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My ‘Popcorn Ceiling’ Life

28 Aug

PopcornCeiling2The first time I ever heard the phrase “popcorn ceiling,” I envisioned pieces of popcorn glued on to a ceiling and wondered why anyone would do that!

I wondered if bugs might eat the ceiling. Wouldn’t it eventually get moldy?

Yes, I’m serious. I had no clue.

Popcorn ceilings are so passe these days, and many people call them ugly. But there are plenty of ways to remove or cover them with boards or styrofoam panels.

It’s messy, but no one has to live with popcorn ceilings anymore!

I feel about a popcorn ceiling about the way I feel about lingering sin in my life.

It’s ugly, messy, and I don’t like it. And I don’t have to live with it.

But lingering sin, just like a popcorn ceiling, isn’t going to go away by itself. 

Lingering sin must be removed.

The Lord wants to remove our sin far from us (Psalm 103:11-12; Isaiah 43:25) through forgiveness in Christ (Ephesians 1:7Hebrews 9:26).

The result? We are beautiful in Him. 

 

When we trust in Christ, repent and confess our sin, God forgives and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9; Psalm 130:3-4). He declares us righteous in Christ and there is no condemnation (Romans 5:1; 8:1). Salvation is the restoration of what God originally intended for us.

Jesus died to forgive and remove our sin. In Him, we have an unblemished record. Jesus perfected for all time those who He has sanctified (Hebrews 10:11-14). We can walk in confidence, knowing we are defined by our relationship with Christ, not our sin. On Judgement Day, we arrive in heaven with no guilt.

Yet we will arrive in heaven with the evidence, or fruit, of the choices we made to live out who we are in Christ.

Our justification at salvation is a one-time work of God; but sanctification is a process, beginning with justification and continuing until the day we pass into eternity.

And that brings me back to my illustration.

The Lord scraped off the messy, ugly “popcorn ceiling” of my life, and He is in the process of creating the beauty of His holiness in me. 

Are you in that process too? How do you know?

– Dawn

 

Surviving the ‘Dog Days’

31 Jul

DogDaysOfSummerI watch my dog cool down every summer as August approaches in hot San Diego. Roscoe sits on the cool wood floor and camps out in front of our revolving fan. Sometimes he turns his head toward the fan, and I laugh as his ears fly out behind him. He moves his head back and forth to catch every bit of the cool, refreshing breeze.

As August continues, I often find him panting there. And believe me, there have been days I’ve wanted to join Roscoe on the floor!

It’s always tough going during the “Dog Days” of summer – unless you’re at the beach. Or running your air condition most of the day. ($$$$$$$!!!!)

I wondered where the phrase “dog days” came from.

I discovered in the Northern Hemisphere, these days occur most often in July and August. During this time, a constellation named Orion (the Hunter) appears in the sky. It is near the constellation Canis Major (greater dog), and according to tales about the constellations, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs.

A star in this “dog” constellation, on the front of the dog’s neck, is called Sirius (the Constellations_OrionAndCanisMajorDog Star). It’s an extremely bright, intense star. As July/early August arrives, Sirius seems to get “lost” in the sky; but the ancients knew the “Dog Star” was still there. And they felt (logically, to them) the searing, bright star added to the heat of the season.

The Romans called these days “Caniculares dies,” or “days of the dogs.” According to Wikipedia,  the Romans even sacrificed a red dog in the springtime to appease the supposed rage of Sirius. Apparently they believed the star was the sinister cause of the “hot, sultry weather.”

These are tales from ancient mythology, but the name stuck. Weather-casters still refer to the “dog days of summer.”

Spiritually, I have days when I struggle in some “heat.” It plum wears me out until I look for the place of rest.

While some “heat” comes from the circumstances of life, there’s another kind of “heat” that comes from within.

King David understood this. He spoke of a particular time when this “heat” seemed to suck the life out of him. David said in Psalm 32:4:

“For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

What was David talking about? We find out in the next verse: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v. 5).

When we hide and refuse to acknowledge our sin, it adds pressure and stress to our life like “the heat of summer.”

Sin weighs heavy on our soul. Soon, we feel depleted — our strength and vitality plummet. Suffering spiritual “heat stroke,” we suffer until we seek relief.

The marvelous blessing is, there IS relief. Sin brings guilt, but that’s a good thing!

Guilt is God’s gift to us to drive us toward His love and forgiveness.

To “survive the heat,” must come to the Lord in brokenness and repentance, baring our sins before Him; then we can sit in blessing (v. 1), covered by the cool breezes of His forgiveness.

Do you feel like your strength is “dried up” under the weight of a particular sin? Where does this psalm say you can find relief and the blessing of refreshment?

– Dawn

Constellation graphic from here.

Your Roots Are Showing

31 Jan

Hairdressers have a few things they want us to know!

Some time ago, Reader’s Digest on the Internet ran an article titled, “13+ Things Your Hairstylist Won’t Tell You” and the Huffington Post carried this one: “10 Things Your Hairdresser Won’t Tell HairstylistYou.” On their lists:

  • A trim is not “just a trim.”
  • Let me do my job.
  • We see women at their worst.
  • I’m not all things to all people.
  • Men will tell you things they won’t tell their wives.
  • We sometimes gossip about you behind your back.
  • Do not attempt hairstylist-speak.
  • You depend on us for way more than your hair.
  • I’m not a psychologist.
  • Your hairline may be receding, but our prices aren’t … except when we feel like negotiating.
  • Some people are just too large or their cheeks too round for the style they want.

But this is my favorite:  “I’m a beautician, not a magician!”

One hairdresser admitted, “Good hairdressers are trained to keep a poker face… whenever the stylist’s and client’s eyes meet in the mirror. You won’t know from their expression that they’ve just given you asymmetrical bangs or used a blonde dye that’s too brassy….”  That happened to me a long time ago with a stylist who colored my hair too red by accident. She just kept smiling while I felt like a cardinal.

“You’re going to love how this goes with your skin tone,” she said…. and she was right. I was ticked off and my face was getting redder by the minute!

CoveringRootsHair color is one area we women want near perfection, especially when it comes to hiding our “roots.”

Remember the Clairol slogan, “Only her hairdresser knows for sure”? When I think of all the things I’ve shared with my current hairstylist, I’m glad she’s a fellow believer! She’s heard me at my best and worst, but loves and accepts me anyway. And she’s an expert at “roots” control and cover-up.

I’ve found that the roots in my heart are harder to cover up.

Have you ever been coasting along in life and suddenly – Yikes! You’re embarrassed because someone saw or heard something in your life that wasn’t Christ-like at all. Ugh. Sin-roots. They pop up at the worst times if we don’t deal with them at … well, the roots. And every single day.

Hebrews 12:15 describes one root that can really get us into trouble: “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” We need to look diligently with careful awareness, on the watch for any resentment and hatefulness that will shoot forth and cause trouble. Why? This root isn’t benign; it’s nasty! It contaminates and defiles others.

A favorite Bible teacher of mine used to say, “from the bitter root springs a bitter fruit.” An RootsAndFruitevangelist says, “Don’t get bitter; get better.”

And how do we do that? Certainly not by covering up the root like we cover the roots of our hair. No, roots like these (bitterness, anger, pride, selfishness, sinful habits, etc.) must be changed. We need a fundamental change of heart as we encounter each “root” of sin. It simply won’t work to ignore, deny, or cover up an ugly sinful bent. The Lord sees them all, but He’s also the solution we seek for change.

I applied a “conditioner” to my hair that totally changed the texture of my hair, but it also seemed to lighten my hair as each strand reflected light. I need that kind of transforming spiritual “conditioner” in my life. When the Word of God changes me at my core, I am able to reflect His light.

We are to be “doers of the Word,” James says (James 1:22). As we not only read, study, memorize and meditate (“chew on”) on the scriptures, but also apply (act on) them, God uses His Word to transform our hearts and deal with those tell-tale “roots.” His desire is to perfect (complete) us and equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but we must recognize each sin, forsake it, and begin to obey God. When we are “rooted and grounded” in the Word, Christ, and God’s love (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:6-7), our “fruit” will honor the Lord and bless others.

What kind of fruit is sprouting from the roots in your life?

– Dawn

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