Search My Heart

30th June

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Psalm 139:23-24

A pastor once said to me that these verses are his habitual morning prayer. Not as an act of religious piety but as an act of humble submission to a Holy and Righteous God.

David, the writer of this wonderful psalm, knew very well what it was like to live under a banner of persistent guilt from his personal sin. Upon committing adultery with Bathsheba and ordering her husband to fight on the front lines of a ferocious war to cover up his sin, David was being consumed daily with the guilt of his sinful actions. He knew that his choices had led him to murder an innocent man and to commit adultery with his wife. He knew that he had dishonoured God through his actions. Yet God, in his mercy forgave David because of the Lord’s “steadfast love” and “mercies that are new each morning.”However, David first had to acknowledge his sin, repent of it and make his heart right before God.

This Psalm indicates that although we serve a gracious and kind God, there are choices we make that offend the righteousness of God. We also need to have a healthy guilt in our lives, not to condemn us of our sins (like David experienced), but rather to point out where we have made mistakes so that we can repent and enjoy the intimate communion with God that He so desires to have with us.

Let us come before God each day, searching our hearts to find out if there is anything we have not repented of. We do not need to dig deep, but rather allow the Holy Spirit to bring things to our attention that need repenting of. Then, let us confess it in faith and humility and accept God’s forgiveness, knowing that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross has completely and fully paid the debt of our sins. Let this be a pray of submission and humility as we seek to live a lifestyle that leads to everlasting life.

Hope For The Most Hardened Criminal

29th June

As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting.””

Acts 9:3-5

The Apostle Paul, who wrote so much of the beloved New Testament writings, had a horrific past. If you read his words of love and peace, there is no way you would believe that he actually hated “The Way”. In fact, verses 1 – 2 of chapter 9, tell us that every breath Saul breathed were threatening promises to kill the Lord’s followers. He was there at Stephen’s death, giving his approval. He went from home to home in Jerusalem dragging out believers and throwing them into prison, going around destroying the churches. When he spoke, it was only words of hate. Yet Saul did not realise he was fighting against the Lord Jesus Christ by persecuting His children.

Saul, with the acceptance letters from the synagogues in Damascus in hand, headed to cause further damage by destroying the churches in Damascus and all who followed “The Way”. As he journeyed with some of his followers, a bright light from Heaven shone down and blinded Saul. However, through the confusion, Saul heard Jesus’ voice calling out to him saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” Jesus showed His grace to Saul, forgave him and day by day continued to reveal Himself to him. Paul then went on to be one of the founders of the early church and His words in the New Testament are a daily encouragement for believers around the world.

Even if the most hardened criminals and the most hateful people have a chance to encounter the mighty presence of God. When we look at a world filled with hate and violence, do we see people the way God sees them or do we look at them wanting revenge or justice? Saul, before his encounter with Christ, was so hateful towards the believers, imprisoning them and even killing them. Yet God had other plans for Saul. God saw in Saul, a zeal and enthusiasm to proclaim His message of love and grace. We should not be too quick to judge our enemies, but rather pray that they too may have a Damascus experience and meet Jesus the Prince of Peace.