and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Phone Call

      Well, this is the second time I’ve had this phone call in the past week.  “This is ^#&^%#* Duct Cleaning Service and we would like… blah, blah, blah.  While I am actually a big proponent of having ducts cleaned now and then, the reality is that the house I currently dwell in has radiator heating and therefore no heating ducts.  This company keeps wasting their time offering me something I can’t even use, and frustrating me with their calls.  Perhaps I should invite them over for an estimate? (insert evil laugh!!!)

      I wonder how often God feels frustrated with us?  Right from the start He had to have frustrating times.  Imagine Adam and Eve in the garden just after they sinned.  God was watching as they found materials and stitched together their clothes, inadequate pieces that would easily fall apart and rot.  They didn’t even ask help from the One they walked with in the garden.  Then, when the Lord shows up, they hide from Him- the God who can see everything- how annoying.

      I won’t even list all the times the children of Israel, whom God miraculously rescued from slavery in Egypt, tested and tried God’s patience.  The judges, the kings, the prophets, the leaders and all the people throughout the Scriptures continued time and again to frustrate the Lord God.  They’d be relatively obedient for a while and then- boom- it’s like they ignore Him totally.  That HAD to be exasperating.

      Still, it’s difficult to judge others when I look in the mirror.  More than once I abandoned the Lord because He didn’t meet my expectations or timing.  Then there are times I should be spending in His presence that I’m doing my own thing, building my house on the sand instead of the Rock.  How many times was I too gutless to say what He wanted me to, or did something I wasn’t supposed to for my own pleasure?  How frustrated He must get with me at times.  But… no matter how exasperating I’ve been, the Lord has never given up on me.

     Does not God have a perfect right to show his fury and power against those who are fit only for destruction, those he has been patient with for all this time? (Rom. TLB)  Yes, He does have the right to repay us for all our sins, yet He pours out His mercy and grace in our lives instead.  He never gives up on us.  For the Lord your God will be with you; he will not fail nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6b TLB) also: (Heb. 13:5b; Gen 28:15; Josh 1:5; 1 Chr. 28:20)  Mercifully, God doesn’t just ditch us just because He is frustrated with us.

In the words of Matt Redman:
Oh no you never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no you never let go
Every high and every low
Oh no you never let go
Lord, you never let go of me

Thank you Jesus!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sometimes it’s difficult.

      I was trying to get into God’s presence, but it wasn’t working.  My mind was racing from one topic to another no matter how hard I tried to focus: car, dishes, sin, tired, studying, kids, food, vacation, cooking, and on and on.  I didn’t want to shut down my brain necessarily, but to slow it way down and focus on the Lord, but sometimes that is difficult. 

      Why is it so?  I personally think women have a harder time slowing down their brain because there are always a thousand things we remember need to be done and there is so little time to do them.  Our lives are filled with go here, do this, take them, buy this, clean that, fix it, make it, drive there and all the other verb usage that slowing the circular thought processes of our brain occasionally becomes impossible.

Be silent for Jehovah, and stay thyself for Him, (Ps. 37:7 YLT)
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: (Ps. 37:7 KJV)

      This verse talks about slowing oneself down long enough to wait on the Lord.  Another verse says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” (Ps. 4:4 KJV)  Be silent, rest and be still are the same Hebrew word and mean:  to be dumb, hold peace, quiet self, rest, be silent, keep (put to) silence, be (stand), still, tarry, wait.  We are to wait quietly on the Lord by slowing down our thoughts long enough to consider Him.  At times, that is easier said than done.

      Personally, I think my mind would become overwhelmed by life if I didn’t take the time to stop and be with the Lord who is the source of my peace, safety, joy and strength. 

I did place Jehovah before me continually, Because at my right hand I am not moved.  Therefore hath my heart been glad, And my honour doth rejoice, Also my flesh dwelleth confidently: (Ps. 16:8,9 YLT) or my flesh also shall rest in hope. (Ps. 16:8,9 KJV)

       The Hebrew word for rest here means to lodge or dwell.  That’s talking about us staying put in a place where Jehovah is before us, where we are not moved and our bodies dwell or live in His hope/ safety/ assurance/ trust.  He is our ultimate refuge, and somehow, we’ve got to make a way for ourselves to slow down and be still in His presence.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What’s Your Job?

      There was one man (or more) who worked in the Tabernacle of the Jewish nation whose job it was to wash the internal organs and legs of the sacrifices with water.  but its inwards and its legs shall he wash with water:  (Lev. 1:9, 13) Hmmm… sounds like a pleasant job!  My point is, you read something like that and you say, “What?...”  Why is that in there?  Why was it important enough to put it in the Bible?  The other parts were already on the altar, but the insides had to be washed first.

      Perhaps there is symbolic lesson in there.  We take plenty of care, time, effort, and spend lots of money on washing up, and looking good on the outside.  How much care, time, effort and money do we spend on washing our inside man (heart: personality, emotions, intellect, will)?  Not so much I think.  So if we are to present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, (Rom. 12:1), then we must also wash our insides with water. 

      It is not the outside of man that is considered unclean by God, but the inside.  …but it is the sin that lives in me. (Rom. ISV); O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness,… (Jer. KJV).  It is the inner disposition of the heart which is of great value in the sight of God. (1 Pet. 3:3,4)   That is why the Bible says, …for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7 KJV)  We might think we are doing okay because on the outside of us, no one sees our corruptness but we know, and God knows the truth.  He weighs our hearts. (Pr. 21:2)

      That is why Jesus got down on the religious leaders of the day so often.  They looked good on the outside always appearing to do the right things and say the right things, but inside their hearts were corrupt- and they never cared to wash their insides.  Read this:

You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that its outside may also be clean.  "How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead people's bones and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Mat 23:26-28 ISV)

      He’s saying their cups looked clean, their tombs were painted and beautiful, and they appeared righteous, but inside they were unclean, dead, impure, and full of hypocrisy and iniquity.  Ouch!  Can’t we be that way sometimes?  Notice, Jesus says to first wash the insides.  Wash our insides; wash our hearts.

      Right now I seriously need to wash my hair as it is a greasy mess.  It would be pretty embarrassing if anyone came over and saw the state it is in.  Strange how it wouldn’t bother me so much if my heart weren’t clean- after all, how would they see it? 

Lord, my heart is always in need of washing.  Help me to remember that frequently.
Remind me to put more effort into my insides rather than my outside. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Clear Record

      I’d been caught.  The verdict was clear.  Guilty as charged.  There, up on the computer screen, was the long list of charges against me with the ruling of guilty after each one.  The judge was determining my sentence.  He stated, “You are guilty of all these charges and will face imminent death.” 

      Suddenly my Lawyer stood up and said, “Your Honor, I would ask you to impute her guilty verdict and death sentence to me.”  My voice would not work and I wanted to say, “I am guilty but He is innocent; that wouldn’t be fair,” but nothing came out.  Instead, the judge readily agreed and pushed the delete button on the computer.  The screen once full of charges and verdicts was now clear as if nothing had ever been there.  My Lawyer was hauled away in cuffs to await His death sentence while I walked out a free woman.

      True story, only in my case, the Judge- Father God- imputed all my sin to my Lawyer- Jesus Christ- and gave Him my death sentence while deleting or clearing all charges against me.  Not one verdict of guilty remained the day I gave my heart and life to my Savior and Lord.  All of my guilt, each and every charge, was imputed to One who was completely innocent.

      Psalms 32:1, 2 says, “What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven!  What joys when sins are covered over!  What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.  TLB

      Truly there was joy and relief when my Savior took away my sin.  My sins had burdened me down many years and led to unhappiness with life.  Now I find joy in the Lord no matter what is going on in my life or is happening around me in the world.  I can truly live because my record is cleared!

      So, can I live my life unconcerned of present or future charges?  Verse 6 of the same Psalm says, “Now I say that each believer should confess his sins to God when he is aware of them, while there is time to be forgiven.  Judgment will not touch him if he does.

      The message is simple; the message is clear.  We must continue to confess our sins often for He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)  What greater relief in life can there be, than to have all our sins and guilt washed away!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Paperclip

      It is a thin cylindrical piece of aluminum bent into a unique shape capable of holding important papers together.  It is not remarkable, stimulating, outwardly attractive, or even an object we often think of, yet without it there would be disorganization of papers.  I kind of think this is like the Holy Spirit.  Because we can’t see Him, we don’t often think of Him as being important, yet He is critical to keeping us together as a body.

For the whole law is summarized in a single statement: "You must love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you are not destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never fulfill the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh wants is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to the flesh. They are opposed to each other, and so you do not do what you want to do. But if you are being led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:14- 21 ISV)

      We need to live by the Spirit so that we don’t live in the flesh which causes great problems within the body.  We injure ourselves by living in the flesh.  Just read the list of ways we do this (half of them deal directly with our dealings with eachother), and the add on ‘and things like that’ and there are extensive ways we can live in the flesh.  Walking in the flesh, which can be easy to do, is not what we are to practice.  (Also, take note what is in jeopardy.)

      Obviously biting and devouring one another is detrimental to our unity, but there is another important problem that arises out of our lack of unity.  Jesus prayed, “that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” (John ISV)  When the world sees us biting and devouring one another, they aren’t interested in God or Christianity.  God will hold us accountable for every person we turned off God and Christianity due to our walking in the flesh.

      The solution to not living in the flesh is to live by the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit can help us live as we should, and if we listen, He will let us know when our thoughts, words or actions are in the flesh.  He wants to hold us together to be a unified body, but it is ultimately our choice. 

We have to choose to live by the Spirit.