The story goes that the pastor of a country church was out visiting one of his elderly widowers when the man asked the pastor to stay for supper. The pastor thought about the man being alone most of the time so he said of course he’d stay. As the man brought out the dishes the pastor, wanting to be kind, remarked at how clean the dishes were to which the man replied, “I use Spic & Span”. The pastor thought that was strange because Spic & Span was not dishwashing detergent but hey, whatever. As they finished the meal, the pastor asked if he could help him clean up to which the man replied, “That’s okay but I have Spic & Span”. At that moment the man called out and sure enough two dogs came running in and licked the plates clean!!

I know – not the best of stories on a Monday morning, but the truth is that many times what we see on the outside is not a reflection of what’s on the inside. In Matthew 23:26, Jesus said to the religious men of his day, “You spiritually blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the plate (examine and change your inner self to conform to God’s precepts), so that the outside (your public life and deeds) maybe clean also”.

More importantly than what we look like on the outside is what we are on the inside. Be sure and take some time today to look inside your own heart and see if there are things that you need to allow God to clean up.

Just remember, what you are on the inside will burst forth sooner or later so maybe it’s time to stop playing games with your heart and allow God’s forgiveness to make you clean today.

Let me say thank you for inviting others to “The Gift” last night. We had about 1,000 people present and from what folks were telling me afterwards, they were blessed and grateful for our presentation. I was blessed when a number of them said they were searching for a place to go to church and would be back. Let’s pray that the seeds sown last night bring fruit for the Kingdom in the days to come and for all eternity.

Thank you also to Shawn Ames and Mark Gauthier for sharing stories about Vision Virginia and our IMB work around the world the last two Sundays. David Platt’s “Thank You” video was powerful as it reminded me of the impact we are having in reaching the world for Christ. Thank you for being generous this Christmas season, I know we’ve asked a lot of you in terms of giving but I know God has blessed your sacrifice. Remember you can never out give God.

Ladies, Impact a friend and invite them to Traction January 13th,

Pastor Carl