Meditations of My Heart
I know God wants to do something incredible in our lives. Why do I say that? Well, I know that God has a tender place for women in His heart. God has since Eve. Scripture tells us that he helped Eve have a baby (Gen. 4:1). He met Hagar when she was mistreated by Sarah (Gen. 16:1-14). He went out of His way to talk to a Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). He healed the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8).
God loves his girls. I believe he is excited about what He is going to do in our hearts during those few days.
I pray for us all to have a special encounter with God “every time we seek Him, we will be found by Him.” I want every woman to feel like Hagar when she had met with God. She said, “You are the God who sees! Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
Several days ago I was returning a text and started to type “I love and appreciate you.” After typing that, I glanced at it and thought it sounded a little repetitive. As I got ready to erase some of it the Lord spoke to my spirit. He said love and appreciation are not the same thing.
As I began to think about it I saw how true it was. I can “love” a lot of people in my life (my husband, my children, family, friends, etc), but am I appreciating them in my life? Do I tell them I appreciate the things they do for me? Do I show them I appreciate them by my words and actions?
The Lord had me take it a step further. He said you say you love me but do you appreciate me? It was a real eye opening thought for me. I do absolutely love the Lord, but do I always appreciate him? Do I show him I appreciate him?
One of the definitions of appreciation is an active thankfulness. Am I actively thankful to the Lord or I am constantly wanting/desiring for more from him? When I spend time with the Lord is it mostly about what I want, need or desire for him to do in me or through me? Or do I appreciate (actively thank) him for what he has already done, is doing and will do in my life?
So I want to challenge you as I have been challenged to appreciate the Lord in your life. Show him your appreciation in your words, actions and the way you live your life. Show him active thankfulness in worship when you feel like it and even when you don’t. Psalm 107 is a psalm completely focused on thankfulness. All 43 verses express appreciation to the Lord. It starts in verse 1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.” That psalm ends in verse 43 saying “If you are really wise, you’ll think this over -it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.” MSG
No matter what our circumstances, feelings, or the world says God is a good God and so worthy of our love AND appreciation!
The cure for America’s spiritual weakness can be found in God’s Word. What we teach our children will determine the moral character of our nation.
We must not undervalue the importance of reaching those who are lost with the gospel of Christ. Pure love for Jesus Christ is the first step to developing pure morals and values, which will once again bring America under God’s government.
One way we teach the truth is by modeling a godly life. We can’t change the direction America is going if we are going the wrong way ourselves. Christians are not supposed to blend in with society—we’re meant to stand out.
We must not ignore the issues that confront our nation. The Declaration of Independence states, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Those who have the ability to act have the responsibility to act. We have no excuse. Our nation’s future is at stake, and more importantly, the spiritual welfare of our children and grandchildren are at stake.
We esteem reformers like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, who weren’t afraid to take a stand for what is right. But we need to do more than simply honor their acts; we need to follow their examples.
Before time. Before space. There was God. Then God spoke. Galaxies came into being. In one galaxy, and on one planet, He created. Land & sea. He spoke life into being. Plants and animals on the land and in the sea. And on the land He made a garden paradise. In this garden was to be the crowning work of His whole creation. The crown and pinnacle of all He created: from the dust of the ground He made them, man and woman and He breathed His own breath into them and gave them life.
They lived in harmony with each other. Man was created in His image, the image of God. Complete freedom. Complete joy.
No death. No conflict. No disease, perfect, shalom, all in a conventional relationship with God. Full human flourishing. They knew God intimately and were in a love relationship with Him.
They were in covenant with Him. Adam and Eve were to care for the garden, and to bring order, to rule over the animals, to name them. They were to procreate. A covenant, binding and enduring. Blessings and consequences. God’s part…He would provide their every need. This covenant, this spiritual marriage requires, above all, faithfulness by both parties. Regardless of circumstances.
This is what we were made for: relationship with God…pleasure. The world is God’s kingdom. We were to be co-regents with God.
They were told to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And then Satan…
I was reading the book of Ruth again this week and struck by God’s powerful record of Godly business men. The book of Ruth should be called the Book of Naomi. It tells the story of a mother who endures terrible tragedy. Her business fails due to famine. She is forced to move cross country with her husband. In the span of a few years, she loses her husband and both of her sons. She is so terrified, so angry, so hardened by life’s relentless attacks that she changes her name to “bitter.” She returns to her hometown and asks everyone to call her bitter as a constant reminder that God is out to get her.
Enter the scene, Boaz. Boaz is a business owner. Boaz is a capitalist. Boaz owns lots of land. He is rich. He lives his life to do kingdom work. What is kingdom work? Well, first he runs a successful business making enough profit to provide jobs for many in his town. Secondly, he cuts his margins and expenses to enable generosity. He leaves the corners of his fields for the poor to glean. They still must work to pick up the food, but no one will go hungry. Boaz doesn’t sit up in some ivory tower away from his employees, but instead sleeps in the barn with them to protect the produce from animals. Boaz is a blessing not just by giving to the poor, but by providing jobs for the poor and middle class in his community. He is not to be demonized, but celebrated.
Ruth and Naomi are starving. Boaz allows Ruth to glean her fields. Boaz has heard about Ruth’s love for God and care for her bitter mother-in-law. Boaz asks his men to drop “extra” food as the glean for Ruth and her mother. Ruth comes home with a basket full. Naomi is surprised. She praises God for the first time… in a long time. She notes that God may not have forsaken them. Boaz’s business and generosity is the tool God uses to bring Naomi back to faith in the Great God Jehovah. The story is littered with Biblical principles of capitalism: Work Ethic, Property Rights, Incentive, Profit, Savings, Fair Wages, and a Generous Spirit.
We need to celebrate capitalism today. We need to distinguish capitalism from corruptionism in our culture. We need a thousand more Boaz’s in America to take down the unemployment rate. We need to educate our children to grow up to produce, profit, save, invest, and give. We need our children to intuitively see business as good and a blessing to our nation, instead of “evil” greedy trolls ~as they are portrayed in movies and TV shows. The Bible challenges the “progressive” movement to think deeper than bumper stickers. It challenges them to examine if they are being used as “useful idiots” for a coercive corrupt government clock and dagger. The Bible also challenges the unthinking banner waving republican who presumes business is always good. It challenges us as business leaders to pay fairly using the golden rule as our standard. It challenges us to put ourselves in the shoes of our employees. It challenges us not to use the government to steal from someone to enhance our endeavors over someone else. The Bible is not Red or Blue. It does not support Democrats or Republicans. God is not on “one side” or the other. God is on God’s side. We need to side with Him rather than trying to get Him to side with us. We need more, not less, of it. Jesus worked and sold goods in his dad’s carpenter shop. His family celebrated when they made a profit so they could buy food and give to others. All records seem to indicate that Jesus’ family was very very poor. The sacrifice they offered at Jesus’ dedication was the cheapest sacrifice offering, further evidence to their financial struggles. The Bible doesn’t promise financial prosperity to all, but it does see prosperity as a critical stewardship. Jesus made money as a blue collar carpenter.
Did you know that we live in one of the least churched areas in the nation? God reminded me how much He loves each and every person in our city. He also reminded me that my purpose for being here is to be part of a Christian community that reaches our community with the transforming love, forgiveness and power of Jesus Christ.
Did you know that (like me) God has you here on purpose, for a purpose? In Matthew 28 Jesus invites us to enter into a personal, passionate relationship with Him, where we follow His commands, and experience the life we were created for. Then He says “Go and make disciples” which simply means “help other people experience God’s love, power, and forgiveness” by creating space for them to come and experience His love.
We all have different jobs, passions, hobbies, and interests, BUT WE ONLY HAVE ONE PURPOSE. To “Go and make disciples.” Have you noticed how much people are talking and showing the love of God these days? I know we always are hearing through the TV that people are taking Him out of schools and out of our public buildings and out of marriages, but what I am seeing is that God is on the move and He’s doing something big. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on it!
We need to be asking ourselves some important questions about ourselves and the Kingdom:
1) How am I doing at living out my God given purpose?
2) Who am I investing in and influencing?
3) Who can I invite to come and experience God either on Sunday morning or to a Bible study?
REMEMBER – God’s got you here ON PURPOSE AND WITH A PURPOSE, don’t miss out!
It’s so easy to get focused on ourselves. That’s because we tend to focus on what we can see. Look around. What do you see? Trouble. Heartache. Rich people. Poor people. Healthy people and sick people. These things can either cheer us up, or bring us down. We are easily drawn into the tangible, and our emotions are often guided by what we can touch and feel.
But if we live our lives constantly being pushed around by these constantly changing circumstances, trusting our emotions, and allowing ourselves to be lifted up and drawn down, we will become a wreck! It’s no wonder there are so many psychological issues in our society! We are too focused on ourselves.
This is why it is so important for us to place our hope in Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our Salvation. Apart from Him we can do nothing. Without Him we have no hope. He is the one on whom we should be focusing day and night. No matter what circumstance you face, no matter how tired you feel, focus on Jesus. He is the standard, the one unmoving thing in your life in which you can always be secure. He will never leave you nor forsake you. In the midst of the storm, in the valley of the shadow of death, and even in the green pastures by the still waters, Jesus is always there.
Where is your focus? On you and your problems? Take you focus off of yourself, and focus on the only one who never changes. Keep your vertical focus clear, and never take your eyes off of Him.
My newest grand-child, Kayden Ray 7 months old.
I read through a familiar passage today in Philippians 2 : 14-15 – here is what it says:
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”…
How good is that??? I have always loved those verses and they are especially significant with the “lighten up” challenge. But do you sometimes wonder “how am I supposed to be a light that shines like a star?” I mean, think about it – go outside and look at the night sky – stars are millions of miles away and they impact us down here on earth – that’s pretty powerful.
I definitely don’t feel like I make that much of an impact most of the time (or ever). Then, look at what God says about the stars
Here’s the thing, there are so many verses in the Word that we are familiar with and maybe even have memorized but when we take them in their context we can find such better meaning and understanding. Check out the very next verse (the one I don’t have memorized but should) its verse 16 and it tells us how we can be like stars: “as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” –alright stay with me on this—to ‘hold out the ‘Word of life’ literally means: to have or hold upon, apply, to observe, attend to—to give attention to.
Wow! that’s what I’m talking about. In our quest to be lights and to shine like stars–we must maintain a focus and be intentional about ‘holding forth’ the Word of God in our lives–we have to APPLY the Word to our lives daily.
I hear many, many people talking about going deeper and so on in regard to bible study and teaching. The Truth is that it doesn’t get much deeper than “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength – and your neighbor as yourself” that’s pretty grounded and I wonder … how many of us have gotten caught up in our plans, our wants, and our desires? We should instead be asking what we can do for others or how we can put others first??
Let’s commit to being doers of the Word not just hearers. We are part of a ‘gimme-gimme’ and ‘me first’ generation… Jesus modeled the attitude we need to have and it’s described in the rest of Philippians 2, read it there and remember that we can shine like stars and have a HUGE impact if we keep holding forth the Word!!!!
“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
Ernest Hemingway “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Mark Twain “A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them – they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.”
Rainer Maria Rilke “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Coco Chanel “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”
Eleanor Roosevelt “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Christopher Robin to Pooh “In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Albert Einstein “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”
Seneca “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
Albert Einstein “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
TS Eliot “My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.”
John Keats “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s Relativity.”
Albert Einstein “Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.”
George Carlin “Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.” Vince Lombardi “Our God-given curiosity will force us to go there ourselves, because in the final analysis, only Man can evaluate the Moon in terms understandable to other men.”
Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
CS Lewis “Great things are not accomplished by those that yield to trends, fads and popular opinion.”
Jack Kerouac “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”