Category Archives: Jesus

Cleansing

Last week after a night of hard rain and storms, Lily, our dog, and I were on our daily morning walk.  As I passed the grates and sewers on the road, I noticed that there were swirls of yellow pollen accumulated from the rain swollen streets.  It was so thick that it was having a hard time making it down the drains.  That pollen was sticky and hung onto what it could so that it wouldn’t be washed away.  But the water was a cleanser that was stronger than the pollen and slowly took it down the drain and away from sight.

With the pollen just washed away, for a short while, until it accumulated again, our cars, windows and sidewalks were all cleansed and pollen free.  Everything looked renewed.  It was refreshing to see after everything being covered for so long in a yellow powder.

You know, that pollen is a lot like our sin.  It sticks to us and doesn’t want to let go.  Sometimes we stick to it not wanting to let go.  It covers us like a sticky, off-color blanket and dulls what we could be if we would only let go of it or cast it away from us.  The worst part of sin is that it interferes with our relationship with God and clouds our view of Him.

The good news is that the Lord is in the cleansing business.  In nature, the rain comes and cleans the air and nurtures life in cycles.  That doesn’t happen in our spiritual lives.  God requires that we come to Him of our own freewill and ask for cleansing.  He will wash away all our sins when we come before Him humbly, confess them, and ask Him to take them away.  There is no sin that can stick to us and not be forgiven.  We can take anything to Him, and He will forgive and cleanse us.  He will nurture our spirit and renew our lives.

God paid a high price for our cleansing.  He sent His Son to Earth to live among us as a human.  Jesus experienced everything we did and was without sin.  Yet, He was treated and tried like a criminal and sent to die for absolutely no reason, except for the sins of mankind – your sin and mine.  Like that pollen, our sin covered Him on that Cross and as He bleed and died, His blood washed away that sin and was a pool at the foot of the cross.  Though Jesus died, He rose again and was renewed.  Today He offers that renewal to us.

Jesus can take the pollen of sin away and turn it into something that will bear fruit and through us show Himself to the world.  We can be a light in the darkness of a world covered with the pollen of sin.  The fruit we bear should be a variety of patience, love, kindness, joy, peace, gentleness, self-control and goodness.  When we have that in our lives, then we will be renewed and refreshed.

We are but human.  Just as the pollen will return after the rain, so sin will gain a foothold in our lives again.  It is a continuous cycle to confess and be cleansed so that we may bring forth good fruit.  The key is to remain aware when sin sticks to our lives and have a vibrant and loving relationship with our Lord so we can go to Him for cleansing.

 

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:5-6

Happy Birthday Jesus

My son’s birthday is close to Christmas.  Because of this, I often think of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, and what that first Christmas must have been like.  I don’t know if I would have had the strength and faith Mary had if I had gone through all she endured.

When Mary was pregnant, she was a young teenager engaged to be married, and traveling far from her home.  She was probably scared and worried about the pain of giving birth, what would happen during the process and wished her mother was around for knowledge, comfort and support.  She only had a fiancé who was just as unsure as she was about the whole process.  Both were road weary, perhaps a little crabby and needing a place to rest.  Mary might have been experiencing the early pangs of childbirth and keeping them to herself.

Bethlehem was crowded with people coming for the census and to pay their taxes.  They have checked every in in town, and there is nothing. The innkeepers have little compassion because they are full and over their limit and are tired of saying there is no room.  Finally, there is an innkeeper who notices the very pregnant and young Mary and possibly sees the pain of a contraction cross her face.  He has compassion and allows them to use his stable area.

Just as Mary and Joseph get settled, Mary goes into hard labor.  The pain is intense, and both of them are frightened.  Joseph is afraid Mary is dying and holds her hand, tries to sing to her, and talks softly assuring her he loves her and everything will be okay.  God’s presence fills the stable and a soft glow comes over everything.  He guides them both through the birthing process, and His spirit of comfort surrounds them both.

They hold their newborn son knowing they have witnessed one of life’s miraculous moments and are in awe.  They praise God for His guidance and presence in the stable with them.  Both count the baby’s fingers and toes and can’t believe how small and perfect they are.  All their doubts and worries turn into hopes and dreams.

Jesus was not Mary’s only child, but he was her only son by God.  As she held her son, she knew he was destined to do great and wonderful things.  When you hold your newborn child, you also hold all the hopes and dreams for them.  You want for a good life for that baby!

I often wonder if Mary suspected her son was born to die, just as innocent of a crime then, as he was at birth.  She knew he came to save the world, but was she aware of the price?  Did she know she, too, would have to pay the cost?  How could she bear to watch him die on a cross so cruelly?  What faith and trust it took to turn Jesus over to God and watch her son grow up, do amazing and good things and then die publically like a criminal!  Yet, she believed God was doing what was best.  Every birthday my son has, I contemplate Mary’s strength and faith and how it shines during this holiday season.

 

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

Luke 1:46-47