Tag Archives: Heart

Seeking God

mountains

“Seek the Lord while you can find him.

Call on him now while he is near.”

-Isaiah 55

This morning, just after sunrise, I went for a long walk in the woods. If you are ever in a place like this you have to walk out into the woods and be still, listen, pray and praise.  That was my goal this morning…and I hoped to see a bear…but back to my topic.  I walked about a mile back into the forest and just stood still…waiting…waiting for God.  I prayed, I sang (badly), I quieted my mind and listened….
….I listened for God, but at times he feels as elusive as that bear I never saw today.  At times I wait, I listen and I hear nothing…..I want to hear from him, I want to follow him, I want to be aware of his presence, but often…..silence.
I know many struggle when this happens.  I have.  Is this a game of “hide-and-seek”?  Why is this so hard?  But there is much more going on than you know when you sense God is not there.  He’s teaching us to be still.  God said to David, “Be still (shut up) and know that I am God.”  God is there and he is not silent, but often I’m deaf to his voice.  How do I fix that?  What do I do?
I have to be still….be quiet, quiet my mind, my heart, my voice and wait on him.  This morning I stood in the deep forest for more than 30 minutes.  I know, that’s not very long, but as I stood there praying, listening, silent before God, I waited for his voice.  He knows I want to follow, he knows I desire his will, he knows me better than I know me….and yet he makes me wait.  He says nothing.
What is going on?  What’s wrong?  Nothing at all….God is working on things I’m completely unaware of.  He’s dealing with things in my life I have never dealt with.  For me the first task is stillness….God has the response…I will know that HE is God.
I’m seeking God.  He’s not like that old bear who avoided me this morning…he’s always with me, working in my life…even when I don’t see him, even when I don’t hear him.  In these times I wait.  He always works in my life in ways that surprise me.  I look forward to his surprise today.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

God in the Furnace

It’s often hard to see God, to see his hand, his work in our lives. It’s often hard to sense his presence, but for the believer he’s ever present. In fact, he says he will never leave us, but most of the time we don’t sense his presence, we aren’t aware of his care.For me it’s the busy life I live that makes his voice hard to hear, his face hard to see. I don’t take the time to quiet my mind and heart to listen, to see him ever with me.The times when God is most visible, the times when we see him the most clearly are times of test, times of trial. It’s in those refining moments the ever present one is most clearly seen….with us even in the heat of the trial.As I read Daniel 3 this morning, the story of Daniel’s friends and their trial by fire, the ever present one is unseen until Daniel’s friends are in the midst of the flames. In those refining moments, in the furnaces of our lives, God’s presence is most clearly seen. It’s in those moments when we desperately need to see him. In the midst of the trial our questions abound, in the midst of the heat we need him most. Has he brought us to this trial to destroy us? Is he punishing us for our sins? Why is this happening to us?

And in the midst of the furnace God is with us. He never leaves us. Last night I was with a family in the furnace of a lifetime. It’s a trial by fire to be sure. This is when they most need God’s presence, his care, his love. It’s in their furnace that they will see him. He is always with us, always caring for us….even in the furnace of trials.

But why trials? Why use the furnace to make himself known and seen? It’s because in the furnace no one can help us but God. As the king said to Daniel’s friends, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” The king has defined the test- Is there a God who can deliver from the furnace? Is there someone to help when the trials of life overwhelm? The answer from the furnace is “YES! I’m here with you. Don’t worry, I will take care of you.”

The God of glory is always with us working for our good and his glory. In the midst of your furnace God is with you making himself known to you and seen by the world. In the midst of the furnace all other distractions are burned away and we see the ever present God who is always with us.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

My Hope

David said….. “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope”   Act 2:26

Photo credit: www.reformingculture.com

God loved man so much that he made a garden for him and provided all he needed…at that point, Adam had no need for hope. Right?

But then Adam fell – and he fell hard – so hard in fact, that we are still paying for it to this day! His mistake ushered sin into this perfect world God had created – and since God could not abide by sin, man became lost and without hope. 

Yes there is hope for us – it does exist – but our hope is in Jesus Christ alone! Our faith leads us to wait for his return which means, we have nothing to hope for but Jesus Christ!  This is not something we “wish” for like a birthday present…….

When I was young, I remember being asked what I wanted for my birthday.  I shared my wish with anyone who would listen…but then I waited impatiently because I was never really sure if my wish would come true – sometimes it would, sometimes it wouldn’t.  Of course, I was always encouraged to blow out all the candles if I wanted my wish to come true.  I could never understand why my wish wouldn’t come true if I told anyone……..  Where did that come from?

Jesus did not die so we would need to “wait and see.“….nor do we need to search this world for his hope……our hope is the blessed assurance that he was raised from the dead and that he is coming back for us!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

I remember being left at the babysitters and my mother promising to come back at the end of the day to pick us up. That was always a long day, because I was never quite sure if she was really coming back for us…but of course, she always did………

Satan has been trying to convince us that God is not coming for us….and by the looks of things more people are believing that every day!

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:5

A lot of things offer us hope in this world, but because they are attached to this world, they will never be anything but short-term illusions because God does not intend for us to remain here and he paid the high price for our souls so we wouldn’t need anything else!  Our society is designed as if this is our final destination!  Don’t be fooled…..there is a force at work in this world intent on ensuring we never reach our true destination!

I remember having to live with relatives while growing up and how I would always hope for a place of my own…….

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  John 14:2

As for our nation….Aren’t you getting tired of being told, “if we just get the right man in the white house or….”just a little more tax…..”   or  ……” with a little sacrifice ….”  Can anyone tell me how long we’ve been fooling ourselves with this false hope? Why are people pushing Jesus aside while waiting for “something more?”  It makes no sense to push aside the hope that has already been given us, in search of false illusions. Hasn’t our hope already been delivered to us?

I believe our hope first arrived the moment that Jesus Christ was born – but the hope that we can now be reconciled with God and have eternal life actually was given to us the moment he died! 

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”  John 19:30

Sin is still in the world – and always will be – so, does that mean there is no hope for man?

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Romans 5:2

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”    John 14:6

Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

In Christ alone my hope is found………

Visit Mark at Planting Potatoes.

Never Alone

My heart is amazed at just how big this world is and how technology can keep us in touch with those who have moved away from us.  But sometimes, my heart is even more amazed at just how alone we can feel even though people are close to us physically as well as through technology. 

We often feel alone when:

  • The pain in the night is unbearable
  • The silence is deafening
  • Friends should rejoice with us but are envious
  • Family squabbles become bitter feuds
  • The darkness engulfs us
  • The well deserved promotion is shot down by assumptions
  • No one understands
  • Everyone says they understand but act as if they could care less
  • We’ve tried a million times but continue to feel like a failure
  • We’ve asked for forgiveness but there is no hope of receiving it
  • Good news is overshadowed by great hurt

You’ve probably been there and felt as if your prayers were going no further than the ceiling.  Let me remind you that not only does your Heavenly Father hear those cries, they matter to Him.  He hears you and cares about what your heart is feeling.

The time you feel completely alone is when you typically withdraw and close your heart off to the world.  Worse than that, you close your Bible and think; I don’t even know what to pray, so why bother and you let isolation MOVE YOU from your Father’s side.

God never moves from us.  We move from Him.  But, even when we stray, move or completely ignore Him…we are never alone.

What verses do you wrap yourself in when you feel completely alone?

Please leave them below and encourage those that are feeling completely alone.

 

I Know You’re There

2 Chronicles 13:12
And, behold, God himself is with us 

2 Chronicles 32:8
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.

 

 

You’re Not alone

 

 

Deut 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 

God With Us

 

 

Lamentations 3:24-25 

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

 

Giants

 

Guys are huge! Huge! Especially if you are a little girl, you look up and see a mighty man towering over you, your heart trembles a little. Men are giants in the eyes of children

I remember as a little, tiny girl being afraid of those towering giants in my life. There were only two giant men that I took to early on without fear and they were my Father and Grandfather.

While I understand that not every man is full of care, compassion and concern for the women and children in his world and those that are quietly observing, (make no mistake, they are observing and retaining what they observe) I also understand that there are men that want to be a force for good in this world.

I applaud you and want to encourage you to continue to be a Giant!

Here are some ways we can all be Giants, but Men, please…. Continue to stand up and be HUGE!

Giant of Compassion – Men in particular usually have a hard time comfortably displaying their emotions and showing compassion isn’t always the easiest. I know that kindness is there, filling your heart…let it flow freely.

Giant of Love – Continue to love and allow yourself to be loved – even when love hurts.

Giant of Giving – Giving of what you have doesn’t always come naturally, but we can condition our hearts to be a giant in this area. Don’t focus on what you are giving, or to whom. Just give what you can and show others that there is nothing like it.

Giant of Laughter – With the weight of the responsibilities that you bare, sometimes it is just good to sit back and do fun things. Laugh daily and share freely.

Giant of Family – YOU head up the family, you are responsible, you direct, guide and shelter. Be there, be part of what goes on, share your heart with those in your family freely. Be authentic and in doing so, you will raise up giants of your own.

Giant of a Husband – Men if you are married, the best thing you can do is to continue to date and spoil your wife. Find out, if you’ve forgotten, what little things she adores and spoil her with them. Yes, we ladies need to do the same thing, but we gals are creatures of response and she will react. But, honestly…don’t do this just to “get” something in return….do this because you are a giant and are willing to do it because it is the right thing to do.

Giant of a Friend – Men, go and do some men stuff. Encourage each other and have fun. Take time to be a friend.

Giant of an Example – There are little eyes watching you and you won’t even realize it. You will cause someone, somewhere to remember something that you did…something you considered insignificant and yet, in that moment it was larger than life to the onlooker. You are always inspiring someone and being an influence. The question is, are you inspiring great things or are you inspiring a lackadaisical attitude?

Giant of Wisdom – You have experiences that no one else around you has. You can share what you’ve learned and those around you that are truly wise will learn from you. Share freely.

 

Lastly guys, remember, you are completely loved and adored by someone.

YOU ARE a giant in their eyes. Treasure that, protect that and use it.

Gals – you can be a giant to! I hope you will be.

Your turn! How can we be giants to those little eyes that are watching everything we say and do? Don’t miss your opportunity to be heard here.

 

Dear Dad, you are already a HERO, just because you are a dad… be the best influence you can be without guilt

Dear Dad, I know you are busy with work &providing for the family, but provide memories too

Dear Dad, I know we are all special BUT never, ever forget that you are loved & adored

Dear Dad, even when I think I know it ALL, YOU still be the parent. I’m too young to make big decisions.

Dear Dad, laughter is the best medicine, but never forget tears are healing

Dear Dad, Even though guys are macho, we still need to hear “i love you”

Dear Dad, I know you want to give me the best of everything, but make me be responsible for what you give me

Dear Dad, we love big squishy bear hugs

Dear Dad, help me to own my mistakes, don’t enable me or excuse my actions

Dear Dad, I love you

 

 

Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.

Thankful For…

Our days seem to get so busy, our time escapes us and our hearts can be so heavy.  During all of these times, we not only should pray, but praise.

I hope you will spend some time just thanking the Lord.  Thanksgiving needs to be a daily thing for us.

I’m thankful for:

Spend some time thinking about all that you are grateful for.  Dwell on it, wrap your heart in it and praise HIM for it.

 

{hugs} yall

 

@spreadingJOY

 

Marie is the Founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non-Profit dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving.  For more encouragement and a look at the little things that make life big, please visit her website http://www.spreading-joy.org

A Messy Life And A Heart For God

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Ch.16.9

What does this look like in real life?  Does it mean we never sin, never get angry, never say the wrong thing or stumble in our walk?  What does it mean when the Lord talks of looking for hearts fully committed to him?

I read this verse and am convinced he can’t be talking about me.  The desire is there to be fully committed, but my life tells a different story.  My life is messy, smelly at times with sin, I get frustrated, say the wrong things….frankly this verse can’t be talking about someone like me….but then I realize that he’s looking at the heart.

If God just looked at my life he would pass by without a second glance.  I’m a mess.  There is nothing of the material saints are made of in my life, nothing that would tell you  I’m a godly man, very little of a holy life for others to see and evaluate.

In fact, if I were under close scrutiny to evaluate my life and determine if I were a Christian I think I would fail the test.  Fruit rejected.  Life a waste.  Failure.

But then I reread these words…God is looking for hearts fully committed.  I so want to be that person, that fully committed one.  Can my heart be fully committed and my life an utter mess?  If God is looking for fruit, I fail.  If he’s looking for a heart that wants to please him no one wants that more than I.

How do I reconcile this paradox?  How do I bring together a heart that wants God with all that is in me and a life that wanders, choices that are messy, a life that doesn’t look much different than the world around me at times?

I don’t know.  I only know this…when his eyes pass my way he will see a messy life, but a heart that truly wants to be fully committed to him.  In the mess of all of this all I can do is trust him to help me follow my heart’s passion for him.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.