Saturday, September 1, 2012

What Hinders It?

Prayer - that is.  What a great God we have.  He is still "holding my feet to the fire" so to speak about prayer.  Can't get my mind off of it.  Since it is my spiritual oxygen, I need to make sure my prayer life is healthy.  I am thinking about what hinders the flow of my spiritual oxygen.

We have all heard the phrase, "that prayer probably didn't go any higher than the ceiling." Somebody was judging, right?   But what is it that keeps our prayers stuck at the ceiling and from reaching the throne room of Heaven as a sweet-smelling incense in the presence of God? (Ps. 141:2a)

I don't know about you, but when I was a child, if I were in trouble during the day, and I knew my mother would be discussing it with my daddy when he got home, I didn't run out to greet him like I did when I knew I hadn't done anything wrong (or hadn't been caught yet - LOL). I would stay in my room and dread when he would come in to confront me about what I had done.

In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve hid from the voice of God, after they had disobeyed His command not to eat of the fruit of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 3).  Before, they had always run to greet Him.

When He asked why they were hiding, (He already knew), they said they were naked and ashamed.  Then came the intuitive question, "Who told you you were naked?  Have you eaten the fruit of the forbidden tree?" Thus, the fall of man.  Before, Adam and Eve had no knowledge of evil.  Now they did, and their disobedience to what they knew was the command of their Creator caused them not to even want to be in His presence.

There is only one thing that puts a clip on my spiritual oxygen tube - disobedience. When I have sin in my heart, I know I have been disobedient; my own iniquities separate me from God, and my sins cause Him to hide His face from me so that he doesn't hear (Isaiah 59:2).

I could name many ways I can be disobedient to the Lord Jesus (having idols, lack of forgiveness, refusing to turn away from sin God has revealed to me, etc.)  I know exactly what He thinks about obedience.  He says it is better than sacrifice. (I Sam 15:22). 

The Lord Jesus wants me to love Him and obey Him as an attitude of the heart, not for outward show or as some kind of "devotion to earn points with Him," (as if His death wasn't enough.)  I read somewhere that "Obedience might include sacrifice, but sacrifice does not always include obedience."  Does that make sense?  

Sweet friends, how far do you think the east is from the west?  Really think about that.  I can't fathom it because it is an infinite measurement, and my finite mind can't comprehend it.  That is the very reason I believe God used that analogy for how far removed our sins are when we confess them.  He is faithful  and just to forgive and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.  (I John 1:9).  He removes them as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more.  How blessed to know that His mercy and faithfulness are new every morning, and we can never confess and ask too many times for forgiveness that He will not hear and forgive.  

I love that precious old hymn, "Nothing Between."  The chorus says, "Nothing between my soul and the Savior, so that His blessed face may be seen, Nothing preventing the least of His favor, keep the way clear, let nothing between."

"Search me Oh, God and know my heart.  Try me and know my thoughts.  See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."  (Psalm 139: 23-24.)  There is nothing like the Lord Jesus pointing out the thoughts and intents of my heart.  He is the only One that knows my heart.  It is wicked, but He exchanges the lies of my heart for His truth without condemnation and without ever throwing it in my face again.

Now that wicked ole' devil is another story.  He will use our memories to condemn us.  SHUT HIM UP when he starts talking trash and reminding you of failures and past sins.  I am saying that to myself as well.  We can be successful in causing the devil to flee by being obedient (submissive James 4:7) to the Lord Jesus and expressing gratitude to the Lord Jesus for His forgiveness and ongoing presence in our lives.  Quote scripture.  That will light a fire under his sorry tail.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Lord Jesus for your long suffering towards me.  I love you, sweet Jesus.  When I wake up with a clean heart, it is so much easier to approach the day with joy, and I do.  Love to you all.  Mecca