Then Sulks My Soul

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

I think my spirit gets a little pouty every now and then. It’s a spoiled rotten little spirit, mind you, and the things that inspire the pouting are most often quite trivial. Like having to get a new phone and not being able to keep the old number. Or like when you’ve been thinking about that last Ding Dong all day and then find somebody ate it and left the empty box.

I so hate to admit this, but I’m just climbing out of a ridiculous pouty-mope right now. The other day I sighed so hard I’m pretty sure my neighbors felt a breeze. Embarrassing.

To add to it, as usually happens when I’m brooding, suddenly I hated all my clothes. I’m not sure exactly why, but sulkiness always seems to bring out the worst in my closet. It’s not that I necessarily want new clothes even. It’s more that I become discontent with absolutely everything and I’m convinced I need a different body to put inside the clothes I already have. It doesn’t matter that I know I’m to blame, I still blame the closet. Goofy closet.

When I’m overwhelmed or blue or hormonal or discontent or just plain pouty, there’s one thing that can snap me back around like nothing else. It’s dwelling on the Lord. Not just passively thinking. No, really and truly meditating. Contemplating to the point of being overwhelmed and undone by the glorious God of all joy. It’s an altogether better “overwhelmed.”

“I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,” (Isaiah 61:10, HCSB). The New Living says, “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!” As I focus on Him and rejoice in His goodness, it’s amazing how those trivial, pout-inducing circumstances shrivel in significance.

It’s at the moment of praise, as I ponder amazing grace, that I remember—I remember all the way to my soul—that when He gave me the gift of salvation through the cross of Christ, He gave me absolutely everything my soul needs. Whatever I’m whining about looks small and petty. And even when I’m fretting over something that’s not small or petty, that something is still nowhere near as big as the grace of God.

It makes me smile to recognize that as I dwell on His goodness and the sulkiness fades into worship, the Lord totally takes care of the closet thing. The spiritual closet, anyway. The very reason for rejoicing is that “He has clothed me with the garments of salvation.” It’s impossible to whine about the “robe of righteousness.” It’s borrowed from Christ. And though this whiny woman doesn’t deserve it, it fits perfectly.

The sweet, old hymn expresses it well:

“And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,

Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin.”

A soul can hardly sulk when it’s singing about the greatness of God.

            “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:

            How great thou art! How great thou art!”

Reveling in our great God. It reboots a mope. It inspires a joy that goes all the way to the soul. And all the way to the closet.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.                                                                                                                                       Isaiah 26:3 NIV

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Then Sulks My Soul – insight on praising God from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for the Messy to Meaningful series, with My Purse Runneth Over coming soon. Edie Melson and Rhonda have a new book as well, Unruffled—Thriving in Chaos.

Rhonda 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.

Join the conversation: What do you do with the sulks?

The Finest Garment

by Harriett Ford

 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD; my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.                                                                                                                                                         Isaiah 61: 10 NKJV

The tearful bride stifled a sob as she glanced down at the muddy spot soiling her beautiful wedding gown. Rivulets of rain on the shuttle’s windshield smeared the view of the church ahead where her groom waited.

What a heartbreak. After all the weeks of preparation, fittings, alterations, no bride wants to walk down the aisle in a soiled gown. I longed to put my arms around her.

I thought of my own wedding gown. My mom was a fantastic seamstress and sewed most of my school clothes, prom dresses, and even my beautiful wedding gown. She always looked for a certain fabric blend of two materials that remained wrinkle-free.

One of my favorite gowns had a red-velvet bodice and a white organza skirt. It is still hanging in my closet these many years since I first wore it as a teenage girl. The fabric has remained free of wrinkles, because it is blended with polyester. Amazingly, it is also free of spots. Why is that amazing? Because I also slipped and fell into a rain puddle the night I wore it. My undergarments and full-skirted petticoat were soaked, but the lovely skirt spread over top of them somehow shed the water droplets.

I still sometimes run my fingers over the skirt, enjoying the smooth feel of it and remembering the love with which it was stitched. Mom enjoyed dressing me in the finest she could design.

It’s very easy to lose peace when striving to make myself a garment without spot or wrinkle. I cannot imagine the shame of meeting Jesus with a soiled garment. Before I knew Him, there were spots on the fabric of my heart. I was very aware I could not erase those sins, no matter how hard I tried. But when I believed in Jesus, He dressed me in a garment of righteousness that had nothing to do with anything I had accomplished.

I have often puzzled on the meaning of two passages in the Mosaic Law which forbid the wearing of different types of fabric; that is, the wearing of blended fabrics—those woven from two different materials (Leviticus 19: 19).

In my own human logic, I would think the blending of fabrics would make them stronger. But the Law foreshadowed the new, princely garment of righteousness He would dress us in after Jesus paid for our sin. It would not be a blend of our work and His. Our righteousness comes from Christ alone. “May [I] be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God …” (Philippians 3:9 NASB).

I don’t have to earn God’s favor by struggling to remove my spots and wrinkles. Through faith, I now wear the righteousness of God. And I will be wearing that garment to the throne of Grace and the wedding supper of the Lamb.

If you have believed in Jesus, you can live in sweet peace, knowing that your Lord has already dressed you in the finest garment He could design.

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The Finest Garment – insight from Harriett Ford on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

harriet fordAbout the author: Harriett Ford is a Faith Writers’ award-winning author and contributor to the American Christian Voice Magazine. Her books can be found at https://Amazon.com/author/harriettford

Harriet’s book, Faith Says What God Saysis an intensive prayer and word medication for renewing the spirit of the mind, enabling you to receive healing from the Word.  

Join the conversation: Do you ever catch yourself going back to trying to earn God’s favor?

A Cinderella Story

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

When I was a little girl, my favorite fairy tale, hands down, was Cinderella. You remember: Cinderella spends her youth scrubbing floors and catering to the demands of her nasty stepmother and stepsisters. When an invitation comes to the prince’s ball, the privileged of the household go off to attend, leaving Cinderella alone and dejected. But the fairy godmother arrives in the nick of time, and with a wave of her wand, changes Cinderella’s clothing from itchy, woolen homespun rags into a dress of finest silk. Cinderella effortlessly wins the prince’s heart, but then must hurry out before midnight, leaving a glass slipper behind in her retreat.

You know the ending, of course: the prince uses the glass slipper to find his one true love again, and whisks Cinderella away to live as his princess happily ever after.

I used to pretend I was Cinderella. I wasn’t so hot on the housework part, but I did love catching the eye of the handsome prince. Wearing the ball gown ranked right up there as well. The transformation process of going from drab and needy to dramatically beautiful has great appeal for many of us. All of the makeover shows now playing, from fashion to homes, is evidence of this. We all love a good Cinderella story.

Assuredly, the best Cinderella story on record is the very real transformation that God has accomplished in us. We were destitute and without hope when He reached down and grasped us from the jaws of death. Like the father welcoming the prodigal son, He replaced our rags with the finest of robes, befitting of our new status as sons and daughters of the King.

Isaiah puts it this way: “My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10 NASB). We who were once alienated and hostile toward God now are presented as holy and blameless (Colossians 1:21-2 NASB).  He transformed us from being slaves of sin to the bride of Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).

What an amazing transformation! In light of this, it is hard to understand how we so easily turn our backs on what God has given us, only to invest our time and energy on opposing interests!

Paul instructed the Christians in Colossae: “Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed . . . Put aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth” (Colossians 3:5, 8 NASB) Instead, he urges: “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience . . . beyond all these things put on love” (Colossians 3:12, 14 NASB).

Too often, we exchange our new, costly garments for the old, scratchy sackcloth we discarded at our salvation. But we are new creatures! The old garment just doesn’t fit right anymore. It is certainly not befitting to our new title of prince or princess of the King.

Can you imagine if Cinderella, after marrying her prince, decided to shed her princess-befitting gowns of finest silk to don the old rags she wore as a scullery maid? The servants in the palace would think she had lost her mind. Why would anyone choose rags over the finest garments? Did she not understand that she was a princess now?

The angels think the same of us each time we choose our own agenda over the opportunity to participate in the Kingdom of Light. It is no less than absurd that we would ever willfully choose the old over the new, especially in light of what we have been given.

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering an a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. . . For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of the Light.”  Ephesians 5:1, 2, 8  NASB

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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 award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Join the conversation: What is your favorite piece of the new wardrobe that God has given you?

The Lay-Away Coat

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

In the “old days,” back in 1966, there was something available at stores called “lay-away.” You could put a down payment on an item and pay over time. Of course, you didn’t receive the item until you paid in full.

If you are smiling a knowing grin, you are revealing your age, and it’s most likely as old as I am. But in those days when I worked part-time for very little pay and went to high school, I loved the lay-away plan.

One day as I shopped at our local department store, I fell in love with a red coat that was gorgeous and expensive. Only by paying my hard-earned five dollars each week did I have any hope of wearing such a fabulous coat.

Finally, the coat was mine, and I wore it for the first time to our high school’s championship water polo game. While there, I met Larry through a mutual friend. Eventually that meeting blossomed into marriage three years later. While we dated, God used Larry to draw me to Christ. Yes, missionary dating!

After we were married, Larry told me he was immediately attracted to the rich-looking red coat I wore when we met. He thought I was rich. Underneath, I wore the inexpensive clothes I’d bought at a discount store. But the red coat did the trick.

I love this story because it reminds me that every Christian is wearing a spiritual coat paid for by Jesus’ blood-red death on the cross. It’s called a “robe of righteousness.”

Isaiah 61:10 gives a sense of our joy thinking of this: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

And after we arrive in heaven, Revelation 7:9-10 tells us our robes will be white because of our purity: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

As I speak to women at speaking events about this righteous robe, I often ask them to close their eyes and envision their righteous robe and what it looks like and how they feel. Some envision different colors. Red, purple, and white are the most popular colors. They might describe different fabrics: silk or velvet or trimmed in fur. Some describe they feel peaceful, empowered or loved.

Can you sense your righteous robe wrapped around you? You received this robe as a free gift because of Jesus’s death and resurrection. You don’t even have to pay $5.00 a week on lay-away for it. It is immediately yours at your point of salvation.

…I count all things 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 derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.  Philippians 3:8-10 NASB

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Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is the author of more than 50 books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series.A popular women’s speaker, she has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. She lives in SouthernAt the Heart of Friendship by [Miller, Kathy Collard] California and loves to encourage women to know their value in Christ. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com, www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor, or on Instagram: @kathycollardmiller.