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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sabbath Sayings- Appearances

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

Ask Ellen: What is the Significance of the Numbers Seven and Forty in the Bible? Anthony, Grade 5

I want to say nice job in picking up that numbers are important in the Bible. That’s not so different from today.  Ask anyone if the numbers they see when they step on the scale matter or what their best friend’s cell phone number is and they will agree.  Numbers matter.

Numbers were especially important to that ancient Hebrew people.  When they wrote with numbers a message was conveyed.  The message is hidden to modern readers but it was obvious to the Hebrews of Biblical times.

So to answer your question the number 7 is the number of covenant.  It signified an end or completion.  It means perfection.  It is why God rested on the 7th day.  His work was completed and it was perfect.

The number forty symbolizes testing.  Examples of this are the forty years the Hebrew people spent in the wilderness and the 40 days that Jesus was tested in the desert.  These were times of intense, personal trial.  It is also the reason that Catholics observe forty days of Lent, a time of trial and fasting in preparation for the Holy Triduum.

Next time someone asks, what’s your number, think about it.

Appearances Reflection Questions

How much time have I wasted obsessing about my appearance?

To what lengths have I gone to enhance it?

What lies have I believed about my appearance?

Am I fixated on my outward appearance?

Do I want to stop living this way?

Have I worked on myself from the inside out?

Can I accept myself just the way I am..for now?

Would anyone I know say that I have a quiet and gentle spirit?

What steps am I willing to take to become quiet and gentle?

What can I learn from Saul’s mistakes?

Have I surrendered this to God and asked for His help?

Have a question you are dying to ask me?  Tomorrow I will answer one reader’s question.

Don't Fall Like Saul

When I think of people who are fixated on appearances and public opinion, I think of Saul.  If you’ve never heard of him, you can meet him on the pages of 1 Samuel.

Saul was the first king of Israel. (before David)  The people wanted a “tall” King.  To them that meant powerful.  Saul fit the bill.  Not only was he tall, he was also handsome and wealthy.  In other words he was the whole package.

After some initial success as King, Saul began to obsess about what people thought of him.  He didn’t wait on God but decided to take matters into his own hands. {I’m sure that you can’t relate}  He became a “yes” man, making promises he had no business making (1 Sam 14) {Again, I know that you cannot even begin to imagine how someone could say yes to things simply to please people.}  Finally, Saul disobeyed a direct instruction from God…doing the very thing God told him not to do. (1 Sam 15)  Why?  Fear!  Plain and simple.

The story begins here:

After these critical errors, Saul lived out the rest of his days consumed with envy of David. He practically lost his mind by comparing himself to the future king.  In fact, David spent a great deal of time hiding from Saul in the wilderness.  Don’t worry, David did some of his best work in the wilderness.  Ever read the Psalms?

But I digress…how does Saul apply to our lives today?  He took a good God-ordained thing, his kingship, and let it warp him into a self-conscious lunatic!

Don’t we do the same thing?  God gave us our bodies and looks for His own purpose.  We let it get twisted around until we send those nearest to us running into the wilderness to seek shelter!

We don’t wait for God to help our situation.  We stop eating and wait for the scale to drop.

My advice for the day- Accept where God has you today (even if it’s a bad hair day)  Open yourself up to His plan.  Stop fixating on ever-changing looks and popular opinion.  And tell your loved ones it is safe to come out of their caves.  After all you are developing a quiet and gentle spirit.

We will tie it all together tomorrow with some thought-provoking questions.

Me? Quiet and Gentle?

We have discussed the obsession we have with our appearances.  We have learned that God doesn’t approve of this.  But what does God consider beautiful?  Look for the answer in Scripture:

“Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of robes, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s site is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:4

You can view the passage online here:

We have all seen her..dressed to the nines…not a hair out of place..brand new Jimmy Choo shoes…oh she has outward adornment going on and people notice.  But is it beautiful?  God tells us no.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t intend to part with my fake nails, high-end haircuts and certainly not my spanx….but there’s got to be something more!

I don’t think that God is asking us to be frumpy.  But I do know, to Him, it is a matter of heart.  I believe He says, “Sweetheart, dress it up as much as you want but don’t you for one minute think that you are fooling Me.  I know what is on the inside.”

What does he want the inside to look like?  A quiet and gentle spirit..ouch!  I have a really hard time with quiet and don’t do gentle particularly well either.

What does quiet mean?  Mirriam-Webster tells us “free from harshness, soft, delicate.

Gentle?  Tranquil, calm, peace, restful

What man in his right mind wouldn’t want to cuddle up next to that?  Can’t you just feel your countenance soften as you read those words?  Don’t you want those qualities in your life?  Then do it God’s way.

God isn’t asking us to be doormats or frumps!  He is asking us to harness our power for something softer, something that touches people.  Something that makes their lives better simply because they know you!

Begin to harness your power to bring yourself peace, to make you something God can mold.

How would life change for you (even if only for today) if you stopped obsessing about what is on the outside and found your quiet and gentle spirit.

Do it today.  You’ll never look more beautiful!

Tomorrow we will see how Saul’s life was ruined because he was overly concerned with appearances.

What Is A Girl To Do?

Check out the link below:

I don’t really care if Nicole Kidman has plastic surgery or not.  What I care about is the message it sends to the rest of us.  If people as beautiful as Nicole feel the need to maintain beauty and fight age at all costs, then there is no hope for the rest of us!

The only hope we have is to stop fighting what God has ordained.  We get older every day and we have to deal with it!  We have got to put the mirrors, diet books, gym memberships and hair dye down and pick up some faith.

We need the faith to say I’m OK the way I am.  I may look for ways to improve my health and look and feel my best but I am NOT going to obsess over it.

What things about your appearance do you obsess over?  What drastic measures have you taken to better your appearance?  Today, we admit at least that.

Check back tomorrow to chat about God’s definition of beautiful.

Keep Up Appearances...or Not

Welcome to the first week of  This week's theme is Keeping Up Appearances...or Not.

Cut and paste the link below to check out our first podcast: