Tag Archives: cleansing

May 14 – I Need A Shower

Psalms 32, 52, 86, 122

David wrote psalm 51 after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. I imagine everyone of us have felt like David felt while dealing with the guilt of sin. Psalm 32 says that when David held on to sin, even his body wasted away, he groaned all day long because God’s hand was heavy upon him.

Been there. Done that.

God doesn’t want us being ok with sin in our lives. That’s why He invented guilt. The feeling of guilt is a good thing. It can make us unhappy enough to ask God to forgive us, to take our guilt upon Himself, and set us free from that burden.

The psalms also express the joy that comes from confession, from the assurance our sins are forgiven, and we are guilty no longer.

Whiter than snow!!

The other day I decided to skip my morning shower. The forecast called for a chilly rain all day, so I figured I’d get up, do some housework, and not step foot outside. My nephew had a baseball game scheduled that evening, but I was sure they wouldn’t be able to play because of the weather.

Was I surprised when I got a text from his dad at the field, saying “Game On.”

Oh NO! No time to get cleaned up. So I put on a ball cap to cover my dirty hair, grabbed my umbrella and an extra jacket, and rushed to the game.

I felt awful! I felt dirty and ugly. I enjoyed watching my nephew play ball, but I was embarrassed the whole time.

When I finally stood under my shower and let warm water pour over my body, when I massaged that shampoo into my hair and felt the bubbles rinse down, I stood there and sighed. It felt so good! Every cell in my body relaxed.

That’s the feeling I get from reading these psalms. David, once dirty and ugly and miserable in his filth, allowed God to forgive him and wash him clean. What joy! What peace! What relief!

Are you carrying the burden of guilt because of unconfessed sin in your life? Give it to the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you, something He’s anxious to do. And enjoy the feeling of being really, really clean.

 

Feb 17 – Blood and Water

Leviticus 14-15

Don’t you love reading the Bible when something jumps out as though you were reading it for the first time? That’s what happened to me this morning. Today’s chapters include the required sacrifices for making a person healed of leprosy clean before God. Once again God’s instructions are very detailed. It includes lambs and birds and oil and wood and red string…

One of the sacrifices described includes the death of one bird, its blood sprinkled on a live bird. Then the live bird is set free to fly over the open field.

Dear one, isn’t that what happened to you when you accepted the fact that Jesus’ blood was applied to your account? Wasn’t your soul set free to soar just like that bird we read about today? Jesus blood was shed, that blood covered your sins, and you were set free. My heart is soaring just thinking about it.

Oh, there’s more!

As I was reading about how the priests were to go about cleansing a leprous house, another beautiful picture came to mind. Look at 14:51-53. The house was cleansed by running water and the blood!

My mind went immediately to the cross where Jesus died for me. What happened when the soldier pierced Jesus’ side? Out pour water and blood! That was not just some physiological phenomenon. That was God saying Jesus’ death on that cross was no accident. Jesus’ death absolutely fulfills every tiny little detail required to make me clean.

When the water and the blood poured out of Jesus’ side, that was God saying, “I love you, Connie, and I’ve got this covered.”

Dearest Savior, My heart is full this morning as I recognize how connected the Old Testament is to the Gospel. Thank you for showing us in such detail what is required for the forgiveness of sin. Thank you for the men and women who followed your instructions, who sacrificed the lambs, who washed the birds, who put the blood on toes and fingers, who baked the bread. I can’t even list a fraction of what Old Testament forgiveness requires right now. Yet I see quite clearly that what Jesus did for me on the cross was planned and executed perfectly to fulfill every little detail. You didn’t miss a thing. And you did that for me. Thank You for covering me with Your blood. My spirit soars. I worship You.

Piece of Cake

I was reading in Matthew 9 this morning where Jesus said that forgiving the sins of a paralytic man was easier than healing the man’s paralysis. He said this before he went to the cross, so as far as everyone there knew, forgiveness from sin required an animal sacrifice. Yet here was this guy, granting forgiveness and there’s no blood being shed.

I can understand why the people were shocked, why they questioned Jesus about it. This went against everything they had been taught up to now. Jesus, to prove he had the power, healed the sick man. But he said that act was harder than the forgiving of the sick man’s sin.

Yesterday at church, the pastor spoke about God’s ability and desire to forgive our sins. He reminded us that there is no such thing as a sin too great for God’s forgiveness if we just go to him and ask. Being washed clean by God is not all that complicated. Ask. Receive.

That forgiveness was bought at a very high price – the painful death of Jesus on the cross. He could forgive the paralytic because, for one he is God, and he knew he was willing and able to pay the price required of that man’s sin.

Today, forgiving us is a matter already done. My sins, your sins, are forgiven. Period. Jesus doesn’t have to go to the cross again and again each time we disobey him, each time someone goes to him with a repentant heart. He’s been there, done that.

God doesn’t require any of us to do something, pray a number of prayers, beat ourselves, or carry a wooden cross to make up for some deficit his own death couldn’t cover. Forgiveness is already ours (John 3:16, I John 1:9) Receiving it requires confession of sin, a repentant heart, and a request.

Us: Jesus, will you forgive me?

Jesus: Sure.

Piece of cake.

Jesus, I don’t want to minimize what it cost you to purchase my forgiveness. I read about what you went through at the hands of your murderers and I shutter to think you did that for me. I don’t want to minimize your holiness, your fierce hatred of sin, your demand that I be holy before you, a holy God. But I want to thank you for your grace, for the simple act of asking you to forgive me, knowing you already have and are just waiting to shower me with your love and forgiveness. Thank you for making it so easy to come to you. Forgive me when I try to make it so difficult. 

Why Christmas?

Christmas is next week. I doubt that bit of information comes as much of a surprise to anyone. The whole world celebrates Jesus’ birth whether they want to admit it or not, whether or not they believe that baby in the manger was God in the flesh. Carols fill the airwaves weeks in advance. Colorful lights sparkle from rooftops and streetlights. Everybody and their brother has a Christmas special on TV. Presents are bought and wrapped, plans for family gatherings, office parties, even ugly Christmas sweater parties are in full swing leading up to the day. Even business are closed on December 25.

Many people will attend a church service, even if they haven’t been to church since last Christmas.

On December 25 we celebrate the most important birth – ever. The writer of Hebrews tells us why this event is so important. He spells out who Jesus is and why he was born that day in Bethlehem. God planned, before he created the universe, to join his creation in flesh and blood, to walk where we walk, experience life like we experience life, and to go to the cross so that he could bridge the gap between us and him.

We have forgiveness because this baby grew to be a man who went to the cross to pay the penalty we deserve for every sin we commit. We can have fellowship with him, we can enter his rest, we are co-heirs of the promise, and we have the assurance of heaven because that baby whose birth we celebrate, God with us, lived and died to give us the ultimate present. Himself!

Many of you have spent a lot of time and thought, picking out the perfect gift for that special person in you life. You bought it, brought it home, probably looked at it a thousand times and imagined your loved one opening it. You wrap it carefully in the best paper you can find and put that finishing touch on the package, a bow and a card that says, To…, From… As the day approaches, your level of excitement grows with the knowledge that your loved one is going to love this gift!

So the day comes. You hide the gift behind your back and approach your loved one. With a smile on your face, you bring the package around and offer it to that one who means so much to you. You can’t wait to see their reaction.

What happens next is life changing. Imagine if your loved one refuses the gift. Imagine he or she holding the wrapped package, then putting it aside and walking away. That gift is their’s for the taking. What if they don’t take it? It’s bought and paid for. Their name is right there on the package. They just need to accept it.

But imagine your loved one accepting that gift, opening the package and holding it close to their heart. Imagine them wearing the gift, using it as it is intended. Imagine them protecting it, showing it off to their friends, cherishing it for a life time. Isn’t that what you, as the giver of the gift, planned for all along?

That’s, “Why Christmas.” You have the most important gift you’ll ever receive right in front of you. It’s forgiveness. It’s cleansing and freedom and fellowship with Jesus, the baby whose birth we are celebrating. God’s grace is the best, most wonderful possession you will ever have. And it’s yours for the taking.

I pray you will cherish that gift like no other. God has forgiven you. The price for your soul has been paid. Will you accept it?

Precious Jesus, I pray that everyone reading this blog knows you as their Savior. That’s why you were born that day 2,000 years ago. But for those who have yet to accept your gift, I pray they will talk to you today, that they will ask you to forgive them, that they will turn from sin and toward you who has bought the most wonderful gift they could ever receive. May this Christmas have real meaning for each of us as we consider why you were born. Thank you for the baby in the manger, for the man who lived and died so that each of us can know you. Thank you for Christmas.

August 22

Lamentation 3-4

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.
As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hands have provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Who doesn’t love that old hymn? If you get the chance, why don’t you look it up and read all the verses sometime? The language is dated, but the truth is for today.

The writer of Lamentations kind of sang this hymn in the midst of his sorrow. He looked around and saw the devastation and suffering, he felt the sting of God’s correction.

But in 3:22-24 he states that God is good and God is all he needs. There is hope in these words and if you continue to read you will see even more hope.

God doesn’t like to see his children suffer. In verses 40-42 the writer gets to the heart of it. The truth is, Israel sinned and is experiencing the consequences. Repent, the writer says. Return to the Lord.

If you are experiencing the consequences of sin in your life I would say the same to you. Repent. Return to the Lord. You will receive so much more than you ever imagined:

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth.
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

June 2

Proverbs 19-21

20:9 says:

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?

The Bible tells us no one is righteous.  Not even one. It also says all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. 

We all sin. And just because we have a personal relationship with the Lord doesn’t mean we are immune from sinning. Satan doesn’t just write us off when we accept Jesus as our Savior. In fact, if we’re honest Satan often steps up his game a little in the lives of Christians.

Sometimes I think we can be too hard on ourselves about past sins. We might have committed what we consider to be some pretty awful sins or we might feel guilty about lying to someone. 

One thing I see in the Bible is that God doesn’t grade sins. He doesn’t consider murder more of an offense than gluttony. He didn’t die once for some sins and twice for others. He died once and for all.

Ok. So you’re a sinner. Welcome to the human race. Repent and move on. Jesus died for you. Your sins… all of them… are forgiven when you repent. If you carry the guilt of your sin, if you keep beating yourself up for past mistakes, if you allow those things to hold you back, that’s on you. It’s not from God. In fact, it just might be Satan’s weapon to keep you ineffective for the kingdom.

When we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. Did you get that? You can stand before God today whiter than snow because Jesus’ blood paid the price. 

If you have gone to God and asked him to forgive you, then trust him to do that. The guilt you hold on to just might be a sin you need to confess. Let him free you of that, too.

And remember, no one can say they have kept a pure heart or are clean and without sin. Don’t let Satan make you think your sins are too ugly for God to forgive. Or that you deserve this feeling of guilt. All of us are in the same boat. And we have a great God who wants us to accept what he has to offer: forgiveness, cleansing, freedom.

Letting go of guilt doesn’t mean we don’t remember. We should remember so we don’t repeat our sin. Letting go of guilt doesn’t mean we think we got away with something. The penalty for that sin cost Jesus his life. But he wanted to pay for it. He wanted to go to the cross to free us from that sin. My prayer is that we all will let him do that.

If you are feeling guilty about something, thank God for his grace and use the memory of that sin to remind you how really awesome his grace is to forgive even that. Don’t let Satan steal your joy. Let God turn Satan’s attack into a blessing.

Father in Heaven, I pray for hurting people today. I know there isn’t one person reading this today who hasn’t done something or said something that they regret. I know some are carrying the physical consequences of past sins. But, God, I also know you are faithful to forgive when we ask. Please help your people to forgive ourselves, too, so that we can be free to reach out to others. Defeat Satan in our lives when he would keep us captive to past sins. Thank you for Jesus and his work on the cross that allows us to live lives free of sin that would entangle us. Help us to walk free today.

March 26

Joshua 7-9

Achan found out that there is no such thing as a secret sin. We may succeed at hiding it from the people around us but make no mistake. God sees and he isn’t ignoring it.

I don’t know what Achan was thinking but I know the thoughts I’ve had when I try to hold on to what I think is a secret sin. Thoughts like… it’s not that big of a deal, it’s not hurting anyone, I’ll confess it later, I’m entitled to a little fun.

I need to be reminded that those arguments are never from God. They are Satan’s attempts at keeping me from a right relationship with God.

Achan’s story also reminds me that my life and my choices affect those around me. The nation of Israel could not win their battles as long as Achan held on to his sin. I wonder what blessings, what victories have been denied my loved ones, my church because of sins I think I’m hiding.

God, reveal to me anything in my life that displeases you. May I lay it all before you so that you can cleanse me. I don’t want anything standing between us today.