From my friend, MQS:
We all heard it growing up from our mothers: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Come to think of it, I’m not sure that ever properly motivated me to actually clean my room as a kid. (Sorry, mom!)
Thanks to sin, none of us – like petulant children before bedtime – really want to be clean on our own. But thanks to God, we can be.
The notion of cleanliness pervades Scripture, specifically the realization that none of us are clean enough by God’s standards. That’s why a tree-lined bend along the Jordan River is so meaningful. It’s the place recognized as where John baptized his cousin, Jesus.
Jesus’ baptism marked the beginning of His public ministry. On the one hand, it seems strange that Jesus – literally, the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, the Messiah – “needed” to be baptized. But that even He was points to our own need.
Let’s be clear: Baptism isn’t about physical cleanliness, but rather the state of our heart. Just as a dirty room cannot clean itself (another mom-based truism), neither can our dirty hearts. Making our spiritual lives “clean” takes an act of God, as expressed outwardly through baptism.
John Adams once wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” So if we want to clean up government, let’s pray for a cleansing revival of the people.
In a self-governing republic, we cannot bemoan corruption in government and hope someone else will do something about it. It’s up to us, and sometimes we have to start doing the work alone, where we are.
A dirty room won’t clean itself, and neither will a dirty government.
Repentance is a reminder that God loves to heal that which is sick and restore all that is disfigured. If there is no possibility for renewal, then why bother with repentance in the first place? To repent is not only to acknowledge one’s sin and shortcomings, but it is to look ahead with hope and the unshakable belief that God will not leave us as we are but will make us by grace what Jesus is by nature.
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Lifting our elections up to the Lord helps all of us keep the focus on the most important topics as well as softens our hearts to love everyone, even those with whom we may disagree. Believing differently shouldn't stop us from sharing God's love and His Word with others.
“By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson