“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 NIV
The most critical aspect of our spiritual life is our heart. I believe our heart is like a compass. A compass identifies where you are headed directionally. It establishes:
(1) where you are
(2) where you are in relationship to where you want to go
(3) how you get pointed in the right direction
Our hearts determine our direction spiritually in much the same way. If we cannot keep our hearts pointed to True North, we will be off in where we are heading. True North is God, our Heavenly Father. If our hearts are not aligned with Him, our maps will be distorted, wobbly, and stilted. By aligned, I mean understanding the magnificence of Our Father’s Love. It means we understand and identify with our identity in Christ. So, if you have not done that, I encourage you. Ask Him into your heart and you will find healing and restoration. It is the first step in establishing relationship with the Greatest Love you can ever know.
Father, guide my heart. Help me to always look to You first, my True North, before setting course for any destination. Thank you for your Great Love and the perfect design of my heart, mind, and spirit in Your image!
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14 NIV
Sometimes I feel awkward and unsure. Fear can have a tendency to creep in. When things get intense, I can be fearful of making a mistake. It can trip me up. But God is always gentle with me. He always reminds me that He loves me. He doesn’t try to set me up. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. All He asks is that I am willing. I have to have a heart that seeks His.
The enemy wants to derail me, but God knows my heart. He knows I have a loving heart. I have to stay true to that place. Use wisdom. Use discernment. Use them both with confidence.
Father, thank you for Your encouragement. Thank you for reminding me of Your love. Thank you for making me perfect through Your Son Jesus. Thank you for showing me Your ways and using Your perfect love to chase away any lingering fear.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
There are times in life when the outlook is bleak. The horizon does not appear to hold any hope or show any signs of rescue. No white horse is in sight coming to the rescue.
Those are the times that it is hardest to hang onto this promise. Those are the times that we have to exercise faith. These are what I call hard places. I’m in one now. Saying that, I still have faith. It’s being tested but it does not change all of God’s promises that I know to be true:
Whatever we ask we receive (1 John 3:22)
God’s thoughts and ways are different (Isaiah 55:8)
God’s Word will accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55:11)
I have to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Faith will move mountains (Matthew 17:20)
God’s promises are delivered through faith (Romans 4:13)
Faith rests on God’s power, not mine (1 Corinthians 2:5)
I must believe in God and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:5)
So I celebrate!
Father, thank you for every promise. Thank you for Your favor that goes before me. Thank you for all the delight and even the stretch that you’ve put in my path to show me You are in control.
“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20 NIV
The Bible is a great book of instruction and life examples. It contains just about every storyline you can imagine: murder, intrigue, love, sibling rivalry and more. You name it. It has it. Every story serves a purpose. A real life purpose for today.
As I was reading in Revelation, I began to recognize pieces that relate to this moment in time. As John was talking about the seven churches, I realized they all had their issues. And they all had characteristics that He loved. When I think of God, I think of perfection. These churches were far from perfect!
These churches hold lessons for churches today. They are roadmaps for setting things in order for the return of Jesus Christ. They represent the struggles of the churches of today and the corrections that need to be made.
When Jesus died on the cross for us, we were not perfect. We were made perfect in Him. Churches need to be operating in His Spirit in order to function and perform the work that needs to be accomplished.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
Moses told the children of Israel to be strong and courageous. Then he told Joshua to be strong and courageous. Then God Himself told Joshua many times to be strong and courageous throughout the battles that had to be fought as he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
Repetition is good. It helps move things from our mind into our heart. It develops neural networks that help us internalize principles and information. It transforms fact into habit. It builds faith. It builds strength. It builds courage.
When I was in college, I worked on a neuropsychology research project on a phenomenon known as “kindling.” The principle was that our neural pathways learn. As they process the same stimuli on multiple occasions, the neural pathways process the stimulus faster and more powerfully each time. Reaction times decrease and the reaction intensity increases. So think about it. Becoming stronger and more courageous each time you hear these words! That is powerful.
“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 NIV
There have been times when I have held back. I was slow to act. I did not listen in faithful obedience. I was overwhelmed by what I didn’t know. Fear and doubt crept in. Turns out I had to come to the end of myself. I had to come to the place where I wanted something different so badly that I was willing to let go of everything. So…..
It wasn’t so bad! Worries that I had held onto became very insignificant. Fear became irrelevant. Trust grew. Faith grew. It’s still growing. I’ve had enough of a taste of it now that I just don’t want to go backward. Joy is a frequent delight. Passion. Compassion. I have a thankful heart. My heart has become more pliable and workable to do some new things. Pride is significantly diminished. I have found that I can love so much better! It’s not a selfish love. I’m willing to let go and love more completely. It’s pretty wonderful.
In order to get there, I had to shrink and make room for God. In that shrinking, God has helped me not only love others better, but myself too. I have a new appreciation of how He made me. It allows Him to position me to use my gifts and talents in a new way.
If you sign up for the shrinking process, it’s an adventure!! But I can tell you with all my heart, it’s worth every step you take while holding God’s hand!
Father, help me to shrink to make more room for You in me.
“1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100 NIV