True to Plumb

I am setting a plumb line in the midst of My people. Amos 7:8 (NKJV)

“An army of the world’s top climatologist agree: man-made global warming is a fraud.”

I clicked the link to read the article then googled the subject. A whole slew of articles popped up addressing the topic, some claiming man-made global warming is a scam, others insisting climate warming is, indeed, due to human activities.

Who to believe?

It’s like the “eggs are bad/good for you” debate. It seems for every theory, there’s an opposing one. Both sides use scientific studies to back their claims.

But theories change, don’t they?

I don’t know about you, but I want to build my life on something that doesn’t change.

What doesn’t change?

Truth.

But how do we know what’s true and what’s false? What basis do we use?

Me, I use the Bible.

There are those, I know, who don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word or that it’s relevant to us today. It’s like the global warming controversy and the debate over whether a certain food is good or bad for the human body. We look at the argument on both sides and choose.

I choose to believe the Bible is the Word of God and use it as the rock upon which I build my life-house.

Why?

First, because the Bible shows us our Creator’s standards. Like a plumb line. When a wall is built to standard and is straight, it’s said to be “true to plumb.” If it isn’t, it’s “out of plumb.”

“You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself,” sang the late Rick Nelson in his hit song “Garden Party.” That might sound like a good philosophy, but think about it: What would the world be like if each person’s main focus was to please himself first, and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25)? We’d be out of plumb.

Second, the Bible, unlike man’s theories, is enduring. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8). “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). I want a life based on something that isn’t fickle, something that won’t change with every new study or theory.

Third, because God’s Word is enlightening, “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). It gives me guidance, wisdom and knowledge. It lights my way in a world that’s getting darker and darker, clearing up the confusion that often besets me as I travel life’s road.

Fourth, because God’s Word is effective. God Himself said His Word will not return to Him void but will accomplish all that He desires for it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:10–11). It’s living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword and penetrates to the hidden places in our beings—our thoughts and attitudes (Hebrews 4:12)—the very places that need changed and cleansed.

And finally (not finally really, but finally for the sake of brevity), God’s Word teaches us what is true and to do what is right. It makes us realize what’s wrong with our lives and how to correct it (2 Timothy 3:16).

Either we’re “out of plumb” or “true to plumb.”

Which are you?

Help me, O Lord, to be true to plumb. Amen.

Read and reflect on Amos 7:7–15; Luke 6:46–49

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God (c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

A Costly Gift

“The Anointing at Bethany” by Daniel F. Gerhertz

I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing. – 2 Samuel 24:24 (NIV)

Years ago a guest speaker in church asked us to raise our hands if we believed we were fully surrendered to God. I raised my hand.

At the time, I thought I was fully surrendered. But over time, God showed me how I was holding back.

What does “full surrender” look like? I wondered.

Then I read the story of the woman who poured the entire contents of a costly jar of expensive perfume on Jesus. The practical ones grumbled. “What a waste!” they said. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

The apostle John tells us that Judas Iscariot was the one who objected. “He didn’t say this because he cared for the poor,” John wrote, “but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6 NIV).

“Leave her alone,” Jesus said. “She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”

This woman, described by Luke as a “woman who had lived a sinful life in that town,” demonstrated better what full surrender looks like than the disciples and the “good” folks of the time—in more ways than one.

First, her motive was pure. An outcast, she was looked down upon by the so-called righteous citizens who were indignant that this pariah would crash their party. But she’d been forgiven and given a new life, a clean slate, and she wanted to show her deep gratitude. How grateful am I that the doors of heaven have flung open wide for me, thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary? How do I show my gratitude for what God does for me every single day? Full surrender shows gratitude.

Second, she gave the best she had. Most alabaster in those days was actually marble, and we know marble, even today, is costly. The perfume, nard, was worth a year’s wages—around $33,000 by today’s standards. Wow. Have I ever given God my best? Full surrender gives the best.

Third, she poured it all out. Nothing kept in reserve—just in case. When have I given God my all? Full surrender doesn’t hold back—it gives all.

Fourth, she ignored the criticism and obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit. How often do I let what others might say or think of me determine what I do? How obedient am I to the Holy Spirit’s promptings? Full surrender obeys.

Fifth, she recognized the opportunity to do what she could before the window closed. Too often I say mañana—not now. Tomorrow. Next week. Next payday. When I have time, money, whatever. And I lose the opportunity to do good. Full surrender doesn’t put off or look for excuses—it acts promptly, whether or not the command makes sense.

Who am I most like—the weeping, grateful woman? The smug, prideful onlookers who thought they were better than her? Or, worse, am I like Judas, hiding behind greed and selfishness?

Another account comes to mind: David—the shepherd, psalmist, king, man after God’s own heart—went to purchase some property so he could built an altar to God (2 Samuel 24:18–24). The owner offered to give it to him. David refused. “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” Have I ever truly sacrificed to give? Full surrender sacrifices.

Full surrender. I’m not there yet, but, with God’s help, I’m still working on it.

Father, keep drawing me closer to full surrender to You. Remove the fear of losing control—the fear of losing what I love and cling to. Plant the desire, the willingness, and the trust I need to let You truly be God and Lord. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 26:6–13; Mark 14:3–9; Luke 7:36–38John 12:1–8.

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.