By David Stahl

        You know we (maybe I should just say me) often do things like we think God is not listening to what we say.  How often do we just carelessly bruise people with our words and actions not concerned with the circumstances and the results?  Well my friend God cares and He is looking at the intents of our hearts even more than what we do and say.  In God, it does not matter what we do for Him as much as it matters how we do things.  God will not say “much done” to those Christians who will enter into the joys of the LORD, oh no He will say “well done.” I hope and pray you can see there is a world of difference here.  The church today has a “doing heart” for God instead of allowing God to make them.  In what we call the story of the Prodigal Son (strange the Bible does not call him a prodigal) we find this truth play out.  In the 15th Chapter of Luke, we find the younger of two sons asking his father for his inheritance which is backward to the way things are to go between two brothers.  The Bible is full of stories about two brothers maybe the LORD is really concerned about relationships between brothers.  Here is verse 12 the youngest son says, “And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.”  (Luke 15:12)  Notice his heart condition, “give me”  selfish, focused on himself, and his pleasures.  He had not allowed God to work in his life to make him to give of himself.  My friend if God cannot work in our lives and make us a giver than He cannot use us we will disqualify ourselves for service.  I hear so many Christians say they go to church to receive a blessing (like the youngest son give me God) well my friend we do not go to church to receive a blessing oh no, we go to church to be a blessing. All I hear is bless me bless me bless me, how selfish and self-centered the church is today.  This thinking comes from the humanistic philosophy that has taken over most churches today —  it is all about me.  But do not worry my friend for those who really have a heart for God He has ways to knock this wrong attitude and selfishness out of us.  After years of spending all he had the youngest son found himself eating (see verse 16) with the pigs.  And yes God has ways to brings us to our senses (see verse 17) and off he went home.  Well spending all we have and dinner with pigs will carry us a long way to see the folly of our ways.  God has His ways to get our attention and turn us aside unto Himself, if we have a heart for such things.  Historically this story is taught about the loving father and he was, but in verse 19 we see something just as powerful as the loving father, we see a change of heart in the youngest son.  The youngest son says,  “And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”  (Luke 15:19)  His time in the pig sty and in spending all of his inheritance was a blessing in his life (seen after the fact) because his words were no longer “give me,”but now “make me.”  This is the real truth of this story.  Unless God can brings us to this same place we will not progress one little bit in Him.  Oh we will go to church, sing, dance, pay our tithes (I see this most every week), but there is no spiritual growth in the people.  They are doing all of the right religious church activities, but they are no better than tingling cymbals and sounding brass and all the while not knowing it which is even sadder.  They have been taught wrong for years trying to work up the Spirit, running after people, and all the while they are over into presumption.  Now most preachers do not end their message about this story this way.  But if you look at the end of the story the youngest son is restored back to his father (which is wonderful), but the Bible does not say his inheritance was restored.  He was home in good favor with his father, but there was a price he paid for his waywardness, his inheritance.  God was able to change his heart and there was restoration between him and his father, but he experienced a great loss.  Let us take heed.  The most amazing thing about this story is God knew what was going to happen all along the story.  He knew the son would come home and be restored to his father (and maybe his older brother) the entire time.  He knew the heart condition of:  the oldest son, the father, the servants, the youngest son, and even the people who helped the youngest son spend his inheritance.  My friend God knows all things He knows the intents of our heart even in times of great victory God knows what we are really thinking and how we really feel about people and situations.  Miriam, Moses’ sister found this out the hard way.  After the great victory over the army (600 chariots) Pharaoh sent after Moses and the Children of Israel, Miriam and all of the ladies grabbed their timbrels (like a tambourine) and danced and sang,  the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea” and all the people rejoiced, God delivered them again.  I can almost see them now twirling, jumping, shouting, and singing.  In Exodus 15 we read, “For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. 20  And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21  And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”  (Exodus 15:19-21)  What a great victory, but just a few days more on the other side of that great victory we find Miriam, Moses’ brother Aaron, and other leaders railing on Moses because he married an Ethiopian before he went back to Egypt. In Number we read, And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” (Numbers 12:1-3)  Now the lady Moses married may have been light to dark skinned like we find in Ethiopia today the Bible does not say.  Who knows what color the folks in that region were, but all of that is not important what is important is Miriam, Aaron, and the other leaders carried their hatred and anger for Moses marrying the Ethiopian woman through the Red Sea victory.  And the Scriptures said, “And the LORD heard it.”  My friend God always hears our words and takes action have they be what we would call good or bad.  In Miriam’s case it was bad.  Because of her hatred for Moses and his wife God rewarded (remember a reward is something we get from God out from our behavior) her with leprosy and kicked her out of the camp for seven (a period of purification) days.  We read again in Numbers,  “And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12  Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb. 13  And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. 14  And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15  And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again. 16  And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.”  (Numbers 12:10-16) My friend God is always listening and He always knows the intents of our heart.  God knew what Miriam and Aaron had in their heart and let them sing and dance.  Please do think because you are singing and dancing God finds you acceptable, oh no He will let you sing, dance, wave flags, but there is a time (like with Miriam) when He will say enough of the singing and dancing time to see if I will be allowed to deal in your heart with some ungodly issues.  And never forget there is always something we will pay for our waywardness.  What is in our that God knows about? My friend God is listening.