Celebrate, The Weeping Time is Over

wailing wall“…be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” -Nehemiah 8:10 (AMP).

If you look at the context of the above Scripture and the time period in which it was written, the Jews had just completed a hard process of reconstruction of the wall of Jerusalem that had been torn down for at least 70 years. The whole city, including the beautiful temple constructed by Solomon, had been reduced to ruins by the Nebuchadnezzar in the Babylonian conquest of Judah in 586 BC. The Jews been exiled (or “carried away”) to Babylon, and those who’d been left as stragglers had endured unmentionable atrocities. A huge proportion of those now back within the borders of their homeland hadn’t even been born yet when it had all been destroyed, to remember the grandeur of how things used to be in Jerusalem. Now the wall was back up, and the fact that it went up in a mere 52 days was enough to shake the rumor mill and put the fear of God into their enemies. Jerusalem was back, and it would be restored. And it was known that they had God’s strong arm on their side. So as the people were gathered and the Word of God was being read by Ezra, they just began to weep uncontrollably. Ezra comforted them and told them, “Today is not a day for crying–it’s for rejoicing! Go home and prepare a feast for celebration!”

Sometimes when we have been oppressed for so long, the response we have when the cloud has been lifted is just to weep uncontrollably. It’s like all that time you were having to be strong, putting on a tough act; and once you can relax, the natural reflex is to just begin to cry. I’m like that. I’ll be a rock until a crisis is over then I just turn into a weepy mess.

But for God’s people that day, the reading of the text of the law seemed at first to grieve them–they were reminded of where it all went wrong, the choices they’d made, the God and His blessings they had taken for granted, and the people who were lost along the way.  But then, as they deliberately began prepare for a time of joy, the hope of those Scriptures begin to soak in and they understood that, even with judgment, God’s ultimate plan is for our deliverance. I think that this as the perfect example of putting on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…something that involves choice. See, God was never NOT for them–and He was bringing them full circle because He loved them! And He had just enabled them through supernatural means, good leadership, and favor from unexpected sources, to rebuild what seemed impossible. Yeah, He’s all about that restoration. All things new.  True repentance does indeed take us through a feeling of grief over what we didn’t get right, but it also shifts to rejoicing when we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to us that there’s a chance to move forward.

Reach for the joy of the Lord, at wherever on the timeline of trial you find yourself today. I don’t know if your situation arose from bad choices, or whether you have just been facing one attack of the enemy after another.  Lots of different scenarios can bring us to an emotional pitch-point.  And maybe now that you don’t have to be so strong, you find yourself unable to stop crying. Let it out…and then let it go.  The joy of the Lord is earmarked for you–has your name on it. It’s in reserve for the taking. It will not only empower you, but it is a safe place whose walls hold off the enemy’s attack! Thank the Lord today that He is doing for you what He did for the exiled of His people–He is setting you free, He is sending help from the most unlikely people/sources, He is strengthening you to start all over again, and He is setting you up for safety in His presence.  Why not take a moment, right now, and call those things out specifically in a prayer of thanksgiving?  Thank Him especially for those items on the list that haven’t materialized just yet…they’re on the way.  God wants you. He doesn’t care that you have had years of bad decisions, bad circumstances, bad everything–He wants you to be His “comeback kid” with a testimony that glorifies what He’s done in your life.

Think once more about that 52 days it took to rebuild the wall. It was hard work. Their enemies were interfering. There were grumblings and disagreements among themselves. And it still went up and the gates still got hung and pulled shut and order restored! Right now you are at a potentially pivotal time. What if the answers to your biggest prayers were only 52 days away from coming to pass? Another Old Testament prophet wrote this: “The vision will still happen at the appointed time. It hurries toward its goal. It won’t be a lie. If it’s delayed, wait for it. It will certainly happen. It won’t be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3 NET) Whether your prayer is 52 years, 52 days, or perhaps even 52 minutes from being answered, it will not be too late. God will sustain you and yes, He will even help you to have joy and peace in the place of waiting.

I pray all of you just get saturated today in the joy of the Lord, and that you encapsule yourself in the protection it gives. You can still have that joy even if all hell is breaking loose around you…it’s not governed by your circumstances…it’s existent in SPITE OF them. If you don’t have it, ASK GOD for it! Keep asking until it floods your soul! Now dry your eyes, understand that God’s Word points to a good and expected end for you, and prepare that feast of celebration. Even if you’re just going to have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, look at it as a celebration meal. The vision hurries to its goal! And you are greatly loved by the God who watches over His Word to perform it!

His Name is “Faithful” – El Hanne’eman

el-amanKnow therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.  Deut. 7:9

This is a hard one to articulate correctly, so I pray that I can with great grace. When a #believer says #God never lets us down, never fails us, it can appear to #nonbelievers that we’re delusional or just saying things to justify our #faith. He has never failed me…but to be sure, God has not always met my human expectations; neither has He said ‘yes’ to certain prayers I’ve prayed. He has not always diverted my feet from walking into hard places, or spared me from having to wait; or from having to believe for what I could not already see in the natural. He hasn’t always let me get the promotion, let my team win, or shielded me from false accusation. Some of the not-so-bad things I’ve asked for, I didn’t get. So on the litmus test of the world, my testimony that He never fails seems to not make sense–those who expect that we always get a trophy for participation, that we are never denied, never discriminated against, never left standing alone.

But I am firm in my conviction when I reiterate that my God has most certainly never failed me! I don’t have to make excuses for the times He has said no…for it’s what He’s said YES to that proves that all things work together for good for me and for every believer who’s called according to His purpose. Jesus didn’t come and live a shielded life. He wasn’t some celebrity’s son who served in a safe zone and was then hailed a hero for wearing the uniform of flesh away from the field of front-line combat. He was tested, tested, tested. He was the prototype who was subjected to more hardship than I would ever be, pushed to the point of death, so that I would never have to bear up under more temptation than I could handle without an escape route.

Salvation isn’t a Kevlar jumpsuit that keeps us from getting scraped, burned, uncomfortable here on earth. We were never designed to be so fragile that we couldn’t take being ordinary, frail earthen vessels holding the treasures of a holy God inside of us. It’s not what He spares us FROM that makes us remarkable. It’s how He holds us together in spite of what we encounter. Some of us are cracked and broken and glued back together and His light is shining not out of the top of the vessel, but through all the wounds we’ve encountered. And if I believe anything in the whole 66-book volume called the Bible, I believe Romans 8:28 when it shows that no matter what we encounter, He will not let us go. He will not allow us to not recover. He will somehow make up to us our deficiencies and losses and disappointments. He will give us peace on the worst day of our lives that the world cannot explain, and neither can we. It just IS. His children going through their bitter seasons will have friends coming to bring encouragement, only to go away themselves encouraged by the very ones going through the fire.

And He does all of this for His glory. He will take His children and place them in assignments far beyond their credentials. Oh, they’ll have to plead with Him for wisdom and strength and divine guidance just to pull it off…and He’ll give all of the above. And people will marvel that the worst possible appointee to that assignment just did the best possible job of it, because God was with him or her. He will bring His children through to the other side of inconsolable sorrow. What would destroy anyone else seems to build a resolve in them that contradicts every reason for them to still be able to dredge up a remnant of joy and hope and optimism. And there really is joy. There are abundant blessings and abundant life to be had. There are better outcomes to situations where believers obey a now-word from God on a matter and miss the heartaches that come from wallowing in sin and rebellion. It’s an infinitely better life with Him than without Him here on earth. We’re not even talking eternity yet…life’s better HERE, now, because He lives. His Word is full of truth that causes us to make better decisions that invite honor, favor, blessing…certain advantages we don’t have outside of relationship with Him.

I’ll be honest: I’m a path-of-least-resistance kind of gal. I would be thrilled if the path God chose for me had no speed bumps on it. I don’t like confrontation, or dealing with people or circumstances that vex me and get on my nerves. I don’t like failure and I certainly don’t like burying my loved ones. Truth is, I’m going to encounter every type of situation that a nonbeliever encounters (aside from some circumstantial consequences, like getting shot while robbing a bank of course). I’ll have bad days and wake up grouchy or depressed. I’ll have to confront what makes me scared. I’ll be the one not chosen. I’ll be misunderstood. Someone will be prejudiced toward me or just not like the way I fix my hair. I’ll have the choice every day of my life to either push through or give up. And when I make bad decisions, I’ll have to live with what comes of them.

However, what I have that a nonbeliever doesn’t is HELP. I’ll face those exact same life encounters as anyone else, but I will not be alone. He will whisper to me when I have negative feelings. He will bring to my remembrance His promises, and reward my faith for embracing and believing them. He will supernaturally stretch my finances when I put Him first, so that not only am I able to meet my own needs, I’ll be able to do something to bless someone else, too. He will heal my body if I’m sick or injured. Sometimes He’ll just bless me for no good reason, too! And when I ask something and put full faith on what His Word has said in that matter, He really does say yes! At a time when I’ve been my worst, expecting a rightfully disapproving hand of judgment, He will extend mercy and just lavish me with love and totally unexpected favor. Though it appears to some that I’m an underachiever (and occasionally an undeserving winner), He will never let me ultimately be a loser. He will mix my tears, my losses, my disappointments, my frailties together with my praise and my prayers on His altar of incense and will ultimately cause me to emerge whole and shining–His trophy. His trophies aren’t flawless, by the way. You can see every scar on our bark where we’ve lived to fight another day. That’s what makes us trophies.

So, half a century into this journey of life, I’m still here. If you’re reading this, so are you. Every fracture in my framework has grown back stronger for having trusted in the God who fails me not. So I am not basing my joy on whether today and tomorrow rack up nothing but wins for me. He’s got the scorecard…and though I look to be irrecoverably down, He has a plan to emerge me a champion; a survivor. He won’t let go of me. He won’t wad me up in the wastebasket of life. My life is so much richer for having put my trust in Him for most of that life. I doubtless would have been destroyed long ago if He hadn’t had good plans for hope and a future for me.

The Old Testament passage above calls God (in Hebrew) “El Hanne’eman” or “El Aman”–Faithful God.  (Sound a little like Immanuel, God with Us?)  For a life that has no ups and downs, there’s little need for faith and faithfulness.  Speaks clearly to me, then, that in good times and bad, God is with us.  Will you consider allowing Him into your life as well? I can’t promise you’ll never have another bad, sick, or lonely day again, but I can promise you that if you put your hand in His, He will never let go.

Lord, our El Hanne’eman, reveal to us what it really means to be in relationship with You. There are a million flowery prayers out there that use Christian-ese words which mean little to someone who’s never darkened a church door. I am asking You to reveal Yourself to those who don’t have a concept of what a “personal Savior” is. Reveal Yourself to the ones who’d just be grateful to have a helper and a friend. Meet them where they are. Put someone in their path who can help them know You better. Reveal Yourself to them so they can say yes to a relationship with You. Extend some sign of Your mercy in their lives today that causes a light to come on where they say, “Hey, maybe there really IS a God after all.” In times when they acknowledge You, cause them to be flooded with such a noticeable peace that, whenever there’s an absence of that peace, they know that they truly need You in order to maintain it. Help their desperation. Hear their cries even when they’re throbbing with addictions from which they aren’t sure they want to be delivered. And while knowing You will never whisk them away from having to sometimes wait and believe for answers to prayer, let them know that You will hear every single one they pray; and that You will hold onto them while You work a solution that will be for their ultimate good.

All the times aren’t always good, but all the time You are always good. Thank You that, through the good, the bad, and the ugly, I’m still here and I’m still Yours.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Frequency

radio

I remember a time when, here in these tightly-clustered mountains, an AM/FM radio signal had its work cut out for it. You pretty much had to settle for only being able to pick up the very closest station or two, and not necessarily with clarity. But for me, that didn’t work because I liked the kind of music most local stations didn’t play. So I would lie there in the bed at night, or later on be driving in the car, with some obscure, faraway station playing that was barely audible. Sometimes it would be competing with another station of similar frequency and you could hear both at the same time. So what did I do? I listened THROUGH the interference. I would disregard the static and the other voices and simply focus for as long as I could on that faintly central sound.

Nowadays in the digital age, we hardly ever tune into FM radio; but the reason I am sharing this isn’t so much about the “good old days” of technology but instead about cutting through interference to get to what you desire. Specifically, the voice of God.

In these last days, there is a heightening of spiritual activity. Many voices and much static tries to drown out and overpower and make of no effect the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Word tells us of a famine of the hearing of the Word of God, and I believe in part that is what we are experiencing in the form of static interference in the heavenlies. You are going to hear some loud voices denouncing your God, trying to shame you for believing in Him, or at least trying to shame you for believing EXCLUSIVELY in Him. There’s a lot of distracting noise and drama and chaos that at times causes the message to feel faint or garbled. Praise the Lord for good days, but other days you are going to have to listen THROUGH the interference. You will have to move that antenna around and hold the radio right up to your ear. Part of your survival in the final days before the Lord’s return will be keeping your desire SHARP, your senses focused. The world will offer many options of other gods and even competing similar frequencies so close that at face value it’ll be hard to tell which source you’re hearing…EXCEPT, Jesus assured us that His sheep know His voice and another they will not follow! He even invites us to try the spirits–weigh what you see, hear, and feel against the Word to see if it’s really of God or just another noise.

How badly do you want to hear from God? You can just shut off the receiver and say it’s too hard; there’s too much static and it’s too much trouble for too little return; maybe try again later. Or, you can do as I did with that old radio. When I really focused on what I was listening for, I would become less distracted by the noise and more in tune with what I had DEEP DESIRE to hear. Sure, it’d have been nice to have internet radio in the 1980’s, or at least money to buy the records I couldn’t afford, but that’s beside the point. I thirsted after a certain sound and this was my only means of getting it. There’s a bittersweetness in that hard-sought voice of God. You might wish there were a gallon of that water but you will savor the droplets like a dying man. I made no apology for my affection, and I didn’t let my location, my liabilities, or my lack stop me from listening with all my might. Shouldn’t I at LEAST be willing to put that same diligence toward hearkening to God’s voice that I once did into trying to listen to a little jazz radio, smack dab in the heart of bluegrass country?

Tune out the distractions, for there are many, and LISTEN for God. You won’t be denied.

Can You Hear Me Now?

phonebooth“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”  Hebrews 13:16

Depending on which translation you use, this Scripture gets pretty broad!  Many of the translations leave it simply at “communicate,” while others signify a transference, such as giving.  I want to address it for the simpler version–just plain good communication–and attempt to show you why I believe God is pleased when His children don’t neglect to interact properly with others.

One of the greatest weapons the enemy has against the body of Christ is one of our own making, and that is neglect to communicate.  We can spew out our colorful cliches and not be short on humor, metaphor, and empty words–just like the world–but we can get pretty tongue-tied when it comes to using our words to show respect and common courtesy.  I have been in church for an entire lifetime; and I’ve seen withheld communication destroy, wound, divide, and offend just as thoroughly and just as often as backbiting and gossip!

Why do we have such a hard time with extending this gesture, when we ourselves hate to be on the lack-of-receiving end of communication?  I don’t know about you, but I feel my tension levels rise and grind away at my peace whenever I’m waiting on an acknowledgment, and I know someone is choosing just not to respond.  Having been there many, many times over the years, it’s help me be more aware of how much more careful I need to be when dealing with others who are waiting on me.

Did you know that you don’t have to have the problem solved in order to communicate?  There’s not a thing wrong with, “Just getting back with you to let you know that even though I don’t have such-and-such ready yet, I did receive your request and I’m working on it;” or, “I’m really sorry, but I just can’t be there on Tuesday evening this time.  Maybe next time.”  We need to be more thoughtful of others in this way!  When someone is counting on us to be at our designated post–whether serving as a volunteer coach for the soccer team, a church usher, or even showing up for work–it is a good reflection on our Father when we are tenacious enough to contact our leaders or the person whom we’re serving whenever we cannot do what we have committed to do.  I would go so far as to say, when we know ahead of time that we cannot follow through, we should always consider what the other person may have to do in order to fill our vacancy.  Sure, I know that ‘s not always possible…but it goes a long way with other people when you don’t leave them hung out to dry!  Do your best to accommodate others, and to let them know you respect and value their time, too.

So this sounds almost like an employee manual, I realize–but as ambassadors of Christ, we are called to go above and beyond.  If on the job, you are the only believer on a crew of sinners, it’s a terrible thing to have it said of you that the one who calls himself/herself a Christian is the laziest, least reliable, or hardest to work with of the whole team.  In the secular workforce, I heard that said of one person or another several times over the years; and while I felt bad for the Christian who was standing out for the wrong reasons, I felt sooooo much worse for Jesus, Whose name was insulted by association with someone who was not diligent…and a neglectful communicator.

You don’t have to have the gift of writing or speaking to be a good communicator, but you do have to have a few other qualities, such as:

  1.  Consideration for others.  What difficulties are you causing by failing to touch base, check in, offer your assistance or prayer or just an ear?  What open doors do you create by taking time to acknowledge and show respect for someone else?
  2. Accountability.  A follower of Christ should have absolutely no issue with being above-board, honest,  a submitter to authority, and thoughtful to others in general (even those to whom we don’t “owe” accountability).
  3. Humility.  Sometimes the other person doesn’t need a lecture; he or she needs for you to listen and show empathy.  You’ll never be able to do that if you’re all the time trying to fix the other person!  Think…remove the beam in my own eye, then I can help remove the speck in my brother’s!
  4. Humility again!  Don’t use “the silent treatment” as a way to punish your spouse, your child, or any other person.  We need to check our spirit when we find pleasure in letting someone sweat.  I’m not going to say that there’s never an appropriate time for us to delay a response, but the Holy Spirit knows when we’re using this tactic to get revenge or to manipulate.
  5. Quickness to repent.  If you are wrong, be willing to acknowledge it (by communicating such) and change!  Don’t stubbornly pack your withheld apology around.  A mature believer will sometimes follow the Holy Spirit’s lead and be the FIRST to extend the olive branch–even when he or she was in the right!  Blessed are the peacemakers…and sometimes peacemakers have to be the icebreakers.
  6. Quickness to forgive.  First of all, we need God’s forgiveness and cannot therefore afford to withhold forgiveness from others.  Second, unforgiveness can cause us to alienate our people!  Think of how many people have just started out a little mad over something, and because they kept nursing hurt feelings, suddenly found themselves five, twenty, fifty years down the road not speaking to a family member.  The longer we defer forgiveness, we sear our consciences with a hot iron.  The longer we go without communicating, the easier it is to alienate loved ones.
  7. An ear toward heaven.  If you pray for the spirit of discernment, God can absolutely help you foresee potential trainwrecks in relationships.  Entire churches have split before over hurts…many times because leaders have failed to seal the cracks when an offense came.  Truthfully?  It’s easier to look the other way and hope something doesn’t fester; however, the devil usually doesn’t pass on an easy opportunity to de-rail a move of God.  Often we don’t know HOW to respond, so we do nothing.  Or, we feel the other person is just immature and being unreasonable, so we hope that time will cause the storm to blow over.  If you see someone bordering on leaving over an unacknowledged offense, prayerfully ask God how best to handle it.  At least be willing to make the communication, even if it doesn’t end as you’d hoped.  Once the door closes behind him or her, the chance of getting back your relationship with an offended brother or sister is, as Proverbs said, “harder to win than a fortified city;” AND, the biggest slap in the face of all is if that association is broken in profound silence.
  8. Openness without nagging.  We are sure good at giving TMI (too much information) on Facebook about everything from our skin rashes to our spouse’s bad habits, but not so open in places where it counts.  When you are on the receiving end of a hurt, give the other person a chance to make it right by voicing (nicely) what has happened.  Carefully choose your words to express your FEELINGS, not your assessment of that person’s character.  Those “you always” and “you never” accusations don’t work and can send the other person retreating like a chicken with its tail feathers on fire.  Instead of “you never spend time with me anymore,” try “I miss our time together…I enjoy being with you.”  A soft answer turns away wrath, but no answer at all doesn’t do much of anything.   It’s ok to be transparent with someone else when the goal is restoration, and preventive maintenance!
  9. Gratitude.  If someone–and especially if that someone is in your immediate circle–does something for you, for heaven’s sake, thank him or her!  My pastor and his entire family are masters of this trait…and are so thoughtful and appreciative over every little thing.  From the time their grown kids were just little, even they were constantly saying ‘thank you’ or ‘I really appreciate that/you.’  Folks are drawn to grateful people.  Show that someone’s thoughtfulness impacted you, and that someone go out of his or her way to accommodate you in the future.  And when you’re being served in a restaurant, don’t fail to praise those who are taking care of you (instead of complaining about everything)…and put your money where your mouth is, too!  For heaven’s sake, Christians, don’t leave a tract in place of a tip.  Gratitude is a catalyst to generosity; and if you want that server to view your God as a stingy, unfriendly, unappreciative tyrant in the sky, you’ll be stingy, unfriendly, and unappreciative over your meal.  Every encounter with others is a reflection, to the good or to the bad, on our Heavenly Father, Whom we represent.  Bring the salt and light through the door with you.  I’ve known believers who’ve won servers to the Lord right in the restaurant, just for listening and offering to pray for them.  Many times the person taking care of you is a big ball of hurt and desperation.  Even now it surprises me how often I encounter someone in this setting who is desperate to just be acknowledged.
  10. Positive and encouraging.  Don’t always offer a story about how your problem (or former crisis) was even worse than the one your contact is going through.  If someone’s mother just died, he or she doesn’t need to hear you amble on and on about what all you went through when yours did!  No matter what situation you’re helping someone walk out, find a way to end it on a good note (and not by using cliches like the silver lining in the cloud).  Sometimes a simple, “We will trust God together to bring you through this” will do. Listen more than you speak.  When you are interacting with others, sneak opportunities to compliment and encourage them in appropriate ways.  Tell people when they’re doing a good job, and if they’re not, you can still turn the tide by turning up their self-confidence!  At any rate, when you part ways with those you’ve come into contact with, let them feel a refreshing just because it was you they served.  And remember, we don’t always know what kind of things are going on in a person’s life.  That rude customer service person may have gotten news just hours before that his or her child has cancer.  There may be a divorce, or terrible money worries, or an abuse going on in the home.  Don’t return rudeness for rudeness.  It’s hard sometimes, but you can do it!

If you have a choice to under- or over-, always over-communicate.  You may get on someone’s nerves by overdoing it, but you’ll not vex him or her nearly as bad as if you fail to communicate at all and cause a meltdown in right order.  Think like Christ…the Word tells us that we have the MIND of Christ.  Let me encourage you to pray for good communication skills; and if you’re a leader, grab hold of the horns of the altar and tarry till God anoints you with those skills!   A great resource is a prayer on Developing Good Communication Skills, written by my dear friend, Germaine Copeland in her series “Prayers that Avail Much.”  Here’s a link to prayer at her website.

Wash and Wear

I don’t buy many dry clean only garments these days, since I’m no longer working in a corporate workplace where suits are the dress code.  To be honest, on top of the fact that it gets expensive to maintain something you wear really often, I sweat a lot!  No offense to those who prefer or who must wear formal clothing on a regular basis…but I just flat-out like the concept of stuff that can handle going into the soapy water and taking a good scrubbing as often as it needs it.  And while I don’t doubt that all those chemicals do the trick too, I’m just a wash-and-wear kind of gal.  My needs are pretty simple, so goes my choice of apparel (smile).

I’m so glad that God’s grace provides for us a good washing when we need cleansed from being out in that dirty world.  We can’t wrap ourselves in plastic and walk around to keep our clothes clean, and we can’t be out there without being exposed to some things that need scrubbed off of us when we come back into His presence.   We can live a holy life among a lost world, and we can persevere not to allow the influence of darkness stain our garments; but in truth, each day we stand before the Lord in need of new mercies.  We hear and see things that can bend our thinking and tarnish our purity.  Even in times when we’ve not sinned, our spirit can still pick up the stale odor of the world from just having passed through it—kind of like walking through a shroud of cigarette smoke outside the grocery store (a personal pet peeve of mine!).

God has made provisions for our continual cleaning and re-cleaning.  He knows that we’ll encounter constant challenges to our faith, constant pressures to compromise, subtle foxes spoiling our vines from beneath where we don’t always see them.  Jesus prayed that to the Father about this very thing ON OUR BEHALF!  He said, “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.”  (John 17:15 NLT) He knew that we need to remain here to be His influence in the earth, and that special provisions would need to be made in order to keep us holy in spite of our surroundings.

Our Lord is the master of cleaning our dirty laundry.  He can lift any stain, press out any wrinkle, and remove any lingering odor of unrighteousness.  He paid an awful price to make possible this holiness we can so freely wear, and He did it not just for our benefit…He intends to present Himself with a perfect, flawless Bride, and she’s not going to have one speck of soil on her wedding garment!  When we allow Him to use the soap of grace, applied against the washboard of loving discipline, and rinsed in the water of the Word, we come out as pure, forgiven, and sanctified as if we’d never been dirty in the first place.  New mercies every single morning!

Don’t dodge the washtub today, and don’t wear those stinky clothes another moment.  You’re not doing anyone a favor by trying to get one more day’s wear out of them!  Step into His presence, receive His forgiveness, and experience the clean of the one true High-Efficiency Washer—Jesus!

“…Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word.  He did this to present himself with a splendid church, one without any sort of stain or wrinkle on her clothes, but rather one that is holy and blameless.  (Ephesians 5:25-27 CEB)

©2012 Lisa Crum