When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was so excited! I loved my son, but as a girl from a family with all sisters, I dreamed of having a daughter of my own. Even my mom was excited for me. She said, "Now you will have a nice, little, calm, sweet girl!" Meaning that in comparison to my year old son, a daughter would be such a breath of fresh air.
Moms are usually always right. But this time, my mom was wrong.
My daughter is and always has been a firecracker. She learned to talk pretty early, and she has not stopped since. The amount of sass that came from her at 18 months is probably unprecedented. She is all energy and giggles, mixed with the stubbornness of a mule.
She also has the craziest knack for getting dirty. Now I don't meant a little grass stain on the knees. No, she is by far messier than her two brothers. She is always the one to get her rain boot completely submerged in, and filled with, mud. And recently, she achieved a level of dirtiness that I didn't know could be achieved while watching a high school baseball game. Between traipsing through muddy puddles and rolling down squishy, oozing hills, she was filthy from head to toe.
As her mother, I was quite annoyed. Not only did she need a thorough shower on a night that was not shower night, but her clothes were terrible! I set to work with my best stain fighters to get the mud stains out of the knees of her leggings and the butt of her dress. Round one of washing failed. They are currently soaking in some commercial grade cleaner. I might have to take a rock to them...
Don't you just hate stains?
As believers in Jesus, our sin, our stains, have been cleansed thoroughly by the blood of Jesus. We are clean and without stain because of Jesus! But there are other ways we can "dirty up our clothes."
, "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
See? We can still mess things up by complaining and arguing with others. When we do those things, we are not shining as brightly as we could. When others hear arguments among believers, it muddies the light and love of God.
How are we to do this? It's hard not to complain. I've really only met a few people who I can say I have never heard complain. And everyone gets into an argument now and then, right?
It is only by God working in us that we have a shot at living a clean, innocent life. As the verses above state, it is God who gives us "the desire and the power to do what pleases Him." Without God, we don't know the right thing, nor do we have the power to do it. The Holy Spirit enables us.
But with God, we can be clean. We can be spotless. We can "shine bright like the stars in the sky" (Phil. 2:15, NIV). We can be like pristine, clean clothes.
Don't be muddy leggings. Let God work in you!
My two year old has begun learning the childhood favorite, "Jesus Love Me." He asks to sing it by just saying, "Jesus." And when he sings along, the only words he hits are, "Yes...Jesus....Me!" It's pretty cute to hear his sweet little voice saying, "Jesus."
My two year old has it right. It is just about Jesus.
I had a discussion with a friend recently, and the word 'religion' came up many times. Though this friend was trying to be polite, I could really just hear them saying, "No thanks. Religion is not for me."
That may be true for a lot of people.
Religion puts on rules and regulations, do's and don'ts. Religion separates into denominations to make following Jesus about keeping a list of laws. Those that would consider themselves 'religious' know that this is not the intent. But to those who are not 'religious,' they are offended or put off.
I see it. I get it.
I don't know if I would call Jesus 'religious.' He broke many rules including eating with sinners and tax collectors, addressing prostitutes and adulterers, even working on the Sabbath.
No, I'd say Jesus was not about religion.
What Jesus was about then is still what He's about now: relationships with His people.
Jesus came for the sole purpose of restoring the relationship between God and the people He created. His death on the cross made that possible. Romans 5:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory."
Jesus did come to give us eternal life, but that is not all. He doesn't just leave us hanging until we eventually die. How hard would life be if that were the case? No, Jesus wants an ongoing relationship with us now. He delights in us, and wants us to come to Him with our troubles. "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you." -1 Peter 5:7
He wants us to come to Him so He can give us peace and rest. '"Then Jesus said, 'Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'" -Matthew 11:28-29
He wants us to get to know Him and learn from Him so that we may have real joy in this world. "When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! " John 15:10-11
Maybe I just lost you right there. I said the words, "keep His commandments." Yes, but His commandments are to love God and to love people. All of the commandments are summed up in those two phrases. (See Mark 10:29-31). I think most people would admit that that sounds okay.
Jesus is what the world needs. We don't need religion. Sure, religion is a way we organize Jesus' followers, and that is good to some degree. But if any religion loses sight of Jesus, it is pointless.
The Bible often describes Jesus as the One and Only. In John 1:18 (NIV) it says, "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God..." And in John 3:16, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes is him will not perish but have eternal life." These are just a couple of the references, but I absolutely love the phrase. Jesus, the One and Only
Jesus is the One and Only:
-Path to Peace
-Way to God
-Light of the World
-Savior of our Souls
-Lover of our Souls
It is all about Jesus.
I just love Easter! I love the promise of spring and the celebration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, my Savior. But this year....well, this.
This blizzard is happening today, April 3. Living in Minnesota, you have to be a little flexible with Easter. Most moms love to dress up their kids in color-coordinated, pastel colored outfits for church. Up here in the north, you have to take into consideration the weather. If your daughter is to wear a springy dress, you must have a sweater cardigan on hand, as well as matching tights. Most years, shorts for the boys are out. Sweaters are in. I've accepted this fact of life.
But this weather, snowing up to eight inches in April. It's no good!
Or wait, is it kind of perfect? (Stay with me!)
We celebrate all that Jesus accomplished on the cross when we celebrate Good Friday. And on Easter Sunday morning, we exclaim that God has risen Christ from the dead. He is risen! He is risen indeed!
God accomplished so much more than a work of supernatural power when Jesus rose out of the dead man's tomb. The power of sin was broken, once and for all.
Without the shedding of Jesus' blood on the cross, our debt of sin would still exist. Romans 3:23 says, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." We would spend our entire lives striving for a way to be good enough in the eyes of God. This is something that we can never accomplish on our own.
"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind" (Isaiah 64:6).
The best we can offer God is filthy rags. I have seen a lot of filth, as I'm sure most of you have. Right now, I'm picturing a rag that has been used to clean the dash inside of my husband's farm vehicle. I comes out pretty disgusting, caked with dried up bugs, dirt, and dust, maybe even some grease and oil.
That is all we can offer God: filth in comparison to His righteousness.
But when we turn to Jesus and acknowledge that we need Him to save us, a beautiful exchange happens. Our lives, our filthiness, are washed clean. We trade our filth for purity. We are washed white as...snow.
"Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."
Only the blood of Jesus can wash us as white as snow. Only the blood of Jesus can make us righteous enough to come before God. Only by the "precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God" (1 Peter 1:19).
So today, even though I'm grumpy with the weather, I'm going to look at the snow and remember the beautiful work that Jesus accomplished on my behalf.
Oh, precious is the flow
Hi, I'm Kristen! Just a girl who loves all things Jesus, family, music and food!
For previous posts, click here.