Desolate w
Some “barren land” in Picacho, New Mexico.

We have been on the road for the last five days (Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Phoenix) and we have driven through quite a variety of terrain and weather conditions. Some of the places were quite sparse. As we drove quickly by, it didn’t look like there was too much life out there but a good naturalist will let you know that indeed there is, even if there doesn’t appear that way.

And I got to thinking, sometimes we look at someone’s life (maybe our own) and we think there isn’t anything of value there. From the outset there seems to be not too much life, but we never really know what is going on in the heart.

I am one that has a tendency towards “hope”. If I lose something, I am hopeful to find it and if I am surrounded by situations that aren’t great, I am looking for hope to hold onto. So even as I look at this picture and it’s lack of color and seeming lack of life, I know better. I know there are things going on “behind the scenes”.

I am thankful for all the times that God has worked on my heart even when I didn’t know or understand it. How He has given me life and purpose even if it appears there is little life on the surface.

There are seasons that look desolate, but God is always working, shaping, encouraging, and tending to my soul.

We may look at someone and decide they are flourishing the way God wants them to by all outward appearances, but we may be completely wrong. So let’s not make a judgement either way — truly, only God knows the heart.

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7b, NIV]

So don’t let appearing “all together” be your goal. Let God work on your heart and things will flow from there.

Heart work is hard work!


PrayerPrompt: IDENTITY

Listening to God

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Listening to God
I am currently studying the life of David. There are two chapters of I Samuel you should probably read for a greater understanding of this PrayerPoint: 1 Samuel 24-26.
The quick summary of where I am in this study of David’s life is this: Saul is the king. David actually is chosen (by God) as the next king. While Saul is king he is jealous of David and pursues David’s life relentlessly. David is in two situations when he could kill Saul but does not do it. Instead, David let’s Saul live.
Have you ever been targeted by someone personally or professionally and placed in a perfect public position to retaliate and let the moment pass without acting on it? Can you imagine the self-control that would require? David would have been justified (humanly-speaking) if he had killed Saul. In fact, it could have even been viewed as God giving Saul over to David by placing him in the perfect situation (even twice) to take Saul’s life. By all accounts it looked like God was delivering Saul into David’s hand except David knew God’s heart on the matter. What are the baby steps of self-control that lead up to that level of maturity? Not all of these relate to this exact scenario but they do all relate to self-control…here are a few I came up with but I am sure there are more:
  • not insisting on my own way
  • turning away from things that look good “in the moment”
  • honoring God in “little” things (which are really big things)
  • deferring to another’s idea
  • saying no to “good” things because there is a “better” or “best” choice
  • not looking at every open door as a place to enter
  • allowing someone else to be honored
  • a very solid relationship with God
You simply do not know when you will be placed in a position when you need to discern what God would want of you but practicing self-control now as well as deep relationship with God certainly will place you in a better position. Now, keep in mind that David will be making some really poor decisions when he is king so even though he is walking closely with God during this scenario with Saul, David obviously does some drifting as the years go by. A sobering thought.