The Ultimate Stain Remover

Of all my household chores, laundry is one of my least favorites. Trying to sort through the mountains of dirty clothes that come from my big brood leaves me exhausted. And then there are the stains. I am always looking for the stains.

Sometimes there are huge, messy stains that need extra shots of stain remover and a lot of soaking. Other times the stains are a little less severe, and a quick squirt of spot remover takes them right out. Often the stains are so insignificant that they go unnoticed by my searching eye, yet come right out with only the laundry soap to attack them. With the various degrees of staining comes various degrees of removal needed.

Isn’t that the way our sin can be? Sometimes our sins are big and messy. They require a lot of change on our part, and a tremendous amount of grace. We scrub and we soak, intent on ridding ourselves of those messy places. We strive for cleansing and a feeling of refreshing. Other times, our sins are a little less severe in nature. Those are the things that we can change with a thought or a quick action. They still require the grace, but the severity of our guilt and shame doesn’t compare to those big, nasty messes. And then there are those hidden sins. The ones that might not be noticed by human eye. The ones that only we know about. These are the sins we acknowledge to no one else. These are the messes we take before the Lord in secret. We tend to judge ourselves based on the severity of our sin. In our minds it is okay to assume that some sin doesn’t hold the same level of importance as other sin. We justify why certain sins are “okay”, while others are not.

The truth is that sin is sin. We are all equal at the foot of the cross. We have all sinned. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). The beauty is that we have a God who has an abundant supply of grace just waiting for us. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10).

God’s grace removes our sin from us. Jesus’ death in the cross is the ultimate stain remover. Through his sacrifice and his blood shed for us, we can be like my clean laundry….spotless and stain free.

Looking for a Fill Up


I have been reading Jennie Allen’s newest book PROVEN. It has got me to thinking about what really fills me, what makes me feel value and self-worth. Like many who might read this, I have struggled at times with feelings of self-doubt and a lack of esteem. I have viewed myself as having little value, and I have compared myself to others. And all that has ever gotten me is discontent. It hasn’t left me feeling valuable or worthy, and it hasn’t filled that empty space inside. According to Jennie Allen, “Jesus is the only thing that we pursue that doesn’t leave us more empty.”

Jesus is just what we need when our tank needs a fill up. He gets into that empty space and fills it to overflowing with His love, His grace, His compassion, and His strength. Through this, we get a sense of worth. We realize WHO we are when we understand WHOSE we are. We gain our sense of value when we understand what it means to be “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We also get an understanding of the simple fact that we don’t always have to be perfect…in fact we never will be. It is okay to be weak. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Oh, how marvelous it is to know that my moments of weakness are okay.

When Jesus fills our tank, we also have those times of strength, those times when we feel as if we can conquer anything that comes our way. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). Have you ever felt so full of the Holy Spirit that you could do anything? If only we could feel that way ALL the time. There is just nothing better than having that God-confidence that allows you to try something you never thought you would try, or to step out of your comfort zone and let God use you in a way you never imagined. Our sense of self-worth rises when we let Jesus work in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I want to feel valuable and worthy. I want to remember WHOSE I am, and let that give me the boldness and the confidence to step out of my little box and venture out into the new things He has for me. I want His confidence to pour out upon me and lift me to new heights. God has something wonderful planned for my life. He has something awesome and amazing planned for yours. Let’s keep our tanks filled so that we don’t miss a single opportunity that God has for us.

 

Loved Through the Loss

 

Loss is difficult. It hits us right at the center of who we are. It consumes our thoughts and governs the status of our hearts. Grief leaves us isolated, caught up in our sorrow and unable to break free. That is exactly what the enemy wants. He wants us to be caught in the grip of our pain, hopeless to see the light at the end of the tunnel, desperate for escape.

Do we give the enemy what he wants? Do we wallow in our misery and dig our pit deeper and deeper? Or do we look up to our mighty God, who has the ability to pull us from the miry clay and bring light back into our lives? It is our choice….to let the enemy have the victory or to allow our Father in heaven to work in us triumphantly.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

God is a God of comfort. He will take our grieving hearts and breathe hope and comfort into them. His wraps his arms of love around us and holds us up until we are able to hold ourselves up. When we seek him, his words offer promise.

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Only God can take the shattered pieces of our broken hearts and, piece by piece, restore them to a heart of hope. It is his love that binds us back together, sealing up the holes caused by our pain and loss.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Isn’t is wonderful that we have such a loving Father in heaven, who knows our hearts and our pains so intimately? The condition of our hearts is so very important to him. He allows us to feel the pain, because through the pain, our character is grown. But then he swoops in like a loving father would, and restores our strength. He gently reminds us of the promise of eternity with those we have lost. He softly whispers into our hearts that he loves us, that he is here with us, that those we have lost will always be in our hearts.

We must be like Mary…treasuring up all the things, all those sweet memories, and pondering them… Click To Tweet

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1Peter 3:8)

Another way God helps us through our grief is by putting others into our lives who love us. Through their hearts of compassion, their sincere words of comfort, and their gentle touch, our hearts become restored. God uses his children to bring comfort to one another, to love one another through the loss. And while the pain of loss never goes completely away, we walk through our days knowing we are not alone. We live out our lives enveloped in the love of God and others, strengthened by his promise, led by his spirit, and assured that joy comes in the morning.

Grace Over Burden

Let’s face it…we ALL sin. We’ll fall short each and every day. The difference in our lives, our hearts, and our outcomes is based upon our salvation. If we have experienced salvation through Christ, we know that our prayers of repentance are heard. We are assured that our sins are washed away, and each day is new. In other words, God forgives our sins and gives us a clean record. We go through life with forgiveness on our side, and we are able to live life fully and experience his grace abundantly.

For those who have not experienced salvation, the record just keeps growing. The list of wrongdoings piles up until the weight of the sin is too much to bear. There is no relief, no retrieval, no washing clean of the slate. Life is lived under the weight of sin, and that weight is crushing to the heart and the spirit.

The choice is ours to make. God won’t force himself upon you. What do you choose today? A life ridden with sin, guilt, and shame? Or a life free in the goodness and grace of Jesus?

Lord, help us to choose wisely. Help us to choose grace over burden. Help us to choose YOU. Show us how to lean not on our own understanding, but to seek you in all things and to cry out to you in the midst of our sins, for only you can pull us out of the pits we fall into. Thank you Lord for loving us to the point of death. Thank you that your mercies are eternal. Thank you that you, and only you, wash us white as snow.

In Jesus name, Amen💜

Step Up

Are you caught in a struggle? Is life making you weary? Are you frustrated, tired, or confused? Satan wants nothing more than to use these situations and emotions to cause you to give up…to give up on your hopes, your dreams, and God’s promises. When you feel like you want to give up…STEP UP! Grab hold of that ladder of life and pull yourself up one more rung. God has something wonderful waiting for you at the top.

You can do it! You have what it takes! You are an overcomer! Don’t believe Satan’s lies that pull you into despair. Believe God’s promise that fill your heart with hope and promise. Persevere through the tough times, and you will enjoy the beauty of victory in Christ.

Don't believe Satan's lies that pull you into despair. Believe God's promise that fill your heart… Click To Tweet

What is keeping you from stepping up today? What lies has Satan told you? What fears are gripping you? There is NO FEAR in Christ Jesus. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Have faith in the promises of God. Believe in His love and mercy. Hold tight to His compassion and grace. Keep your eyes focused on His goodness. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

Remember….mountain climbers don’t look down. They keep their eyes focused on what is ahead and above. What is ahead and above for you? The blessings and goodness of God are waiting….you just have to take that step.

Choose Wisely

We have a choice…we can act in such a way that causes those who see us to stumble, or we can choose to act in a way that leads others towards the gospel.

If you say you are a Christian, you can be guaranteed that people are watching you.  Watching and waiting…and thinking,  “Is she really who she says she is?  What will she do in THIS situation?”

According to God’s word, we are to follow in the steps of the one who paid the ultimate price for our sins.  For you have been called, because Christ also suffers for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Christ died for us so that we might live a life forgiven from sin.  He gave his life so that we could live ours in a way that pleases and honors the Father. Are your actions pleasing and honoring to your Father?  Are you setting an example for others to follow...in your home, in your workplace, in your… Click To Tweet

Where you go, what you do, how you speak, how you react…it is all so evident of where your heart is.  And while this is a tremendous responsibility, and may seem overwhelming at times, it is also a huge honor to point others towards the cross.

So as you start your day today, remember that little eyes are watching, as are the eyes of the aged and mature.  Ears are listening and thoughts are being formed.  You WILL set an example today.  What example will that be?  Who will it represent?

Your actions and your choices make a difference in the lives of others…so CHOOSE WISELY!

Keeper of the Stars

 

He is ever so familiar with each and every star. He is even more familiar with each of His children. When you are feeling as if no one cares about you, or no one understands your pain or confusion, rest in the simple knowledge that He knows and He cares. He knows you far better than you could ever imagine.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is in my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it all together. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-24)

Don’t be afraid to share your heart with Jesus. Have no fear of allowing Him in to work in your darkest places, where doubt and fear can clutch you in their mighty grip. Be bold to invite Him into your joys, triumphs, and celebrations. He wants to be a part of ALL of it. He knows you, your heart, and everything about you so well.

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30)

You are never ALONE, you are never UNKNOWN. He knows you. He loves you. He rejoices in your celebrations and weeps with you in your sorrows. He is the greatest, most dedicated, most sincere, most trustworthy friend you will ever have.

Grab His hand and hold on. He will guide you over the mountaintops and through the valleys. He will walk you through the fire and into the glorious sunlight. He will stand beside you in the storm and point you towards the rainbow of promise. Oh what a friend we have in the Keeper of the stars.