Take heed

Have you ever had someone apologize to you, then repeat the same thing they’d done to hurt or upset you in the first place? It happens more often than any of us care to acknowledge. Maybe we’ve even been guilty of it ourselves (*cringe*). For an “I’m sorry” to have meaning, it needs to be followed by repentance. Repentance is, in effect, turning around and going the opposite direction. Think of a military “about face.” None of us are going to be perfect, but if we are consistently in God’s Word, consistently seeking His guidance, consistently relying on His strength, our way will more likely be cleansed of sinful actions and attitudes. If we don’t enjoy tripping over sin and wallowing in its regret, “take heed” according to His Word.

Hymn day: ‘Trust and Obey’

HYMN DAY! “Trust and Obey” by John H. Sammis.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Seeking His ways

When I was a little girl and did something that I knew would displease my parents, I tried to avoid them so they wouldn’t see the guilt on my face (I could never hide what I was feeling…). Those times of hiding away were awful because I loved my mom and dad, and I wanted to be with them. Conversely, when I obeyed and behaved appropriately, I had no reason to try to escape their presence. That was the joyful time for me. Praise sings through our hearts when we are in right relationship with God. We’re in right relationship with God when our conscience is clear. Our conscience is clear when we’ve learned to follow His ways instead of striving to please self. Do you see how it comes around? Praise springs from an upright heart that is committed to seeking His ways.

Walk rightly

One of my least favorite emotions is guilt. Sometimes we assume shame that isn’t ours, and that’s not healthy, but shame that comes because we know something is wrong and we chose to do it anyway is well-deserved and should be very uncomfortable. There’s a good way to avoid the crushing weight of shame and guilt: Walk rightly. God’s Word gives us direction. When we follow it, we keep ourselves from wallowing in the ugly emotion of guilt. We also avoid the other consequences of sinful behavior, such as separation from Father-God or damaged relationships with family, friends, coworkers, or those in authority. Respect of and obedience to God’s commandments leads us to a better life.

Triumph

Today is my mom’s 81st birthday. She asked Jesus to be her Savior when she was very young, only six years old, and it became her commitment early to let God direct the course of her life. Her close relationship with God through Jesus was her saving grace when her mother died very unexpectedly less than six years later, and shortly thereafter her father fell ill. Her world, as she’d known it, was shattered. But she knew God was, and always would be, there for her. She leaned on Him and His strength. Verse 5 is a very personal statement of heartfelt desire. God can use us, as He used my mom and her faithful obedience, to positively impact those we encounter. If we make the psalmist’s words our daily prayer—Lord, direct me to follow Your ways—He will be faithful to give us what we need to remain faithfully on His path. We can’t do it alone, but through Him, we can triumph over sin’s pull.

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