True Colours

Ever since I can remember, I have loved fashion. Unfortunately, I was often an individual “before my time”. When I was in Grade 8, I wore a dress and shoes that had belonged to my Mom. The dress was sleeveless with an orange and white thinly striped top and a drop waist pleated orange skirt. I completed my ensemble with my Mom’s white leather kitten heel sling-back shoes. I thought I looked “cool” but probably I just looked “unique”. LOL! In high school, I put together an outfit consisting of a belted tan safari shirt over matching pants that had been tucked into almost knee-high shiny black boots with 3″ heels. To top it off, I sported a brown felt “poor boy” cap worn cockily off-side. Heidi Klum move over! A hindrance to my indulging in fashion was the lack of funds. I couldn’t afford the “latest” or “hottest” trends so I had to make do with sales, comprises, and inventiveness.

I married very young, to a guy who’s idea of an outfit was forest green work pants and work shirt! I moved to Northern Ontario where the local costume was jeans and a flannel shirt or sweatshirt in the summer and long johns and snow suits in the winter. (Just kidding – sort of).

My husband disapproved of my fun and flirty sense of fashion and being the good submissive Christian wife that I was (choke-choke) I tried to assimilate myself into his wishes. After long periods of time of stifling my inner fashion goddess, I would break out in protest by buying and wearing what I considered to be “sexy” outfits – much to my hubby’s great displeasure. I found his reaction strange as I would have thought that he would be proud to have an attractive wife but it seemed like he wanted me to be kept “under wraps” (break out the burka).

My inner fashion struggle was shoved even deeper inside me when I reached my forties. I thought that I should be wearing appropriate “middle-age” lady clothes. I sure didn’t want to be one of those ladies that people would look at and whisper “what is she thinking??”. This was made worse by my knowledge that I was one of those people who whispered! (Shame on me!) And then there was the fact that I was attending and ministering in a very small Baptist church led by a lovely, but somewhat “traditional” and older male pastor. I was under the mistaken impression that in order to be a Christian woman and an effective ministry leader, I had to look and dress very shapeless and boring.

Although I thought that I was dressing a certain way for the right reasons, I felt drab, old and unattractive. My sense of confusion and inner struggle came to a halting stop one day when I realized that my mother dressed younger than I did! And she is a Christian woman. And her sense of style is part of her personality. And people thought she looked like my older sister. And – I decided then and there that I was going to break out of my humdrum, middle-aged, boring, and uninspiring cocoon! So I got my hair cut short and spikey, dyed it red, and bought a fun summer top coloured with oranges, greens, reds and browns. And I haven’t looked back since!

Even better, I now have a hubby who not only enjoys my fun and colourful sense of style (he laughingly calls me his bohemian magpie because I like colour and bling) he encourages me to buy things that bless me. He even offers to buy me things too! And now that I am working in a clothing store, I get to feed my inner butterfly personality on a regular basis.

No more boxy, baggy clothes in boring neutrals for me! Just like in Cyndi Lauper’s song “True Colours”, my true colours come shining through. I wear clothes that are colourful and fun and that make me feel good.  And I think my heavenly Father is just fine with that – after all, the same God that created flowers and rainbows also created me! And my joy in wearing fun and colourful clothing reflects my love of the Creator and His beautiful creation. And if you don’t think that God has a unique sense of style, you should watch some nature documentaries. Those Birds of Paradise rock!

God does not judge us based on our appearance. He judges us based on our hearts. I think that as long as our appearance does not dishonour God or lead others astray, we have been given the freedom to express our inner selves. So let your true colours come shining through.

Joh 7:24 Do not judge according to sight, but judge righteous judgment.

2Co 10:7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.

 

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X Marks the Spot

Tomorrow is election day for our provincial government. While I am very grateful that I live in a democratic country in which I am free and safe to cast my ballot, I must confess that I hate election days. I am very frustrated by the lack of good choices!

I am not a “traditional” voter, meaning that I don’t vote based on the tradition of sticking with one political party or based on the political traditions of my parents or grandparents. To me, that kind of “traditional” voting is blind. I like to make informed decisions so I try to find out as much information as possible about the different parties involved. Rather than just base my decisions on the information I hear and see on the various competitive “attack” ads that the main parties seem to utilize, I try to dig a bit deeper to find out what are the various party platforms. Unfortunately, this usually means trying to slog through pages of verbose political sweet-talk. It always amazes me how politicians manage to use so many words without really saying a whole lot! You really have to get past the sugar-coated jargon and read between the lines.

What I find most frustrating is that after I have done the research and made an informed decision it seems like the party elected either does not fulfill half it’s campaign promises or there is one scandal after another!

I remember a discussion with my mother after one federal election. After the general populace seemed to have nothing but vociferous complaints about the former party in power, not only was that party re-elected, it won a majority government! When I commented on this strange phenomenon, my mother said, ” I have come to believe that we, as a people, don’t necessarily get the government that we want or need, but we get the government we deserve”. She did not mean that statement as a compliment.

What a telling thought! I know that it really made me think twice. What she meant was that if people continue to vote using their worldly, selfish desires as motivators, or out of laziness, apathy, arrogance, or ignorance, we are going to continue having ineffective and dishonest government. The hard truth is that we get out what we put in.

We have been choosing the wrong government since the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose to listen to and follow the lies of the devil rather than obey God. And the world has been paying the price ever since.

The Israelites exchanged a heavenly government for an earthly one when they demanded that God provide them with an earthly King like the other nations had.

1Sa 8:5 And they said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
1Sa 8:6 … And Samuel prayed to Jehovah.
1Sa 8:7 And Jehovah said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you. For they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.

God told Samuel to inform the Israelites what would happen if they chose to have an earthly king rule over them.

1Sa 8:9 And now listen to their voice. Only, you shall surely protest solemnly to them, and show them the kind of king who shall reign over them.
1Sa 8:11 The king will take your sons to serve in his army
1Sa 8:12, 13 the king will take your sons and daughters to serve him and provide for him
1Sa 8:14 And he will take your fields and your vineyards and your olive-yards, the best, and give them to his servants.
1Sa 8:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed and of your vineyards, and give it to his eunuchs and to his servants.
1Sa 8:16 And he will take your male slaves and your slave girls, and your finest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
1Sa 8:17 He will take the tenth of your sheep, and you shall be his servants.
1Sa 8:18 And you shall cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and Jehovah will not answer you in that day.

In other words, God was telling them that they would become servants of the king rather than having the king serve the people. They would be giving up their children, lands, and goods for the benefit of the king rather than having them for their own benefit.

But even though they were amply warned, the stubborn Israelites still chose to have an earthly king rule over them. So God let them have what they asked for and they ended up with a government they deserved – Saul etc. –  rather than the ruler they needed – God.

1Sa 8:19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, No, but we will have a king over us.
1Sa 8:22 And Jehovah said to Samuel, Listen to their voice, and make them a king. 

Saul became the first King of Israel and things went downhill quickly. Instead of seeking and obeying God, Saul turned his back on God and went his own way.

1Sa 15:11 It repents Me that I have set up Saul to be king. For he has turned back from following Me and has not done My commands.

In His great mercy and grace, God once again offered the Jews the opportunity to choose a Godly, spiritual king in the person of Jesus, but they once again refused to accept God’s concept of a king. They looked at Jesus through their worldly eyes and saw a lowly carpenter rather than the glorious warrior they wanted to lead their nation into victory over the Romans. Their selfish, arrogant desires blinded them from seeing The Truth. In “voting” against Jesus, they gave up the wonderful promises of God. They exchanged heaven for a lie and paid a heavy price for their choice.

When we reject Jesus, we reject God. When we reject God, we place ourselves under the kingdom of our enemy, the devil – we get the government we deserve.

Since, in this world, we must have an earthly government, it is imperative that we make wise choices. We must ask God to give us His wisdom and counsel and prayerfully consider our choice when we vote. Pray that God will raise Godly men and women to serve our country. And just as importantly, we must continue to pray for those who are serving as our government. We must pray that they govern with Godly wisdom, knowledge and counsel.

1Ti 2:1 First of all, then, I exhort that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
1Ti 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

A final word: although we can only vote for change in our earthly government  about every 4 years, every day is voting day when it comes to the kingdom of God. His mercies are new every morning and every second of every day He provides the opportunity for anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, financial or political status to exercise their God given right to “Vote for Jesus” and thereby gain a seat in God’s eternal “House of Commons”.

If you have not already done so, I urge you to vote for the “Jesus Party”. With Jesus as your Member of Parliament and God as the “Leader of the House” , you can never go wrong and you will never regret your choice. Choose Jesus today and everyday. X

Blessings

Pushing Through Barkin’ Dawgs

My former husband was a Natural Resources Technician. One of his jobs was timber cruising – walking through large areas of woodland designated as potential logging operations and measuring, assessing and marking trees that could be harvested. This job required walking many kilometers over and through a wide range of terrain.

One of his crew members was a fellow in his 60’s (!) who had been doing that type of work for many years. At the end of one particularly long and difficult day, the fellow wearily sat down and stated “my dawgs are barkin’ and my birds are chirpin'”. It was his quaint way of saying that his legs and feet were killing him.

In a number of previous posts, I have shared my struggle with chronic pain, fatigue, and mental health issues. Some days the symptoms are just nagging shadows but on other days they are like roaring lions. I have recently started working again at a job that requires me to be on my feet all day. After my first day, I hobbled home on legs and feet that were not simply “barkin’ and chirping” but  “howlin’  and screachin’! When I got home, all I could do was soak my legs and feet and take pain meds and sit on the couch. The next day, I had to do it all over again! It has now been 3 weeks and I wish that I could say that the pain has gone away, but it hasn’t – although it has lessened somewhat.

Maybe you are asking “why are you doing something that causes you pain??” I do it because I am reaping benefits that are important to me. Working allows me to get out of my small apartment, socialize with a wide variety of people, earn some “mad money”, dress up in fun clothes, and have a sense of purpose. It also challenges me to push through difficult situations.

I think that “pushing through” is often a large part of our lives – both worldly and spiritual. I also think that it is the “pushing through” which develops and strengthens our character and our faith. When difficult and/or painful things occur in our lives, we can’t just lay down, roll over and play dead hoping that someone else will make it all go away. We have an enemy who will always being throwing fiery curve balls at us in an attempt to destroy us. He wants us to just roll over and play dead; after all, a dead body does not make a very good witness to life! And Jesus came that we might have life!

Joh 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Joh 20:31 But these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name.

The Bible is filled with the true stories of people who had to “push through” difficult times in order to obtain something better. DAvid had to push through fear and physical hardships before he was able to take his place as the King of Israel. Esther had to push through fears of punishment and death in order to plead the case of the Israelites before the King. The apostle Paul relates a long list of things that he experienced, endured and had to push through.

2Co 11:23-28  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as beside myself,) I am more! I have been in labors more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more, in deaths many times.  Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the deep. I have been in travels often; in dangers from waters; in dangers from robbers; in dangers from my race; in dangers from the heathen; in dangers in the city; in dangers in the wilderness; in dangers on the sea; in dangers among false brothers.
I have been in hardship and toil; often in watchings; in hunger and thirst; often in fastings; in cold and nakedness; besides the things outside conspiring against me daily, the care of all the churches.

Our ultimate example for pushing through is found in the person of Jesus Christ. In the Garden of Gethsemane we see him pushing through his fear of the knowledge of what terrible thing was going to happen to him.

Mat 26:38 Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Wait here and watch with Me.
Mat 26:39 And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.

Long distance runners know that they have to push through the burning in their lungs before they will get their “second wind” and they must push through the burning in their legs to cross the finish line. Oftentimes, before we can appreciate and enjoy life, or obtain answer to prayer, we need to push through difficult circumstances. We need to keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to reach our break through.

Jesus pushed through fear, rejection, humiliation, torture and death so that we might have forgiveness of our sins and a sure hope of eternal life.

Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.

I encourage and exhort you to keep pushing through the hard, painful and difficult things in your life. Seek God’s help and trust in Him to bring you through. You will come out a winner!

Heb 12:1 Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Blessings