Make Room for God

Full Closet
Today’s post is a rerun. Hope you will enjoy it!

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” 

Philippians 2:5-7 NASB

When I go to the thrift store I often come back with a garbage-bag-size sack of frugal finds! I am so excited about my abundance of like-new fashions until…I realize I have nowhere to put them. My walk-in closet, my dresser drawers, even my cedar chest are already full.

That means it’s time to clean out. I need to part with some of my old clothes to make room for the new. Sometimes I find it difficult to part with my old garments. A suit from the ’90s…it fit so well. My favorite red sweater is pilly…but it’s so comfortable. That lavender blouse I bought on sale at JCPenney, but never wore…it’s brand new, “someday” I’ll wear it.

My spiritual life may be like my overstuffed closet. I may need to get rid of my selfishness…but it fits so well. I should throw out my pride…but it’s so comfortable. And I secretly hang on to my controlling behavior…oops it’s not so secret now.

But God asks me to be like Jesus, to empty myself like I empty my closet. Clear out the old to make room for the new. Instead of selfishness…selflessness. Rather than pride…humility. Desiring God’s way… instead of demanding my own.

So let’s empty our lives of all our own agendas and desires to make room for God.

What does God want you to throw out today? Has He ever asked you to sacrifice something in order to make more room for Him?

Finding Faith

“Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5)

I had to search through four stores, search through hundreds of pairs of pants and try on 15 pairs of slacks in order to find one pair of black slacks that fit me. The search was worth it because the slacks are a wardrobe staple.

Just as that black pair of pants or stylish skirt is essential to our physical clothing, faith is essential to our spiritual wardrobes. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). But I can’t find faith at the thrift store. Where do we go when we need faith?

Jesus’ disciples once approached Him and said, “Increase our faith.” I think we can also pray that prayer. After all, faith is a gift to begin with. Paul tells us that we have been saved by grace through faith and faith “is not from yourselves it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). So let’s pray the disciples’ prayer, “Increase our faith.”

What other practical steps do you take when you feel low on faith? Here are a few of the methods I use:

1. First, I go to God’s Word. Black slacks are found at thrift stores. Faith-builders are found in God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

2. I find promises in God’s Word that strengthen my faith and give me something to hang onto. For instance I used Micah 7:7—“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”—during a long period of waiting.

3. I sing. Great hymns like “Great is Thy Faithfulness or “How Great Thou Art” fuel my faith.

4. I remember all the tough times that God has already brought me through. This helps me to remember that He is faithful and trustworthy.

Let’s appreciate that we do not have to hunt through thrift stores to find faith. God is more than willing to give it to us. We can find it in His Word, in His faithfulness in the past, and through His Spirit who grows that faith in our hearts.

Please share practical steps you use to grow your faith.

Fashion Essentials

This week I was on a mission—find a pair of black pants that fit. Now that probably doesn’t sound very difficult to you, but I visited four of my favorite thrift stores and tried on at least 15 pairs of slacks before I found a pair that fit my shape and my height.

Why was I willing to put that much time and effort into finding one clothing item? Because black slacks or black skirts are wardrobe staples—fashion essentials.

This got me thinking, “If black slacks are a wardrobe staple, what is an essential item in my spiritual wardrobe?”

2 Peter 1:5-7 answered my question, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” Peter talks about a lot of things that we are add to our spiritual wardrobes like goodness, knowledge and self-control. But what is the basic item that we add them to? Faith. Faith is the basic black skirt or pair of slacks that we build our spiritual wardrobes around.

In my closet, I may have a red jacket, burgundy sweater and a fuchsia blouse, but I can’t wear them alone. I need those black slacks. I may be trying to do good and gain spiritual knowledge and develop my self-control, but I can’t do it alone. I need faith. I need to trust my Savior to help me live a virtuous life. I need to rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me and give me knowledge. I need to depend on God for self-control.

The good news about faith is that I don’t have to hunt through thrift stores to find it—it’s a gift from God!

Let’s discuss: What is an essential wardrobe item in your regular clothes closet? How has faith helped you develop other areas of your spiritual wardrobe in the last week?

Five Checkpoints of a Quality Day

Thrift store shopping requires a keen eye for quality. Many of the clothes in resale shops are wonderful buys, but there are also a lot of garments with stains, torn seams, and pilled fabrics. Sometimes I get so excited about a fashionable find that I forget to check all the details. Later, when I am about to wear the new sweater or skirt, I discover a flaw that makes it unusable. To help you avoid my mistakes, I offer this list.

Five Checkpoints of a Quality Garment

1. Is the garment clean, without stains?

2. Is the fabric in good shape? Or is faded, worn, or pilly?

3. Is the stitching tight and secure?

4. Are the buttons reinforced?

5. Does the garment have a wide, even hem?

The lessons from quality garments can apply to our lives as well. It can be a good practice to examine our days just as we examine our clothes. Here are some features to look for in a day well spent.

Five Checkpoints of a Quality Day

1. Was the day cleaned? Did it include a time of confession and receiving God’s forgiveness?

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NIV).

2. Were joy and laughter included in the fabric of the day?

The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV).

3. Was the day stitched with love?

Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV).

4. Was the day reinforced with God’s Word?

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

5. Was the day hemmed in prayer and thankfulness?

“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8).
I pray that God will bless your days with love and laughter, with His grace and guidance. May you count your blessings and enjoy His fellowship!



Make Room for God

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7 NASB

When I go to the thrift store I often come back with a garbage-bag-size sack of frugal finds! I am so excited about my abundance of like-new fashions until…I realize I have nowhere to put them. My walk-in closet, my dresser drawers, even my cedar chest are already full.

That means it’s time to clean out. I need to part with some of my old clothes to make room for the new. Sometimes I find it difficult to part with my old garments. A suit from the ’90s…it fit so well. My favorite red sweater is pilly…but it’s so comfortable. That lavender blouse I bought on sale at JCPenney, but never wore…it’s brand new, “someday” I’ll wear it.

My spiritual life may be like my overstuffed closet. I may need to get rid of my selfishness…but it fits so well. I should throw out my pride…but it’s so comfortable. And I secretly hang on to my controlling behavior…oops it’s not so secret now.

But God asks me to be like Jesus, to empty myself like I empty my closet. Clear out the old to make room for the new. Instead of selfishness…selflessness. Rather than pride…humility. Desiring God’s way… instead of demanding my own.

So let’s empty our lives of all our own agendas and desires to make room for God.

What does God want you to throw out today? Has He ever asked you to sacrifice something in order to make more room for Him?

Armani Desires

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3

One of the things I love most about shopping at a thrift store is that virtually anything I find there is within my price range. Over the years I have purchased an Ann Taylor sweater set for $4.99, a Liz Claiborne trench coat for $5.50, and a Jones New York jacket for $4.00. In a resale shop I can usually buy anything I desire.

This is seldom true in the outlet mall near my house. I love to browse there and sometimes find wonderful items within my budget. However, on one such browsing session I wandered into the Armani store. Now I knew Armani was an expensive name, but I thought this is the outlet store, right? Looking through the racks I found a beautiful blouse. “This would be perfect,” I thought until I looked at the price tag–$221.00!

That was definitely one desire that would remain unmet.

When my daily quiet time led me to Deuteronomy 8:3 the other day, it was like God flipped a switch. I saw something in that verse I had not noticed before. Moses told the people of Israel that God humbled them, causing them to hunger. He did not immediately meet their needs. And when God did feed them, He gave them manna. This was a miraculous food to be sure and it kept them full, but it did not totally satisfy their appetites. They still longed for the taste of fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic (Numbers 11:5).

God purposely caused them to hunger, let their mouths water, their stomachs to growl. Why?

To teach them that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” God caused the hunger, gave them a desire that He didn’t immediately meet in order to show them that what they really wanted was not what they thought they wanted.

Let me say that again: What they really wanted was not what they thought they wanted. Their deepest need, their most intense desire and our deepest need, most intense desire is to hear God’s words to us. We need to recognize His voice and experience a real relationship with Him.

Looking back on my life, I see many times when I have had a deep longing, an intense desire, a pressing goal. I worked hard to get what I wanted and prayed with all my heart, yet what I longed for remained just beyond my reach. Now I see that it was during those times that God was withholding that desire, delaying the answer to the prayer long enough for me to see that what I really wanted was Him. To realize that Jesus is enough. The desires I had were to lead me to true satisfaction in the Lord–in His words of life to me.

What desires do you have? Does it seem that God is withholding a key ingredient to your happiness? Maybe He is trying to show you that what you really want is to hear His voice. Take time to do that today. Read His loving words to you. Be still and listen. He is the One who will give you what you really want.

And it isn’t something you can buy in the Armani outlet.

A Shade of Green

Today I am wearing one of my favorite thrift store finds–a sage green cable knit sweater. It has a boat neck and long sleeves, very comfortable and soft. Some people have even commented that it looks like cashmere although it is not. And it only cost $3.63!

One of the reasons that I like the sweater is the color. I love the color green–the symbol of life and growth. And according to the color consultant I visited years ago, green is one of my best colors.

However, there is one shade of green that is not flattering on me–or anyone–envy green! What is envy exactly? Basically envy is feeling uneasiness, discontent, and even emotional pain at the sight of greater excellence or happiness enjoyed by others. Envy can lead to misery as it looks only on what it doesn’t possess. When I dwell on what others have and I don’t, envy erases my happiness.

I went through a time of feeling discontent with my situation–envy of what others had, made me miserable. At the time there was nothing I could do to change my situation, so I had to change my outlook! I had to learn to accept what I had and count my blessings.

God started to work a new attitude in my heart. Instead of envy He showed me how to be content. As my relationship with God grew, I realized He knew my desires, perhaps even better than I did myself. The Bible says, “You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh” (Ps. 38:9 NLT). I saw God more and more as a loving Father who enjoyed giving His children what was best for them. I saw Him as the almighty God who had the universe at His disposal and would give me His most awesome gifts at the best time.

Someone said “Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessing instead of your own.” (Harold Coffin , www.quotegarden.com) So when you’re tempted to drag out your little green outfit because you are a little jealous of the jeweled and sequined numbers everyone else seems to be wearing, make a conscious effort to be thankful. Think about the good things in your life. Keep a gratitude notebook and write down things you are grateful for. Record big items like your home or your job, but don’t forget small things like your warm, fuzzy robe or details we tend to take for granted like a beautiful sunset. Don’t be like the person who said, “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner!” (Colette, www.quotegarden.com).