“Our Hearts”

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Our hearts are considered to be the very center of our being. It is the seat of our emotions, cares, and love for those around us. It is in our hearts that we make some of the toughest choices in life. What we think and what we carry will guide the heart or prohibit certain paths of travel.

But sometimes, our hearts can carry even more than we know, more than we can see, feel, or are aware of. Knowing this, David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), invited God to take a closer look at his own heart. He opened himself, no holds barred, for God to do exploratory surgery in every crevice of that bodily member that lies at the center of our being.

How bold of him, you may think. For some, there may be things that they don’t want to be touched. But for David, his greatest joy was his relationship with God. And, his end purpose of inviting God’s holy inspection was to be led “in the way everlasting.” He wanted nothing getting in the way of that, and neither should we.

If God were to knock on the door of your heart today, would you invite Him in to take a closer look? There is nothing there that He doesn’t already know. Like Adam and Eve hiding in the Garden on that revealing day of the Fall, His probing “Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9) isn’t because He doesn’t know, but that we may become aware of our position in Him. It is only then that we can correct any waywardness as David sought to when he earnestly prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

“I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2

“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” Proverbs 27:19

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Helpful Articles:

“Your Hearts Shall Live!”

“Open Your Heart . . .”

“Your Heart Wants God”

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Acknowledging Prayer

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Luke 11:2-4

When one acknowledges something or someone they are ascribing or giving them credit that they deserve.  Here, opening His teaching on prayer, Jesus jumps in without hesitation, stating, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven.”  Now, notice first that Jesus didn’t say “if” ye pray.  He point-blank expected that His people should have an active and working prayer life so He said, “When ye pray.”

Starting with the statement, “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus acknowledges to whom one’s prayers should be directed.  And, in the verses following God gets the credit for everything!  This is acknowledgment.

“Our Father which art in heaven,” points one in the right direction.  There are many voices that try to offer advice and insight to the world we live and to the troubles and woes we face.  Yet, none can have the insight as He who created all things.  None is Sovereign as He to really be our champion for real change.  That can only come from He who is enthroned in heaven for all eternity; by He Whom everything takes its commands: “Our Father.”

“Our Father” describes the intimate, relational context in which God wants to be committed to us.  Did you get that?  God wants to be “Our Father” so much that Jesus, God incarnate, instructed us to address Him as such in prayer.  Man may not always step up to the plate to fill this role, but God does.  He willingly takes on the role of “Father,” meaning more than provider in my view.  He takes on the responsibility to love, care and nurture those who come to Him seeking Him as daddy.  Romans 8:15 describes it as this: “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  This adoption is an on-purpose act of love that He is seeking to fulfill as the role of “Father.”  God “will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

“Hallowed be thy name.”  Part of acknowledging prayer is respecting His holiness.  Oh, I cringe when I see people take the name of the Lord in vain.  God’s name is not like any other and should not be treated as it is.  His name is holy (Isaiah 57:15), and He is the one who “dwell in the high and holy place.”  When one invokes God’s name in prayer it is not a plaything.  We are seeking His holiness to come in on our behalf; garnering His stamp of approval.  Heaven knows how to treat His name so much that they speak the word “holy” three times: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:3).

Acknowledging prayer recognizes God’s authority, His power, His Sovereignty, His control, His kingdom, and His will overall. “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”  No wonder at the end of the parallel of this prayer found in Matthew 6:13 it states, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”  We should want to see the glory of God’s will take over the atmosphere of this old stale world “as in heaven.”  We should have heavenly visions of God’s power reclaiming this earth.

Acknowledging prayer recognizes that God is the provider of all.  “Give us day by day our daily bread.”  “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  We, as all other things created, are dependent on Him as our provider.  “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  God will provide.

Acknowledging prayer knows that forgiveness comes from God: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  God wants to spiritually heal people from their sin-sick ways.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).

In return, we are expected to offer forgiveness to those who ask for it.  Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God said no to us whenever we sought for healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!  Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.  And, we acknowledge that this is His will for us.

Acknowledging prayer shows God as a deliverer: “And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” God doesn’t tempt people into sin.  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,” (James 1:13).  Sin is a choice and so is choosing to let God lead and trusting Him to keep you in those hard times.  “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee,” (Psalm 25:20).  “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me . . .” (Psalm 19:13).  He is a keeper to them that know Him as a deliverer and He is a protector against the ultimate enemy, the devil.

The Bible gives us this wise advice: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Acknowledging prayer says that there is no part of our lives that is untethered by the touch of God’s love. Therefore, in everything, and in every way, I lean into God, trust Him, and acknowledge Him in every area of my life.

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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“Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

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When you look back over your life and the paths you have traveled, do you see God’s hands in the steps you have taken?  Do you see how He has held you?  How He has raised you?  How He has saved you? 

Do you see the times when the way was confusing, and darkness covered the way?  Do you see the mess-ups, the missteps, and the stumbling?  Do you see how He brought you back, dusted you off, and made you new from the inside out? 

Do you see how He never gave up on you?

In all of that, did you realize your preciousness to Him?

Did you understand the high price He offered for you?  Did you see His love for the pure delight in you that it is? 

Father God, You are our praise!  Our worship for You!  You are the reason we rejoice today.  You are the reason we are here.

You are the One who has blessed us.  You are the One who has forgiven us.  You are the One who has redeemed us.  You are the One who has kept us day by day.

Our praise is of You!

You are our portion, our God, our King, and our Heavenly Father!  It is Your name we glorify.  It is You in whom we boast.  It is Your holy name that we praise!  “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name,” (Psalm 103:1).

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Sheltered in Love

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me…” Psalm 27:5

Father God, Yours kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Ps. 145:13), and it is Your truth that endures to all generations (Ps. 100:5).
Help us to keep our eyes on You today and our faith steadfastly planted in Your hope. Though the world may seem chaotic at times, You, O God, are the sureness upon which we rest. You never fail, nor shall Your mercies ever fade. For, when we place our trust in You, we are planting it upon He who is eternal, and good, and perfect. In You, O God, we have unending joy, solid peace, and the immutable security of Your love. When all else seems to shift and the times seem to be tumultuous, Father God, You have us carefully sheltered in Your love.

My life is hid
In the secret place.
Sheltered in love,
Held by God’s grace.

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Released to Love

 

“Therefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” Luke 7:47

What does it mean to be forgiven?  We may immediately think of becoming unburdened from sins, a chance for a new start, and so forth.  And you are right.  All of that comes in the package of forgiveness.

But looking at the story of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet at the dinner, I saw something more.  I saw that she was released to love in a way she had never loved before.

She was a woman of ill-repute, according to the thoughts of one of the Pharisees in attendance at the dinner (Luke 7:39).  He knew her to be a sinner.  He saw her as a sinner.  And he labeled her as a sinner.

She had a past filled with indiscretion and immorality.  Apparently, she had made wrong attempts to fill the love gap in her life, which would come undone once the pleasure associated with that dissipated.  She conducted a futile search to find the missing ingredient in her life that would give her something more – until one day, she met Jesus.

Like the Pharisee, Jesus, too, knew her past.  Jesus knew what she had done.  But, unlike the Pharisee who only offered criticism and disdain, Jesus offered her a chance, a way out.  Jesus offered her something she could not refuse.  He offered her forgiveness.  And, when the fullness of forgiveness landed in her heart, mind, and soul, an explosive release of love came over her, and she could not contain what she was feeling.

The woman known to be of ill-repute was seen as valued and treasured, something she could probably have never imagined.  The former sinner knew she was cherished and loved by the only One who could love her perfectly despite her past, and she, in turn, had the floodgates of her heart lifted, and a rush of love for her Savior came flowing out.

Forgiveness will release an uncontainable flood of love in your life.  This woman loved a lot because she had many bad judgments against her from which she was now free.  Thousands of years have passed since then, and the same forgiveness that Jesus Christ offered her (Luke 7:48) is still available today.  Are you ready to experience that great release?

“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

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Fret not thyself…

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers…” Psalm 37:1

When wrong is called right, and those that do right seem to suffer, what do you do?  When adversity comes because of wicked advancement, how does one respond?

As it is often true in life, how we see things with our natural eyes; they do not tell the whole story of what is.  The truth of what is is that it may seem that prosperity belongs to those who pursue greatness and success at the expense of others, but they are the most pitiful of all.  What they climb to achieve on the backs of others will soon wither and fade with time.  “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Therefore, in all that we see, the psalmist encourages us not to become worried.  The fate of the wicked is set: “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (Psalm 37:2).  But you, my friend of faith, are to “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed” (Psalm 37:3).

You are to “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4).

You are to “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).

God sees you: “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever” (Psalm 37:18).  And God is here for you: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble” (Psalm 37:39).  Therefore, fret not thyself.

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Your Heart Wants God

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Many hearts walking around today want God.  Feeling void without Him, they fill it with things they think can satisfy the longing deep within.

More and more, the search goes on to try this and that to fill the place only God can fill.  Attempt after attempt is made to try something, anything, that will occupy the space called your heart.

Friend, this is where God wants to be.  Successes, things, and even people will never be able to do for you what God can do.  All the things we try to put in place and accept into that sacred space of our hearts, outside of Him, will never last, will never fill, and will never bring you to the peace you are truly seeking.

Your heart wants God.  Your heart will never be happy with anything or anyone else. You may not completely understand how it all works, what it all means, or what this is all supposed to look like, but your heart wants God.

All you have to do is invite Him into that sacred space. Yes, you may have questions, and for some of those questions, there may not be an immediate answer revealed to you. But take that simple first step of faith, and trust God enough to let Him come into your life with His love and saving plan even if you do not immediately have all the answers to the questions you are looking for.

Your heart wants God, and Jesus gave us this promise: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).

Your heart wants God, and all you have to do is open the door and let Him in.  If you do, Jesus said, “I will come in to him.”  He loves you, and in your heart is where He wants to be.

Your heart wants God, and God wants your heart. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37).

Even if you do not understand everything, the Bible encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Today, with all sincerity of heart, look to God.  “Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:41).  “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:22).

Jesus is the only way you will ever find to get to God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the only answer and plan for our spiritual healing. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17).

Today, your heart can have what it genuinely wants.  Turn to God through Jesus Christ and be saved.  Let Him fill your heart as only He can. “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:21).

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

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No Stale Salvation

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“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22, 23

We have no stale salvation.  God’s mercies are renewed in our lives daily.  Daily we experience the freshness of His grace.

Every day, when our eyes open, they open for us to walk in the newness of this life Jesus gave us (Romans 6:4).

Every day when we rise, we rise with freedom as our anthem for the day (Galatians 5:1).

Every day when our mouths open, they should open in praise (Isaiah 25:1) because our hearts should never be exhausted in worshipping the One who has blessed us with this life and that more abundantly (John 10:10).

Do not become stagnant regarding the awesomeness of what God has done for you.  Do not become so used to this great grace in such a way that you brush it off, toss it aside, or treat it in a lackadaisical manner.  Do not become so comfortable with His goodness that you no longer appreciate with wonder the extraordinary gift you have received.

This is no stale salvation.  God’s mercies are renewed over us daily, and daily we should recognize with awe and wonder the miraculous transformation God has made in our lives.

Never stop appreciating where God brought you from.  As He refreshes your soul daily, daily He ought to receive our honor, our praise, our thankfulness, our gratitude, our adoration, and our everything for the awesomeness He has worked in our lives!

Our salvation is the greatest thing we could ever receive.  Daily we are blessed to walk in it.  Do not neglect the freshness of this great treasure.

For, God gives us no stale salvation.  Jesus is our “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14), always flowing over us and through us daily.  In Christ, we are never without the freshness of His life in us.  In Him, we are always satisfied and never thirst.  Nor shall we ever hunger for the Father fills us daily with that bread of life (John 6:35).

This is no stale salvation, and we ought not to treat it as such.  Do not neglect this great salvation (Hebrews 2:1-3).  Take great care in appreciating the fullness of all God does for you daily.

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The Tragedy of Unbelief

 

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“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Standing at the crosswalk, we are ready to go forward. All we are waiting for is the signal that gives us the all-clear, telling us it is safe to walk ahead. The choice is up to us to follow the directions of the signal or ignore it and place ourselves in harm’s way.

The Children of Israel had a chance to move forward into something great that God had in store for them. It was a land of promise. God had given them the all-clear. God said, “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel…” (Numbers 13:2; emphasis added). 

The promise was there, clearly spoken by God, that this is what He was doing for His people. He was giving them this land. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. He didn’t send a delegation for debate. He sent them to see what was ahead for them. That was their signal to move forward.

There are promises galore written in the Holy Word of God. Promises of futures unimaginable. But, the sad reality for many is to come to the end of their life never obtaining those promises. Never understanding or knowing what it truly feels like to experience the riches of God’s grace.

Sadder still is not only coming to the end of one’s life having never experienced the greatness God has in store for His children – but, when one faces their eternity, they are told of that glorious place of promise, that they may not enter in.

Unbelief caused the children of Israel to forfeit their first attempted entrance into the Promised Land (Hebrews 3:7-11, 15-19). A land they looked forward to while they suffered under the bondage of slavery. A place of fulfillment their souls longed not only to see but to live in, and experience, and enjoy.

When they decided not to take hold of God’s promise for themselves, they decided to say no to His goodness until it was too late.

Today, many are walking opposite of the promise of God, and His name is Jesus. Jesus Christ is the greatest testimony of promise there ever is or was. He is the greatest gift of deliverance a soul could ever hope for and need. Yet, through unbelief, many say no, and walk away, being turned back into the wilderness to fight the elements alone and miss out on what could have been.

Walking away from an earthly promise is one thing. Truthfully, when the children of Israel found out what they had given up, they quickly wanted to change their minds (Numbers 14:40-45). 

But can I tell you that walking away from an eternal promise is a tragedy far, far worse. Turn to Jesus today while there is still time. While the door is open, Jesus is inviting you to enter His rest both now and for all eternity. He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Today, your promise awaits. Jesus is signaling you to walk forward.     

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God’s Covering Love

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“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

Song of Solomon 2:4

Like a mother bird shelters her little ones under her wings for safety so too does the Lord for us His people.

Father God is for you today. And, His banner over you is love (Song of Solomon 2:4). In His saving grace, you are covered and protected, held and loved as the apple of His eye.

There is no greater treasure our Father could want other than your heart. How freely will you render your all to Him when you know how truly loved you are by God?

Draw near and stay in His shelter today. Do not let your feet or your heart move you from underneath that blessed covering.

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