Coming Clean With the Lord
Jason had misbehaved, so his mother sent him to his room. A short time later, he came out and said to his mother, "I've been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer." His mother, pleased with his attitude, encouraged his behavior. "That's wonderful. If you ask God to make you good, I know He will help you." "But I didn't ask Him to help me be good," Jason said, "I asked Him to help you put up with me."
Prayers like Jason's are not uncommon. We don't like to admit that we may be to blame for the problem, so we petition the Lord to change other people or our circumstances. In doing so, we focus on secondary problems and avoid the heart of the matter - our own heart. Praying about our circumstances is effective only when we come clean with the Lord about our own sin. In David's prayer in Psalm 51, he first asked for mercy (v.1). Then he acknowledged his sin (v.3), asked for a clean heart (v.10), and asked for a restoration of the joy of his salvation (v.12). When David confessed the shameful deeds of adultery and murder (II Samuel 11), he made no excuses.
God wants nothing less than our total honesty when we talk with Him. We may have to struggle with ourselves - that kind of praying is not always comfortable - but it's most profitable.
~Dennis J. De Haan
Beware Of The 2%
I recently read that 98% of the ingredients in rat poison are inert. That is, they are harmless. In fact, they are things that rats actually like to eat. Those things that make up the 98% are designed to serve as bait. The rat doesn’t realize that he needs to beware of that very small 2%. Fortunately for us, the rats aren’t very smart and take the bait.
Unfortunately for us, Satan uses the same strategy. To Satan, we are just worthless rats that need to be destroyed. He often baits us with things that appear seemingly harmless, except for that deadly 2%. This is perfectly illustrated in his approach to Eve in the Garden of Eden. He used the very words of God, but added to them a deadly 2%. He added the word “has” with a question mark. This was intended to make Eve question God’s motives. Then he added that little word “not”. God said “thou shalt surely die.” The “not” in Satan’s “tale” was “thou shalt not surely die.”
Let us not fall for Satan’s schemes. There are many false teachers that would steer us away from the truth. There are many worldly adversaries that would steer us away from Christ. It is the pure Word of God that nourishes the soul and fortifies us against Satan’s wiles.
Northside church of Christ,
St. Petersburg, Florida