As I dug deep into my cluttered and disorganized purse, hunting for my keys to get into my apartment while holding a bag of groceries on my arm, my heart was racing. It was racing not because I had just climbed a flight of stairs, but because I was afraid. I lived afraid. Each day I was so uncertain of the next. The anxiety I had for my children as they’d come home and tell me stories after stories of what they were experiencing, became so overwhelming.
You see, it was about this same time of year, early fall, right after day light savings time, and on this particular night as I stood on the 3rd floor of my new home – an apartment complex – all I could do was cry. For the first time in 20 years, I was now living again in an apartment as a single woman. I never wanted this. Divorce was never something I ever said, considered, or wanted because of this reason – God hates divorce. Therefore, I hated divorce. Marriage conferences, marriage retreats, marriage counseling was all throughout our marriage. Until that day came when I found myself sitting outside exhausted and the Holy Spirit began to speak. I wasn’t audible, but it might as well have been because I sat there with the pages of His Word being His response. And it was during those days and months to follow, that I felt and experienced something so real.
***Wayne Grudem has written an article that will help some of you Christian couples who are facing marital difficulties –> “Grounds for Divorce: Why I Now Believe There Are More Than Two”
But I want to move on and tell you life now – 10 years later …
And here’s why …
I made God a promise that I would not live in or dwell on the past. None of it. The only areas of my past that would capture my interest would be those times when I knew God was drawing me closer to Himself.
He showed me in Scripture how insulting it actually was when I would not accept His forgiveness or would not trust that what He said He meant. I believed Satan’s lies that came to me through the thoughts and opinions of others and through my own fears and let me just tell you, he’s cruel. It can all be detrimentally hurtful. James, Jesus’ own brother, didn’t believe He was the Messiah and abandoned Him a few times during His earthly ministry. And it wasn’t until the resurrection that James finally believe Jesus was the Son of God. But until then, can you imagine how he may have treated his own brother? And how Jesus must have felt watching his own brother doubt and walk away at times?
There has definitely been those seasons and times in my life when I disobeyed God’s instruction…didn’t follow through…because I listened to and was swayed by the opinions and sly comments and thoughts of people I actually trusted and love, and because of my own fears and doubts.
It’s not until now, at this age, that God has restored me fully to BELIEVE HIM and to ask Him to help me when I’m doubting or timid ….He knows I’ve come to understand my need for Him in all things. Apart from Christ, I can do nothing. But with Christ, oh friends, we can do ALL THINGS!
Oh, I’ve faced the accusations of just wanting to do “big and important” things for God – showy things – using ministry as a means for attention – and let me tell you, I have cried and grieved over this so much. But then God … He would always lift my head with Scripture and it was as though I knew He was smiling. He knew and still knows why I long to serve Him and serve His people using the gifts and talents He has given me. He knows my heart. And He knows yours as well. That’s all that matters.
Friend, please … before we move on another step in the restoring ministry of God, will you take a moment and confess any and every time you didn’t do what you believed God was calling you to do because you listened to the thoughts of someone else? Or maybe you simply listened to your own self-defeating thoughts? Will you take a minute to talk with God right now about your life and confess to Him each time you didn’t honor and obey Him by fully giving yourself to the calling He has on your life? Maybe you don’t know what that calling is, but you do know the life you are living now is because it’s what someone else has told you is “right” for you.
Now, know this … you are not alone in that prayer of confession. You are not the first, nor will you be the last.
We are going to look at a few verses where what you just prayed was the cry of a very godly man who lived centuries before you. He was known as a man after God’s own heart, and yet he needed the radical work of God’s grace in restoring him back to intimacy with God.
Psalm 51:10 in a few translations says:
KJ21 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
CEV – Create pure thoughts in me and make me faithful again.
ERV – God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again.
ISV – God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me.
TLB – Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.
When David wrote Psalm 51, he was overcome with repentance. Having committed adultery with a woman and then having her husband murdered caused David to live nearly two years with a conscious that had become dormant. Yet, when he encountered the holy and divine nature of God beckoning Him to recognize his own guilt, we find through tears and grief the words of Psalm 51. He wanted only one thing – a brand new heart! One that had never existed before. He did not want his existing heart to just be cleansed, but he wanted it to be replaced! Replaced with a new pure, clean heart so that he could be faithful again to his God. So he would have a strong spirit within him, and have a right attitude, clean thoughts and right desires. David knew that God would restore him by giving him his requests – a brand new clean heart!
Is this a prayer you long to pray? You can and God will answer your prayer suddenly! Supernaturally and miraculous the moment your tears speak out His name, His answer gets to work in you. You will know His peace. If that is where you are, in need of His forgiveness and restoration for a brand new heart, I pray that you will stop right now and let your words be heard to Him.
Take a moment and read what Charles Spurgeon had to say about David’s prayer:
Create. What! Has sin so destroyed us, that the Creator must be called in again? What ruin then doth evil work among mankind! Create in me. I, in my outward fabric, still exist; but I am empty, desert, void. Come, then, and let thy power be seen in a new creation within my old fallen self. Thou didst make a man in the world at first; Lord, make a new man in me! A clean heart. In the seventh verse he asked to be clean; now he seeks a heart suitable to that cleanliness; but he does not say, “Make my old heart clean; ” he is too experienced in the hopelessness of the old nature. He would have the old man buried as a dead thing, and a new creation brought in to fill its place. None but God can create either a new heart or a new earth. Salvation is a marvellous display of supreme power; the work in us as much as that for us is wholly of Omnipotence. The affections must be rectified first, or all our nature will go amiss. The heart is the rudder of the soul, and till the Lord take it in hand we steer in a false and foul way. O Lord, thou who didst once make me, be pleased to new make me, and in my most secret parts renew me. Renew a right spirit within me. It was there once, Lord, put it there again. The law on my heart has become like an inscription hard to read: new write it, gracious Maker. Remove the evil as I have entreated thee; but, O replace it with good, lest into my swept, empty, and garnished heart, from which the devil has gone out for a while, seven other spirits more wicked than the first should enter and dwell. The two sentences make a complete prayer. Create what is not there at all; renew that which is there, but in a sadly feeble state.
Ephesians 3;22-24 is a portion of Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus and he of all people knew from experience what he was encouraging them to do when he said:
“Regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], 24 and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].
Being renewed is a continual work of the Holy Spirit using the Holy Word of God, implanting those right attitudes into our mind. Into our thoughts. If you want to live a radically restored life, then begin reading, meditating on, memorizing and using the Word of God in your daily moments!! You will be absolutely amazed at the NEW heart and the NEW you and the NEW mind that will be divinely yours when God sees a seriousness in your love for and obedience to the Word of God. You will never, I will never, no one will ever live the abundant life Jesus died and rose again for, until we LIVE the Word of God! When Scripture becomes our water and our food, and we begin to feast on the will of God being done., THEN we will experience a restored life that is radically empowered by His grace!!
A couple of years ago right here in this house, I made the Lord a promise and it was this –
My past is behind me, and You have created a NEW heart in me today. So, I will no longer live in the past, but instead I will live in my restored life that is being continually renewed day by day with You through Your Word, prayer, and obedience to Your will and call on my life.
And since that prayer, the Holy Spirit has enabled me to love (not just live) but love moving forward!!
Read these verses and jot down what they are saying to you –
2 Corinthians 4:16
2 Corinthians 5:17
I want you to know something…when God restores, it’s radical! When God restores you, it’s His ministry to do so. He loves for you to experience how purifying and empowering and equipping He truly is. How His Son’s blood was enough for you to be made whole and new and declared worthy! He ministers (cares for) your soul with so much truth, so much love, so much compassion, and so much of His refining power that your restoration is a mighty work of His glory!! It’s radical! It’s not partial, it’s not petty to Him, it’s what He delights in doing. You can’t sin so grossly, you can’t sin so darkly, you can’t sin so profoundly that God no longer wants to restore your life!
As a believer, you can be assured of this — your Father absolutely loves restoring you back to Himself, back to who He created you to be, back to what He has for your life, back to your mission and purpose, back to intimacy with Him. And never ever believe for a moment that His restoring power didn’t allow you to maintain all the anointing He has for your life in advancing His kingdom! Being restored does not remove His anointing, if anything it increases its effectiveness in double portion! He doesn’t hold your mistakes and sins against you. There may be consequences that He allows to remain in our life, but consequences do not overpower the present work of His grace and mercy!
Look at Paul’s life….even with the past of murdering Christians, once he chose to follow Jesus Christ, his life was radically restored and put to MUCH use! There was no absence of anointing in his life, but instead his life (once radically made alive) became THE life God had planned it to be!!
He is a restoring Good God and when He restores you, it’s a work you that sets your life ablaze with His glory – His weightiness – and that work is eternal!
When you pray and ask, “Restore me, God, to Yourself. Restore in me the joy of your salvation. Restore in me a willingness to obey You, a desire to honor You and You alone...” He will answer! No matter what, God will answer that prayer with the most comforting and resounding YES, as He clearly sees the motives of your heart.
God wants to restore you ...
and He finds soooo much joy in your repenting and drawing near to Him. Making you alive in your spirit is a radical work of His grace and it happens as He ….
refreshes and restores your soul (life). – Psalm 23:3
After posting this blog, there was a lady who commented on Facebook below my post and she will never know how she encouraged me…coming from her it meant the world!
I love you dearly,