Heartwork

Making Room

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

What are the desires of your heart? Take a moment to think about it. Maybe write it down….

God knows what they are and he also knows what they should be for you to be really happy. If you examine your heart, you might unpack it and find these things in there.

A spouse or a mate
A happy family or marriage
Great job
New house
Health
For this problem or that problem to go away

Down at the very bottom is a tiny flame that is your desire for God. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit gives this to us. In the beginning, that flame is super small. To grow it, you have to focus on it just like you would a mate or job to make them what you want them to be. You have to fan the flame.

How do you fan this flame? Spend time praying. Not your cursory prayer to check the box but a conversation. That’s what prayer is after all. Listen a bit and wait for that “Ah God!” moment. That’s God impressing something on your heart.

Spend time reading the Bible. It doesn’t matter if you read one verse or 10 chapters. Read and think about what you’ve read. Often here you will have another “Ah God!” moment. This can also happen with devotionals or other spiritual books.

Finally, help someone. Love on someone. God will often put these people in your path. If he does, follow his lead and your flame will shoot into the air.

Pretty soon, as you fan your flame, it grows bigger and bigger. Eventually, some of the stuff you had packed in your heart falls away. When God is at the center of your life, it changes what you care about. The other things? Well, they get even better because you get better at loving, prioritizing and sharing.

God knew all along what would really make us happy. We just get confused sometimes about what that is. Luckily, there is always the chance to rearrange and uncover that little flame that we sometimes have tucked into a back corner.

One more thing, as you are unpacking and repacking, you get to go on these great God adventures! He knows that we love excitement and he’s ready!

What Is Your Job?

“The work of God for you,” replied Jesus, “is to believe in the one whom he has sent to you.” John 6:29 (PHILLIPS)

It’s Monday and for some of us in the US, it’s a holiday. For others it’s a work day. For some of us, it’s a holiday but we have to go to work. And for others, we have work to do even if we are not spending time at a “job”. It seems like there is always work to do or a job to go to. And if you do go to a “job,” there are usually many other tasks outside of that job that need to get done.

It seems like my “To Do” list is never-ending. And I often ask God how I am supposed to get it all done. There isn’t enough time in the day to do what I think needs to get done.

But then God says “Wait. There is only one thing you need to do today and that is love me. If you don’t do anything else all day long but you spend time with me, you will have done the most important thing. Believe and everything else will fall into place.”

This is quite a relief. Because even when I do a whole lot, at the end of the day it can still feel like I got nothing accomplished. But, if I spend time with God each day, I know I did.

The most important thing we each do every day is spend time getting to know Jesus. If we check nothing else off of our “To Do” list today except that, we will have accomplished the ONE thing God said to do.

Somehow, everything else always seems to fall into place…..

A Minute In It - Which Soil Are You?

A minute in Gods' word will change your life.  Take a moment to read the passage below and answer the questions at the bottom of the post.

3-8 “What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.

18-19 “Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.

20-21 “The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

22 “The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.

23 “The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” Matthew 13:3-23 (MSG)

Which soil are you?
Why do you think you fit into that group?
Is there anything you can do to change your soil type?
If so, what?

Psalm 19

1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.[a]
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world.

God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
    It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
    and follows its course to the other end.
    Nothing can hide from its heat.

7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
8 The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.
9 Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
    even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
    even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
    a great reward for those who obey them.

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.

14 May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (NLT)

Home Is Where The Heart Is

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love." John 15:9 (MSG)

When folks come to our house we say to them, "Make yourselves at home."  What does it mean when you tell someone "Make yourselves at home"? For us it means "Take off your shoes. Relax a while. Rest. Enjoy the warmth, love and protection of this place."

What it doesn't mean is that you can destroy the house, hurt the people in it and disregard the guidelines we've put in place.

Interestingly, when Jesus said "Make yourselves at home in my love" maybe he was saying the same thing. The next line is "If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love."  In other words, "Come, rest, enjoy but please be careful to not harm or destroy the house my Father has built. Our love is for your enjoyment and protection. Please be careful with it. Sharing it with you is important to us."

Do you make yourself at home in God's love? If not, what's stopping you?

I Want To Be A Tax Collector When I Grow Up

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  Luke 18:13 (NLT)

He was standing away from the crowd, off by himself, fully aware of who he was. When he prayed, he did not even lift his eyes toward the God he prayed to. He beat his chest in mourning and he uttered the same thing we all think from time to time. God, have mercy on me. I'm not worthy of your love.

This man knew he was wrong. He knew he was a sinner. He knew he had nothing to offer that was worth the God he served. But he came anyway. He came because he knew it wasn't about him or what he did but about the God who was bigger than all that.

This man didn't compare himself to others. He didn't check off a list of good deeds. He simply came with his failures and obvious problems. He came for the love and acceptance that is so freely offered to all of us.

I wish I could be more like this man. I tend to mimic the Pharisee more than I would like. How can my heart me more like the heart of this tax collector? By focusing on Jesus. By looking at the one who can change me so my heart is broken when I come before him.

May sound strange, especially if you are a Pharisee, but I would rather be this tax collector.

Father God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Make me more like Jesus. Amen

A Heart Where It Should Be

Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” John 2:16 (NLT)

Jesus was angry. As he walked into the temple he heard the sound of animals, bargaining, bantering, and money exchanging hands. Where was he?  He was in the outer courts of the temple. This was the place that was supposed to attract folks to God who were not Jewish. It was the place that was intended to help them. Instead, it was being used to make a profit.

Jesus was offended that God's house, this place where God was to reside, was turned into a place where the only focus was financial gain. He said "Stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!"

Makes you wonder.....these days we don't so much have temples with outer courts The house where God resides is supposed to be our hearts. If Jesus were looking into our hearts, would he see a place that had been turned into a marketplace or would he see a place that invited in those who needed him? Which priority would he find?

A Minute In It - Anything You Want

A little time in the Word every day changes you. Take a few minutes, read these verses and ponder the questions at the bottom of the post.

That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”
1 Kings 3:5-9 (NLT)

If God came to you and asked you "What do you want?", what would you say? Take a minute to think it over. Seriously.