Unspoken: I Lift my Life Up

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Battle for Breath and The God of a Clean Hearrt

Well, it didn't turn into bronchitis....it turned into a raving asthma attach: coughing and short of breath.  On Monday morning, my friend Becky brought me into the hospital and I was admitted. My pulmonologist guesses that I will be here for a week.  I am bored already...coughing one''s brains out gets old really quickly. Here is an article I wrote a couple of days ago.


The Battle for a Clean Heart
Cynthia Lott Vogel
6-13-15
In the Old Testament, God spoke most clearly to his people through the discipline of winning or losing battles.  When there was victory, God was pleased and Israel was mighty and powerful.  When one or more were engaged in idolatry, God came down hard and fast and lives were lost.
Joshua 7:1[ Israel Is Defeated at Ai ]
But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.
 Achan sinned, and therefore his fellow countrymen died in the battle against Ai when God demonstrated the existence of the corruption of sin and disobedience through the loss of lives in the battle of Ai. Once Achan was punished, and Israel returned a second time to defeat Ai, victory was decisive and complete for Israel.
People look at the “bloodthirsty” God of Israel and say “who would want to worship a God like that?” People accuse God of being bloodthirsty but the people he was displacing by Israel practiced slaughter of their children and infants on the altars of Baal and Molech.  They burned their infants on red-hot alters. But a bloodbath was never God’s desire.  He wanted to show mankind that his way was the best, most rewarding path for man—and not just for Israel.  The way was open to other people to find life as well.  He said he would not yet destroy the Assyrians because their cup of sin was not yet full.  A short comment about the patience of God but one loaded with meaning. 
As Romans chapter one states that all of God’s creation speaks of him to every living creature to that they were without excuse.  Rahab, a harlot in Jericho, made a decision to follow this mighty God who not only saved her life but also gave her a spot in the lineage of the Messiah.

What do these things speak of God? 

Exodus 34:6,7 NASB

“6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

Let’s bring it down to today.  Are there battles today? Yes and we are beginning in our own country to reap the consequences of sinful decisions.  And in your own  life? Is there a sin that you simply cannot defeat?  Well, what kind of things do we battle, pray for –and there is no healing? (I would be the last person to say that healing always comes when a person confesses their sin but certainly some healing comes when a person confesses their sin….Certainly spiritual healing comes as we see in Isaiah and Jeremiah).
Isaiah 53:5 NASB
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

Jeremiah 30:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 ‘For I will restore you to health
And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the Lord,
‘Because they have called you an outcast, saying:
“It is Zion; no one cares for her.”’
 And Jesus himself said that sometimes sickness comes that God may be glorified through it.
All of this aside:  When we battle in prayer, it is essential that we take on our helmet and breastplate since head and heart first are attacked.  If we are continually defeated in our prayer battles, it’s time to battle our own hearts and lives to reveal to us where sin is hiding or perhaps to lift the lid on the one area of rotting, fetid sin that we’ve been avoiding looking at. 
God is not cruel, bloodthirsty or taking delight in our struggles, waiting to kick us when we are down.  He longs to love the ones he has made above all else, and that is intimacy and that can only come to a clean heart.
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