Tag Archives: heart

A Spiritual Heart Transplant

Are we changed from the inside out?

In the book of 1 Samuel, there’s the story of a guy named Saul that became the first man to be elected as the king of Israel.  God has chosen Saul specifically to be their king; it wasn’t by chance or by the power of men.

When Saul left from being anointed as king, 1 Samuel 10:9-13 says,

“When he turned his back to leave from Samuel [the priest that had anointed him] God gave him a new heart…and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them.  And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over him?  Is Saul also among the prophets?”  When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be given a new heart. While there are many different ways that you can reference the heart–the organ that pumps blood, the warehouse of emotions, etc.–the heart especially seems to us to be the place where God’s Spirit dwells within us.

God has plans for each and every one of us, and He has equipped us with the skills, gifts, talents, loves, and even a special heart in order to fulfill every part of His plan for us with His help.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

Psalm 139:23

God knows us better than we know ourselves, but it’s time that we get to know ourselves a little bit better.  It’s time that we get to know ourselves not by our intentions but by our actions.

Does our outward appearance reflect the inward change that occured when the Holy Spirit filled us and were given a new heart?

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The Coach’s View on the Soccer Field of Life

Do you ever wonder how God looks at us as His children?  If life was a soccer match and God was the coach, to whom would God give high fives or shake His head because of a bad play or yell out shouts of encouragement? 

Recently, this question has been on my mind.  While we can never know the motives of God, there are a couple of verses that have given me some thoughts on how God looks upon us.  

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

Right off the bat, we see that God sees differently than we do.  Why is that?  It’s because on earth, our outer appearance is how we usually convey our worldly state–whether we are happy, successful, wealthy, etc.  But here’s the thing, God’s kingdom is much different than our world.  While the criteria for who’s the best here in the world may be based on status, God’s kingdom sees right through all of this. 

“27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

You see, it’s all about our heart condition.  When we encounter God, does the life that we live from there out give all the glory to Him? 

Just as a great coach, God sees that while skill is needed for His team–after all, He gave us every skill that we have–it’s the condition of your heart that determines how you will work in His body of believers.  Will your life of being the most improved–from a destitute sinner to a believer washed in God’s grace and love–be even more important than being the team member that scores the most goals?

God loves each and every single one of us–bench warmer or team captain alike.  So the real question for you today is this: by your heart condition, are you ready to glorify God?

The Dimension of the Heart

Did you know that there is a dimension to our heart?

I was reading my devotional this morning, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and she taught me something that I have never thought about before.  Here’s what she wrote in the point of view of Jesus:

“There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live.  In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence.  This dimension transcends the others, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside on earth.  This was part of My original design for mankind.  Adam and Eve used to walk with Me in the garden, before heir expulsion from Eden.  I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence.”

Don’t worry if this seems to whoosh past over your head because I had to really think about it myself, too.  But think about it this way…

The dimensions of space–length (or height), width, and depth–are the ways in which we relate to tangible objects (anything that is composed of matter and can touch).  Example of dimensions of space: A sheet of paper is 8.5″ wide and 11″ long.  I can tell you that, and you can envision exactly in your head what that looks like.  In other words, we related using the dimensions of space.

But the dimension of the heart… This is different because it is the way in which we respond to everything that isn’t tangible.  To respond to something with the dimension of the heart requires faith that it even exists.  Whenever someone tells you that they are angry or sad, you can relate because you believe the emotion exists even though you can’t see the actual emotion that makes someone smile or frown.

You don’t see God but you have faith that He is there.  Even if you say, “God, I don’t believe in you anymore,” you still had to believe that He was there to here what you said.  Even if  you claim to not believe, you are still stating your relation to Him.

This is what Sarah is referring to when she says the “dimension of openness to His presence.”  She’s talking about the way that you can relate to God’s presence through faith.  The larger your faith, the larger your receptivity will be to God’s presence.

If you are having a hard time becoming aware of the presence of God, try looking at the size of your faith.  Ask yourself the question, “What makes my believing in the existence of happiness different than the existence of God’s presence in my life?”

Today, use the dimension of your heart.

Living with the Word in our mouthes and in our hearts

Whenever we read the Bible and hear God’s commandments, how often do we view them as being separate from who we are?  The Bible can become just that book we read on Sundays, and the Ten Commandments seem to be nothing more than a collection of old words like thou, hast, and shalt.  So often, thoughts like these fill my head, and I begin to think that parts of Christianity, especially parts in the Old Testament, aren’t relevant to me.

Just yesterday, I was reading in Deuteronomy, and I found this amazing passage about those misconceptions.  In the Message, Deuteronomy 30:11-12, 14 says,

“This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach.  It’s not on a high mountain–you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it.  And it’s not across the ocean–you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it to you before you can live it.  No.  The word is right here and now–as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest.  Just do it!”

Even more so than when Deuteronomy was written, every bit of the Word is relevant us.  John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.”  With that being said, how could the Word not be relevant to us?  The Word is God!  And since the Word is God, that also means that God is in our mouths and in our hearts.  God is inside of us already!

Once we realize this, we see that God is committed to helping us follow His will.  He knows that it’s impossible for us to do it on our own; that’s why He sent Jesus Christ to fulfill the Law through dying on a cross for our sin.  He wants to help us follow His will so that we can experience the joy while worshiping with Him in our mouthes.  In our hearts filled with Him, we experience His amazing love and gifts of grace, more amazing than we could ever imagine.

Until the day that we live with God in His very presence, we have Him through the Word.  If that doesn’t make every bit of the Bible relevant to us, I don’t know what does…

Quick post in the midst of a study break….

Alright!  Here is a super duper quick post while I am taking a break from stacks of books and mounds of paper that should be in binders.

Keep your focus on God.

It’s that simple and yet that is your key to success.  Remember that Heaven is our ultimate destination, our place of desiring!

Here are some verses to read as a study/work/stressful moment break:

Romans 2:6-8

Romans 8:24-25

Romans 8:28

1 Corinthians 7:17

1 Corinthians 15:58

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

2 Corinthians 5:13-15

Look at these verses this morning and take a moment to let them wash over you.  How would your life change if you really took these to heart?  What about your life would look different if you actually lived by them?

I pray your day is filled with Sonshine,

Now if this graphic doesn't make you giggle or smile... well that could just mean that you didn't wake up before the sun rose to study...

Sarah :)

Plans for a future and a hope.

Let me be honest… I have been struggling.  In many different directions, my heart has been tugged between what I am and what I’m not, what is right and what is wrong, where I should be and where I should go.

Torn between who I am and who I want to be: this is the place where God found me last night.  As I was reading Jeremiah 29:11, He revealed to me a truth that I had never even seen before within this well-known verse.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord,

plans for wholeness and not for evil, plans to give you a future and hope.”

Whenever I have read this before, I took it for granted.  I would say to myself, “God, if you have such great plans for me that don’t include evil, why do I get hurt, why do people die, and why do I often feel low on hope?”

After asking this question, it was as though my mind opened up.  Besides that, I really don’t know how to explain.  The light bulb went on, I guess.  This is what I realized…  It comes through the next verse:

“You will call upon me and come and pray to me,

and I will hear you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me

with all of your heart.”

You see, this passage of scripture is an invitation to trust God.  We experience evil in our lives because we cannot commit to God’s plan; we find ourselves seeking only with part of our heart.  Holding back our heart in chains, the fear of trusting in a God that we cannot see prevents us from seeking Him with all of our heart.

God has great plans for us.  The only way that we can even glimpse upon this plan, though, is by trusting in him completely.

Has your day been filled with stress and worry and evil in all of its disguises?  Take heart because God has a future and a hope for you.

Whatever is holding you back, let it go and let God.

All you have to do is trust.

Believe.

God quiets our anxious hearts

Butterflies eating at the inside of your stomach.  Your skin feels as though it is crawling.  To top it all of, your head seems to be embodied by smog; you can’t even think straight.  Have you ever felt these things?

These are the symptoms of the perfect combination of anxiety and fear taking control over my body.  This current state of mine can only mean one thing for me: I have a drive for success, yet I am bridled by my fear of failure.

For the past week and a half, I have been writing a book.  It has been amazing!  However, I’m honestly beginning to get the fear of “What if it’s not good?  What if it doesn’t even get published?  Would I have wasted a whole break and gotten sore fingers and forearms from typing for nothing?”

Although you may not be experiencing the same anxiety/fear combo, I am more than certain that you have found yourself in a similar place.  Whenever we find ourselves in this state of stress, anxiety, etc, we can rest in the promises found within the following verses:

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:58

“Therefore, do not be anxious.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” -Matthew 6:31,34

“Say to those with an anxious heart, ‘Be strong and do not fear. Behold your God will come.” -Isaiah 35:4

No matter what, remember that God is with you.  God delights in helping you accomplish tasks, especially when they further His kingdom.

Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed by fear and/or anxiety, God will come to catch those butterflies in our stomach and squash the bugs crawling on our skin.

He will come to quieten our anxious hearts!