Thursday, April 29, 2010


3:03 p.m. Today's project was to do a little "whitewashing" of our fireplace. Why would this be necessary when it's already white?
Our youngest son Steven was here last week resting up for his Saturday bodybuilding competition, and on the night before his show, felt like relaxing--de-stressing--in complete silence before a nice warm fire. He had already put on his tanning liquid and there was nothing to do but wait for his next meal at 9:30 p.m. We have a fake log gas fireplace, but Steven had asked me to pick up one of those pressed wood 3 hour logs at the store, so his dad set up the fire and we lit it.
It was very calming, the three of us praying, thinking, dozing off, Steven on the floor and the two of us on the couch, with only the flames for light. We noticed that we were smelling a lot of smoke, and sure enough, some wisps were rising--the glass doors were open! And Steve said, "Maybe I should open the flue in the chimney," and went outside to take care of it. That should have been the first step, but Steve doesn't arrange and prepare things as he did for so many years of our family's lives, and I don't know a thing about fireplaces--this was always Dad's job! Score another theft for Alzheimer's...every day has become an accident waiting to happen, but for the grace of God! In Matthew 10:29-30, Jesus assures us of God's watchcare:
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from Your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
The whole house was getting smoky, but the flames were low and consistently burning up through the chimney. The 3 hour log was pre-set to go out within two hours, so things were under control. But it was also time to open up the windows, the front door, and get the fans and automatic air fresheners we keep all over the house set on the highest frequency! The dogs came in and got into their crates without so much as an extra sniff, so it was the smell of smoke more than smoke that we were dealing with by 9:30. God was indeed watching out for us!
I stayed up until 12:15 am. to make sure the log burned out, which it did, right on schedule. The next day was a blur, gettting Steven ready at 5:30 a.m. to start, and the successful competition that night. But we did notice something: a greyish-black stain exactly the width of the hearth on the white of the fireplace!! That's where we had ignorantly let the smoke drift up with the folding glass doors open. Pretty ugly. So finally today we had time to brush some paint on it and so far it looks good. But only the morning light will tell if it matches.
"Whitewashing" gets a pretty bad rap from Jesus in Matthew 23:27, where He calls the phony, greedy, self-righteous Pharisees "whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
We too, can appear to be upright, nice, clean and decent, but Jesus knows the black smokiness of sin in our hearts! And we are such experts at painting over and polishing our image, aren't we? Can we ever be washed clean? Yes, by the blood of Jesus! By Him and Him alone, red turns black to white!
Isaiah 1:18 gives an invitation from the Lord that we would ignore at our peril:
"Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
God holds out forgiveness of sins in the Name of Jesus Christ--take Him up on His offer today!

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