Cleaning successes over the past couple of days>>
1. Instruction manuals/warranties - I had these laying around in the most random places!! Now I've loosely separated them into 2 expandable folders in my Financial Documents Box. My categories are "Electronics" and "Household" (although household does include various types of lights as well as electronic toys...don't judge!! lol)
2. Winter clothes - These were in the guest room closet, but I really don't want to keep any personal effects, except for decorations, in the guest room. Now they are in my hobby room closet and actually fit really well...and I found about 8 more clothing items to give away - yayness!
3. Wires - These are now all corralled in one small Rubbermaid box behind one of my VHS baskets. It looks so much better not to have wires jammed inside the basket, sticking out every which-a-way...
4. Addresses - I just went ahead and put addresses and phone numbers that I didn't want to get rid of into my computer's address book. Finally gettin' with the times I guess.
5. Ribbons/cording/string - I've decided to put all of my ribbons and various crafting cords and string into the same box with my cross-stitches-in-progress. There was plenty of room left over in the small chest I had these in and my ribbons, etc. used to be just free in my fabric chest, which is not too feasible for maintaining order...
Isn't this chest beautiful?! :-)
6. Hangers - I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I've gotten rid of all the hangers that are shaped weird, too big, or from clothing stores (unless they're wooden like those from LOFT). Like I've briefly mentioned before, even if it's a useful product, it makes so much more sense to only keep the items that you really love.
And spiritual reflections >>>
Hebrews 2:17-18 [The Voice]::
17 He had to become as human as His sisters and brothers
so that when the time came,
He could become a merciful and faithful high priest of God,
called to reconcile a sinful people.
18 Since He has also been tested by suffering,
He can help us when we are tested.
One of the end-of-Chapter 12 questions asks the following in reference to the above passage, "Jesus, who also was tempted, understands what I'm going through. Does this truth help me to look Him in the eye when I sin? (Why, or why not?)
Honestly I have mixed feelings about my response. On one hand, I'm ashamed to look Jesus in the eye because He is SO much better than me! He knew how to resist, knew the scriptures to reference, and knew all the right answers. I am absolutely NOTHING compared to that! But that's the point isn't it? We are nothing without Him and the amazing reality of being a Christian is that He lives in us and in God's eyes we are righteous and as able to resist temptation as Jesus was. It is so incredibly difficult to remember this sometimes.
Also, Chapter 13 got me thinking about what my biggest sin trap is and it took me reading through the entire chapter and engaging in a number of Bible passages before my sin hit me. I never really saw it as sin before because I've always felt like my past history and circumstances and the feelings, self-thoughts, emotions, and descriptions of myself that went along with these experiences were truths about myself and were cycles that I would never be able to get out of. I'm not going to go into detail about what my sin trap is because obviously it's extremely personal, but I do want to say that I've felt worthless, useless, and degraded at times. I've convinced myself that a couple of things that happened to me in the past have forever shaped the ways that I am able to act in the present. That is SO FAR from the truth!!! I have Jesus inside of me and because He is my husband and friend, I do have worth - I am useful - I am beautiful and unique and was made the way I am because He desired it to be so! If I can just keep this reality in my heart and mind and soul, then I have the power to overcome even the most ingrained and intimate sin. That freedom is amazing and I am truly joyful that I have now seen my sin as sin and not as a helpless cycle born of my past.
In The Voice translation of John 14:6, Jesus says,
I am the path, the truth, and the energy of life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The energy of life! This is so much more descriptive and powerful than the usual translation of simply "life". He is what makes life life. He moves and breathes and is within us. He is the energy that gives us the power to resist temptation and live Godly lives focused on things above. How could I then not approach Him differently?
Once again from The Voice, Jesus says in Matthew 11:29,
Put My yoke upon your shoulders -
it might appear heavy at first,
but it is perfectly fitted to your curves.
Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.
When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest.
What an incredible reference to the fact that we are made exactly as Christ desired for us to be made! His yoke is perfectly fitted for each of us individually. He knows our past. He knows our problems and hang-ups. He knows the things that hurt us inside and that sometimes make daily life incredibly difficult. And because of this, He knows how to help us out of our individual temptations and out of our personal deep pits of sorrow. How thankful we should be for that reality!
I want to end with a powerful quote towards the end of the chapter, "When we confess our sins, God forgets them completely: He erases the board, shreds the evidence, and hits Delete. Getting clean from the past is a wondrous way to start the day. And time with God will make a difference." I'm pretty sure it was these few sentences that made me realize my personal sin trap and realize that I do have the power to get out of it, through Christ! Amen to that ;-)
State-of-mind pic of the day
Mount Mara, TZE -
where I lived with my Bangatan homestay family
[taken by me]