In a recent edition of the Daily Hope with Rick Warren email newsletter, Jon Walker writes: “Jasmine is my beautiful and tenderhearted dog (cockapoo). She knows it is wrong to go near an old barn that’s on the edge of my property, but she saw a black cat run behind it and took off for a playful chase. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a cat. It was a skunk, and Jasmine was quite surprised to get a face full of stink. She smelled so bad I didn’t even want to bring her into the house, but I sequestered her in the bathroom while I figured out how to get her clean.

“On the Internet, I found several home remedies for removing skunk stink. The recipes called for ingredients such as tomato juice or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and I think one listed dark chocolate (OK, I made that up. The dark chocolate was for me). These mixtures removed the bite of the skunk stink (an eye-watering, garlic-like perfume), but the overall smell was still there. By then it was almost midnight, so I took an old blanket, put it on the floor of the bathroom, and that’s where poor Jasmine had to spend the night.

“The next morning, I went to the pet store and found a remarkable de-skunker that removed every bit of the stink and left Jasmine smelling wonderfully clean.

“The reason I share this story is because it helps illustrate what Jesus has done for you. The Bible says, ‘But God has shown us how much He loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!’ (Romans 5:8)

“Jasmine knew she was forbidden from going near the barn, but temptation appeared in the form of (what she thought) was a black cat. Sin is always deceptive, and it always costs more than we think it will. Jasmine thought she’d have some fun; instead, she ended up with the stink of sin all over her. I still loved Jasmine and wanted her to come into the house with me, but I couldn’t let her have the run of the house while she carried the stink of sin. She needed to be cleansed; otherwise, the stink would permeate my home.

“That’s how God views our sin. He can’t let us back into heaven until we’re cleansed from our sin; otherwise, our sin would stink up the whole place. Jesus came to cleanse us from our sin, and His bloody sacrifice washes us whiter than snow (Psalms 51:7). When we confess our sin and obediently trust Jesus, we can walk confidently into God’s home, knowing He will welcome us as his daughters and sons.”

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