"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
I’m pretty skeptical about infomercials, especially of the ones that are showcasing a new All-Purpose cleaner. They always show a ‘before’ image of a white t-shirt with a red wine stain on it and then the ‘after’ image of a now spotless t-shirt. I always think to myself, “there’s just no way that it works that good.”
When I think of stains, I’m reminded of a time when I was a teenager; my cousin Mandi was over and we were sitting at the table painting our nails. My parents had just recently re-carpeted the first floor of our home, which included the dining room where we were sitting. I’m not sure how it happened, but we managed to spill a drop of blue nail polish right onto the brand new mauve carpeting.
Oh boy, were we going to be in trouble! We panicked and all that we could think about was how we could get rid of that stain before my mom saw what we had done. In all of our youthful ignorance, we decided “duh, nail polish remover.” (I’m sure that you can guess how that turned out.) By the time that my mom got home, all that Mandi and I could do was beg for mercy, because what had started as just a small spot of polish, had grown into a colossal patch of discolored carpet. The more that we tried to scrub it out, the bigger the stain became.
We do foolish things out of fear! Perhaps that’s why God reminds us repeatedly in His word to not be afraid. As teenage girls, Mandi and I were scared of being punished and as a result, we worked really hard to avoid it. In the end, much like our attempted righteous works before God, our efforts were not enough to clean up the mess that we had made.
Eventually my mom came home and in her best efforts, she tried to repair what we had done, but after a while, she conceded to the irreversibility of the stain and just put a rug over it. The stain was covered up, but it wasn’t gone. If that rug ever gets moved, the stain will still be there, clear as day, on that mauve carpet.
For some of us, this is how we can feel about the sins and regrets of our past; like we have a permanent blemish that cannot be removed, only concealed. Even after finding salvation through Jesus Christ, we can still feel as though we are hopelessly and irreversibly stained from the guilt of our choices.
This is not what God wants for us. He didn't send Jesus to the cross for us to only experience partial salvation and restoration; He wants us to be made entirely new through His sacrifice.
(see 2 Cor. 5:17).
The Bible says in Psalm 103:12 that, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” You see, the Lord doesn’t just conceal our mistakes, leaving us with stains that are simply hidden from plain view, He removes them from us completely. He washes away our crimson stains and offers us a new life in Him. Jesus Christ alone, is the All-Purpose Cleaner that we need to become truly spotless.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.