Searching For A New Heart – part 2

(First posted on March 31, 2013)

Heart of Doubt

kablam_glossy_heartI am continuing to search scripture in order to understand my heart and how to fully allow God into my heart so his work can be done.  I closed my last post dealing with doubt and fear in my heart.  Today I begin my search with thoughts about how the heart is connected to our thoughts.  Doubt and Trouble come from our thoughts, and I found scripture on this in Mark 2:6,8.  Verse 6 reads, “And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,” followed up in verse 8 “But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?”  The scribes were full of pride, remember that for later, and in their hearts they reasoned that when Jesus healed other it was sinful.  In Matthew 9:4 Jesus even says on the same occasion, “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?”.  Evil comes from the heart into our thoughts, but there is good news!  Psalm 19:14 says “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  We can ensure that our thoughts are good and acceptable to Go, but we must focus our heart toward good and God.

Pride

Looking back at the prideful scribes who allowed their pride to plant sin in their hearts and cloud their judgement on Jesus.  Pride evokes fear in me and my heart as it should after reading Proverbs 16:5 which reads “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”  That is a powerful verse that makes you stop in your tracks.  How many times have we been overcome with pride. How often do we want things our way and fail to consider everything because of our pride.  How often do we want to be praised for what we do instead of serving for the Lord and him alone.  Pride an abomination to the Lord brings silence to me right now.  I wait for God to move.  Leviticus 19:17 mentions hate in the heart, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.  You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”  God commanded his people not to have hate in their heart.

Hope vs Wickedness

I tremble before the Lord as I read these verses because I know that God can withdraw himself from my heart if I do not keep my focus on him just as he did with Pharaoh first stating in Exodus 4:21 “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand,  But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”  God allows hardening of the heart when he is not living in your heart.  When God is living in our hearts we have purpose.  2 Corinthians 9:7 says ” So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”  We have purpose we give from the heart which leads to rejoicing from the heart.  Acts 2:26 tells us ” Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.”  These verses give me hope that the wickedness of my heart will not win out over the Lord living in my heart.

Loving with the Heart

I hold several verses close to my heart and want to share.  Earlier I mentioned that God does not like hate in our heart and commanded it of his people.  Jesus brought a new commandment found in Mark 12: 30-31,33.  In verse 30 -31 Jesus says, ” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  This is finalized in verse 33 showing Jesus as the one true sacrifice where we can find such love in ourselves and our hearts.  Verse 33 reads, ” And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  These commandments and the love I want to hold for the Lord and others in my heart are summed up in Matthew 6: 19-21.  My focus is really on verse 21 but I feel the verses as a whole really shows me that I need to focus on the Lord so my heart is lead to my treasures.  Otherwise my treasures will be evil and sinful and of this world.  Beginning in verse 19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where the moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Closing Verse:  Matthew 6: 21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Challenge:  Commit your heart to the Lord and your store treasures in heaven.  I pray God will help you and me focus on a new heart.

Count Your Blessings

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I haven’t spent as much time in the car listening to the radio this summer and since I have been working this past week once again my drive includes listening to KLove.  I have these moments when listening to music sometimes and it goes like this, What is the name of this song?  Who sings this song?  I really love the message of this song!  I need to Shazam this song?  So today I am sharing a new song for me and the impact while driving to work as I thought about the meaning.
Count Your Blessing
Rend Collective
I was blind, now I’m seeing in color
I was dead, now I’m living forever
I had failed, but you were my redeemer
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

Blessed

If there is one thing I have fully determined this summer, it is that I am blessed.  God has given me the time to disconnect from the world and focus on Him and what he has given me.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17.  I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters who are hard working and independent.  I have been blessed with a loving husband who has loved me now over 30 years with all my faults and failures.  I have been blessed with a career that touches children and (I pray) I have changed some of their lives.  God is Good, but this summer He asked me to really look and appreciate the beauty he created and blessed me with.  Although, I understand the words I was blind and now I see in color as being saved, the past month showed me that color in 3D.  I really see the colors now, Lord.  I see what is important.  I am living and want to continue to live both here and forever with you.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6.

Treasure

I was lost, now I’m found by the father
I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure
I’ve been given a hope and a future
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
God is showing me the treasures he has stored up for me.  “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33.  I want to focus more on trying to live out this verse.  Sell, share, and live with less in order to experience God more.  He is allowing me to taste heaven here on earth, and I am thirsty for more.  I want to experience more of his beauty and grace.  I want to not just count my blessing but enjoy my blessings.  I want to enjoy a future that is full of both my Father in heaven and my remaining days here on earth.   Luke 12:34 states it best, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Strength

You were there in the valley of shadows
You were there in the depth of my sorrows
You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
Oh, you are good to me
I have walked through valleys and across mountain tops and I know that my life will be filled with both.  Yet, I have hope in God’s strength, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13.  As I walk through the life God is giving me and count the many blessings, I know that I continue to need his strength to make the decisions and walk his path.  I know that the only strength I can rely on is that which the Lord provides.  Driving and listening to this song, I feel my Lord’s strength which I will need and promised to me in  1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
Surely your goodness pursues me
Surely your heart is still for me
I will remember your mercies all my days
Through every storm and gale
Closing Verse: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
Challenge:  Take the time today to stop and count your blessings and lean on the Lord’s strength for your life.

 

Songwriters: Gareth Gilkeson / Chris Llewellyn / Bridget Herron / Ali Gilkeson / Will Herron / Steve Mitchell / Patrick Thompson
Counting Every Blessing lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

 

New Body…New Life

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Celebrating Life

This past weekend we laid my mother in law to rest.  The funeral was such a celebration of her life and I am thankful for friends and family who came together to celebrate her.  I can smile again thinking about her life and knowing that she has found a new home in heaven.  Last week I was mourning while watching the slow and painful stages of death. My heart was broken as I watched her through nine long days and I longed for her to find peace with her Father in heaven.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18.  I could only ask each day over and over -Why is she hanging on?  Others around us asked the same question or Who was she waiting on?  I am not sure and we may never know, but a friend did share that God would not take her home until her purpose was complete.  “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,” Job 14:5.  We may not know her final purpose yet, but I do believe there was a purpose in the last nine days of her life.  May God’s Will Be Done.

Party in Heaven

Last week I could only mourn her end and how heart wrenching it was to watch, but now I can celebrate her life and knowing that she is “partying” in heaven.  (We told her everyday that she was going to be late for her party).  I know that at her party she now is new and alive.  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.  Her frail and worn body has been replaced with a heavenly body promised by God in 1 Corinthians 15:54, ” When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

God’s Promise

Scripture brings so many promises to believers of what God has done, is doing, and will do.  God provide the perfect sacrifice in his son Jesus Christ, so that through death we now can find life.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  While we walk through this earthly life longing for our home in heaven, God is preparing a place for us in his house.  John 14:1-3 provides us with this promise, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”   So I walk now more confident in my future and in the promises God has made because I have victory in Jesus – ““O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.  Death has no hold on me anymore because Christ conquered Death.  I fear not.  “And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”  Revelations 1:18.

Closing Verse:  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.

Challenge:  Walk each day in the faith that this earthly world is not your home.

 

Celebration in Heaven

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Saying Good Bye

Over the past week or so, I have watched the country say good-bye to a man who believed in the walk to Heaven.  He has preached to Louis Zamperini and was known as the Pastor to the Presidents, as he prayed and advised many.  He has loved so many people and so many have been touched by his passing.  Even as he made his last trip from Montreat, NC to Charlotte, NC, the roads were lined with so many people who needed to say goodbye.  I struggled to watch news report about him because for some reason losing him has brought forth in me so much emotion.  I did not know him or his family, but he was just a person who seems to easily connect with people – thousands and thousands of people.  This past Sunday night, I watch the short documentary and just cried, but I know that living or dead, Billy Graham belongs to God.  “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”  Romans 14:8.  It feels like the world has lost something good. Someone who found the good when there seems to be so much hate.  Rev. Billy Graham personally touched me at a trying time in my young life with his words, and for that I am thankful.

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Zola

In November of 1987, I said another goodbye that caused more pain than I had felt in my 19 years of life.  My grandmother, Zola Williams White, passed away.  She was such a role model for me, and I saw and knew her love for Christ.  What she and I failed to do was talk about death and her not being in my life one day. What would that be like?  I was a Sophomore in College, I needed to know where she was or if she was.  Seems strange to tell this story now, but back then without a laptop, smart phone, etc to do simple research, I began a journey to find some answers. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  Hebrews 11:6

(my grandmother)

Heaven

This journey began by finding Christian bookstores and visiting each looking for answers about Heaven.  I looked at so much material.  I read many, but we all  know that there is not really an answer to be found.  I have to stand in my faith just as she had done for some many years.  I know looking back she was not afraid, but where I found my comfort was in a book written by Rev. Billy Graham.  Facing Death and the Life After was published in 1987 released just about the time of her death.  I feel like it was written for me, and reading this book began a turning point for me to walk in faith after being so angry with God about losing her. I realized that Heaven is a place that Christ promised us while on Earth.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”  John 14:2.  I long to be there.

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Goodbye is not Forever

So watching the funeral and events leading up the funeral have been painful knowing that a great man of God is not among us anymore, but how happy heaven must be to have Billy Graham home.  One day I pray that I meet Billy Graham in heaven standing along side my grandmother who I know is loving both Christ and Billy today.  How do I know?  God’s Word Tells Me -“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119″105.

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Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Challenge:  Christ is challenging us to follow him and walk by faith.