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Outward Appearance

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Read James 2:1-5

View the Nov-Dec, 2014 Issue

Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality.”

- Acts 10:34 (NRSV)

When I entered the grocery store, he caught my attention immediately. The young man was of a different race than I. He had an unusual haircut and was dressed in a manner that I considered offensive. He looked out of place.

After shopping, I went to the self-checkout to pay for my groceries. Fumbling with the items and my wallet, I scanned my groceries and paid for them. As I walked out of the store, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see the man I had noticed earlier. He handed me my wallet. I had not realized that I had dropped it.

As much as I was relieved to have my wallet returned, I was ashamed at how I had “profiled” this young man. As a teacher, I have worked successfully with students of many races and nationalities. I should have known better than to make assumptions about someone based on their race and appearance. Thankfully, God does not judge us by our appearance. I re-learned a valuable lesson that day about not judging people by the way they look.

Read more from the author, here.

The Author

Tim Wood (Tennessee, USA)

Thought for the Day

God sees what is inside each of us.


Holy God, help us to see the best in everyone and to look beyond outward appearances. Amen.

Prayer focusTeenagers


Comment by Tommie of Dayton, TN

As with Adam, I remember the days when Christmas was the time for new toys. Then my father died and Mother stretched the "widow's pension" the government gave surviving spouses of veterans as far as she could. One year that stands out is when she made a new outfit for my doll. I'm sure she sat up late at night to do it. Even at that young age, I realized the love that went into it.
Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good morning God and UR family having come through a not so peaceful not in my household due to illness, which seems to be impacting many households this time of year, I embrace the peace spoken of in our devotional. I love the completeness of Peace as spoken of in the scriptures. Christ is born and His creation feels peace on the night of that birth. Christ returns after His resurrection and gives to His apostle, His peace. In this troubled and torn world we are often drained of our faith and ask for the Holy Spirit to renew us. So as I awake on this gloomy morning I take hope and peace as my comfort this morning. Knowing you are there with me. Loving me and waiting for me to pause and be with you. Our time together more precious than anything earthly. I love and need you. Bless you his morning for calling me to you.
Posted December 21, 2011 at 07:18AM CST
Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good Evening God and UR family the anticipation of the candle light service on Christmas Eve, brought back so many memories of my childhood, the peace of the evening the still of the night's streets. The candles providing the only light by which to worship. The smell of air filled with pine. As I child I was probably stirred more with the anticipation of what I would be getting Christmas morning rather then the beauty of the coming of Christ. Now with my heart more fully aligned with Christ's I was awakened today to a new anticipation of His coming. A new kind of sharing. A hopefulness I had yet to experience in this season. Thank you God for the gifts you provide me each day. I love you and how at each we meet you change me. Transforming this heart into one who knows love even more than I thought possible.
Posted December 21, 2011 at 04:43PM CST
Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good Night God and UR family what a day it has been with you. JK any word on your friend and his medical procedure. Been checking periodically to see if there is any news. Huge praise to God for again completing my life with the most amazing people. I was surrounded by beauty all day as I did my daily tasks. Wanting more I reached out and received the most wonderful gift of love anyone could ever imagine. You are such a wonderful God and I praise you for allowing me the sight to see the radiance you place in my life. Tomorrow as the light breaks through the darkness I pray that you will renew my strength so that I may use it to love and care for those you place in my life. I cant wait to see what you have in store for me tomorrow. I love you with all that I am and I thank you for loving me.
Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:19PM CST

Posted December 21, 2014 at 11:07AM CST
Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL

Good morning, everyone! Thank you, Tim, for your devotional this morning, and for the reminder about not judging others because of their race, clothing or hair style. I will admit that sometimes I have been guilty of pre-judging young people because of their dress, hair style or piercings. I know that is wrong, as I have wondered if potential employers have judged me because of my age and graying hair. Since I would not be happy about that, I know that it is just as wrong for me to judge the younger folks. Praise the Lord He doesn’t judge me by my outward appearance, and I pray that He will help me not to, either.
NOE of Lancaster, PA - I am praying for you as you begin your new calling as associate pastor for a mission and family ministry in Lancaster, PA. I pray that the Lord will bless you, and use you in a very special way with the church in Lancaster, and that you will also be used to reach the lost and touch lives in that community. * KATHY of Reading - I am praying for you, that the Lord will bring you healing from the cold/flu, or whatever bug you caught that has you feeling ill. I am also praying that you will have a good week at work today, and that your co-workers, who feel they have to be a part of a “mean girls club”, will have a more festive and warm spirit this week, which will hopefully carry over into the New Year.
JK - I am praising the Lord that your daughter arrived home safely, and pray that she is feeling better, and that the Lord will bless your family as you are together this Christmas. I am also lifting your friend, Beth, in prayer. May the Lord, who knows her needs, grant them according to His will. * DAN - I am praising the Lord that you had a very moving, very touching Kairos prison reunion on Saturday. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue His work in these men, and that those who don’t know Him yet will be drawn to the Savior.
RAYNARD - I am joining you in prayers for the families of the two New York police officers who were senselessly shot and killed while sitting in their police car. May the Lord hold them close and give them comfort and peace. I am also praying for an end to these crimes and tension across the country. * JULIE of Delray Beach, FL - I am praising the Lord with you that your mother-in-law is doing much better and should be coming home today. I pray that the Lord continues His work of healing in her. I am also praying that the project manager for your bathroom reconstruction will show up today and that the work will get done by Christmas, with quality workmanship, too.
MARSHA of Brownwood, TX - I am praising the Lord with you that your son, Nick, and his National Guard unit returned safe from a tour of duty in Afghanistan! I pray that the Lord will continue to watch over Nick, and that you both have a wonderful holiday. * BOB of Salem, MI - I am praying for the family and friends of your friend who recently passed after a four-year battle with breast cancer. I pray that the Lord will hold them all especially close and give them of His peace and love, especially remembering that she is now cancer-free and with Him in heaven.
JACKIE of San Antonio - I am lifting you in prayer, that the Lord will give you peace over the next several days, as you are helping your sister with her many needs. I pray that He will uphold you and give you strength. I am also praying that the Lord will provide for your sister’s needs, both financial and all needs in her family. I also pray that you had safety in traveling to have Christmas brunch with your college friends, and that you had a wonderful time together. * JUDY of Columbia, SC - A belated happy 8th birthday to your granddaughter yesterday. I pray that she had a special day, and that the Lord will bless her with many more.
PATRICIA - I am continuing to pray that the Lord will bring you healing from the bronchitis you have been suffering with. I pray that all medication you may be taking will be effective in clearing this up, and you are feeling better real soon.
Have a blessed day, everyone!

Posted December 21, 2014 at 10:22PM CST
Comment by Jackie of San Antonio, TX

Good morning UR family. Tim, God taught me a very valuable lesson about 40 years ago. I had just graduated from high school. I was working a part-time job and in college. The newspaper. company I worked for was hiring a new person to help with my duties. I'll never forget what I thought when Cindy walked into the office. I had met her or even spoke to Cindy but right away I decided I wouldn't like her. There was no reason I felt this way. I just knew we wouldn't get along. Well God had other plans. He dropped a huge brick on my head. Cindy & I hit it off in no time. In fact, she & I were in each other's weddings and I became her children's Godmother. Cindy now lives in Dallas and I on San Antonio but we see each other as often as possible, text, talk on the phone & email. Talk about being wrong! I couldn't have been more wrong. She's been a true blessing to me and I hope she can say the same about me.

Had a wonderful day with our friends. Well two quilts down and one to finish. Our friends who got their quilts today were so excited. What a great feeling knowing you've shared a part of yourself with someone else.

Heavenly Father thank you for our blessing this day. Thank you for your son Jesus. Amen

Posted December 21, 2014 at 11:26PM CST
Comment by Bob of Elgin, IL

The 'read more from the author here' link above doesn't seem to work but if you click on 'BLOG' in the upper right hand corner you will get to Tim's additional, interesting information.

Posted December 22, 2014 at 12:23AM CST
Comment by Judy of Yalaha, FL

Good Early Morning, off to take friends to the airport. They are traveling from Orlando to Reno, and both of them have colds. Hard trip but a joyous reunion for their family. Then home to catch up on sleep. Prayers are with all of you as you face a very special, but hectic week. A joyous time for most and a sad time for those who have lost family and loved ones.

Posted December 22, 2014 at 02:45AM CST
Comment by Don of Ozark, MO

Good morning my friends. Tim we welcome you the UR family and hope that you will feel to comment at any time. Thank you for your devotional contribution. God does not judge us by our outward appearance. We are all beautiful in His eyes. That is the example that we should follow in our relations with those around us all over our world. To pre-judge others, also known as prejudice toward others, is such a common practice in our world, yet it is so wrong. I wonder how many times that we have failed to listen to someone, or to help someone, because of their physical appearance. I was taught at an early age, by my parents, that I, and everyone in our world were God's children . They told me that skin color, race, and nationality were not be used to decide the value of a person or group of people. They also made a point of telling me that the financial status of one was not important either. We should love everyone equally and do our best to help those who need our help. I cannot say that I have always been that way in every instant of my life but I have tried to be that way. If I could afford to travel all over the world in hope of finding a sinner, I would not have to go very far. Any surface that will reflect an image will show me my first sinner, myself. I am not proud of that fact. I strive each day to be the creation that the Lord wants me to be and I am so thankful that He will forgive me each time that I falter. I pray today for all of us, that we will not pass judgement on others due to their situation in life and instead, show our love for those around us. I ask for prayers for one of the members of the church that I attend. Lynn is in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Springfield with acute respiratory problems. He has been a very faithful member of our church for many decades and we hope to keep him with us, Another member, Ethyl, is recovering from heart surgery and she needs our prayers as well.May our Lord bless each of us with His love and healing today. Praise the Lord!!

Posted December 22, 2014 at 02:46AM CST
Comment by JK

Good morning Tim and Tommie and Sarah and Bob(thanks for that info) and Jackie and Judy and Don! This message is a convicting one as we/I readily judge the book by its cover! I try to be aware of this habit, but know that I do so as an automatic reflex almost.
Sarah thank you as usual for your prayers and faithfulness.
Tommie I believe that the medical procedure Adam is referring to was completed and my friend was released early before Christmas that year. Outstanding considering what he had done AND I am thrilled to report he just had his 3 year check up and he is still cancer-free.
Jackie what a wonderful testimony to your friendship!
Judy praying travel mercies for your friends and slumber for you after your airport "run".
Praying for Ethyl and all those among us who have health, employment, financial or relationship needs(probably covers 99% of us?).
Another busy day, but I hope to live in the moment and savor each minute spent with my daughter. My husband has his first follow up appointment from his surgery this afternoon as well and the kiddo has eye and dental appointments tomorrow.
Blessings to each of you.

Posted December 22, 2014 at 04:05AM CST
Comment by Kathy of Reading, PA

Good Morning UR family, Tim, thank you for your devotional this morning. I have guilty of judging someone. That is one thing I ask God to help me with besides patience. Tommie, I love your comment this morning. When I was little, our Christmas tree was always decorated by my parents. We woke up to see this sparkling tree. Years later , I had found out that they didn't have tinsel for the tree (not sure which Christmas) so my parents cut up aluminum foil in strips for the tinsel. My Dad also made a wooden cross for the front yard decorated with lights. Christmas is not what is used to be. So much commercialism and not enough meaning. Sarah, thank you for your prayers this morning. My prayers today are for all dealing with illness, financial issues, relationships, and the day to day struggles of life. Have a great day to all.

Posted December 22, 2014 at 04:22AM CST
Comment by Dan of Summerfield, NC

Tim, thank you for your devotion, and reminder we should not judge people by their looks. Over the last 20 years, God has made it his business of busting the stereotypes in my life. He and I have gone through enough of them, 'looks' per se truly are no longer an issue for me. However, my antennae go up regarding aggressive and/or unstable behavior; only because in my ministry, I deal with people who are going through addiction or extreme stress. In those cases, my response almost immediate compassion; recognizing it's not about me, it's because of something they are going through. I can lose it when my flesh is in a turmoil (I'm not a 'rage' person, but passive aggressive, and seldom, but every so often....). Even then, it is nearly impossible for someone to insult or abuse me verbally and get rise; it doesn't happen.
And yet, I've been awake since about 3 am because of an verbal attack on me at my doctor's office last Thursday. I'm not sure what she saw in me, but I came in humbly to let them know my prescription was low, as would have been expected, and wanted to see about getting a refill. My doctor was out of town for 3 weeks, I had not met the deadline they posted on the phone for the holidays (last Monday), and I really needed to leave. She was not interested in what I was there for, or why, and I felt as though the next sentence was: 'Do I need to call the police?' In the last 72 hours, I have interacted with a chronically homeless person who is looking at a winter on the streets, and men who are in prison, many for life, who are angry and bitter about their life as we approach Christmas. I feel their pain. Three times in my life (1971, 1998 and 2002) I was verbally assaulted just for being me, and now in 2014. Maybe I needed to be stereotyped (as what?), just to see how it felt. I appreciate it and I have prayed for her, but I'm not yet seeing a path of resolution here. Prayers please for direction.

Posted December 22, 2014 at 04:27AM CST
Comment by Sally of Canandaigua, NY

Thank you for your devotional and your blog post. As you mentioned in your blog, it wasn't easy to re-tell this story,but by doing so you have given us all food for thought today. My daughter is African American and my oldest son has multiple piercings and tattoos and they have both been victims of profiling. I know that they are wonderful, kind,caring, compassionate adults who strive to make the world a better place. Since they were young I have always said that families come in all sizes, shapes and colors. That includes God's family as well.
I hope everyone has a chance to smile today!

Posted December 22, 2014 at 04:46AM CST
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