Friday, May 8, 2015

House Purifiers

There was a time in my life that I was addicted to soap operas. OK, maybe that word is a little strong. Let me do a quick mental inventory here. 

Now I watched 4, 5, 6 … no, 7 daytime shows on a regular basis.  The fact that I scheduled all my college classes around General Hospital doesn’t mean I had a problem. Oh my, alright, you can say that is a little unusual.
Add hundreds of soap opera magazines, a few games and biography books to the list and you get a solid picture of what I thought about these racy programs.  After all, they were true to life stories right? 

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Taking Inventory
My husband never said anything but made his feelings clear when he “forbid” me to watch Oprah anymore.  So how did she get into this debate?  To be fair looking back I can see his point; the man never had a chance. 

Young married couples like to keep things fresh in the relationship, especially the wives. 
When my husband got home from work I blasted him with ridiculous questions from those “compatibility” tests that were in the magazines or on those talk shows. 

Recording all the daytime serials while I was in college or teaching left little time for anything else, except for those heartfelt interrogations I was giving hubby.  Surely he wanted our marriage to be great, so why not answer a few “baiting” questions? He had enough! 

I didn’t realize how those things weren’t a natural part of relationships and only thought of them as “fun” ways to keep things lively.  Really I don’t know where I got that kind of thinking, because we never watched those programs before I was married.  We didn’t even have a TV for the first year of marriage and only listened to the radio. 

We laughed about him “forbidding” me of watching television.  Truth said, he didn’t really have to forbid me not to do something.  Anything my husband asked me to do, if it was within my power I did it willingly. 

It wasn’t until we were moving into our new home that I did a purification check.  One tends to do an inventory when moving so you don’t pack things that you don’t want to take to the new place.  Well, my magazines had become “collector’s” items in my mind, so of course they made the trip.

However, during the course of setting up house, those boxes started to bother me. 

We had a big house dedication party telling the Lord this would be His house and for His use.  Somehow I couldn’t see Jesus reading in our library asking, “Do you have a copy of All My Children’s Anniversary magazine?” 

Here we are in a new home and it’s already being “filthed” up with unacceptable d├ęcor.  Taking inventory on my Christ walk Philippians 4:8 came to my mind. 

When Life Changes Lifestyle  

I made the decision to give the items away and was feeling good about the pricey donation, when “Mr. Stick in the mud” (hubby) popped my vanity bubble.  Around that time a student of mine dropped by our home.  I don’t remember why he visited, but this young chap was one of my “prodigies.”  His background read like a mystery novel with drugs, jail and alternative school part of his colorful resume. School is where we met. 

It was a rough senior year for this individual.  One of my tasks was to keep this drug runner out of trouble and in school until graduation. Believe me this wasn’t easy so I had my work cut out for me.  Having been given the challenge I approached the principal with a plan on what I wanted to do to make this happen for the student.  

I pleaded for permission to recruit some of the borderline kids (and his buddies) to commission them to paint an entire wall mural for the primary grades.  Using an overhead projector they traced my fantasy world drawings onto the wall and the work began.  If I calculated correctly the project would take three months to complete, and my young hopefuls would all graduate.  Thank God it worked. 

When June rolled around they all returned to their own districts for graduation in their own schools.  My husband and I were honored that these kids would give up prime seat tickets for the event just for us. 

By now this rehabilitated man was calling us Mom and Dad.  He received Christ after attending our church.  Repeatedly we invited him to come Sunday after Sunday and one day he just showed up at the door.  Having no “church” clothes he wore his best jeans and biker shirt accessorized with gold chains.  

He was so overwhelmed by how the 70+ year old greeter received him with open arms that it changed his heart.  After the service we went back to the house and talked.  He got down on his knees and I led him in the sinner’s prayer.  From then on I realized how much my life needed to reflect what Jesus did. 

Whatever is pure …

A few years had passed since that day and Hosea now did add jobs for my husband, which included help in building our home. Every time we heard a squeak in the living room floor we called out his name (because he missed a nail), fondly remembering what fun we had when constructing that room. 

When he saw the boxes of magazines he was willing to take them off my hands. This boy was a “crack” salesman and could push anything on anyone.  I had no doubt he would make a good profit on the lot. 

My husband watched the deal about to go down and quickly interrupted. Pointing to the magazines he asked me, “Why are you getting rid of them?”   He was “baiting” the student only this time it was me. 

I had realized that these weren’t pure, lovely and certainly had no good reports, virtue or truth for me as a Christian. With that being the reason I was disposing of them in the first place, I surely couldn’t give them to our babe in Christ “son.”  What a waste of time and money I thought. 

“Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV) 

Looking back to my husband I questioned, “What can we do with them?”  His suggestion … burn them. So we did. 

G Means Gotta Go 

The song “Cleanse My Heart Oh God” took on a new meaning in our lives.  We set out to have a house purifying party getting rid of anything we might think was the least bit questionable in the life of a believer. 

When a woman from church came to help she couldn’t understand why we purged our video library of films like the Wizard of Oz or Disney. 
“But they’re cartoons and rated G. There’s nothing wrong with these.” she softly proclaimed and took them to give to another charity. 

We even had matching lion costumes from a harvest party that was Oz themed.  

Getting rid of prime editions of certain movies was upsetting, however if purifying out house of witches of any kind, barely dressed mermaids that cause eyes to lust meant God’s favor was cut off from us, we weren’t willing to take that kind of risk. 

I remember listening to a preacher who said things had gone drastically wrong in his ministry.  When he prayed God told him to do a purity check in his home, ministry and staff.  He discovered why the favor of God was cut off during this entire purification overhaul and got rid of the problem.  Once again God’s blessings and favor returned.   

The cause wasn’t even him, but someone in his firm.  Taking to heart what scripture says about the wicked being cut off from God’s mercy and favor, the Lord has restored his ministry. 

Christian’s it’s time to do a house check like Pharaoh did with Abraham and others in the Bible.  If you want to see how fast God will remove His hand on your life, just stay in sin.   

Living an Open Book Life 

My students watch me and follow my life.  They are my family and become very much a part of my activities.  They know my pets, my husband goes on all our class trips, he cooks for them.  My students visit my church, home and cheer at my ball games.   

Living an open book life means your “book” is always visible to others.  What are people reading on your life pages?  Are tons of books on the shell with a Bible tucked under the stack collecting dust?  If Jesus came to your house would it be purified or would you have to quickly hid things? 

Don’t judge me, this is what we felt was right for us and what we were supposed to do as we branched out on another road in our journey to Christ. 

Ask God to convict your heart as to what needs to be purified in your life, which includes your dwelling.   

Let It Go  

It’s spring cleaning time in America and we automatically gear up for getting rid of all the dirt, grime and broken things in our yard or home.  Why not take it a wee bit further by adding a spiritual check to the top of the list? 

God may or may not want you to get rid of certain things that might not see wrong in your eyes.  However, if they are cluttering up your path they need to be gone from your life. 

Make a prayer checklist and see what has to go in the bin and follow through with it.  Don’t think about the price, the expense, the waste, etc.  Not having God’s favor will cost you more than anything you ever give up for Him. 

Come on, who doesn’t love the tin man and what about the Disney kids songs?  I loved singing Under the Sea with my nephew, but I wasn’t taking any chances in getting this wrong with God. 

The Bible says not to have anything to do with witchcraft, and cartoon or not, it was going. “Bye, Bye Glinda.”  This was right for us at the time and we’ve never regretted our decision.
If we were to believe what we said we believed in God's Word about blessings and cursings, we had to start somewhere, and this is how we approached the situation.

This Week’s Challenge:
Do A Purifying Check

Maybe you think this is being legalistic, I hope not.  I do know that people are watching Christians with an eye of a hawk, and we cannot expect Heavenly favor by holding onto worldly things that take higher priority in our lives then God does. 

Our challenge is to do a spiritual check to see if our lifestyle lines up scripturally with God’s plan. We will measure our earthly goods and lifestyle against this week’s passage of scripture in Philippians 4:8.  

Is it true?  If you don’t get past the first checkpoint it has to go. If it does pass inspection, move on to the next one and so forth. Is it lovely?  Is there anything praise worthy about it?  If it can’t pass every point then “Let it Go.”

The Eight Point Checklist:

Is it true?

Is it noble?

Is it just?

Is it pure?

Is it lovely?

Is there a good report?

Is there any virtue in it?

Is it praiseworthy?

Being willing to seek out house purifiers will take the work of the Holy Spirt in your life. Listen as He gently nudges you in your decision making and follow through with what you’ve been instructed.  In the end you will have a clean house spiritually as well as physically.

 Until next time, God’s favor is worth any sacrifice.

“Purify thyself and see God’s favor.”
Jesus Christ

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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Bible Gateway
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