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.

Searching For a New Heart

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Recently, I started looking back at some of my post and find this random 4 part series on the heart back in 2013.  I was not writing regularly back then so decided to repost this series over the next few weeks with some edits.  (First posted on March 13, 2013)

Open My Eyes to My Heart

kablam_glossy_heartSometimes I sit in awe of the Lord and how he leads us and draws us near to him.  Recently I have been praying and asking God to help me let go of some things which were causing me to become a person I did not want to be.    It is funny sometimes how something you have always known just really comes to light and you have to accept it for what it is.  I guess the finality of acceptance is something we as humans try to avoid.  I know that I have in many areas of my life.  As God recently opened my eyes to this ugly person I did not want to be, he sent me searching through scripture and everywhere I turned he introduced me to my heart.  Not this heart that I can be proud of but the real heart inside of me.  I will get to that.  I feel lead to share where God is leading me on this in-depth discovery of the heart.  I long for the new heart the scriptures speak of but to have that heart I must understand the heart as a whole.

Good vs Evil

The heart can be root of both Good and Evil, but more often the heart will lead us down the easiest road and usually that is not where we truly want to go.  As I read various scriptures, I decided to turn to Strong’s Commentary for some guidance and here I found a plethora of verses that speak of what is seeded in the heart.  I was lead to all this because I was not right and I quietly and silently began really listening to God.  He began to show me so many things about myself as I read the scripture.  Everything kept leading toward the heart and that caught my attention.  Specifically I began a 6 day devotional study on Love & Marriage I found and guess what Day 1 was on – you guess it – the Heart.  This first devotion is the initial cause of my digging.  I felt God calling me to the scriptures for more.  One of the verses shared in the study on day 1 was Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” I felt completely and utterly a failure because following my heart without God would always lead to wickedness because the heart is wicked.  Who can know our heart?  The simple answer is only God and he knows all our wickedness.  So begins this journey to know my heart.

Following Scripture

I have been visiting verses lately that speak of what is rooted in the heart.  These verses can sometimes seem good but if you really look at what can come from the heart you see the wickedness.  The first verse from Jesus in Matthew 5: 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  So our sin before it is revealed has already been committed in our heart.  But what of lust as I noticed a verse was listed that spoke specifically to this word found in Romans 1:24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.”  So God pulled away and their hearts took over which lead back to Matthew 5:28.  What of our desires?  Romans 10:1 says “…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  At first read, this sounds good but looking deeper I see that we have to have control of what our heart desires.  Left alone we become the heart in Matthew 5 and Romans 1.  As I sit speechless and pray that the Lord will help me find my new heart with him.  I am almost afraid to continue on but the draw is powerful to read more.  What more words did Jesus have to say about the heart?

Mark 11:23 reads in the words of Jesus, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  This verse sounds so awesome, but to have this faith.  It is so easy to say yes Lord I have this much faith when really my heart doubts.  Jesus says in John 14:1 ” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  I must not let trouble and doubt fill my heart just the Lord so my faith can overcome the wickedness my heart desires.  These words are similar to those from Isaiah 35: 4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”  With such words from our Lord why do I let me heart be my guide?

Time to meditate on these words from scripture.  Putting this puzzle together is encouraging but also brings me to my knees in need of prayer.  Before seeking more it is time for prayer.  Time to start seeking my new heart.

Closing Verse: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Challenge:  My prayer is that God will be my guide and work in my heart. May he also be yours.

 

 

Playing in God’s Creation

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God’s Creation

I have spent the last few weeks tasting a different type of living in God’s Creation.  This experience has prompted me back to the beginning and to the scriptures of Genesis 1.  As I study the scriptures again of how this world came to be, I think back to the memories I have from the past few weeks and the surreal and deep experience with all of God’s creation.  Genesis 1 begins with light, so I will begin there as well.

Light

God speaks of the light he created twice in Genesis 1.  First he spoke of light that became the first day in Genesis 1: 1-5,

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

The second time light is found in the scripture of God’s creation was on the fourth day where the sun and the moon specifically are mentioned in scripture in Genesis 1:14-19,

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,

15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.

16 And God made the two great lights–the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night–and the stars.

17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

I have always loved to watch the sunset and watching the sunset is never more beautiful than over the water.  I was able to experience the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun over the water for about 6 days.  Each morning started with the sun peeking up over the horizon and ended as it drifted down below the water.  These are moments of great beauty.  Watching these events with only the rippling of the water, splashing of the fish, and songs of the birds is almost breathtaking.  Words nor pictures can explain how you feel when you leave the hectic pace and disconnect yourself from it all except the beauty of his creation surrounding you.  The stars of the night are spectacular, sparkling  and infinite.  God’s light will mean so much more as I watch it rise and set moving forward.

Water

Genesis 1: 6-8,

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”

7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.

8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Oh how I love water.  Sitting and watching the water move, waves roll, ripples on a lake or deep in the Gulf, all are music to my ears.  The sound is soothing and mesmerizing.  I find my peace by the water.  There is nothing more beautiful than watching the sunset with the crashing waves as the music.   There is something magical in God’s creation of the expanses of water for me and I am thankful that he chose to create such beauty for me to listen to, watch, and swim in.  This is my happy place and one I long for each time I am away.

Land 

Genesis 1: 9-13,

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.

10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.

12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Just as water was so important in God’s creation, so was the beauty of the land he created.  Maybe I viewed most it from the water, but finding the nature and beauty of God’s hand can be moments when you can find no words to say.  Even those standing around me just stood in awe and watched it pass.  What a masterpiece he has created?  I long to enjoy even more of his handiwork.

Creatures of the Sea

Genesis 1: 20-23,

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

While cruising through the water and God’ creation the sea creatures and the birds of the air become your constant companions.  Osprey and sea gulls, and then a few unknown birds I need to look up.  Each spread their wings and share their sounds as they show their curiosity of us in their space.  The dolphins in the sea were constant companions either riding the bow of the boat or greeting us each evening as we set the anchor.  Their curiosity was even more than the birds and we knew we were safe as we traveled and saw our daily dolphin dose.  I could not get enough of the dolphins!

Creatures of the Land

Genesis 1: 24-25,

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds–livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.

25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

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Although this journey did not bring many creatures from the land our way, that we saw anyway.  It does not mean that we did not appreciate the environments we saw which we knew were full of God’s creatures of the land.  We do choose to spend each day with a little dog named Harley which I share just a bit with my readers each week.  She is my constant reminder that God made such companions for man.

Man

Genesis 1: 26-31,

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Sharing such an experience with my husband and good friends leave no words.  Thank you God for creating me and giving me this opportunity to see your creation up close.  I am hungry for more.

Closing Verse:  

Colossians 1:16, For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Challenge:

Chase your rainbow, I can promise you that you will not have any regrets.

 

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“50”

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Happy Birthday

50 Birthdays

Today is a weird day not because it is my birthday but because it is my 50th birthday.  Wow, I can remember as a child thinking “50” was really old, but it really does not feel that old now that I have arrived.  Actually, I might like it!  My daughter told me just yesterday that i don’t look “50” and how happy she is that her dad and I are seeking our dreams earlier in life rather than later.

So with a cold beer, I sit on the back of our new home on my 50th birthday seeking my dream.  I pause to stare down the seagull that has dropped by to challenge me for my sandwich.  He is a daily visitor to the pole behind our boat.  Although, he is pesky, I stop and look up close at him and he is a reminder me of all the delicate workings in God’s creation.  All the simple things I long to see.  “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?’ Matthew 6:26.

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God’s Creation

In the evenings we watch the osprey drive into the water for dinner.  Just a few days ago one sat fishing off the boat next to us without a care in the world.  He watched us but was not alarmed by us.  Watching his majestic body work and move is just an awesome site and another piece of this world I long to have the time to just sit and watch like I did that day.  The feeling of being awe struck  as our eyes met each other.  God’s handiwork is exquisite.  “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.

 

I have seen dolphins, manatees, tarpon, and rays from this seat.  Now, I am ready for a bigger adventure and a deeper discovery of God’s world.  Yes, I am turning “50” and it makes me a little queasy because my body is getting older and I feel it, but reaching this birthday was a marker for me of what is to come – what God has planned.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.

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Closing Verse:  “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Challenge:  Seek God Now!

Next week, I will share an entry from from a new blog.  A sneak peak at the adventure my husband and I are seeking together.  You will find that post here so stay tuned.

#WatchGod

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Loving Others

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34.  I am beginning a May Challenge that I read about recently,  and will be sharing my journey each week in my blog post.  I am sharing the challenge now hoping that readers will join me and share their experiences with me and others.  I want to hear what happens!  So……

Challenge

Here is the Challenge:

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Choosing Someone to Love

As a sidenote, I keep prayer cards one for each person that I pray for each day.  This is a tip I learned in a life group reading and discussing the book, A Praying Life by Paul L. Miller.  I feel lead to choose someone not on my prayer cards.  This might have been the greater challenge because I have a lot of prayer cards!

I looked around me at others who touch my life for that person that God was calling me towards.  That person who needed something, and then God place him/her in front of me.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.

Challenge Begins

I begin my 30 days of prayer for this person today.  “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  I can not wait to share what I see God doing in his/her life each week!  If you accept this challenge please share what God is doing through your prayer life for this person.  Join Me in #WatchGod.

Closing Verse:   1 John 4:19-21 “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Challenge: Ask God to provide someone for you to spend 30 days praying for.  #WatchGod

Sunsets

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Easter Sunsets

The week after Easter this year is my Spring Break, and my husband and I were able to take a few days and enjoy the warm Florida sunshine and gulf coast beaches.  This is one of my happy places.  The best part is watching the sunset.  As the sun descents down into the gulf waters the colors and sites are like no other and I am sure there is a God.  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11.  God shares beautiful sunsets to remind me of his majestic presences so I have no excuse but to turn my heart and mind back to relationship with him.  “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”  Psalms 145:5

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Knowing God Through a Sunset

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1: 19-20

Just as I watch the beauty of a sunset and am reminded of God, I am also reminded of his creation of the light out of darkness.  His handiwork not mine is what I see  in nature and in my own life.  “When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,” Proverbs 8:27.

I think if I am really honest the sunset does remind me of life and its shortness.  The sun will set.  The end will come.  I hope that I have left behind happiness and not strife.  This is my reminder when I see the sunset.  I am not promised tomorrow.  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1.  Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!  Live for Christ today not tomorrow because we do not know what tomorrow brings.

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Anger and Sunsets

The reminder of how short life is comes this scripture that also reminds me to not hold onto grudges and anger – from Ephesians 4: 26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”  Just one more reminder that sunset could be our last one so do not leave anything undone.  Do not let your angry and the devil win.  Make amends with others before the sunsets.  Live a life of Psalms 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Closing Verse: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3
Challenge:  Prepare for the Sunset.

Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

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.

 

My Linus Blanket

Conversation with Friends

Recently, while hanging out with friends and having some life conversations that lead to one discussion about what is one thing that could make our life better right now, and second what are the security blankets that keep us from really reaching for our dreams and making our life better.  While eating wings, watching some football and having this discussion my friend turned and said this may be your next post… and so here I am exploring the path of God’s plan for me and how I hold onto my security blanket that can hinder God’s plan for my life.  My challenge to you as you continue to read is to think about what your security blanket is? What hinders you from living out God’s plan for your life.

Security Blankets 

Everyone remembers Linus in the Charlie Brown comic series.  He carries his blanket without fail everywhere he goes.  He doesn’t believe that he can do anything without the blanket.  Many times it appears the blanket gets in the way of what Linus wants to do but without fail he will only continue on within the safety of his blanket in tow.  When this question was asked in the conversation, I knew my security blanket was the safety of my hometown, where I have always lived,  and my career.   Over the years I have enjoyed lots of adventures in my life, but my desire to live a daily adventure, although great, is hindered by the safety of home.  I need to make my home within the Lord like Psalm 16:8 reads, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

Drop the Blanket

Over the Christmas holidays, I read an article about the only time Linus drops his security blanket is in A Charlie Brown Christmas when he begins to tell the Christmas Story and the real meaning of Christmas with these words, ‘And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”, Luke 2:10-11.  Linus found God’s security in his word – “Fear Not” and he no longer needed to hold the blanket.  I hear God’s word calling me to “Fear Not” and take the steps to release my security blanket and “Live Life”.  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14.  Go and find the beauty of his world, and explore the handiwork of his hands.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17.  Go and watch the dolphins jump and the sun set over the water.  Go and listen to the waves crash and smell the sand and salt.  Go and experience the simple and slower life that I hear him calling me towards.  I will need to seek God’s strength to drop the blanket.  The strength found in 1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Fear Not

I must walk in the words that Linus spoke when he dropped his blanket, “Fear Not, and know that God is with me.  As I open my eyes to my security blanket and seek the strength of the Lord to fulfill my life and allow me to let go and enjoy!   Psalm 34:4 encourages me to seek the Lord, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  I have to unwrap myself from my blanket in order to feel the freedom that Christ can provide for my future.  I seek the freedom of John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Closing Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Challenge:  Find your blanket and let It go.

Charlie Brown pictures are courtesy of pixabay.com

Shining God’s Light

Sharing Christ’s Love

As the new year is beginning, I do want to look toward the future with a brighter lighter.  This new year, I am beginning my day with three strategic ways to encourage myself so that I might be a better example of Christ’s Love for others.  I don’t usually plug specific apps or websites, but I am today, yet I challenge you to find what works and motivates you to get moving everyday for the Lord.  I know for me it can sometimes be hard to get going and put others above myself.  I want others to Christ in me.  I want to serve others not myself!  I want to be the catalyst that brings out the best in others.  Here is how I am starting each day in 2018. Let’s look at one day of my new year and what the Lord delivers to me.  Here was Tuesday January 9, 2018.

KLOVE Radio

I listen to KLOVE radio each morning as I drive to work.  This is a time of worship and prayer for me.  Although it is a short ride each morning, this time is significant for me each day.  Sometimes it is the music as I have written about before and then again it could be a story that is shared, but many times I end my ride in tears with the Lord.  Before I even begin this ride to work, I wake each morning and open my email to read the KLOVE verse of the day.  This past Tuesday the verse read, “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you:  God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”  1 John 1:5 (NLT).  As I began the morning reading this verse, I listened to Jesus sharing his Father and mine with me that God is the light in my life and darkness is not found with God.  I set my eyes on the sharing the light of God.  I challenge you to bring KLOVE into your life just a little each day if you don’t listen to their station now.

Shine Text App

Since the New Year, I read about this app that delivers motivational text to you each day.  I was intrigued and decided to sign up.  There is also an app so you can choose how the text is delivered either through text or notification from the app.  I have really been inspired by these text that I receive right after I get to work each morning.  You get to choose the time that your text is delivered.  I like to get to work, get a cup of coffee, begin my day greeting students, and then receive some more motivation from this text before the day really gets rolling.  On Tuesday, I received this text: ” “Anything we do takes time away from something *else* we could have done, Allie.  Rather than try to tackle *all the things* today, prioritize the moves that matter most.”  Powerful!  What a great reminder as I get my day started to make smart decisions and prioritize my day.  I need to choose what matters for the day and accomplish these task well.  It is better to a job I can be proud of then just to do a long list of stuff!.  What Matters Most Today?!  Another Challenge, if you need some motivation in your life then check out Shine Text.

YOUVersion Bible – Daily Bible Verse

Just before lunch around 11am, I received my Verse of the Day from YouVersion Bible app.  Getting one more bible verse in the late morning hours of my day keeps on the path of remaining focused on the Lord as I walk through my day.  Just another reminder that I want to be an example of Christ in the lives of those around me.  The verse I received on Tuesday:  “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”  Proverbs 16:3 ESV.  On this day this is a perfect verse as I reflect on my work and how I can continue to do what is best for the students and staff that I serve.

Making Connections

As I reflect on the gifts that the Lord gave me just on this past Tuesday, I realize that there are connections.  I began with a reminder that God is the light in my life, followed by the motivation to focus on what matters most in my life that day, and then to commit the work that I am doing to the Lord.  How can I not have a great day each and every day if just Tuesday was this motivational and reflective for my life.  I challenge you to make some connections for your life.  Find some motivation for you each day that will bring you closer to the Lord and show you what is important for your life.  Have a Great New Year in 2018!

Closing Verse:  Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Challenge:  Find Inspiration and Motivation for you life each and every day.  Don’t overlook the little ways God can speak to you.