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Posts Tagged ‘sin’

I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 1 John 2:12

Ever since I moved into my apartment, anything that has been sitting in my freezer for more than a day reeks of garlic. I scrubbed the walls and shelves with various organic cleansers, tried lemon juice…and even so not so organic ones. Chemicals can’t survive in frost, right? Don’t burst my bubble. I never took chemistry.

Finally I discovered the culprit. The ice maker tub. The plastic container the ice dispenser decides to chunk a dozen or so cubes into at odd hours, like two a.m. Loud enough to startle you from a nice dream. Why someone had something garlicky in there is beyond me.

So I scrubbed it. Still smelled. I ran really hot water over it and added a touch of baking soda in it to let it soak for several hours. Nope. Last resort, I sequestered it to my patio for the three hot, Texas summer days until the trash truck came. That way I didn’t have to whiff it.

Come trash day I retrieved it and guess what? No more odor. I guess the sunshine warmed it enough to release the smell and then the breeze whisked it away. How about that?

Back in the freezer it went and now my freshly made ice cubes hold no garlicky smell. Nor do my other frozen foods. Ahhhh.

Now before you all send me recipes for how to safely get odors out of plastic, let me tell you why I even mention this.

I occurred to me that we humans need airing out, too…sometimes. I am not talking about whether your antiperspirant works or not. I mean the inward things. Residual stuff in our past can linger on our soul. Occasionally a whiff of them surfaces and catches our attention, just enough to remind us of our failures, mistakes, past sins, or the time we didn’t have the gumption to say “I’m sorry.”

We can scrub ourselves clean by doing good deeds or promising to be a better person, but the offense still lingers. Remedies don’t work. Fragrant offerings like being super kind to strangers, and even you relatives, may cover it up for a while…. but it doesn’t eradicate the stench. It’s like a faint odor that never quite goes away no matter how hard we try to cover it up.

To really get rid of the stink in our lives we need to air it out in the presence of the Son. Let the breeze of mercy flow over us long enough to where we believe anew that He really can forgive us and still loves us, in spite of our messes.

Exposed to the rays of His grace, what was offensive no longer has a lingering aroma in our lives. We can be of full use again. A fresh start.

Are there unresolved issues that hover over you in the middle of the night? Time to air them out, folks. Take them to the Son and let Him shine on it. Allow Him the time to remove that hurt or resentment or guilt that you are sure everyone else can smell as well. Then thank Him for forgiving you and make sure you take the final step…forgive yourself.

No one need to wait for trash day, because as the ol’ bumper sticker saying goes “God Don’t Make Junk.” You are still of use.

 

 

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What irritates you?

IMAG0312I have always had s sensitivity to certain metals. Only surgical steel can go into my pierced ears. But one pair I bought, which I later discovered was not surgical steel, are my favorite. Yet, if I wear them for more than a few hours, the “holes” become angry and infected. I have tried coating the wires with clear nail polish, dousing the posts in antibiotic salves, soaking them in rubbing alcohol…but the plain fact is my ears do not tolerate whatever alloy is in that metal. The result will be the same each and every time. So I stare at them and ponder, “Is it worth it?”

Sad to say, sometimes I suck in my defiant breath and shove them into my earlobes anyway. Then, I complain about the consequences for the next few days.

Sound familiar? No, I am not talking about earrings anymore. I am referring to those little “sins” we try to get by with. Those whispered temptations. The “no one will know if you do” nudges.

These irritate our souls just as the alloy embedded in the posts aggravates my sensitive ears. You might say these indiscretions rub us the wrong way – and that is what God intends. As Christians, sin is supposed to be an irritant to us.

Yet, how often to we pretend we are not sensitive to it because we want to have it, we give in and do it, or we sneak around and try it. We can coat the sin with anything we like, but the truth of the matter is it will still infect us. And only Our Lord can heal us.

Better to chuck it in the trash and walk away.

Easier said than done. I still have the earrings in my jewelry box.

 

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I had to leave in five minutes. I looked down and gasped. During my showering and hair styling, my nail polish had chipped off on a few nails- ugh!

Now if you aren’t a gal, let me explain. This is equivalent to a button popped off or a mustard droplet on a necktie. Not the end of the world, but it definitely screams that you are not put together. Plus, all day you will be self-conscious and imagine everyone is giving you a wide berth and clicking their IMAG0225tongues.

Back to my plight: No time for a manicure. So I dabbed on some more polish to “smooth over” the rough spots. I knew better. With not quite dry nails I smudged two when I dug in my purse for my car keys. The newly applied coat actually revealed more of the “craters” rather than concealing it. Plus it adhered to the old, making the polish thicker and uneven in places, which made it chip off even more during the day. Now my nails really screamed “Mess!”  Sigh.

Well, God used this as a lesson. No, it’s not that I have a vanity thing, though there is that I suppose. But how often do we try to cover up our sins thinking the world will not see them?  We don’t have time to deal with it so we try a quick cover-up. I lost my temper so I will send her flowers.  I walked by without saying hello so I will text it later. I took home some copy paper from the office so tomorrow I’ll bring brownies. I used the Lord’s name in vain so I will put an extra dollar in the offering plate. Quick cover-ups never properly fix the problem.

To set things right, I needed to take the time to remove the old chipped-off stuff, apply a new coat or two of polish and then seal it. Or, at least remove the flaking color and leave my nails fresh and clean. However, that would leave them exposed. Polish and sealant help protect them from breaking. They also add a touch of attractive shine and glimmer.

IMAG0105Couldn’t the same be said of my soul? I need to take the time to remove sin by confessing to God, and perhaps another person, the wrong I’ve done which is chipping away at my relationship. Then I must reapply God’s polish–by reading His Word, colored with prayer and brushed on with a contrite heart–so I can again shine. Lastly, I need to once more be sealed by His merciful Spirit so I am protected. Otherwise, sin will just keep peeling off any attractiveness I present to the world. I will lose my attractiveness.

Thing is, if I’d called and apologized for running late due to a slight wardrobe malfunction, people would have understood. How much more difficult to say I’m going to be tardy because I need to get right with God and someone I’ve wronged,  and that is a process which can’t be rushed?

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

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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.

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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 your nose odor to warn us to back away.

The father of lies’s temptations are often what we think we want, need or even believe is God’s will for us. So we dash ahead without taking it to God in prayer first for verification and blessing.

James wrote in his letter, “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, give birth to death.” (1:15)

Then 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 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) at least once a week (worshiping corporately) to slough off the sins that have begun to stick to us like sweat.  As individuals, just as we cleanse our skin each day, let us also remember to wash our souls.

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

 

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It seemed clean. I could see through it just fine…until I turned my car into the rising sunlight. IMAG0118

Oooh, the hazy smudges, minuscule dead bug guts, road dirt. It glared at me — literally.  The brilliance of the rays accented the dirtiness of my car glass, making it hard for me to see beyond the filminess. It clouded my view.

So, as I waited for the light to change to green, I pushed the button on the wand to the right of my steering wheel, and squirted window cleanser on the outside of the shield. Then I flipped my wipers on full speed. Back-forth, back-forth, back-forth.

Well, that worked a bit. But, I realized there was haze on the inside as well. It was a residual of my breathing, mixed with fumes from the plastic dashboard, dust that slipped through the AC filter, and lint off my clothes. (Yeah. I Googled it to find out.)  Okay, maybe a few fumes from the cheeseburger and fries I got  at the drive-thru last week as well. I confess.

I grabbed a sleeve of my sweater (I didn’t have a rag) and wiped over the inside of the windshield in a tight, circular motion. Aha. Clarity. No more glare. Both sides cleaned…not perfect, but definitely a vast improvement.

Is that not indicative of our lives? Some dirt gets slammed into us- the offensive language or scenes on our TV shows that slip into the script. That touch of gossip we overheard in the restroom at work. The local news that has to relay all the ugly details. The younger coworker who is dressing in too tight clothes that accent the fact they work out–a lot.

Other things dirty us from our inside. Anger, jealousy a revengeful thought, a slight pilfering of office supplies, forgetting to pray before we dash out the door to face the world. negative self-talk.

Both work to form a haze over our witness. People cannot see Christ as clearly in us. And as each little thing accumulates over time, it may be hard for us to notice the view has become obscure.

It works both ways. Our view of the world may not be as clear. We begin to think –  Is it really all that bad nowadays? Perhaps times have changed,and so should my opinion. People seem more tolerant, maybe I should as well. It’s okay if I sleep in on Sunday, again. Everyone else does.

Our judgement has become clouded. That is until the Light of His Truth blares into our lives.

It may be a sermon, a passage in Scripture, or wisdom from a well meaning friend. Perhaps that small inner voice you know is not from your brain waves. Something throws a glare onto the filthiness you have collected in your life.

Time to wipe it clean…

  • On the outside by being more diligent to keep away from temptations.
  • On the inside to make sure we wipe the slate clean before we retire and seek God’s forgiveness, and perhaps other people’s as well, for any wrong we have done.

Next time the Son shines, it will be clearer to others, and to ourselves, that we are truly His followers. No more haziness.

 

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IMAG0105Ever get a scraggly place on your fingernail. It’s not a break, or even a  chip. Just an almost microscopic rugged spot enough to catch materials, like clothes, hosiery, etc.  And yes, it seems to catch on everything!! A slight aggravation  seems to grow. You rub it against a rough surface, but that doesn’t do it. You need a file, the correct tool.  And, until you can get to that nail file or emery board that rugged place bothers you.

(Guys, tell me you have this problem at times, too. Surely it is not just a girl thing. If not, bear with me. There is a point to this – no pun intended..)

But, once you get the file, it takes work to right the situation. You have to buff it away, feel the place, nope- not smooth enough yet. Buff…feel, nope…file a bit  more.  The thing is, the more you file, the more evident it becomes that the nail is damaged and needs to be re-shaped. At last your nail is smooth, well -shaped and presentable again.

Are you beginning to see the God-connection?

Sin can snag us. Until we bring it to God, it will nag at us, and as we go through the day, or week, or months, it keeps catching on our thoughts and actions. We know it’s there, even if no one else does.

So, we finally carve out time to fall to our knees and give it to our Lord. He scrapes it away, and at first, it makes the sin seem more obvious, so much larger. But with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that sin can be buffed away and we fully restored. Now we can grow again–in the correct direction.

But we know in this fallen world, we will  brush against the harshness of sin again. We women usually carry an emery board in our purses  so we are prepared when an unexpected snag occurs. May we all carry the Holy Spirit that close, and stop to correct the situation the first chance we get. It will make the day go, well, a lot smoother.

 

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ID-10070268It started with a tickle, like a feather under my nose. Then, the scratchiness in the back om tongue. By this morning, my head was stuffed with cotton, my throat burned, and a shallow cough had settled into my chest. Yep – I have a cold. It’s okay – it’s not contagious over cyberspace, so you don;t have to click off.

As nasty as a summer cold is, I found a God-message in it.

Do our souls react to sin the way our body reacts to germs? I think so.

At first sin is a mild irritant, but if we let it enter in, the Holy Spirit will make us uncomfortable as it tries to defeat the sin, the way our bodies’ white corpuscles attack a cold germ. It may take a lot of sneezing to get it out of our system. Not pleasant, but for the best.

Ignore the sin even more, and it can even make us sick. We begin to feel out of sorts and irritable. If we don’t confess the sin and try to live our lives with it, it digs in deeper to become a full-blown infection, just like a cold can turn into pneumonia or bronchitis.

Like taking cold and cough medicines, confession may not be pleasant. But it is necessary if we are to heal. The earlier we begin treatment, the quicker we can nip the symptoms in the bud.

There are other things you can do. Let your prayer be like a facial tissue- expel your sin and then toss it away.

Like hot tea, the vapors of mercy can soothe you. And to prevent your sin from infecting others, forgiven can be like a hand sanitizer that keeps the sin from re-entering our hearts. In fact, when we encounter a negative, grouchy or hurtful person, maybe we should grab our spiritual armor the way we dig in our purses and pockets for the hand sanitizer bottle when someone sniffles or coughs. God’s Word is the best defense to keep our souls healthy.

When you have a cold you are supposed to rest because you are weak. Are we not supposed to rest in the arms of our Lord when we feel spiritually weak?

The experts say to intake lots of water if you feel a cold coming on. Jesus said He is the Living Water. If we intake a huge dose of Him in our lives, will that help flush out our sinfulness? Oh, and you are to increase your Vitamin C. For the spiritual sniffles, is the Vitamin C otherwise known as Christ? Do we not need more of Him in us?

Hmmm. Is that why they called Jesus the Great Physician?

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