Forgiveness, Grace

No More Grubby Sin-Clothes

Do you ever see sin like it’s a suit of filthy clothing and wonder whether you’ll ever wash clean?

My kids used to come home dirty after playing outside, but one day in particular was the worst. I eyed them from the door, every inch of them covered in head-to-toe grime.

“We found a mud pit, Mama!” they shrieked, little faces transformed with glee.

My heart tumbled—so much for all the cleaning I’d done that morning.

One by one, I scooped them up and deposited them in my shower. There was so much mud caked on that it took me three shampoos and a loofah scrub-down to get most of it out of their hair and out from under their fingernails, not to mention all the loads of laundry.

That night, as we snuggled up in my son’s room reading bedtime stories, I inhaled their scent, their freshly washed hair and laundered clothes a balm for my senses.

“We were dirty, Mama,” my daughter whispered, giggling. “But it was so much fun.”

My son looked worried. “Is my special shirt ruined forever?”

I kissed his brow. “All the stains came out. It’s as good as new, sweet pea. Just like you two.”

It took a lot of work to get the mud off my kids, not to mention a bunch of stain remover and laundry cycles. But it was true—every bit of filth had been washed away. No more walking swamp monsters.

Reading Zechariah in the Bible today, the prophet’s vision reminds me of my dirty kiddos all those years ago—and what it means for us all today.

In Zechariah’s vision, in Zechariah 3:1-7, an angel had come to him from the Lord, telling him how angry God had been with His people. But God promised He would return to Jerusalem with mercy, cleansing them of their sin if they would walk in His ways and follow His commands.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’

“Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’

“Then I said, ‘Put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

“The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here’” (Zechariah 3:1-7 NIV).

Joshua, the high priest of Jerusalem, had been adorned in filth—covered in sin and unworthiness. He and all God’s people wandered far astray, worshipping other gods and forgetting Who they belonged to. But God, in His great compassion, elected to remove that sin and give Joshua new clothes. Not only that, but He promised Joshua a place in His heavenly home if he would walk in obedience to God.

Just like my kids were covered in mud and grime and Joshua wore clothes of filth, we too are adorned in the muck and mire that is sin.

Just like my kids were covered in mud and grime and Joshua wore clothes of filth, we too are adorned in the muck and mire that is sin. Click To Tweet

Others might not be able to see the grubby sin-clothes we wear, but God can. In fact, to God and His holy beings, I imagine we look like my kids did that day after their visit to the mud pit, our sin stinking and caked on for all of heaven to see.

But, through God’s almighty mercy and Fatherly love, He gives us the chance to be washed clean, to put on brand-new clothes, the finest clothing we’ve ever imagined, and take up residence with Him—if only we choose to follow Jesus.

Through God’s almighty mercy and fatherly love, He gives us the chance to be washed clean, to put on brand-new clothes, the finest clothing we’ve ever imagined, and take up residence with Him—if only we choose to follow Jesus. Click To Tweet

God sent His Son to die for us and pay our sin-debt so that we can discover the path to heaven. He offers us His heavenly shower and laundry, effectively rescuing us from the fires of hell and granting us, in His mercy, new life.

Like “a burning stick rescued from the fire,” we are rescued from eternal death when we choose the path of Jesus.

Like 'a burning stick rescued from the fire,' we are rescued from eternal death when we choose the path of Jesus. Click To Tweet

As Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). And as the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Let’s get rid of those filthy, muddy, sin-caked clothes. Let’s put on new clothes of redemption—and choose life eternal.

Let’s put on new clothes of redemption—and choose life eternal. Click To Tweet

Your turn: Do you ever see your sin like it’s a suit of filthy clothing, or a layer of mud upon your skin? Did confessing and repenting of your sin make you feel like you were fresh and clean?

 

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Wholly Loved Ministries is a non-profit organization that exists to help women live in Christ’s freedom. Donate now to support our mission or contact us to learn more.

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Faith

Calling Out For Our Savior

Anchored and Secure Cover Image(Taken from Anchored And Secure: 60 Days of Resting in Grace)

 

Calling Out For My Savior

By Jessica Brodie

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.” Matthew 14:30-31a

Between kid demands and colossal work deadlines, I had a major case of stress overload, and my schedule wouldn’t ease soon. By Wednesday, I had a killer headache, and by Friday, I was catching ten-minute naps in my minivan during car line to stay sane.

“Mommy’s just a little edgy,” I’d apologize after snapping at the kids instead of counting to ten.

When I woke up with my jaw clenched tight from grinding my teeth all night, full-on dreading the day ahead instead of steeped in gratitude, I knew something had to change. My soul cried out: Help. God, please—just help.

Sometimes the last thing I think to do is turn to the Lord. In my pride, I think I should be able to handle the demands of life.

But I’m not my savior—Jesus is. In looking up, in reaching out, I find relief.

In the passage today’s verse comes from, Peter saw Jesus walking on water and wanted to join Him, and so, Jesus invited him to come. Peter began to do the impossible. But then he saw the strong wind and became frightened. He faltered and began to fall.

The same happens with us. We start to walk in faith, and at first everything seems fine. Then something happens—calamity befalls, or we lose our nerve—and we start to sink.

If I could only remember the example we get in the Gospel of Matthew, I know I’d save myself a ton of time, suffering, and aggravation. For right there in Peter’s reaction and Jesus’s response, we see what we’re supposed to do when we begin to sink: Not try to fix things ourselves, but call out to Jesus.

In Him find the relief we so desperately crave.

Grab a copy of our latest devotional HERE.

Cover image for studyWe also encourage you to grab a free copy of our Bible study, Becoming His Princess, based on Genesis 12-23. (Find it HERE.)

Do you ever feel insignificant or unseen? As if what you do or even who you are isn’t quite good enough? Does your confidence level vary based on who you’re around and how their bank account or how accomplishment list compares to yours? If so, this study, based on the life of Sarah from the Old Testament Scriptures, is for you.

For seven weeks, we’ll follow her uncertain and at times terrifying journey from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur to the land promised to her husband, and ultimately, the place of rest God beckons each of us toward. He met her in the middle of her pain, her shame, and all her striving, and rewrote her story—through grace. A grace bigger than her greatest failures and that proved sufficient for all her insufficiencies. Step by step, God taught this once-scorned woman to live as His beloved, His princess.

As we follow her journey recorded in the pages of Scripture, He’ll help us do the same. We’ll learn to center our identity in Christ, recognize His power and presence in our most challenging circumstances, find rest from our striving, and live daily in His grace.

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Resting in Christ

God Sees You––Video Devotion by Kat Lewis

Do you feel unseen and unheard? Does it appear, sometimes, like God is inattentive to your prayers? If so, we hope this video devotion by Kat Lewis encourages you. Read the full chapter this devotion is based on HERE.

If this video encouraged you, make sure to check out our Bible study, Becoming His Princess, which covers the full story surrounding Sarah, Abraham, Hagar, and most importantly, our God who sees.

Find the free ebook version HERE.
Find the print version HERE.
You can also find our latest devotional, Anchored and Secure, HERE.

Also, make sure to visit us on Crosswalk to receive daily devotions sent directly to your inbox. You can find our devotions HERE.

Wholly Loved Ministries is a non-profit organization that exists to help women live in Christ’s freedom. Donate now to support our mission or contact us to learn more.

Resting in Christ

Resting in God’s Grace is Sufficient for Me

What does it mean to rest in God’s grace? Does that sound theological and religious to anyone else?

Consider 2 Corinthians 12. Paul asked Jesus to remove a thorn in his side, something Scripture doesn’t reveal but that made Paul feel weak. Jesus response: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul concludes, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (v.9)

Said a different way: Jesus’ undeserved favor is complete and adequate enough for me. His authority over all shines faultlessly in our flaws and feebleness. His unmatched control over the entire universe adjoins with my lowly self and supplies a lifeline to cling to, a safety net to relax in. Because of my weakness, God can vividly display His divine power.

After Paul heard from the Lord, he decided that his inadequacy was worth it. When he truly surrendered, God could shine brightly through him— which wouldn’t be seen when he relied on himself.When Apostle Paul truly surrendered, God could shine brightly through him— which wouldn’t be seen when he relied on himself... Click To Tweet

But what does “resting in God’s grace” mean for me? Was I doing a good job at letting Jesus take over when I was weak, allowing His power to fix and heal and love?

I contemplated this as I finally got around to something I’d dreaded for weeks—dealing with my son’s behavior and inability to focus at school. I began researching doctors in our network. I called with questions, made appointments, and emailed my son’s former teacher for more information. All in an attempt to get the ball rolling towards a possible diagnosis.

And I’ll be honest, even looking up doctors who might help my son broke my heart. I felt weak, unknowledgeable, inadequate, and scared. The idea of getting him help should bring me hope, yet, I kept thinking, does this mean something’s wrong with him? Surely not, because God made him exactly the way He wanted him to be…

Jesus’ words came back to me. My grace is sufficient for you. Jesus’ favor, or blessing, for me is undeserved and enough to get me through anything. And more, when I am weak, His power rests on me.Jesus’ favor, or blessing, for me is undeserved and enough to get me through anything. And more, when I am weak, His power rests on me. Click To Tweet To “rest on” means to lean on, adjoin to, combine as one. So, if Christ’s power rests on me, then His power is now on me. KristenQuoteGrace I can be sure that God will help me figure out the best steps to take as a mother, knowing God loves my son even more than I do and will hold on to him tightly. I can relax because if God can take my weakness and use it for His glory and power, then He can also do the same for my son’s weakness. He can turn what is hard for him and make it shine somehow.

I will hold on to this verse as we navigate what’s challenging.

What trial or limitation do you need to surrender to Jesus? Claim His power in your weakness and walk forward knowing He’s resting His grace and mercy on you.

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Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Resting in Christ

How God Responds to Our Pain

quote on suffering from Tim Keller

If you want to catch a glimpse of God’s heart for you, simply watch a mother with her newborn. The hours spent walking the floor as she tries to soothe her little one to sleep. The energy sacrificed to care for her. The joy she feels when the child grows or laughs or simply breathes. Her anguish when her child is sick or in pain.

Nothing tears me up and drives me to pray quite like seeing my daughter struggle. About two and a half years ago she accepted and eight-month paid internship in North Carolina. Eager for an opportunity to venture into the adult world, she left Nebraska with hope-filled anticipation.

Her enthusiasm soon turned into a scary depression, triggered by numerous circumstances. First, she was considerably younger than all her coworkers, which made it difficult for her to form relationships. Second, she was paired with an extremely critical and domineering roommate, which caused my daughter to doubt everything good about herself. Navigating a management role at the age of 19, this was her first time living so far from home, and she was lonely. She struggled to find a faith community and missed her friends and family. As time went on, her feelings of isolation grew, which only served to deepen what we later learned was undiagnosed depression.

Watching her struggle from afar, I felt powerless to help her. I often longed to catch a plane, if for no other reason than to stay close. I wanted to hold her, and in so doing, to shoulder some of her load.

When we’re hurting, like my daughter was, it helps to know we’re not alone. The truth is, if we belong to Jesus, we are never alone, regardless of how we feel. Scripture promises that. The Bible tells us that God is with us, loves us fiercely, and will never leave us. When we feel as if our heart is shredded, when the intensity of our pain steals our words and we find ourselves unable to pray, the Holy Spirit steps in and intercedes for us.

Romans 8:26 tells us “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (NIV). Words in the original Greek often convey such richer meaning than our English translations, and that is true here.

When we suffer, and we will, the Spirit closely identifies with our suffering and comes alongside us in a deeply personal, empowering way. The late biblical commentator Matthew Poole phrased it this way: “The word” ‘helps,’ or more accurately, ‘joins to help,’ sunantilambanomai in the Greek, “imports such help, as when another of great strength steps in and sustains the burden that lies too heavy on our shoulders.”

But God does so much more than that. He feels our pain and prays for and with us with “groanings too Quote pulled from post with peace backgrounddeep for words” (ESV).

I’ve never understood the depth of this verse, the depth of God’s emotion conveyed by the words Paul chose, until I too prayed and “groaned” for my daughter during her struggle. If God feels even half of what I did, and I know He does, as His love is so much greater than mine, then His heart breaks as well, and His heartbreak spurs Him to action.

God stays with me, offers His strength in place of my weakness, and prays with and for me. He doesn’t let up, nor will He leave until He’s carried me safely to the other side. He will do the same for you.

Let’s talk about this! Do you trust that God is sees you, loves you, and is with you? What are some ways you remind yourself of this truth when life feels hard or frightening?

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If you’re going through a particularly fearful time, make sure to visit Jennifer’s Faith Over Fear page to find numerous faith-bolstering resources.

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Have you grabbed your free e-copy of our Bible study yet? If not,
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