When the World Presses In (2)-Getting the Wrinkles Out

“This is my comfort in my affliction:

for thy word hath quickened me.”

Psalm 119:50, KJVIMG_4055

My granddaughter brought my great-grandbaby by for a visit. Being only five weeks old, smiles are appearing more often but she, also, has inherited her daddy’s scowl. As I worked to coax a smile from her, I explained more wrinkles will adorn her smooth silky baby skin than smiles.

Age brings worries, tension, and troubles into our lives and wrinkles multiply. The world presses wrinkles into our spirit more than our flesh if we allow it. The Spirit of God washes away the worries, our haunting past, all that’s not of him, and gets the wrinkles out. We would not know the power of the Lord in our lives if we never experienced the cleansing and the heat of the iron.

“Beloved think it not strange

concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,

as thou some strange thing happened unto you:

But rejoice,

inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings;

that, when his glory shall be revealed,

ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,

happy are ye;

for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:

on their part he is evil spoken of,

but on your part he is glorified.”

1Peter 4:12-14, KJV

Apostle Peter knew about fiery trials, as did Apostle Paul. The world pressed more wrinkles into their flesh than what covers a Shar Pei puppy. But the wrinkles didn’t mar their spirit. Both considered the persecutions and trials a source of coming to know Christ through sharing his sufferings. Paul wrote—

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ …

I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung,

that I may win Christ … And be found in him …

That I may know him and the power of his resurrection,

and the fellowship of his sufferings,

being made conformable unto his death;

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

(From Philippians 3: 7-11, KJV)

Paul’s past represented a pharisaical rising star. He possessed the heritage, the recognition of Jewish elite, a misplaced zeal, a spotless reputation according to the law. All that changed when he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. What he had before was of no more importance than what a donkey dumps on the path behind him.

Paul’s greatest desire consisted of knowing Christ. His desire should be ours. To know Christ means—

  • to experience him in our lives;
  • to experience his resurrection power which takes us from physical and eternal death to abundant life, and eternal life. That is the power of the resurrection of Christ in us.
  • Along this road in the resurrection power, knowing Christ involves experiencing his suffering for sin—not for the remission of sin, but for the suffering of sin’s influence in this world.
  • We will experience Christ’s death. Before hanging on the cross the human aspect of Jesus, his flesh needed to die to self.

In Christ’s anguish before his trial and march to the cross, Jesus laid aside his flesh’s desire to not drink the cup of suffering held in his hands. Instead, he picked up his cross and obeyed the Father, taking our sin—giving us his righteousness.

Jesus showed us by his life, death, and resurrection how to know him after telling us—

“If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:

and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Matthew 16:24b, KJV

Our wrinkles find cleansing in the blood of Christ. They are ironed out as we share in his cross. We don’t welcome suffering or persecution, but we shouldn’t shrink from it when it comes. Christ is our strength.

We can rejoice in suffering, because it reveals the power of Christ in us, giving us a platform to share the Gospel of our Lord—a platform where wrinkles are ironed out and spirits are renewed without spot or blemish, like the flesh of a newborn baby.

What wrinkles do you need the blood of Christ applied to?


Water That Cleanses

The Cleansing WaterIMG_0074

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way …”

Sometimes a water hose will suffice, and sometimes the young man or woman needs both water, soap, and a good scrubbing.

David needed all of the above. The king paced the marble floor of the castle. He paused and turned his head towards the arched window.

No. That’s where my trouble began. Nathan waits to speak with me.

David splashed some water over his troubled face, took a deep breath, and made his way to his throne. The king’s guards ushered the prophet in. Nathan bowed before his king, stood, and began his story of a rich man with many lambs and a poor man with only one lamb.*

When David heard that the rich man had taken the poor man’s only lamb and made dinner, fury burned on his face. He pounded his fist on the arm of his throne. The king stood and cried in a loud voice, “As sure as the LORD lives, that man will die, but first he will replace what he took with four of his own lambs.”

Nathan waited until the king finished his rant. With tears pooling in his eyes, he spoke. “Thou art the man …”

A bucket of the water of God’s word poured over David’s soul—the cleansing of his way from adultery and murder had begun. For David took heed thereto according to thy word, and

The king prayed—

“Have mercy upon me, O God,

according to thy lovingkindness:

according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin …

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Psalm 51:1-2, KJV

The word began its cleansing work in David. He practiced what he wrote in Psalm 119:10 and 11.

“With my whole heart have I sought thee …

Then to keep his way undefiled he prays—

… O let me not wander from thy commandments …

David further explains how to guard our way to keep us from wandering from the Lord.

…Thy word have I hid in mine heart

that I might not sin against thee.”

  • To be cleansed we seek the Lord.
  • To keep our way cleansed, we bath our heart in his word.
  • When we seek the Lord, he will be found in his word.
  • He isn’t far from us.
  • When we water the seed—his word hidden in our heart—fruits of forgiveness, purity, and faith sprout for all to see.
  • The word’s fruit will not die for it’s good seed.
  • What’s of the flesh has died, destroying sin’s power and has been washed in the cleansing power of the blood.

We not only have the written word to keep us clean before the Lord, we, his church, have the living Word.

“That he might sanctify and cleanse it

with the washing of water by the word,

That he might present it to himself a glorious church,

not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;

but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:26-27, KJV

Jesus is the Word, the seed of life planted in our hearts. If you’re hungry feed on him. If you’re thirsty drink from him. You will always have food and water to strengthen and cleanse you in your way.

“And Jesus said unto them,

I am the bread of life:

he that cometh to me shall never hunger;

and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

John 6:35

What’s your heart in need of today—a rinse? a shower? a scrubbing? Daily drinking from the Word radically reduces the need for a scrubbing.

*The account is found in 2 Samuel 12.

When Dirt’s In The Way

When Dirt Gets In The Waybloglove-699480_960_720

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way …

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?

By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Psalm 119:1a, 9, KJV

Have you watched players engage in the sport of curling? I admit I have but not for long. The game consists of two teams sliding “rocks” down an icy path toward the house, which looks like a bulls eye. When the thrower releases the rock, two other teammates skate in front of the rock with brushes—looks like brooms to me, sweeping all debris from the path they want the rock to travel. The rock resting closest to the house wins a point. These rules are a brief summary of the game.

In the blessed way of the undefiled, believers need to regularly clear our way from debris that would cause us to veer from the path that leads home. Psalm 119: 9 begins by asking—

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?”

Then the verse summarizes the answer.

“By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Being a pastor’s wife, people have commented to me about living with someone who doesn’t ever sin. Let me set the record straight. Pastors and their wives are people saved by grace through faith like every other believer. Our feet need washed like all others.

Take for instant the disciples who walked with Jesus in the way. Even they needed the filth of the world washed from their feet. We, who are saved, don’t need a complete bath—we had that when we received Jesus as our Savior. But we do need to regularly be cleansed of the ways of the world that sneak into our hearts influencing  our minds, our words, and actions. The apostle John explained—

“If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness …

My little children, these things write I unto you,

that ye sin not.

And if any man sin,

we have an advocate with the Father,

Jesus Christ the righteous.”

1 John 1:9-2:1, KJV

As a born again child of God, the righteousness of Christ has been put to our account. The Father counts us righteous because of Christ’s righteousness. In day to day living, we are still being trained in righteousness. Sometime we sin disrupting the close fellowship the Father wants us to have with him. The way to cleanse that disruption is through confession.

If we daily brush away the debris the world seeks to pour into our path through the mind, we learn to guard our thoughts and walk in obedience.

  • “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
  • (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
  • but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds:)
  • Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
  • and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ:
  • And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,
  • when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 9: 3-6, KJV

Our way is most commonly littered with the words we speak. A daily mouthwash helps keep our words pure and our actions undefiled in the way.

  • “But  be ye doers of the word,
  • and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves …
  • If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
  • Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
  • To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
  • and to keep himself unspotted from the world …
  • For in many things we offend all:
  • If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man,
  • and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 1:22, 26-27; 2:2, KJV

Food For Thought:

“Finally, God’s Word will keep us from wrong thoughts, words, and actions: or else wrong thoughts, words, and actions will keep us from God’s Word.” (From The King James Open Bible, expanded edition)

Are you missing a closeness with the Lord you once enjoyed? Maybe it’s time to sweep away the debris hindering your way.  God’s Word is a wonderful broom.