Do Christians Stink?

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I love infant baptism. It makes me new again as I am reminded that this symbolic act is making even the newest of us…new again.

The oil of Baptism is placed on the head of the baby in a symbolic blessing that welcomes them to the Christian faith.

Today, I was reminded that this dab of oil during the sacrament of holy baptism also makes me new and forgiven through Christ.

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, heaven opened as follows:

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

Baptism delivers me from shame. The stain and stink of sin that weighs me down in this life is washed away.

The sinful stench that permeates and gnaws at my soul is forgiven.

Jesus took away the stench and I am anointed with a holy oil that smells better than the best perfume money can buy.

I don’t stink anymore…and I am glad.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

 

Sunday is for sinners…

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I am one of those people who really needs to go to church.

It is not that I think organized religion is a panacea for what ails you…it is my need to be accountable to God. Yes, I am a born-again sinner and in church I find myself surrounded by fellow fallen angels. This is as it should be. We are in the right place to begin again to set things to rights.

My Anglican/Baptist soul longs to be reminded “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I’m just your run of the mill backsliding, commandment breaking and wicked sinner. That would be me. I don’t take glory in this, in fact, I want to be perfect. It is just that perfect is so hard to accomplish.

I find that church is the one place that this sinner feels welcomed unconditionally. God whispers to me and tells me to take a load off – he’ll take my sorry soul and work some heavenly magic. I believe this. I turn myself over and realize that no matter how many times I muck things up…God will gift me some much needed grace. Without that promise, I’m not sure what would happen to me.

I’m grateful for reminders. I’m grateful for God’s never-ending grace. I’m just plain grateful.

See you next Sunday.

 

Regrets? I have a few

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I’m somewhat surprised when I hear someone say they have no regrets. I find that hard to believe.

There is only one person that I know who is perfect and we just celebrated His resurrection yesterday. But for the rest of us…we could use some work.

As for me, I have a lot of regrets. Too many to mention. I have been known to sit through Sunday service, say all my prayers of forgiveness with a genuine and contrite heart, march up for communion and then on the way back to my pew my mind wanders to something that I instantly regret. I can go south in a hot minute.

I once thought if I was the sort of person that believed in tattoos, I would put a permanent bodily marking of Romans 3:23 in a place where the sun doesn’t shine. That verse is courtesy of my sweet Baptist upbringing. Romans 3:23 rings true for my life. Some days I just fall a little short of the glory of God. Maybe a lot.

I have learned to live with regret but I try to learn from my mistakes as well. Even more important, I believe in a God that forgives my sins. In fact, it is my desire to try to please Him by decreasing my personal number of regrets earned in a single day.

Regrets? I have a few. But I also have a loving Savior who reminds me daily that He holds my hand as we walk through the highs and lows of this life together. Loving Jesus and choosing to follow Him is the one thing I will never regret.

How great is that?

Remember Me…

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What is your favorite Bible verse? It is always interesting to hear the choices people make. In reality, this is not a test. No one fails. There is no wrong answer – only good ones.

I love so many but one pulls at my heart every time. It means something to me…something that confirms that the grace of God flows freely to the righteous and those that may be deemed unworthy. It flows to sinners.

In Jesus final hours on this earth and as He nears death on the cross, he has two criminals to each side of Him enduring the same fate in death. These two criminals are just like us. They are unworthy, lowly, and reeking of sin. Even in His final moments, Jesus is partnered with two very unlovable sinners.

One criminal choose this time to berate and deny Jesus. He mocks Him even as he is dying.

The other criminal does something astonishing. He believes. I don’t know the depth of his sins but in this one incredible moment of faith, he turns to Jesus and says “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42

Jesus response with my favorite verse “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

What beautiful words of comfort. What a gift to that sinner. What a relief to a weary soul.

There are many verses to hang your faith upon but this one sentence means the world to me. It reminds me that while I tread this earthly path, it is not my permanent home…I belong to and believe in a Savior who guarantees that I will, one day, live with Him in paradise.

On this Good Friday, I look to my precious Lord and I say…

Remember me…