Who Is Your Plumb Line?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.                                                 I Peter 2:21 NASB

Have you ever found yourself saying something like “I wish I could be like her”? I know I have—there are people I so admire who just seem to have it all together. They inspire me and make me want to emulate them. Is that such a bad thing? After all, even the Apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17 NASB).

But it was pointed out to me some time ago that if we make people our “plumb line”—a string stretched out by a weight to mark a perfectly vertical line on a wall—we will inevitably miss the mark. Even though a literal plumb line can be near-perfect, people are not. They will likely fail us at one point or another.

In addition, when we focus on outward achievements and actions, we can begin to feel superior (or inferior) to others—and neither option is how God would like us to think. We become the judge and jury of what is good and right or bad and wrong. And when those we consider shining examples fail, we become disillusioned. Sometimes that disillusionment gets transferred to God Himself.

So where can we look for an example that will never fail us? One that will remain consistent and reliable? The Apostle Peter has the best advice: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (I Peter 2:21 NASB).

Peter had learned that lesson first-hand. As a practicing Jew, he had vowed never to eat unclean food. Then while praying, Peter fell into a trance and saw a great sheet coming down with all kinds of unclean animals in it. Within seconds, he was shocked to hear Jesus tell him to kill and eat the animals. Peter said (can’t you just hear the vehemence in his voice?), “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”(Act 10:14). You can almost hear his underlying sentiment: “I’ve sworn I’ll never do such a thing because then I’ll be unholy.”

At that moment, Peter was depending upon his behavior to make him righteous before God. Of course, that commitment had begun before He knew Jesus as His Savior through grace. Now he knew that only Jesus is The Way, yet, his old way of thinking had never been eliminated. His vow had the potential to prevent him from seeing God’s next opportunity to minister when Cornelius (a Gentile) arrived. Thankfully, Peter turned from his vow and as a result, the Church’s ministry to Gentiles began.

Peter had his eyes on the legions of Jews who had kept the Law and thought they’d gained righteousness through it. It took three commands from Jesus (Acts 10:16), before Peter heard the truth: Don’t focus on others; keep your eyes on me. What God has cleansed, you should no longer consider unholy.

Hebrews tells us where to put our gaze as we live for God. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” Jesus led a perfect, sinless life. He is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature…” (Hebrews 1:2-3 NASB). Who better to emulate?

The next time you start to say things like “I want to be like her,” stop and ponder who should really be your model and “plumb line.” Only Jesus offers a perfect example and will never fail before your eyes.

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Who Is Your Plumb Line? – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller lives in Southern California and is the author of over 55 books including the Daughters of the King Bible study series. One of the studies is At the Heart of Friendship. As a popular women’s conference speaker, she has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. Her passion is to communicate practical biblical ideas for trusting God more. Visit her at http://www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Her latest latest release is , Heart Wisdom, a part of her women’s Daughters of the King Bible study series. Heart Wisdom includes ten lessons about the different topics included in The Proverbs, and is perfect for individual or group study. Reach Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com 

Join the conversation: What have you found important for resisting making other people as your plumb line?

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?

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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The lay-away coat from God – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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.