Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Muzzle Me!

Psalm 39:1 I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth...”

I’m ashamed of myself. Yesterday I was unkind. I spoke harshly to someone and I just feel awful about it. My Mom calls it “verbal sniping” – when you shoot word bullets. Unfortunately, I think I was born with champion genes for this nasty little talent. Instead of taking this person aside and quietly and gently voicing my concern, I just was snippy and snotty and… sinful.

I am so thankful Christ doesn’t deal with me in this way, and heartsick that I did not reflect Him in my words or attitude. Yeah, some witness – and while I know I have asked His forgiveness, just as in yesterday’s post (boy don’t those words come back and bite me); the consequences of my sin are still there. When this person looks at me next time, will she see Jesus? Or will she see a mean-spirited, unkind and impatient woman? Oh Father, please give me an opportunity to apologize, and then won’t You muzzle these loose lips?

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Monday, August 29, 2011


1 John 1:9 "“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Many of us here on the east coast are dealing with the double-header aftermath of last week’s earthquake and hurricane combo. Talk about a one-two punch! Some of us have come through with scratches, while others have had evacuations, flooding, and loss of property. Thankfully, it wasn’t quite as bad as was originally expected, but for someone standing in three feet of water in their basement, bailing all night because the electricity that powered their sump pump went off, it’s a little harder to stop and count the blessings of what has been left in the aftermath.

Aftermath – there’s an interesting word. What does it mean? Well, the dictionary definition is: A noun – (1) something that results or follows from an event, especially one of a disastrous; (2) a new growth of grass following one or more mowings, which may be grazed, mowed, or plowed under. Some synonyms include: results, consequences, outcome, upshot, repercussion, after effects.

Sin is often like an upcoming storm. We frequently know about it ahead of time – there are warnings (a troubled spirit, feeling uncomfortable, the temptation that we know we should avoid). The Holy Spirit sends those forewarnings to our hearts, and we know we should evacuate the premises of temptation immediately and run straight into the safety and shelter of our Lord’s arms. Sometimes pride tells us we can “ride it out” and we stay, thinking we can fight it in our own strength. Sometimes, like surfers riding the large pre-hurricane waves, we play with the sin just a bit. All too often (and I write this with far too much experience to count), we give in to the sin and it wipes us out. Perhaps no one knows but you and God. But sin always impacts, and the aftermath is always there. Like a single drop of water on a glass-smooth lake, the ripples flow, touching the entire surface of the body of water. Make no mistake, sin will ripple out and affect your life, your walk with the Lord, your family and friends and co-workers, and its aftermath can be disastrous, wreaking unbelievable havoc that you never thought could happen.

David knew all about that – just read his account of his seemingly secret one-night-stand with Bathsheba in Psalm 51. What began as one act of illicit passion turned into an unexpected pregnancy, lies, and murder. Yet read further and find that, in his brokenness, David still hoped in the Lord, in His forgiveness and restoration. In the New Testament in 1 John 1:9, we can rejoice that no matter what, we are forgiven when we confess our sins and repent: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

As you stand in the rubble of the aftermath of your sin, you can take comfort in God’s grace, knowing God loves you and through the grace of Christ we can be forgiven and forever cleansed of that sin. That being said, however, there are times we must deal with the consequences of our sins, whatever they may be. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us, but we are responsible for our choices, and they can’t always be wiped away like magic, like they just never happened. But like the second definition of aftermath says, new growth can come from an aftermath. Think about how the forest recuperates and often thrives after a forest fire. It may take awhile, but it does happen. Our choices can also be like the opportunities of the aftermath – will you allow it to plow you under with shame, or will you learn and grow from it, and allow God to work in your life as He sees fit in order that you grow stronger? The choices all belong to you. What will you choose today?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

George Müller on knowing the will of God

•I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are over come when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

•Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

•I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

•Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

•I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.

•Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

Oh How He Loves You and Me

For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. In this act we see what real love is: it is not our love for God, but His love for us when He sent His only Son to satisfy God's anger against our sins. It is from God alone that you have your life through Christ Jesus. He showed us God's plan of salvation; He was the One who made us acceptable to God; He made us pure and holy and gave Himself to purchase our salvation.

John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30

Looking for the love of your life? Come to Jesus.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Secret Treasures Within Depression

Isaiah 45:3 And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.

Clinical depression is a place of great darkness and secrecy. It is a place that you wrap around you like a warm, safe (albeit it dysfunctional) blanket…until you discover you have become engulfed in what has become a prison, a suffocating cocoon from which you think you will never escape. It paralyzes as it squeezes the breath from your lungs and the life from your blood. The more you struggle, the greater the restriction, until you are numb from the heart out, exhausted, and ready to give up altogether. You forget how to think, how to hope, even how to pray.

Yet, even in these obsidian shadows of the abyss, God is still God. While you feel your soul has lost consciousness and perhaps even died, God is there, for He will not abandon you. You may not feel Him, but no matter, the truth is… He is with you. Once the silent screaming of your broken heart subsides, as you lie there quietly, listen past the lies of your feelings to the truth of His very presence.

It is only then that you become ready to receive the treasures of darkness, the hidden riches of this secret place to which He has allowed you to journey. It is there He calls you by name, and wipes away your tears, with the most gentle of caresses. No, He may not ever explain His reasons or ways. But He is with you, loving you, teaching you, restoring and renewing you into His design.