Posts Tagged ‘cleanse our sins’

HERE IS ONE I POSTED IN 2016…revamped a bit, of course.


While lecturing and book signing in San Antonio, I spent the night with my sister. When I blurry-eyed stepped into her shower, this is what greeted me.



SIN AROMA. I had to laugh. It was 6:30 in the morning and I’d already found God today.

San Antonio is a bilingual city, so labels are in English and Spanish. “Sin Aroma” means “unscented”, but it got me to thinking. What is the aroma of sin? Isn’t it often undetectable?  Unlike natural gas, which is also undetectable, nothing is added to temptations to let us know danger lurks. No nasty, scrunch-up-our-nose odor to warn us to back away. Unless we have our holy prompter inside of us, the Holy Spirit. But even then, do we always obey His whispers?

Sin should leave us feeling dirty.  But too often, don’t we cover it up like an aromatherapy spray?  If you can’t smell it, it isn’t there anymore, right? Other times, it may be masked with an enticing whiff that pulls us in like walking by a bakery just when a batch of freshly baked bread is being pulled from the oven, even though you are on a low-carb diet. Yeah. Been there.

James wrote in his letter, “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (1:15) The father of lies’ temptations are often what we think we want, need, or even believe is God’s will for us. Whatever it is, he knows it is a lure for us. So we dash ahead without taking it to God in prayer first for verification and blessing. We don’t detect the smell that might otherwise cause us to back away.

Back to the soap I saw in the shower imagery…

The fact that sin can wash over our body and we still “feel clean” is evidence that we live in a fallen world. But when we become part of the Body of Christ and He lives in us, sin’s enticement is more detectable. The more we allow ourselves to be washed in His Blood, the more protected we will become.  As believers, we all need a “body wash” (jabon corporal) to slough off the sins that have begun to stick to us like sweat.  That is why going to church is so important. So we can be in “corporate” worship together.

Hey, I am not trying to revive the 1970’s adage, “Save water shower with a friend.”  (Just to be clear.) But the same way a friend can pull you aside and tell you that you have a smudge on your blouse, as members of the Body we can lovingly and quietly point out a spot on each other’s souls that need to be scrubbed a bit. But spot cleaning doesn’t always do the job.

As individuals, just as we cleanse our skin each day, let us also remember to wash our souls daily by spending time with our Lord.

Now everyone sing …“What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus…”

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Lent begins on this Wednesday, March 5th. I grew up giving up things for Lent– like sweets, soft drinks, or chewing gum. So I can relate to this story I found online when constructing the bulletins for the Lenten services at the church where I work:

“Some years ago a friend of mine told me that he had urged his children to move beyond giving up candy to giving up some habit of sin that marked their lives. About halfway through Lent he asked the children how they were doing with their Lenten promise. One of his young sons had promised to give up fighting with his bothers and sisters during Lent. When his father asked him how it was going, the boy replied, “I’m doing pretty good, Dad–but  boy, I can’t wait until Easter.”  *

Now, as an adult, I realize the purpose of Lent is a whole lot more than just giving up something for 40 plus days. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Christians are called to abstain from some sin in their lives during this time. Experts say it takes 30-50 days to reverse a bad habit. Lent is not the time to just temporarily stop sinning, thinking that after Good Friday we can pick it up again because it is now Easter. No, we are to use this time to discipline ourselves so we can better eradicate it from our lives.True, we should always try to abstain from sinning. But, like dust on furniture, it is funny how sin starts to accumulate if we do not take the time to clean our souls. That requires some contrite, on-our-knees confession prayers to God now and then. That’s the purpose of Lent.


I am a pretty much a fanatical clean and neat freak, (I know. Right now my close friends and family are rolling their eyes and saying, “You think?”) But, I confess, when I get busy with life I often put off the dusting and vacuuming. After a while, it shows. Dust mites float in the sunlight and land on my TV, computer monitor, the bookshelves, and the table tops. After a while, you can scrawl your name in them. But, if you leave the curtains and blinds drawn, then my house looks fairly picked-up and presentable. I think our lives can be the same way.

So,maybe we can see Lent as a spiritual spring cleaning. When you draw back the curtains and let in the Light of the World, Christ shines on those dust bunnies that have accumulated in our lives and, let’s be honest, the bit of dirt we have tried to shove under the carpets until we can deal with it later. You know, those nagging little whispers of our conscience that tell us we need to make a change in our attitudes and habits.

Jesus, by His death, became our duster. He helps us wipe away our sins, so our souls, which are the dwelling place for His Holy Spirit, can become sparking clean again.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? I Corinthians 6:19

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  Hebrews 9:41

This Lent, instead of giving up something, take on this: Let Jesus’ white glove scrape across your life, and where there is some dust of sin settling, let Him help you wipe it clean. Then, confess to Him often, so you can stay clean. Don’t let sin accumulate in your temple! Tell the devil that is one thing you plan to give up.


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During a meeting,  I detected a coin on the floor. At first I thought it might be a penny. Someone probably dropped it then decided it wasn’t worth the effort to retrieve it. The coin was so grungy and dark, even when I held it up to the light, I couldn’t discern its denomination.

800px-One_dime_1976_revisedCuriosity, or latent OCD, got the better of me. I shoved it in my pocket. After I got home, I rubbed the coin with a squeeze of toothpaste. I saw bits of Eisenhower’s face. I rubbed some more. I saw the year it was minted and the inscribed words “Liberty”. I flipped it over and rubbed the other side until the images of the torch, olive branch and oak branch surfaced. No more mystery. I held a shiny dime from 1976, minted in Denver. Not a penny.

It reminded me of the woman who searched for her lost coin in Luke’s Gospel. While nine remained on the table, she hunted and hunted for the tenth one.

[Jesus said] “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10


What does the lost coin symbolize?  A lost soul in need of a Savior? Most definitely.

But I can see where it can also be that deep hidden sin lurking out of sight. The grungy one we’d prefer not to deal with yet. We say, “Lord, let’s tackle the easy ones first. The nine  lying open on the table. This one’s being swept under the rug for now, okay? Don’t search for it.”

Human wisdom tell us to let sleeping dogs lie. There are some issues better left alone. But godly wisdom disagrees with that philosophy. Sin begins to cling to us like dirt. We become camouflaged in the ways of the world. It’s hard to determine our purpose or worth.

I have learned I can’t hide things from God for very long. Like the tenacious woman searching for the lost coin, God will search out the sin in our lives. He will exhaust every means to bring into the open what we’ve been trying to hide from Him, and perhaps from ourselves. Knowing all, He encourages us to confess the sin, wipe it clean and then shine forth His glory in our lives.




taken from What Can She Tell Us– a Bible study of the unnamed women in the New Testament.


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003 Happy dance! It’s Laundry Day.

I know because I have one pair of underwear left in the top drawer of my dresser and the basket will not hold any more clothes no matter how many times I push them down and cram them together.

So, sigh, I begin to sort. I sort by color and by fabric weight- heavy cottons like sweats, jeans and towels, perm. press, lighter weight delicacies, bleachable whites, etc. Each has to be washed a special way with a certain temperature of water, agitating speed and spin. Then each has to be dried per the instructions on the label. Oh, sure you could dump them all in together but then colors may bleed and some won’t get thoroughly clean. If tossed together in the dryer, some may get too hot and others come out damp. Some may shrink and no longer fit.

Can you see the analogy yet?  When it comes to my faults, sins and imperfections, I want God to zap them all at once. Let’s get this over with, I have things to do. Clean me up, dry me off and send me out. I want to be a super Christian,  always walking with You and filled with Your Spirit.

But God knows that is not for the best. He sorts out the things in my life He wishes to revamp into a more excellent way. He knows how to handle each fabric of my being. He has it figured out and knows how long it will take to wash each category clean and get it ready for the task ahead. Some stains in my personality may need a very long soak and extra care. Some areas of my heart should be on the delicate cycle. Some need more vigorous agitation to break loose the grime.

Here is the light bulb moment. Cleaning is only half the job. Everything has to be dried, maybe pressed, in order to be presentable. Some clothes need to drip dry. Others can take the heat. Some need the wrinkles ironed out. Is that not true with the areas of our lives God chooses to work on? He washes away our sin, doubt, grime and negative thoughts. But that is only the beginning. Before we can wear this new aspect of our lives into the world as witness of His mercy and grace, we must go through more. We must be transformed back into the original, fresh-from-the-store state.

So our All-knowing LORD hangs our issues up to dry, or applies the swirling heat in our lives, not out of cruelty, but out of care and love. That requires time, patience and the knowledge of what each area of our lives needs.

Praise God-  may every day be Laundry Day!! May I no longer cram things down, assuming I will bring them to Him later to clean and prepare. LORD, let me not wait until I have only one little thing left to cling to before I bring the situation to you.  Teach me to be joyful in the knowledge that You are taking Your time and handling each load as it should be handled. Thank You that, through Your blood, You wash us white as snow and through Your Holy Spirit, you prepare us for what is next by giving us the spiritual clothes we need. Amen.

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