Heart God

April 30, 2013

There have been many times where I would wake up, begin a new day, and struggle with being happy, joyful, faithful, and living a surrendered life. As soon as I would open my eyes thoughts of hurtful times, painful events, loss of love, or other distracting things that effected me spiritually would cause my days to be “wasted.” I knew what the Word of God said about “rejoicing always,” and “trust in the Lord,” and ” be on alert!” To be honest, I didn’t quite get the part of my actually doing those things. Because I realized how too often I would live my life for Jesus with my mind. Yes, to follow God, rely on Him, trust Him, be obedient, joyful; all these things are choices we must make with our own free will. But I’ve learned that when I do this with my mind, it doesn’t work out so well. In fact, I fail pretty hard pretty fast. I would be happy one minute and suddenly sad the next. Maybe it was because something small appeared in my life that reminded me of something painful that happened in the past. So then I’d feel sad and it take hours before I’d finally fess up and decide it was all a waste of time. Up and down. There is no way God had called me to live like this. And it gets tiring. Spiritually exhausting. So what the heck was I doing wrong?

I have learned in the past year just how stubborn and hard headed I really am. Yet I have also learned just how patient God is and has been and always will be. This has been a time for God to allow me to examine this one character trait about Him, and how I am a traffic jam without Him there. I am sure many can relate when from the very beginning of a spiritual journey you get the basics of being a God follower.You are taught the basics for many years but you still don’t get them or apply them because you don’t seem to see just how much you need to.You may not even realize that you’re not “getting it.” You’re blinded, and I believe we all have area’s where we are blinded in. Each person has a different spiritual blind spot that may take them many years before they can finally see. Many heart ache’s may happen. Friendship’s end. Disasters occur. Your heart and soul can only handle so much, yet we seek and seek God and read His Word and we still don’t get it: what the heck am I doing wrong? I’m reading the Bible. I’m going to church. I’m seeking to know God’s face and its not all an act: its because I want to know God and I want to know what He is doing in this time. I found myself trying to trust, believe, hold on to God with the wrong part of myself. I was trying to live and breath my life for Jesus with my mind, but I wasn’t living for Him with my heart.

God is a heart God. It is the most delicate thing God has given each of us, and He holds it to the highest regard. Our hearts are so so sacred. I don’t believe a person can realize just how sacred their heart is until they go through a storm, and then see that God speaks and responds to our hearts and not our minds. Our minds are a reflection of the things that are living in the heart. It starts in the heart, then to the mind, then often into words or actions and those things can be either good or bad. I believe how we gain spiritual blind spots in our spiritual lives is when we fail to acknowledge that our hearts need tending to, not our minds. That part comes later. With my mind, I have to force myself to be on good behavior. With my heart, it comes like second nature and I don’t have to think about it once. See the difference? Our hearts spring the flow of life ( Proverbs 4:23 NASB ). It is in our hearts we discover God. We discover how much we are in need of Him and His power to rule and protect our lives. With my mind, I’m practically telling God that I have the strength to live my day in harmony and He can sit back and watch from the sidelines. Only I always fail to keep myself in perfect harmony because I am human. I CAN’T be happy and joyful and at peace despite the circumstances without the power of Jesus Christ. I can’t be content in every circumstance without Jesus  speaking truth and love to my heart. I cannot be saved and called a child of the King without opening my heart up to Him, allowing Jesus to see my sins and asking Him to clean them away and be the Lord of my life. Even after we become Christians we can still loose sight of how God works. God does everything in my life through my heart.

I’ve realized it has been hard at times to completely open my heart to God. Sometimes hurtful circumstances can cause us to turn away. All we want to do is cry. We can do that, however, with our heart we can choose to trust Jesus. Allow Him to enter that deep section of our hearts we may have opened to others, but have closed the door for good. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” NKJV. I can read this verse with my mind, and it will go nowhere. I would live my day as if I never read it. Sure I’ll remember it and often repeat it in my head, but still be defeated during the day if I do not read this verse with my heart and allow God’s Word to change my heart. His promises cannot change my life if they do not first change my heart. The same goes with His loving words, faithful words, lovingkindness.

This is pretty basic isn’t it? I should have gotten this a long time ago. Yet, how many of us struggle with this very thing? It’s not that God has never spoken or acted to where our hearts responded, and then we have this amazing God moment that completely changed our lives and spiritual journey. Thats what church camp, youth groups and adult leader retreats are for right? But God longs to give us moments such as these daily. We must first acknowledge where God speaks. He speaks into our hearts. And we must listen with our hearts.

Heart Deep Roots

April 15, 2013

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Have you ever been through a storm in your life where you realize that through it’s long period of “storming,” you find yourself learning a lot of lessons? I’m currently in that place. I use to see the storms in life as something you just gotta get through and then go on with life. However, I’m learning that God doesn’t see storms in that way: He means for me to take everything that storm has to throw at me. I’m seeing I’m not going to “just get through” as I once believed, but there is a lot to take in that God is making me endure. I can go against it with my own freewill, but the fact is God will be patient with me until I get it right even if it takes ten more years before my eyes finally open for the first time. God is a god who always gets His way. And since I’m His, as the Bible speaks of so often, He will never let me go. It’s impossible for Him to.

Through this storm in my life, God has given me as the world would say, “too much patience.” I think of the first line in 1 Corinthians 13:4 where it says, “Love is patient.” This is a characteristic of God that I’ve seen so many different moments in the storm. Once again God is showing me that He’s with me through it, but He is also in it. I’m not just walking, striving, crying, hurting, and then I climb the top of the mountain and then it’s all over. No, this isn’t God. What God is inside of the storm, is Him showing me who He is instead of giving me the “why” for it all. What God is showing me are things about myself that I do not like but needs changing. He is bringing this to my attention. He is taking His hand and pulling up roots in my heart and yes…it hurts bad! But I hear Him whispering,” I do this because I love you, and I don’t want these roots of sin and hurt to be killing your life anymore.” This is where the patience comes in. And because I am such a stubborn person without realizing it at times, His patience comes in handy. And here’s the thing: I remember a while ago I asked God at the beginning of the storm to take ahold of any root inside of me and anything that needs to be resolved or changed to be brought to my attention. God is only doing what I asked Him to do in the first place! How is it that every single time I fail to see that it is gonna hurt? And how many times have you done the same thing and ask yourself,” Why does this have to be this hard?”

When God reveals things inside of us that are not right, we often backfire because we don’t like seeing that we are this person. It’s one thing if it happens to another. We love we forgive we pray, and we hope for the best for that person. But when it comes to ourselves, man! We much rather forget about it and act like it never happened. We don’t like seeing ourselves dirty. And often times we will blame somebody else for the dirty when most of the time it’s our own fault we have become this way. And that adds on to more dirty.

I asked God just a few hours ago,” God, show me in this storm that You care. And even if You don’t show it to me now, thats okay. I know You’ll show me in Your own time.” Do not think that your pain is not important to God. We can compare ourselves to someone who maybe going through a harder time than we, but don’t push your pain aside because of that. You matter to God. Your pain matters to God. What we are to do is take our focus off our pain and instead focus on who God is and what He has done and promises to do. And I am so glad that in this moment God did show up for me when I glanced down at my Bible and read this verse from Psalm 8: 3-4,” When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” NASB.  He care’s so much that when I ask Him to assure me of His love, He is always up for game.

I’ve learned that the longer you linger with heart deep roots, the more wounded one becomes and will often not see what God is trying to tell us. And I’m telling you, it hurts terribly allowing God to put His hand deep down into you and pull at those roots. I can see myself now saying, “God stop it! It hurts! I’m tired of hurting all the time! Can’t you just make it go away?” His response is, “Yes. By doing this, I am making your pain go away.” Never forget that by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross as payment for our sins is also God sending new life into us to heal, to live, as He had planned us to live. And because Jesus died and rose again, we can have victory in our lives. Because of Jesus choosing to endure the cross, despising the shame ( Hebrews 12:2 ) , we too can endure ’til the end.

 

 

No Handle Bars

April 5, 2013

I just had one of those moments where I expressed a feeling of freedom: I tried riding my bike with no hands. Yeah! I’ve never done that before and today is such a lovely day that I decided to go for a bike ride. I was going down this hill really fast and I kept thinking about those moments in movies where the actors are riding their bikes without using the handle bar thingy and they almost feel like they are in another world. For me, it took a few tries before I finally got it right. Almost wrecked a few times but while I was riding really fast down this hill, no peddling, I decided to let go. I figured out that in order for this to work I had to first let go of my right hand and then my left. Don’t understand why, but the other way around I would almost fall to the ground. So anyway, in this moment I let both of my hands go and had both arms balancing myself straight. I felt like Rose in Titanic as she was at the front of the ship, letting the wind hit her hair and face. It was a pretty cool moment. Being able to do this actually felt joyful. It felt cool. Too bad nobody was around to see it. But God did. I believe He liked it just as much as me if not more.

In a moment like this one I experienced today, I feel God was in that moment. He was telling me, “I am your freedom. I am your joy. I am your love. I am in every moment of your life.” ‘Cause recently, I haven’t always felt joyful. Sometimes, I get tired of the same struggles that I seem to face from time to time. I’ll become reminded of some things that I’m not proud of, or that I regret, and getting passed those things have been pretty tough. I’m sure that you’ve felt like becoming limp and numb before because you’re just too tired of fighting for your life. Yes, being a Christian in this world, you fight. And you get tired. But maybe we get tired because too often we use our own strength instead of using the strength God gives us: His own.

God knows when we are tired. God wants to hear it from us. I’ve caught myself too many times not confessing how I feel in moments like these to God, thinking He already knows about it, or that its just not that important. But everything there is to do about me is important to God. And instead of giving over my fight to Him to fight I just let it run over me where I become limp and numb. Why should I ever doubt when God is bigger than the invisible darknesses that come to bring me down and destroy me? Why should I ever give up when God never gave up on me; For He sent is only Son to die for my sins and three days later conquer death once and for all for me to live eternally beside Him? Why should I ever walk away when daily He loves me by giving me breath to live another day for Him? In every storm, there are words to calm it. And only God can say them. Psalm 46:10  “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

I hope you have a moment of letting go of the handle bars in your life and allow God to steer you straight. And enjoy the freedom only He gives to those who ask for it.

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