"Guys, I need your help. I cannot find my keys." This really doesn't happen all that much at my house. My keys "belong" in the kitchen hanging up. Well, I really needed to renew my library books (using the library is no longer free for me as I am ALWAYS paying late fees!) and I needed the card that was hanging conveniently (usually) on my key chain. The kids' response just made me giggle because they said, "Well, it's a good thing we don't need to go anywhere." "Yeah, good thing. Whoever finds them gets a reward." Now, that comment revealed a lot about my children. Anson began looking feverishly for the keys in hopes for a reward...any reward will do. Julia, on the other hand looked at me and said, "Well, uh...what's the reward." That sums them up. So, I'm setting this little post up...we were looking for my keys. So, I did the regular. I prayed, "God, you see all things. You know exactly where my keys are...BRING THEM TO ME!" I looked in the trash can because they could have gotten swept off of the counter, I looked in my purse, emptied it out, checked Ella's bag, then to the couch. Play that dun dun dah music in your head.
Why are couches so nasty? I don't care who you are or who cleans your house, I'll bet that your couch would embarass you in front of company. Sometimes it's like winning the lottery when you pull the cushions off..."Look, Oh my gosh, I've been wondering where this was. Hooray!" So, the kids helped me, only because they wanted to jump on the cushions. Well, to be honest, I was just going to put the cushions back on the couch. I know, disgusting...but the vacuum was crying because it feels like we wouldn't even know if it married a Rainbow and got used everyday. So, I had Anson go get the vacuum so that I could clean the couch before putting the cushions back. Note: still no keys. So, as I started vacuuming I noticed dog hair. Ha, that's funny. You will not find a dog in my house, but there was dog hair under my cushions. Where did it come from, you ask? Well, it came from my dog, of course. I thought you didn't have a dog. I don't.
Last summer I really believed that I had heard from the Lord that we were to get a puppy. A Pug puppy. Mike and I discussed it, remembered what happened the last time we had dogs (they ended up in the classifieds) and decided that we would get a dog. We prepared for this puppy. We trained stuffed animals, we made a chain link count down, we visited her. We were set. We were excited. We picked her up and MY world turned upside down. I bought the books. I read the books. I failed at training. We upgraded our cable and DVR'd every "Dog Whisperer" and watched it, tried it...we failed. Our sweet little pure bred dog was not working out. I didn't know what to do. We gave it a few more months and then one day I snapped.
That morning Anson had gotten up and was sick, like grab the trash can sick. By lunch time he was feeling better, but I heard this lapping sound and it was the dog "cleaning" up after she got sick. That was it. I waved the white flag and began to pray for a way out. Mike came home, I admitted defeat and we called the breeder. She was very sad, so were we, and said that she would work out some foster care until she could get her adopted. Well, she now resides in Texas and I am sure that she is living the dream! That is where the dog hair came from. My dog, that no longer resides here. It's funny because I also found one of her little Georgia Tech collars and the vet called to remind me that her heart worm meds needed to be filled. I got a little sad. I loved that little dog, but I didn't love her enough to allow her to turn my house upside down and keep it that way. Bottom line my dear friends...we suck at dogs.
So, Ali, where is this going? Of course this is going to my sin. As I started sucking that hair up, (Pugs shed...ALOT) I thought that even though I do not have a dog, there is proof that there was one at one time. From the puppy shampoo, the collar, the vet calling, then the hair. There is no doubt I owned a dog. Not anymore...no dogs allowed...unless I have told you to your face that I LIKE your dog and they are welcome in my home while you go on a quick trip. Do you know what Jesus did on the cross? He bore our sin in His body on the tree that we might die to sin and live for righteousness, by His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
He removed your sin. Casting Crowns has made one verse very popular with their hit song based on Psalm 103, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." He has removed our transgressions. That is HUGE!!! When we commit our lives to Jesus, confessing with our mouth and believing with our heart...the sin is removed. Do you know why we struggle with this idea? Because there is proof in our life that sin was present. We all have little reminders that we did not always walk with God. Because of this we tend to believe that God saves us, but doesn't really change us, that it's up to us. That is not true.
I almost went into verb tenses and the word sin used in the book of 1 John. Here's the nuts and bolts. When we receive Christ's gift of atonement, or sin is removed. We are "justified" that's a church word for "to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be." This was taken from the Greek word based on Romans 3:24. That means you, Mrs. I'm Not Good Enough...you have been JUSTIFIED! God has declared you righteous...because of Christ. He has removed that which was unrighteous and credited Christ's death to your account. Overwelming, isn't it? Now, why is there dog hair in my house if there is no dog. Like, why do I sin if God has removed my unrighteousness? That is where the process of sanctification comes in.
Stay with me...I think you'll leave a little lighter. In John 17:17 we find Jesus praying to God the Father for His disciples, and those who will follow because of their testimony. He says, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." The word "sanctify" means to purify. To cleanse from guilt or sin, to purify internally by the renewing of the soul. You can find all this for yourself on several websites. I use this one. So, we are believers, but we need to be purified. There is that left over smut that taunts us and tells us that we aren't completely His. That garbage that creeps up on us when we least expect it and then BAM we're questioning our salvation. It happens to all of us. What we need to know is that our enemy is real and he is prowling around like a roaring lion. We musn't give him a foothold. You must declare NO DOGS ALLOWED. I refuse to believe that I am the same person that I was before Christ invaded my life.
You will, if you look, and somedays if you aren't looking, find evidence of brokeness. You will find dog hair. You will find puppy shampoo. You will find bitterness and envy. However, if you look even closer you will find joy. You will find peace. You will find a heart that is struggling to love only the things that God loves. You will find them both, but what you won't find is the dog. Nope, no dogs allowed. I've been justified. My sin has been thrown as far as the east is from the west. Now, I'm in process. Daily I'm being sanctified. I'm being vacuumed up. The residue that is left is being cleaned. I'm not the same. Neither are you. Do not, for one minute believe that lie. Say it, "No dogs live here."
I want you all to know that I STRUGGLE to keep these short. There is so much more I would want to tell you or have you tell me. However, I want to respect your time and hope that you will leave here with your cup of cold water and go drink deeply from the fountain of life.
Note from Husband: My husband found my keys on the front porch.