The depths of my heart

He made the hearts of them all. And He understands whatever they do.
Psalm 33:15 NLT

I have been reckless and destructive. I have lashed out and my words and actions have taken a toll on others.

And yet …

… He loves me.

And just as importantly, He loves YOU!

The amazing list of emotions that come from the depths of my heart: anguish, deep love, anger, compassion, justification, passion … the list goes on and on. And, once again, the knowing that He knows me just blows me away.

I am so thankful for His love and grace and provision.

What are you thankful for today?

Listening

These past few weeks I have been listening to a wide range of perspectives and attitudes. The range of beliefs and “truths” is mind-boggling. The range of experiences are eye-opening. And, as expected, there are a lot of suggested solutions out there.

Something has to change. There is death and destruction in this world. And, yet, there are good things happening in the world, too. It is important to see both because only seeing the death can be heart-wrenching and lead one to hopelessness. However, if one only focuses on the “good”, the picture is incomplete. There is clearly a wide range of both.

We are clearly not there yet. And where is there, anyway?

We can dream for this — take a listen…. but it isn’t based in reality.

From my perspective, we will never get to the place where this world is perfect and safe for all.  This is Earth, after all. Unfortunately, all people in all stages of life will not be cared for and protected. And, sadly, there will always be hunger. While our “technology” is advancing in amazing ways since the beginning of time, our interpersonal skills have not. Our hearts are wicked. Sin abounds. We haven’t figured out how to stop murdering one another and retaliating wrongs. But that doesn’t mean we stop working towards it.

“What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

We should not be surprised how quickly avenging can turn to revenging. Nor should we be shocked at the bitterness stored up in the hearts of people.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:30-32 NIV

We should take a long hard look at ourselves. Cumulative and lasting change comes when our hearts are reconciled with God. And, even then, there will not be true “peace on Earth”. But, as people are reconciled to God and recognize their propensity toward sin and seek to turn away from it, there is hope. As we each walk towards God, from wherever we are in the world, we are headed in the same direction. And God changes our hearts to be more like His. And we can work with God to bridge the cavernous divides.

There is no true healing apart from the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It starts with me and my heart — when I let God take away my “justified response” and my anger. There are many, many ugly things that happen in life to many of us. If we choose to harbor unforgiveness, we are choosing a life of bondage.  One great book that I have read and re-read through the years is by R.T. Kendall, Total Forgiveness. I have bought multiple copies and given them away. I don’t do that very often for books.

As I listen, there is hurt, loss, injustice, and anger as well as a lot of justification for violence and further killing. Dwelling in an ugly place with people who are angry only brings more ugliness. I continue to listen to a wide range of perspectives, but I will hear them through God’s Word. I can’t listen to the voices of the day without hearing the words and the proposed solutions and comparing them to what is in God’s Word. There is, and will always be, a lot of false prophets out there — wolves in sheeps clothing. But there are a lot of voices who, though human, who offer a lot of Godly insight, rooted in Scripture.

This is Part II. Hearing was the first post.

May God reveal His wisdom and perspective as you examine your own heart today!

 

 

 

 

A Time to Uproot

Garden w
How does your garden grow?

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Have you ever moved to a new place and tried to get to know what plants are in your yard? If you don’t know much about plants, it can be confusing because as things start to green up in Spring it is exciting. But not everything that is green is good. Sometimes the weeds masquerade as something useful but soon they choke out other plants you actually do want. Getting rid of noxious weeds isn’t always fun. But, left unchecked, they can overtake a large area in a short amount of time.

Root them out!

And while you are in the business of getting rid of those unwelcomed guests, think about other things you might need to dig out and eliminate. Allowing things like

  • impatience
  • anger
  • suspicion
  • lies
  • resentment
  • fear
  • hatred
  • assumptions
  • selfishness
  • envy
  • jealousy
  • perfection

to be a part of your life can cause an unwanted invasion. And those things can quickly choke out the good things God wants to grow in you. Digging out this junk can be a bit of work. It takes a conscientious effort to uproot and eliminate those weeds. But doing so brings more space and freedom for the other, more Christ-like, qualities to grow and flourish.

Take stock of what is growing in your life today. Sowing seeds that produce patience, love, trust, honesty, appreciation, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, faith, mercy, and gentleness will result in an amazing harvest for you and those who are in your presence. Be deliberate about what you allow to remain in your life.

Life is too hard and too short to be growing all that ugly stuff. Be intentional about what you are growing in your heart and life. As you radiate God’s good gifts they will be a blessing to those all around you!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [Galatians 5:22-23 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

Life Garden

Ever been in a situation where you have been betrayed, abused, violated, deceived, taken advantage of or hung out to dry? Has life thrown you some curves or tossed manure your way? Your response to those situations is incredibly important. If you allow seeds of unforgiveness, bitterness, or anger to germinate and be cultivated, pretty soon you will have quite a harvest of life-killing weeds.

The most inspiring stories you read are the ones of people who have overcome extremely difficult circumstances and gone on to forgive, share, love, sacrifice, etc. I would guess the most incredible stories somehow have God involved as He truly is the only One capable of transforming an ugly situation into something that could be a blessing to others and communicate the freedom that is found with life in Him.

What is it that you want to be growing in your life garden? If you are looking for a harvest of love, joy, or peace you need to be nurturing, watering, feeding and practicing those concepts. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and takes daily effort and weeding.  Ask God for His perspective on your circumstances then ask Him to help you see things as He sees them. Allow God to shed His light on your situation.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV

Manure stinks but it sure helps things grow!!!