Friday, July 4, 2003

Mark 7:20-23 – And then he added, "It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, and eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God." (NLT)

Parking around the university is tight, so I prefer to use the residential streets. As the occupants go to work (at about the time I arrive to start), they leave spaces. Later, the students arrive, and fill in all the empty spaces.

The other day, I arrived late, after a meeting on another campus, to find all the spaces taken nearby. As I drove around the block, I found a space right at the end of a street of back-to-back houses, which had a track up the middle of the rear to allow the utilities to access their waste bins.

As this was the quickest way back to the site, I decided to walk up the track. As I walked, I noticed that the bins, placed out to be emptied, had their contents strewn across the tarmac. Maybe it was the wind, or maybe it was a prank by the local youths — who can say — but the result was the same: toppled bins spewing forth their contents left and right as I slalomed through the mess.

From the roadside behind me, everything had looked fine. Shoulder-to-shoulder, the bins provided a resolute facade that could not be seen past from the road.

Lives can be like this: saddened people living in folly, not to mention anger, despair, or frayed-at-the-edges, whilst seemingly fine on the outside.

Behind the scenes, in too many lives, evil is working its havoc and destruction, raking up sin, spreading its soiled product around out of sight, like the rubbish I had seen spread on the tarmac.

Later when I came back, it had all been cleaned up.

It reminded me that God is able to do this with us, too. Jesus came to take out the rubbish, to set us back on our feet again, and clean us up. Give Him a call today!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thanks for clearing up our dirty work, picking us up when we have been caught up wallowing in the mire. By Your Holy Spirit, deliver us from any evil we have accepted into in our daily lives, especially the stuff no-one sees or knows about, and enable us, by Your grace, once more to be acceptable in Your eyes today. Amen.

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Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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