A Humble Heart that Makes us Want to Puke

What they really should tell us is that a heart after God is the same thing as retching in the toilet.  Because, humility. Tried it?  Ugh!

Psalm 139 was written by David, the guy known as being a man after God’s own heart.  This Psalm can be found on the walls of nurseries and the walls of our hearts.  It is comforting to know that there is One single person in the whole universe that knows us completely.  “What a mercy that there is one being who can know us to perfection!  He is intimately at home with us!”  Charles Spurgeon

I can remember losing our baby and falling on my white rug in our bathroom, sobbing, quoting over and over again, “wonderful are Your works, I know that full well…wonderful are Your works, I know that full well…”  It was a mantra to carry me from my human anguish straight to His heart.  I knew He had beautifully knit this child together, and that one day, I would enjoy what He had created in a land where death and sin dare not enter.

But, Psalm 139 confuses me a little.  It starts with, “You have searched me, LORD, and You know me.”  Then the next beautiful verses describe His omnipresence and omniscience and how we can’t outrun him or hide from the very one who knit us together in the secret recesses of our mother’s womb. This God even thinks constantly about us, some vast collection of thoughts that goes beyond our human understanding of math!

But, the last couple of verses seem to ask the obvious of what has already been stated.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart:  try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Psalm 139:23-24)

Wicked in Hebrew is “otseb.” It can mean image, idol, pain, or sorrow.  Perhaps we are on the road “derek,” (way or journey) to grief due to an idol that we aren’t even aware of.  What if there is something that is alienating us from the Father’s heart that we are totally unaware of?

I think David had already searched himself, but he knows that being mere man brings limitations in holiness, blindness to crevices of hidden sin, and arrogance that refuses to believe there is anything really wrong in the first place.  He recognizes his humanity and his need for a Savior.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3  A man after God falls on his face and admits just how desperate (and human!) he is.

A heart after God humbly invites God into all areas–the hidden pockets of fear, hurt, rejection, pride, unbelief, selfishness, and apathy–and asks Him to gently shine His perfect light on what brings grief to ourselves and to those around us.  We ask God to “try” us, from the Hebrew word “bachan,” which basically means asking God to investigate our motives and the integrity behind our actions. (We then go throw up, realizing what we have asked of Him!)

God wants to take the aspects of character that mar perfect love and trade them for Christ like character found in the way everlasting, the “derek” or path of peace, joy, and satisfaction. “Yet we may each one desire such searching; for it would be a terrible calamity to us for sin to remain in our hearts unknown and undiscovered.” Spurgeon

What if I’m too scared to muster the courage to ask God to search me and know me and try me? 

“Lord, we want to be women and men after your own heart.  We want to hate the sin that mars the image of your perfect love and embrace the refiner’s tool that cuts it out.  Give us grace to pray boldly for you to enter in.  We rejoice that the One that knows us completely is the One that upholds us with mercy and grace. Come and do your work, Lord.  Lead us in the way everlasting.”

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A Wandering Heart and a Desire for Fresh Wine

I blogged at Moop and Saba for nine whole years.  It was a place where I captured funny things my growing boys said, started my photography journey, and grieved the loss of my sister, baby, and father in law.  Then, all the sudden, it felt complete.  A work finished.  And yet, I still wanted a place to write, so I mustered all my non-techie skills and created this very simple place where words can flow. I’m hoping this will be a place of worship through the written word.

At the beginning of 2017, I was angry with God.  I had begged for deeper intimacy with Him, but felt like I was stuck.  I had questioned why others say God “speaks to them,” (audibly, it seems,) and wondered why I couldn’t hear His audible voice, as well.  God hasn’t spoken out loud to me…perhaps never will…and I had to wrestle a few months with that.  It seems I love Him more than any other person or thing and to hear His voice would have been the sweetest thing ever.  So, I will continue to wait…because one day, my faith will be realized…even if it isn’t here on earth.

During this time of wrestling and frustration, I read the Word less.  It was almost as if I was acting like a seven year old girl, giving her friend the silent treatment on the playground.  “You won’t do what I want??  Fine!  I’ll stop playing with you!”  Wandering set in, and it wasn’t that I became stuck in the muck of sin, but I was farther from the Father’s heart, which is the result of sin, is it not?  Perhaps the wandering itself is the start of all sins.

In this short wilderness experience, I lost my physical eyesight.  When I repented of my childish ways and asked for Him to speak to me however He wants, my eyes started to fail me as I read the small print of my Bible. I strained, and could only read for a short amount of time each day.  My hunger for His Words returned, but I was unable to receive.  God gently removed the one way He primarily speaks to me (through the study of His Word) in order to show me just how thankful I should be that He speaks at all.  He is a Good Father and knows how to make us a grateful people.

Through the process of trying to get used to bifocals and then ordering a pair of single lens glasses, I think I am finally on the road to seeing again.  I know the process has been as much spiritual as it has physical.  After the hard storm of repentance always come the clean and sweet air of restoration.

While praying for something fresh from the Lord, I felt a peace to shut down my old blog and start something new.  The verse that confirmed that for me talks about how new wine needs to go into new wineskins.  I’m ready for fresh wine.  In the Bible, wine can symbolize God’s covenant blessing, joy, celebration, blessing, and on and on.  Jesus tells us to partake of bread and wine so that our wandering hearts find the road back home as they remember the greatest sacrifice of all ages.

I think of how Jesus is the True Vine and how it is Him alone that allows us to produce fruit.  This isn’t always an easy process; it’s messy and hard.  To make wine, grapes must be trampled and squeezed.  Sometimes before we get a good taste of His Word, we have to put in the hard work, trampling out passages and squeezing out the original words. The wine is sweet, though. The Words are as old as El Olam, the everlasting one, but fresh on our tongues, nonetheless.

I’ll drink to that.

I write here at Fresh Wine, not for a following, nor for hopes of being published one day.  I write to force myself to do the hard work of trampling and squeezing and remembering.  I hope to share a sip of the good stuff along the way.

It’s only the Good Father, Incarnate Son and Holiest of Holy Spirits that satisfies. Yes?

“Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.” Galatians 5:14