Spring Cleaning

Image courtesy of Vecteezy.com

You are already made clean by the word that I have spoken to you. John 15:3 RSV

I don’t spring clean. My mother did, though. So did my mother-in-law. Both turned the house upside-down every spring to get to the ceilings, walls, floors, and giving everything on and in them—and I mean everything—a good scrub-down.

It’s not that I don’t like a clean house. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s just that I can’t stand for things to be out of place. I’d wait until I couldn’t stand the dust anymore to get out my Swiffer duster. The floor was vacuumed more often once I bought a new, lightweight upright that swiveled and maneuvered around furniture like a sleek racecar and was easier on my back. Occasionally I gave the house a thorough cleaning, but not annually and not all at once. I couldn’t handle that.

But since DH retired, he’s taken over the cleaning duties so I could have the time to write. He’s much better at keeping the house clean than I was. He doesn’t let things go until he can’t stand it any longer.

Just as I need to give my house a thorough cleaning periodically, so must I do the same with my spirit, going through room by room, tossing the trash and clutter that’s accumulated, and sweeping away all the dust and dirt—the residue of everyday living.

My spiritual “Swiffer” is the Word of God; my vacuum cleaner, prayer. And what better time to do my spiritual spring cleaning than Lent? Beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter morning, Lent is a time to examine ourselves for anything that clutters and dirties our spirits, hindering our spiritual growth and thus our relationship with God.

That’s why I’m taking a“40-Day Challenge” to read through the Gospels by Easter. Two chapters a day will get me through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for Easter than to read through the accounts of the life and ministry of Christ written by His closest disciples.

I’m also keeping a SOAP journal, copying one verse of Scripture to meditate on (“S”); writing down in one or two sentences what I see (observe) in that verse (“O”) and how to apply it to my life (“A”); and finally a one or two sentence prayer (“P”) relating to the verse. I like the SOAP format because wordy me has to be concise, and it’s in that very conciseness that the meaning shines like a cleaned and polished room.

Prayer is also a vital aspect of the 40-day challenge. Prayer is simply talking to God. I keep a prayer journal at the back of my SOAP journal. I note personal prayers and requests for others. I pray for needs on my heart, folks and situations the Holy Spirit brings to mind as I pray. I also record when and how my prayers are answered.

My spiritual spring cleaning may turn things topsy-turvy. Although I like order and organization, I’ve got to give God room to work—and trust Him for the results.

Why not take the 40-day challenge with me?

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a new and right spirit within me. Search me and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen. (Based on Psalms 51:10 and 139:23, 24)

More “tea” for the 40-day challenge: 2 Timothy 3:16; Jeremiah 29:13; James 4:8; Psalms 51 and 139; Hebrews 4:12.

Read and reflect on Psalm 19:7-14

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Fake News and False Hopes

 

For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. – Psalm 33:4 NIV

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. –Isaiah 40:8 ESV

Scrolling through my Facebook timeline one morning, I came across an interesting video about a new diet plan that was supposed to be biblically inspired.

I was curious to hear what the author had to say about the nutrition secrets she said she discovered in the Bible that would help you to “lose weight, look great, feel younger” and give you more energy than you know what to do with (don’t they all claim that?).

So I watched the video. Well, most of it. And with a grain of salt.

She was a good salesperson. I almost believed her. But her over-the-top claims and a lack of real detail about the eating plan itself led to me believe this was just another copycat low-carb diet. I checked the reviews, which weren’t glowing – and I went to several different websites. Many used the word “scam.” One reviewer even posted a drawing of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

How sad. Even sadder is that she uses the Bible, God, and faith to sell her product.

Watching the video, I could see how it would stir up hope in folks. But it was a false hope.

You’ve got to be careful these days. Technology takes deceit to a whole new level.

Take, for instance, photographs. It used to be a picture told the truth. Not so any more. Using programs such as Photoshop, you can alter a picture by putting things or people in or taking them out, turn items around, or change background scenery so it appears people were where they really weren’t.

And then there are the false news reports and prayer requests posted online. Like the urgent request for a little boy named Dakota who was supposedly life-flighted to a trauma center. After about the umpteenth time it posted, over many months, I checked the legitimacy of this on Snopes.com, which is a good resource to help sort through fact and fiction.

What really breaks my heart is the false hope these deceitful practices give people. No wonder folks are skeptical, cynical, and resistant to believe even the truth when it’s given.

Is there anything we can truly put our faith in? Is there anyone we can believe without a shadow of a doubt?

Yes!

The Bible is full of promises you can believe because the One who made them is someone you can count on.

Here are a few of His promises you can deposit in your promise bank and withdraw whenever you need them. Please note you can never use them up, so once you use them, you can put them back to be used again.

There are lots more where those came from! And you can believe these promises 100-percent because the One who made them keeps His Word. He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). He is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).

God. His Word. His Promises.

Tried, true, and trustworthy.

Which ones do you need today?

Thank You, God, that there IS something I can believe in – You! Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 19:7–10.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.