And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 gift card to someone who posts on my blog. This month's card comes from Starbucks, so share a story or an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend!
Before I get into my topic, I have a quick question for you. As most of you know, I've been doing this weekly blog for some time now. Recently I've been advised that I should blog more often. What do you think? Would you rather see a shorter devotional thought or insight a few times a week, or keep things the way they are? I really want to hear from you!
Okay, now on to my topic...
Do you have a few weeds in your yard? Aren't the little ones easy to ignore sometimes? Even if we keep a close watch on our lawn, those nasty buggers pop up and diminish the overall health of the lawn. Our hearts are the same way. Unless we keep short accounts with sin and we regularly bring ourselves before the Lord in humility and repentance, weeds WILL spring up in our lives.
As we go through life, it's easy to develop a bit of an attitude towards this person, or a judgment about that situation, or an un-forgiving heart towards someone who has hurt you. These feelings come in different shapes and sizes and some are easy to ignore. But the enemy watches us, studies us, even. And he knows how to leverage our sins and weaknesses against us.
The Bible says that the pure in heart see God. Embracing a pure heart before the Lord is our immunity against the attacks and schemes of the devil. We must take seriously our call to regularly pray, "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts, and point out ANYTHING in me that offends You! (Psalm 139).
And when God answers that prayer, may we humbly bow, repent, and respond to His voice.
Have you ever tried to gently tell someone how they hurt you only to have them fall into a heap and become a victim of the confrontation? And instead of responding to you in maturity, you have to pick them up off the floor because they can't handle confrontation?
Or, have you tried to address someone who hurt you only to have them stiffen up, tell you that you shouldn't feel that way, and then walk away as if your feelings don't matter?
Obviously, neither of those responses are healthy or mature. But don't we do the same thing to God sometimes? If He tells us what we don't want to hear, we stiffen up and get busy doing something else. Or if He points out our missteps and holds us accountable, we may fall into a heap of condemnation and completely miss His point. I know I've done that a time or two. :)
What's the healthy response?
Let's read from Hebrews 12:4-6
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
In other words, don't shrug off His discipline like it doesn't matter, but don't despair because of it either. Humbly bow before Him in repentance, and than rise up to meet Him because He loves you. Be teachable. Refuse a hard heart. Reject condemnation. Embrace His love.
What's the payoff?
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (v.11).
A harvest of righteousness and peace await us on the other side of God's dealings with us!
Read all of Hebrews 12 today if you get the chance. It's a powerful chapter. The call is to throw off every useless weight AND the sin that so easily entangles us and to run the race marked out before us. The call is to embrace the Lord's discipline as He brings it, because He disciplines those He loves, and He is training us to reign. And finally, this chapter reminds us of who it is we're speaking to, living before, and approaching when we come to Him:
You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire" (v. 22-29).
Our God is a consuming fire. May we live with Eternity in mind.
Sorry this is such a long post but I believe this is a word for many of us today.
Have a great week~