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I can’t promise that this will be the last post that is connected to events surrounding our transition from Texas, but I do anticipate that they will significantly diminish in frequency now that the move has been completed. Today’s thoughts grow out of something that happened last Monday, which was our last day in our house in Carrollton. We were going through our normal “school morning” routine which involved waking Coleman up about 6:30 for a quick bath and breakfast before the bus picked him up at 7:00. Coleman’s developmental disabilities and limitations require that we still help him with bathing. As I was scrubbing him down and washing his hair, I began nostalgically reflecting on our 12 years in the house and wondering how many times we had bathed Coleman in that tub. Since he generally gets a bath each morning and then again before bedtime, a conservative estimate is that he has enjoyed over 8,000 “splash-fests” in that house. That’s a lot of water, soap, and shampoo! But, life, with its dust, dirt, and grime, demands that we cleanse ourselves over and over again. Wouldn’t it be great if we could be washed and cleansed so completely, effectively, and lastingly that we would never need to take another bath?

You know where I am going with this, don’t you? Sin stained us, defiled us, and covered us with guilt and shame. Lacking any means or power to purify ourselves, God sent His Son in His grace and mercy to offer a sacrifice powerful enough to take away our sin, the precious blood of the Lamb of the God (John 1:29; I Peter 1:18-19). In Christ, we have “washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). God has chosen and willed that in baptism (a submissive, passive, demonstration of faith in the working of God) our sin meets the Lamb’s blood. Though enacted in physical water, baptism reflects the reality of a spiritual purification (I Peter 3:21) in which our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16). This “spiritual bath” is so effective and complete that Christ’s blood continually cleanses us from all sin as we lead confessional lives before Him (I John 1:7,9). One sacrifice! One baptism! Praise God!

(Adapted from my BA bulletin article for June 14)

Late last Sunday night, my family and I were completing the job of packing up our household items for loading by the moving company on Monday morning. In addition to packing boxes to move to Oklahoma, we also identified several things that just needed to be thrown out. Just before midnight, I decided to move all of the “discards” out to the street for pick-up by the garbage collectors. I made several trips from the garage to the street, each time walking over a thick carpet of St. Augustine grass that had been made lush and green by an unusually wet Spring. As odd as it may sound, I caught myself thinking, “I’m really going to miss this grass!” For twelve years, Kim and I have worked on the lawn and the landscaping around the house. Old gnarly shrubs and bare spaces had been filled with Indian hawthorn, azaleas, iris, lilies, ornamental grasses, lantana, dwarf crepe myrtles, and other things Kim planted that I never even knew what to call; they were just pretty. Even the grass had improved significantly in health and appearance.

As soon as I began to lament leaving the St. Augustine into which my feet were sunk, I realized the foolishness of my thinking. As good as the grass looks now, the scorching summer heat will soon take its toll, and winter will reduce its rich color to an extremely unattractive, dormant brown. The beautiful blossoms of Spring have already passed, and the radiance of the daylilies and tiger lilies will be gone before long. Words from Isaiah immediately came to mind. “A voice says, ‘Call out.’ Then he answered, ‘What shall I call out?’ All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8). God’s point through Isaiah is that everything in this world is like grass and flowers; temporary, fleeting, and fading. So, why do I get so unwisely attached and hung up on the things of this world? Sunday night’s walk through the lawn was a great reminder to me to keep my focus on the things that really matter; the things that matter for eternity!

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June 2009