As White As Snow

I kept looking out the window to see if  it was snowing.  Finally, at 10:00pm last night, I looked out and the world was white.  Beautiful!  I took our dog, Jack, outside.  It was like daylight because of the reflection of snow.  Everywhere we looked, it was fresh, undisturbed, falling in gentle flakes.

This morning at first light Jack and I were out again but this time it was a different scene.  Cars had already begun making the snow dirty.  The sidewalks were filled with squashy footprints.  The beauty of the night before was gone.  As we traipsed along in the wet slush the excitement of the fresh snow was gone.

What I was seeing is a picture of what takes place in our spiritual worlds.  When we come to Jesus, asking Him to forgive us and make us new, He does that very thing.  We are told in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.” (says the Lord)  God’s love and redemption is amazing!  He forgives absolutely and He makes new absolutely.  God never does anything half-way.

Then, the temptations of the world come across all our paths.  Too often we succumb to those things that soil our hearts.  The beauty of our newness in Christ fades like trampled on snow.  Joy diminishes.  Peace crumbles.  The beauty that once was is now soiled.

Great news — we don’t have to remain as snow made dirty by the tracks of this world.  At any time we may call out to the One who loves us unconditionally.  Jesus promises us that every time we come with a sincere heart, He washes away the sin and makes us clean like snow again; just as if we had never sinned at all.  We stand pure in His sight when we are washed in His forgiveness.

Oh, what a loving and holy Father!  Nothing compares to His love and forgiveness.

Pearl Drops And A Tablespoon

I don’t suppose I’ll ever forget a time, many years ago now, when my oldest niece was five years old. We were all getting ready for bed. I was standing before my mirror dabbing pearl size drops of my night cream onto my face and rubbing it into my skin. My niece had her eyes glued to this procedure when she asked me, “what are you doing?” I replied, “I’m putting on my night cream which helps get rid of wrinkles.” Without a pause she asked, “when does it start working?”

Wow!  Reality check! Even so, I have never stopped my daily routine of massaging day and night cream onto my face. I like to tell myself that, although obviously aging, things could be a lot worse if I didn’t use my cream.  Last night I realized something. Although my nightly routine hasn’t changed, the frequency of purchasing my daily creams has increased. I began following the directions which instructed me to use “pearl size drops.” As the years passed I adjusted the amount to a few extra and larger pearl size drops.  Now, I’m digging out my night cream with a tablespoon! Well, it makes me feel good, like possibly I’m doing something that helps!

I was still chuckling at myself as I lay me down to sleep. That’s when my thoughts took a more serious turn and I thought about how it is when we come to Jesus.  No matter what we have ever done in life; no matter how many times we have totally blown it, He loves us and invites us to come to Him, allowing Him to give us the only bath that will ever make us clean.

Like my daily cream, we can attempt to change our situation for the good.  We can tell ourselves that we can become a good person by being kind to others or giving more to charity, or work on not losing our tempers so often, etc. We can try so many things to make ourselves good, but no matter how great our attempts, we are still an imperfect people. We can heap tablespoons full of good works into our lives, but at the end of each day, the wrinkles of imperfection are still there.

Jesus provides the only way to be made totally clean and whole. He said this in Isaiah 1:18, “‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.’” You see, to rid ourselves of sin, we need a sinless Savior who says that He will pay the penalty for us. With the penalty paid, God the Father looks at our record and sees the charges against us have all been dismissed.  He then welcomes us into His family, and it’s all because of Jesus.  It’s not any good works on our part, but because of the depth of His love taking our place, paying our penalty, setting us free.

Forget the tablespoons of good works to erase the wrinkles of our imperfections and wrongdoings; only Jesus can cleanse, make whole, and make us into a new creation — counted as wrinkle free!

Aaaaah — The Shower

It has been a good day; in fact, a most enjoyable day, but by the end of it a great wave of tiredness swept over me.  It was like, one minute I was full of energy, and the next I felt so weary I just wanted to find someplace to stretch out and close my eyes.

When the moment came to do just that, I was then faced with a decision: take a shower before resting or wait until the morning.  I toyed with the choice I had to make.  A small thing, but in the moment of growing fatigue, the matter loomed large in my brain.  Take it in the morning, my brain whispered encouragement to me.  You’ll feel so awful sleeping dirty between clean sheets, indecision shouted loudly.  Indecision won.  I put myself in the shower.

Ohhhhh, how good that felt!  Hot water beat down onto tired muscles, soothing away aches, replacing weariness with new vigor.  Why did I ever even think of waiting till the morning?

Why do we toy with the same thoughts in our spiritual worlds? When we discover that we’ve let something into our lives that takes us a step away from closeness to our Father — why wait to make it right?  When temptation wins a battle — why wait in misery before we take that spiritual shower, letting the Holy Spirit wash away all that is soiled in our lives?

Spiritual dirt is no fun.  Just like physical dirt makes us feel yucky all over, so it is in our spiritual worlds.  The longer we wait before taking a spiritual bath, the deeper grows our misery.  Why do this to ourselves?  Never wait till morning to take that shower; jump into Father’s arms right now with a repentant heart.  Let His love and forgiveness replace your weariness with His own joy and renewed vigor.

To all who consider delaying that needed spiritual shower, consider the words found in Isaiah 1:18, “‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.  Though they are like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'”

Washing The House

In order to begin writing today’s blog entry, I looked up the dictionary definition of “pervasive.” It means: “an unwelcome influence or physical effect spreading widely through an area or a group of people.” What I was doing yesterday and today involved something that had become pervasive and it was definitely unwelcome. It was sticky brown dust and green algae — all over the house!

My mother’s house is covered in white vinyl siding. When it was first put up years ago it was brilliant white. Then, as the year came on, so came the dust and algae. How did it get there? Basically, farmers plow their fields, and north winds blow cold that produces algae in places where the sun doesn’t shine all that much.

The grime creeps up slowly. It’s barely noticeable until one day the streaks of brown and green scream out! It’s been building up throughout the year, but it seems to have arrived overnight. Well, I tackled it good: a spray bottle of bleach and a garden hose to wash it away took care of the problem. The bleach eats the grime and in minutes it’s all pretty again. There was a section of the house that didn’t look so bad. I nearly left it until I stepped back to look at the whole house. Wow! That put it all into proper perspective. When I looked at what was already cleaned, the part that I thought was okay actually stood out in its obvious dirt! I quickly applied the bleach, and now the whole house is gleaming white.

Don’t we do that in our spiritual worlds? When we invite Jesus into our lives and ask Him to forgive us of all our sins, He applies the blood of the cross and cleans us up perfectly! We’re gleaming clean and forgiven! Of course, we still live in an imperfect and sinful world. Therefore, we get our feet dirty. Perhaps that’s the obvious grime. What if we cleaned our feet everyday but ignored the rest of our bodies? What if we asked forgiveness for some sins but ignored others? Of course, when we take time to step back and see ourselves as God does, it puts things into proper perspective, and we clearly see that our minds and our hearts need cleansing. All sins must be dealt with because just one left will leave us still dirty. Even if we consider it a “little” sin, if left unattended, it will grow, and when it grows, it will choke our joy. Sin left unattended will keep us from reaching our full potential in Christ. Why, therefore, do we try to hang on to sin? It’s destructive! It’s not pretty. It is of no value to us.

Let’s not do that to ourselves. Let’s not lie to ourselves, saying that just one sin doesn’t matter. Jesus died for that one sin; it matters. Let Him wash it away. Then, walk free and full of joy. The only other choice is to walk around dirty.

Let’s come to Jesus everyday to be washed and forgiven. He never refuses a repentant heart. Read His loving words in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'” Go ahead, get your house washed today and bask in the beauty of holiness.

It Looked Clear To Me

This past week, Sally, a friend here in the UK, collected my mother and me from the airport.  We had been aware of recent weather and of the current forecast — rain, rain, and more rain.  However, to the delight of us all, when Sally arrived the sun had broken through the clouds, and the drive home was clear and full of sunshine all the way.

I sat in the passenger seat next to Sally while my mother took the seat in the back.  We were are three chatting, enjoying catching up, and soaking in the beautiful scenery along the way.  I looked out across familiar fields with sheep grazing.   Other fields held horses looking very snug with their winter coats fastened securely about them.

Suddenly, the road curved, leading the car in a direction that put the sun straight ahead.  The sun shone brightly through the windshield.  That’s when I saw it, and Sally did, too.

Driving along the way,  previous to that moment, the windshield appeared to be clear.  We could see just fine — or so we thought.  In fact, the sunshine blaring straight through revealed that the windshield was actually very smudged and dirty from all the rain of the week.   Sally and I were both surprised.

It was that moment of dirty windshield revelation when I thought of our lives as Christians.  We get forgiven of our sins, then we go out into our personal worlds where we meet with all kinds of situations.  Perhaps we tell a lie, just a little one.  Perhaps we are angered unnecessarily.  Perhaps we hold a grudge toward someone.  Perhaps we have broken a trust.  Perhaps we have gossiped, sharing some delicious morsel that we’ve heard about someone else.  The list of “perhaps” could go on and on.

We get soiled in the week as the rain of our wrong doings splashes into our lives.  Even so, we feel okay.  Things look pretty good.  Then, the Son shines in, revealing that things in our heart are not as they should be.  That’s when we have a wonderful choice available to us.  We can go on with dirty windshields, pretending that everything is really okay or we can go to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive our wrongdoings.

What happens then?  The most wonderful and joyful thing takes place — Father Himself instantly cleans away the dirty smudges.  He cleans our hearts once more.  He loves us to Himself.  He fills us with joy and inner peace.

Don’t you feel good when you have a clean car to drive?  Don’t you love it when the windshield is absolutely clear?  It’s even more wonderful to have our lives cleaned up and our hearts made clear by God Himself.

When we ignore our dirty windshield,  it only gets worse with time.  It won’t clean itself.  The same with our lives.  The results of sin never goes away with time.  We only feel it worse as we drift further and further away from our Father.  Let’s all remember, with the start of a new year — go regularly to God’s windshield cleaning service.  It’s a joyful start to every day.

“‘ Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow.  Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'”