With My Bible Pressed to My Heart
Karen Ehman

"Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24 (Amplified)

It was an ordinary day. My friend Laurel decided, as she often does, to spend some time reading her Bible that afternoon, connecting with God in the midst of her busy day as a wife and mother. As she leaned forward to reach something with one hand, she held her open Bible close to her heart with her other. It was then that it happened. Through the leather-bound book pressed upon her heart, she felt a small lump on her chest.

A physician was summoned; tests were ordered; Laurel's worst fear became reality. She had breast cancer.

The days, weeks and years that followed brought hospital visits and radiation, probing and prodding, uncertainty and discomfort. Now years removed from those emotionally trying days, my sweet friend's body is free from any traces of that often-deadly disease. She is a healthy high school foreign language teacher who goes about her commonplace days with a deep love for Jesus and eternal gratitude in her heart. Most of all, she is thankful that God arranged circumstances in such a way that her cancer was caught early; all because she held her Bible close to her heart.

I pondered Laurel's experience recently. Imbedded in a touchy relationship issue with a friend, I was angry. It was a situation in which I felt used, violated and unappreciated. I was ready to enter my alone time with God with a whine on my lips and an intense need to vent my mounting frustrations. It was then that He brought today's verses to my mind. I looked them up in the Amplified Version (one which sheds light onto the original Hebrew or Greek meaning of the words) It was then that my eyes fell upon this phrase,

"….see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Instead of complaining about the actions of my friend, I decided to hold God's Word close to my heart; to see if there was any wicked or hurtful way in me, not in her. When I did, He was quick to point out ways I was wrong; deeply rooted attitudes I displayed that rear their ugly heads and manifest themselves in awful, unattractive behaviors; behaviors no Jesus-following girl should exhibit. I saw I was as much to blame in the situation, maybe even more.

With scripture as a scalpel, God performed open heart surgery that day, and many days since. As I now go to the Great Physician for regular check ups, He is faithful to point out the errors of my ways; to nudge me to allow His thoughts to radiate my soul, burning out the nasty disease that tries to root and grow like a cancer, killing friendships and love.

I wonder, just how many relationship diseases could be cured if we were all more intentional to, early on in the situation, press our Bibles close to our hearts, feeling for any festering lumps of sin?

Dear Lord, please help me to love unconditionally and mind my own sin. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

For more on this topic and a chance to win an English Standard Version leather reference Bible, visit Karen’s blog

A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman

10 Minutes a Day with Jesus: Growing in Your Love for the Savior by Jim Reapsome

Application Steps:
What attitudes do I sometimes display that are the opposite of what God wants for me?

Instead of patience, annoyance? Instead of kindness, harsh words? Do I more readily display rejection rather than exhibit acceptance?

Reflections:
Has there ever been a time that someone extended grace to me when I was actually the one in the wrong? What transpired? How could remembering that kindness keep me from pointing fingers in the future?

Power Verses:
Jeremiah 17:9-10, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." (ESV)

Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (ESV)

© 2010 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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8 Comments:

Blogger MrsLouis01 said...

Alot of times its hard for us to mind our own sin, especially when someone close hurts us. But this is an awesome reminder to us that WE ARE NOT GOD! We are all responsible for own actions and lifestyles and that's all. We keep in prayer those who hurt us or offend us and allow God to be God in our lives. Thank you so much for todays reminder as I let go of a hurtful situation this weekend as I mind my own sin and allow God to be who He is, GOD.

Blogger Christie said...

This is the second time I have read your devotional and had it echo something I had been convicted about right before I read it! My husband and I are pet-sitting a dog for a friend of ours who is out of town and last night he dug into our trash and tore up stuff, including some baby diapers (ew!). My husband reacted poorly to the situation and my first instinct was to want to snap and blame him, although he was not at fault for what happened. I know I'm a sinner, but is still strange to me how quickly I tend to default to blaming and mean-ness! But, glory be to God, he got a hold of my heart and instead of saying anything I would regret, I jumped in the shower and prayed the entire time, letting God soften my heart, and then reacted more graciously to my husband.

I am so glad that God has been working on me the last week or so, because I am learning what an ugly person I can be! He is so amazing and all glory goes to Him!

Blogger Raelene said...

I have had a few rough weeks with the family and today's devotion really helped put things in perspective. Even last week I had to pray and ask for forgiveness when God led me to verses in Proverbs over discipline and helping me also see the error of my ways with them and personally.

Anonymous Thais said...

We are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO human and God knows this! I'm am glad to be a part of a community that reminds us daily that if we are in pain or hurting the Bible has all the answers. Thank goodness that we have each other to keep the path straight!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had just finally gotten my 9 yr old grandson (we are his guardian)(He is autistic, Adhd) out the door with his respite provider for 2 hrs. Boy now I let out a huge sigh of relief!! Peace at last!! So I thought until I sat down to read Proverbs 31. Wow was that an eye opener. I always feel like I'm the victim, and want someone to help me. That is where I have been all wrong, I just read the best medicine for this terrible disease!! In Proverbs 31 this morning!!! A BIG thank you so much for opening my eyes.

Blogger kimmie said...

That was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you very nicely put our Heavenly father watches over us and sometimes he allows things to happen but if you look closely you will find his love in everything that we have to endure and we can always turn to our bible and allow him to speak to us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotional is really nice. What I guess I don't understand is why does it seem like God is always talking to be about my reflection in the mirror but it seems He never talks to my husband. I mean how much self improvement can you do without getting discouraged when u see u're husband on the same plato with no desire, interest or conscience to improve as well. Quite duscouraging.

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