Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Helpful Resource

Just thought I'd encourage you to check out the resources on the website:

Excellent list of sermons and subjects by good preachers/teachers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Incline My Heart

I have been trying to memorize Psalm 141:3-4 the past few days. These verses recognize that unless God helps us, our mouths will overflow with what our hearts possess. Without God's direct control over our hearts, what overflows will not be pleasing to God or good for others.

It may seem strange to hear David's words at first. He writes "Do not incline my heart to any evil thing." We might ask, "Why pray that? Surely, God would not need to be asked for that?! God wouldn't incline our hearts toward evil, would he?"

The answer is clearly "no!". James makes it clear in the first chapter that when we are tempted that we should never say that God is doing it - for "God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone." See James 1:13.

What David is acknowledging is what Jesus teaches us to pray in what we call the Lord's Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray to our heavenly Father, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." David and Jesus both know that we as humans have a disposition to walk right into temptation. Unless God directs our hearts in a new and right path, we are, as an old hymn says, "prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God, I love."

Here is the thought that we all need to regularly keep in mind. If David needs to ask God to not let his heart go the way of wickedness and if Jesus teaches us to pray to God to not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil... we need to acknowledge that without God's help... we can get ourselves in deep doo-doo. We can allow our hearts to be focussed upon or filled with the wickedness which soon overflows not only in our speech but in our lives.

We need heart help. Christians need regular heart help. I am convinced that Jesus, who did not have any sin, maintained his sinlessness not because He was divine. Rather, as a fully human being, he continually looked to and leaned upon His heavenly Father - to keep Him and protect Him by the power of the Spirit. Remember, he taught his disciples to pray because He was a man of prayer. Even on the night before his crucifixion, he prayed. He also exhorted his disciples to pray so that they would not fall into temptation. Why did Jesus pray? He prayed for the strength to live faithfully in obedience to His heavenly Father whom He loved. He longed to do His Father's will.

We who have sinful struggles because of our own weakness in the flesh, because of the ways of the world, and the wiles of the devil, need to pray "Do not incline my heart to any evil thing." The emphasis is on the "any". May we look always for the grace that God gives to make us the people Christ Jesus died to make us and for whom Jesus now lives to make complete.