Heart Matters: A Clean Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7, NASB


A Clean Heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10, NLT

OLD_HEART_5If you’ve ever met a toddler, then you know we are born into sin. Oh, I joke. But only a little, because as adults we haven’t changed much. We still fight with selfish desire and even know how to throw a grown up tantrum. Did you read yesterday’s Dose?

David, a man after God’s own heart, knew a thing or two about selfish desires. Maybe you know the story about his relationship with Bathsheba, but in case you don’t, I’ll sum it up for you. David had a crush on Bathsheba, which was a bit of a problem because Bathsheba was married to another man named Uriah. That didn’t stop David, who proceeded to commit adultery with her, in which she conceived a child. If that’s not enough drama for you, he then proceeded to have her husband killed. I recommend reading the whole story in 2 Samuel 11.

God was anything but pleased with their behavior, and both David and Bathsheba endured devastating consequences of their actions when their child died. David, his soul crushed with grief and by the weight of his sin, cried out to God with a heart of repentance in Psalm 51. While this story lacks no element of sin and drama, it is also a beautiful picture of God’s redemption. He didn’t choose someone more worthy to take David’s place on the throne, instead He restored a repentant David and He restores us too.

Each and every one of us sin. We often compare our sins to others in an attempt to justify our actions and attitudes. Or we may believe that God gives more weight to some sins than others, but nowhere in scripture is that faulty way of thinking substantiated. Adultery, gossip, addiction, pride, greed: sin is sin. Each of us stand guilty before our Holy God.

Is there sin that has been allowed to reside in your heart for too long? Have you made a choice that you feel is so horrific you haven’t sought forgiveness from God because you can’t even forgive yourself? Friend, 1 John 1:9 tells us, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (NASB).

If you are willing, like David, to confess and repent of your sin, God is waiting to create in you a clean heart and to renew the spirit within you.

Praying for a clean heart,


Heart Matters: Garbage In, Garbage Out

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7, NASB


Garbage In, Garbage Out

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

Luke 6:45, NASB

file371235865874The Florida sun was beginning to get the best of me-as were the large crowds and the sea of selfie sticks we were dodging everywhere we turned. It was the last day of our week-long summer vacation at a popular theme park in the Sunshine State, and I had reached my quota for crowds, overpriced food, and humidity.

While waiting in line for one of the major headline attractions, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and politely asked if she could cut ahead in line and join her family in front of us. “Of course!” I replied as I moved my kids to the side to let her through…and the 13 others that were with her. Thirteen people! I counted them!

I was mad. Furious. Could have spit nails, mad! My husband tried to talk me off the ledge, but that made it worse because then I was mad at him too!

I stewed for a while and made some snarky comments, and my husband asked, “Why does it matter? It is going to delay our plans by about 30 seconds?” True. He had a point. I hate it when that happens.

That’s when I came back to reality and realized that my angry (and ridiculous) response was completely out of proportion to the “slight” that had just occurred. I have come to realize that a disproportionate response of anger to a minor situation is always a red flag. It tells me I need to check my heart and see what is really going on.

The problem was easy to see. My normal time with God each morning had been replaced with simply scrolling through devotions on my phone before falling into bed exhausted each night that week. My prayers had become superficial and not much more than an item to check off my list.

The reality is, I can’t pour out what I’m not filled with. That week I had more than my fill of the world instead of God, and that’s what came spilling out the first chance it got. That left me looking, feeling, and acting like the world: selfish, angry, and somewhat hostile. My attitude screamed, it’s all about me!

If I want others to see Jesus in me, it’s crucial I meet with Him myself.

It’s foolish to believe we can survive physically by eating only once a week or even once a day. The same is true for our spiritual nourishment. We can’t be nourished spiritually if we aren’t feeding ourselves a steady diet of God’s word and the things of God.

Seeking Him,


Heart Matters: Rules vs. Relationship

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7, NASB


Rules vs. Relationship

And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

Isaiah 29:13, NLT

countrychurchIt was Easter Sunday, 1994, when I went forward for salvation at my small country church as my Dad played Softly and Tenderly on the old, upright piano. I also remember the floral print, puffy-sleeved Easter dress I was wearing. Did I mention it was 1994?

I absolutely believed that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, but on that day I lacked an accurate understanding of the gospel. I had missed the part about grace and falsely believed I needed to earn or prove myself worthy of salvation.

Not knowing what to do next, I took matters into my own hands with the expected gusto of a typical, albeit misguided, Type A Personality, and jumped into Christianity with both feet. I was NOT going to mess this up! Jesus died for me, and I planned to prove myself worthy!

I promptly threw away my favorite Salt-n-Pepa CD, vowed I would never utter another curse word, and I read the book of Revelation in my rose-colored King James Version Bible. All that same afternoon.

You want to know what happened? I ran out of steam. I backslid. In record time, actually. The Book of Revelation overwhelmed me, and honestly, at that time it scared me. I couldn’t just snap my fingers and stop cursing and I really missed my CD. I was buried under the enemy’s condemnation at how quickly I could mess this thing up, thus leading to a decade long journey as a prodigal.

Hindsight is 20/20 and while many factors led to this particular series of events, my heart was at the root. My heart was seeking to be worthy of the gospel, but I had missed the point that I was worthy because of the gospel. Focusing on outward obedience to prove myself worthy, my actions proved useless because my heart was empty.

I had rules but no relationship.

Maybe you have been there yourself, or maybe that is where you find yourself today. Maybe you’re striving in order to earn His love, favor, or salvation? Friend, there is no checklist that we can keep, no sacrifice we can give, no deeds we can do, and no rituals we can perform that will make us worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Not a single one of us are worthy of His love, yet He loves us anyway!

I pray today that if that’s where you find yourself, you wouldn’t stay there a minute longer. Seek Him, pour your heart out, and pray for a relationship with the One who made you.

Resting in relationship,