Wash Your Hands

Livi is not a good handwasher.  I cringe every time she goes potty because I know those hands aren’t getting scrubbed well enough afterward!  It’s so disturbing when you think about all the dirty hands that are touching the same door knobs that I touch.

My hands are just as dirty, though.  I live a messy life with messy choices.  I’m far from perfect.  And regardless of how many times I keep washing my hands and starting fresh, I get them dirty again within minutes.  No matter how much we scrub our hands we can never get clean.

The same is true about sin.  There’s nothing we can do to remove the stain of sin from our hands.  It is only by washing with the blood of Christ that we can be made clean.  “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Belief that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that he rose again on the third day is the only way to truly wash away our sins.  Jesus loved you and I so much that he sacrificed his life so that we may live eternally with him in heaven.

Join me today in celebrating the freedom from sin that we have in Christ.

Titus 3:5 – He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

Romans 6:3-4 – Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Acts 16:31 – And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Preparing to Crash

Riding on an airplane is exciting!  There’s so much anticipation leading up to preparing to go on a trip, then arriving two hours early for your flight, then more waiting with anticipation for the plane to arrive.  Finally it’s time to board and everyone piles on top of each other to try and get on the plane, for their assigned seat that no one is going to steal yet is somehow a big deal, on a plane that is going to land at the same time and same place as everyone else on the plane; yet we still all crowd around with anticipation to just get on the plane!

Each time you ride on an airplane you see the stewardess demonstrating the safety features of the aircraft.  Some airlines even have a catchy engaging video to entertain you while highlighting the safety feature.  Most of the time the instruction is completely ignored.  People are busy getting settled in their seats, figuring out how to make electronics work, pulling out snacks to keep the kids mouths busy to prevent screaming, etc.  Plus, no one ever needs the information anyways.  It’s not like the plane is going to crash.

Well, let me burst your bubble.  Your plane IS going to crash.  It’s just a matter of when.

Throughout this life you are going to be presented with the safety features of the aircraft called life.  A complete safety guide and general information is contained in a book called the Bible which is available online and in print by request.  You will have several stewardesses available for questions or concerns 24/7.  The pilot is 100% available to you to support and encourage you on this journey, not to mention fly the plane for you.

You have to decide whether or not you are too busy to stop and listen.  Is it worth the time to stop and look at the life raft inflation instructions?  You never know when you just might need it.

God loves you.  He wants to do life with you and be in communion with you.  He wants to pilot your plane and save your life when it crashes.  All you have to do is say yes.  Yes to trusting Him with your life.  Yes to following His teachings and yes to a commitment of right living as outlined in the Bible.

When the plane crashes it’s too late to go back.  You need to prepare for the crash before it happens.  Will you accept Christ into your heart today?

Matthew 19:25-26 – When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Philippians 3:8-9 –What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Garage Door Clicker vs. House Key

Don’t laugh…I don’t have a key to my house.  I usually get in by using the garage door clicker and by leaving the door into the house from the garage unlocked.  It works.  Apparently it’s abnormal to not have a key to your own house but for my life it’s normal daily life.

Everything was fine, for two years I might add, until one day the garage door broke.  Without the garage door working I couldn’t get into the house.  My work-around solution that had worked so well was no longer a viable option.  I no longer had a way into the house.

“The gate [to heaven] is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14)  It’s hard to live the straight and narrow life that we are called to live as Christians.  There’s only one way to heaven and that is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  There’s no work-around for having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We try our hardest to create work-arounds, though.  The “Kingdom of Self” is a big one: being a Christian but being self-reliant and focused on your wants, your needs, your abilities.   Trusting in money and things to satisfy us.  Always wanting more money, bigger house, nicer car, more stuff, always more, more, more.  Things will never satisfy our heart, because our hearts weren’t designed to be satisfied with anything less than Christ.  There’s no work-around for having a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  My garage door clicker instead of a house key will never suffice.

Stop and think, what does my life center around today?  Does my life center around Christ, or do I fit Christ into my existing priorities?  I would encourage you to pray that God would show each of us ways that we can walk better in His straight and narrow path so that we can serve within His will.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Colossians 3:1-3 – Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the top right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

2 John 1:9 – Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

John 3:5 – Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

John 10:9 – I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

The Rule of 7’s

One day, a friend gave me some of the best advice I’ve received and, quite possibly, the best advice I’ve ever passed along to others.  Life is messy.  It’s chaotic, it’s frustrating and sometimes infuriating.  People act senselessly and recklessly creating ripple effects that tear through hearts and lives.  Some days there seems to be no end to the nightmare.  That’s when the rule of 7’s comes into play.  How will this moment look and feel in 7 days, 7 months and 7 years from now.

Wow.  Talk about perspective changer and attitude changer.  I found that my daughter’s meltdowns while frustrating in the moment, won’t be our reality in 7 years.  The frustrating situations at work won’t even be memories in 7 months.  And the battle over healthy food vs. peanut butter and jelly (or even just jelly straight up) won’t be an issue in 7 days.  The messiness of today won’t matter in the future.  Will it shape it, sure.  Will it define it, not unless you let it.

Today you can choose how you will respond.  Do you continue the messy, ugly ripple effects created by other people’s poor choices, or do you stop and consciously choose to not let this small moment define your future reality?  I choose love for others, grace for others, mercy for others and joy, joy for myself.

God is ever constant.  Never changing.  Always good, even in what feels bad and messy.  The one and only choice you will ever make that will absolutely make a difference in 7 days, 7 months and 7 years, is the decision for salvation.  If you are tired of riding the emotional roller coaster of inconsistency then choose Christ today.  He is right there with you, just waiting for you to take his hand.  Expect joy today.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!

Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 Peter 1:8-9 – Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

2 Corinthians 12:10 – That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

White Paint

Two years ago we moved into our house.  We love our “little” house as we call it.  God called us to downsize significantly and we couldn’t enjoy it more.  It is easier to clean, maintain, and best of all we can’t shop for stuff because we don’t have room.  Love saving money!  Both Addy and Livi got to pick the paint color for their room.  Addy picked a forest green, deep dark forest green.  In her brain she picked turquoise, but that is definitely not what the color card looked like.  She was greatly disappointed when she saw it for the first time.  It didn’t meet her expectations.

I made her live with the forest green for two years.  She picked it, she made a choice, she should live with the consequences.  Nice mom or mean mom, I’m not sure, but it’s better to learn consequences from choices now rather than later in life.  And a paint color is a great painless way to learn.

Today I started the re-painting process.  She wants a unicorn candy themed room, complete with toile, lights, unicorns, candy, hand painted murals and more.  Pinterest and I are about to spend a lot of time together.  And I will probably fail her expectations.

The white primer paint on the dark forest green is a stark contrast.  Two opposite ends of the spectrum.  It reminds me of Jesus’ salvation in our lives.  We are dark with sin without Christ.  When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior we become white as snow.  We do a complete 180, opposite end of the color spectrum, turning from our sin to righteousness in Christ.  We are made pure in the eyes of Jesus; all of our sins are forgiven because of his sacrifice.

Thank you God for sending your Son to die for me.  Thank you for transforming me from dark forest green sin to reflective white.  Please let your righteousness shine through me so others can be reached for Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come.

Titus 3:5 – He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ezekiel 18:31 – Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!  For why will you die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 36:26 – Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Stinky Messy Trash

Tuesdays and Fridays the trash men religiously come by and remove all our trash from the curb.  We are truly thankful for the job they do, twice a week, rain or shine.  They must have the most solid stomachs of anyone on the planet.  If we miss trash day then it becomes a less than thankful moment.  The heaps and mounds and bags upon bags of trash are endless.  Where in the world does all this trash come from!?  How do four people generate that much waste?

Just like there is a “too late” moment for taking out the trash there is a “too late” moment for accepting Christ as your savior.  You never know when you will breathe your last breath.  Once you die, it is done, finished; there is no going back, there is no chasing the trash men down the street begging for them to come back and take your trash.

Christ did not come to the world to judge but to save.  Jesus loves you just as you are.  Messy, imperfect, ugly on the inside, lazy, impoverished, uncared for, you just as you are.  You don’t have to become perfect to receive Christ’s love, Christ was made perfect to be sufficient for you

Don’t wait to take out your trash until the last minute.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to accept Christ.  Pray today, Lord I come to you a mess and I surrender all my stinky trash to you.  I have nothing to offer you but my heart, my whole heart.  God I believe that Jesus Christ lived a blameless life, died on the cross for my sins to pay the penalty for my sins (my stinky trash), and was resurrected on the third day and lives eternally in heaven with God the Father.  Jesus’s sacrifice is the one and only way of salvation. I want to live my life for you God.

If you prayed this prayer today, please reach out so that I can pray for you and offer you encouragement as my brother and sister in Christ.  You are loved and cherished!

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:8 – But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 23:39 – One of the criminals who was hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?”  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  And he said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the Bride say “Come.”  And let the one who hears say, “Come.”  And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Hebrews 5:9 – And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

Photo by Emmet from Pexels

The Secret Sauce

We love a good steak in Texas.  Maybe it’s a Southern thing but steak is king here!  The bigger the better of course, after all everything IS bigger in Texas.  You can get a 72 oz and even 85 oz steak if you want.  That’s almost as big as a child!

There is much debate about how your steak should be prepared though.  Medium rare or medium well?  With spices or no spices?  Herb butter anyone?  And the biggest debate of all: sauce or no sauce?

The sauce debate is a heated subject here in the South.  Those that rally against the sauce claim that the sauce ruins the steak.  It masks the flavor of the steak so you are only tasting sauce and not the true essence and goodness of the meat.  You should see the heated conversations at the dinner table when the waitress brings the steak and someone reaches for the A1 sauce!  Or even worse, the ketchup!

One thing that you never need sauce for is God’s word.  It is good and pure and amazingly rich and meaty without anything added.  God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us on a cross, an awful, excruciating death, to pay the penalty for our sin.  Three days after his death Jesus rose from the dead conquering death once and for all.  We can have everlasting life with Christ when we confess our sin, repent (a 180 degree change in direction), and believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  He loves us just the way we are: messy, medium rare, just plain us.  No sauce needed.

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” and let the one who hears say “Come!”  Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes to take the free gift of the water of life.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.