Encouragement for Today - June 14, 2010
June 14, 2010
With My Bible Pressed to My Heart
"Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24 (Amplified)
It was an ordinary day. My friend Laurel decided, as she often does, to spend some time reading her Bible that afternoon, connecting with God in the midst of her busy day as a wife and mother. As she leaned forward to reach something with one hand, she held her open Bible close to her heart with her other. It was then that it happened. Through the leather-bound book pressed upon her heart, she felt a small lump on her chest.
A physician was summoned; tests were ordered; Laurel's worst fear became reality. She had breast cancer.
The days, weeks and years that followed brought hospital visits and radiation, probing and prodding, uncertainty and discomfort.
Now years removed from those emotionally trying days, my sweet friend's body is free from any traces of that often-deadly disease. She is a healthy high school foreign language teacher who goes about her commonplace days with a deep love for Jesus and eternal gratitude in her heart. Most of all, she is thankful that God arranged circumstances in such a way that her cancer was caught early; all because she held her Bible close to her heart.
I pondered Laurel's experience recently. Imbedded in a touchy relationship issue with a friend, I was angry. It was a situation in which I felt used, violated and unappreciated. I was ready to enter my alone time with God with a whine on my lips and an intense need to vent my mounting frustrations. It was then that He brought today's verses to my mind. I looked them up in the Amplified Version (one which sheds light onto the original Hebrew or Greek meaning of the words) It was then that my eyes fell upon this phrase,
"….see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Instead of complaining about the actions of my friend, I decided to hold God's Word close to my heart; to see if there was any wicked or hurtful way in me, not in her. When I did, He was quick to point out ways I was wrong; deeply rooted attitudes I displayed that rear their ugly heads and manifest themselves in awful, unattractive behaviors; behaviors no Jesus-following girl should exhibit. I saw I was as much to blame in the situation, maybe even more.
With scripture as a scalpel, God performed open heart surgery that day, and many days since. As I now go to the Great Physician for regular check ups, He is faithful to point out the errors of my ways; to nudge me to allow His thoughts to radiate my soul, burning out the nasty disease that tries to root and grow like a cancer, killing friendships and love.
I wonder, just how many relationship diseases could be cured if we were all more intentional to, early on in the situation, press our Bibles close to our hearts, feeling for any festering lumps of sin?
Dear Lord, please help me to love unconditionally and mind my own sin. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For more on this topic and a chance to win an English Standard Version leather reference Bible, visit Karen's blog
A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman
10 Minutes a Day with Jesus: Growing in Your Love for the Savior by Jim Reapsome
What attitudes do I sometimes display that are the opposite of what God wants for me?
Instead of patience, annoyance? Instead of kindness, harsh words? Do I more readily display rejection rather than exhibit acceptance?
Has there ever been a time that someone extended grace to me when I was actually the one in the wrong? What transpired? How could remembering that kindness keep me from pointing fingers in the future?
Jeremiah 17:9-10, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." (ESV)
Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (ESV)
© 2010 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105