Saturday, July 5, 2008

Living Beyond the Ugliness of Life


I am reading through Deuteronomy in my quiet time. This morning I felt drawn to a couple of verses and so I have lingered here on these verses to examine them to my heart, to my walk of faith. My prayer is that one of you will find this scripture to also be sent from God within your own life. Examine Deuteronomy 10:16-18:
Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.

Sadly, as Christians we often allow other things to encapsulate our hearts and, as we know, these things can interfere in us having a heart like God. Many time religious rules dictate our faith (like with the Pharisees recorded throughout John) or sometimes it is an old habit or stronghold that can stand in the way of our testimony. All too often, we judge others based on our belief systems and in reality it may not necessarily be God's.
I looked up the Hebrew word for circumcise,- it is lwm and means "to be cut off from destruction". Those strongholds, the clutter that fills our heart and prevents us from being more like God are to be cut off, removed. Communion involves circumcising our hearts. Daily we should and can partake in communion. What do you need to remove from your life? Is it an attitude or belief? Is it a habit or sinful practice? Is it a mindset? What is encapsulating your heart?
I was even more intrigued with how "stiff-necked" was used. The Hebrew word for stiff-necked is Qashah which means "to be hard, be severe, be fierce, be harsh, to be difficult , to make burdensome". How many Christians have you known to fit this picture? How many time, if we are honest, have we looked into the mirror of our soul to find us being difficult, too harsh, to hard because of our own attitude? Can we truly love as God loves if we are stiff-neck as implied through the Hebrew translation? More importantly, is there joy in this?
Look at these verses in The Message translation:

Look around you: Everything you see is God's—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—that's you!—out of all the other peoples. That's where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, your God, is the God of all gods, he's the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn't play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing.
We serve a God who calls us to be Holy. To be more like Him we have to examine our heart and our life and seek to remove any unholy growths-bitterness, unforgiveness, untruths, sin, and to relax enough to see God in all situations, no matter how ugly it can get. We are to live in and through God's word, making our own judgments carefully, scripturally, and with a spiritual love. It is in holding on to God and His Word that we will see amazing and wonderful things happen, even in the ugliest situations! "Ugly" is all around us isn't it? But in praising God in this ugliness, it brings out the spiritually sweet aroma of His grace and joy in our words and actions.

You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.
~Deut. 10: 20-21a (NKJV)

I choose to live beyond the ugliness that satan plants before me and to live in God's promises. How about you? Look beyond the ugliness of what is in your life and praise God for the beauty that He wants you to cling to-His Truths!~Mrs JoeB

8 comments:

much2ponder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
much2ponder said...

This goes along nicely with what the Lord has been speaking to my heart lately. I finally finished my little series on "EXPAND MY VIEW LORD" and have new direction in my pursuit of the Lord. Praise the Lord! Talk a look if you get time.

That deleted post was me, I made a mistake.

Yolanda said...

This is a DEEP HEART FELT CHALLENGE FOR ME!

"and to relax enough to see God in all situations, no matter how ugly it can get."


Lord, cause me to RELAX and TO LOVE EVEN MORE DEEPLY THAN I EVER HAVE BEFORE. Help Mrs. JoeB and I, and all the others Siesta's.


Love ya!

Sheryl said...

Great words! I had just said out loud "Sheryl, what is your problem". You see, there is one area of my life in which I am very judgmental. I had just gone to visit a fellow blogger and found myself irritated by something I saw. Who am I to judge? I know God is showing it to me and I'm grateful because then I can allow Him to take away the ugly.

I am quite sure that God led me here so that I would "get it"

Thanks for sharing this-
Sheryl

LynnSC said...

Thanks so much for this challenge. I know that there are many uglies in my heart that I need to allow God to remove.

He is worthy of our Praise!!
Lynn

swallowingamoose said...

Oh boy did i need that! I have a situation lurking ahead of me in a few days... My father is coming for a last minute trip to visit. I am so not looking forward to it that i actually lost sleep last night! He, myself, and my sister are a volatile combination. He is very negative towards me and hurtful. In fact he calls me the preacher becuase when he complains about things i tell him to give it to God. My hubby, of course, could not get off work last minute to join in on the 'fun,' therefore, i'm gonna have to tough this visit out by myself. Well, not totally. The Lord will be there and privy to the whole thing. I don't even know how to deal with this honestly. The closer i get to the Lord the more i want to get away from people like my father. In fact my pastor told me he's a toxic relationship. I agree of course. But how do you reckon with a man who's morals have slid off into worldliness and a self satisfying lifestyle? I am fighting an anxitey attack over this. Obviously! I need some motherly advice from you pleeeease! Help! What would you tell me if i were your kid in this situation? Thanks! xo

Laura said...

Wow! Those translations really open the eyes, don't they? Those callouses on my heart keep getting tougher and tougher. I need reminders like this one to deliberately tender my heart and not be "stiff-necked" about certain things going on in my life right now. Thanks, Pamela!

Lelia Chealey said...

I wrote down the meaning of circumcise. So good and needed right now!
Thanks "nurse/teacher"!!!

You are such a nurturing person Pamela!!! Kelley & I were just talking about that this weekend...how caring you are.

Love ya!
Lelia