WHY?

Why

Habakkuk 1:2 NKJV O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save.

 

Habakkuk was distressed over the condition of his country. He had questions that seemed to go unanswered; prayers that seemed to be ignored by God and he was perplexed by what he saw going on around him.

 

How many of us have experienced similar feelings? We look around us and see turmoil, chaos, destruction and heartache and it seems that our prayers are lost out there in space somewhere. It’s easy to get caught up in the hopelessness of what we see happening in our world today, but as Habakkuk soon found out, God had not forgotten His people, nor had He ignored their prayers.

 

Chapter one is devoted to Habakkuk’s questions and God’s response, but in chapter two we see Habakkuk humbling himself before his God ready to listen and be corrected by God’s response.

 

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.

 

Habakkuk determined in his heart that he would position himself to hear from God and that with his eyes of faith he would watch for God’s movement in his world around him. He knew his perspective of God was incorrect because he stated that he would wait and listen and answer God when he was corrected. Habakkuk knew that God was bigger than any turmoil he could see going on around him and surely there was something that he was missing in what God was doing. He needed an attitude adjustment!

 

There are times in our lives, as well, when we just don’t seem to “get it”; we don’t understand what God is doing when there is so much pain going on in our lives and the lives of those around us. We simply take what rolls down the pike and believe that that is God’s will for us when He really want’s us to connect with Him and understand His ways and walk by our faith in Him. So, Habakkuk listened and God replied.

Habakkuk 2 2-4

Habakkuk 2:2, 3 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

 

God said, Habakkuk, be sure you write down what I am saying to you and showing you about what is taking place in your world today. Because if you, as a prophet of God, have these questions about who I am and what I am doing, then the general population have them too. You are my spokesperson to give hope and encouragement to your people. When you see My hand at work and write it down so others can take it an run with it as well.

 

Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision the people perish. The New King James Version says that where there is no revelation, or prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint. When people have no direction and feel that there is no hope they flounder around with no direction, simply trying to make it through each day as best as they can. But God has a better plan for our lives. He doesn’t want us to be overcome by the heartache of what is happening in our lives, because as He tells us in Habakkuk 2:2-4 things will change.

Habakkuk 2 4

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in Him; But the just shall live by his faith.”

 

A prideful person cannot walk in God’s ways. 1 Peter 5:5 says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humility before God acknowledges His lordship over life. Those who are “just” have humbled themselves to receive God’s salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. We are made right or “just” by our faith in Him as Savior and Lord. Just as it takes faith to trust God for salvation through receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord so it takes faith to live every day walking with Him. Many times the things that happen in our world are a result of prideful ways of living. People choose to live by their own standards and not God’s.

 

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

 

In God’s economy, it takes faith in Him, trust in His ways, and acknowledging Him as first place in our lives to live uprightly before Him. Even though God shares with Habakkuk that things will change and not always be the same, there is a responsibility that the people of God have in seeing change come into their lives. It takes faith to please God and those who believe that He is and is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him will see the good plan of God unfold in their lives. The heartache and pain will not endure forever. There is a new day coming!

 

When you look at that phrase “shall live” it is the Hebrew word chayah and is defined as to live, to stay alive, be preserved; to flourish, to enjoy life; to live in happiness; to breathe, be alive, be animated, recover health, live continuously. The fundamental idea is “to live and breath”, breathing being the evidence of life in the Hebrew concept. This present reference to the just living by faith is one of the giant pillars of faith and is referred to several times in the New Testament. It literally reads, “The righteous person in or by his faithfulness (firmness, consistency, belief, faith, steadfastness) shall live!”

 

In essence you could read the last half of verse 4 as “the just shall live, stay alive, be preserved, flourish, enjoy life, live in happiness, breath, be alive, be animated, recover health and live continuously by their faith.” It takes faith to live; it takes faith to breathe; it takes faith to recover your health; it takes faith to live continuously. There is no way that a person can successfully live by faith when their focus is on the waves of what is happening around them.

 

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.”

 

Faith has a focus and it is not on the bad things that are happening to you or around you. Faith’s focus is on God. He doesn’t ask us to understand everything; He just expects us to have faith in Him.

 

Faith – Greek word pistis means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion. In the New Testament setting, pistis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliability in God and all that He says.

 

Looking at this meaning of faith, the just would then live by their conviction about God, their confidence in God’s ability to change their lives, their trust in God’s goodness, their belief in His willingness to do for them what His word promises, their reliance on Him in all things, their understanding of His trustworthiness, and their persuasion that God will perform what He says in His word for His word is His will.

 

Faith’s focus can be thwarted when the person looks at the waves of life’s storms raging around him. Faith’s focus then turns to fear. Fear is faith in the devil’s ability to harm you where faith is trust in God’s ability to save you.

 

When Jesus’ disciples were going through a severe storm on the lake as they were crossing over to the other side, they cried out for Jesus to save them. He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Then He said to His disciples, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40) It is clearly evident here that faith was needed to calm the stormy sea and bring peace into their lives. They were moved by their fear to cry out to Jesus when He expected them to live by their faith in speaking to the storm and commanding it to be still.

 

Once Habakkuk heard from God his attitude immediately changed and by the end of the book this is his response to those things that were going on around him that caused him so much distress:

 

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk in my high hills.

 

All of a sudden the bad things happening around him took on a different light. He saw them through the glory of his God. He was able to say that regardless of the negative destruction that I might see or experience I will rejoice in the Lord! I will joy in the God my salvation because He is my strength. He makes me walk above the storms that are going on around me. He equips me for victory and gives me the agility that I need to maneuver through the potholes of life!

 

Paul said it like this in Acts 20:24 when speaking of the bad things that happened in his life: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

 

None of these things move me! Paul was focused on what God was doing in and through him more than he was focused on the persecution that he was experiencing as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His faith was firmly secured in the trustworthiness of his God and his focus was on finishing his race, living his life by faith in God, not in fear of what could happen to him along the way.

 

What storm is it in your life that has stolen your faith in God’s ability to change things for you? Has your eye of faith been deterred away from God and onto your problems. God loves you and has a good plan for your life. Will you listen to His words of love and encouragement and turn off the voice of the enemy that speaks of failure and defeat? The just shall live by his faith!

 

Father, I thank You that even though there is turmoil all around us that You have a plan for good for our lives. I pray this morning for those who may have lost their faith and have turned their eyes to the waves of the storm instead of the One who calms the storms. Father, I ask You to show them that You are working in their lives bringing restoration from all that the enemy has stolen from them. I pray that they will be encouraged and their faith renewed as they read of Your faithfulness through your word. I pray that those who may be around them speaking life into their lives will have more effect on them than the experiences of negativity that they are currently under. Father, You have placed Your people as the head and not the tail. You have said that You would make them to be above and not beneath their circumstances. Father, I pray that You will once again show them what they need to do to cooperate with the good plan that You have for their lives. Maybe they need to humble themselves before You and repent of the doubt and unbelief they have had in You. Or Father, could it be that they have grown weary in standing and fighting the good fight of faith? I pray that You will refresh them and give them renewed hope in You. Father, You know what needs to be done in each life. I pray that Your goodness will lead men to repentance as you have stated in Your word. Father, I pray as Habakkuk prayed that You would revive Your work in the midst of our years! Do again in the hearts of people what You have done in years past and bring salvation, deliverance, healing and restoration to them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Free In Christ Jesus!

Romans 8 1

Romans 8:1 NKJV There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Condemnation comes from the evil one, the devil, Satan, also known as the accuser of the brethren. He accuses us to ourselves, to others and to the Father.

Revelation 12:10 NKJV Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.”

You can tell which voice you are hearing by the tone and message of the voice. If it is condemnation, accusation, and offers no hope for redemption, then it is the voice of the enemy, the accuser of the brethren. If it convicts you of sin and gently prompts you to repent then it is the voice of the Holy Spirit and needs to be heeded. God paid the price for our sin through the precious body and blood of Jesus so that we could be free from the accusations of the enemy!

Romans 2:4 NKJV Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

The Holy Spirit woos us to repentance with God’s goodness, not with words of our unworthiness or condemnation for what we have done. The presence of the Holy Spirit within us has set us free to be ourselves, to be free from the dominion of sin and the accusations of the enemy.

Romans 8:2-4 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The life that Christ Jesus died to give us sets us free from the principle, or law, of sin and death. We no longer are tied to sin. Before Jesus died for our sin we couldn’t help but sin. We were controlled by sin and had no other way out. But Jesus died that we might be set free from sin’s control. Now when condemnation comes to a child of God it is an immediate indication that the enemy is working in his/her life. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit and always comes with a way out of the situation; He always gives hope and a solution to the problem. If you have sinned, confess the sin to God, ask Him to forgive you and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. If it is condemnation, rebuke the enemy, resist the condemnation and know that God sees you through the blood of His Son. He sees you as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! Hold your head up high and go on with your life. The devil has no hold over a child of the King! We have the power within us by His Spirit to win over sin!

Seed from God’s word for today: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17; 21

Jesus was made sin for us. He didn’t just carry our sin on His back; our sin permeated His whole being! He BECAME sin that we might BECOME His righteousness! Sin in its entirety was crucified with Him so that we could become dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus! (Romans 6:1-14) Now when the devil comes with condemnation that you are no good or what you’ve done cannot be forgiven, tell him to go back to hell where he belongs! That is a lie from the pit of hell! Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness! The only time sin can have control over us is when we yield to it. We have the power within us, through the Holy Spirit, to resist sin and win!

Prayer for today: Father, I thank You for Jesus who was made sin that I might be made Your righteousness in Him! Thank You for the blood that You shed for me, Lord Jesus, and the price that You paid that I might go free! I choose today to rest in Your salvation; to know that I am free from the dominion of sin that I might live to You; that I might say “no” to the temptations of the enemy and “yes” to walking in the fullness of Your Spirit. Holy Spirit, I invite You to lead me through this day. Have Your way in my life and show me those areas that need Your special touch in my life. I am free in Christ Jesus to be all that Father has created and called me to be. Thank You for the power of Your Spirit within me to enable me to walk in Your ways, according to Your Spirit today, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

I am free in Christ Jesus

Fire And A Hammer

Jeremiah 23 29

Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”

God says that His word is like fire and a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces! What situation are you facing today that seems like a rock that is too big and strong for you to break through?

In Isaiah 55:11 the Lord says that when His word goes forth from His mouth that it does not return unto Him void, but it accomplishes that which He sent it out to do.

As ambassadors of Christ we have the ability to speak His word into our lives and watch Him change those situations to bring honor and glory to His name through the power that is available in His word to right the wrongs and break down the barriers.

God told Joshua that if he would not let His word depart from his mouth, but that he would meditate in it day and night and do what it said that he would have great success and prosper in all that he chose to do. (Joshua 1:7-9)

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God’s word is living and powerful. When released from our mouths through faith it has the power to act as a two-edged sword. It cuts going in and coming out. It goes deeply within a person’s heart to change their thoughts and divide and conquer that which is wrong; to bring it into alignment with His will and ways.

We see an example of the power that is in the spoken Word of God when Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. He fought the devil’s attacks with the word of God and then went on to say than man’s sustenance is not just through food, but that he would live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:3, 4 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

You might be saying, “well, that was Jesus; He was the Son of God”! And that is true, but He came to earth as a man who lived under the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit and accomplished all that His Father asked Him to do through that empowerment. He was fully God and fully man; the man Christ Jesus was described as Jesus of Nazareth in His humanity.

Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Jesus, in His humanity was a man who depended on the Holy Spirit to do the work through Him that God asked Him to do. He depended on the Holy Spirit for His empowerment.

We who have invited Jesus into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior are also called “sons of God”.

Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

When will we begin to act like sons of God? Will we speak His word in the authority that He has given us as His sons and daughters to see the same effect that Jesus had when the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, or will we sit silently by and watch the enemy steal, kill and destroy our lives? The choice is ours today!

Confession for today based on God’s word: I will speak forth God’s word that applies to the rock of difficulty in my life and watch Him change it for me. I will cooperate with God’s Spirit within me to effect change in my life and see Him do the work through me that needs to be done to bring glory and honor to His name as I represent Him in my world.

Prayer for today: Father, I thank You for Your word. And I thank You that it is powerful and active and sharper than any two-edge sword and when I apply it to my life it becomes like a fire and a hammer that breaks the rocks of adversity into pieces before my very eyes. I will take Your word and use it today in faith believing that what I speak will carry the power that is needed to change my life and to bring honor and glory to Your name as a representative of Yours. Thank You, Father, for Your Spirit who is within me who directs my thoughts to the right Word that needs to be spoken over my life. May You receive glory and honor through my heart and my actions. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4 23

Proverbs 4:23 NKJV  Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

The writer of the book of Proverbs instructs us to protect our heart; to keep it under careful watch with all diligence. That a strong admonishment. He goes on to tell us that everything in life springs from what is in our hearts.

Heart – Hebrew word labe – means the feelings, the will and even the intellect; the center of anything.

Our heart is the center of everything that we feel, think, or even will to happen in our lives. It is from the heart that all of our life’s expressions flow. The center of anything is the core of it’s existence. The heart of man is the center of his existence and what is in the heart will flow out of the mouth and be followed by the actions of his life. Jesus said it this way when speaking to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34-35:

“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

In other words, an evil heart produces evil thoughts and words, but a good heart produces good things. The center of man’s being, his heart, reflects what is in it through speech and actions. The way to change your speech and actions is to allow God to change your heart. We can work with Him in accomplishing that by changing what we put into our hearts, minds, and what we allow to drive our emotions. That is how we guard our heart. The old cliché “garbage in, garbage out” really is a true saying. What we put into our hearts will take root and grow and eventually will come back out through our speech and actions. The heart reveals the man!

Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21 that we should lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust could destroy and where no thieves could break in and steal and then He went on to say that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” You can identify what is important to you by what is in your heart. Is your heart centered on Jesus? Do your words and actions reflect His fullness within your heart?

Jesus died for you and for me to give us a new heart. It was prophesied in Ezekiel 11:19, 20 that when He did that we would become His people and He would be our God.

Ezekiel 11:19, 20 “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, “that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

He went on to say that the heart of those who do not know Him will produce a people who follow the desire for detestable things and abominations that are not of Him. It is through the heart change that we have new desires and a new outward flow coming from within us. God’s Spirit comes to live within the heart of man when Jesus is invited in.

John 6:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The heart is where Jesus comes to live when we invite Him into our lives to be our own personal Lord and Savior. It is with the heart that we make the choice to believe in Him and receive Him. Romans 10:9, 10 says that it is with the heart that we believe that He is God Son, whom He raised from the dead after being crucified for our sins and then it is with the mouth that confession is made unto salvation. The heart and the mouth both must be in agreement for salvation to take place. Man receives a new heart when that happens and the Spirit of God comes to live within the heart giving a change in focus and direction. Man’s heart then becomes regenerated, or reborn! A new life is begun at that very moment.

Romans 10:11-13 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Notice that in verse 11 the scripture refers to the belief which happens in the heart and then in verse 13 He says that the person who calls, or who opens their mouth and prays out of the belief that is in their heart will be saved. In the middle of those two verses He shares with us that no one is outside of the grace of God for salvation. It is available to both the Jew and the Greek, or to all men of all nationalities, for the color or culture of man is nothing in view of the heart of man. All hearts need Jesus! The heart of man is the center of His being and is not determined by any race, creed, color or culture. Every heart needs salvation!

Will you open your heart to Jesus today? Will you invite Him in and receive His salvation? If you have not done that and would like to receive Jesus as your own personal Lord and Savior, please pray this prayer and mean it with sincerity of heart:

Father, I come before You this morning realizing that my heart needs to be reborn. I believe that You are God and Jesus is Your only begotten Son, whom You gave to die for the sin of mankind. I believe in my own heart that He died for me personally. I confess to You that I am a sinner in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I ask You to forgive me of my sin and come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and save me. I confess You as my own personal Savior and Lord and I thank You for saving me. I vow to live every day for you from this moment forward. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Now, if you prayed that prayer you have just been reborn and ushered into the family of God. Congratulations! That is the most important decision you will ever make in your life. From now on begin to put God’s word into your heart so you can be changed into the person that He intends you to be. You are no longer the same person; your spirit has been reborn but He will change your character and nature day by day as He conforms you to the image of His Son. Cooperate with Him by feeding on His word, praying and communing with Him, and getting involved in a good Bible believing church that preaches and teaches the whole Word of God.

We guard our hearts through making sure that what goes into our hearts on a daily basis is the truth of God’s Word, not the junk of the world. Man’s heart is cleansed through the washing of the water of the word.

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and without blemish.

God sanctifies us, or sets us apart for Himself through the cleansing that comes through His word. He changes us into a glorious church, His body without spot or wrinkles through the cleansing of His word within us. Man’s heart is cleansed through the conviction of His Spirit and meditating on His word. As you ingest the Word of God, the power of it changes you. So, if your heart is not centered down into God’s Word you can make that change by starting to feed on His word and allow Him to change what’s on the inside to good instead of bad.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that man would not live on bread alone, or simply the natural sustenance that the physical body needs, but that he would live by every word that God speaks. The natural man needs food to fuel his physical body, but the heart of man where man’s spirit is needs the word of God to grow and be strong. Man’s heart is strengthened through God’s Word.

Feed on the Word of God; take His nourishment into your hearts, listen to His voice as He speaks to you in prayer and act on what His word says and what He shares with you through your devotional times of prayer and Bible Study. Your heart will be cleansed, refreshed and renewed!

Father, I thank You for Who You are to me. You are my God. There is none above You nor beside You. You are my life and breath and the reason for my existence. It is in You that I live and move and have my being. I thank You for being at the center of my heart for all that I live for and do arises out of Your love for me and Your place in my heart. I thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus, Your Son, for the sin of mankind. I thank You for those who may have given their hearts to Jesus today. I thank You for convicting the hearts of those who have not been close to You. You have said that if You be lifted up You will draw all men unto Yourself. I lift You up this morning and ask that You would fulfill Your promise through the salvation of many souls who may read this blog today. Father, I thank you for Your word and its power to save, heal, deliver and set people free. I thank You for Your Spirit who works in the hearts of men to bring that salvation into existence. Thank You for sealing Your believers with Your precious Holy Spirit. I pray that You will give each one of us a hunger for You and a thirst that is unquenchable for all that You are and want to be in each one of us. May You be glorified in and through Your body, the individual believers in Your Church. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

A Pure Heart

Matthew 5 8

Matthew 5:8 NLT God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

Do you have a pure heart toward God? What does it mean to have a pure heart?

Pure – Greek word katharos – means clean, clear, pure; chaste, as being cleansed.

Purity can only come to our hearts as we confess our sin to God and allow Him to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In Matthew Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes that in order to see God, or to have a close, intimate relationship with Him we must be clean and pure before Him. Our hearts must be cleansed.

King David pictures to us a life that was lived in close communion with God. Even though his sin was great, he confessed it before God and expressed a desire for God to create within him a clean heart. It was said of him that he was a man after God’s own heart because of his willingness to repent and be cleansed of the sin in his life in order to do God’s will. (Acts 13:22)

Psalm 51:10-12 NLT Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

David recognized his sin. He came before God knowing that he had sinned and the only way to have a clean, pure heart before God was to confess his sin and ask God for forgiveness. In order to see God, to live in close relationship with Him we must continually look into our hearts for sin and then confess it to God and experience His cleansing.

Psalm 24:3-6 Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the LORD’s blessing and have right standing with God their savior. They alone may enter God’s presence and worship the God of Israel.

God knew that we would sin so He made a way for us to be pure and clean before Him. He made a way through the shed blood of Jesus for us to receive the cleansing that was necessary to stand before Him pure and clean. Jesus died that we might be forgiven of our sin.

Romans 5:6-9 NLT When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment.

Jesus died for us that we might be forgiven of our sin. When we invite Him into our hearts, confessing to God our sinfulness, and accepting the free gift of His salvation we become born again. Our hearts are cleansed from sin and we are forgiven and adopted into the family of God. This is the initial conversion experience where our hearts are regenerated, or re-born from their sinful state into a state of righteousness in Christ Jesus. We become a new creation in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!

So once we receive Jesus into our hearts we become Christians, new people! The old life is gone and we are born into newness of life. So does that mean that we never sin again?

No, what it means is that when we were sinners we could not help but sin. Sin controlled our lives. Now we have a choice to sin or not to sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us but it is still possible that through choices we make we can sin. We have power over sin by choosing to live above sin, by choosing to live for Jesus and not for our fleshly desires. So, what if we sin? Can we be cleansed from sin once Jesus has paid the price for us to be forgiven initially?

Yes, God knew that we would still be human beings with the propensity to sin. So, He made a way for us to come before Him as sinless by making Jesus our advocate with the Father.

1 John 1:8-2:2 If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts. My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely. He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

The thing that happens to us when we sin after having received God’s forgiveness and birth into the family of God is that the fellowship of our relationship with Him is hindered because of the sin that we hold in our hearts. In order for us to have a sweet, close communion with the Lord we must continually search our hearts for sin and confess it to God quickly so we can be restored to a close fellowship with the Lord. Sin is like static in a radio; it hinders the reception from the one sending the message to the one receiving it. Sin hinders our being able to hear God’s voice. It creates a hindrance in our prayers being answered and it causes our hearts to be heavy and our consciences to be condemned. Sin blocks us from having a close relationship with the Lord and being able to come before Him in confidence.

1 John 3:21-22 NLT Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence, And we will receive whatever we request because we obey him and do the things that please Him.

A pure heart is necessary for us to have confidence before God. It is necessary for our hearts to be pure and clean to assure us of a sweet fellowship with the Lord. A pure heart is essential for us in sharing with others about the saving knowledge of Jesus and how they need Him in their own hearts, to be forgiven of sin and to be in right relationship with Him. If the world doesn’t see the purity of our hearts, how can they know there is a difference between us and them?

David said in Psalm 51:13: Then I will teach your ways to sinners, and they will return to you.

David knew that it was only after he had confessed his sin to God and had received a new, clean heart that he would have any influence over those who needed the Lord in their own lives. He was aware that his heart had to be changed before others could see a difference between his life and theirs. A pure, clean heart before God is essential for us to influence the world for Jesus.

Father, I come before You this morning in the name of Jesus. I thank You for the blood of Jesus that cleanses me and saves me and makes me pure before You. Father, I ask that You would search my heart and reveal to me any areas of sin in my heart that hinders me from having a close relationship with You.

I pray for those this morning that don’t know You, that they would have the veil of blindness removed from their minds so that they can see the glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved. I ask You to penetrate their hearts with Your love and draw them to Yourself by Your Spirit. I pray that today they will choose to invite Jesus into their hearts to be born again, to receive Your free gift of salvation. Father, touch them with Your grace and cause them to see Your great love for them.

Father, for those of us who have received Your great salvation, may we always be tender towards You and quick to confess our sins that we might live in close communion with You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Desires Of A Surrendered Heart

Psalm 37 4

Psalm 37:3-5;7, 8 AMP Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him to prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself—it tends only to evildoing.

Sometimes things happen in life that we just do not understand. Disappointments come to all of us. We think we know the direction we’re taking in life and something sidetracks us and knocks us off our course. If we don’t commit ourselves unto the Lord we will lose sight of the big picture, the plan that He has for us and become cynical and angry.

In this portion of scripture the Lord encourages us to trust Him in all of our heart’s desires. I like the definition that the Amplified Bible gives for the word trust—lean on, rely on, and be confident—in the Lord. Our trust cannot be in man because man changes; God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says: Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).

Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I do not change; that is why you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

Notice the instruction that Psalm 37 gives to the person who lives in the land that God has given him. Or you might refer to him/her as the person that is yielding to God’s will in his/her life. That portion of scripture tells them to trust, delight, commit, be still, rest, fret not, cease from anger. This gives a picture of peace. They aren’t upset or fretting about their situation. They continue doing the things that are right in God’s sight. There is no animosity, grumbling or complaining about their situation. The course of action that they have chosen to take is to pray and cast the cares of life onto the Lord and then rest in the fact that they’ve given it to Him; they no longer have to carry it and worry about it’s outcome. All is peace as they wait for Him to move on their behalf.

The one word that we often hear misquoted in this portion of scripture is the word “delight”. We hear people using this verse to justify their own desires by saying that if they delight themselves in the Lord He will give them the desires of their hearts.

Delight – Hebrew word anag – means to be soft or pliable – delicate.

What the scripture is actually saying is that if we become soft and pliable towards the Lord, He will create within our hearts the desire for His will to be done. Then as His desires become ours He will bring those desires of our hearts into manifestation. The hidden petitions of a person’s heart who is soft and pliable before the Lord will be the desires of the Lord that He has placed in the person’s heart. Many times that scripture is used to claim the fulfillment of things that are in an unsurrendered heart; a heart that is filled with fleshly desires.

How many times do we try to do things in our own way and timing. It’s hard for us to wait on the Lord. We often want to hurry things along; to control the outcome of our lives according to what we believe should be done. We want to be “in charge”. And yet God is the Way-maker! He is the one who goes before us into every situation; who directs our steps and causes us to succeed.

Psalm 37:23, 24 The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.

God directs the steps of one who is faithfully committed to Him; the one who is sold out to Jesus and seeking His will for his/her life. So we have a choice; we can either take the reins of our lives and try to make things happen on our own or we can patiently wait on God to do it for us in His own way and timing.

Psalm 75:4-7 “I said to the boastful, ‘Do not deal boastfully,’ And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn. Do not lift up your horn on high; Do not speak with a stiff neck.’” For exaltation comes neither from the east Nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge; He puts down one And exalts another.

When it speaks of “horn” here it’s meaning is strength. And the phrase “a stiff neck” is referring to someone with insolent pride. The attitude here is a person with a prideful attitude who thinks they are strong in and of themselves and are seeking their own promotion. But the scripture says that God is the one who promotes one and brings another down.

The Living Bible paraphrase says it this way: “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. He promotes one and deposes another.”

The scripture identifies God as the “Judge” saying that He is the one that hands down the decisions that will maintain or bring about a right state of affairs.

Are you trusting God to handle the disappointments in your life today? Will you choose to lean on, rely on and be confident in His wisdom to bring about the things that you are waiting to see happen in the situations of your life?

Every disappointment that we face in life is an opportunity for us to turn it over to God who knows all, sees all and is all-powerful! He is big enough to right the wrongs, change the course and deal with the injustices. Each decision that God makes on our behalf is in our best interest. God sees the big picture and moves us through the plan that He has for our life in a manner that is beneficial to us with the end result being conforming us to the image of His Son.

Romans 8:28, 29 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Don’t allow the disappointments of life to shipwreck your faith. Trust the Lord to maneuver you through the stormy waters to arrive safely at your destination.

Father, I come before You this morning in the name of Jesus! I thank You for the good plan that You have for each of our lives. I trust You, Lord, to do what is best in fulfilling that plan in Your way and timing. I may not understand all that happens in the execution of that plan but I know that I can trust You to do what is best for me. I pray that Your will might be done in my life as it is in heaven. I ask You to show me the things that I can’t see in the natural as I yield to Your Spirit’s work in my life. I pray that You will give me revelation knowledge in those areas that seem to be hidden from view. Open the eyes of my understanding to see Your hand moving in the situations of my life that seem to be hindering my progress in living out the plan and calling that You have on my life. I pray for those this morning who have been disappointed by happenings in their lives. I pray that they will look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of their faith and that they will rely only on You, the one true God, to bring satisfaction and fulfillment into their lives. Help us all to be content where You have placed us and to be patient as we trust in You to move us into the next place in our walk with You. Direct us by Your Spirit and cause us to be sensitive to Your voice. Thank You for guiding us and directing our foot steps. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Divine Instruction

Psalm 32 8

Psalm 32:8, 9 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.

Divine instruction from the Lord is imperative for us to live a successful life. His training in righteousness is essential! In these two verses God tells us that our attitude towards His instruction is the key to success. We can either listen and welcome His direction or we can be like a horse or mule that is so stubbornly set in their own ways that they will not even come near instruction without having to be forced.

Instruct – Hebrew word sakal – means to be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, prosper; to look at or upon, have insight; to give attention to, consider, ponder, be prudent; to have insight, have comprehension; to cause to consider, give insight, teach; to cause to prosper.

Teach – Hebrew word yarah – means to throw, teach, shoot, point out. The primary meaning of yarah is “to shoot straight” or “to direct the flow” of something.

I believe in Psalm 32:8 that the Lord is saying that He will look upon us and give attention to us, and cause us to wisely understand His ways. He will shoot us as an arrow from an archer’s bow to hit the target for successful living according to His commandments. He mentions both “instruct and teach” in that verse. In our English language those two words carry a similar definition, but there is a difference between the Eastern and Western definitions of words. In the Hebrew culture teaching and learning came from the same root word which is Lamad, which means “to teach” and “to learn” For Lamad to be successful, the student had to learn and until the student had learned the teacher had not really taught. The student’s success in learning was dependent upon the teacher’s success in teaching; in getting his point across so the student could comprehend. When we have the the Holy Spirit as our teacher, we are assured that when He teaches us, we will learn. He doesn’t miss in giving the proper instruction for a person to hit the target for successful living.

The rest of verse 8 says, “I will guide you with My eye”. I remember when my children were little if I could get their attention without speaking I could give them a certain look and they would understand the message I was trying to relay to them. Eyes speak volumes without ever saying anything. If they were disobeying I could relay to them that they needed to straighten up without ever uttering a word. Eyes also speak love. A husband and wife can share their love for each other by simply looking into each other’s eyes.

In Psalm 32:8 the Lord is saying that through a close relationship with Him He will be able to direct the flow of our lives as we submit to His training. He will be so close to us through the instruction that it will be as if we are looking into His eyes and receiving that training through a close encounter with Him. Matthew 6:22 says that the eye is the lamp of the body; therefore when God is looking into our eyes He is filling our body with His light, His revelation, and His knowledge. He desires our undivided attention. He wants to shower His love upon us through the closeness of our relationship. It is through prayer and Bible study; listening to His sweet voice of love that we will learn the way that He intends for us to live that will cause us to prosper and be successful.

Are you ready to have the Lord teach you and instruct you in the way you are to take through that kind of a relationship? He is waiting for us to yield to Him to follow His leading and to walk in His ways.

Father, I thank You for Your intimate involvement in even the smallest details of my life. I thank You for instructing me in the way that I should go and for teaching me and training my in righteousness. Your ways are right and true and just and I desire to walk with You through all of life. I pray that You will continue to point me in the right direction; that You will direct the flow of my life according to Your commandments and statutes. I desire to live rightly before You and in such a manner that You can flow through me to touch others for Your kingdom’s glory and honor. I pray this morning for those who may be struggling in not knowing which way to go in their life. I ask You to draw them by Your Spirit into a deep, intimate relationship with You. I pray that they will surrender completely to You and allow You to lead them and guide them by Your eye. Father, have You way in our lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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