Posted in Journal

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God!

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At some phase, each of us will be confronted with the impurities of our hearts. The Holy Spirit reveals our sinfulness not to condemn us but to establish humility and deepen the knowledge of our need for grace. It is at this crossroad that both holy men and hypocrites are bred. Those who become holy see their need and fall prostrate before God for grace and forgiveness. Those who become hypocrites are they who, in seeing their sin, excuse it and thus remain intact. Though all men must eventually stand at this juncture, few are they who embrace the voice of truth; few are they indeed who will walk humbly toward true holiness. — Francis Frangipane in his book Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God

Yesterday I found myself at this juncture once again. I can think of nothing more heart wrenching than to be shown the impurities of your own heart by a holy God. But I am so very thankful that He loves us enough to show us. I am so thankful that He still convicts and lets the spirit of repentance fall. I am so thankful that He forgives. I am so thankful that He then shows you how He wishes you to proceed beyond forgiveness.

See, sometimes Father requires that we go to a person or group of people and humble ourselves and apologize for words spoken or not spoken; for actions taken or not taken. The Bible says in James 5:16:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

We sometimes like to skip over that part. We let it go and say it was no big deal. Truly yesterday I had to ask forgiveness for some words I spoke. They weren’t what some would consider harsh words but the words I spoke were not grounded in love, compassion, and support for God’s children. He does look at the heart, you know! So here I was and I knew I had to go not only to the person I spoke them to but also to those that were present when I spoke them.  I tried to get out of it. Believe me, I tried. I tried to excuse it away – they won’t remember and even if they do will I not be dredging up old stuff? Oh, we can come up with some great excuses, can’t we?

But I know the voice of the Lord and I really know the conviction of the Lord. When I was first saved I asked the Holy Ghost one day to give me a heart of repentance. I desired a heart that was sensitive to conviction and always ready to ask forgiveness of Him and make amends quickly with anyone I hurt along the way. He gave me that heart and it is not always easy. I don’t always do it perfectly and I am surely not usually graceful in the process. Sometimes it makes others more uncomfortable than I am. But there is something about repentance and confession that sets us all free.

So I apologized not once but to several different people. It was HARD and in the end, not one of them even remembered my words and some didn’t even hear the conversation and all of them thought it was no big deal. BUT that didn’t matter so much because – God heard and to Him what He heard and saw in my heart was a big deal. While He doesn’t remember our sin past that moment of forgiveness, He told me to go to each of them and He does remember that. He knows why He wanted me to do that because He knows His plans for each one of us.

In the end, we stand at the crossroads and the roads lead to holiness and Life or to death. What is holiness? Where can you find the presence of the Lord? His presence demands obedience to His Word, His voice, and His call.  His presence demands a clean heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. ~ Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a clean heart oh God… We quote the scripture, sing the song, and we ask that of our God in prayer.  And then He answers….

Posted in Journal

…for Your Good and His Glory

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ~ Psalm 16:11

I have lived long enough to discover that life is not about having every dream come true or every want fulfilled. Life is about glorifying God in all things. Sometimes we go through some very hard trials and great loss. If in that we are focused on ourselves, we become bitter in our suffering. But when we can see the journey for what it is – an opportunity to glorify God and minister to others, we will discover that our burdens are more bearable.

I lost my dad as a young teenager and my only sister as a young adult. My heart aches over the losses. I have seen days I thought I would never recover joy following my dad’s suicide and it seemed all my peace left forever the day my sister was taken off of life support. These were hard parts of my path. Yet, in the course of my life God has given me many opportunities to help others in ways that would not have been possible were my dad and sister still alive. Does that make their deaths worth it? Of course not! But somehow my pain is lessened when I am used to help others going through similar losses.

Romans 8:28 says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.

Indeed, the difficult parts of our paths are never without meaning and purpose. If we are God’s children, although it may seem His hand is against us, He is always working for our good and His glory.

My prayer today is that you will know the true fullness of joy and peace that comes from walking with Jesus along your own path. I pray that you will allow Him to use you to help someone else. And if it is in your heart, may God work to root any bitterness out … for your good and His glory. In Jesus Name! Amen.

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – 2 Timothy 1:8

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“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” ~ 2 Timothy 1:8

2 Timothy is Paul’s last letter written before Nero executed him. He gave Timothy final instructions to continue fighting against false teaching and to remain strong in his faith. In this verse, Paul encouraged Timothy to never shy away from proclaiming Jesus, even under threat of persecution. Paul was to willingly suffer for the Gospel, just as Jesus did and he wanted Timothy to do so as well. He trusted fully that the Holy Spirit would help them both endure.

If we are true believers, we are called to a life of mission. We cannot just sit on the sidelines and let the Pastors, Evangelists or any others be the only ones doing the work of the ministry. We are all called to witness and minister. When we do though, we will be persecuted. The devil especially likes to target people that are effective for the Kingdom. But we are not to shrink back. Jesus said that we would be despised and rejected because of Him. Nevertheless, we are to take up our cross and follow Him.

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Oh Lord, I lift up to You all of those I know that are building up Your Kingdom and are suffering as they do! Touch them, strengthen them, empower them today to keep on pressing and shining Your Light! Help me Lord, today and always to be a witness for You in words and deeds. Help me never to hesitate but to share the Gospel boldly. In times of persecution and adversity help me to endure in a way that honors and glorifies You. It is my desire to look like Jesus to this dying world…not only in Word and deed but also in attitude – in my heart. Create in me a clean heart Oh God and renew a right spirit within me. I ask this in Jesus Holy and precious Name. Amen!

Posted in Hiding His Word

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart – Proverbs 21:16

I sure do miss the weekly radio program and the opportunity to release some of what is shut up in my bones.

I read a sobering Bible verse yesterday morning. It hit me so hard and felt like such a warning. To me? For sure! To others? Likely. I wrote it all down and carried it with me Sunday as though I were headed to the radio just in case God gave me the opportunity to share what He had laid on my heart. It is now Monday, and one thing is for sure and that is I have not moved on. It burns! Not sure you can feel that through a blog but here it is.

The verse –

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.” – Proverbs‬ ‭21:16‬‬‬

The warning – DON’T WANDER!

If you aren’t challenged by this verse yourself or stirred in any way to warn others…look at the definition of the word “wander” below and then read it again – every single word!!! Don’t leave even one word out or change it in any way to suit your own life!

Wander – verb (used without object)
• to ramble without a definite purpose or objective; roam, rove, or stray.
• to go aimlessly, indirectly, or casually; meander.
• to extend in an irregular course or direction
• to move, pass, or turn idly, as the hand or the eyes.
• (of the mind, thoughts, desires, etc.) to take one direction or another without conscious intent or control
• to stray from a path, place, companions, etc.
• to deviate in conduct, belief, etc.; err; go astray
• to think or speak confusedly or incoherently.

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.” – Proverbs‬ ‭21:16‬‬‬

How important is it to avoid wandering? Straying away? Well, this verse doesn’t say that wandering aimlessly from time to time for a short while is okay or that straying just a short distance is okay. It says that the man that wanders away from the way of understanding SHALL REMAIN in the congregation of the dead.

Don’t allow yourself to wander from God and His Word or from His people! Don’t allow yourself to get off the path He has placed you on. Most of us do not intend to go astray; we wander into unrighteousness or sin. The results are the same though whether deliberate or not. If you get yourself off track and you never get back onto the path the Lord had you on; if you never get your eyes back on Jesus in your walk – you will end up remaining in the congregation of the dead. In other words, you will remain in eternal hell.

Listen let’s be honest, we all get discouraged and sometimes feel defeated on the path God has placed us. Sometimes we get frustrated and annoyed by petty things. Sometimes we don’t want to wander, we want to run away. Sometimes we feel invisible and wonder who would notice if we wandered anyway; who would care. Jesus cares! He cares a lot because there is an eternal consequence. If you have deliberately or inadvertently wandered away from the Lord, His Word, His people even a little bit in the physical or maybe even more importantly in your heart… get back where you belong!

And can I say one more thing that you can agree with, disagree with, but I feel it strongly this morning? I am preaching to myself first and foremost and I will end it here.

If someone in the body of Christ can wander away – and you and I don’t care enough to send a note, make a call, or get on our knees for them — you and I need to check to see if we have not wandered ourselves.