Monthly Archives: October 2014

A HEART AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

 

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Acts 13:22 (NIV): After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”

I’ve read and/or referred to this verse so many times, always examining David and his heart toward God. No doubt I was so enthralled with the idea of man having a heart like the almighty God’s that I turned that semicolon into a period. However, if you keep reading God offers a profound revelation: God is confident that David will do everything He wants David to do.  God knew that David’s will was to do the will of the Father.  Psalm 40:8 takes it a step further:  David found it a delight to do the will of God.

Now bring that thought into your relationship with God right here in 2014.  Do you go to church, pray, read your Bible, reach out to others regularly, give, etc. as a delight? An obligation? Do you let God’s plans for your time with Him slip to last place if there is a place found for Him at all?  Does your relationship begin to look more like guilt before a demanding God than a boy bound so tightly to the Father by love’s strong cords that there is delight to do His will? Are you simply waiting at His feet, eager to do everything God wants you to do? Can God say that He has confidence in you because He knows you will do everything He wants you to do?

I Kings 3:6: “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart.” In his new role as King, Solomon was rehearsing before God the favor He saw God lavish on David. . .because of his faithfulness to God and his righteous and upright heart. Clearly it was obvious that the abundant life that David enjoyed came from the hand of the God he delighted to serve. This front row seat to witness this amazing relationship between an almighty God and a mortal man instilled in Solomon a heart for God and His presence and power in His life and reign.  II Chronicles 1 recites the story of Solomon’s request for a discerning heart, for wisdom to judge the people over whom God had made him ruler.  And God examined his heart and motives and found him righteous and blessed him abundantly.

If you are seeking an abundant life, a life lived with an outpouring of God’s blessing, you’ll have to start with your heart. Your heart’s desire, your affection must be set on the God of the Universe. His will. His plan. Are you ready to trash your plans and accept His (Matthew 16:25; Luke 9:24; Mark 8:34)?

Why don’t we have this kind of relationship with God? Could it be that we don’t have hearts after His own heart because we haven’t taken the time to know Him and understand Him–to trust and have faith in Him? It’s not enough to know about Him; even the devils know about Him and tremble (James 2:19). We must seek to know Him and understand Him, seek to do His will and begin to delight when His eyes rest upon us and we receive His favor (II Chronicles 16:9).

God’s Wisdom + God’s Power = The Abundant Life

It’s a HEART matter!

So how do you get the wisdom and power of God? That’s the subject of my book. But while we wait on a publisher, we can begin to take this journey to know and understand Him. Every journey needs a beginning place and a destination. Begin right where you are. Get your heart out and start examining it closely. The lavish gift of His wisdom and power are dependent on your heart toward Him. God needs to testify that He has full confidence that you will do all His will–that your heart is totally HIS. This is a much stronger belief than just assuming or saying He thinks you might do His will. A testament requires that He can bear witness to the fact that you will delight to do everything He asks you to do–hear the strong confidence? If God took the witness stand today and was asked to testify of your heart’s desire, what would He say?

Let’s begin today, right where we are, and take our hearts on a journey to know the King of the Universe.

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ORANGE CONES

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The road I travel daily has been under construction for almost a year.  It seems that every time I approach the area under construction that they have moved the cones.  You know the ones, the big orange and white ones lining both sides of each lane that slowly merges traffic from four lanes to one, the ones so close that you fear you cannot help but hit them as you drive through their tunnel.  Apparently, they are redirecting traffic around something. However, you are so focused on dealing with the cones, you cannot inspect the work being done.

As I inched along behind a very long line of four-lane traffic looking at this sea of orange and white ahead, the cars were bumper to bumper.  It struck me how God’s construction in our lives often involves orange cones that redirect us.  Those cones are signs of delays, backups and frustration. There is confusion and anxiety.  What is happening?  When will it end?  Will it be better?  Is it worth it?

Lately I’ve been before the Lord crying out to Him for one particular prayer request; and I trust Him and know He is going to answer. But it seems all the ORANGE CONES on the east coast were shipped to my address so God can start redirecting and changing things. . .even changing me. I think I just wanted Him to zap things into the place they belong. I wanted to rub my bottle and a genie show up and fix things with a twitch of the nose. I definitely did NOT want a shipment of orange cones.

My first instinct is to slam on the brakes and look for any alternate route.  But it seems I’m on an inside lane and the only choice is to go through the construction.  It seems slow and frustrating, even painful.  Since I have been through a few orange cone patches in my life before, I have more faith in my God than I do in our state’s road workers. So I take this journey with God, orange cones and all.  I know that in the end He is going to answer my prayer and make all things new.  Easy? Absolutely not.  Change takes work and is often difficult. But the potholes and lack of appropriate shoulders in my life’s road need some repair. Evidently He agrees with me, is answering my prayers, and has sent me just what I need–all these orange cones.

So rather than fight it, I’ll move forward inch by inch as He lights my path.  I will be patient and wait on His answers knowing He has a plan for me and it includes hope and a future. . .and an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). And all my orange cones are simply a sign that He has heard my plea and is ready to go to work on my behalf. So today I’ll take a deep breath and thank God for orange cones!

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THE MASTER GARDENER

THE MASTER GARDNER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost a quarter of a century ago my husband moved the family to Richmond, Virginia for a job opportunity. On the outside I dutifully followed my husband, but inside I was kicking and screaming. What came out were tears of great sorrow. How could he ask us to move away from our church and our friends—our families?

Our new home was on the outskirts of town. From my work, simply go 30 minutes north, take a detour west for another 30 minutes and I could be home in just under an hour after a long work day. The closest grocery store or gas station was a good 20 minutes away. Let’s just say that when we went home each evening we’d better have what we needed because there would be no running to the store for eggs or milk.

We were 600 miles from home, stuck in the middle of nowhere (did I mention there was no mall). Even our church was 30 minutes away, which meant there was no way we could get home and back to church for Wednesday night services, AWANA, or choir practice. We went from being actively involved in our church to living in the middle of nowhere. What on earth was God thinking? This couldn’t have been His will for us?

About nine months after we arrived, my husband’s company merged with another company and they laid off management based on seniority. No job, long way from home, nowhere near civilization, no money—I was going home. But God had other plans–talk about closing doors. He started slamming them shut. Four unexpected hospitalizations and surgeries ensued; a new baby was on the way. There was no way I could leave my company’s insurance plan. We were stuck in Virginia—at least for the foreseeable future.

Twenty-five years later, I can look back and see all that God had for us here. I can understand His plan. But in those early days, it felt like we had been ripped from fertile soil and replanted in the middle of nowhere.

This weekend I decided to replace all the shrubbery in our front beds. It was time. I threw out some of the diseased plants and replanted others to a spot where they would get better light or water, would indeed fit in better with the landscape or would produce more flowers. And I brought in different plants to fill the holes left by the plants I’d moved. God often speaks to me in my garden and He gently reminded me that He is the Master Gardener. Just as I get to decide what is best for my garden, He gets to decide what is best for His world. He decided this family should be in Richmond, Virginia. This was where He had plans for us.

It took me almost a year to decide I would try out this new location as a possible home. And once I began to put down a few roots, reach out to make new friends, began to become useful to the Kingdom where I was planted, God began to bless us. If God is replanting you or pruning you, He is doing so for your good. He loves you and has plans to prosper you; to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  You’ve heard it a million times, but now it is time–BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED!

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