February 13, 2012

A Christian Countenance

A friend tells that before she became a Christian, she knew who believed in Jesus because they had shiny faces. For some unknown reason, after she believed, she was no longer able to see that glow.
The first mention of a shiny face is in Exodus. Moses had led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. They were in the wilderness on their way to the land He had promised them when God summoned Moses to go up a mountain and meet with Him. There God gave this man His commandments. When Moses returned, he found that the people had sinned by creating a golden calf and worshiping it. He destroyed the first set of commands, interceded for his people, and God renewed the covenant again on the mountain.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. (Exodus 34:29)
This happened in the New Testament also. A disciple named Stephen was said to be “full of grace and power” and doing wonders and signs among the people. Those who disputed with him “could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.”
Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (Acts 6:11–15)
Last Sunday our pastor preached a sermon about hope and the future glory that God has promised His people. I looked across the aisle at a friend and noticed that her face was shining. Afterwards, she exclaimed her delight in this message and being reminded of what God has prepared for us. 

Today’s devotional reading is one sentence. It says, “The face is made every day by its morning prayer, and by its morning look out of windows which open upon Heaven.” For me, this means getting up each day and spending my first hours in the Word of God and in prayer. It means turning my heart and mind toward the promises of God and thinking deeply about all He has done and is doing. By this, God can change any anxious thoughts or even remnants of nastiness from the previous day or bad dreams from the night. Just thinking about Him and His goodness changes my countenance, but it also changes my attitude and outlook.

Lord, I cannot see any glow on my own face, but that is not as important as being aware of Your grace and presence and letting it affect the thoughts and attitudes of my heart. Thank You for granting me time with You each morning and throughout the day. Thank You for Your power to set the agenda of my heart and fill it with joy.

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