Tag Archives: sinner

No Connection

My husband is on a cell phone contract without a device. It is a data only package. Although he has more than 9GB data, he has been unable to access it. This was a problem today when we were out and about. He had collected a shoe from a cobbler for a friend and was unable to send a WhatsApp message to his friend. We decided it was time to go to Cell C and ask for their help, especially since we will be going on holiday in our motorhome in just over two weeks and we are counting on having his data to connect to the internet as caravan parks have limited if any Wi-Fi signal for campers.

The friendly Cell C consultant was very helpful. She adjusted the settings but then picked up that there might be a problem with the sim card. In other words, the phone was not connecting because there was a problem with its heart.

Isn’t this a typically human problem? We can’t connect to God because of a heart issue. We have been created with so much potential but we can’t access it. We seem powerless to be able to do the things we know are right and end up doing things we don’t want to do.

Paul puts it thus. “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15 NLT)

We need a sim swap. A new heart. It is not something we can do ourselves. We need to go to God, our maker. He promises, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take our your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 NLT)

My Prayer

Lord, Romans 7:15 describes me exactly. It is not that I do not know what is right. I’ve been a Christian long enough to have a pretty good idea. It is just that I don’t do it. I seem powerless to live Your way. Please give me a sim swap. Take out my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, powered by Your Spirit to will and to do Your good pleasure. Amen.

It’s All About the Heart

It was in the newspaper.

A woman left home to look for her poodle which had gone missing. On the way she saw a pit bull mauling a little girl. According to onlookers, she did not hesitate but threw herself onto the child/dog maelstrom thus saving the little girl’s life. The woman is badly injured, recovering in hospital.

Would I have done a thing like that? If I am honest, the answer is “no.” That is because of what is in my heart.

Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Above all, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV) What is important to us determines our actions and words.

The first commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” really makes the rest of the commandments unnecessary. If God had His rightful place of first in our hearts, we would want, above all, to please Him and glorify Him.

So why would I not throw myself onto a vicious dog to save a stranger? Because other things take first place in my heart. First in line would be me, myself and I, followed by my plans, my family, my comfort. I am not prepared to risk my life and skin for another.

But Jesus is. While we were still His enemies, He gave His life for us, enduring excruciating pain before He died. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this. while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)

Would Jesus have saved the little girl? Of course. So I am still very far from being in the image of Christ. I can’t even keep the first and most important commandment. I am an idolater.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, I realise I am a sinner. I am not even capable of keeping the first commandment. I confess You do not have first place in my life. Please forgive me and grow me by Your Spirit to a point when I can love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.

Wish upon a Feather

Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay

John 6:44 Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.”

He also said, “…apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b)

In other words, even coming to Christ is not at our initiation, but God’s.

Charles Wesley had a term for this action of the Father when He draws us to Christ. He called it “prevenient grace.”

Looking back in my past to identify signs of prevenient grace in my life, I remember an incident in my childhood which I count as my earliest possible memory of this grace.

I must have been quite young, but already at school, so possibly five or six years old. Somebody at school told me that if you stripped a feather of all but a top tuft of vanes and planted it in the ground, you could make a wish and the wish would come true. At that age I already felt inferior to others. I wasn’t as pretty, as comfortable socially, as interesting as other kids. I felt I was not good enough. My wish was that I could be good enough. In the back of my mind I had a sort of fairy story. I was actually a princess and had been swopped at birth and one day people would find out who I really was.

Peering back through sixty years, I can see that this was my first inkling that I was a sinner. At university I heard another variation on this theme from an Assembles of God pastor. “Wherever I go, I go too and spoil everything.”

I have now been a Christian for over forty years. I know that I have the righteousness of Christ since on the cross He exchanged my sin for His righteousness. Nobody can say that’s not good enough. Moreover, I know myself to be a daughter of the King of the Universe. In anybody’s book, that makes me a princess.

So it might have taken a while but my wish on a feather came true.

I Can See Clearly Now…

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Our fellowship group hasn’t met in person since the end of March but yesterday, now that we are in Covid Alert level one, we met for a bring and share lunch to celebrate the four birthdays in September. As I was eating my potato salad, the young man sitting opposite me stopped me and said there was a hair on my potato salad. I looked where he pointed but I saw nothing. My husband found the hair and removed it for me. My eyes are probably my weakest physical attributes. I wear contact lenses for distance vision and multifocals for reading.

This morning I read the words of Jesus from Revelation 3:17-18, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” NIV

As somebody with weak eyesight, I regard the eye salve as the most important treasure Jesus is offering. If I can’t see that I am poor and naked, I won’t see the need to buy gold or white clothes. If I can’t see that I am a sinner, I won’t repent.

I get a picture in my mind of a small girl in a forest. She makes a broom of branches and sweeps pine needles into lines to make walls of her imaginary house. She sweeps the interior clean and then gathers acorns for her treasure. She doesn’t know her family has no money, that her clothes are torn and dirty, that her hair is unwashed and unkempt. She considers herself rich because she has so many acorns.

I tremble to think that I might be like that little girl, blind to the reality of how God sees me.

My Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, please open my eyes to my sin, the poverty of my love, my uncleanness. Give me ointment for my eyes, gold so that I may be rich towards you, and clothes, white and spotless, that can only be obtained through Your sacrifice. Thank You. Amen.