Clean The Closet

closet
Search me, O God, and know my heart. —Psalm 139:23

To this day I can still hear my mother telling me to go and clean up my room. Dutifully, I would go to my room to start the process, only to get distracted by reading the comic book that I was supposed to put neatly in the stack. But soon the distraction was interrupted by my mother warning that she would be up in 5 minutes to inspect the room. Unable to effectively clean the room in that time, I would proceed to hide everything I didn’t know what to do with in the closet, make the bed, and then wait for her to come in—hoping that she wouldn’t look in the closet.

This reminds me of what many of us do with our lives. We clean up the outside of our lives hoping that no one will look into the “closet” where we have hidden our sins by rationalization and excuses and by blaming others for our own faults.

The problem is that while looking good on the outside, we remain well aware of the mess on the inside. The psalmist encourages us to submit to the cleansing inspection of God: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24). Let’s invite Him to inspect and cleanse every corner of our lives. By Joe Stowell

Lord, forgive me for looking good on the
outside while attempting to hide my faults and
failings. I desire for You to cleanse my life so
that I may walk with You in full integrity.

We can own up to our wrongs— because we can’t hide them from God anyway.

In Psalm 139, David invites us to meditate on the attributes of God. He is omniscient, or all-knowing (vv.1-4); omnipresent, or ever-present (vv.5-12); and omnipotent, or all-powerful (vv.13-18). In today’s text, David writes of the human body as a masterpiece created by the all-powerful Creator. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (vv.13-15). Mindful of the wickedness around him (vv.19-22), David closes his psalm with a prayer of loyalty and commitment (vv.23-24).

Lessons on Impossibilities

John 6:1-14

God’s Word is a treasure for many reasons—one being that it’s so practical. The stories and principles found in the Gospels are just as applicable today as they were in Jesus’ day. We’ve all experienced times when our backs are to the wall, our problem seems to have no solution, and we don’t know what to do. When that happens, we need to remember that impossible situations are opportunities for the Lord to teach us valuable lessons that we’d never learn any other way.

God’s supremacy trumps human resources. When Jesus asked, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” (v. 5), Philip quickly recognized his own inadequacy. Although Christ knew all along what He would do, He was teaching His disciples that the perfect plan and the power to implement it come from God, not from human solutions and resources.

The Lord often invites our participation. Though Christ could have spoken bread into existence, He chose to use people to achieve His purpose. Andrew scouted around for something to eat, a young boy gave up his small lunch, and the disciples organized the crowd and distributed the food Jesus handed them. Each step required trust and obedience, especially since Christ’s method seemed so illogical.

God knows how to solve your problem, but He may choose to require your cooperation, possibly even asking you to do something that seems unreasonable. But remember that whenever we yield our flawed solutions and meager resources to Him and step out in obedience, He does great things in us and through us.

The Power of Forgiveness

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 26:18)

There is a historical point in our earthly lives at which the forgiveness of Christ was granted—even though He was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) and in the eternal sense we were “predestined” to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).

Christ has subdued, cleansed, and forgotten our sins. Our human minds will never comprehend what it cost the triune Godhead to “subdue our iniquities” and metaphorically throw our sins “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). How is it possible for an omniscient God to blot out and forget our sins? Yet the Scriptures clearly tell us that He does so (Isaiah 43:25; 44:22; Acts 3:19). God’s forgiveness is an eternal act of forgetfulness as well as judicial payment and propitiation.

Christ has replaced our sins with His holiness. Of course this must be! A holy God cannot fellowship with an unholy being. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We must be “made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21) so that He “might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

Christ has given us victory over sin. Since all of the above (and more) is true and active in the life of every believer, there should be an obvious exhilaration that enables us to confidently stand against whatever “fiery darts” the Enemy throws at us. “Sin shall not have dominion over you,” we are clearly told in Romans 6:14. Since the “offense” of sin was dealt with on the cross, we should “reign in life” by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

Do you rejoice in your forgiveness and therefore reign over sin in your life? God has made this possible. HMM III

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.—2 Corinthians 2:14.

FIGHT the good fight
With all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right,
Lay hold on life,
And it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.
J. B. S. MONSELL.

LET the first act on waking be to place yourself, your heart, mind, faculties, your whole being, in God’s hands. Ask Him to take entire possession of you, to be the Guide of your soul, your Life, your Wisdom, your Strength. He wills that we seek Him in all our needs, that we may both know Him truly, and draw closer and closer to Him; and in prayer we gain an invisible force which will triumph over seemingly hopeless difficulties. H. L. SIDNEY.

However matters go, it is our happiness to win new ground daily in Christ’s love, and to purchase a new piece of it daily, and to add conquest to conquest. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD.

This ought to be our endeavor,—to conquer ourselves, and daily to wax stronger, and to make a further growth in holiness. THOMAS Á KEMPIS.

It is the spirit that quickeneth

It is the spirit that quickeneth. John 6:63

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. — That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. — Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God. — Reckon ye … yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:45. John 3:6. Titus 3:5. Romans 8:9-11. Galatians 2:20. Romans 6:11.

A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth

A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Luke 12:15

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. — Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. — Godliness with contentment is great gain. Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. — Give us this day our daily bread.

Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? — When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. —Let your conversation be without covetousness: and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 37:16. Proverbs 15:16. 1 Timothy 6:6,8. Proverbs 30:8,9. Matthew 6:11. Matthew 6:25. Luke 22:35. Hebrews 13:5.