Clean Sheets

Clean Sheets

Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV)

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

There is nothing better in the world than clean sheets. Freshly laundered and smelling divine. Clean and soft from the fabric softener. Smooth and tightly molded around your comfortable and familiar bed. The smell reinforces the sense of home and its gentle wooing as you drift off to sleep. It is the thing I long for when traveling, to come home to my bed and fresh linens. Every Friday morning, we strip the sheets from our bed and toss them in the machine. Filling each compartment with cleaning agents, it begins to fill with water, as I close the lid it locks and begins to twist and spin as it washes the fabric. It is a violent process occurring under the lid. However, soon it is over and the wet mound is thrust into the dryer where for the next half an hour it is tumbled in high heat. Soon the alert is given that the sheets are dry and ready to be put back on the bed. Shaking them out, the aroma of the process endured rises from the pile. It smells fresh and welcoming. The fitted sheet is spread across the bed molded to the mattress. The flat sheet is then lifted into the air and spread across the top. Once it settles, stretching and adjusting as it is folded to fit the top as a steady hand begins to smooth out all the wrinkles until it is pristine and perfect. The process of preparing is full of twists and turns, but in the moment they are done a place of comfort, rest and peace is provided such are the processes of God in Christ Jesus to us.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God! My hope comes from Him. All this is not seen immediately in life but through the process set forth by His Plans for us – it is accomplished. Hope requires faith which is found when the shaking, moving, trembling and unknown are claimed to be real, valid and worth having. God is my rock. He is my salvation. He is the fortress of my life. Therefore, I will not be shaken. Note: It does not say that the world will not be shaken or that life will not happen but simply states that you (and I) will not be shaken. When my life depends on God – there is a process of growing, maturing, refining, and developing the small beginning of faith into a confident hope not reliant on a perfect life but a perfected soul. To trust in the Lord at all times requires the process by which the fruit of His Spirit grow so that we produce that we have been called to do and accomplish. The shaking tests the foundation of our faith, the concreteness of our confidence, and the placement of our soul. It was after violently shaking the mountain he was standing on that Elijah heard the Lord. God has promised that He will do it again. Thank you Lord for considering my heart, my mind, my spirit and loving my soul enough to continue shaking the world around us until our heart, mind and body fall into place and worship the God who loves us and died for us now and forevermore.

Isaiah 54:9-10 (NIV)

“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

 

The seeker sensitive environment called the church of today prides itself on comfort and acceptance of God’s Grace to the fullest. Focused on God’s Unfailing Love and Neverending Grace, it does not talk about the significant price paid for our soul or the cost of carrying our cross. It loves the world and everyone it and with that all things are permissible. Approaching God as a friend forgetting His True Identity creates a relationship of comfort and compromise that is yielding nothing more than warm fuzzies and fellowships. I do not mean to be hard but to go to church, pray and serve God in a state of constant comfort means that there is a lack of repentance, revelation and redemption. As we journey deeper, edging closer and turning more of our life over to the Lord there is a general discomfort in our sullen sinful state. It cries out for more repentance and acceptance of the holiness that we are called to waving goodbye to this world, forsaking this life, forgetting the past to press on to the mark of our high calling in Christ.

To live for Christ shakes up our natural life. The world hates Him and us, too. To be accepted all the time means something is lacking in us. It is a sign that there is no growth, moving of the ground that signifies new life rising. Complacency tickles our comfort zone as the slightest bit of compromise becomes our pitfall. I know for I have fallen. As the Lord shakes the earth, it begins to fall apart. In the shaking of His People, His Promise is revealed as the things of this earth fall away and His Glory in us is revealed. It is not just hard coming through the valleys of life, sometimes it is equally as difficult to come down off the mountain. Triumph and victory always come with a price. In the battles of life, Jesus promises a win. There is still an assault. There is still opposition. We will have to make a stand even when all hell breaks loose against us. Everything will shake, but we will not be shaken or moved. The Lord’s Covenant of Peace remains firmly established in us. He has great compassion for you.

Nehemiah 5:13 (NIV)

I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!” At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.

The church in Nehemiah’s time had a problem. There was a famine. Fellow Jews who were mortgaging their fields, vineyards and homes just to eat. Their children enslaved. They were powerless to save them. They called out to the Lord and Nehemiah. Nehemiah 5:6-12 tells of its members who were lending money to them at huge interest rates further victimizing the poor among them. Nehemiah told them it was not right and to stop charging their “brothers” interest. Not only that, they were to return the land taken from them along with the interest. The people repented saying that they would give it back taking an oath and making a promise.

“In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise…so may such a person be shaken out and emptied.” Everyone said, “Amen!” Of course they did, they were in church. No one would object in such a state, but when they left and began rethinking the commitment as the enemy whispered in their ear, I wonder how many really did what they committed to do? In this image of shaking the folds from his garment, I see the Hand of the Lord shaking us gently. He spreads the contents of our life before Him as we submit it to Him. He begins lovingly but firmly smoothing every wrinkle and blemish until we are spotless and clean – washed by His Word, covered by the Blood, truly repentant as He begins to mold and shape us into who He created us to be. This process is continuous in our life. We are shaken and moved like sheets stripped from a bed. Sometimes gently they come off or other times must be tugged, pulled or yanked from a corner that just seems to be hanging on. Washed in water, dried by the fiery heat of refinement and prepared for service through the trials and tests of life until we are ready. We feel ready until by faith our life seems completely up in the air. As everything begins to fall into place, God’s Hands begin working faithfully as promised to remove the bumps and folds that keep our ways from being straight and hearts remaining true. Yes, we are shaken as our sins removed. The heat of our trials work its way through, but in the end as it all falls into place, we find the purpose and meaning of the violence of its process.

Hebrews 12:26-29 (NIV)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27) I believe these days are coming. In many ways, they are already here. Love is cold. Sin is rampant. Wars and rumors of war. The persecution of Christians is a worldwide event. Many will turn away from faith, hating and betraying each other. Our world is in a sad state socially. Environmentally and naturally it shakes and trembles at the close proximity of Christ. Are you shaken? Is your faith questionable as you read the news? Do you have confident hope? Those who endure to the end will be saved. Does the fact that as believers not yield a clue that there will be tough times and shaky situations as well as cataclysmic circumstances as our faith is tested, hope confirmed and salvation secured for the Day of Redemption? Of course it does. How you hold up under the shaking? Are you being shaped and molded by His Love? Do you feel the pressure today? Good!

The earth shook and the foundation tested to make the doors to the prison of Paul and Silas open and for the chains of bondage to fall off. (Acts 16:25-27) When the Spirit of God broke loose, the whole building shook at the sudden arrival of His Presence. (Acts 4:31) Don’t kid yourself any longer, if the church got serious about Jesus again and invited Him to enter each service it would most certainly shake things up. People would be saved. The bound set free. The broken restored. The sick healed. The blind would see. The deaf would hear. The dead would find new life again. See all these things come of God’s Great Shaking in life. It cannot be avoided if the Lord is who we are after. If Jesus is the One we seek, our lives will begin to tremble with change as the possibilities of faith are revealed. They will come to pass when the shaking around us doesn’t move us but changes our heart and mind until it is settled on Jesus Christ alone.

Psalm 16:5-8(NIV)

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

The only way to survive the process that yields faith and confident hope is to find the fullness of our security in the Lord. We must transition our life from this earth to His Kingdom. We are in this world but not of it. With the revelation of faith, we know that no matter how things look, feel or what the circumstances are that we are more than conquerors through the Love of Christ. We know that no matter what the weapon is that it cannot prosper against us. We know that by faith we are saved. This does not mean that we will not be violently shaken from time to time but what it does mean that as things fall into place, the inheritance claimed by faith and confident hope will be to our complete satisfaction. We claim these promises by faith alone. Confident hope is our commitment to the process of change as the Lord moves us from His Glory to Glory and victory to victory in life. It’s not always comfortable and most of the time unclear but we can be certain that greater is He who is in us than He that is in this world. If Jesus is my portion, He is my cup, He is my inheritance than my position is always secure and independent of the condition of this world. The boundary lines created by holiness, obedience and trust will always fall in pleasant places if I choose to believe with total trust in the Lord and all of His Ways. Seeking His Counsel, living by His Truth as He instructs me, so that I keep my eyes firmly fixed on the hope that is before me. With Jesus at my right hand, I may feel the sensation of shaking but I will not be moved. Do you feel shaken? Pressed? Is it like everything is up in the air? Just hang on. God has it all under control. In the end, He will give you peace, comfort and rest as His Process is completed in you and His Glory will shine through your new life.

I Corinthians 15:57-58 (NLT)

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

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