Sunday, April 11, 2010

Propelled by what?

This question has been nagging me for three days now. In the context of our musical worship (shocking content, I know)--are we propelled only by musical energy or is there something deeper within our hearts driving us?

If within minutes of leaving the church parking (which happens VERY quickly around here. Side note-reminds me of the cartoons where someone races out of a room and the door is left swinging back and forth and creaking...) the "fulfillment" that you feel fades, you probably have your answer. Don't expect a miracle if you are a "Christian" one day a week.

In a lot of what I do, I find myself worrying about having a good mix of upbeat and more reflective tempoed songs. Or about who will like or dislike this song or that song, or whatever it may be. And then I usually get frustrated with myself, scrap everything, and start over.

Well, this nagging question, coupled with my own dissatisfaction of how I've been leading in worship, has led me to do something frightening. Worship tomorrow will be interesting. More importantly I believe it will be God-honoring and Christ-exalting.

I hope that in light of the Word of God, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be propelled to a new place of worship.

God help us. God help me.

What are you propelled by? Are you a person who "worships" in such a way that makes this question necessary? I don't need to know your answer, just puttin it out there...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's been a while...

Wow. November 15th huh? Shame on me. Unfortunately, I think this is reflective of a few things that are no fun to admit. The Psalmist said "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good," and I have many times. Lately however, the trite and trivial have overtaken the raw and genuine unfettered affection for a God who gives so generously to those who seek.

In perfect Divine timing, a friend just text me and said "Satan is the master of disguise and is attacking people for a clear picture of how Satan works in counterfeit. Offering something good in exchange for best. And I've been falling for it."

Man that's a good word, and she's exactly right, I have been falling for it. Here's what I wrote in the hours after our conversation...

A top General in the United States Army called me out of the blue the other day. When I answered the phone he said,

“Mr. Kurtz, the U.S. Government would like to reward you like nothing you have ever known or will again experience in your lifetime.”

“Well, it’s about time,” I mockingly replied.

The General went on to explain that I had been chosen to receive the biggest prize that any one person had ever been awarded. I had been granted free and clear access to Fort Knox, the largest gold depository in the nation! My mind was instantaneously a blur and my heart raced. In a moment of pretentious humility I thought, “why me?” That thought quickly fading my mind wandered to making plans for what certainly would prove to be the biggest trip of my life.

Before I knew it the day had arrived. Last minute preparations made the morning nothing more than a whirlwind of activity. At last, everything was set and it was time to leave.

The flight over the Midwestern states and the subsequent limo ride to Fort Knox was fairly uneventful. Even if there had been I wouldn’t have known any differently anyway. I was deep in thought. I sincerely felt grateful to have been chosen for such an honor. Deep down I knew that I wasn’t the one who deserved this. I had cheated on my taxes a few times; nothing big, but definitely some minute errors in my favor. I was also the proud perfector of the California stop. I had smugly rolled through many stop signs and broken various other traffic laws almost daily. I barely knew the words to the “Pledge of Allegiance” or “The Star Spangled Banner”. I just wasn’t a model citizen at all. Nonetheless, I had been chosen and as the limo slowed to turn in, my mind snapped back to the current moment, and my stomach dropped as I saw the big sign over the gate that read, “FORT KNOX”.

The General was large in stature with a handshake like a pair of vice grips and a countenance that could melt your face. But his eyes were very friendly and I instantly felt welcome. As I walked and talked with him and his staff, it was almost like I had been adopted into his family and had known everyone there for a lifetime.

I was shown the mysterious inner-workings of one of the most secure facilities in the world. I felt so incredibly powerful with this knowledge, and with the access to every nook and cranny of the facility.

He led me into an elevator and we began dropping deep into the heart of the earth. After what seemed like an eternity, the dropping motion stopped and the doors “pinged!” open.

The enormity of the vault absolutely blew my mind. Its mouth could swallow a Boeing 757 easily with room left over. The steel used in its construction could build a bridge large enough to connect New York City to Los Angeles. The number of armed guards and their arsenal of weapons would rival the armies of some small countries. At the sight of the General, they all snapped to attention and held their crisp salutes until he had acknowledged them.

We walked up to the mammoth steel mouth and on the General’s signal, the vault began to creak open.

Shielding my eyes, we walked forward into the vault. I had never seen such a sight! The sheer volume of treasure was more than I had imagined, even in my most covetous dreams.

Seeing my wonderment-filled face, the General, with great delight, let out a jovial laugh. His laugh still reverberating throughout the giant structure, he looked at me with those gentle eyes, and with his arms and hands stretched out in a gesture, and said,

“All of this is yours. You may take freely whatever you wish!”

I had no words. I instead began cautiously walking among the rows and rows of treasure.

There were pallets upon pallets of gold bars. Robust wooden barrels held countless gold coins, deeper than my arm could reach. An impeccable display case held a blood-red diamond that must have been more karats than any other I had ever heard of. Black velvety draw-string bags held jewels that made the crown-jewels of England look like toys. Across the aisle there were rolls upon rolls of the finest linens and garments made by the finest seamstresses in the world.

I had barely crossed the first section of the vault floor and already my head was spinning like a child’s toy top. I pinched my eyes together with my hand in an effort to clear my head. Taking my hand away, I saw it out of the corner of my eye. Not sure I had seen what I thought I had, I strained my eyes downward to get a better view. After all the bright light, it took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, but after a few moments out of the light, the object came into clear focus.

There in plain sight, on the floor to my left, was the most magnificently tattered piece of twine. I jumped down to my knees and in one swoop motion took it in my hand and began playing with it. I twirled it around in the air; drug it on the ground in circles for a while, and then without another thought, I announced suddenly,

“I’m taking the string!”

Without a backward glance I marched out of the vault, head held high.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

River of Worship

There was something very powerful about seeing the people of God on their knees in worship this morning. There was something very powerful about BEING on my knees in worship this morning. This prostrate position (to cast (oneself) face down on the ground in humility, submission, or adoration.) helps me to connect physically with where my heart and mind are (hopefully) already.

Being bowed low is also a position of vulnerability. For many people, vulnerability is not a fun place to be, and probably for good reason. If you have been hurt or taken advantage of in other vulnerable circumstances, then you are likely to be one of these people.  Do we trust God enough to be vulnerable in worship before Him? Do we let Him break down the walls that we have built up to protect ourselves?

In his book "Following the River: A Vision for Corporate Worship", Bob Sorge says this: "Again we see many fish drawn to these waters, and we see a constant release of healing powers released through this river. Somebody might ask, 'But if we really get into the depths of the river of God in our corporate worship services, won't we scare away the very fish we're trying to catch?' The way Ezekiel saw it unfolding, the fish were attracted to the healing and life that flowed from this river. If you really get into the flow of God's river in corporate worship, you might scare some of the beasts away; but the true fish whom the Master is drawing will find the river the very thing for which they have been yearning."

It makes me angry, and I think/hope righteously so, when church leaders get caught up in trying new methods, just for the sake of being "attractive". The message gets lost in our obsession with being relevant to our culture. Because of this, many churches look like cheesy coffee houses at best. What scripture have I overlooked where Jesus himself lost his allure? What has changed so that we need to more or less bribe people to come to church with the offers of gifts? When did church even become geared for those who are not in Christ?
Don't get me wrong. I sincerely hope that if/when people who don't know Christ are among us that they have a radical, life-changing encounter with God.
The problem comes when we alter our worship to make those people comfortable, when in reality, what they need to bear witness to is, unquenchable, undone, undignified, unending, undivided worship of true Christ followers, who sincerely love, encourage, rebuke, pray and study together, with great delight, to the glory of God.
There are a lot of other places where people can go to get involved in programs. There are coffee houses where people can go to be entertained. What was Paul's warning to Timothy?  "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:1-5

In the way that we conduct "church", are we cultivating the things that Paul warned against? Or are we offering something so radical that people see the value of being a sold out Jesus nut like John the Baptist?

My point is this: as a minister of worship, my goal is to worship in such a way, and lead others in such a way, that those in our midst without Christ might be drawn and attracted to HIM. If the Holy Spirit is not the one drawing them in, then all that we do will be foolishness and folly to them anyway. SO WHY DO WE GO SO FAR OUT OF OUR WAY TO TRY TO "ATTRACT" THEM???? Does anyone else see faulty logic here?

God has given me a love and a passion for worship, both personal and corporate. The trends that I see happening break my heart.

I could take or leave the river analogy from Bob Sorge's book. What I cannot leave is the fact that we need to stop worrying about what people from the outside think, and start worrying about what God thinks of the things happening in our houses of worship. Genuine, Christ-exalting worship should be the means by which we connect ourselves to God. When we are truly and rightly connected to God, it's funny to see how everything else falls into place.

I'm not sure I've completed this thought, but I'm ending for now. As always, love to hear thoughts from others on these issues.

May God grant us worship that is richly balanced in spirit and in truth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Unquenchable Worshipper

There is a kind of worshipper who 'always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres' (I Cor. 13:7), and who gets through the storms of life with a heart still blazing. Sometimes it comes down to a simple choice. We may be hard-pressed on every side, weary and not able to sense God. But then a choice faces us-to fix our eyes on the circumstances or to cling to God and choose to worship Him, even when it hurts. The heart of God loves the offerings of a persevering worshipper. Though overwhelmed by many troubles, they are even more overwhelmed by the beauty of God.
-Matt Redman
"The Unquenchable Worshipper: Coming Back to the Heart of Worship"

Monday, November 09, 2009

Repentance according to Ezra

I don't know why this has captured me so much, but I have been captivated by Ezra's response when made aware of the sins of Israel.
"As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, saying:
   "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, 'The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.' And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? O LORD, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this." Ezra 9:3-15 ESV

When is the last time you ripped your clothes, heaped ashes on your head, ripped hair from your head and your beard, all out of repentance over sin?...this certainly doesn't sound like a "hey God, sorry 'bout that" 5 minute speech does it? My whole motivation in posting this, is that I desire to be more like Ezra. When I sin, I desire that it would absolutely wreck my world.

If you would, take the time to read chapter 10 as well. See how seriously they dealt with their sin.
How much would change if we dealt with our sin like that? What would change if our homes, or our prayer meetings or our church services looked like that?

This Sunday we are singing this lyric: "Break my heart for what breaks Yours, everything I am for Your kingdom cause. Show me how to love like you have loved me" (brooke fraser "Hosanna")
I realize this lyric is more geared toward a social justice theme, but I do believe that it starts with being broken over the things in our lives that break the heart of God.

God, in Your great grace,  grant  me genuine, heart-wrenching repentance over my sin. May the days of uncaring apathy be past me. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Wound my heart Lord, that it may be healed. "Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." (Hosea 6:1-3) Oh that I may press on to know You, to know Your heart, to know your will.
God may it be so, for Your glory, for Your great name, for Your renown, and for my deep and abiding joy!  

Ezra: God causes "pagan kings to accomplish his redemptive purposes"

The book of Ezra is one of those books I have never really paid attention to. (Yes, I know, it speaks volumes of my poor study habits.) Well, thanks to one of those "read through the Bible in a year" calendar things, I have been reading Ezra as of late and really enjoying it. Now, when I say enjoying it, in this case, I don't mean like "popcorn and a movie" enjoying it, I mean more of a "ouch, thank you Lord for rebuking me through the Word" type of enjoying. Consequently, both are wonderful things, but drastically different experientially.

"This book...shows God's power in covenant faithfulness, moving even pagan kings to accomplish his redemptive purposes" (from the ESV book of Ezra header)

Throughout the Bible, it is fascinating to see how God orchestrated certain events for Israel, his chosen people. In Genesis 37-46, we have the example of Joseph and his brothers. They plotted to kill him because of jealousy but instead sold him into slavery. However, what they intended for evil, God intended for good. Years later God used Joseph to feed his brothers and many others in a time of famine. In Exodus, we see so many demonstrations of God's power, including the hardening of pharaoh's heart. God allowed Pharaoh to rise to power SO THAT at the appointed time, God's power could be demonstrated both to the Israelites and to the Egyptians. With each plague, the protective hand of God was over his covenant people and they were left unscathed by anything that God caused to happen in Egypt. There are so many other awesome stories of God's faithfulness to his covenant people...and how incredible that God would use pagan kings and rulers to orchestrate his ongoing act of redemption for his people throughout history.

Enter Ezra: As I understand (could be wrong) Ezra was leading those who had been in exile in Babylon back to Jerusalem, where they would begin rebuilding the temple. Again we see where God uses Cyrus, king of Persia, and later, King Darius, to fulfill past prophecy. There is no reason to believe either of these kings are particularly spiritual. In fact if anything, quite the opposite.

I often hear people talking about how these "evil" things are not of God. While they certainly do not pertain to the specifics of God's character, scripture is clear that God has used them to move people and change circumstances. All I'm saying is that we shouldn't be so quick to give satan credit. After all, satan is a created being, he is not omni-present like God. He cannot be and is not everywhere at one time, trying to make you sin or stumble, or whatever else it is that people like to blame on him...

What if the evil in this world is orchestrated by God, for the continuing redemptive work of those whom he has called?


Saturday, November 07, 2009

An excerpt from "seek and find" written by Ed Chinn

"In January of 2008, I attended a retreat of worship leaders. One morning, because of the host hotel’s problems with their Internet provider, I struggled relentlessly – yes, even heroically – for an hour to get connected.
Suddenly I had an overwhelming sense of God in the room and this simple question: "Would you struggle this long to find connection with Me?"
It was time for a painful admission: “No.”
Of course, I had my quiet and safe “devotional time.” But, I wouldn’t struggle for an hour to find connection with the living God.
For almost two years now, the Lord has been de-programming my codes and wiring. He has been reducing my “stuff,” my abilities, my visibility, and my pride and self-reliance. As he has peeled it away, the connection with Him has become clearer.
During the same period, many of my friends have lost much more – “things” like careers, homes, health, savings, and reputations. And, even their families. Some have entered that state which A. W. Tozer called, “The blessedness of possessing nothing.”
Could those losses be, in fact, blessings from a kind and generous God? Is He pulling us past ourselves and our stuff so that we can find Him again?"
-Ed Chinn

Friday, November 06, 2009


Many people have asked me about my girlfriend Mariel, and when they would get to meet her, etc. Well, this isn't as good as meeting her in person, but here is a small window into her heart and mind, via her latest blog post. Enjoy!


"This past Sunday in our bible study class, we were looking at the beginning of 1 John 3. Someone asked a question about what is meant by the practice of sinning since it is mentioned so much in verses 4-10. I have been thinking about that question all week and have been wanting to share where it lead me. This scripture mentions over and over that one who practices sin cannot be of God; "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him" (vs. 6). "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil" (vs. 8) "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God" (vs. 9) *taken from ESV

These verses are very intense. I was reading these verses and was wondering what this means for me, a sinner by nature, a sinner who has to fight my sin and weaknesses constantly and yet claims to be born of God... what does this mean for me?

I was having a hard time understanding how or where there was difference. In class somebody commented on how something that is practiced is something that becomes habitual and as believers those are the things we are striving to break and fight everyday through prayer, reading, and studying of scripture. Someone also used sports as an analogy. Athletes practice their particular sport constantly to become better at it. A sinner who is practicing sin, becomes better at the sin increasing their love for it and decreasing the desire to fight it. The word practicing became key in breaking this down.

A few days later I came across this excerpt from John Owen in a devotional our church did together over easter talking about the symptoms of sin:

A fourth dangerous symptom is when a man fights against a sin only because of the consequences or penalty of that sin. This is an evidence that sin has a great grip on his will, and his heart is full of wickedness. A man who only opposes the sin in his heart for fear of shame among men or eternal punishment from God would practice the sin if it were no punishment attending it. How does this differ from living in the practice of sin? Those who belong to Christ, and are obedient to the Word of God, have… a deep-rooted hatred of sin as sin to oppose to all the workings of lust in their hearts… Also, this defence will not last long… What gospel principles have not done, legal motives cannot do!*

This really helped me after wrestling with this question for so many days. Here are some more excerpts of the other symptoms that are talked about:

- "firm establishment over a long period of time and settlement as a habitual practice."
How will such a person be able to distinguish between the long abode of an unmortified lust and the dominion of sin, which cannot happen to a regenerate person? And how can he hope that it will ever be any different with him when he sees his lust fixed and abiding for so long? It may be that great afflictions or mercies did not dislodge it, even though these gained the special attention of your soul. These lusts may have weathered many a storm and prevailed under the display of a variety of ministries of the Word of God. If this is the case, do you think it will prove an easy thing to dislodge such a room-mate, pleading to stay? Old and neglected wounds can prove to be fatal, and are always dangerous. Indwelling lusts grow rusty and stubborn because they have long continued in ease and quiet. Such a sin will not be easily ejected. It will never die by itself, and if it is not daily killed it will only gather added strength.*

- "Another dangerous symptom is when the heart pleads to be thought in a good state, yet all the while allows the continuance of a lust without any attempt at its mortification."
When a perplexing thought of sin comes, a man, instead of applying himself to the destruction of it, searches his heart to find some good thing so that it may go well with him, even though the sin or lust continues to abide in his heart...To indulge in sin on account of mercy is altogether inconsistent with Christian sincerity. It is the badge of a hypocrite and is “perverting the grace of our God into sensuality” (Jude 4).*

- "A third dangerous symptom is when sin frequently succeeds in obtaining the consent of the will."
When the will finds delight in a sin, even though it is not outwardly performed, the temptation is successful. A man may not go along with the sin as to the outward act, yet if he embraces the desire of it in his heart, the temptation has prevailed… Men should not think that evil in their hearts is less serious because they are surprised that it arises. It is in their neglect of watching over their hearts that causes them to be surprised.*

This was very thought and heart provoking as it really challenged me to sit and search how I may still be continuing to practice sin, what I may still have in my heart that I may be harboring and unwilling to have weeded out of my heart. We must always be vigilant of our hearts and the sin that is always trying to lure us away from God and harden our hearts, because sin is ALWAYS working against us. That is my hope in sharing this. I am so thankful for my sunday school class and how God uses it to make me think, grow and change!"

* Owen, John. The Mortification of Sin. Ed. Richard Rushing. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005. 58-61.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Philosophy of Worship that Unites Us

God-centeredness: A high priority of the vertical focus of our Sunday morning service. The ultimate aim is to so experience God that he is glorified in our affections.

Expecting the powerful presence of God: We do not just direct ourselves toward him. We earnestly seek his drawing near according to the promise of James 4:8. We believe that in worship God draws near to us in power, and makes himself known and felt for our good and for the salvation of unbelievers in the midst.

Bible based and Bible saturated: The content of our singing and praying and welcoming and preaching and poetry will always conform to the truth of Scripture. The content of God's Word will be woven through all we do in worship and will be the ground of all our appeal to authority.

Head and heart: Worship that aims at kindling and carrying deep, strong, real emotions toward God, but does not manipulate people's emotions by failing to appeal to clear thinking about spiritual things based on shareable evidences outside ourselves.

Earnestness and intensity: Avoiding a trite, flippant, superficial, frivolous atmosphere, but instead setting an example of reverence and passion and wonder.

Authentic communication: The utter renunciation of all sham and deceit and hypocrisy and pretense and affectation and posturing. Not the atmosphere of artistic or oratorical performance but the atmosphere of a radically personal encounter with God truth..

The manifestation of God and the common good: We expect and hope and pray (according to 1 Cor. 12:7) that our focus on the manifesting of God is good for people and that therefore a spirit of love for each other is not incompatible with, but necessary to authentic worship.

Undistracting excellence: We will try to sing and play and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through.

The mingling of historic and contemporary music: And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old" (Matt. 13:52)


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Psalm 19 on the brain

Tonight I shared with the worship team at FBCC that very rarely do I have any profound words to speak. I am not a great expositor of the Bible, though I hope to be. I don't consider myself to be a person of superior intellect or wisdom (hang out with me for 5 minutes and I will prove it).Realistically I just want you to see my heart, my struggles, my failures, my successes; all to the glory of God, that as we interact in this blog we may be the "iron-sharpens-iron" type of friends that Proverbs talks about.
So, enjoy reading! Hopefully there will be something that encourages you or challenges you. I welcome any and all responses (regardless of age, Kathy Hickey!!!) Yes, I just totally called you out, in love, in the middle of my blog :-)

Tonight I read Psalm 19, which concludes with this verse: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." For some reason this verse was more convicting to me than ever. The "and" separating the first two phrases stood out and kind of screamed at me. Just the realization that there is a connection between the words we speak AND the things we allow our heart and mind to meditate on. I was convicted about how often I miserably fail and how often in my past I have been this person with a blatant disconnect between words spoken and heart condition. It reminded me of  Isaiah 29:13a which says "... this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me..."  Not that a catch-phrase from a pop-culture icon is adequate, but you can insert a big D'OH for me here. (In case I lost anyone there, this would be a poorly-timed reference to the notoriously stupid, accident-prone, and unwise decision making, Homer J. Simpson)

I guess the point is that none of us like being on the receiving end of lip service, which is defined as "verbal expression of agreement or allegiance, unsupported by real conviction or action; hypocritical respect.(  If you think about it, it's funny (in a pathetic sort of way) that we even think we are somehow fooling God into believing that we are sincere, when scripture tells us that God "searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts." (1 Chronicles 28:9)  Oops.

I am grateful for the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in reading scripture. The refining/sanctification process isn't always easy or fun, but it is GOOD.
By the grace of God I am leaving the office tonight thinking about and meditating on these things, mentioned earlier in Psalm 19:7-10..."The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold."
 And with a sincere heart and an honest desire, Lord, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer."