Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ken Davis - The Ungrateful Husband

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trusting in Instinct


Instincts. Overall, they serve us well. After all, they are a gift from God. We all have them, and we all use them. Just today, while on a hike, my dog, Tippy, used her instincts when she came nose to nose with a three-foot long black snake. Before I even saw it, she had walked up, sniffed it, and backed away. Her reaction caught my attention. That's when I noticed the snake. He was halfway across the trail. I don't know how I didn't see him before that moment. Nevertheless, she had seen him, made an assessment, and use her instincts to know she'd better leave him alone.

I, too, had the opportunity to use my instincts this morning on the same hike. With the full bloom of spring upon us, the trails are full of spiderwebs. The first part of the hike, it was very cloudy and therefore difficult to see the webs. I crashed through most of them, only becoming aware of them when their sticky threads clung to me. Yuck! Once the sun broke through, I grabbed a stick off the ground and began clearing the path ahead of me. On one occasion, I came face to face with a spider who was busily spinning her web. Her web was at eye level, and hating to destroy a web if I don't have to, I instinctively ducked to go under it and leave it undisturbed. By doing so, I had the privilege of walking face-first into a second web. I had been so focused on the first web that I hadn't seen the second one. My instincts did not serve me very well.

The problem with instincts is that they often cause us to react instead of respond. For example, if you were driving down the road and something darted out in front of you, your instincts would tell you to swerve or to slam on the brakes. Either of these actions, however, could be very dangerous. Swerving could result in you hitting another vehicle or losing control of the car altogether. Slamming on brakes could result in your being rear-ended by another vehicle or hydroplaning if the road is wet. In that situation, your instinct led you to react instead of respond.

What's the difference? Reaction is just doing what seems best without taking anything else into consideration. Responding is taking in the situation and all the factors surrounding it, thenmaking an informed decision or action. In the case of driving, those responses must be quick, but they are still preferable to blind, knee-jerk reactions.

When things go wrong in my life, my natural reaction is to wring my hands in worry and then try to drown my sorrows in chocolate and caffeine. That's a reaction, not a response. A response would be for me to take my problem to the Lord and admit my inability to solve it on my own. In my responsive attitude, I would grab my book, There's a Verse for That, and read what the Bible has to say about worry. (Please excuse the shameless plug.)

While God gave us instincts, I don't believe He wants us to rely on them as much as we do. Instead, I think He wants us to allow Him to lead and guide us. Our instincts can get us into trouble. Relying on God never will.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Something To Depend On


I typically try to keep a close eye on the weather forecast. With the need to get my dogs out at least a couple of times a week, I have to stay informed about the weather so that I can plan which days would be the best ones for a hike. Last week, however, my knowledge of the weather forecast did me no good.

According to the initial forecast, rain was supposed to come in late Wednesday afternoon and last until late Friday night. With this in mind, I made the decision to take the dogs out early Wednesday morning. That way, we could get in a good, long hike and get back home before the bad weather came in. We had hiked nearly two miles when it became extremely dark and the sky began to rumble with thunder. We turned back, but it was too late. We were caught in the storm. Thunder boomed and lightning flashed. The wind howled and the rain pelted. We walked/jogged the two miles up the mountain to reach the truck. Within five minutes of reaching it, the storm blew over. It didn't rain again the rest of the day (unless you count the water dripping off me all the way home).

Wednesday evening, Jason and I looked at the forecast again. It was saying that there was a break in the weather until late Thursday afternoon. "Great!" I said, knowing that I needed to run some errands and didn't want to have to do so in the rain. Guess what? We woke up to rain Thursday morning. It stopped shortly before I left for my errands, and thankfully, held off most of the day. We got one small misting in the late afternoon. That was it!

Just to keep informed, we checked the forecast again on Thursday night. In the initial forecast, Friday was supposed to hold the most severe storms. However, by Thursday night, the Friday forecast had changed to cloudy with only a 20% chance of rain. As I type this post (on Friday), the wind is blowing the rain against my window. It looks like night time outside. Twenty percent, huh?

With the events of the past few days, I must draw one of two conclusions. (1) The weathermen have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, or (2) The weather is in such a constant state of change that it is nearly impossible to predict. Who knows? They may both be true.

Aren't you glad that God, unlike the weather, is unchangeable? While His methods may be impossible to predict, His love, mercy, and grace are quite predictable. Want to know more about how God can and will work in your life? Look at how He's worked in the past. He is the same God that parted the Red Sea for Moses. He is the same God that delivered Daniel from the lion's den. He is the same God that raised Lazarus from the dead. And He is the same God that defeated death and the grave. He will never change. No matter what the weather may hold, we can rest assured that we can always count on God, for He is dependable and His goodness is predictable. Even the weathermen can't go wrong there!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst


Has food become more about frustration than fulfillment? The NY Times Bestselling release Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. Author Lysa TerKeurst personally understands the battle that women face. In Made to Crave, she will help you:

*Break the cycle of “I’ll start again on Monday,” and feel good about yourself today.
*Stop agonizing over numbers on the scale and make peace with your body.
*Replace rationalization that leads to diet failure with wisdom that leads to victory.
*Reach your healthy goals and grow closer to God through the process.

This book is not a how-to manual or the latest, greatest dieting plan. Made to Crave is a helpful companion to use alongside whatever healthy eating approach you choose — a book and Bible study to help you find the “want to” in how to make healthy lifestyle changes.

I, like most women, have been down the road of dieting. Anytime the latest, greatest dieting plan comes along promising quick and easy results, I find myself sucked in. I find myself thinking, Maybe I'll succeed this time. Maybe this one will work where all the others have failed. Maybe this time I'll be able to stick with it. But the results are always the same. I deprive myself of my favorite things and work hard for a few weeks. When I don't see the results I expect, I quit, telling myself it's not worth the sacrifice.

When I first heard about Made to Crave. I thought it sounded like an interesting approach, so I signed up to receive Lysa's 21-day challenge via e-mail. After the first few devotions, I felt so different about my weight loss goals. I learned that my problem was more than carrying around a few extra pounds. I had a spiritual problem, and until I remedied that, committing to any physical health plan would be in vain. I discovered that I don't need to go on a diet; I need to go on a journey. A journey to a new, healthy me. A journey that offers freedom, not deprivation.

I ordered Lysa's book and read through it one chapter at a time, stopping to digest and meditate on what I'd read. Her message, while painful, struck home in my heart, and by God's grace, I've already been able to make significant changes in my health plan. Lysa's message is backed with Scripture, and for convenience sake, there is a guide with all the verses listed in the back of the book. Through this book, the Lord has opened my eyes to a new way to approach weight loss, a way in which I can finally find victory.

If you are overweight, out of shape, or simply suffer from a lack of discipline to do the things you know you should, I highly recommend this book. It has honestly changed my life, and I believe it can do the same for you!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Change of Perspective


I feel I need to share with you a battle I fought on Sunday. Yes, Sunday of all days! I have spent the last couple of weeks working on and off on the slideshow presentation that is a big part of our Easter program for church. My husband and I put the finishing touches on it at 10:30 Saturday night, just in time for the complete run through on Sunday during choir practice. We watched through the entire presentation a couple of times just to make sure everything worked like it was supposed to. Satisfied, we saved it and went to bed.

We arrived at church a little early on Sunday morning so we could preview the slides on the overhead and make sure nothing was washed out or anything like that. When Jason went to open the file, an error box came up and said something to the effect of "We're sorry, but the files you are trying to open have been corrupted and cannot be recovered." We tried everything we could think of to open those files, but they were gone. The entire slide show was gone!

Let me pause here to say that this is not a good way to begin a Sunday morning. I was not in the mood to worship! I was not in the mood to pray! I was in the mood to sit down in the floor and cry. My head was pounding from lack of sleep over the weekend, and now I was faced with the fact that Jason and I had to rebuild the entire slideshow again in the afternoon between church services. It took us hours to do it the first time, and I honestly wasn't sure if we'd be able to get it done. No sir, I was not in a Sunday worship mood.

I stomped up the piano and noticed the hymnal was still open to the song we had sung Wednesday night, "Joy Unspeakable." "Oh, it's unspeakable all right!" I muttered. Yes, I was angry and felt that I had every right to be. I knew it was the devil. I knew he didn't want that slideshow to work. After all, it's a beautiful picture of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's a reminder of Satan's defeat at Calvary. Of course he would try to stop it. Not only that, but he knew how it would affect me. In essence, he could kill two birds with one stone: destroy the presentation and ruin my attitude.

But God saw my plight, and He stepped in. No, He didn't fix the presentation, but He removed my focus from it for a while as my pastor brought the morning message on the cross. My mind recalled the last verse from the song I'm supposed to sing during the Easter presentation. "I, too, have walked beneath a heavy burden, stumbled down a dark and lonely road, trying hard not to be discouraged, knowing victory awaits when I reach home." As I thought about all the pain and suffering of the cross, I felt ashamed. Here I am complaining over a computer glitch, but look what my Lord had to face. Was my situation really that bad? Was it worth sacrificing my joy and my chance to worship the God who suffered so much for me?

We were able to finish the slideshow with nearly thirty minutes to spare. The practice went very well, and everyone was pleased with the final outcome. My head was still pounding, and I felt totally exhausted, but I'm happy to say my attitude was a little better. I wish I could say it was all better, but evidently, I still need to grow some in that area.

I didn't tell you this to make you feel sorry for me. Think of it as a warning. If you're living for Christ, Satan is not happy about that, and he will do everything in his power to make your journey difficult. He will strike when you least expect it. It's so tempting to throw up our hands in defeat, but if we do that, he wins. Instead, let's try to make a point to shift our focus. Turn away from the problem and instead look to Jesus. Pray and ask for help. Open your Bible and read encouraging verses. And if you still feel bad, weigh your problems against the weight of the cross and ask yourself, "Is this problem really that bad?" You might be surprised at the change in attitude that can come with a simple change in perspective.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Falling to Pieces


Last week, as Jason and I were lying in bed, we heard a loud bang. It sounded like something had fallen. Jason went out and investigated but came back saying that everything looked as it should. With shrugs, we settled in for the evening, and to be honest, by morning, I had forgotten about it. . . until I walked into the living room.

One of the first things I noticed was a big empty space on the wall where a picture had previously hung. "So that's what fell," I said, followed by, "How did he miss that?" It was glaringly obvious to me, but somehow, he just didn't notice. Anyway, I went over to the floor where the picture lay. I picked it up and was relieved to find that the glass had not broken nor did the frame seem to be injured. Upon further examination, I discovered that the adhesive hook was still in good shape but it had come away from the wall, paint and all. I placed a stronger hook in the same place and rehung the picture.

Only a day later, the picture fell again, pulling with it another layer of paint (you have no idea how many layers of paint are on my walls). I decided that adhesive hooks were not going to work so I set the picture aside until I could get some picture hangers from the store. Before I had a chance to accomplish this, the picture on the other side of my living room wall fell. I don't know if it was the heat or the wind, but I didn't even attempt to rehang that one. "I'll just get hangers for them both," I determined.

The blessed day finally arrived when I obtained the hangers and was able to rehang the pictures. (Actually, Jason had to do it because I'm not very good with tools and stuff.) As he picked up the first picture (the one that had fallen twice), I made the comment, "I'm just glad it didn't break." It was at that very moment Jason noticed something on the glass. He scratched at it with his fingernail, and when that didn't work, he applied a little more pressure. A resounding crack filled the air. I gasped at the sound, and then burst into laughter. Evidently, the picture had a very small chip in it, and when he applied pressure to it, it cracked and spiderwebbed over the entire picture. I'm still looking to find a replacement for the glass.

I thought of my life and the many times I've gone about my day in my own strength. Time after time, I would fall to the ground, but still I would not get the message. Finally, in order to bring me back to Him, God would apply a little pressure to my life, and my world seemed to crack. What I didn't realize is that when I walk in my own strength, each fall was chipping away at me. I didn't noticed the damage until the pressure was applied. It was then I realized how frail and weak I truly am.

On the flip side, when I walk in God's strength, I still fall. But each fall is a lesson, a reminder. When I fall in God's strength, He is there to pick me up, dust me off, and set my face in the right direction. Because I'm walking in His strength, I'm able to hear His direction. That doesn't mean I always understand it, but I can hear and obey. Instead of weakening me, each fall strengthens me.

It's so easy as we go about our daily missions to act in our own strengths. Many times we do it without even realizing we've walked away from God. Let's make an effort today to make sure we're walking in His strength and not our own. Our strength is limited. His is limitless. Which one makes more sense?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Finding Balance


Yesterday I took the dogs out for a much-needed walk. Since it had been a little while since they had been out, I decided to do a pretty good hike (about 4 miles). The day was a mixture of rain, sun, and wind. At times I was sweating, while at other times I rubbed my arms to ward off the chill. It was strange.

From the moment I opened the truck door to let the dogs out, Mitch was on the run. With the emergence of spring, there were so many critters darting about, daring him to chase them. . . and he did. I walked four miles, but he probably ran eight. He was having the best time exploring and chasing. Tippy, on the other hand, was not so thrilled about the longer hike. She loves to get out but prefers the shorter walks. She is getting older, and her strength and stamina just aren't what they used to be. She lagged behind, huffing and puffing.

As I watched the two of them, I realized that they each represented a part of me. Mitch represents my motivated, goal-oriented side. It's the part of me that wants to go and go and go. It wants to accomplish all the things on the "to-do" list. It has big dreams and lofty ambitions. Tippy represents my unmotivated, need to rest side. This is the part of me that screams for a break from all the work. It's the part that would much rather sit and read a book than do anything else. It's the part I have to poke and prod in order to get it to keep up.

As I thought about these things, I remembered the verse in Psalms, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." God, in His great wisdom and loving mercy, gave me both sides. The side that wants to accomplish things and the side that knows that the flesh is weak and needs to rest every now and then. Imagine if I only had one side. The Mitch side of me would soon grow very weary in well doing. I would burn out. The Tippy side of me would never get anything done because it's easier to just plod along at a steady pace. Either would be a catastrophe.

Often I still have to seek the balance between work and play. Many times Jason has to tell me to slow down and take a break. What he doesn't know is the number of times I have to tell myself to get out of bed and do something. I haven't found the perfect balance, but I'm so thankful that God granted me a double-sided personality. What traits are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Temper Tantrum Time


May I make a confession? I battled with a very bad attitude this weekend. It all began when a lady from church called and asked me for a favor. My first thought was that I shouldn't have answered the phone. I knew who was calling, and I knew that doing favors for this lady always stressed me out. Why? It's ridiculous, really. It's not that the favors are that huge or anything. It's just that they always seem to grow. The one favor turns into a bunch of little favors that require both time and effort on my part. I'm busy. I have a lot to do. Why, oh why, did I answer the phone? (Pathetic, isn't it?)

As the weekend wore on, my hunch was confirmed. Phone call after phone call added to the list of the "favor". In my frustration, I went to the Lord. I prayed for a better attitude. I prayed for strength to get everything accomplished that I needed to get done, including the favor. I poured my heart out to the Lord and explained to Him that I have no idea why I get such a bad attitude around this person. My first thought was that maybe it is due to a personality clash. After all, this lady is outgoing and forthright. I am the exact opposite.

The more I thought about it and prayed over it, the more I began to realize that in a sense, I was on the right track. I have this bad habit of expecting everyone to do things the way I do them. When people don't comply, I get irritated. I'm the type of person who, if I ask someone to do me a favor, I go out of my way to make it as simple as possible for them. I do what I can to help and to accommodate their schedule. Everyone else does not necessarily follow that set of rules, and for some high and mighty reason, I think they should.

This realization was hard because as much as I was trying to place the blame on another for being insensitive, it was, in fact, me who was being insensitive. In my selfishness, I was assuming that the other person was selfish and didn't care if their favor cost me precious time and resources. I realize now that I don't think that's the situation at all. I think I'm just creating problems.

Doesn't life have enough problems? Why do we so often feel the need to orchestrate more? So, what's my point in all of this? First of all, if you have ought against your brother or sister, do everything you can to set it straight. Second, before you accuse someone of wrongdoing, make sure you search your own heart. You may find that the blame belongs to you. And third, don't create problems where there are none. If someone says or does something that can be taken one of two ways, give that person the benefit of the doubt. Don't think the worst of people.

I learned an important lesson this weekend, and I wanted to share it with you so that maybe you could learn from my experience instead of having to face your own experience with it. As I look back at the weekend and read through this post, I am amazed at how childish my behavior was. At the time, it seemed justifiable, but now, it just seems silly. Well, it just goes to show you that sin really does make you stupid!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What If and If Only


Have you ever played the "What if/If only" game? You know, it's where you say, "What if I had a bottomless bank account and money was no longer an issue." "If only I could regain my health, I could accomplish so much more for the Lord." You know that game, right? I'm sure we've all played it once or twice. Little do we realize what a dangerous game it is. Thoughts like that tend to breed discontentment, and in turn, discontentment leads to ungratefulness, discouragement, and disappointment. Besides, how do we know that things would be better if our "what ifs" came true. They didn't for Solomon.

Solomon, king of Israel. The wealthiest man in the world. The wisest man in the world. He had it all--fortune, fame, family. He had the opportunity to do great things. He had the time. He had the means. He even had the desire. But he also had a weakness: women. With 700 wives and 300 concubines, Solomon had his hands full. Not only is it unwise to have this many women in one home (imagine the drama), it was forbidden by God, for Solomon had taken wives from other lands. God had commanded that this shouldn't be done because in His wisdom, He knew those wives would turn Solomon's heart away from the true God. Guess what? He was right.

Solomon, the man who had it all, turned his back on God. The God who had given him wisdom. The God who had blessed him with riches. The God who had granted him a peaceful reign. Evidently, despite all he had, Solomon still had some "what ifs" and "if onlys," and they got him into big trouble. As a result, the kingdom was split and war erupted among the two sections for many years.

Look around you today. Do you feel your life is lacking? Is the bank account low? Do you feel as if no one even knows you exist? Do you often dream of how much better life could be if only. . .? If so, I want to share a verse with you. Psalm 73:25 says, Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. When thoughts and feelings of inadequacies creep into your life, remind yourself of this verse. If you have God, you have everything you need. Trust in Him, and He will take care of you. Lift your face toward Heaven, and with a joyful voice cry, "Thank you, Lord. I am so blessed!" And remember, it's not enough to just say it. You must believe it!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Inconveniece or God's Grace?


I received an e-mail this morning telling of 9/11 survivors who would have been killed that day if not for an inconvenience of one kind or another. A missed bus. An alarm that didn't sound. A traffic jam. A new pair of shoes that caused a blister which in turn resulted in an unexpected stop for bandaids. These are just a few of the stories contained in the e-mail.

As I read, I was reminded of an occasion where I, too, was inconvienced, only to later discover that it may have saved my life. Jason and I were on our way to a church function. At the last minute, I remembered that I needed to make copies of a song for our ladies' ensemble. Staples is not far from our house, so we decided to stop in there before heading to the function. As we drove through the intersection in front of the store, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. An SUV was speeding toward us. I screamed, and Jason slammed on the brakes. Instead of the SUV hitting my door (and most likely killing me in the process), Jason's quick response led to us clipping the oncoming vehicle, causing it to spin and eventually flip.

Jason and I were both unharmed, though I don't think I have ever been so scared. The other driver was taken to the hospital. His vehicle was totaled, and ours was not drivable and had to be towed. I called my parents to pick us up at the scene of the accident. I was so thankful that Jason and I were both alive and unharmed, but still I was upset about the inconvenience. "Why, Lord?" I asked over and over again. "Why would you let this happen?" The day we went to pick up the truck from the repair shop, I received my answer.

Little did we know that the ball joints on the truck were practically non-existent. The repair man said he was amazed that the truck hadn't completely fallen apart by now. Without the accident, we wouldn't have needed the repairs. Without the repairs, we wouldn't have found out about a very serious problem. Without repairing that problem, we could have found ourselves in a situation much worse than a small accident that we both walked away from without a scratch.

The next time things seem to be going all wrong, take a minute to think. Could it be that God is delaying you on purpose? Could He be causing one problem to make you aware of another? Life is full of inconveniences, but I wonder how often those minor problems keep us from being in the midst of greater ones. In the midst of traffic jams, long lines, and snagged pantyhose, don't complain. Thank God that you are exactly where He wants you to be.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bored?


We recently had one of Jason's fellow employees over for dinner. This employee was one of the students in the first K-4 class I taught MANY years ago. Do you have any idea how old it makes me feel for my 4-year-old to now be working with my husband? Anyway, I digress.

During dinner, this employee asked me, "Do you ever get bored just sitting around here all day?" I thought he was joking and replied in kind. "Yeah, sure, all the time." He turned to Jason and asked, "Is she being sarcastic?" It was at that point I realized he was asking a serious question. He truly thought I was bored. I looked at him with all sincerity and said, "I would love to be bored once in a while." He seemed confused. Evidently, he has no idea what a day in my life holds. Between writing, blogs, reviews, housework, website work, dog care, exercise, teaching, piano lessons, and church responsibilities, I barely find time to breathe, let alone be bored.

Please don't misunderstand. I love my job, and I love my life. It's just very busy, and every now and then I long for some time to just sit and do nothing (if I can remember how). I guess my busy schedule contributes to the difficulty I find in being still and resting in God's presence. There's too much to do. Who has time to be still?

But when I take the time, I realize how much more I can accomplish. I feel renewed and refreshed. I feel strengthened and ready to face the tasks ahead. On the contrary, when I rush through the day intent on conquering my "to do" list, I run into problem after problem. In my hurry, I forget to call on God. I neglect the time I need to spend with Him. It's like trying to run a car on no gas. It just doesn't work.

How are you doing today? Are you fueled up and ready to go or are you struggling along in your own strength? Take some time out and renew yourself in God's presence. I know it doesn't make sense to our finite minds that if we take time out, we'll gain more in return, but that's how it works with God. Do you want to get more accomplished today? Stop. Rest. Refresh.

Be still and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10

Monday, April 4, 2011

Who's Your God?


I don't watch much television, but there are a few shows that I enjoy. As I ate my lunch yesterday, I decided to watch one of those shows. Overall, it's a good show set in a fictional land. The entire premise is a man fighting for the good to overcome all evil. There is no nudity and very little cursing, so I don't mind watching an episode every now and then.

On the episode I watched yesterday, the hero and heroine had the opportunity to meet someone who claimed to be their creator. She (yes, she) appeared to them in the body of a teenage girl. As I watched, I reminded myself that this was a fictional world and therefore, everything in it is made up. Still, their representation of the creator bothered me. Here are just a few things that stirred my blood:

1.) Other than her mother's words that one day she would become the creator, the girl knew nothing about her divine state.

2.) She had to be trained by mortals to act and behave as the creator.

3.) She had to be given her power (again, by mortals).

4.) She admitted to her "followers" that her greatest enemy was as strong as she was.

5.) After one miracle, her powers were exhausted.

I don't know about you, but I'm glad I don't serve a god like that. My God is all-powerful, and there is nothing that He can't do. There is no enemy He can't defeat. His mighty miracles don't even cause Him to break a sweat. His power can't be given or taken, and He needs no training in how to be God. Yes, He came to this world in the vulnerable form of a man, but He did it for me and for you. And even though He succumbed to death, He arose again on the third day! I don't know how the lost survive without knowing the God I know. Let's spread the word, shall we?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Good, But Not Good Enough


I've spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon trying to clean my house because company is coming. I didn't intend for my house to get so dirty. I truly don't know what happened. I've been extremely busy with writing lately, and I guess I neglected the house. I kept up with the essentials like dishes and laundry, but today I found dust bunnies that were larger than my dogs, and I won't even describe to you what my bathrooms looked like. (I know my mom is cringing at this point and wondering where she went wrong in my upbringing. Sorry, Mom! It's not your fault.)

One of the most discouraging things about cleaning house is that even when I'm done there are parts of the house that still look dirty. We live in an old house, and old houses, while charming, are not without their problems. The tub is stained. The rug is frayed. The floors are scratched. The paint is peeling. These problems (and others) go far beyond what I can repair with a broom and a scrub brush. So, I work and work, and still, I'm not satisfied. The task always seems incomplete (and it's not just because the dogs can shed hair faster than I can vacuum it up).

I wonder, when God looks down from Heaven, if He sees a world filled with incomplete cleanings. The cleanings I'm speaking of are those who are trying everything they can think of to get into Heaven. . . everything, that is, except Jesus. How many people out there are trusting in their good looks, their good deeds, or their money to gain their entrance into Heaven? On the surface, they may look clean, but upon closer inspection, you'll find stains of sin. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can remove those stains of sin. There is no work good enough, no money worth enough, and no person special enough.

I fear for these people because one day they will stand before God. In their eyes, they are clean, but in the presence of Almighty God, it will be revealed that they aren't clean enough. Good, but not good enough. What about you? What are you trusting in to get you to Heaven? If it's anything but Jesus Christ, you're missing out. If you want a real cleaning, a complete cleansing, go to Jesus. He can wash you with His blood and make you whiter than snow!