My Heart

13 02 2012

Hearts are funny things. They can soar, be weighed down, be light, be heavy, be broken, be mended, be empty, or be so full that you feel like you are going to burst. We talk about people ripping our hearts out, giving someone the keys to our heart, or expressing heart-felt emotion. On Valentine’s Day, we might tell someone that we love them will all of our hearts.

How careful are you with your heart? Proverbs 4:23 tell us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Our hearts hold the essence of who we are. It is the spring from which the rest of our lives flow. Our hearts define us, guide us, and shape how we walk in the world. What we love speaks volumes about our priorities, our perspective, and our possibilities.

God wants our life springs, our hearts, to remain pure and crystal clear. It is amazing how we cringe at the idea of drinking polluted water, but let the world’s muck cloud the waters of our hearts. What fills our hearts affects the rest of who we are. It impacts our choices, determines our direction, influences our vision, sways our satisfaction, and defines our relationships.

If we want to look like Jesus, it must begin with our hearts. The very best way to keep your heart safe is to give it to God. He will protect you, love you, fill you, and cover your heart with His immense power and unlimited faithfulness. He will seal your heart with His Spirit, live inside your heart, and guard your heart with His peace.

My Jesus Resolution today is to give God my heart. Every day I get to make the choice about what to put in my heart, where to let my heart rest, and who I will give the key to my heart. I can give the world unlimited access to who I am, or let God be the gatekeeper of my heart. If I want Jesus to flow out of my heart, I must daily make the decision to let Jesus fill my heart.





Kindness

10 02 2012

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

We walk in small worlds. We all tend to move through life with eyes that only extend out to the edges of our own little worlds. We don’t mean to only see so far. We want to have hearts that take in the hurts, wounds, and troubles of others, but our own struggles take on a life of their own and keep us tightly focused.

Kindness is an innocuous word in our society. It is a nice thing to extend to animals and small children. Kindness doesn’t get much attention. It is seen as something pleasant to do or be if you can, but it will get you run over if you go too far.

God’s kindness is not just a pleasant gesture. It is an extension of His grace, an element of His love, and evidence of His faithfulness. His kindness is an incredibly powerful force. Because it is a part of His character, God calls for it to be abundant in the hearts of His people.

In kindness, we notice. We see another’s heart. We pay attention, and see what is in someone’s eyes or below the surface in their hearts. In seeing them, we give them room to grow, learn, love, and hurt. When we are kind, we help someone breathe in grace.

We are all struggling. We all wrestle with fears, doubts, worries, and anxieties. We all have baggage. Some of us try to hide it. Others try decorating it, advertising it, or burying it. But Plato is right. Everyone you meet today is fighting some kind of battle. You may not see it, or ever know what it is, but the battle is still there. Being kind gives them a chance to glimpse God on the battlefield.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be kind. I am going to be deliberate about looking in the eyes of the people I meet today. I am going to pay attention to the opportunities I have to extend a little grace, offer some hope, and do something kind. Kindness never seems like a big deal to the one offering it, but to the one who receives it, it is something extraordinary.





The Writing on the Wall

8 02 2012

We decided to remodel our bathroom. It was time. We had a leak in the shower, and since we had to fix that, we determined that it would be a good time to redo the whole room. We ripped everything out, taking the room down to its shell. It was a mess.

We slowly rebuilt every part of the room. We installed a new shower, refinished the cabinets, and put up sheetrock. Friends came over to lend their expertise. The kids got a first-hand experience in demolition and construction, and we all grew to appreciate the luxury of having more than one working bathroom for a family of five.

Finally we were ready to move on to the finishing touches. We picked out paint and chose trim to make it all look warm and inviting. Looking at the blank sheetrock reminded me of Deuteronomy 6:9, where Moses instructs the people to write God’s Word on the doorframes of their houses. That gave me the idea. I gave each child a marker and asked them to write their favorite Bible verse on the wall. I explained that it would all be covered with paint and by the trim, but we would always know that it was there.

Wide-eyed and wondering about mom’s sudden leniency toward writing on the walls, my kids stepped into the bathroom. They each took a turn writing God’s Word in the room. My husband and I added our own verses, and we all crowded into the bathroom to take a look. Scriptures about love, grace, transformation, and courage covered the walls.

We painted and finished out the room. Covering each word made us smile. We were embedding it in the framework of our house. We prayed that each time one of our children went into the bathroom, they would think about the words that they had written on the walls, and write them once again on their hearts.

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11.

My Jesus Resolution today is to write His Word on my heart. I want His Word to leave an indelible mark on my life. I want it etched into the core of who I am. I want it to be so much a part of who I am that it is written into the framework of my being. When we hide His Word in our lives, it grows and blossoms. It stretches us as it expands our souls. It sends its roots down deep, displacing the old and securing the new. Today I am going start with one verse, and write it in big, bold letters on the wall of my heart.





Going to Work

6 02 2012

Today my husband starts a new job. It isn’t just a switch inside the same company, or the same job in a new location. He is making a complete change in careers. I am really proud of him. It has been neat to watch how God has been at work in our family as this opportunity opened, and he has searched to walk where he can best serve the Lord.

Jobs are about more than the need to make money. While that is important, God knows that our jobs shape and define our identity in significant ways. We invest a great deal of ourselves in where we work. From the beginning, God gave Adam work to do because He created us with the need to make a difference in our world.

Our workplace becomes a focal point for living out our faith. These people see us five days a week. They notice our integrity, watch how we make decisions, pay attention to the way we treat others, and see how we handle the ups and downs of everyday life. They watch how we spend our money, where we invest our time, and whether our actions live out our words. Our jobs become stages on which we live out our resolution to be like Jesus.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24.

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember who my real boss is. Jesus calls me to be like Him in every part of my work day. He wants me to reflect His character in the way I treat others, whether it is an executive or the janitor. He directs me to do everything without grumbling or complaining. Instead, I am to keep my eyes open for His presence and seek His guidance. He wants to influence the way I talk in the break room, how I use my time, and the manner in which I respect those in authority. Today I am going to go to work with Jesus.





The Jesus Stone

3 02 2012

There is the neatest picture tucked away in Deuteronomy 27:1-8. The people of Israel stand on the edge of the Promised Land. After forty years of wandering, the moment is almost here. Very soon they will go in and claim the home that God promised Abraham so long ago.

Moses uses this time, as they stand poised on the brink of receiving the fullness of God’s blessings, to remind them of the importance of living out all of the words of God. He gives them a unique instruction meant to create a visual picture of their hearts.

“And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster. And you shall write on them all the words of this law…” –Deuteronomy 27:2-3

Can you see it? Stone after stone set up in the land, each one covered with the Word of God. Each rock stands as a memorial to the place of God in the land and in their lives. As the Israelites enter Canaan, they are to engrave His law on the land just like the Word is to be engraved on their hearts.

What if the bricks of our houses were covered with writing proclaiming the name of the Lord? What if our walls were full of His words? What if everywhere we walked held a reminder of who God is and who He calls us to be? This is exactly what are lives are supposed to be. We are meant to be walking testimonies to His Word. Our lives are designed to display His glory. Our hearts are to be frames for His goodness. His Word should flow out of our mouths, our actions, our attitudes, our motives, our direction, our praise, and our focus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to write. I want to write God’s Word all over my life. I want to fill my heart, saturate my soul, and flood my heart with it. I want to set His Word in a place in my life where others can see it, read it, and be drawn to the cross. Today I am going to find a small stone and write the name of Jesus on it. It will help remind me that I want God’s Word to be so prominent in my life that the first thing someone notices about me is Jesus.





Simple

1 02 2012

Complicated is overrated. People want to take simple things and make them complex. Sometimes we want to make ourselves look smarter, so we make it complicated to prove to people that we know it all. Other moments find us wanting to hide what we don’t know, so we complicate the simple in order to create a smokescreen. Maybe we are afraid that the simple might somehow make us simplistic, so we run the other direction. Many times we are looking for a loophole or a grey area, so we make it complicated to buy ourselves some wiggle room.

God makes it simple. His directions are clear, His purpose is direct, and His intent is understandable. Here is a sample: Be mine. Love each other. Serve gladly. Be humble. Worship Me only. Tell the truth. Follow Me. Obey. Trust. Listen. Wait. Be still. Shine. Tell others. Pray.

Simple doesn’t mean easy, but it does mean doable. God clears the way, and very simply directs our hearts deeper into His presence. He wants us to understand His will, and be confident about what makes Him smile. We tend to complicate it so that we can measure our performance, mark our worth, or make ourselves look good. Too many times, we just want the grey area that complicated brings to the picture.

My Jesus Resolution today is to keep it simple. I am going to remember that God wants me to follow Him. There are no confusing road signs, double blind curves, or concealed traps on the way into His presence. He doesn’t have a hidden agenda or ulterior motive. He just wants me to love Him. He has made that has simple as He can. Everything He wants me to do, everything He wants me to be, and everywhere He wants me to go can be summed up in three simple words – Look Like Jesus.