Soiled

It never fails! It seems like every time I cut my lawn I'm wearing a white tank top or T-shirt, and in the middle of my lawnmowing activities I reach down grab the hem of my shirt and wipe the sweat off my face with my shirt resulting in a dirty, sweaty, grass stained T-shirt.

After I am done I will grab the whites throw them in the washer on the highest heat setting we have, I put extra detergent and plenty of bleach and the shirts come out relatively white.

Compared to a dirty shirt, clean shirts are white, but compared to a brand-new shirt the clean shirts are not quite White at all.

Our lives are a lot like the T-shirt… Circumstances, trials, troubles, tribulations , and suffering has reached out grabbing the hem of our shirts and left a messy stain.

“We are all infected and impure with sin. (Life is messy) When we display our righteous deeds (when we try to wash off the mess), they are nothing but filthy rags…” Isaiah 64:6 a NLT
(emphasis is mine)

King David wrote these words after one of the most troublesome time in his life “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
Psalms 51:10 NLT

He discovered as king, even with all his power, a cover up was the best he could hope for. He needed a new created clean heart. He needed his heart RE-NEWED (new again). You see there is no amount of scrubbing, cleaning, bleach or detergent that could take a soiled shirt and make it brand-new!

So we try to live pure lives, and we try to be holy, or if you are not religious you are trying to be good or you try to be moral, and since the very best of our human examples are clean or relatively clean, when we raise our shirts compared to them, we think that we are all right.

Because when I compare my shirt (life) to those of pimps, prostitutes, politicians, actors, athletes and rockstars my shirt (life) seems pretty clean, BUT unfortunately that is not the standard of white that I am going to be held up against eternally.

Jesus Christ lived the standard, and if I continue to try to act like my right doing is the standard I'm going to be in for a rude awakening.

I was listening to Ravi Zacharias' Podcast today and he said this, "The closer you get to the holiness of God the more you feel the weight of how unholy you and I are."

There is a young man at work that wears white T-shirts all the time. They have got to be at least 10 years old, they are worn for the wear and they are off-white at the very best. If I stood next to him my shirts would glow in comparison. BUT he isn't the standard! I will NOT eternally be measured against him. Christ is the standard and against him I'm dingy and tattered, and it's terrifying.

All my scrubbing is of no value!

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NLT

It's a good thing I don't have to stand against Him, he can take my tired, tattered, worn-out mess of a life and STAND in my place.

Make me new Lord, make me NEW.

-John

Guilty as charged. 

‭1 Samuel‬ ‭12:23 “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.”

In this chapter Samuel the prophet/judge of Israel is giving his farewell speech. By the tone and mood of it, he is hurt by the betrayal, and I cannot blame him. As a pastor, every time you lose a member or congregant it feels like a divorce, a betrayal. 

And to be brutally honest… It sucks!

I know religious people will probably not even bother to read on because I said that, but that’s how it feels. 

In my case, I could have been a better listener, leader and team player, But Samuel…

He didn’t let Gods Words fall to the ground, they didn’t have any charge of negligence, dereliction of duty, moral or ethical failure. NOTHING

I remember saying to folks in jest, “I’m taking you off my prayer list.” 

I never really thought about it much, but out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Deep down I really meant it. 

I remember one time in the early ’90’s the group I was in did a few shows in the Miami area. While we were out of the hotel goofing around afterwards. Someone broke into our room and ripped off our merch. CD’s, hats, T-shirts, stickers. And some of our DJ’s albums. I called down 🔥 on the perps. I prayed like David prayed against his enemies. (I told you David was my Bible hero!) I may have even prayed the plagues of Egypt down on those fools. Can you tell I was upset? My band mates would clown me every so often about that incident, and I wasn’t playing, I meant it!

Thank God that we don’t get everything we say. Or pray. 

…Ok back on track John, 

Samuel has to vocalize this to the people, “I will not take you off my prayer list, and I will not stop leading you in the way you need to go.” 

That’s hard! That’s love! That’s commitment!

He is essentially saying. Even though you have REJECTED the Lord as King, and me as your judge. I will NOT reject you!

I’m convicted! 

I knew it the minute I read this verse. 

I’m not going to lie, I wanted to pass this chapter over as well. Not because there is NOTHING to write about, but because there most definitely is! 

I have sinned! I have cut folks off my prayer list that have rejected God, and me. 

And here I confess my sin to the potential millions that could ever read this blog/post. I was wrong and I’m truly sorry

So what can we learn from this chapter? 

1. God is sovereign. 

2. God is just. 

3. God can fight His own battles. 

4. God loves people. 

5. We need to NOT let rejection and disappointment steer us off track from what we were called to do, and from whom we were called to minister to. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word. Today it cut deep. Thank you for revealing something to me that was sin. Help me not to take rejection personally. And help me to honor you in all I do, say and write. Love you-John

God Riddence

     1 Samuel 7:1-2 (AMP) So the men of Kiriath-Jearim came and took the Ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to have charge of the Ark of the Lord. And the Ark remained in Kiriath-Jearim a very long time [nearly 100 years, through Samuel’s entire judgeship, Saul’s reign, and well into David’s, when it was brought to Jerusalem]. For it was twenty years before all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

 

     If you have been following the story… The Israelites take the Ark to battle, they lose the Ark to the Philistines. The Philistines place the Ark in Dagons temple, Dagon gets decapitated, un-“arm”ed and de-“feet”ed, The Philistines get rid of the ark, and send along parting gifts 🎁 of cows and gold. The Israelites cheer! They sacrifice the cows somehow forget that this thing has POWER. People die and they send the Ark away…
     How long does it take for a people to recognize their sin and turn back to God? I guess they figure as long as they have someone to go to God on their behalf; the presence of God (the Ark) was optional. Every time God shows his awesome power against his enemies the people rejoice, but in their sin when He shows the same fierceness the people recoil as if it is altogether unfair or unwarranted. 

 

     It’s crazy to think that instead of inquiring about how to get things right and make the necessary changes, they instead choose to push God away altogether. If they cared so much about His presence and Holiness that they would go as far as consecrating Eleazar, why didn’t they just consecrate themselves instead? If we are to believe 2 Timothy 3:16 and put its claims into practice. How are these 2 verses profitable to me? It usually comes to me in the form of questions. 
1. At what points in my life do I act like a spoiled child when I receive a rebuke? 

2. When I know I am wrong how long does it take for me to make amends? 

3. At what time(s) have I pushed God away when I do not agree with His correction? 

4. Am I as petty as the men in this story?

 

     Father God, It must be awful to have to deal with the losers you have to deal with day in and day out. In business, we would fire people with those kinds of attributes. I know I have a very low threshold of patience when it comes to whiney-cry babies. So I repent for the times either in word or in deed that I have refused your correction and pushed you away. Contempt and dissatisfaction are contagious so enable me to rid myself of those character traits that I may not start an epidemic of wandering away from You. -John