An UnDivided Heart

So many voices.

So many priorities competing for the minutes of my day.

So many distractions.

So many different paths.

It’s hard to stay focused on what’s really important.

God tells Ezekiel that, when the Israelites turn back to him, he will give them ‘an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them.’ (11:19)

That’s what I’m asking for, Abba Father.  An undivided heart.  A heart committed to knowing you and loving you.  

Please help me filter out the other voices so I can hear yours.  Guide me in organizing my priorities so I’m spending my time on the most important things.

 Take my eyes off the distractions around me and lead me on the path you have prepared for me.  

Help me stay focused on you, Father, so my heart remains faithful and strong in your truth.  In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Hope and a Future

Hope that everything will work out.

Trust that this journey ends in my heavenly home.

A future that has a lot of success and joy in it.

We love to quote Jeremiah 29 because God promises that his plans are to give us prosperity, hope and a future.

God’s prosperity is not about money, although money can be a part of it.  God’s prosperity includes things like peace and purpose and love – the things money can’t buy.

Too often, we hang on so tightly to the first sentence of this promise that we miss the rest.  The next sentence tells us ‘how’ God is going to do this.

When I call on God and pray to him, he will listen and answer, fulfilling his plans to prosper me.  When I seek him with all my heart, I will find him and he will give me hope and a future.

If I miss the ‘how’ of his promise,  I’m going to miss the whole thing.

God is clearly telling me that I have a part in making this promise come true.

When I’m diligent in going to him, praying and seeking him with all my heart, I can be confident that his plans for me are going to happen.

That’s my part.

You have got a part, too, if you want this promise to be true in your life.

Let’s not stop at the first sentence and miss what God has planned for us.  The second sentence is the key.

Thank you for your promise, Abba Father.

Revealer of Mysteries

I don’t understand everything I read in the Bible.  I will never understand everything I read in the Bible.  So it’s very interesting to watch God point out different truths to me each time I read it.

Daniel calls God the Revealer of Mysteries.  He tells the king that God unveils the mysteries when we need to know something.

Mysteries like –

why am I here?

why is this happening?

what am I supposed to do?

should I go through this door?

When we trust that God has all of these answers and will reveal them when we need to know, we are focused in the right direction.

I’m moving down the right path for me when I’m heading towards God.  I’m on the right road when I’m trusting that he will explain what I need to know when I need to know it.

As my trust in God grows, I have found that the number of mysteries in my life shrinks.  He is always speaking to me – loving me, guiding me and pointing out my next step just at the right time – not a day early.

The Revealer of Mysteries proves over and over that he has it all under control.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Hearing the Truth….

And responding to the truth.

Both of these actions are equally important.

I need to know the truth.  And I’m not going to know the truth by listening or reading the national news or reading ‘news’ on line.  The idea of objectively reporting the facts has disappeared – there is always an underlying message that the media is supporting.  They actually leave out facts that don’t support their message.

I can’t believe pictures anymore – faces are changed, locations are changed and they are used out of context.  Again – to support the message.   We’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Now a picture can be worth a thousand lies.

I don’t want to hear and respond to the half-truths and lies of our culture.

So how do I know what is true?

One of the reasons I love reading God’s word is I know its the truth.  As God speaks to me through his word, I know its right and good.

So I can respond.  I can open my heart and let God transform my mind with his truth.

I am encouraged by the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings.  Josiah reigned in the middle of a string of very evil kings.  When he heard the truth, he turned away from the bad example of the other kings and led his people in a huge spiritual revival.  His people got rid of all of their idols and tore down the high places where they worshipped other gods.

A whole nation turned back to God because Josiah heard the truth and responded.

Now it’s our turn to hear the truth and respond.

Thank you for the truth, Abba Father.

Circumcism of the Heart

God is not impressed by what I look like on the outside.

He looks inside – at my heart.

What do I really care about?

What are the things that break my heart?  Do I get upset over petty things other people say and do?  Do I spend my time worrying and fretting over all the things I have no control over?

Or is my heart broken for the poor and lost people in my world?

Is my heart concerned about injustice and the mass confusion which defines our culture?  Is my heart focused on God’s direct command to care for orphans and widows?

Do I care about the things God cares about?

That’s what he’s hoping to see when he looks at my heart.

When my heart is circumcised like God describes in Jeremiah 9, I can turn away from my self-centered existence and live out God’s calling on my life.  God cuts away the part of my heart that is hard and stubborn and rebellious – the part that separates me from having a heart like his.

When my heart is circumcised, the change begins on the inside and eventually shows on the outside.  The transformation of my heart is a miracle that only God can perform.

How does it happen?

Loving God and loving others.  The two great commandments.

I want these to be my top two priorities.

What are your top two priorities?

We love you, Abba Father.

Which Way?

Standing at the crossroads – looking in each direction, wondering which way to go.

I’ve been there.

You’ve been there.

Sometimes these are small decisions that will not having a lasting affect on my life.

Other times, I am standing at the crossroads of 2 very different journeys and my decision on which road to take will determine the main direction of my life for many years to come.

What should I do?

God tells me in Jeremiah 6 to ask him for direction, listen to him, and then walk in the path he chooses for me.

Then I will find rest for my soul.

Thinking about this, I realize that I often ask……

I can walk around for days asking and asking and asking….

but then I forget to listen for the answer.

All the voices and noises of the world around me make it very hard to focus,

it’s very hard to be still long enough to hear.

Do you have this same issue?

If I’m not careful, the loudest voice in my head is my own –

what I think,

what I want.

My will be done.

And then I find myself on the same road as the Israelites who didn’t listen to God.  As a result, they couldn’t please God.  They stumbled around in the darkness of their own making.  They refused to listen.

That’s not the path I want to choose.

Please help me hear and obey, Abba Father.

It’s So Easy…

to forget about turning to God.

I start doing my own thing –

making my own plans –

filling up my calendar –

acting like I’m in control.

But – when something bad happens – I immediately turn to God.

Does this sound familiar to you?

When bad things happen, I  am instantly reminded that I am not in control.   I know who is in control – God.

I turn to God because I am also instantly reminded that my plans are foolish when they are not directed by God.

I turn to God because he is my Rock,

my Shelter,

my Strength,

my Peace.

Turning to God – its my automatic response when something goes wrong.  I just need to get better at living out these truths every day – with every thing – good and bad.

This isn’t a new issue with any of us.

God tells us in Jeremiah that his people “have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble they say, ‘Come and save us!’.

God’s people – fickle, hard-hearted, unfaithful.

I don’t want to treat God like that.  Do you?

Please help us turn our faces towards you every hour of our day, Abba Father.

Get Ready!

Be prepared!

Know that it’s coming.

Stand up and do what needs to be done!

God gives these directions to Jeremiah as he begins his prophetic ministry.  God also gives these directions to us each day as we go about our lives – loving others and speaking truth into their lives whenever God gives us the opportunity.

God tells us that he will give us strength for the things he asks us to do.

I can’t do it on my own.  You can’t do it on your own.

Sometimes we feel powerless, don’t we?  I know I do.

Then I realize I feel that way because I am forgetting to plug into my power source –  God.  I forget to ask for and receive his help.  No wonder I feel powerless!

I need to remember each day to ask for his strength..

for his wisdom….

for his peace.

“For I am with you.” declares my LORD.

Please help me remember to ask, Abba Father.

Isaiah 58, 2017

Stop pointing fingers.  Stop the malicious talk that doesn’t build up or encourage others.

Spend your time and energy on actually trying to meet the needs of the hungry and oppressed.

Then your light will shine in everything you do.

The LORD will go with you to guide you.  When you think you have used all your resources and have nothing more to give, he will give you strength for the rest of the journey.

When you are connected to the source of Living Water, you become like a beautiful garden – always blooming, continually growing and constantly bearing fruit.

When you are connected, you and the people you bring with you can use God’s power to rebuild the broken.  You can use God’s truth to help others build a foundation for their lives that will last.

When you are connected, God will work through you to repair and restore the people whose lives you touch.

Amen, Abba Father.  Let it be so.