Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Clean Heart

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10

This verse is my husbands' favorite. The verse is  part of a conversation King David had with God after Nathan the prophet pointed out David's sin with Bathsheba. You can find the entire story in  2 Samuel chapter 11 and 12. There in chapter 12 of 2 Samuel is something that to me, is a mystery, but is common to all people:  It wasn't that King David did not know that the adulterous affair with Bathsheba, and the murder of her husband were sins--he knew it. The mystery to me is that somehow or other he had been able to justify what he had done in his own mind--that is until God sent Nathan to confront him with the truth in a way that he could not deny. At that time,Holy Spirit conviction struck David's heart, it was broken. There was no more justifcation for his sin. No more was he able to "make it right in his own mind." David went straight to God.

Just what was David confessing here? We know of the adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, but there was something else here. Back up to Psalm 51:4. David admits:
"Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:"
He was confessing that he had also sinned against a holy, sovereign God. The One who had created him and by that very act of creation had the right to rule in his life.
The sin of justifying his sinful actions at the expense of God's sovereign right to rule in his life weighed David's heart down. He had once again put himself over God. This was why he begged God to create in him a clean  heart. He did not want this heart that always put itself above God; but he understood that only God could change it. Only God could scrub it clean of all unrighteousness and make it clean again.

You and I have the same problem King David had. We need cleansing from our sin. I'm not saying we need to be saved again. David knew, and we can know as well, that salvation is a one time transaction and it last forever. It is those sins after salvation that we commit and then try to justify: the ones that break our fellowship with a holy God, and steal our joy.The human part of us says,
"It's not that bad, others have done worse" or "I'll be extra good tomarrow":  I could leave a line blank and you could fill it in with your excuses for justifying your sin. You know what they are.
But just as David learned here, we must learn that justifying sin IS a sin! 

So what can we do? We must talk to God daily, and with a godly sorrow. What is godly sorrow? When we as David (2 Samuel 12:13), realize we have sinned against God. 
We repent of that sin, ask him,as The Creator, to take our dirty heart and create us a new, clean one. That is godly sorrow. You can also find an explaination and example in 2 Corinthians 7. 
When we come in this manner, God as a loving father, in his grace and understanding is willing to create us a clean heart.

Jesus died so that you could come for that cleansing; so that you could have that clean heart and the joy of God's salvation that comes with it daily. Don't throw away such a wonderful gift: the opportunity to live everyday with a clean heart and restored fellowship with your heavenly Father. This is one of the many blessings being a child of the true and living God offers everyone who comes to the God of the Bible. No other god, or system of belief in the past or future can promise you that: but not only does the God of the Bible promise it, He delivers it! To Him be the glory. Amen

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who to Follow?

God has a plan for all our lives; the Psalmist David said God knew us before we were formed in the womb. You may say, “But that was King David, he did great and mighty things for God!" Yes, he did, but in Isaiah you hear the same thing. In the book of Job, you hear the same thing. Elsewhere in the scripture you read that God is no respecter of persons. That means that he looks at one of us the same as he looks at all of us.

We Christians are His children: He doesn't play favorites. He wants us to trust Him completely with where his plan will take us. He wants us to trust Him to guide our steps

"For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our
Guide even unto death." Ps. 48:14

If you look up the word 'guide' in the dictionary you will find that it means 'one who shows the way' or 'one who goes before'. Again and again in scripture you can read that God goes before his people. He moves on our behalf. David in Psalm 71 says that even before he was born he relied on God. He depended on Him for safety and care. God never failed him. He tells of times when he (David) failed God, but God never failed him. This is how it is for all Christians. We may and do, fail God: but He is always there for us.

There is a catch, or condition--if you can call it that: God cannot lead someone who will not follow. We must be willing to follow where God leads. Paul tells us that if we are willing, that is all that is required.

"For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." 2 Corinthians 8:12

In this verse God lets us know that a willing mind is all He requires of us. He is great enough to supply all the rest. In order for you to follow, you must be able to recognize the guide. There will be times when Satan will try to put someone in your path for you to follow that is going to lead you the wrong way. You must be able to distinguish who is real and who is a deceiver. Also there are times in your life when you will want to take over the job and lead in a way that you feel is right for you. That can and will be costly for you and possibly lead others away as well. You must resist Satan and yourself and surrender to follow God in complete trust. This means spending time in God's Word getting to know Him personally and the methods He uses to lead.

In my youth I struggled with where I fit into God's plan. I listened and I watched other women. I wasted lots of time and energy as I tried to follow someone else. About the time I thought I had found my place, and I 'had this business of doing God's business down’, someone would tell me I was wrong--and have the scripture to prove it! I have learned after much frustration, that the problem was not them: it was me. I was trying to follow the wrong guide. I have learned since then to look to God’s Word first and learn how He leads.

Jesus tells each of us to "take my yoke upon you and learn of me." He has promised that if we search with all our hearts: meaning if we are truly sincere in our desire to learn of him, that he will teach us and guide us.

Many years have passed since that day God showed me that when I follow him, everything else falls away and the path is clear. Notice I said that the path is clear, not easy, to follow. There are some places along the way that to be honest,I have not wanted to follow, the path did not look safe, it looked like it led into trouble for me, but after I took that first step in faith, I found that I wasn’t on that path alone and God was closer in those places than at any other time.I just had to keep that conversation with him going to manuver the details of the rough spots.

Christ did not walk an easy path. Down through the ages, you can read of many Christians who saw God’s way clearly one step at a time, yet it was not an easy path: but the rewards of being surrendered to follow Christ are so great, words can’t describe them here. One of the greatest is peace. A deep sticking with you peace that no matter where that path leads, I am going to come through, and I am going to be OK.

I can stand today and point you not to me but to God: because God's plan for your life may not, and probably is not, the same as His plan for me. The basics of the Bible apply to all Christians. We are all to study His Word, we are all to come together to worship Him in Spirit and truth, we are all to obey His commands to raise our children in His Word, and we are all to reach out to a lost and dying world with the gospel of the saving power of Jesus Christ. Since each of our lives, personalities and the places we live and serve Him in are different, so are the paths He leads us in.

He is the true Guide, learn how He leads, and never stop following Him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


“For I have learned that whatsoever state I am in, to therewith be content.” Phil. 4:11

What is contentment? The dictionary says it means to be satisfied. Does that mean that we aren’t to try to better our life, or the circumstances that we live in? If our health is bad, or we are in danger of having bad health, are we to be satisfied with that?
The more I study in God’s word during my devotions, the more I realize the answer is no!

The fire department came up with a saying that helps children to remember what to do if for some reason their clothing catches on fire. And we used to teach it all the time to the young kids in school.

If your clothes are on fire: STOP DROP and ROLL

I came up with one for myself when I find myself in a situation that I don’t understand or don’t know how to handle.
Whatever circumstances I find myself in: STOP THINK AND LISTEN
Contentment is not just blindly accepting everything that comes at you.

For example:
If I go to the doctor and he tells me that I am looking at being a diabetic in the next few years if my health continues the way it is going, God doesn’t expect me to sit back and say:
It’s God’s will; I’ll just have to learn to live with it.
I need to:
STOP: I can trust that God has a plan for me that includes what is best for me.
The Bible itself tells me that God doesn’t want me to suffer.
THINK: Nothing happens to me that doesn’t go through His hand first.
I am not diabetic yet. There are changes I can make in my eating habits and in the way I exercise that will slow down that sickness, and sometimes even stop it from happening altogether.
LISTEN: To the guiding of the Holy Spirit as I pray and look for answers in my Bible daily AND listen to those who are experts in teaching how to balance blood sugars in the diet. Then start doing the things that I know to do.

When I listen to my doctor and learn how to change my eating habits and begin exercising daily, that helps my body to change the way that it processes those sugars and just might keep me from having to face that problem.

But if after I have done everything that I can do, I still develop diabetes, then I can be satisfied that this is God’s plan for me at this time. I will be content with where he has put me, whether I understand the reason or not. I am still in his hand. He has a reason for this to happen and he will work it for my good and his glory. There may be another diabetic who will look at my life, the way I care for my condition and learn to care for theirs. I do not and cannot even begin to comprehend the mind of God. This is where faith and trust come in.

The main point is that everything works together for my good, whether it be my physical, emotional, or spiritual good- and for the glory of God. Learning God’s plan for my life, and you can do that through study of His word; then doing all that I can to be the best that I can be for Him is one of the keys to living a life that is content in God.

What is contentment for a Christian? To be satisfied that God has sovereign control over all things, and that nothing comes to me that hasn’t been approved by Him as being something that will be good for me in some way. When I look at my life through the lens of faith, I can know a deep ‘sticking with me’ sense of contentment that non-Christians can never understand.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Rules the World

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14

This title is actually the title to a very old poem. There are four verses to the poem. Each verse is a lesson to the responsibility and power given a mother but I will use only the second one here.

“Infancy’s the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother’s first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil ,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.”

Have you heard the popular term that a child’s mind is like a sponge? This is what the author, William R. Wallace, is saying when he writes that infancy is a tender fountain. Then he explains to the mother that along with her beauty in the eyes of the child, she also has an awesome power. She is the first person to mold those thoughts (streamlets) in that child’s mind. From the time that the baby cries in the cradle and is picked up, the mother lets him know, “If I cry, then she will hold me and maybe I will get food.” Or the mother may speak to the baby and the child learns, “although I do not see or feel anyone, I am not alone” and is comforted. That is the good influence.

Then there is the other. The baby learns that if he cries he will be smacked or ignored. Then the mother teaches him fear, rebellion and loneliness.

How does ignoring or just smacking a child teach them that? Think about it a minute. If the child is crying there is a reason in the beginning. Whether they are hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable for what ever reason-wet, tired of lying in one position, feel alone. Those are all reasons a baby may cry outside of more serious problems.

If you ignore them, and you are out of sight, then they really think they are alone. They are lying there crying (I need help, my back itches) then all of a sudden –“Will you shut up!” They think: “What was that for? Maybe she’s coming.” Then when you don’t show up they start back calling you the only way they know how at the time. A shout and a whack from you on a regular basis will teach them that you are one that is to be feared sometimes. As they grow, rebellion begins to show it’s head as the cycle continues: I need, I fuss, she yells, I become persistant, she whacks me and does what I want. Then mom is fed up with me and tells me to go on and now I am alone, until I fuss again.

Good or evil, those first training sessions stay with a child all their life. That is what the author states in the fourth verse when he says that a woman has a divine mission to keep the young heart open to the breath of God. Because, the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.

Did you know you have that much power as a mother? Why do you think that Satan is working so hard to destroy the role of a mother in the home? He is not stupid. He knows the God-given power you have to train your children for the Lord. Training covers every part of a child’s life: not just to show him the promise of blessing from God, but the duties and the very real dangers that will come with his walk with God.

Using the Word, train him in how he is to travel through this life. Daily, as God tells you in Deuteronomy 6, fix in their mind until it becomes a part of their personality, the way that God wants them to live for him. Then lead them by example to practice it, so that they become skillful in God’s ways. Praying always for wisdom. When you do this, then you have obeyed your calling as a godly mother.