A clean heart

I’ve been thinking about David and his deceitful heart.  (from my previous blog)  I wasn’t thinking about it yesterday, but when David did repent and cry out to God for forgiveness, one of the things for which he prayed was for the Lord to create in him a clean heart.  David understood that he was led astray by the heart.  He then came to the Lord, broken and contrite, desperately sorry for sinning against Him.

We have the privilege of reading some of David’s most intimate and open thoughts in the book of Psalm.  David deeply loved the Lord and trusted in Him above all things.  David loved the Word of God and knew that hiding it in his heart would keep him from sinning against the Lord.

Obviously we know that David did sin.  It’s clear that no man is perfect–not even the man God chose to lead His people.  God said that David was a man after his own heart who would do all His will.  God knows that we live in a world in which sin will always be present.  He doesn’t expect our perfection.  He only expects our devotion.  He sent His Son to take care of the perfect salvation.

David did love the Lord and lived a life in a passionate pursuit of more of Him.  Because of his devotion, he wasn’t content in his sinful nature.  He wasn’t willing to continue in persistent sin.  In Psalm 51, we are able to get a glimpse in to this man’s brokenness before God.  He repented and asked for God’s mercy.  He wanted to renew his relationship with the God of his salvation.

He also knew that God would place wisdom in the hidden part, the most inward parts of him.  He knew that walking in God’s wisdom would deliver him from future temptations.  He may have learned the hard way, but the point is that he learned.  He did not stay in a place of purposeful sin.  He truly and openly repented and the Lord was able to create within him a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within him.  God was able to continue to use David as His vessel throughout David’s life, and from David’s seed rose our Savior, Jesus Christ.

No matter the condition of our heart, God can create something new if we surrender to Him and allow His Spirit and His Word to guide us in wisdom.  God can give us a clean heart, deliver us from guilt, make us hear joy and gladness again, and blot our all our sins.  He is willing.

Although exalted by the Lord, David was just a man, and there is no partiality with God.  If He forgave and renewed David, He will do the same for you.

Forgiven,

jamie

The heart’s journey…from lust to murder

Pr. 28:26:  “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”

I recall some decisions that David, the king of Israel, made in the spring season when kings would go out to battle.  He chose to stay home that spring, sending his servants and soldiers on without him.  One night, with nothing better to do, he strolled up onto the roof of his house.  2 Sam. 11:2 says, “And he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.”

This is the moment when David had a decision to make.  Do I listen to and act upon the feelings and desires of my heart or do I use wisdom?  We know that David trusted in his heart this time.  He could have turned away and walked back inside.  If that didn’t completely satisfy, he could have prayed and gotten his mind on the Lord.  He could have even decided to prepare to go meet his army in order to keep busy.  Instead he inquired about her, sent for her, and the rest is history.  Trusting in his heart not only led to lust, but also to adultery.

Instead of repenting and asking for God’s wisdom, after being informed that Bathsheba had become pregnant that night, David continued to follow his heart and act foolishly.

David, the one that God referred to as a man after His own heart, proved the truth in Jer. 17:9:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”  No matter how much we love the Lord and how much we walk with Him, the moments when we decide to be led by our hearts instead of His wisdom, we are being led astray by a deceitful and desperately wicked thing.

David isn’t the only one in history to sin.  It can be easy to look back on someone else’s mistakes and pridefully wonder why they’d make such poor decisions; however, we all fall prey to sin.  The best thing we can do is take notes to remind ourselves not to make the same mistakes.  Let’s learn from David’s mistakes and trust that when we walk in God’s wisdom we will be delivered.

How can we believe that would happen?  Because the Bible tells us so.  It is impossible for God to lie.  If He said it, He will do it.  If David had cried out to the Lord at any point during his journey from lust to murder, God would have given him wisdom and help.  How do I know?  He had done it countless times before.  God had already delivered David from lions, giants, and other kings.  If He did it once, He could do it again.

How many times has God delivered you?  Next time you’re faced with temptation, don’t follow your heart.  Recall the times you’ve been delivered through His power and faithfulness, and then call upon Him.  He is the same God, and He will not leave you now.

Calling on Him,

jamie

Are you a sharp friend?

Pr. 27:17:  “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

As friends, we are able to sharpen our friends in order to strengthen them, build them up, and guide them to keep them focused.  They are able to do the same for us.  Friends are able to speak into each other’s lives in ways that others cannot.

I was reading 2 Timothy chapter 2 this morning, which relates well to this scripture about friends.  We are told in vs. 24 that, “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

While this verse is speaking about correcting those who are distorting the truth of the gospel message, it is also applies to those who have accepted the Lord as their Savior, but are living a life opposed to their beliefs.  As friends, we have a more intimate knowledge of one another’s lives and true thoughts.  We are able to see discrepancies in each others lives and know if repentance is needed.

Paul tells us not to quarrel, but be able to gently, patiently, and humbly teach each other, in order to let the truth be known and repentance be granted.  The truth is in this verse.  If your friend is not walking in their faith, they have lost their senses and have been taken captive and ensnared by the devil, to do the devil’s will.  As friends, we have the unique opportunity and duty to gently guide our friends to the Lord, so that He can bring repentance and sensibility to them.

We will need to know the Word in order to guide them.  We need to be able to tell them that they must be diligent to present themselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed.  (vs. 15)  We need to able to encourage them to flee youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (vs. 22)  We need to be able to remind them that if they cleanse themselves, they will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.  (vs. 21)

Likewise, if you have a friend rubbing you with the truth of the Word, examine your heart to make sure you haven’t lost your own senses.  Perhaps your friend is trying to faithfully sharpen you.  Be grateful for a true friend that doesn’t desire that you remain a captive of the devil, to do his will, but instead desires repentance and eternal life for you.  Now that’s a friend!  🙂

Gently,

jamie

Campfires and salvation

A couple of years ago we invested in our family time commitment by buying some really good camping gear.  It’s a great time that we cherish, where there are no screens in our faces, no distractions from one another…just us, together, on an adventure.  We hope this investment, throughout our kid’s lives, will pay off in great dividends.  🙂  On our first camping trip this year I had the following thoughts and today seems like the day to share them:

When we woke up this morning Donnie made us a fire.  I was enjoying just sitting by the fire, but there wasn’t much wood left for us.  The fire was slowly going out, but I didn’t want that relaxing time to end.  I wouldn’t have it!  Determined, I got up and was scrounging around for any sticks I could find.  I was gathering up even the tiniest little sticks, twigs…anything that would burn.  I was willing to gather up anything just to keep the fire going for as long as I possibly could.  When Donnie laughed and asked why I was doing that I said, “I’ll get whatever I can to keep that fire going.”  The thought that went through my mind was, “I don’t wish that it should perish.”

Well, where did that thought take me?  2 Peter 3:9:  “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  As I scrounged around looking for anything, just anything, to keep my fire from dying, from losing that fire time, I thought about The Lord.

Sometimes its hard for us to truly grasp how much The Lord doesn’t want His children to perish.  Satan loves to tell us we’re worthless.  He’s lying.  Just as I desperately searched for anything…anything to help keep my fire alive, The Lord has gathered up and given out everything He could to keep us alive.  Time after time He has given His children provision and opportunity for repentance.  He has been longsuffering from the beginning of creation.  He doesn’t want to lose a single one of us.  Think about my devotion to that one little campfire.  That was Nothing compared to the devotion one has for a child.  God was so determined not to lose us that, after offering every provision He could to try to keep us alive, He even sent His very own Son to die for us.

I will never be able to think on this verse in the same way.  Knowing the effort I put forth for a fire I knew I would eventually abandon, the magnitude of God’s effort for us is simply unfathomable!  How amazing His love for us truly is!  He searches for those who will allow Him to use them to reach all this lost children and bring them to knowledge of salvation and eternal life.  He is not willing that any should perish!  If I can be even a twig for Him to use to keep the fire of eternal life going for all His children, I am willing.

I hope I shared my thoughts clearly enough to make clear the point He revealed to me that morning.  Rewarding camping trip indeed.  🙂

He loves you,

jamie

What are you seeking?

Pr. 25: 27:  “It is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory.”

This verse tells us not to seek our own glory.  Who’s glory are we to seek?  Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Mt. 5:16

Do we need seek our glory in order to gain man’s approval?  Solomon warned that, “the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  Pr. 29:25.  Worrying about what others think of us only traps us.  Paul encouraged the people in Colosse that it is only God’s opinion that matters:  “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”  Col. 3:23-24.  Man’s opinions are fickle and they can offer nothing of eternal value.  When we seek the approval of the Lord, we will be rewarded with eternal life.

What should we seek?  While on earth, Jesus said, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”  John 5:30.  In Mt. 6:33, He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing, etc.) will be added to you.”  Paul implored Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  1 Tim. 6:11.

The only reward we receive when seeking our own glory is a temporary surge in our pride.  That surge will soon wane and we will have to seek glory once again.  We will never be satisfied.  Ps. 107:9 tells us that “He (the Lord) satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”  The Lord is the only One who will ever satisfy.  Heb. 11:6 tells us that “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Let us continue to seek and pursue things outside of ourselves and trust God to keep us safe, reward and satisfy, and turn us into more patient and gentle people.  In doing so, our light will shine before men and point them toward the Savior.  He’s the only One whose opinion will ever matter.

Seeking His glory,

jamie

 

Praise to the Lord, Most High!

I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good.  Ps. 54:6

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!  Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.  Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!”  Ps. 66:1-3

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.  Ps. 89:1

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!  Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.  The heights of the hills are His also.  The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.   Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.  Ps. 95:1-7

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!  For He has done marvelous things;  Ps. 98:1

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises!  Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.  Ps. 98:4-6

Praise the Lord!  For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.  Ps. 147:1

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lute and harp!  Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!  Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals!  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  Ps. 150:3-6

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.  Ps. 9:1-2

 

Worshiping freely,

jamie

 

Prudent or simple?

Pr. 22:3:  “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.”

When I think of simple, I am reminded of sheep.  They’re depth perception is poor.  In order to check something out, they get very close to it to see the details.  Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m currently reading:

“One never could completely relax with a flock of sheep.  A lamb might escape the pasture and get lost, drown in the swiftly flowing creek, become entangled in the blackberry briars, or wander into the road.  Then there was the possibility of a hungry predator selecting one of her beloved creatures for his evening meal.”

It reminds me of us with sin.  Instead of just steering clear of sin and hiding ourselves, we let our guard down or get curious.  We get close, examine all the options, and check out the details.  Once we’re that close we are in danger of getting lost, being completely caught in the current of or drowning in sin, or entangled in thorns and snares.

Boundaries are for the prudent.  foreseeing all the evil and temptations in this world, we must have boundaries to keep us safe.  There are boundaries in our wedding vows, in the Word of God, in the laws of the land, and in our families.  If we still choose to pass on, danger and punishment will be waiting on the other side.

We also know that when we wander off alone, we are much easier prey for a hungry predator.  Satan will stop at nothing to devour us and rob us of our God-given salvation.  Let us not be simple any longer, but to prudently stay within the boundaries that protect us.  Not only that, but let’s stay safely away from the boundary lines and not go looking at the details of the evil around us.  No reason to get that close.

Let’s stay safe with our good Shepherd, Jesus, who knows us all and gave His life for us.  In His presence we will have life everlasting.

Known by my Shepherd,

jamie

excerpt from:  Ellis, Mary. (2009).  A Widow’s Hope. Eugene Oregon:  Harvest House Publishers