“Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
I remember when I was a little girl, oftentimes my friends and I would share “secrets”. Almost always, before the secret was told, the person would ask, “Can you keep a secret?” We would tell the person we would keep their secret, however, sometimes we would not do it. We would share that secret with someone else and proceed it by saying, “I’m not supposed to tell anyone…but…” I know you all have been in the position of the teller or hearer at one time or another. I believe we like thinking that we “know” something about someone that no one else does! But that’s not true, is it? Why? Because God knows all our secrets; whether we have spoken them or not.
God is everywhere and knows everything about us. God knows the number of hairs on my head and He can certainly know the thoughts and desires of my heart. That’s why the Bible tells us to keep “keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). It was in Genesis 6:5 where God’s word tells us that GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (I added the emphasis) We can try and deceive our spouse, family, co-workers, etc., but we cannot deceive God – because He sees our heart and knows our thoughts.
I am reminded of this song, “God Sees the Heart.” The words are this:
Our God measures man by a standard divine, For He sees underneath ev’ry outward design. He looks past possessions and costly attire; He studies the heart – ev’ry thought and desire.
Our God does not judge by how tall we may stand, Or how much we possess, or the rank we command. His gaze goes far deeper to things that endure; He honors the man who keeps his heart pure.
Chorus: For the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro. We have no secrets that our God does not know. Our father knows our thoughts; He understands ev’ry part. Man sees the outside, but God sees the heart.
That’s a wonderful song. Why don’t you meditate on Psalm 44:21. Christians, search your hearts and confess your secret sins to the Lord. Think on these verses as well:
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 5:13a “Ye are the salt of the earth…”
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” –Edmond Burke
Do you ever feel like you are getting old? As I sit here, writing this, I am reminded of one of the great certainties of life – the certainty of aging. If the Lord tarries His coming and give you long life, you will, sooner or later, feel the effects of being as the Bible calls it, “well stricken in years.” The Bible has many examples of older people doing great and wonderful things for God. I love the story of Caleb and how he went into the Promised Land as an older man because he chose to trust God in his youth (Numbers 14).
My desire today is that I finish my course with godliness and zeal and that I make my life count right up to the last minute. Often, the tendency is to want to slow down and be drawn to the rocking chair. What we need to be drawn to is the battlefield because the Christian soldier’s war is never over. We need never feel as if God is through with us. Although I do not agree with everything Dr. Jerry Falwell said and/or did, he often spoke of his “fourth-quarter ministry” and how he wanted to be his most effective in service to God. I can think of many Godly men who served God greatly in their latter years – Dr. Tom Malone, Dr. Lee Roberson and others).
One of my husband’s favorite historical figures is a man named David Jones. Jones was a pastor of two churches in addition to being a Baptist Chaplain during the Revolutionary War. He was converted in 1758 at age 22. At the age of 40, Jones was appointed as a Chaplain in the Continental Army. He published a sermon that was widely circulated entitled, “Defensive War in a Just Cause Sinless.” General Washington considered Chaplain Jones to be a loyal confidant and had his deliver several secret messages during the war. He was also a leader in several scouting expeditions. Once, when Chaplain Jones was returning from camp after a visit with his family, he stopped at an Inn to spend the night. While eating his meal, a certain man aroused his suspicious and Chaplain Jones threw his pistol and placed the man under arrest. The man turned out ot be a British officer. Chaplain Jones was so active in irritating the British, that he had a bounty placed upon his head by British Geveral Howe. Chaplain Jones served his country and his God for several years.
When the war of 1812 began, the now 76 year old again received a Chaplain’s commission. Chaplain Jones’ contemporaries had this to say about him, “In danger, he knew no fear. In fervent patriotism, he had no superiors and few equals. In the Revolutionary struggle, he was a tower of strength and in peity, he was a Christian without reproach.” Here is a man that made a difference with his one life from his youth to his life’s end.
How can we be like Caleb and Chaplain Jones and make our life count until the very end?
1. Stay active, stay busy and keep on fighting the good fight. There are so many things that can keep a person busy for God. Consider volunteering at a restoration ministry (such as Reformer’s Unanimous) or be a mentor for some young person.
2. Tell the Gospel message to everyone you can. Win souls to the Lord. Give out tracts and Gospel literature (Proverbs 11:30). Remind people of the true Christian history of America.
3. Champion Judeo-Christian values. With the coming one-world religion and one-world government not so far away, it may seem that the importance of protecting life and the family that God instituted when He brought Eve to Adam may be losing luster. However, we need to take heart, because in the end, Biblical values do win the day. Be pro-active politically.
4. Keep a sweet spirit. Be kind. Someone has rightly said, “If you are unkind, you are the wrong kind.” Kindness will endear a person to others allowing them to be more effective for the cause of Christ.
5. Be determined. Determination is the vehicle that delivers success. If you are determined to make a difference, you can and will succeed, not only in your youth but also in your golden years.
The time to get activated towards making a difference is now. Do all you can for God with the only life you have. We have, “only one life will soon be past and only what’s left for Christ will last.” When it comes to being salt and light, remember we do not have all day; we have to get on the move as we meditate on these thoughts today. My prayer is that God will help us to be faithful, busy and focused on honoring and pleasing Him with our ONE life; right on up until the very end. Never stop being the “salt”.
Getting older is not so bad after all. We have a God that never changes. Old school…there’s no school lie the old school.
I Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Faithfulness is a subject spoken on a lot these days. It seems we are seeing less faithfulness in our churches, families and our own personal lives. When someone speaks of being faithful, there is not much doubt as to what the word means (although some seem to “forget” the meaning so easily). The word “steward” however, is a word that not many understand. We read this verse and it goes right over our head. A steward is a manager or an overseer, in charge of something. The Lord wants us to be faithful in our management of all areas of our life. There are three areas of our lives that I would like to focus on.
The first is talents. Oh, how we can all testify of the Christians that have been blessed in one area or another (singing, playing instruments, etc.) and have wasted that talent on the world when they could have been used to glorify God. Many of the world’s famous musicians and singers began in church. But instead of using their talent to glorify God, they used them for selfish purposes of money and fame.
Everyone has been blessed with some kind of talent. I know several ladies on our Vessels Unto Honour board that are so talented in sewing, singing, crafts, cooking, etc. I get a little envious of their talents and wish that I could do those things too. The talents that I have may not seem big to me, but they could be a blessing to others. Have you found your talent? Are you a people person? If so, your talent could be communicating with others. What a perfect opportunity to be easily befriended and share the Gospel with someone. Are you good with plants? What about having a ministry where you pot some plants you have grown and take them to those that are sick or hurting. Are you a good cook? What about cooking a light meal and taking it to a shut-in. Or better yet, stay and eat lunch with that shut-in, giving them some company! Food is a wonderful tool to make friends, comfort those that are hurting or just encourage someone. I love to read books about the Amish and in one, this young man who loved to bake would bake loaves of bread and include a Bible verse on the tag. Are you a good singer or musician? Join the choir! Sing a solo! Are you a good teacher? Ask your Pastor what he would have you do in the church. Maybe you can’t do any of those things. Can you clean a toilet? You may be laughing, but I thank God for those who are willing to work behind the scenes and keep God’s house in order. Be a blessing to those around you and glorify the Lord with your talents.
The second is relationships (read I Corin. 7). Are you being a good manager of your relationships? If you are married, don’t ever give your spouse a cause to doubt. Since I am mainly talking to women here, ladies, make your husband feel like he is truly the king in his castle. Pamper him, love him, pray for him, do the little things to show him you care. Abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thess. 5:22). Do not make it a habit of speaking with other men alone. My husband is a Pastor, but he also works in a home health care business with mostly women (at one point he was the only man – but now there is one other!) He took an anonymous poll one time in preparing for a sermon about marriage and asked the women several questions about their thoughts on their husband and what they could change. A big majority of the women said that if there was one thing they could change, it was the trust issue. They could not fully trust that their husbands were being faithful or telling them the truth in all things. Why? Because at one point, their husbands had given them reason to doubt. If you never give someone a reason to doubt, that will never hang over your head.
This applies to courtship or dating as well. Be a good steward of your relationship by doing it the way God wants you to do it. Do not be unequally yoked (II Corin. 6:14). Never “date” someone that you would not potentially marry. You young ladies that are looking for a husband, do not think that you will be able to “change” a man into what you want him to be. You are setting yourself up for heartache. The Lord will send the right person for you. You just have to wait. Don’t jump ahead of the Lord’s will. Doing so could affect your life forever. You will have nothing but sorrow.
Lastly, are you being faithful in your Christian service? What about your Bible reading? Not only read your Bible but study it as well (II Tim. 2:15 and I Peter 3:15). The best educated person is one who knows the Bible. Do you spend more time on the computer than your Bible? Ouch…. Do you read your Bible daily? If not, you are missing your communication with the Lord. Praying is you talking to God, but reading your Bible is God talking to you. We all know how one-sided conversations go…not too good. Speaking of praying, do you set aside a time of prayer each day? Here are some tips on praying:
*Pray daily at a set time (Psalm 5:3); *Pray out loud if possible (this reduces distractions); *Use a list; *Pray specifically (specific prayers get specific answers); *Pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17) in other words, but in a constant state of prayer. Do not let anything stand in the way when you need a fast answer to prayer – keep short accounts with the Lord! *Pray until your answer comes. Your answer could be yes, no, or not now. (For more encouragement on how God answers prayer, read about George Meuller and how the Lord answered his prayers).; *Ask for large things (Psalm 81:10).
Another area of Christian service is your church attendance. Be faithful to your church. Your pastor is depending on you and so are the other members. A vote to miss church is a vote to shut the doors. Don’t let things get in your way. The devil will use all kinds of things to get you to miss church. Our immediate and extended family know that we do not miss church. If a reunion is planned on a Sunday – we will go if it does not interfere with our church attendance. Ball games…forget those if they are on a Sunday (or Wednesday for that matter). You have to set your standards and then adhere to them!
What are you doing to be a witness for the Lord. What will make you wise? Winning the lost! (Proverbs 11:30). We have the Great Comission, which was given by Jesus in Matt. 28:19-20. My husband says it is not a suggestion, but a command to evangelize the world. We may not be able to go to the uttermost parts of the world, but what about your street, your neighborhood, your town/city. Why not start with those right around you! There are all kinds of ways to witness. A verbal witness is always best, but there are not always opportunities to do that. Keep your purse full of tracts. Leave them in the restrooms, on the table at the restaurant, give them to your cashier, banker, etc. Do you pay your bills through the mail? Stick in a tract! Give them to those walking past you. Wow, we miss so many opportunities to get the Gospel out. I have read testimony after testimony and have heard personal testimonies of people saved from the tract ministry. God’s word will not return void. That is a promise! (Isaiah 55:11)
God only asks for one thing – faithfulness. He requires no results – just faithfulness. Your efforts are not in vain (I Corin. 15:58). I have heard this quote many times, “Only one life will soon be past and only what’s done for Christ will last.” The Lord is coming soon! Amen?!! Let’s get busy and remember that it is “required in stewards, that a man be found faithful”. Are you faithful?
Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
My favorite verse!
Memory Verse: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely…” Hosea 14:4
This week’s devotion is on “backsliding.” This represents things in my life that I keep bringing to the Lord, asking for His help. Things like…Bible reading, a better prayer life, a closer walk with Him. Also things like being a better wife and mother, keeping my home organized and clutter free. To be more friendly and not so withdrawn from people, to improve my self-image of myself.
I pray and ask the Lord for help in all these areas. I know He hears my prayers, because for awhile, things will improve. I read my Bible every day, I pray, and I feel closer to the Lord. Things improve at home as well.
Then it happens. Something will happen, or someone will say or do something that will cause me to falter in my resolve to do better. Some little doubt or fear will creep in and cause me to stumble again. I know the Lord is always there to pick me up and set me on my feet again, but I often wonder if He ever gets tired of that. Why do I allow those things into my life that I know will cause me to falter and stumble. When I am walking close to my Lord, and everything is wonderful, why do I allow things in that take that all away! I guess it is the age old battle of the “old man” versus the “new man.” Satan doesn’t want me to have a close relationship with my Lord. He delights in seeing me falter and fall away from that sweet fellowship with God. The harder he can make me fall, the better he likes it. I need to determine to not let circumstances and tribulations come my way, it is at those times that I need to draw closer to the Lord. I need to set my eyes on Him, and rely on His strength to get me through the storms.
I bought a framed picture just before Christmas, and I love the “verse” it has printed on it. It says, “Sometimes God calms the storm…Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.” This spoke volumes to my heart when I first saw it!
My prayer is that the Lord would indeed calm me when it is His will for me to go through the storm that is raging about me!
Proverbs 14:1 states that “Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands”. I want you to stop and look at your hands for a moment. What have you used your hands for today? Has it all been for God’s glory, have you kept your house strong today? If not were you given another chance in your day to use them for good? Lets take a moment and look at a common bible example that we all know. In II Samuel 11 we find King David, a man after Gods own heart, about to commit hid great sin, but we know he wasn’t alone. Bathsheba was a married woman. We know that he was not in his appointed place at this time, but she was not either. This is a woman like you and me. She had a house that she was responsible for, just like we do. Did she tend her house well? Was she wise in how she cared for her husband while he was away? Are we? If David was able to see her, so were other men. Do we let others see our distaste of our situation? This passage leads me to believe that she had done this before. I also don’t see any evidence that she tried to refuse the king. Every step she took, every step we take, we have the choice to make. Do we please God or ourselves? But the story does not end in their sin and shame. I am so happy to know that the God I serve is loving and will always give us another chance. Lets look ahead to Proverbs 31. Do you know who King Lemuel is? Solomon, who is Solomon’s mother? Bathsheba. God had given her a second chance, and because of this she wanted her son to learn from her mistakes and to look for a woman that would be wise and use her hands to build her house. I have often thought that this passage is of the perfect woman, the woman after Gods heart if you will. But it can seem an impossible task to try to obtain perfection. But read carefully. I don’t think this woman was perfect. She just knew what was right to do and did it. There were no excuses for why she couldn’t, she just did. Read through and watch what she does with her hands, what she does of herself to make sure others are taken care of.
|10||Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.|
|11||The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.|
|12||She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.|
|13||She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.|
|14||She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.|
|15||She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.|
|16||She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.|
|17||She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.|
|18||She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.|
|19||She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.|
|20||She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.|
|21||She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.|
|22||She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.|
|23||Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.|
|24||She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.|
|25||Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.|
|26||She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.|
|27||She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.|
|28||Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.|
|29||Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.|
|30||Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.|
|31||Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.|
Every thing she lays her hands to do she does it; she is not deterred from her task. Bathsheba is showing us her learned wisdom. Look at what she does, verse13 she willingly works with her hands. I know I don’t always do things willingly. Verse19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. Spinning is hard work. It causes many problems to your hands, dries them out causing bleeding blisters and pain, how much are we willing to go through to see to others needs. Verse 20-she strecheth her hands to the poor and needy, do I seek to look after others that are not as fortunate as I? There is so much more in this chapter for us to see. But remember above all verse 30, Favour is decietful and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord she will be priased. God is always with us, never leaving or forsaking us. He will never give us more then we can bear, seek diligently and pray earnestly, God will be your all in all and will help you to be what and who you need to be. Use your hands for God’s glory. I pray that we will learn from Bathsheba ‘s mistakes and apply our hearts to do our best to build our house and bring glory to our God. Remember Proverbs 31:28
|Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.|
We all have heard of fortune tellers; people that say they can tell your future by reading your palms, looking into a crystal ball, etc. We all know that is not true but we do have insight into the direction of our lives if we seek the Lord’s will for our life and read/study our Bible. The Word of God gives us so much instruction for our life, that we really should not have an excuse when things go astray in our life.
I love the Psalms and Proverbs. It is amazing how although the words were written so long ago, they are still applicable, here in 2009. Why is that? Because the Word of God is inspired and God knew what we would need even in the 21st Century.
My husband and I have a jail ministry. I am able to minister to ladies in two county jails and my husband is able to minister to men in several county jails. We both are able to go in our local prison. I find that often I go in to be a blessing and I come out being the one blessed!
Proverbs 22:3 is a common verse that my husband uses in the jail ministry. It tells us that ”A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished”. How true this is. We see that both individuals are faced with the same thing, but the choice they make determines the outcome.
A prudent or wise man will study the situation, think about what the temptation is, and then hide himself from the situation. He may have to put on his armour (Eph 6:11-18) and stand guard in order to “hide” from the situation.
The simple or foolish man is one that will not believe the warnings and will pass on and be punished. This person goes into the situation knowing what the warnings are, but continues on anyway. I am glad that the Bible tells us that in times of temptation, God provides a “way out” (I Cor 10:13) if we take it.
In working with the ladies, I have heard lots of stories about why they are in jail. One lady sticks out in my mind. She was in jail due to drugs. She gave a clear salvation testimony but had backslidden and become addicted to drugs. She remained in jail for quite a while and we saw growth in her Christian walk. I forewarned her that upon her release, the devil would tempt her in every way possible to get her to go back to her old lifestyle (physically, through friends, emotionally). It was not too long after that I saw her back in jail. I questioned her as to what happened. She said she was in “that” area of town one day running some errands and came to a stop sign. To go home, she would take a left. To go to the old drug house, she would take a right. She decided in her mind that she wanted to “ride by” to see who was there. She was not going to stop and doing drugs was the last thing on her mind. Needless to say, she made that turn, made that stop and did what she thought she would never do again. “…the simple pass on and are punished.” I have seen many lives ruined due to just one bad choice.
There is an old saying that says a fool does not learn from mistakes, a smart person learns from his mistakes but the wisest person of all learns from the mistakes of others. The Bible is loaded with instruction and warnings for our day-to-day living, and has examples of men and women who made poor choices and those that made the right choice. We cannot see into the future, but we know Who holds the future, and we have His Word to guide us. Be prudent and wise when making decisions and facing life’s challenges.
All the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is among us. I recently went to the mall for some last minute shopping and was very surprised to see not as many people as I expected. With the economy as bad as it is this year, there are many among us that will not be able to give gifts as we would like to family and friends.
The world is not expected to remember why we celebrate Christmas, but we as Christians do not have an excuse. Christmas is the time set apart especially to celebrate the birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. It is sad how easy it is to get “caught up” in all the commercialism of the holidays and forget the real “Reason for the Season”.
Have you ever been to a birthday party and did not take a gift for the person of honor? I do remember one time that happened to me when I was a child. I was invited to a birthday party, but I was unable to get my friend a gift because my parents had not been paid. My friend understood of course, but I felt pretty bad when it came time to open presents and I was the only one without a gift to give. This may sound sad, but is it really any different than we are this time of the year? We are celebrating Jesus’ birthday but He doesn’t get any gifts. We hear the Preacher mention giving a gift to Jesus and we get upset because it means less in our budget to buy a gift for someone else. We may then give a gift, but give it begrudgingly. Does that kind of spirit line up with II Corinthians 9:7? Why don’t you memorize that verse this week as you think about why we celebrate Christmas. What gift will you bring to the birthday and what type of Christmas spirit will you have to go along with it?
II Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”