Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Guaranteed Stain Remover

A Guaranteed Stain Remover
Peggy Mack
November 9, 2013

A few weeks ago, one of my friends posted another great household helpful hint on Facebook and I gave it a try.  It simply said mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide with Dawn Detergent and it will take out stubborn stains.  I had a navy top with an embroidered lighthouse and accent brass buttons on the shoulders.  It is so classy and it has so many of my favorite things on it.  It's navy.  It has a lighthouse, an embroidered one that has beautiful colors.  And finally, I have always been a fan of brass buttons. The problem with my shirt was a quarter sized grease stain right on the belly.  I had tried Tide stain stick and Spray and Wash and all the other "guaranteed" stain removers to no avail.  I still would not get rid of that shirt.  After all, it was new.  It just had one big grease spot on it.

I was skeptical when I followed the directions to mix the peroxide and Dawn in a small dish and to apply with my finger tip to the greasy, unyeilding stain.  But I thought, "what have I to lose?" If it doesn't work, I can't wear the shirt and that's where I have been.  If it DOES work, I finally have my beautiful shirt!  So I followed the directions to apply generously and massage in to the fabric.  Then I dropped it into the wash cycle and dry cycle.  Low and behold!  There it was before my own eyes.  The stain was gone!  Since then I use that little magical concoction on everything and get the same great results.  Who knew?

I have been studying the book of Romans using a guide book from the series by Stan Jantz and Steve Bickel entitled, Christianity 101.  I am readin the book: Romans, Understanding God's Grace and Power which teaches in tablespoons of information and then asks questions as a follow-up.  I am learning more about God's grace and power through Paul's writing to the church of Rome and learning the meaning of big theological terms like "justification".  I have often described myself as Pooh Bear, a bear of very little brain and stuffed with fluff.  I am one of those who benefit from "keeping it stupid".  So, this format by Stan and Steve is perfect for my understanding.

As I read the chapter on Chapter 4 of Romans, I began to see examples of Abraham and David.  Three faiths build their doctrine on Abraham so I consider him a mighty source of information on man's relationship with God.  Those three faiths are Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Abraham, whose life was filled with good works was not complete until he was justified by God.  His sins were removed by God and that occured when all Abraham brought with him was his unwavering faith in God.  His good works were admirable but he was born into sin, as we all are, and had to have faith in God to have his sins forgiven, to be declared no longer guilty or justified by God's grace through faith. 
Romans 3:22-24
"..even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.  For there is no difference: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by the grace through redemption that is in Christ."

David was well known for his faith in God.  He was also human and had a long list of sins.  David wrote in Psalms of his wonder at God's love and forgiveness for mankind.  Our faith in God is what we bring but it is not enough.  If it were not for God's ability to absolve us of all our sins, we would forever be doomed. 
Psalm 32:2
"Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared."

I love illustrations and leaned on them heavily to teach new concepts in my years in early childhood education.  The older and wiser I got, the more I realized hands on activities that illustrate a concept are far more valuable than information alone in a book and work for all age groups well. 

This morning I imagined if we created a "sin" cloth. Work with me here.   Allow yourself to imagine if you were participating in one of those ads for detergent.  They submit a family's clothing to grass stains, mud, ketchup, blood and wine and smear them gleefully with tough stains. 

What if you took your "sin" cloth and wrote using those stainmakers, each sin that you can remember.  You know the ones that linger in your memory.  Imagine that little "sin" cloth now bearing the truth of your sins for all to see.  In your faith, acknowledge that you are forgiven through your belief in Christ and are given the opportunity to wash away your sins because you believe.   Sink that little "sin cloth" into the washer and add Christ's love (the Dawn detergent) and God's absolution (the peroxide).  All you bring to the activity is your sins and faith that something amazing is going to happen.  When the wash cycle is completed and you lift the cloth from the machine.  You know, because you believe, when you unfurl the cloth, it will be washed clean.  All those nasty sins that have weighed you down are gone!  Your sins are gone!  Yes, we will sin, again.  It is human nature to sin.  Think of laundry.  Oh come on....for one moment anyway.  I dislike laundry because it is a never ending task.  As soon as I seem to have everything sorted, laundered, dried, folded or hung and delivered, there is more dirty laundry.  The Good News is that in our faith, God invites us to come to Him often to wash away our sins.  We are blessed with renewed spirits and clean hearts.  The Good News comes when we "believe" that the powerful combination of faith in Christ and the grace and mercy of God will wash our sins away.  We will be found not guilty.  We are guilty as sin but found not guilty by God's mercy and justification. What a freeing, amazing image for us to cling to and to share with others! 
Romans 4:24-25
It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses and was raised because of our justification.
Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Beyond the amazing gift of having our sins washed away we are granted peace in our souls, in our minds and in our hearts.  We are no longer burdened with guilt and regret.  The stains have been removed.  We stand in a sweet place of grace and are filled, instead, with a hope that causes us to rejoice in God's glory. 

What burdens do you carry that are left over from guilt, regret and sin?  Write it down on a peace of paper.  In a moment of silent prayer and communication with God.  Give each one, one at a time, to Christ through faith KNOWING that this burden will be removed.  Erase the words.  Know that God has taken that sin and washed it away, erased it from your heart.  Continue until your page is clear of all those sins, regrets and guilt.  Let go of your deep sadness and feel God's peace enter.  Praise God with words of gratitude and joy.  By freeing yourself of self-thoughts of worthlessness and guilt you are opening yourself to God's healing grace and mercy.  Watch how He transforms you into a giving, loving, serving person of faith.  Will you sin?  Guaranteed.  Will He forgive your contrite heart?  Guaranteed.  Walk in peace and love and faith.  God is so amazing.  He blessed me with a story this morning and used laundry as my example and He knows how much I hate doing laundry.  I am left feeling joy and peace and laughing at the thought of it all.

When you try to explain "justification" to others, be sure to take the good news to a level of understanding that will remain with them forever.  Encourage them to imagine or even make the "sin" cloth and see if they understand the concept of being "justified by God's grace through our faith in Jesus Christ".   We bring the faith but it will not wash away our sins.  It is in Christ's sacrifice for us that we are washed and in God's forgiving grace that our sins are removed.  Praise God for His abiding love and endless forgiveness in our lives.  Oh how blessed we are and how lost we would be without Him in our lives. Share the good news.  Share the joy.  Share the message of hope.   And try that good mixture of peroxide and Dawn.  It works great!

Dear Heavenly Father,
What a gift!  What an amazing gift!  You have washed away our sins in spite of our guilt with the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Justification is such a big word and yet, we understand that when we stand before you in judgment, our lives will deserve a verdict of guilty for we are, by nature, sinners.  And yet, at the moment of declaring our guilt we will hear you say, "not guilty"!  Our sins have been washed away! What a gift! Thank you dear, Lord, for our salvation!
In Jesus' Name,

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