What They Don’t Know, Will Still Hurt You!

Psalm 101:1-4- I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

 

So, just the other day I found myself really aggravated. Life had been throwing curveballs at us for a while, so I was already a little irritable. Then a certain scenario just came along and was that little gust of wind that pushed me over the edge. I was tired from a long week of work, sore from remodeling my house, and in a hurry to make an appointment. I had this plan all lined up and… boom. Nothing went according to that plan. Letting my flesh take over I said, “I’m so frustrated! (and I may have even growled just a little…) But I’ll walk right out of here and no one will ever know. I’ll smile really big and go about my day… all the while keeping this buried.”

For a moment, I felt good about myself for that.

But the longer I thought about it, I felt convicted… challenged. There was a pressing discomfort that wouldn’t let me feel settled and okay with how I let myself think and feel. And, then I read this Scripture: “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house…”

While it is extremely important and expected of us to act and speak in an honorable way, Christ wants us to go a little further than that.  Integrity means internal consistency or lack of corruption… We have to get our heart and mind in line with what He would want for us. That saying that all of us have heard at some point, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them…” is deceptive and misleading, to say the least. Keeping our actions in check while around others is necessary, but if we allow ourselves to build on a foundation of frustration, we will be the ones hurting; suffering from our own self-destruction.

Whenever I feel myself taking on an attitude or feelings of frustration that shouldn’t be lingering there, I remind myself to pray this little phrase found in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” And the more I fix my mind on God and His goodness, the easier it is for me to dwell in peace. (Isaiah 26:3- You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.)

This world keeps us busy every day we wake up. We have work, family, home responsibilities, friends, school activities, church functions, stalling cars, doctor appointments, bills that are due… etc, etc, etc. While none of those things are unworthy of our time and attention, when we focus on them too much, it doesn’t take long at all to feel picked and pulled apart and weighed down. It’s only natural for our flesh to speak up and say “Hey now! That’s enough. This is too much. It’s not fair. I’m too tired…”

We have to spend time with Him, delve into His word. We have to “ponder the way that is blameless…” There’s no other way for us to walk with integrity of heart…

I am fully aware that there will be days “life” just becomes too much. We will feel stressed. We’ll deal with frustration, sure. Still, we should let our prayers everyday reflect the desire to walk with integrity of heart. Direct our thoughts to Him and His way. Avoid anything that would be displeasing in His sight, or cause conflict in our life. It can be done, through Him. He gives us strength and power to live above the “norm” every day. We just have to grasp that truth and cling tightly to it.

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me keep my heart and spirit in check with You. Align my attitude to reflect Your gentleness and selflessness. When my flesh rises up within me, remind me that I have the authority, through Your name, to put it back in its place. I can walk in the Spirit each day when I keep my mind on Your will. I love You, Lord. Walk closely to me today. In Your name, amen.

 

It’s a Beautiful Thing

Matthew 26:6-11- “Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at the table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble this woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you…”

 

If your life is anything like mine, you are loaded down every single day with responsibilities. Spouses, children, dinner, laundry, friends, family, church activities, school meets, and the list could very easily go on and on. From the moment our feet hit the floor, we rush through the day just hoping and praying we get everything done.

But, how often do we stop just to talk to Jesus? How many times a day do we give Him our undivided attention?

I’ve been so convicted about this as of late. I find myself buying planners to assist myself with accomplishing all of my goals; Scheduling my days nearly down to the half hour to meet all of the upcoming deadlines. This is when I’ll start the laundry. That is when I’ll empty the dishwasher. On lunch I’ll run by the bank. At 3:00, I’ll check on so and so. At 7:30 I’ll start writing that blog… … … But, when I go back and look over it all, I’m broken and ashamed at how little time I spent giving Christ my FULL attention. There is nothing wrong at all with praying in the car, worshiping while you sweep the kitchen, or listening to a sermon while dinner is on. But, don’t you feel so special and loved when someone stops everything they’re doing, pulls up a chair, and looks you right in the eye as you speak or listen? I know I do. And I know Jesus would sure love that, too.

Looking back at this portion of Scripture, I understand the disciples’ concern. Back in that day, alabaster boxes filled with ointment were said to cost approximately one year’s worth of wages. I’m sure in their frame of mind they were thinking of all the struggling people just on the other side of their walls. Aren’t followers of Christ supposed to help the poor? Most definitely. Shouldn’t we be wise stewards with our money? For sure. Isn’t it expected of us to check on the sick, keep our homes in order, visit the prisoners, and take care of the orphans? Don’t we need to reach out to the community and give it all our best effort? Absolutely. But, we’re also told to simply, “Be still.” (Psalm 46:10) We have to pause and remember Who He is. When we do that, our hearts will yearn for that one-on-one time with Him.

Our help comes from the Lord. (Psalm 121:2) He is the very Source of our strength. (Psalm 28:7) He is our Safety (Proverbs 18:10), our Shield (Psalm 18:2), and our Mediator. (Hebrews 7:25) We will wear ourselves out if we don’t take time to soak in peace of mind and rest that only He can give. (Isaiah 26:3)

We should keep our “hands to the plow.” We should do everything as to the Lord. We’re told to number our days and use our time wisely. (Psalm 90:12 & Ephesians 5:16) Still, we must be careful that we don’t focus so much on ministry that we lose sight of Who we’re ministering for. I probably talk about Christ more than I actually talk to Him, and that’s something I’ve got to change. He longs for our fellowship. He deserves it, and I need it. What you’re doing for others is great! But time with Him… Worshipping Him… Talking with Him… even greater. It’s a beautiful thing.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for loving me like You do… for wanting time with ME. Thank You for always being there with a listening ear, merciful heart, and outstretched arms. Help it sink down deep in my heart that I need uninterrupted time with You on a daily basis. Without that time to rest, glean strength, and hear Your direction, I’ll wear myself down and out. I love You, Jesus! Forgive me for not spending enough time with You, and help me as I try to do better. In Your name, Amen.

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