I listened to the local Christian radio station all the time when I was a wee lass. WCRM 104 FM. I can’t remember if we called it WCRM 103.9 FM or not, so UNtechnologically savvy were we in those days. Anyway, according to a friend from Judson College, WCRM meant “Where Christians Receive Ministry.” Sounds about right to me. Oh, how I loved those disc jockeys and songs. And the contests. Don’t even get me started on the contests. I can’t well describe how many contests I won with my quick dialing fingers. Yes, I said Dialing. As in Rotary Dial. My family couldn’t afford those fancy push-button phones or special push-button Ma Bell phone services (not to be confused with Verizon or T-Mobile...after all, there was no 3G or 4G in those days; it was more like No-G when I was growing up).
Let’s get back to those contests, shall we? I won numerous records from WCRM. As in music records. The spinning kind. Every month or so, my mother would drive me to the radio station just off Route 31 in West Dundee to pick up all of my prizes. Excitement at its best, I assure you. Albums, galore. Yes. Al...Bums. Not iTunes. Not Spotify. Not YouTube. Not even Pandora. Albums. Big. Black. Vinyl. Discs. Servant. Petra. The Imperials. Evie. Taking all of you slightly older folks on a walk down Memory Lane, aren’t I? Don Francisco. Steve Camp (no, not Jeremy Camp for all of you young’uns). Glad. Brown Bannister.
Brown Bannister. Ahh, yes. Brown Bannister. The album was “Talk To One Another,” and even at so young an age, my favorite song on it was “Create In Me A Clean Heart.” I don’t think at the time, being so naïve, I realized the song was based on a psalm in the Bible. But I sure do now. I think I remember sometime along the way sending Brown Bannister a fan letter explaining how much I appreciated his song.
Which brings me to the psalm upon which the song is based: 51. And the verse: 10. The repeated refrain of the song goes thus: “Create in me a clean heart, oh, Lord, my God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Shall we review those powerful lyrics? “Create in me a clean heart, oh, Lord, my God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10. Yes.
A little over a week ago, I composed and submitted a JCC post about considering and choosing our own personal Bible verse mission statement. As he always does, Pastor Bob reads my submission and considers how he will introduce the post on our church’s website. As per the usual, I appreciated his introduction and shall capture it here: “Each of us should be reflective enough to discover it [a personal Bible verse mission statement] and focused enough to pursue it.”
It’s that focus and pursuit I wish to address in this follow-up post. As promised, I’ve been considering my Bible verse mission statement. For me, it’s Psalm 51:10. It’s all about God creating in me a clean heart and renewing a right spirit within me. It’s what I need and want. Always. And for His ever.
During this time that I’ve been wracking my brain as to which verse should dictate my mission, I realized that this verse (and the aforementioned Brown Bannister song) has long since been the cry of my heart. It’s for that reason that I can’t help but wonder why I STILL do not have a clean heart OR right spirit.
Friend, there are some things commonly said in Christian circles, and they include “God’s not finished with me yet” and “I’m still a work in progress.” Well, I for one, am not at all about that excuse-making life. Is it indeed true that God’s not finished with me yet? On this side of heaven, absolutely. Am I indeed a work in progress? In this temporal existence, emphatically. But let me tell you that this week has been one of serious examination while seeking my mission Bible verse. A variety of factors caused me to seek God’s face more and more. To ask Him for a heart of purity and cleanliness. To ask Him for a renewed and right spirit. Because I sure could use both. And so could those around me.
The book we are reading in our Tuesday night book study (you REALLY should attend!) has stirred the heart of not just a few of us. The book is by Mark Batterson, and it’s called If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities. I highly recommend this read, heartily thank Pastor Bob for choosing it, and utterly appreciate Mark for writing it. I find it timely, my reading this book at the very moment I was considering a Bible verse mission statement for my life. The book has effectively asked me questions that I have no choice but to answer in an authentic and truthful manner. The answers are changing my life at this moment. For the better. And the answers will change people’s lives in the near future when God’s will is done and He realizes my What Ifs. Hence the self-examination and God’s face-seeking I mentioned before.
Heck, just today at church, Pastor Phylis was asked about her views on communion, and what she said gave me pause. Touched my spirit. She paraphrased the 2 Corinthians 5:17 verse having to do with being a new creation in Christ and needing to put away the old self and take on the new self. The essence of what she discussed is that she has to remember that she is new and that it’s not all about her. Now I ask myself if she needs reminders about God’s sovereignty, the need for submission to His will, and the importance of remembering Him while partaking of holy communion (reminders I likewise require), why do I beat myself up for yet having an unclean heart and a spirit that is neither yet renewed nor right? Gosh. Hmmm...let me think.
It’s for the same reason Paul says in his letter to the Romans that he does what he does not wish to do and that he does not do what he wishes to do. It all stems from the fact that we are a fallen people. We need a savior. Jesus Christ. He has the power to create in us a clean heart and to renew within us a right spirit. We need to do our part and seek His face. We need to seriously examine ourselves. The psalmist said “Search me, O 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).
It’s only when we voraciously read God’s word, talk with Him continually, and humbly fast in submission that we are open to God searching our hearts, trying us, and knowing our thoughts. And letting Him convict us of any wicked ways He sees in us and leading us to life eternal with Him. My prayer has been, is now, and will continue to be for God to create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10. My Bible verse mission statement.
What’s yours? And why?
Copy and paste this Brown Bannister song link into your browser and have a listen. It’s a good one. No need to thank me. Thank God. And Brown.
April 2, 2017