A HEART AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART #2

Genesis 8:21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord SAID in his HEART, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake;

The Lord had just wiped out everyone and everything on the face of the earth except for Noah and his family and the animals on the Ark. We often see the “God of the Old Testament as vindictive but we are looking at things from our viewpoint. He can often see that either there is no hope for mankind at all or that millions will perish if the current group is left to practice their sinful ways undisturbed.

 He is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance. And now, as Noah offers up a sacrifice of gratitude, God responds “in his heart” with thoughts of a hope and a future thoughts of good and not of evil.

Like our Lord we are not to rejoice when the evildoers around us pull on their own heads natural consequences. Instead we are to cultivate thoughts of future blessings for them and chances for joyous relationships once they benefit from the consequences. Paul wrote the church at Corinth to turn over to satan a young man having sex with his father’s wife to wreak havoc in his flesh, why? In order that he might repent. Then in 2 Corinthians he had to yell at the church for not taking the young man back and restoring him. Consequences without love and acceptance of the person will only produce despair. When someone wishes that another be damned or go to hell they do not want mercy, (helping others benefit from the consequences of their sin). They want only retribution. They must be forgetting who the second worst sinner in history is. (The worst is yours truly, obviously) Perhaps if they would say. “God why don’t you destroy everyone as bad as or worse than that person.” Then, if they saw the truth, they would be condemning themselves. Each person should see themselves as the chief of sinners justly condemned but pardoned and cleansed and restored. Why would we not want that for the sinners who hurt us or our family.

I remember a story of a man in Rhodesia who was leading the fight to restore government to the people but chose to kill innocent agricultural missionaries and their families. As the missionary men were awaiting their death and watching their families killed, they begged God to have mercy on the killers. He was so convicted that he found salvation and has been a tireless evangelist ever since.

Proverbs 24:16-18 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him.

My prayer should be:Father forgive them for they know not the full import of what they do. But, open their eyes and bring enough consequences to them to open their eyes. Then help me not to rejoice in their pain but to uphold them in prayer; to stand ready to minister to them with no added “I told you so” but rather as the chief of sinners ministering to the second chief.

 

 

A HEART AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART #1

(PS: If you don’t like the concept of sin, this blog is not going to add to your comfort. Remember I am a doctor of medicine and rejoice in clarifying just what is wrong so something can be done about it. Even so as a doctor of the heart I love to clarify what is wrong with me so God can debride the wound and bring healing and prevent further damage.

GOD’S HEART:
Genesis 6:6 And it REPENTED the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his HEART. Ephesians 4:30 and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.

Like any good leader, God never asks us to do what he has not already modeled for us. He simply ask us to be like him, to be as perfect as he is perfect. (I just love how pastors water that down by explaining that the word “perfect” means mature. OK so be as mature as God is mature–still impossible, right?) This entails getting out of his way moment by moment and letting him-not you- live his life through our yielded body members, in this case letting his hear take over our heart, our inner thoughts and chatter. When my inner chatter is his inner chatter then it is truly not I who live but Christ who liveth in me.

We should greive over the sins of man and not water them down with words such as: (In the late Billy Graham’s prayer for our nation) we call the lottery hope for the poor and help for worthy causes instead of what it is: exploitation of the poor. We call endless nonresponsible welfare which confirms the poor in perpetual poverty: help and kindness. We call murder of innocents: choice. We abuse power and call it politics. We covet our neighbor’s wife and house and job and call it: ambition. We fill the electronic world with profanity and pornography and murder and just plain consumption of valuable life time and call it: freedom of espression. We ridicule the time honored and Bible based traditions of previous generations and call it: progress and enlightenment.

Even if we may not call evil–good, we may just resign ourselves to ignoring it. Out of wedlock children are devastating the inner city church and society but it is so common that the preachers see it as just a way of life and do not attack it for fear of offending all those involved. The Lord advised us to use our eyes to see what He sees. As I sit in my office and see the results of family disintegration, no time for being still, comparison with what we see on Facebook, striving to live up to what others have and do etc. I have no trouble hating sin and hungering for righteousness but sometimes I feel numbed out. How to hate sin and not be overwhelmed and numb out? Well in part, limit myself to what I can do and to what God wants me to do. To pray fervently, help when I can and share words from God’s wisdom and feelings from his feelings.

We need to hate evil with great passion and love on the people who do the evil with  equal passion. We Christians need to pray for those who despitefully use us and bless those who curse us and do good to those who do bad to us. My daughter, Cheri hates what capitulation to evolution has done to the Church and our country but she is upset with how other Christians attack the enemy rather that pray for them. Psalms 101:3 I will hate the work of them that turn aside. Psalms 109:104 I hate every false way because it prevents understanding truth.

If we don’t hate evil, but still call it evil, we will first become numb, then curious, and then wind up doing the evil–just not as “evily” as the world,. “I thank God that I’m not that bad.” Romans 7:15 But what I hate, that I do. Finally we will wind up calling good bad and bad good. We should especially hate and be grieved by our own sin. “Happy is he who condemneth not himself in the thing which he alloweth Romans 14:22

Numbers 25:1-12 Phinehas hates fornication and does something to stop it.                  Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the Lord–hate evil.                                                                       Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil                                                                    Amos 5:13 Hate the evil, love the good and establish judgement

OH GOD help us hate sin as you hate sin. Let us call a spade a spade and see sin for all that it is but also see you for all you are and let you attack the evil through us.

 

LITTLE IS MUCH WHEN GOD

Praise the Lord I have my computer back.  Our connection to the internet was so old that it quit. We were given a new modem but had to upgrade our computer tower to match so I was off-line for a week. Now young people wonder why we oldies have technophobia!

One of the interesting things I’ve noted over the years is how large projects often fail over simple choices by the “least” members of the group. Yes it is healthy to see oneself as the “least” but then go out yielding the little I have to see what God can do through a yielded “least” one like me and you. Instead we often give lip service to the concept our “leastness” in order to excuse not trying. “My part doesn’t count anyways, God will accomplish his will even if I don’t do my part” Being “least” is not a disqualifier for service but an absolute prerequisite. Not many mighty not many strong are chosen. For we have this treasure in vessels of clay that others might glory in the treasure and not in the vessel. Those who SEEM to be the least are MUCH MORE necessary than those who seem to be much.

Examples: Sitting in the back pews at church. “You don’t understand, I’m shy or depressed or have a bad bladder or children to watch or like watching the others or am saving the front for others. What would you think of this kind of behavior at a ball game or concert? You’d think the participants were not into what was happening and did not see it as important. It’s not just the attitudes which cause us to sit in the back but also the resistant independent attitudes of not responding when pastors ask us to move up and together. Recently my pastor asked people at a Wednesday meeting to move up and together and, as usual, no one moved! Contrary to my shy nature I stood up and said that it was my firm belief that this simple small choice is what is destroying the impact of the church in America. I was told to shut up and not be so radical. (Not by the pastor but by a deacon) I still think that I was right.

People are asked to go calling and one in ten shows up. We do better than the liberals at paying tithe but where they are at 2 % we might be at 10 percent. God gets a tithe of his tithe! We only smile at those we know and shake hands limply. We used to get up for Easter sunrise services and now we won’t even get up for Sunday school if it is at 9. We are too shy to pray out loud in Sunday school and won’t share what God has been doing in our lives.

It is the “little” foxes that spoil the vines, a “little” folding of the hands a little laying in bed that brings poverty, a “little” fly makes the ointment stink.

In addition to thinking that the loss of my “little” part will make no difference, we fear that if we step out we are little and will stand alone and be destroyed  and make no difference. The whole world saw and admired the one man who stopped a row of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen square those many years ago. For God sought for one man to stand in the gap and the city was lost because he found none. Ezekiel 22:30

The good news if how God uses little old you and me if we will stand up. My daughter Cheri has 7 children and very limited time and finances and yet is one of the best known women in the creation movement doing the little she can from her home computer. Instead of saying

What can do? Instead: What can I do?

Who am I that God should use me? Instead: Here am I send me!

What do I have to do God’s work with? Instead: What is in my hand? Let me cast it down take it up and let it be God’s. As with Moses and the rod of God.

Who have I to support my endeavors? Instead: Thank you for those You have put in my life now help me to reach out to and with them.

OLD? DON’T BE A HEZEKIAH Attitudes for elders and not so elders

As I am getting older on the outside,although younger on the inside. Being more aware of the brevity of life; I have a strong urge to do things that invest in others and the future. I am always impressed with J Vernon McGee who has been dead for years and still his radio discussions of Through The Bible, are still being heard and blessing listeners. That is one reason that I have been putting more effort into the internet ministries. Lois is going to try to find ways to get my blog known on a wider scale and God has led a couple of my friends to start a Facebook group for hurting people, hope to launch in May. We hope to use some of the material God has given me to help others. I am very grateful for the opportunities.

When Hezekiah was getting old, God came to him and said, “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”   It would have been so much better if he had said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away blessed be the name of the Lord” Instead he whined and wept and God gave him fifteen more years. However, he did not set his house in order and his son Manasseh was evil. It would have been better if fifteen years earlier he had looked for a godly replacement or led his son to worship God. During those fifteen years he showed off the riches God had given him to “distant” visitors from Babylon who took the report home and eventually came back with an army. Instead of preparing the people for coming judgement that God had promised, he said, “As long as the war doesn’t come while I am alive it is good!”

First we need to live in the now with passion and peace, yet being constantly OK with moving on whenever God calls. “For I am in a straight between two things having a desire to depart and be with the Lord but for now staying and ministering to others is EVEN BETTER!

Because Hezekiah was not ready to go then he was not ready to stay.

There was a foolish young protester with a sign that said “there is nothing worth dying for!” This was on national TV a few years ago and the whole country gasped and asked “what are we coming to? If there is nothing worth dying for then there is nothing worth living for.”

Unlike Hezekiah we need to invest whatever time we have left in leaving a legacy and in calling our country to repent lest we reap a consequence far worse than the invasion of Babylon. Do we pray, not only for our country now, but also for the country of our children and grandchildren, that God will bring and maintain revival for the long term.

Life focus should be like driving a car. Learn from the past and don’t let it control our decisions in the present or color our hope for tomorrow or absorb all our focus or eat up our energy trying to suppress it. Ask how going down the current piece of road will lead to godly outcomes in the future.

Then being grateful for God’s mercy on the past and hoping to the end for the promised blessings; we seize the moment doing everything with all our might as unto the Lord and not as men-pleasers. Grateful for every extra second He gives us on earth to fight the good fight and equip the next generation to continue the war. I see so many old people who seem to have the attitude that “I’ve done my part so now I will back off and coast and leave it to others. The young need us for example of being good to the last drop and for our witness of what God has done. Even if they don’t always know that they need us. So don’t get miffed but get involved!

HEAVY BURDENS–the ideal–how I mess it up–consequences–PRACTICAL STEPS

It would be so easy if I could find and share the one clear answer to each question. However, what God’s will and way in any given situation is often a balance and requires me to keep my eyes on Jesus, listen to the Holy Spirit, remember that I will probably never see the full picture or find the perfect balance but I already have worth and dignity and security and God is able to bless my imperfect efforts. This must not be an excuse to be careless or lazy but rather a focus to keep me from being tense while I try. Just as a student with a master or a child with a parent needs to try their best and learn and grow but knows that the teacher or parent is on their side and will guide them and make up for their shortfall. Especially important with driving instructors.

Some ideas to turn “burdens” into the opportunities that God intends them to be, (for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works that he prepared for us and us for).

  1. Start your day the night before. The Jewish day began at sundown. Look back on the day and thank God for  a. what He HAS HELPED you do, b. thank Him for the people he HAS PLACED in your life and for the grace he gave you to interact with them in a positive way, also stop and be grateful for anything others have done for you or just evidence of God working in them (positive character qualities), c. thank Him for the things He HAS GIVEN you and stop and savor them for a moment, d. Thank Him for who YOU ARE warts blemishes struggles and all especially including things about you that are just given and are part of God’s design of you. (age,sex,family of origin, height, IQ, time in history,etc.) Thank Him for the things about you and your support system that could change but are out of your control, take what you can do something about and acknowledge the current reality, thank God that He likes you anyhow and ask for grace to change and grow but don’t try to resent yourself into growth.
  2. Promise God that the very first thing you will do when you wake up is take a few minutes to praise Him.
  3. When you finish praising Him, put on the whole armor of God. My understanding of this is that I need to REMIND myself of the positional truths of who I am in Christ. First put on the helmet by remembering that you are saved from sin’s penalties and power. Second remember that you live in a world of truth not just fluctuating educated guesses. Sharpen up your awareness of this truth through reading the Word. Third remember that you face the devil’s accusations by referring all attackers to Jesus who seems to like you and whose righteousness is sufficient to compensate for whatever the attack is about. You might think or say, “your attack makes sense to me because I am aware that I am the chief of sinners and without Christ I can do nothing, but take it up with God who disagrees with both of us and thinks that I am worth an infinite amount and I rest in His righteousness so why don’t you attack that?” Fourth we can go out into the filth and struggles of life because our efforts are worthwhile because we carry the message that eternal life is available for free to all and we do have this gospel of peace.
  4. During the day– take up the shield of faith: so what is faith? It is the type of belief that compels me to act even though I fear that I will botch everything, look like a fool, lose all I have (He is no fool who lets go of what he doesn’t really have to gain what he can’t lose) be thought ill of etc. Besides, it seems unfair and impossible. So I find motivation to obey anyhow because His ways really couldn’t be worse than mine and I owe Him everything. I yield my body parts according to a growing picture of God’s ways in action, then leave the results to Him and get a good night sleep. Taking up the shield involves reminding myself of what God has done in the recent past and picturing the positional reality that (contrary to emotions and some slips) I am dead to sin and alive to God. Watchman Nee shares how he made everything a burden by getting up in the morning and purposing to act dead to sin and alive to God. Then at the end of the day he would beat himself up for his shortfall. After fasting praying and giving up on figuring out the healthy balance, God came to him and said, “you can’t kill dead people” how would you ever figure out when the corpse had been properly deaded? What technique would be sufficient? Instead he got up thanking God for the fact that he was already dead to sin and alive to God and improved his picture of these two states and found grace to rest in the accomplishments of God.
  5. Then there is the sword! This is the spoken word, spoken in song, spoken in prayer and spoken out loud but spoken practically and clearly. When tempted Jesus responded with a verse, when tempted the second time he responded with a verse, when the devil tempted him again and used a verse to back up his temptation Jesus responded with a more appropriate verse. The better you know the word the more accurate the tool but no one becomes a skilled sword fighter instantly. Do remember that it is not enough to pary the temptations we must thrust back or the devil will have no motivation to quit and sooner or later we will get poked. So when attacked, pray for you pastor or someone else, pray that God’s kingdom will thrive and the devil’s be defeated. Command him to leave in Jesus name. That is the first and easiest place to start with sword-fighting. I know of a missionary in the swamps of Borneo who broke a local taboo and was then attacked by a screaming demon. He froze and was sinking in the mire when he thought, ” I don’t know what they taught about this in seminary but greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world!” He cried out the nave of Jesus and the demon was silenced and peace came to the jungle and freedom to his next effort to evangelize. Don’t forget to sing speaking to yourself in songs and hymns and spiritual songs and making melody in your heart. Watch your “inner chatter” and pray without ceasing. It is good to set time aside but also talk constantly with your Lord.
  6. End of day go back to step 1.

HEAVY BURDENS–ideal–how I mess it up–CONSEQUENCES–practical

We need to : be mindful;   see with God’s eyes;   feel as He does;   yield our members;    cast it all on the Lord;     grab the next piece of life;    repeat till time for sleep;   let it all go and sleep well;   get up and repeat till we see Christ.

To that extent that we don’t come at life this way we:

  1. Miss opportunities, miss out on God’s power, find ourselves CIRCLING on the details of the past or reviewing all the possible problems of the future.
  2. Like Peter, we focus on the “lower realities” and take our eyes off the Lord and start to sink. Yes there were waves and wind and he did know friends who had drowned in similar storms–“but so what?” We see only the negatives of what we have or haven’t done or what others have or haven’t done. We may even “see” what isn’t, so are overwhelmed.We put our own hate of self higher than God’s love of us, we “remember” all our failures and blow them up bigger than God’s grace. Or, if we are bitter, we blow the others’ misdeeds out of proportion and minimize our problem. Then our plans and responses will not work because they are to vague or just don’t fit reality. God can’t forgive and cleanse and fix our watered down or blown out of proportion view of things.
  3. Instead of blessed passion and drive, our feelings are either squashed out and our lives lack energy and we do not see opportunities or our sin OR we lump all our feeling together and just feel “terrible” or  angry or  depressed. That would be like stepping on a nail and having a vague ache all over or a tooth ache. This would feel miserable and give us excuse to moan and groan but would not help us identify the nail in the foot and have it removed and the damage fixed. So we go on damaging ourselves and others and feeling hurt and bitter, confused as to why things go so badly. It is also sad that, if we squash out our uncomfortable feelings or wallow in the misery, we also squash out love, joy, peace, contentment, etc.
  4. We may become hyper-logical and are always quoting the original Hebrew yet avoiding obedience to the simple obvious truth, or thinking that when we think through what is happening and what one should do, it is the same as actually doing something.  We may fill our brains with ways that seem right–yet the end is death. We may use our logic to put others down and be sarcastic and demeaning. We may refuse to think and depend on pastors and others to do all our thinking which leads to cultism or just to not being able to think under stress. (God loves Bereans who listen and go to the Word and think for themselves.)
  5. We may refuse to DO THE LITTLE WE CAN because it would make no difference. (Nothing you or I will ever do will be sufficient to fix anything but it is the place God jumps in and makes it work, thus preserving His sovereignty and our free will) We may do everything ourselves without asking for help and thus burn out. We may do things without checking God’s word.
  6. We may continue to fuss and go round and round on the problem after we have done our part and feel that fussing is doing, that fussing will fix something or find a solution.

The resulting conditions?: BURN OUT, NUMB OUT, WEAR OUT

Burn out comes from spending our Serotonin, Nor-epinephrine and Dopamine faster than we can replace it. If you buy a car and decide that water looks a lot like gasoline and is a lot cheaper, so you fill the tank with water; don’t call up the designer and complain it won’t run on water. You are designed to have enough Serotonin Norepi and Dopamine to handle today’s evil if you sleep peacefully, eat well, exercise and handle situations with help from God and others,  and casting all your burdens on Christ. Consequence? You will be too anxious, tearful, despairing, irritable, withdrawn, overwhelmed etc (serotonin calms passion) and you will not be able to turn off the feeling when you realize that it is excessive. You will not be able to concentrate, organize, plan, gather resources and in general to think. You will not feel like doing things and will make yourself but find no joy or satisfaction, all will be pointless and boring and you will dread the thought of doing the same over and over and over.

Numb out comes from the constant dumping out of Glutamate which is supposed to alert the cortex. Instead the cortex gets tired of the constant alerts and stops listening  So we begin to shut out the world around us and go into fantasy worlds or just focus on our own misery.

Wear out comes from constant dumping of adrenaline and cortisol into the blood and results in practically every illness known to man. When God promised to keep the Israelis well, that was a conditional promise based on them resting in Him. Deuteronomy 7:15

The resulting attitudes: bitterness, greed, lust, pessimism, distrust etc.

So how do we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to move from our ways to His ways? tune in next time for a couple ideas.

MY HEAVY BURDENS –ideal–HOW I MESS IT UP–consequences–practical

The Lord asks me to bind my pride to the horns of the altar as a sweet sacrifice (To keep it from jumping off). I have always felt that the greatest humility is to quit trusting my own brain  and instead realizing that: if His thoughts are not my thoughts, and His thoughts are correct, then I must indeed be insane (the missperception or reality). The higher my IQ the greater,deeper, more complex my insanity; the more my ways seem right but the end is death!

. Challenges in life, by God’s grace, should be a blessing, a source of purpose, growth, reliance on God and his word and his people. What changes these challenges from a blessed light burden into a heavy crushing burden is INIQUITY.

What is iniquity? Deciding for myself what is right and wrong and trying to do this right in my own strength, then moaning and groaning about how hard it was: So that I might brag about being the right one, about being strong, and that I might be admired for my sacrifice.

Jesus didn’t do this even though He had the right to, the right to think on his own and do on his own and complain about the task. Unlike Him, we, like the little children we are( I John 2:1), think about and are anxious about and busy about:

1.We make situations overwhelming by making them too important, by attaching our significance to the outcome or to doing things perfectly, by not asking for help or by dumping on ourselves when we do.What do I want? What do I think would work? What am I strong enough to handle? Here, let me I do it! I will be the judge. Don’t tell me what to do or how to do it, I can figure it out for myself. I wonder what people will think of me. I will plan my path and do the works I decide are best. If it doesn’t feel good, if it doesn’t please me, why should I do it?

2.Or we might just turn off our brain and see nothing think nothing and do nothing feel nothing and blame others make excuses and bury ourselves in video games or trivial business and then complain about how badly life is treating us.

3.We might focus on everyone else’s problems and care about them and try to fix them and even sacrifice ourselves trying to help them, so that we don’t have to look at ourselves. After all if we can fix everyone else then we must be OK, right? Maybe this is what I Cor 13 means when we can give our mind, money , flesh and lives and have it mean nothing without AGAPE love. True love must look to the other’s welfare, in part, by letting the God of ALL comfort,reprove you, correct you, comfort you and equip and strengthen you so that you may point others to the same source of healing. But it always involves letting the Holy Spirit search you and help you know your own reality.

4.We circle round and round trying to find a solution. We make things bigger than we can carry by not sharing them with the Lord and the people He puts in our life. We attach our right to like ourselves to the outcome. We look anxiously into the future, rehash the past, fuss with what is elsewhere that we can do nothing about.

5.We drive ourselves with self-criticism calling ourselves ugly names questioning if we are even saved, even yelling at ourselves for failure to rest in grace better. We compare with how we used to do or with how we thought our lives would go or with how others seem to be doing.

6. We worry about the future, circle round and round reviewing the details of the past, fuss with what is going on elsewhere.

7. We stuff our feelings refuse to allow God to show himself bigger than our past. We refuse to look at what happened for fear that God can’t handle it and we would have to quit playing religion. We procrastinate hoping problems will go away or we will be more competent tomorrow.

MY HEAVY BURDENS–ideal–how I mess up–CONSEQUENCES–practical  THEN WE BURN OUT   

We may wonder why we burn out and even get upset at God for not backing up our willful ways and keeping us from wearing out.(TUNE IN FOR CONSEQUENCE AND PRACTICAL RESPONSE ON THE NEXT BLOG)