Week 46 Friday

A New Look

Today’s scripture selection: Zechariah 1-7

Key Verses: Zechariah 3:1-4

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’ Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’”

Among the visions of the prophet Zechariah there is this one about a priest getting a fresh pair of clothes.  But it’s about a lot more than just being given a new look.  It’s about being given a new life.

Notice how Satan – the accuser; the slanderer; is right there at the priest’s right side trying to cause trouble.

Isn’t that how it often seems?

We are doing our best to follow God’s direction; follow His instruction; follow that “still, small voice” within, calling us to action – and there is another persistent voice suggesting all sorts of reasons why we shouldn’t or can’t do that.

It reminds me of those cute old animated cartoons where a character – maybe Bugs Bunny – is caught in a moral dilemma while a tiny angel sits on one side and a tiny devil sits on the other.

But it’s no kid’s cartoon.  It’s real.

Every day people struggle to find a way out of trouble; freedom from addiction; peace from discouragement and self-loathing.  They need a whole lot more than a new set of clothes – a “new look”.  They need hope and peace and direction.  They need to be that “burning stick, snatched from the fire”. They need to believe there is something “more”.  And many simply need to know that not only are they worth loving – they are loved.

Well, they – we – are.  It’s that simple – and that wonderful – they – we – are loved.  That’s the gospel in a nutshell.

So, take a walk Satan.  It’s time for the filthy rags to come off.  It’s time for a new look.  It’s time for a new life.  It’s time for God’s grace.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for clothing me in fresh, new, wonderful life.  AMEN.





By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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