Dirt

Over the course of a couple hours my Labrador went from coal black to chocolate brown.  Each round of chase and wrestle through our winter worn yard with our neighbor’s dog added yet another layer of red clay dust to Adi’s coat.  I knew I couldn’t usher her into the house in this state, so I grabbed a stiff brush and gave her a good grooming, removing the majority of the surface dirt.  The thought that she probably needed a hose down flitted through my mind, but I dismissed it in my rush to get supper on the table. 

Mistake!  Over the course of a few days the dirt hidden in her undercoat worked to the surface.  A dog sized clay spot now marked Adi’s favorite place to sleep on our beige carpet.  Lesson learned.  Now when I face a clay colored pup, she gets an immediate rinse down.  The amount of rusty, red water that streams from her body is always impressive.

The dirt that lands on my pup as she romps through the yard isn’t much different than the dirt that falls on me as I walk through this broken world.  Dirt sprinkled on me via the news, social media, or the words of people with whom I interact throughout the day.  Dirt that comes in the form of  fear and hopelessness, anger and bitterness, indifference and callousness.  I can try to brush some of it off with dismissal or positive thinking, but truth be told some of it reaches below the surface and settles on my heart and mind.  Given time it’s going to work its way to the surface.

At the end of each day, I need a rinse down just as much as my clay dusted Labrador.  Simple water won’t do the job.  No, what I need is Jesus.  I need to sit down with my Bible and allow the Word to wash over me.  I need to look below the surface, recognize and confess the fears, anger, and callousness I’ve allowed to imprint my mind and heart.  As the water of the Word and confession flows, Jesus renews my mind and washes my heart whiter than snow. 

“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of mind…”

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Romans 12:2, Psalms 51:7

22 thoughts on “Dirt

    1. Thank you Pastor Pete! I am so glad that reading the lessons is a blessing. Speaking of books, I am thoroughly enjoying your devotional Jesus Bread of Heaven during this Lenten season. I am employing the highlight feature on my kindle quite a bit.

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      1. That’s interesting. I am still a paper and ink guy except I confess to sometimes listening to my bible on youversion. I enjoy making verse images from my own photos which I use regularly on my blog.

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      2. Slowly I’m finding myself reading more electronically usually because the book is only available digitally or in this case Prime gave us Kindle credit that needed to be used before it expired. I much prefer reading hardbound books (used bookstores are my favorite place to shop) and I still belong to the school of people who write their rough drafts in pen and paper. I’ve successfully passed on both those preferences to my children. Have a wonderful day:)

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  1. Excellent analogy. Psalm 139 came to mind, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” It’s kinda scary asking God to give you a good bath, but it’s better than staying dirty.

    Choosing which reality to focus on is paramount. Someone asked my pastor, “Do you keep up with Facebook?” He answered, “No, I keep my face in The Book.”

    Blessings.

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    1. Thank you for these wonderful reflections and contributions to this lesson David! Adi would agree whole heartedly that bath time is not fun time, but as you said a necessary thing. I like your pastor’s “face in the Book” response.

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  2. I totally appreciate how much dirt a dog’s coat can hide, we used to have a border collie who just loved romping in the dirtiest fields he could find. He used to a runner when he saw the hose appear from the shed! Your analogy (as always) is totally accurate, the dirt of the world is all around us and is very pervasive indeed. As you say so well, only a good regular soak in His Word can keep us clean each day. Thank you for these doggy posts, they really are one of my favourites on WordPress.

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    1. Thank you so much Alan for your kind words! I can only imagine how much mud the long coat of a border collie could collect. Adi is much like your dog. Even though she loves to swim in water the moment she sees a hose she runs the other direction. In all fairness to our canine companions, we humans aren’t much better. Confession can be something we would rather skirt and hide from, even though we know we’ll feel wonderfully refreshed and clean after some time on our knees with Jesus. Have a wonderful day!

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  3. I always find it so amazing how God works to get His message to many!
    Your post is so closely related to mine by subject, but using a very different application! Amazing!
    Thank you for this great picture, Beth! Blessings to you and yours!

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    1. Yes GW I couldn’t agree more! I would call this a “sacred echo.” (I didn’t coin this term it comes from a book by Margaret Fienberg). Hope you are having a wonderful start to your week. As always I look forward to reading more of your writings.

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