What Does The Light Reveal?

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Sponge Painting 0

I was excited to paint our bathroom. However, I was not excited about the preparation necessary to paint. Thanks to the decorating tastes of the prior homeowners, our bathroom walls were textured with bright red sponge-painted on a white background.

My husband described the work to be done before I could even think about opening up the can of paint that would transform the bathroom. We removed everything attached to the walls. We brought in megawatt lights to illuminate flaws to be spackled. I cleaned the walls with a washcloth and felt for surface imperfections hidden in the distraction of sponge-painting.

The next step was to sand and smooth out the wall surfaces. It was impossible to remove all the globs of red paint. We did our best and crossed our fingers that what remained would not be too noticeable on the finished walls.

One coat of primer was not enough to hide the bright red. Two coats of primer were better, but not perfect. The white primer revealed nail holes and more nail pops that we could not see or feel before. More spackling, sanding, and priming were the result. Finally, we reached the point that we were done—literally done. There were still more flaws to correct, but in our minds and hearts, “It was good enough!”

Two coats of paint later and my bathroom felt brand new. Final inspection (before putting the paint supplies away for good) involved passing a light up-close over every wall from floor to ceiling. I was disheartened. We had taken our time and given it our best, but the sponge-painted texture was still evident in certain areas. The bathroom was now bright and cheery, but it wasn’t perfect. It was simply good enough.

God never settles for just good enough. God requires perfection in our holiness. We may think that we are good people with good intentions whitewashed of sin. However, God’s standard of holiness reveals flaws that are still evident. We may live a good life doing good for others. Yet, God’s light shines in the deepest parts of our being to illuminate the sin hidden from plain view.

On our own, we will always struggle with imperfections as we peel away one layer of sin after another. God longs to transform our lives of dark sin into beautiful displays of holiness in His image! Through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross, God forgives our sins and imparts His holiness into us.

Jesus is the light of the world revealing judgment of sin to those who reject Him. Jesus is the light of life revealing forgiveness of sins to those who choose faith in Him. Embrace the light found in the loving touch of God the Father whose handiwork is always perfect.

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

 

What Does Repentance Look Like?

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The simple definition of repentance that I remember from church is, “To turn around.” I see this theme emphasized literally and figuratively in the book of Jonah.

In chapter one, Jonah disobeys God’s word to go to Nineveh. In fact, Jonah goes in the opposite direction from Nineveh. Chapter two is Jonah’s story of coming to repentance. Chapter three is a picture of Jonah turning around and heading straight to Nineveh. Chapter 4 is God’s correction of Jonah’s thinking and God’s softening of Jonah’s heart to beat in unison with His heart.

The lessons in the Old Testament never get old. Chapter three shares the signs of true repentance expressed by Jonah, the people of Nineveh, and the king of Nineveh.

1) Vs. 3  Obey God’s word.

2) Vs. 3  Do things differently from the past.

3) Vs. 5  Believe God’s word.

4) Vs. 5  Mourn over one’s sins.

5) Vs. 6-7  Set the right and godly example for others to emulate.

6) Vs. 8  Stop sinning.

7) Vs. 8  Ask God for mercy and forgiveness.

8) Vs. 5-8  Align our priorities with God’s will for our lives.

May we draw closer to God through the repentance of sin. God’s heart is for us to enjoy the safety, the purpose and the joy of a life lived fully for Him, unhindered by sin.

Jonah 3:1-5

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 

 

No More Excuses Please!

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Let’s stop making excuses for each other.

I am referring to how Christians sometimes relate to each other in regards to those often unintentional and little sins that hurt feelings. The excuses seem reasonable. “They have a lot going on in their life right now.” “But, they have a good heart.” “You know that they didn’t mean anything by it.”

As Christians, we often equate forgiveness with a do-over, where we just move on and forget the ugliness. And, yes, there are those times where we simply let love cover over a multitude of sins. But there are also many times when God intends a lesson for us as a family of believers by owning up to the ugliness.

I lost my best friend through a missed opportunity and a lesson left unsaid. I made a comment that upset my friend. We had been friends for years and shared our deepest thoughts as we navigated the parenting of teenagers. I was clueless to the effect of my words, but she wasn’t. And yet, she said nothing to me. By the time I figured it out, there was a palpable difference in our relationship. I verbally apologized. I formally apologized with a handwritten card, but it was all to no avail.

Years later, that loss of friendship is still one of my bigger regrets and one of the most important lessons that I learned. The comment I made reflected an attitude of sin that needed to be dealt with at the time the words rolled off my tongue. I wish my friend would have found the boldness to correct me. I would have learned the lesson much sooner. I would have matured in my faith more gracefully without the collateral damage. And I’m sure we would still be friends today.

Sin is always sin, whether it is accidental or minor in the big picture of the fallen world. Sin of any magnitude can have lasting ramifications. Let’s stop making excuses for one another. Instead, in Christ’s love, let’s spur each other on to the next level of mature faith by calling any type of sin what it really is: ugly and hurtful.

 

 Galatians 6:1

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

 

Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

 

It Leaks Just a Little

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One of the perks of being empty-nesters is that my husband and I each get our own bathroom. My husband’s shower stall leaked just a little. He caulked the outside of the shower stall and the corners inside the shower stall. It still leaked. He disassembled the door and the side panel to clean out every joint before reassembling and re-caulking. He caulked the interface between the drain and the bottom of the shower stall. It still leaked. With hope for a fix waning and a magnifying glass in hand, my husband inspected the joints between the individual tiles lining the shower stall. Lots of tiles and lots of joints to inspect. My husband finally found the source of the leak. Even a tiny hole was too big and resulted in grief.

I see the analogies in faith. Even a little sin is too much in God’s eyes. We can try to work out salvation on our own, but we can’t stop the leaks of sin into our lives. We have too many holes, many of which are insidious. We need real help for a permanent fix. Thank goodness God is just a call, er… a prayer away. On the cross, Jesus Christ traded his holiness for our unholiness. By putting our faith in Jesus, even just a little faith, we can recognize the sin in our lives and realize the only solution that works. Salvation is free of charge and guaranteed for eternal life by God. For the workmanship was done by God’s best and the cost was bore by his one and only Son.

 

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

Luke 17:6

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”