd94f0c5_mv2His legs never healed because of diabetes complications. He slept in his “lifting recliner” because he could barely breathe. He would cry out to Mom to intercede for him in the middle of the night. Cry out for his healing that never came this side of heaven.

On one of his most desperate days, he sat in the backyard of his house trying to pull every ounce of sunlight in to make his heavy mind feel better. He closed his eyes and uttered this prayer: “God, are you still with me, in all this pain? Please let me know that You are still by my side.”

He opened his eyes to find that a white dove had landed in the nearby tree. All of a sudden, a feeling of peace surrounded him. Then he said, “God, if this is You, could You bring that dove down to me?”

As soon as he spoke the words, that white bird flew down to the seat beside him and walked right up into his palm.

That bird stayed in my father’s hands until Dad released him to fly back up into the tree.

Then Dad prayed again, “God, could you let that bird stay here until Joyce comes home from work?”

Hours later, when my mother arrived, that bird again flew down from that tree. This time, it landed on the fence beside her, then gently climbed into her hands. When Mom finally released it, the dove returned to the same spot, right in the tree.

Even though that prayer didn’t take away Dad’s pain or change his situation, over the course of the next week, the bird stayed perched in the tree. But in the dark pit of his final days, Dad knew and felt the Comforter there with Him until his final place of complete rest. And in that extended time of pain, God showed His presence to us all by providing relational healing for our family.

The faithfulness of God provided supernatural comfort for the whole family. As the Psalmist promises in Psalm 91:4: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (NIV).

I will pass this story down to my children and my children’s children, not just because we witnessed a miracle. And not just because it reminds us that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way we would like.

It is a reminder that the God who brought something as simple as a dove—the wrap of His feathers—into the middle of my father’s pain, is the same caring, attentive, comforting Father we serve today.

I pray that in every story you hear of God’s love and faithfulness, you will remember in the very same way how He lavishly pours out His heart for you. No matter how many generations pass, His character will never change.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

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About the author: Amber Weigand-Buckley is founding editor, art director and podcast host for the multi-award-winning Leading Hearts magazine. She has been in the mag-making business for 22 years. Her publications in which she was editor have garnered a total of 13 Evangelical Press Association Awards. Amber was named the 2015 Advanced Writers and Speakers Association Member of the Year. You will find her design work right here on Arise Daily!

In her full-time she is wife to her Brit-native Philip & mum to 3 inspiring creatives: Saffron, Imogen, & Penelope, as well as a provider of social media management & communications support for many authors, missionaries, non-profits, and businesses.

Join the conversation: What stories have you heard about (or experienced) on God’s love and faithfulness?

The Perfect Reference Point

I am a laundry fanatic. I buy the best detergent money can buy, use bleach or a non-bleach booster, and attack every stain I notice. (I have even been known to presoak on occasion. Clearly, I am not normal.) But it does truly make me happy to sniff the clean fragrance of freshly washed clothes as I fold them still warm from the dryer.

When my children were little, they could challenge the most earnest of laundresses. I owned that challenge.

My children loved to dig in the dirt. We live in Maryland, so that meant red clay-stained clothing. White socks were especially difficult to get clean. But I was one determined woman. As I put their newly laundered, paired and folded socks away in their drawers, I gained much satisfaction in seeing how white they had once again become.

But I was in denial. I relearned this every time I purchased new socks. As I laid unworn pairs of bright white socks in the drawer next to the old ones, I realized what I thought was clean was actually dingy and stained. Apparently my perception of clean had become warped over time. This was because I had a faulty reference point for my comparison. I was comparing the old socks to each other. “Clean” had become only relative.

We are often guilty of using a faulty reference point when we evaluate our lives. Yes, I sin on occasion. But I don’t sin as much as her. We carefully pick people who seem to be “worse” than we are while engaging in self-examination. But our reference point is off.

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 NASB

When Isaiah was given a vision of God in His heavenly temple, he was suddenly crystal-clear about his own inadequacy. “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5 NASB) Whatever hopes Isaiah might have had about being a good man, faithful servant, or obedient prophet were wiped out when the reality of God’s holiness was revealed. It was like viewing old, used socks next to brilliant new ones. Suddenly those that he might have used as a reference point in the past were exposed for what they were: sinful, faulty people.

Later on, Isaiah expressed his new, vastly improved reference point when he wrote: “All of our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.”(Isaiah 64:6 NASB) He now understood the futility of trying to claim righteousness by his good works. Even the best of what we can accomplish cannot not stand up to the reference point of God’s holiness.

So what can we do?

Nothing. It is why the Savior had to come, to rescue us from our hopeless state. Our righteousness can never be what we have earned. Because we could never do enough or do it well enough to earn it. Instead, by God’s grace, we are given righteousness through Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross.

Only by the cleansing blood of Christ are we truly washed clean, made holy as He is holy. Only a righteousness that is God-given could stand up to the reference point of the holiness of God.

“I count all [confidence in any human accomplishments] to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, but…the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” Philippians 3:8-9 NASB

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was released in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, Julie spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com or on Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.39.03 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Julie’s book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: It’s easy to forget our righteousness is a gift from God and slip back into trying to stay on God’s “good side.” Have you caught yourself doing this?