"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
July 22, 2015
Housecleaning is a chore that we have to do. I may not be the best housecleaner in the world, and I certainly wouldn't want anyone doing a white glove test, but I do like to keep my house straightened up and somewhat orderly. If someone stops by unexpectedly, I don't want to be embarrassed at how messy my house looks. I supposed my personal feeling is that how well I keep my house is a reflection on me. If it's filthy, then it looks as if I don't care.
There have been times when I've spent hours cleaning. I've vacuumed, dusted, mopped, cleaned the fridge, scrubbed the bathroom, changed sheets, washed laundry..... and the list goes on. You would think after getting everything spic-n-span that it would stay that way! But no!! A couple days later I look and dust has already started settling on the end tables, there are dirty clothes in the hamper, dirty dishes in the sink, dirt and grass clippings tracked in, junk mail on the countertop, and the trash cans need emptied.
You can't clean your house once and be done, but it's an ongoing chore. No matter how well you clean or how much time you spend doing so, it's not going to stay that way. So what's the use of cleaning if you're only going to have to do it over again?! Because if you continually neglect your home, then you will end up with a really big problem. Mice, roaches, ants, and all sorts of bugs will move in. The filth will built up and eventually start stinking. Mold will begin growing. If you allow the mess to continue without cleaning and taking care of it, it will eventually start affecting your health.
If you have ever seen an episode of "Hoarders" on TV, you will see the disgusting filth and health issues that occur when people stop caring, stop cleaning, keep adding to the clutter, and refuse to take care of their problem.
I do most of our mowing and no matter how short I cut the grass, the next week it needs done all over again. As soon as I get it cut, it starts growing once more.
It's that same way spiritually. You repent and ask Jesus into your heart. Now that you've become a Christian you have no need to ever do anything further, right?! No. It's an ongoing process that needs regular maintenance and upkeep in order to keep your heart clean and mind pure. Just as your home will become dusty and messy and dirty again and again and needs regular cleaning, your spirit needs continuous care.
Psalm 51:7 (NLT) says, "Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."
Isaiah 1:18 (NLT) says, "'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 white as wool.'"
James 4:7-10 (NLT): "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you in honor."
Jesus will purify, clean, and wash our heart and cleanse us from all sin, when we repent and ask Him to. But none of us are good enough to keep sin from entering our heart, nor are we strong enough to resist temptations on our own. We have to daily pray, read the Bible, fellowship with other believers, and do what is needed in order to keep our hearts from becoming dirty and dusty and in disarray. We have to nourish our spirits in order to be able to resist temptations.
We had an especially wet spring time this year. It seemed as if our backyard was continuously muddy; and often had large puddles of water standing all over. Every time we let our dog out, he would track in mud. Every time we went out with him, we would track in mud. I could vacuum and sweep and mop and get it all cleaned up, but the very next time either Sammie or Jon or I went outside, we would track in mud. Often bits of twigs, leaves, or broken pecan shells would stick to our shoes and we'd end up tracking that in, too. It was so frustrating!
Sometimes it can become frustrating spiritually, because it feels like no matter how hard we try or how much we pray, we mess up over and over again. Often we may be tempted to give up. We may feel like a failure, or end up settling for living beneath what God has planned for us, because it feels too hard. But if we will persevere and keep praying, keep trusting God, and keep repenting when we sin, there will come a time when it won't feel so overwhelming and difficult.
There came a time when it stopped raining so much, our yard dried out, and the mud went away. But even though I don't have to deal with the mud and mess, I still have to vacuum and sweep and mop. After mowing, pieces of cut grass will stick to Sammie's paws or to the bottoms of our shoes and get tracked in. It's much easier and quicker to clean than the mud.
May we all determine in our heart that we are going to keep our spiritual "house" clean. Keep sweeping out any negative, lustful, jealous, unholy thoughts. Know that Jesus wants to wash us white as snow. Draw close to God, and let Him draw close to you. Don't give up and don't quit! God wants to live in your heart; but He wants a clean place in which to dwell. He is willing to purify and cleanse and wash us when we repent and ask; no matter how often we have to come to Him for cleaning.
Loretta does a great job keeping the living room, kitchen, our bedroom, and other main areas clean. But we mostly keep the garage and my office space closed off, and don't invite anyone to see them. They aren't especially dirty--we don't have any old food or dead animals in there. But they aren't nearly tidy. The garage is a little dirty. A little mud washes in from heavy rain, and the car trails in some. There's a little sawdust on the floor. Worms sometimes crawl in, when it's especially wet, along bugs and spiders. So we have cobwebs around. And if we let it go on, we start getting spiders in the house, too.
We tend to do similar in our Christian lives, too. We clean up all the parts we expect people to see, but try to shut off some areas, and ignore them. It seems fine most of the time, but then we start to get spiders, and wonder where they came from.
1 package cornbread mix
1/3 pound American Cheese, cut into pieces
1 package Mexican cornbread mix
1/3 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can corn, drained (or frozen corn)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups Mayonnaise
Cook cornbreads as directed on packages. Cool and crumble into a large bowl. Mix with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate.
Over the past few months, Jon and I have enjoyed listening to his dad reminisce about special memories that he has. Although Alzheimers has affected his mind in many ways, he often can remember things that happened either in his own childhood or when his kids were young. During several of our visits with him, he seemed to enjoy talking about family vacations they had taken when Jon and his siblings were young. One of Stan's very favorite memories was the year the family took a ski trip. He was skiing and had stopped to take a picture. He was concentrating on the lens cap and camera and didn't realize that he had started moving -- until it was too late. He fell and sliced his nose. The doctor let Stan look in a mirror and watch him put stitches inside his nose. Stan thought that was so interesting and said that was more fun than the skiing!
I read a quote that says: "I thought about quitting, but then I noticed who was watching." (LuxQuotes) Lisa Bevere wrote: "Don't you DARE quite!! There are MORE who are WATCHING for you to SUCCEED than those who are watching for you to fail. In addition to spiritual sons and daughters there is a heavenly host cheering you on! Yelling 'KEEP GOING!'"
We love you!
Loretta & Jon