March 21, 2020 by Joe Rodriguez
“See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” -Zechariah 3:4
This is North Pierhead Lighthouse located on the north side of the Manistee River, in Manistee, Michigan. First built in 1869, it was destroyed by fire and later replaced by a light on the south pier in 1873, along with a new light for the north pier. The present light, which measures 39 feet tall, was built in 1927. Because the lighthouse was made from riveted steel plates, it slowly succumbed to the harsh elements of nature. In April 2016, the tower underwent an extensive renovation worth tens of thousands of dollars. The old lead paint was removed and a new epoxy coating was applied. It received new glass and hardware at the lantern level, some steel repair and new concrete steps. This “before and after” image reminds me of the transforming power of Christ’s redemptive work.
Battered and torn by sin and the many challenges in this world, we all have experienced a life storm at one time or another. Perhaps one of those storms has left you feeling/looking like the North Pierhead Light did before it underwent renovation. But God stepped in and renewed you through the process of spiritual birth. And if you are currently going through a difficult time, He is offering you that same opportunity right now. No matter how rough a storm we may have to face in life, and no matter how emotionally, physically, and spiritually deteriorating it may become, God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Better yet, He has promised to change our mourning into dancing, to give us a crown of beauty in place of ashes, to revive our dead souls, and clothe us with a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair.
“To console the mourners in Zion—to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for a spirit of despair. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” -Isaiah 61:3
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness…” –Isaiah 61:10
In our society, typically you can identify someone’s occupation, social status, or even religious affiliation by the type of clothes they wear. But like masks, earthly attire can be deceiving. However, the same can never be said of the heavenly attire given to those who have been redeemed by the atoning sacrifice of God’s only Son. Jesus was stripped of his clothes/dignity, beaten, and crucified in order that we may be spiritually clothed, comforted, and given eternal life. His attire consists of true love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and above all, grace. These are the things that help us live a life of hope and trust in the midst of trials and tribulations. The very same things that we can help others find by leading them to Christ.
Spring is here. That means time to clean out the clutter, update the wardrobe, renovate some parts of the home, or even get that new car! How about replacing that discouraging, depressing, and fearful spirit with a garment of praise? Visit heaven’s clothing store and ask for the expert Tailor. He is ready to dress you up!
Prayer: Dear Lord strip me of myself and clothe me with your praises each and every day. In you, I can wake up, go about my day, and lay my head back down to sleep knowing that I am dressed for victory come what may. In your precious name, I pray, Amen!
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” -1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” -Colossians 3:12 NIV