Heart’s Desire

Sometimes it is easier to pour out my fears, weaknesses, sins and shortcomings to the Lord than it is to place my hopes and dreams in His hands.  It is easier to believe God forgives, heals and rescues than it is to believe he blesses, accomplishes and favors.

It is hard to believe these desires of my heart will come to fruition.  After all, what have I done to deserve them?  Yet His words says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  This passage isn’t directing us to dream up any want we can think of and expect the Lord to grant it like a genie in a bottle.  What it is saying is the Lord actually places His desires for you within your heart.  When your eyes are fixed on Him and you are walking this life journey with Him, you will begin to desire the things that are pleasing to the Lord.  And because you desire the things that please Him, he will surely bring them to pass.

What are the deepest longings of your heart?  What is your heart cry?  What do you desire above all else?  Sometimes these deep desires are difficult to even put into words.  Maybe it is for a loved one to know the Lord, a child to find grace, or to find that special one to share your life with.  Perhaps it is a goal, a vision for ministry or a dream for your family.  Whatever it is, give it to God. If he gave you the desire, give the outcome of it back to Him and allow him to work it out to completion in your life.

How do we know if the desire we have is from the Lord?  Does it bless him?  Honor him? Bring life, hope and joy to others? If it is something other than for selfish gain, it is likely from the Lord. After all, He created you.  He gave you your talents, gifts, likes and dislikes. He gave you a unique personality that would long after the path he planned for your life.  Think back to when you were a child, innocent and uninfluenced by the world.  What did you want to be?  What brought you the most joy?  So many times, those desires get washed away by the harsh reality of the world we live in. This broken land robs joy and steals dreams.  It tells us we’re unworthy, unlikely, and undesirable.  But God says we are chosen, holy and dearly loved.

God says he will carry out his plans in our lives. We only must believe God has the power to do what he has promised.  When God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, Abraham had a choice to make; trust God’s word or believe what was his current reality.  He chose not to consider his own weaknesses; “his own body, already dead or the deadness of Sarah’s womb”, rather he chose to be strengthened in his faith.  “He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”  That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Abraham chose not to look at the obvious; his old body, his old ways, his current circumstances.  He chose to look to the One who made the promise and was able to accomplish anything.  The deep beauty of Abraham’s example is grace.  Abraham did not work for God’s blessing.  He didn’t earn merit badges by being a good church member or going door to door.  He was highly favored because he believed God.  For “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt”.  “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace.”

Let us look then at the desires God has placed in our hearts and look only unto Him as the one able to accomplish them through us.  For we know that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us”.

Psalm 37:4, Philippians 1:6,  Colossians 3:12, Romans 4:20-22, Genesis 17:5, Romans 4:4, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:5

Just One Name

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There are times when words fail me. When heartache cuts deep, when loss is so great, when the longing of my heart surpasses known language, those are times when only one name needs uttered. Jesus. A whisper, a cry, my very breath; only Jesus. There is a place deep within each of us, a need only he can fill. This place we can’t describe or name. Where deep cries out to deep. That need is only met, when we cry, “Jesus”. He turns my way, he looks at me, knowing everything. He knows more than I how I need him. Here, face to face, all is known and all is understood.

There is a moment in one of my favorite movies, Dirty Dancing (yes, I’m using Dirty Dancing in a devotional blog) where Johnny is walking away and Baby cries out to him, “Johnny!” Just that one word; his name. He turns and he looks at her. Their eyes meet and all is known. No words are exchanged. With one glance all is understood.

I think of that when I cry to Jesus. Only magnified one hundred percent because he knows everything. As creator, he knows my very being. My past and my future; all of eternity is in His hands. He knows every desire of my heart because he places those desires within my heart. His sovereignty is unmatched. I am his and he is mine. One word, one name. Jesus. The name of Jesus.

Genesis 16:13, Romans 8:26, Psalm 37:4

A Messy Life

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I’ve been meaning to clean out my purse for about 2 months now. We went to Tampa, Florida for a business trip in January and my purse is still housing boarding passes, parking tags and gum wrappers not to mention my son’s handfuls of spilled Cheerios, a few wayward fruit snacks and the other day I found a whole orange in there! I have to admit that purse is a true reflection of my life right now. We are in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year in our It Works business so couple that with mom-life and toss in a full-time teaching job and you’ve got a life that looks like a messy purse explosion! You see, it’s not just the purse. It’s the laundry all over the couch and the dog hair piling up on the rug…oh, and my goodness those dirty dishes! I am running in all directions but there is a means to an end and a purpose for this phase of chaos. It won’t be like this for long but while I’m in the thick of it, I sure am glad God doesn’t judge our messes. You see even when we’re not cleaned up and looking our best, God still loves us the same. He loves us for who we are, not what we do. There is no measure to his Grace. Ephesians 4:7 tells us that to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. How could one ever put a measure on Christ’s gift? Just as we can not to this, so we are unable to measure his Grace.

About a month ago my husband was on a chat forum and one of the comments made was about Christians being “mindless followers”. This sparked a nerve with my husband so he commented back and asked this man, “What is your belief system? What do you base your life on?” The man replied, “Science. We live according to our own merit.” My husband’s reply was simple, “Wow”, he said. “That must be exhausting”.

I am so thankful we do not live according to our own merit. Who could measure up? Who could stand? I am reminded of these lyrics by Gerrit Gustafson; “Only by grace can we enter. Only by grace can we stand. Not by our human endeavor but by the blood of the lamb.” He doesn’t ask us to be cleaned up, in order and presentable before we come. The beauty of grace is we come just as we are. In the midst of our chaos, in the middle of our mess, He says, “Come”. You see, He works all things according to his purpose. In time, our mess will be cleaned. When we bring our brokenness, our cluttered past, our bags full of crumbs, He lays them out gently and tenderly weaves his perfect plan before us. He carefully wipes away the dirt and mends the worn edges. He lovingly puts everything back in its place. Maybe not where it was before and maybe not where you expected it be but nevertheless in its rightful place. So bring him your mess. He says, “Come”.

Ephesians 4:7, Romans 8:28

Free Gift

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Christmas was two weeks ago and I am still trying to figure out where to put all the toys my son received. It is amazing how much loot one little person can acquire in 24 hours! What’s even more amazing is that none of it even matters to him. At 22 months of age he is just as content with the gift box as he is the present inside. Yet, even though he was not asking or expecting, he was showered with packages. Our God is like that. He longs to give us all good things. He, who did not spare his own son, freely gives us all things. From his storehouse he desires to pour every good gift of Heaven into our lives. These gifts can not be measured in earthly terms. These are Heavenly treasures. Gifts of more value than any material possession; these gifts of the spirit he yearns to graciously offer us, if we will but ask and accept. He gives in great abundance. God’s intent was never for us to merely “get by” in this life. Christ came to bring abundant life, now and for eternity. Unlike the innocent nature of my son, who willingly accepted each gift bestowed upon him, we are too often driven to strive for these good gifts. In my heart I know I could never earn or deserve the gifts of Grace, however I often find myself striving as if I am trying to. Unlike my son, I know what sin is. I know where I have been. I know who I once was and I know it is only by God’s love and forgiveness that I am set free. The more I come to know the Lord in real, personal and intimate ways the less I find myself striving and the more I learn to accept the gifts he so freely gives. Today I choose to come. I come as a child, in innocence, with my hands open, amazed at a Father who would love so much as to lavish upon one so undeserving. He is only good.

Luke 11:13, James 1:17, Romans 8:28, Romans 8:32, Galatians 5:22-23, John 10:10