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Mud Pies (a Timeless Truths blog post)

mud pies

Did you ever make mud pies when you were growing up? Did you ever experience the fun of sitting in your driveway (or some other spot with a muddy puddle) and playing with your sibling pretending to make “pies” out of the mud? If so, do you have any memory of how muddy you most likely got? Do you remember your parents sighing with exasperation that the mud would probably never get out of your clothes (hopefully your “play clothes”)? Most likely, all you can remember is the fun you had … not the stains that got embedded into your clothes (play or otherwise). Now, as parents yourselves, it can be hard to see anything but the mud … anything but the stains. Try as you might, when your children play … whether it be in the mud, or on the grass, or even in the sand on a beach … it can be hard to see anything but the stains left behind from all of their “fun.” Is that the case with you, personally, as well? Do you see yourself as “stained” from the sins you may have committed throughout your lifetime? Do you see the stains of everything you’ve done in the past that you once considered to be “just fun” but now, in hindsight, you have come to realize that the fun you had for a short time actually ended up costing you (and perhaps others) dearly? A little bit of drinking here … a little bit of promiscuity there … a little bit of drugs here … a little bit of lying there … a little bit of stealing here … no big deal (or so you thought until later when you saw the consequences of your actions). Then, if someone were to mention Jesus to you, and how He could forgive you of all your sins … past, present, and future … perhaps all you could see, all you could comprehend were all the stains that were still embedded (like mud) into your heart, into your very soul. Perhaps you have felt like there was nothing that could wash those sins away … nothing that could “shout it out” (as the previously popular commercial for stain remover claimed). If so, I’m personally asking you to reconsider. I’m personally asking you to consider Jesus once again. I’m personally asking you to really and truly consider just what Jesus has already done for you when He died on the cross. In a nutshell, Jesus died on the cross to “shout it out.” All the sins of your past, all the sins of your present, and even all the sins you undoubtedly will commit in the future (even unintentionally since no one is perfect) … ALL of your sins WILL be wiped away … will be completely clean … you will be stain free … but ONLY IF you fully and truly ACCEPT the sacrifice that Jesus made for you by FAITH ALONE, by TRUSTING IN HIM ALONE and then, through that faith and trust, by asking Him to come into your heart to be your personal Lord and Savior. You see, it is ONLY through grace ALONE that we are saved; it is ONLY through trusting in the FINISHED WORK on the cross that anyone (you or me) can be made righteous, holy, and acceptable to God … free of EVERY stain of sin. In fact, scripture confirms it! Ephesians 2:8,9 (NIV) reads, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Or maybe you’d like to hear the same truth the way Psalm 51:1-15 of The Message (MSG) puts it, “Generous in love – God, give grace! Huge in mercy – wipe out my bad record.  Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.  I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.  You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.  You have all the facts before you: whatever you decide about me is fair.  I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.  What you’re after is truth from the inside out.  Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.  Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.”  Yes, that pretty much spells it out! So, the timeless truth for today is this: Consider Jesus once again (or even for the very first time!) Consider all He has ALREADY done for you and for me.  No matter what you’ve done in your past . . . anything and everything CAN BE forgiven and made clean through the blood of Jesus that He has ALREADY shed on the cross for you and for me.  All ANYONE and EVERYONE needs to do to get all the “stains” out is to wholeheartedly put their faith and trust in JESUS ALONE to save them, wash them clean, and give them a new life in Christ . . . so that, when God (the ONLY judge) looks on you, as your Heavenly Father (IF you’ve committed your life to Him and personally prayed to accept His gift of salvation through Jesus alone) . . . as Your Heavenly Father, God won’t see the stains anymore.  He will only see you as righteous, holy, and acceptable because of your exercising faith and trust and acceptance of what JESUS has ALREADY done for you.  Bottom line:  You accept Jesus, and God will accept you! No more trying to earn anything, no more striving to be “good enough,” no more hoping you’ll measure up . . . ALL you have to do is trust and believe, then accept Jesus . . .  and He WILL cleanse you and give you a new heart . . . a heart of love that will desire to live in loving ways towards God and others.  Now, what could be better than that?

 

 

 

 

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Bah Humbug (a Timeless Truths blog post)

grinch

The stress of the holiday season leaves many overwhelmed. All the countless activities … all the countless presents to buy and people to shop for … all the countless decorations to put up (and then take down later) … all of it – every little bit of it – can leave many people throwing up their hands in despair and saying, bah humbug … I’m just not going to do this anymore! Going through all that stress just isn’t worth it! Why celebrate at all when it just seems like so much work (on top of all the work I normally do anyways)! Well, I can definitely see where you’re coming from. All the outward appearances of celebrating the holiday season can seem very overwhelming … and those outward shows of celebrating are – oftentimes – overrated. Sometimes the most enjoyable thing to do is to just keep it simple. Just keep our eyes on what’s most important. Just focus on the inward reason of celebrating the season. After all, if you don’t know why you’re celebrating, really, why celebrate? With all the sights, sounds, money spent and other distractions it may be hard to focus – to zero in on – what’s really most important … not just at Christmastime, but at any and every time – any and every day, really, of the entire year. And what, exactly, truly is most important you may ask … that, in a nutshell, is our personal relationship (or lack thereof) with Jesus. Hebrews 2:10, 14-18 (NIV) tells us, “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered … Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” So, the timeless truth for today is to consider all that Jesus has already done for you. He has already made atonement for your sins – he has already paid the price so you don’t have to. You don’t have to be “good enough” to have a personal relationship with Jesus (no one could anyway no matter how hard they tried). All you have to do is humbly accept the free gift Jesus wants you to have … the free gift of salvation that he offers to you today. Knowing that Jesus understands your suffering since he, too, suffered makes having a relationship with him a good thing – because you can know and believe that he can relate to you on a personal level … and, with that in mind, once you have that personal relationship with Jesus you can truly have a reason to celebrate … not just at Christmastime, but any time of the year. No longer will you say, bah humbug, but, rather, you can choose to say, thank-you, Jesus, for the gift you have given me … thank-you for giving me salvation … I accept your gift and ask you to be a part of my everyday life … I ask you to be my Lord and Savior … and I thank you for giving me an inward reason to celebrate … I thank you for giving me the best gift of all, I thank you for giving me a personal relationship with you – every day of the year!

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