Posts Tagged ‘spiritual cleansing’

IMAG0345Several years ago, the women of St.Matthias gave me this treasure box with a fall arrangement in it as a thank you for giving a talk. I truly do “treasure” it, and the memories of those lovely ladies I see way too little as they are in another city from me.

As I stared at it on my dressing table, I realized that during the fall season we often decorate with “fallen” things. Dead leaves, spent pine cones and acorns, twigs, dried grass.  We arrange them in vases, weave them to wreaths, and yes, glue them into a treasure box.


 I had to ask–what are some of the dead things I am displaying in my life? Or even treasuring like a memento of the battle?

Now I am not much of a gardener, but I do know if you want a plant to keep blooming you pluck the dead blossoms off the branches. My father always told us the reason he had us rake and bag leaves in the fall was because the grass would die underneath if we didn’t. It would not become lush and green in the spring. I know people put their leaves in a compost pile to decompose as fertilizer, transforming what is dead and useless into something to revitalize and feed what begins to grow later.

God brings us through seasons just as He does in nature. Sometimes, the old things need to fall to the ground and be swept away so after a period of void and dormancy ( our learning and readjusting time when we draw closer to God) new things can spring from the ground and grow.We always talk of spring cleaning, but spiritually speaking, perhaps I need to do some fall cleaning.  How about you?

I need to let go of some anger, angst, hurts and thoughts that should die in Christ so, when I go through a wintry period, they won’t thwart the seeds God is planting deep inside me. I should rake these dead things up in a pile for Him to mercifully transform into forgiveness, understanding and tolerance to His benefit, and mine. Sort of a spiritual compost. After all, isn’t our Lord in the business of taking dead things and making them new and purposeful?

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions… (Ephesians 2:4b-5)

Lord, help me to gather up and give to You the things that are now dead so, when the renewal of spring comes, I will be ready for the seeds You have planted and nurtured deep inside to spring forth from Your rich mercy.  Let me not hold onto past hurts and bitter lessons learned, but offer them to You so You may use them for Your glory. Amen.

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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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beef-steakWell… this program I have started calls it a lifestyle change – not a diet!  The first week, we were in a toxic-cleansing “jump start” stage, so we were limited to lean red meat, grapefruit, eggs and raw veggies. The third day I felt waves of vertigo and was very sluggish. But I kept at it and increased my water intake. It got a bit easier, then a bit harder. Temptations crept into my brain – would eating just a bit of this or that really hurt? The funny thing was this: during that week, I thought I would crave chocolate or bread. What I craved was string cheese.

So why should you care? God spoke to me during that week and perhaps what He said to me will be meaningful to you. I learned that some foods are not as tough to give up as I imagined they would be. The same is true for our habits. “But, God, I can’t give up watching that TV show I love, even if it does have more and more sex and foul language. ”  “Sure I will pray every day, but I still want to hang out at the weekly beer, cigars and poker game with the guys- okay?”  “God, I know I should keep the Sabbath, but it’s summer and the lake is calling me.” You get my drift.

When we go on a lifestyle eating change (see, I didn’t say diet.) we have to relearn what to eat and what not to eat. When we go on a spiritual lifestyle change, we must do the same. Everything we do, think and say must be weighed against the Word. As we do, God will detox us from what was poisoning our souls. The Blood of the Lamb will cleanse us. It may feel strange in the beginning, but that’s okay. Keep at it. Just understand that temptations will creep in. Count on it.

Hang in there – fall to your knees and ask for strength. Drink in more and more of the Living Water to help flush out what is not spiritually healthy for you.  The weight of the world will slowly slip from your shoulders, pound by pound.

By the way- in case you do care, I’ve lost  7.8 pounds that week, which, for this metabolism-of-a-snail gal, is a miracle in itself! Lord, help me to slough off the same toxicity in my spiritual life so I may be more fit to serve You!

But he [Jesus] said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”  John 4:32-34

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