Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On My Heart For The New Year...

At the beginning of each new year, God always seems to put something on my heart that needs some attention in my life.  Last year was a journey of learning to see with His eyes...  Of course, I never arrive in a year, but I'm always amazed at how much I learn and grow.

God began showing me what my prayer for this year is to be, back in August...

When I went to Africa, one morning one of our leaders did a devotion on James 1:27.  Now being a part of the adoption community, I thought I was pretty familiar with that verse...  "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."  But somehow I had managed to conveniently overlook the last part of the verse...  "and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

I was so convicted as I listened to our leader's devotion, but it was just the beginning.  I understood what it meant with my head, but my heart didn't have a clue...

Fast forward to October...  We were meeting weekly to pray for my friend with Stage 4 breast cancer and the prayer times had become an amazing time of fellowship with our Heavenly Father, the presence of His Spirit was so incredible.

One Wednesday though, about 3 weeks after we had started praying, the siren of the Chico's Outlet started calling my name.  So I left early to go over to our church (the outlet is unfortunately close to our church) and went shopping, ignoring our budget.

But then prayer time was awful...  I felt so distant from God...  I felt like such a hypocrite and I spent a good bit of the time silently repenting of letting my worldly desires pollute my heart...

And then I went back to Africa, in November...  God did a work in my heart there and I wanted to guard it like a priceless treasure, I didn't want anything to dilute what He had done, but sadly, Christmas rolled around and the lure of the world...  Christmas shopping...  planning... baking...  all of it began to creep in and pollute the work that God had done in my heart.  Not that any of those things are bad, but when we let them consume us...  our time...our thoughts...our money... they become pollutants to our soul!  And all of a sudden, I found that my passion was being diluted once again.

And that was when the light bulb went on...  When we allow our hearts to become polluted by the things of this world, we being to lose our heart for the things of God.

On Christmas night, Abby wanted to color my feet with markers...  The package said they were washable, so I figured, "What harm could it do?"

Her Masterpiece!



But the problem was, the ink stained my feet!  It took days for them to come clean...  (Thank goodness it's not sandal season!)

And then, I decided to look up the word polluted in a Vine's Dictionary and guess what I learned...  the Greek word for polluted carries the idea of "staining".

When we let the things of this world pollute our hearts, we are letting it stain them and much like my feet, it is so hard to get rid of the stain...Sometimes it leaves us with remorse, or shame...  Almost always, it dilutes our heart and passion for God and the things that He cares for most...

But there's great news...  1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  Sin stains our hearts and it is God alone who is able to cleanse them from the stains...  What an incredible image that is...   God of the Universe, reaching down from His heavenly throne, putting His hands in the muck of our lives and cleansing us!  That's love!!

So my prayer for 2010 is that more and more I would keep myself from being polluted...stained...by the world.  I want to grow closer to my Heavenly Father... I long to experience His presence consistently... to hear His voice...  I want to love who He loves...  I want to show mercy to whomever He leads me to show mercy to... But if my heart is polluted, then I make all of those things very difficult because I'm letting something else come between me and Him.

I look forward to where this journey leads in 2010...  May you have a blessed New Year!

9 comments:

sierrasmom said...

What a beautiful, thought provoking post. Thank you!! Your writings have become MY devotionals.
Hugs
Kathie

Cammie Howard said...

Amen!! Great reminder-and you could definitely give a talk on this!! (-:

delucchi family said...

Wow, what a great posting! I will meditate on your words and pray them into my heart.
Love Jules
xxx

Naomi said...

Okay I'm guilty.... busted too.... allowing the things in this life to consume me. We are in the middle of sorting out our stuff and selling and giving away a lot of furniture and things we really do not need to take back to the US with us. I want to use this time to allow God to purify my heart also and prepare me for this year and all that He has in store!!

I really am excited to see what God is going to do and where He is going to lead!!!

Naomi said...

Just to let you know that I have nominated you for a blog award!!

Michelle said...

I love your heart and your words!

Michelle said...

I love your heart and your words!

The Ferrill's said...

Happy New Year Sharla!
I'm so glad I popped in to see how your family is doing. I've got a lot of catching up!
I love this post and need that reminder about the things of this world...Oh how I need that reminder. Thank you for keeping it real and sharing God's heart with us!
I loved your post below about your grandmother sharing with Abby! Priceless.
How is CBS going? We took a break this year and I miss it tremendously, but God is so good and has allowed us to experience more "home" time than ever before. I've really loved it.
Anyway, just wanted to say hello!
Blessings,
Laine

Patientlywaiting said...

Sharla,

I'm not sure how I missed this post. Again, your words spoke volumes to my heart. You gave me a lot to think and pray about. Thanks for sharing your heart with us once again.

Hugs,
Robin

PS I loved Abby's masterpiece!