August 10

Encouragement for Today

 

“Scarlet and Crimson Turned White”

Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

 

Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” (NAS)

 

Devotion:

 

I will never forget the day that I scrubbed, rubbed and blotted my brand new oriental rug to no avail.  The culprit was a red sugary kids’ drink stain.  I sat back on my heels, in denial, exhausted.  Surely there was a way to remove the last little bit of pink.  But, no, there would forever be a tinge on this section of carpet.  My mother-in-law happened to call shortly after the accident.  She, a wise woman who had raised four children, could only laugh and reassure me.  There were many stains in her household.  It was all part of the job – bringing up kids.  The stains were a part of life.  She actually admitted that she never even saw the blemishes around her home anymore.  That surprised me, for I knew her to be a perfectionist, a great homemaker, one who took pride in her orderly, clean, and lovely home.  I found it hard to accept that she not longer noticed the accidental and intentional marks left by her children’s disobedience, rebellion, disrespect, and careless ways!

 

Her consoling words didn’t help.  I still wanted the obvious discoloration off my new carpet.

 

Year later while in a Bible study of Isaiah 1:18, we discussed sins, the stains, and the contrasts between scarlet and snow, crimson and wool.  We then turned our focus toward housekeeping tips.  One of the ladies shared her directions for stain removal.  I learned that stain removal and sin removal are very similar.

 

I discovered as soon as an accidental stain occurs, it should be blotted quickly with a white paper towel.  Next, a white towel should be placed on the stain and a hot iron slowly passed over the towel using the heat to draw the color out of the fabric or carpet.  I have never tried it, but I was told it was a proven remedy.

 

As I pondered the steps of this stain removal method, I thought that it certainly made a lot of sense.  When God says that our scarlet sins can be made white as snow and our crimson transgressions can be like wool, we have to trust His Word.  How does He blot out the stain in a life caused by my evil deeds, bad thoughts, wrong choices, and rebellious ways?  Like a stained fabric or a blemished rug, I have made an effort to rub out the dark sin or clean up my “accidental” or careless acts.  Most of the residue is gone.  There is very little left that pronounces me guilty, but there is a stain.  I know it.  I stumble.  They make me feel unworthy.  My confidence is compromised and I am unable to step up to the task God has planned for me.  Like the stain in my carpet, I need all the residue of my past sins to be completely removed so nothing shows, so I can move forward with my life – so I can fully glorify God.  In confidence, I want to not only appear clean; I want to know deep down that I am blemish free.

 

So how does God remove that stain?  First, He convicts us of our sin.  The stain, the result of the sin is obvious.  I know it; He sees it.  Concerning the role of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, in John 16:8, said the following:  “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin …” (NAS) Conviction is a good thing.  It means two things – God cares enough to communicate with me and point out my trespasses.  My heart has not hardened to the point that I am comfortable with my sin.  1 John 1:9 says this about our sins:  “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” (NAS)

 

Secondly, the cleansing begins.  God blots out the sin.  Psalm 103:12 reads, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

 

Then, He applies the heat like as iron.  “Do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines.”  (Hebrews 12:5-6, NAS)

 

God compares our lives to the refiner’s fire.  The silversmith turns up the heat each time he removes impurities from the fine metal.  So, it is with our sin – like the stain on the carpet, being lifted with the heat of the hot, hot iron.  Isaiah 1:25 describes it this way:  “I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.” (NIV)

 

Finally, God assures His children that even though they practiced evil, lived immoral lives, and disobeyed Him, “ … you were washed; you were sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NAS)  Remember, the iron is not applied directly to the stain.  A white towel is placed over the tarnished spot and the heat is applied through the towel.  Jesus took the direct heat for me when He was whipped, pierced, scorned, and crucified.  “He, Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24, NAS)

 

I was embarrassed for visitors to see the little red stain in my carpet.  I wanted my home to be lovely and blemish free.  My mother-in-law encouraged me to forget it.  In the same way, I am ashamed of those aspects in my life that taint my character.  I want to be clean and guilt free.  God has forgotten my sins.  I need to accept His pronouncement so I can focus on my future and stop letting my past define who I am.  After all, God invited me to reason with Him.  I believe His powerful words carry far more value than my insecure thoughts.

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

Praise You, most merciful Father.  You have pointed out my sin.  Clearly, I have rebelled.  I have been disobedient and careless.  Please forgive me.  Help me to change my ways.  I cannot fathom the love You pour down on me when Your kind hand begins the cleansing process in my life.  Thank You for caring enough to remove my sins, to blot out my transgressions, to take on my pain, and to forget the wrongs I committed.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

 

Read all of Isaiah chapter 1.  What past sins have caused you to stumble?  Can you ask the Lord to cleanse you once and for all, so you can forget your past and move forward with your life, dedicated to God’s will for you?

 

Reflection Points:

 

Do I repeat the same sins over and over in my life?  Why?

 

Do I believe that God can change me from a sinner to a righteous woman?

 

Am I willing to ask some friends to come around me and to hold me accountable for my repeated sinful acts?

 

Can I celebrate the fact that God has forgiven me and forgotten my sin?

 

Can I forgive myself and forget?

 

Power Verses:

 

Psalm 86:5, “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask your aid.” (NLT)

 

Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” (NKJV)

 

Ephesians 1:4, “Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.” (NLT)

 

Colossians 2:13, “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away.  Then God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave all our sins.” (NLT)

 

Revelation 1:5, “… from Jesus Christ the faithful and trustworthy Witness, the Firstborn of the dead [first to be brought back to life] and the Prince (Ruler) of the kings of the earth.  To Him Who ever loves us and has once [and for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood …” (AMP)

 

Additional Resources:

 

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whatHappens.htm

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm

 

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_becomingAWoman.htm