Clean Out the Closet!

When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same any more. A new life has begun! –2 Corinthians 5:17 TLB

I knew I was overdue to clean out my clothes closet when I tried on three outfits for church one Sunday morning and none of them would do.

My wardrobe included three pairs of polyester slacks I’d worn nearly every week for ten years (I exaggerate not) and were coming apart at the seams, missing buttons at the waist, and were way too baggy since I’d lost some weight. My sweaters were fuzzbally, nearly transparent in places, or had shrunk in the wash. Most of my skirts, blouses, and dresses were tired and lifeless and looked like I felt. And most everything was way outdated.

Over the years, I’d added a piece or two to my wardrobe here and there, but, instead of removing anything to make room in my four-foot-wide closet, I simply shoved the old stuff back where it was hard to reach. My dresser drawers weren’t much better. I had to iron anything before I wore it.

Finally I decided it was time. No more hanging on to stuff in case I lost weight or in case I’d want to wear it someday. No more “fat” and “skinny” wardrobes.

My tastes were changing, too. Instead of prints (usually flowers), I wanted solids in shades that complimented my coloring and in styles that complimented my body shape.

So after a daylong shopping trip and another daylong closet-cleaning session, I had fifty empty hangers, two empty dresser drawers, a healthy donation for Goodwill, and an equally healthy donation for the garbage man—and a feeling of being set free.

Every time I wear one of my new outfits, I feel like a new woman, lighter and happier than I’ve felt in years. Amazing how hanging on to useless old things can bog us down.

We do the same spiritually, don’t we? Those old sins are hard to let go because we have a hard time believing we are truly forgiven and so we refuse to forget. We won’t forgive ourselves, so we carry around a load of guilt, thinking this is our penance.

Is that what God does? No!

When we asked for His forgiveness and accepted His Son, we were changed inside. Not patched up, like a garment that needs mending. We were born again (John 3:16), given new life—His life in us. We became not fixed-up versions of our old selves, but brand new persons!

We were washed completely clean (1 John 1:9). All our sin-stain was bleached out entirely by the Son, and our hearts are now as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:2,7). All the garbage of sin and guilt was flung as far from us as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and God remembers it no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

So why do we? Perhaps because we feel unworthy? But God considered us worthy enough to send His Son to die in our place and open the way to Heaven.

So, Christian, clean out your closet and toss the fuzzbally attitudes, oversized guilt, outdated shame. Don your new clothes—clothes as clean, fresh, and new as a spring morning—clothes that will make you feel like a new person—because, Child of God, you really are.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Amen. (Psalm 51:10,12)

Read and reflect on Matthew 9:14–17.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Image 600-02377761 © Lisa Brdar

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

Image by Ingi Finnsson from Pixabay

“Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” – King Solomon, 2 Chronicles 6:21 (NIV)

Over the 23 years I’ve written my weekly newspaper column, and hence this blog, I’ve avoided controversial topics. I figure you all get enough—more than enough, perhaps—of that elsewhere. My purpose has always been to give hope, to show that faith and life go hand in hand, that God cares intimately for each of us and is with us every moment of every day.

But I’ve had a heavy heart for my country—and it’s getting heavier.

No, I still will not address the hot button topics here, but I will address what I believe our response, as Christians, should be.

First, read, meditate, know, and obey the Word. Let it permeate every fiber of your being. Allow God to use His Word to transform you from the inside out—heart, mind, and soul. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Next—pray! For revival to sweep the nation, one soul at a time. For the Holy Spirit to ignite the faith of believers and fill our places of worship—and us. For eyes to be opened to the truth, for hearts to be softened to receive the seed of the Word, for strength and courage to be Psalm 1 men and women.

Finally, be salt and light. “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?. . .You are the light of the world. . . .Let your light shine before men” (Matthew 5:13–16).

How can you be salt and light? Simple: Live the Word.

And while we must stand up for that which we know is right, we must be careful not to judge other folks.

“Do not judge,” Jesus said, “or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1–2).

“For I did not come to judge the world,” Jesus said, “but to save it” (John 12:47). “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17).

Judgment Day is coming, be sure of that. But until then, remember the words of Billy Graham: “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.”

I just keep asking myself, “What would Jesus do?”

May we continue to pray as George Washington did on the inauguration of this country (April 30, 1789):

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field.

     “And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

 Read and reflect on 2 Chronicles 6:12–42.

(Source for prayer: http://www.propheticroundtable.org/ForeFathers/GeorgeWashington/A%20Prayer.htm)