Our Heart: The Compass*

“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!

Acts 2:21, 38; John 1:12, Romans 8:21, Philippians 2:15 NIV

* excerpt of Spiritual Life Map: Finding the Compass

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Wait

Wait

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31 NASB

Depending on the version of the Bible you read, the first phrase may vary: those who wait, those who hope, or those who trust.  I like the word wait.

Wait: to be available or in a state of readiness

If I wait, it means I trust and hope in the Lord with enough confidence to:

(1)     not try to do it myself

(2)     not expect someone else to have the answer for me

(3)     be in a state of preparation, or get ready, for what God has for me

As I wait, I pray. I watch expectantly for God and give Him all glory for every good thing.

Father, prepare my heart for whatever You have for me.  Teach me to surrender my heart fully to You so that I can prepare each day for what You have for me.  Renew my strength so that through You I can soar on wings like an eagle and not grow weary. Restore me Father. Renew me.

Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:34, Psalm 40:1, Isaiah 25:9

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Keep It Simple

keep it simple

16” Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,22 reject every kind of evil.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 NIV

Rejoice always: Our joy is full in God

Pray continuously: The more we pray, the more we are able to rejoice!

Give thanks in all circumstances: If we pray without ceasing, there will not be a shortage of thanksgiving

Do not quench the Spirit: Be mindful. Carnal lusts and affections and earthly things extinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt: We are to value the preaching, interpretation and application of God’s Word in our lives.

Test them all: We must not believe everything.  We must be settled in God’s Word and hold fast to it.

Reject every kind of evil: Others will see the Truth in us if we maintain integrity and a pure heart.

Father God, search my heart. I repent for my hesitancy to step out in faith. Thank you for every perfect thing that You place in my path. Thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your grace and Your mercy. Thank you for Your patience with me as I learn to let go of more and more.  Thank you for stretching me and preparing me, Father. Thank you for trusting me. Holy Spirit, be my guide. Be my love. Be my bright light in the darkness.

Psalm 26:2-3, Proverbs 2:11, Proverbs 4:23, Philippians 2:15, Philippians 4:8

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Personal Prayer Garden

personal prayer garden

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV

I have the sense that prayer creates forward motion…on many planes: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Active prayer engages with hope and anticipation.  It means we lean INTO it.  We lean FORWARD in prayer. I liken it to a suspenseful movie or conversation that makes you lean so far forward that you are on the edge of your seat.  It feels like if you move one millimeter closer, you are going to fall right out of your chair. Plop! Right onto the floor.

I believe that it is that supernatural tension that keeps us suspended in mid-air.  It keeps us from falling out of our spiritual chair, so to speak.

I have never prayed so hard that I sweat drops of blood like Jesus.  However as I have prayed during particularly hard times, I have felt the sensation that God was carrying me.  That I was staying afloat by supernatural means.  I believe the only way that occurred is through a prayer full of surrender and total reliance on God.  I still struggle.  I still mess up.  I start picking up old patterns of self-reliance.  Ugh. I know it will get better!  I am so thankful that God never gives up on me.  Sometimes I have to walk through painful reminders to get back to that place of full surrender all over again.

I remain thankful.  I know God never leaves me or forsakes me.  Even when my hard head gets in the way!

Father, thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy.  Teach me to pray.  Teach me to pray like Jesus. Teach me to rely on You.  Teach me Your ways.

Matthew 26:36-45, Luke 22:39-46, Deuteronomy 31:6

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Fly

fly

“So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19 NASB

Unbelief. Skepticism. Doubt. Distrust. Suspicion. These words all have a harsh edge to them.  They have an intellectual questioning, reasoning or arrogance that we know better.

Confidence. Full trust. Integrity. Strength. Honor.

These words are powerful.  It’s like a special additive that super-charges your engine. In order to operate in this state of mind, it’s an “all in” kind of thing.  There is no room for doubt and unbelief.

This is where God wants us.  He wants us to reside in full trust.  Full confidence.  In integrity and strength and honor.  We are the conduit, but He is the power.  He is the fuel that powers it all.  In order for Him to ignite the fuel, we have to be able to rest in Him.  Not wrestle and fight Him with our intellect and reasoning.  Not hanging onto things out of fear.

Fear is a weight that keeps us from being air born in our faith.  Picture a hot air balloon.  There are all kinds of weights to keep it on the ground prior to take off.  The weights have to be jettisoned in order to get the lift required to fly.  Similarly, we have to jettison fear in order to rise above the natural and the expected.  We have to jettison fear in order to embrace flight. We have to let go in order to grab hold of something new and different.

Remember.  God’s thoughts and ways are different than ours.  Be open to new and different! Get ready to fly!

Lord, help me trust Your wings and Your destination.

Hebrews 3:12-14, Hebrews 4:12-14, Hebrews 5:6-10, 14

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Check The Instruction Manual

check the instruction manual

“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.

Lord, perfect our faith.

Revelation chapters 1-3

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Repetition

Repetition

“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.

God, kindle me!

Psalm 52:8-9, Ephesians 4:30-32

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