Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Restoration Of The Heart

Last night, I was contemplating what topic to discuss in today's blogpost. Since I had mentioned the first three chapters in the book of Revelation yesterday, I figured that maybe I should find my former Bible study notes on it and blog about the next few chapters.

Over the past four years or so, I have had the opportunity to study Revelation in three different ways. One study was about just Whom (Jesus Christ) the book revealed, the second study was about prophecy, and the third study was more focused on the End Times and how to recognize the "signs of the times." Despite my eagerness to share some of what I've learned, I have now found how abruptly plans can change!

The Lord knows me so well. He's always working in my life, but sometimes, admittedly, I don't just "sit down" and allow Him to speak to me and lead me! I have learned, however, that when I am still, I find Him leading me towards paths that I may not have previously considered. That's what happened early this morning. I was still a bit groggy...kinda in that "should I get up now or try to go back to sleep for another hour" mode. After all, it was only 4:30 a.m.! As I lay there, the word "restoration" came to mind.

This probably sounds far-fetched to non-Christians who read this blog, but I truly believe that it is in these quiet moments in the early morning hours that God, through His Holy Spirit, speaks to my heart. It was a moment that was teaching me to "stay here" in my next post, meaning, stay with the admonitions and what is being shared with the churches in those first few chapters of the book of Revelation.

I thought O.K. I can do that. Then came the flood of information, analogies and ideas to share! I probably should have gotten up and started typing! But after deciding that I will discuss restoration at my blog today, I ended up drifting back into a blissful sleep! I slept for another two hours...even through that loving early morning kiss my husband gives me each day before going out the door to work. ( I know, I know...too gushy!)

On to the post.

Recently, my husband and I aggressively pursued the idea of moving into an existing home closer to where he works. The commute has gotten steadily worse over the years and we found a neighborhood that we really liked. In fact, we found a house that we truly could consider moving into.

Long story short, we began restoring our home to get it into impeccable condition. Granted, after 7 years of living in our current home we had accumulated a LOT of junk! We got to work on the long list of improvements that were needed. All of the things that we were in the habit of "putting off" were getting done!

We cleaned out every room, every closet (even my son's...which is a miracle in itself! ha ha), cleaned up the yard, transported truckloads of stuff to the dumps, stuffed my SUV several times with bags of unwanted clothes, household items etc. and carted them off to Goodwill. We cleaned out our garage! When my daughter's boyfriend saw the finished results, he said, "Wow, I didn't know that this was a three car garage!" Yeah....it was previously that bad!

We hired a better landscaper and he did a fabulous job trimming the overgrown bushes, sprucing up the planters, spreading seed to get a beautiful green lawn growing in the previously browned out and bald spots in our yard. We fixed fences, cleared and cleaned up the patio, replaced lighting fixtures, repaired areas inside and out, painted doors, replaced window screens, got rid of some older furniture to make the house look more spacious...well you get the picture.

When we were done, my husband and I sat together on a backyard lounge chair, toasted with our favorite Cabernet wine, and congratulated each other for a job well done! Almost in unison, we both shared our thoughts that we really love our home and don't want to move!! We both decided that we really wanted to retire here. In addition to this, all of the signs and prayers on this decision were leading us away from moving. In retrospect, all of that restoration made us really appreciate what we have!

Restoration of the heart is that way, too.

I have found that God is the restorer of our sinful, rebellious, and reprobate hearts!

No one else but Jesus Christ can do such restoration.

Oh yes. People try all the time to restore their own hearts in their own strength. They think that drugs, excessive drinking, aberrant sex, fame, wealth, self-worship etc. will do the trick. Some succeed at blocking the pain in their hearts for a time, but it is often only temporary.

Ever wonder why?

It's because we all have a vacuum in our heart that only God can fill! I have often mentioned that such an emptiness is like a hole in the heart which can only be made whole through Jesus Christ!

Is there anyone out there that can claim that they don't need restoration?

I doubt it.

But where we go to achieve such restoration is key to genuinely obtaining it and keeping it!

We can vividly see how going in the wrong direction, to the wrong places with the wrong intentions can halt, and even destroy such restoration with the Lord.

Here is my first analogy that was brought to my attention yesterday. I was ordering some Christian books from a mail-order book club and I noticed that Max Lucado has a new book out called, "Facing Your Giants."

The encouragement at the top of the page read:

"Let God make you into a miracle."

Being human is hard. We strive for excellence and step into mud. We try to stand tall and we come up short. But we do keep trying! And God loves people who try, especially when they know that their shortcomings can shine a light on God's strengths! Take for example David, the shepherd boy who become king. As Max Lucado points out, David messed up a lot! He lusted, he lied, he made mistakes as a parent. But he loved God with all of hisheart and God turned him into a miracle. David slew the giant and united his people. And if he can do that under God's mighty hand, think of what you can do. With his trademark style, Max Lucado blends biblical truths with everyday examples into a guide that will have you staring down the obstacles in your life as God turns your stumbles into miracles!



I read an awesome article today that gives us a perfect example of how using the wrong direction involving the "indulgence of the flesh" can overtake a person so badly that it results in a huge and devastating crash. A person can end up so low that if not for others helping such a fallen individual towards restoration, Satan could win in the fight for that person's soul. God can use even such a dark time as this to restore a person's brokenness and rescue them from the dark side which is often characteristic of the hardened, rebellious heart.

The lesson is clear. The heart that refuses repentance harms the ability to yield back to God's mercy and grace. That is where restoration begins and ends. It begins with a "contrite and broken heart" and when restoration is allowed to work within an individual, it results in the restoration and reconciliation back to God!

Ted Haggard's situation is only one, individual example of those who have achieved high positions of leadership (both in and out of the church), have been caught indulging in the flesh (Scripture says that your sins will find you out), and then needs to make the long trek back into restoration and reconciliation with God and those around them that they have hurt.

If we decided to make a list of individuals who have been "found out" regarding their sins of the flesh, it would be long and arduous endeavour, would it not?

So, what's going on?

Why is this happening?

Dr. David Jeremiah's latest email devotional explicitly tells us why!


Revive Us Again

Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?
Psalm 85:6


Recommended Reading
Psalm 119:17-40


One rabbi who survived the Holocaust described it well when he said that at Auschwitz it was as though there existed a world in which all the Ten Commandments were reversed. Evil days are characterized by a reversal of values. Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil."

Our American society is increasingly accepting evil as good, and rejecting good as evil; and the Ten Commandments are pried from the walls of courthouses and public buildings across our nation. It's easy to become alarmed at the moral deterioration of our times.

We should be alarmed, but earnest prayer is a more urgent priority. It's in times like these that God sends His great revivals.

Vance Havner once wrote, "Throughout the history of the Church, when clouds have hung lowest, when sin has seemed blackest and faith has been weakest, there have always been a faithful few who have not sold out to the devil . . . . These have besought the Lord to revive His work in the midst of the years, and in the midst of the fears and tears, and in wrath to remember mercy. God has always answered such supplication, filling each heart with His love, rekindling each soul with Fire from above."

Let's begin praying earnestly for revival!


The greatest need in America is an old-fashioned, heaven-born, God-sent revival.
Vance Havner

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Ephesians 2:1 4:32

Lastly, I want to share an excerpt from "Facing Your Giants" that can give anyone hope!

"One might read David's story and wonder what God saw in him. The fellow fell as often as he stood; stumbled as often as he conquered...A man after God's own heart? That God saw him as such gives hope to us all. David's life has little to offer the unstained saint. Straight-A souls find David's story disappointing. The rest of us find it reassuring. We ride the same roller coaster. We alternate between swan dives and belly flops, souffle's and burnt toast."


I don't know any "unstained saints," do you?

I don't know any "straight-A souls," do you?

I've had my share of belly flops and burnt toast...haven't you?

Thank the Lord for His mercy, grace, love and restoration of our hearts!!


Amen!!

6 comments:

Jaded said...

For reasons that I don't want to get into....

this was exactly the thing I needed to read today.

Thank you and thank God.

ebsfwan said...

What a great post. :)

Kingdom Advancer said...

I'm sorry, I don't have time to read your whole post right now, but I wanted to thank you on your blog for visiting mine.

One short comment, though, on what I did read: I can really relate to you that things come to me late in or in the middle of the night. It seems that God inspires me when I feel the least like picking up a pen and paper. When my mind is cloudiest and drowsiest, it seems like God shines through with ideas.
Anyways..I keep pens, pencils, and notebooks by my bed now-a-days. ;) Sometimes, when I'm literally too tired to write down what I'm thinking , I just pray: "Lord, I know you're giving me these thoughts for a reason. If you want me to write them down--post them, etc.--then I have faith that you'll bring them fresh into my mind tomorrow when I wake up."

Christinewjc said...

Jaded,

I'm glad that this post was so timely for your needs. Have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! It is the day that we all can thank God for all of His blessings upon us!

Christinewjc said...

I'm glad that you liked the post too, Ebsfwan!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow!

Christinewjc said...

Welcome Kingdom Advancer,

I will be visiting your blog often because there are a lot of good things to read about there!

I'm glad to hear that someone else can relate to being inspired at times similar to mine! The paper and pen idea is good, but I am more likely drawn to getting up and typing it out! It doesn't happen often, but sometimes when I can't sleep late at night or early morning, I go to the computer.
However, that prayer is encouraging and something I would consider for me!

Hope you will visit often and comment here!