Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Beloved

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Uncategorized
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The Bible says that we are Beloved by God. While I firmly believe it’s true, I have to admit that my feelings don’t always match up. In other words, I don’t always feel as though I’m Beloved. If I followed my feelings (rather than scripture), I’d probably never believe I was good enough to Be Loved.

However, Romans 5:8 gives us the assurance that God deeply loves us. That verse says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died on the cross while we were still in our sin, without any requirement that we clean ourselves up or get our messy lives back on track first. At the very point when we were at our worst, Christ responded in love, not anger or punishment. Many have laid down their lives for their friends; others for complete strangers; but Only One was willing to die for His enemies — Jesus. We cannot save ourselves because we need to be saved from ourselves. Jesus is the Only One who can save us, and His gift of forgiveness is available to all who call upon His name and ask for it.

God’s love heals; not hurts. It builds up; not tears down. God’s love empowers; not controls. We have to remember that we live in a sin-filled world and that people (not God) hurt us. Wounded hearts keep a record of wrongs, and our defense mechanism is to guard our hearts behind a brick wall. Each time we are hurt, we put another stone on top. This is effective in keeping people at a distance, but those same cinder blocks have a major downside: they also keep God’s love out.

If you really want to be His Beloved, you have to be willing to Be Loved. God’s love for you is strong, and if you allow Him access to your heart, He will destroy the brickwork separating you from Him. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior instantly makes you a princess of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Your King is on His throne and you are His prized, cherished, respected, and esteemed treasure. Accept His gift. Allow yourself to Be Loved so you can be His Beloved princess.

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Right after teaching the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus enters a village and a woman named Martha invites him into her house. The story, beginning in Luke 10:39, says “And she had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'”

Martha, who had invited Jesus in, busied herself with the task of serving — making sure her home was just right for HIM. But Mary, understanding the unique opportunity before her, sat down at His feet and received a lesson that was just right for HER.

Martha opened up her home, but Mary opened up her heart.

What about you? Are you like Mary — have you opened up your heart to Jesus? Or are you like Martha — afraid to let Jesus in because no matter how much you try, you just can’t get rid of the Skeletons and Dirty Laundry in your Closet? Don’t waste your time trying to clean up your life — it’s NOT your job. Let Jesus do that. He is the ultimate cleaner and He is ready to cast out the rotting bones, scrub out the stains, and breath new life into you. Jesus deeply loves you and NOTHING can separate you from His love. Let Him in. Grant Him access to your heart, and He will clean up your life.

Be still. Be renewed. Be Mary.

Examine

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
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The battle of Jericho is told in Joshua 6:1 — when Joshua and the people of Israel, led by priests blowing trumpets, marched around Jericho’s outer walls once a day for six straight days. Then, on the seventh day, the procession of priests and people marched around the city seven times. Upon completing the seventh lap, Joshua told the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.” Then the Lord God did what only he could: at the unified shout of his people, the walls of Jericho crumbled and fell to the ground. The Lord God commanded that the silver, gold and containers made of bronze and iron were to taken and placed in the treasury of the Lord — all other property was devoted (marked) for destruction. Everyone obeyed — except one man. His name was Achan, and the Israelites were about to learn just how devastating the sin of one man could be.

In preparation for their next battle, Joshua sent men to spy out the land of the Amorites. Seeing that they were few in number, the spies returned to Joshua and reported that the Amorites would be easily defeated. And they would have been, except the Lord had removed his hand of protection because of Achan’s sin. So when the Israelites attacked the Amorites, it was the Amorites, and not the Israelites, who were victorious. Instead of cries of victory, the Israelite camp was filled with cries of mourning and wailing. Defeated and dejected, Joshua tore his clothes, put dust on his head, and lay with his face toward the ark of the Lord. When he asked the Lord God why they had lost the battle, the Lord replied: “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” (Joshua 7:10-12)

Joshua called all the people to stand before him, so he could Examine them. When it was discovered that Achan had kindled the Lord’s anger, Achan confessed saying, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” (Joshua 7:20-21)

Achan deliberately disobeyed God’s command — he knew he was not to take anything from Jericho. But when he saw beautiful, valuable things, he was so attracted to the thought of possessing them that he took them, in direct disobedience to God’s command. He allowed desire, rather than discipline, to rule his heart.

Sometimes we commit subtle sins. And other times we directly disobey God’s commands. Yet too often, like Achan, rather than confess our sin, we bury it, hoping to keep it a secret. What about you? Do you know what is hidden underneath the tent of your heart? Sit before the Lord God. Give him permission to Examine your heart, and allow him to show you any areas he wants to change. The Lord God is a gentleman — he does not come at us with condemnation. Instead, cloaked in gentleness and love, he reveals what we have hidden. God already knows what we have done, so confession isn’t for him — it’s for us. Confession is the vehicle which transfers our sin from us to Jesus. Jesus becomes the new owner because he paid the price for it. Sin, once it is confessed, no longer belongs to you. So if you find yourself carrying it around, put it down — it’s not yours to carry anymore.