Spring cleaning

Easter in the Western Church arrived long before Passover this year. Until Constantine changed the calendar in the fourth century, the early church celebrated the Resurrection on the first Sunday after the Sabbath of Passover. I’ve watched several Jewish friends prepare for Passover by thoroughly cleaning their house of any leaven (yeast or mold). We can all benefit from spring cleaning.

My house always needs work, but I’m talking about spiritual spring cleaning.spring flower

If you are picturing endless, sweat-provoking labor, lots of church services, or a long string of do-gooding, stop right now.


It’s not about how hard we work or how much we do, how much we give up, or how much we suffer. If it were, all we’d have to do is join the ranks of those who have all the answers and preach, or shout, the rules for everyone else.

by Jack H Thompson, Galapagos, Ecuador

It’s about living open-hearted. Surrendered to a will far greater, far wiser, and far clearer than ours.

After trying so hard (unsuccessfully) for years, I’ve found that I can simply ask the Holy Spirit to direct my vision, show me any areas of my heart, mind, memories or emotions that host elements that can ferment uncleanness in my life.

That’s a lot of words to say the Spirit can show us what is hurting us, or has the potential to harm us, or hamper growth, or cause us to damage others.

The Lord, through his Spirit, has been very gentle and patient with me. Oh, so patient. (Amazing that I never hear, “Will you just get on with it?” when I take another lap around Mt Sinai, out in the desert, instead of heading for the promised land.)

And, the greatest news, He provides the power to change, once we realize we need it, and we ask for help.

With empty hands.
by Jack H Thompson, Jr
by Jack H Thompson
by Jack H Thompson

This is where we exercise some muscle. Our will.

It’s not a bootstrap operation. (Did you know that, “God helps those who help themselves,” is not in the Bible?)

First, we let go of the bootstraps! We stop trying to be “as good as” . . .”if only.”

But we do need to cooperate.


We simply cup our hands and catch the springtime rain of the Spirit on our dry, bruised or weary spirits.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28-30 MSG

After the fire

After The Fire

After the last paycheck is cashed and spent, after the nursery is emptied, along with your heart, after the door slams and silence bounces in your face, after the body is lowered into the grave, or the ashes are scattered, after the whirlwind, where do you turn?

vault with Mom's ashes
vault with Mom’s ashes

After “why” is no option.

After hope slips away.

After the fire has swept through.

What do you do?

Do you wonder what God is doing when precious, tender ones die young, and evil men grow old, their cruelty continuing for years.

So many questions with no answers.

Have you seen a forest after a fire? Charred trunks stand against bare, gray soil. No sound of bird or chipmunk.

Until spring rain.

Some of those trunks will push up new growth. And seeds freed by the heat of flames will sink roots deep into the earth and sprout another cycle of life in the forest.

But spring rain is so far away. And I am so tired.

Tired enough to finally let go. I can’t fix it. Can’t go back. Can’t change it. Can’t understand it.

At times like these, I feel like those bewildered disciples in the boat, rowing out at night at his command.

A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.
Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?”
They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, “Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!” Luke 8: 24-25 The Message

Can I trust this God?

I had a strange dream, like those Biblical ones where God speaks to people too busy to listen when they are awake.

The dream started with a group of people in urgent prayer. I watched for a while, then God said, “Praying in the Spirit is not about tongues or emotions, will or words.” He waited for me to understand. When the urgency I’d felt as those people prayed lifted off my heart, he continued. “Praying in the Spirit is saying with everything in you, ‘Thy will be done.’”
Then we were standing by a dry creek bed in Idaho, in the desert at the foot of the mountains. God said, “When you fully surrender to my will, water will spring forth from the dry creek bed.”
Water bubbled up, clear and cool, flooded the rocks and flowed out into the desert.

How my dry heart needed that water.

Thy will be done.

Even if I don’t understand.

Thy will be done.

Even when it hurts.

Thy will be done.

“Before us there is nothing, but overhead there is God, and we have to trust Him.” Oswald Chambers, Not Knowing Where & Christian Disciplines, Discovery House Publishers

Yes. Once again, I choose to trust, because that is the only way I can go on living.

With hope.

And a future.

What, what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14 Amplified Bible

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