Drop Dead Gorgeous

We’ve all done it. We’ve stretched the truth to appear more dramatic. We’ve fabricated a story to cover exactly what happened. We’ve told a white lie in order to not offend someone. But the Bible employs different words for those actions: deception, falsehood, unwholesome talk, and finally, lying lips.

Let’s move to a narrative in Scripture where our heroine possibly thinks,

It’s just a little lie, a little deception, and we’ll keep some of the money for ourselves.

Her name, Sapphira, means sapphire—a beautiful and precious gemstone—Sapir is the Hebrew word from which it originates. Perhaps her eyes were even a lustrous blue, but the jewel was flawed. God struck down Sapphira with a premature death, and we remember Sapphira for her sin rather than her beauty.

Acts chapter 5, verses 1-11 relays the story of Sapphira, along with her husband Ananias, and their deception in the early church of Jerusalem. Desiring the flattering praise of men, they conspired to sell some property, keep a portion of the money for themselves, yet present before the church the lower sum of money pretending it was the complete amount they received from the sale and not just a portion. When confronted with their deception, the Lord first put an end to Ananias’ life. Later, even after Peter the Apostle offered her an out, Sapphira chose to continue the lie. Then God struck her down.

Whoa! You are most likely thinking that’s a terrible and harsh reaction from God. Why would He kill them? They were certainly entitled to keep some of the money from the sale, but they fabricated a story saying what they “put at the apostles’ feet” was the complete, whole amount of money. The integrity of the early church was at stake and God was not going to tolerate lying. Just as lying has led to the downfall of many Christian leaders today, the early church had too much at stake for this type of sin to take root. It could have choked out the work God was going to do with and in the first believers adversely influencing the future of the church and the spread of Christianity.

What does this historical account mean for us today? You and I can ask ourselves these questions:

  • What am I holding back? Have I fully surrendered my heart?
  • Do I have a desire to be noticed? Am I seeking the applause of man rather than heaven?
  • Am I allowing social media to tempt me to flaunt my good deeds? Am I seeking to “one-up” everyone else?
  • Am I stretching the truth? Am I even telling downright lies?
  • And finally, are these actions blocking or even stopping the work God wants to do in and through me? What effect does this have on His church?

Father God, Please forgive me of the sin of deception which has crept into my life. Please cleanse my heart of this evil and create a new heart. Please restore me to a life of integrity so your will and purposes can be accomplished in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Proverbs 11:3 (NIV): “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”

Proverbs 12:22 (NIV): “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”

John 8:44 (NIV): “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

© 2018 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

 

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Attitude Adjustment

“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28, NIV).

Jesus’ words jump off the page as they diverge from what we routinely witness in today’s culture. We see that Jesus had God’s agenda in mind. He knew he would face death on the cross—the ultimate act of service for us. In contrast, I’m observing and reading a lot about entitlement these days. We’re seeing a coddled generation, but how many of us who are older have adapted this same behavior? Are we expecting others to serve us, meeting our perceived needs and demands? Continue reading “Attitude Adjustment”

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Soil Conditioning

Gardening is one of my pleasures in life. This spring I’m busy transplanting rose bushes, adding hydrangeas, and calculating what herbs to grow this season. It’s my version of “crop rotation.” As we dig the holes for our shrubs I’ve learned the importance of digging a very large hole, and since we live at the coast, it’s important to amend our sandy soil with rich, fertile loam. If we don’t take that precaution our plants will never thrive. Continue reading “Soil Conditioning”

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Lean on Me

Smitten. That one word sums up how my husband and I feel about Remy, our rescued standard poodle. And Remy delights in us, confidently knowing he hit the jackpot the day we adopted him and took him out of what had been a painful situation for him. Leaning against us whenever the opportunity presents itself, he demonstrates his total devotion and affection for us. This is no gentle lean against our thigh, but similar to Velcro, he adheres his whole 65-pound body to us, leaning so “hard” that we can easily topple over. We’re Remy’s protection and his safe place.

Do I lean into God and is He truly my safe place?

Continue reading “Lean on Me”

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Out of the Box

Hanging in a bag tucked away in the rear of our closet, surviving many corporate moves, was my wedding gown. After about 20 years I finally took it in for professional cleaning, preservation, and had it boxed. Unfortunately, the process took its toll on my gown as many of the decorative pearls fell off. The lady performing the work was distressed and took it upon herself to hand sew new pearls onto my gown. Upon final receipt of my wedding dress, I couldn’t believe my eyes—it was better than it had been when I handed it over to her. Fully restored, my wedding gown surpassed how it originally looked.

Fast-forward many more years and a couple more moves. The box has transferred neatly from one closet to the next as we’ve moved across the country. Finally, in what we hope is our earthly “forever” home, I wondered why in the world it’s primly placed in a box. So, the next time we had some of our granddaughters over I asked if they wanted to play dress-up with Gramma’s wedding gown. Imagine their excitement over donning the gown and veil and feeling so very special.

So thankful I didn’t keep what had been made new and better stashed away in a box!

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) describes God’s deliverance of his people from Babylon, but also foreshadows His provision of how he will redeem sinners: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Jesus Christ came to give life and as we receive this new life, He indwells us with His Holy Spirit. Once ordinary and mundane, our lives, through His spirit, now surpass anything we could have imagined. Scripture tells the story of when Jesus turned water into wine for His first miracle at a wedding feast in Cana. (See John 2:1-11.) Similar to the transformation of my gown, He delights in remaking our ordinary lives into something exceptional.

But what are we doing with our salvation and the talents God has so graciously lavished on us?

Let’s not keep all God has done in our lives in a box. Pray God will enable you to utilize those gifts and talents He’s provided you with for furthering His kingdom. Is our Lord calling you to come alongside a younger woman and mentor her? How about those babies in the church nursery who need someone to love on them? What about the shut-ins in your neighborhood who could use a warm meal? He has plenty of surprises and delights for us in store! Let’s grab on to what He has for us and live as if we mean it.

The proud grandmother I am, it would be difficult for me to end this without sharing what one of our granddaughters remarked, “Gramma, I think you should hang on to this for me when I get married.” Looks like there may be more use for what was restored …

Father God, Thank you for transforming my life from drab and broken to one of richness and fullness. Please reveal what you have for me in order to advance your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Job 42:10 (NIV): “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”

Psalm 23:3 (NIV): “He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

Psalm 51:12 (NIV): “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Titus 3:5 (NIV): “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

© 2018 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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