Get the Dirt Out!

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9 NIV

One summer, I had a nasty fall off my bicycle. Ray had carefully instructed me, time and time again, to brake first with the right-hand brake and never the left-hand brake. He had even explained that the left-hand brake operated the front wheel, and, if I braked with that one alone, I would find myself flying over my bicycle handlebars. On top of that, a friend shared with me how she had lost two teeth braking with the left-hand brake. In short, I knew better.

As we turned a corner that day, I was holding a water bottle in my right hand, but I felt I was going too fast, so I braked with my left hand, totally oblivious to the multiple warnings I had received. The next thing I knew I was on the pavement with some horrific abrasions and considerable blood on my arm and leg. Nothing like an object lesson to cement ignored advice.

Well, we picked me up and knocked on the door of a nearby house. I knew all the sand and grit and dirt ground up inside my wounds had to come out to prevent infection. It was early on a Saturday morning, and, although it was the home of someone we knew, the owner did not recognize me in sunglasses and bike helmet and streaming with blood. To his everlasting credit, he let me in, thinking I was a stranger, and let me wash my arm and leg. It took a long time to scrub myself clean—and it hurt!

Sometimes confession is like that. We do something that is contrary to God’s Word, and we don’t particularly want to bring it to the Lord and confess because it’s raw and ugly and bleeding, and we know it will hurt when we confess it. On the other hand, to ignore sin and leave it is to invite infection and a much worse mess. If I hadn’t cleaned my cuts carefully, I would have opened the door to infection … infection that might have spread … even killed me.

We all know we have to get the dirt out. It’s the same with sin. As soon as we realize we have said or thought or done something wrong, we need to bring it to the Lord and be washed and cleansed. It might sting a little—or a lot—to confess that, once again, we have failed, but after the sting, comes the refreshment and peace of knowing all is clean and healthy and well again. We heal better when we don’t let sin fester.

Over time, I have learned to confess sin quickly. The more I get to know the great God who made all of us, the easier it becomes. He does not lecture me or rail against me angrily when I come, grinding the shame and fear even deeper. No. God always welcomes, always forgives, and always cleanses fully. I don’t want to let that dirt sit. I want it gone. How grateful I am for His cleansing power!

PS: Always brake with your right-hand brake first. Just sayin’.

Oh, Abba-Father, there could never be a more loving and patient Father than You, yearning to forgive and cleanse Your broken, dirty children. Forgive me when I justify sin. Forgive me when I excuse it and shy away from naming it. Help me to bring my messy self to You, fully confessing where I have failed. Cleanse me, Lord. Go deep and excise from me every ugly thing that keeps me from fully living as You intend. Thank You for the immeasurable gift of forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

Mission 
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

Donate
If you’ve been blessed, keep the blessing going!
Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.

 

 

 

 

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June 16 Notes

June 16. I Kings 9:1-9.

God's Promises and Warnings. As with all good things, God wanted to make sure Solomon understood that neglect and disdain would result in loss. As much as I might love my new car and want it to stay shiny forever, if I don't have it regularly maintained and if I abandon it for years at a time, it will not stay shiny. Not at all. Choices have consequences.

My verse: I Kings 9:6-7a "But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel ..."

My response: Oh Father! The responsibility that came with the privilege of being king! If the king turned from you, Israel would be cut off. Yikes. Thank You for the reminder that choices have consequences. How I live will, indeed, influence others. And, really, how could anyone expect to have Your favor if they rejected You? It's when we are near You that we are sheltered by You. Oh help me to stay close to You, dear Lord, all the days of my life.

June 15 Notes

June 15. 2 Chronicles 6:12-42

The Dedication of the Temple. Can you imagine what that magnificent moment must have been like, as thousands of people gathered to marvel at the huge and impressive temple? The size alone would have produced gasps of wonder. Add to that all the gold and detailing that seven years of steady work produced and you have a temple worth gasps of wonder! And then, here comes your king, who put making a home for God before making his own palace home. It would be one of those days that you would recount to your grandchildren in later years, etched on your memory as a "big day."

My verse: 2 Chronicles 6:13b " ... He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread his hands toward heaven."

My response: Lord, Solomon led by example. Thank You for showing this to me. The priests were there, of course, but so was he. And he came to You, Lord, in deep humility. He knelt.  He knelt as a slave would before a master. That prayer posture is a humbling one. It makes us "little" before You. It renders our legs useless for running or walking. It is the position of someone who knows they are small. And so Solomon - king of Israel and creator of a glorious structure that took 7 years to build (I Kings 6:38) - humbled himself and knelt before You. Lord, thank You. I think I should kneel more often. You are worthy of all honor and praise!

June 14 Notes

June 14. Proverbs 21.

Hello fellow seeker after the Lord. Happy Friday! How has your week gone? Do you have a steady rhythm by now, knowing each day when and where you will meet with God? I hope so. My corner of the couch, where I always have my quiet time, feels like a "sacred spot." When I sit there with my tea and my lamp, with the Word of God, the "lamp to my feet and the light to my path," it's a holy moment and the very best way to start my day, surrendered to Him. Hope you can find a way to meet with Him this weekend, too. Hold on to that precious time with God with both hands, friend. Oh, how we need His touch and His power to live life well!

My verse: Proverbs 12:31 "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD."

My response: So true, Lord! We can do all the great preparation possible to be ready for battle (or, in my case, ready to speak somewhere), but You alone bring victory. You sometimes allowed huge defeats when Israel's army fought without clinging to You and acknowledging their great need for You. I know that without Your Presence moving in hearts and igniting passion, my talks are just words. Victory/success/life change rests with You alone ...

PS on quarrelsome wives: Lord, help me to create a home where LOVE is pre-eminent, so my husband, children, grands and friends want to be here. Make it a place where we overlook offenses and don't look for quarrels. I don't want to be combative. I want to be remembered as gentle.

GET SMART - Week Three

And ... just like that we are just about halfway through our study. Are you seeing any themes emerge as you look at Solomon's life and words? I've been struck, so far, by his care for the poor and his desire for fair treatment for all. It's been good to see him in a positive light, as he started out so very, very well. Here's Week 3's verses for you. I like to give them out on a Thursday, in case you aren't an "every day on the computer" kind of person. These start on Saturday. Keep reading and studying. And, if you find the time, email me and let me know how it's going for you, or comment below. Love, Sharon (sharon@sweetselah.org)

June 13 Notes

June 13. Proverbs 18.

Good morning, friend. Oh, there was a proverb that convicted me, today in chapter 18. How about you? Sometimes these are real zingers, and I am grateful to be "zinged!"

My verse: "He who answers before listening - this is his folly and his shame." Proverbs 18:13

 

My response: Dear Lord, I confess that this is something I do waaaay too often. I'll finish my husband's sentences for him, or I'll interrupt someone while they are still speaking. Often, after I've assumed what they were going to say, I find out I was wrong. "No," says my patient husband, "that is not what I was going to say."

Help me SLOW down, Lord. Help me to consciously listen, today. Help me to listen all the way to the very end of the other person's thoughts, not assuming I know what they are about to say. Forgive me, dear Lord, for not being a good listener. Thank You for this concrete way to check myself on this. Help me not to speak until the other person is totally done. And then maybe I should still pause for a moment! I receive this reproof, Lord. Teach me, please.

June 12 Notes

June 12. Proverbs 15.

Oh how glad I am you are still doing this study. It's easy to start a study with enthusiasm, but sometimes it's hard to sustain that energy. We also don't study in a vacuum, do we? We have families that demand attention. Crises happen. Illness happens. Busyness gets its grip on us and it's very hard to shake it loose. However, no matter what threatens to interfere with our quiet times with God, let's remember that starting with Him is the very best way to handle threatening things. So, here's a round of applause for you, twelve days into this study and still persisting, still seeking, still learning. I thank God for your faithfulness.

My verse: Proverbs 15:18 "A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel."

My response: Lord, thank You for this reminder that calming a quarrel - when both sides are all riled up - requires patience. Help me to rein in my own tongue when I get angry, so I don't make everything worse. Give me patience to "wait out" the adrenaline rush of anger ... to turn to You for help ... so I give the gentle answer that turns away wrath. Give me patience, Lord, to seek You first, and wait for Your Holy Spirit's aid.

June 11 Notes

June 11. Proverbs 12.

Happy Tuesday, dear one. Oh, this chapter was RICH, wasn't it? I found my little proverb, though, quite easily. I have an amazing testimony of God's rescue of me from crippling anxiety. The short version of the rescue can be summarized in five words: Turn Your Worries Into Prayer. When I actually started to do that, every single time I worried (which was pretty much all the time!), God started the process of re-shaping how I thought. He taught me to go quickly to Him, hundreds of times a day, until one day, I quite literally felt anxiety "leave." That's the best way I know to describe it. It was a long, hard battle and it required persistent prayer. But Philippians 4:6 encouraged me to "turn my worries into prayer" and when I obeyed, things shifted. After a long period of time, I was free! That's my story. So, it won't surprise you to know which verse I chose. Read below ... after (of course) you have read for yourself and chosen a verse - the one God marked out for you, today.

My verse: Proverbs 12:25 "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up."

My response: Thank You, Lord, for this reminder of how to help someone who is anxious. First, anxiety is heavy. It weighs the person down and is kin to depression. Oh, the sadness of feeling burdened and under a weight that won't lift! You, Lord, tell anxious people to pray, and to give the impossible burdens to You.

But what can I do? I can't take their burden. I would then be just as anxious. Only You can carry our burdens and make them light. I can be kind. That's what I can do. How simply sweet is that? I can cheer someone up by being kind to them - noticing them - being tender with them. Teach me greater kindness, Lord, especially to the anxious.

June 10 Notes

June 10. Proverbs 11

We are back in the very heart of Proverbs this week, friend. Oh, seek with me for the treasures God has for us there. Let's be wise, and glean knowledge and understanding from what God's Word says about living well. If you are like me, it's hard to choose just one. However, the focus on "just one" helps cement the words and thoughts in our brains. So ... here is my choice for today:

My verse: Proverbs 11:7  "When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing."

My response: Oh Father, in light of eternity, it's so foolish to only live as if we had this one life here on earth. No matter how powerful, no matter how scary, every evil man or woman will someday die and face You. And their power will be gone in a nano-second. It is so GOOD to know that life is eternal, and on the other side of it all ... Your justice and Your mercy await us. I really do not need to "fear man" at all. Thank You, Lord!

Don’t Stop

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. —James 1:25 NIV

My poor husband, Ray. He had quite a job getting me up to speed as a bicyclist. Since he had enjoyed the hobby for a long time, he wanted me to join him on bike rides. But I was so timid. I braked constantly and was afraid to change gears. It all seemed so complicated compared to my bike as a child with no gears and a step-backward-on-your-pedals braking system. I would huff and puff and stand up on the bicycle to make it up a hill. And believe me, in New Hampshire, there are always hills.

Not using those gears wore me out. Ray patiently explained that when I made a change in gears, I just needed to keep pedaling and the derailleur would move that chain to the proper gear. When I pedaled away and tried to change gears, I’d hear an awful clicking sound and stop in fear that I had wrecked my bike and then … I would wreck the bike, and I’d have to call Ray to put my chain back on. I didn’t listen well to my husband and the results were disastrous: several stops along the way to fix a chain … more timidity on my part … and very greasy oily hands for the hubby. These were not among our best marital moments.

Yesterday we were out bicycling, now many years later, and, as I changed gears and kept pedaling, letting the derailleur do its thing, I remembered those early days. Why did I stop doing what I was supposed to do when it “sounded” wrong? Why did I stop even though I was supposed to continue pedaling? Now that I have learned to continue … bike rides have improved dramatically! They truly provide happy moments and happy memories for the two of us.

Sometimes we are poor listeners to the Lord in the same way. He tells us to forgive, and we try it for a bit, but it feels like it’s not working, so we stop, instead of continuing in that command. He tells us not to forsake assembling together, and so we haul ourselves to church, but the “gears grind” as people disappoint and sermons don’t excite and instead of continuing in what God commands, we stop. We miss the blessing that comes from doing what God says and not giving up. James writes: “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do(emphasis mine).

Dear Father, Your Word is right. All the time. Whether it “feels” right to me or not. Forgive me when I stop because it seems hard or feels like it “isn’t working.” Help me, please, to continue to obey through good times and bad, to trust You that the blessings will come and to know that just doing Your will is best. No matter what. Thank You for Your patient guidance, Lord. Thank You for rules that are for my good and not my harm. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

Mission 
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

Donate
If you’ve been blessed, keep the blessing going!
Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.

 

 

 

 

Pin it. Quote it.