Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pool Lessons

First, some background information.

*We weren't going to open the pool this year.

*Therefore we didn't cover it as well through winter.

*We didn't open it as early as usual.

*We are selling the house.

*The realtor said "Open the Pool!!"

*Because of first 3 points, the pool was dark brown in color and full of yucky, slimy leaves and algae.

*I should have taken a "Before" picture.

*Use your imagination--think coffee with floaties!

*Yesterday at 2 pm--the pool guy arrives.

*Dumps in about 20 LARGE containers of liquid chemicals.

Now for the lessons:

Now I have a better understanding about "walk by faith and not by sight". I had to vacuum that dark brown pool. The first step was to use the leaf sucker-upper. This device attaches to the hose and you then guide it over the biggest piles (which you can't see) in the bottom of the pool. The bottom was not in sight at all. I could see darker areas. I hauled out a lot of leaves. Then I vacuumed. I still could not see the bottom--in fact I had stirred up enough stuff that it was now even more murky! I just followed my usual pattern of vacuuming. It took longer than usual, but it was beginning to clear.

  • Lesson # 1 Work on the biggest areas of sin in your life first. They are what make your life so dark and ugly. Getting rid of them may seem to make life even more murky for a while. Once they are out of the way, you can begin to work on other areas. Even though it takes longer, as long as you are following the pattern God has given us for living--life does begin to take on a clearer look.
  • Lesson # 2 My life, without Jesus, is like that dark ugly pool with floaties. Jesus' blood is the "chlorine" that works to take out all the darkness and leaves us crystal clear.
  • Lesson # 3 Even with all the "chlorine", if I hadn't vacuumed, the pool would still be dark and ugly. God tells us to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". We must be willing to vacuum all the darkness out of our lives so that the "chlorine" of his blood can make us crystal clear. Without His blood, all the vacuuming in the world would still leave us dark and ugly.
  • Lesson # 4 We don't have to wonder if the chlorine (His blood) is working. Less that 15 hours later, I took the "AFTER" picture posted here. His blood transforms us and makes us into a new creature--and anyone who looks at us can see the difference.
  • Lesson # 5 It takes constant care to keep our souls clean. The pool guy comes once a week--we take the Lord's supper once a week--and are reminded of what His blood does for our lives. But should we quit remembering, quit vacuuming out the bad, our lives will once again turn brown with floaties. It is a constant process.
  • Lesson # 6 We leave the pool pump on 24 hours a day to filter the pool. Everything we think and do should be filtered through Him. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable...think about [and do] such things.

Pretty good lessons from a dirtly 'ole pool.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Sermon BEFORE the Sermon

This morning, I was blessed by a father and his young daughter. They were sitting in front of us during church. We were asked to stand to sing a song. This father scooped up his young daughter (she must be about 4) in his arms and she wrapper her little arms around his neck. He sang in her ear. She hugged him close and with her little hands turned his face so she could whisper in his ear. He listened and then turned and whispered something back. And she snuggled close, and hugged him and kissed his neck. He, while singing, kissed the top of her head. He sang some more and the whole scenario repeated itself. And again.

And I thought to myself, "That's how God loves me!" I know my own Dad loved me the best he knew how, but I always felt I couldn't please him. And he was very strict and not very demonstrative of his love. But this daddy knew how to show his little girl how much he loves her! And isn't that how God is--always hugging us close and whispering how much He loves us. I could barely keep singing!
(Picture at right is artwork by David Bowman)

And then, the sermon started out in Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."

Wow. That was exactly what I had just witnessed. The sermon was awesome. And the sermon BEFORE the sermon was even more awesome!!

And then this evening--while I was cleaning and sorting, I was listening to a GLAD cd. I've listened to it hundreds of times before. But tonight, the song called "Arise my Soul, Arise" really caught my attention. The original lyrics were by Charles Wesley, and then adapted by GLAD. And they seemed so fitting for everything the day brought today. So here they are:

Arise my soul, arise
Shake off your guilty fears.
The bleeding sacrifice
in my behalf appears
Before the throne He stands,
Before the throne He stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above
for me to intercede
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood to plead
Before the throne of Grace
Before the throne of Grace.
He gladly takes my sinful place.

Five bleeding wounds He bears
Received on Calvary
They pour effectual prayers
They strongly plead for me
Forgive , forgive they cry
Forgive, forgive they cry
This ransomed sinner must not die.

The Father hears Him pray
His dear anointed One,
He cannot turn away
the presence of His Son,
He sees the priceless blood
He sees the priceless blood
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled
His pardoning voice I hear
He owns me for His child
I can no longer fear
With boldness I draw nigh
With boldness I draw nigh
And “Abba Father, Abba Father,
Abba Father”, I cry.

Arise my soul, arise
I can no longer fear.