New Heart

I was thinking about our hearts last night.  How God moves in when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, but He doesn’t end there.  He wants all of our heart.

He promises to give us a new heart, but not by force.

We can look at the Old Testament and know God never forced the Israelites.  He asked things of them, He was tough, but what He really wanted was a willing heart.

I accepted Jesus going into junior high.  He pursued me, and asked other believers to speak life over me.  Something has never felt so right as the moment of being baptized and identifying with Christ.  That was the beginning.

I struggled later with salvation, and wrestled with things that I wasn’t sure Christians should be struggling with.  Legalism, guilt, shame, fear of not being forgiven, and just down right scared of failing God.  I had little trust in people, which translated into a fear with God-could I trust Him?  Could I let Him in?  Was I safe?  Was He going to destroy me once He knew my heart and my fears?  Could I let Him have these hurts in my heart?  Would He use them against me?

Would He love me still?

I wasn’t sure if He was kind or good.

But I can assure you, He knows my every secret, failure, and fear.

He loves me still.  He is so kind.  He is so good.  He will not use your pain against you.  But He will use it.  And when you let Him into those places of your heart, the pressure falls off of you and you can rest in the fact that He is the one who has held our life together all along.

And that truth is what is beginning to pull me out of those places I’ve lived.

Give Him more of your heart, ask Him to help you, allow people to speak truth over you in those times, and He will take care of our hearts better than we ever could.

*Counseling was also an essential piece of this awakening.  Hurts I thought would swallow me whole, could not, and I was reminded every time I went to counseling this was the right way.  Opening up, letting it out, and letting HIM move in.

Patience

…in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)

This gospel lived out is not fast-paced.  It can be, and might feel that way at first, but there’s a deepening, a patience as God slowly gets the junk out of our hearts so He can move in.  I think this is what it means to have a honest and good heart-it’s where He moves in.

This past week I cut down our myrtle tree.  It had a bug in it last summer and needed to be “pruned.”  I’m the worst gardener, I can’t grow much, but I did prune.  And three days later, after a good rain, our myrtle tree started blooming.  It might not be as big this year, but it will be healthy.  I will patiently watch it grow and flower this year.  Knowing next year it will grow and bloom even more.

In this passage, the person with fruit didn’t just produce it quickly but patiently, waiting, praying.

Patience, a word spread all throughout the Bible.  It is a word repeatedly coming to mind the past day.

What does patience look like in your life?

I realized that patience looks different sometimes for me, but with the same undertone. I lack patience with myself to grow and change, as well as with others.  I want things to be instantaneous.

I don’t think this impatience is necessarily wrong, but it is definitely misplaced.

God instantaneously changes us the moment we are saved.  He sees us as Jesus, His Beloved Son.  Healed.  Complete.  Whole.  Perfect.  Not because of anything we have done, but because who we now identify with.  We need Jesus, and as we confess that truth He comes and lives within us, and God sees us differently.  He knows who we are, and our salvation is complete in the One who can truly save us.

He sees us faultless.  

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” (Jude 24)

As we live this life He is completely patient with us to realize who we are in Him.

Unbelievably patient.  Like we would have left us a long time ago.  But because He sees us as we truly are, He never quits.  Never doubts.  Never walks away.

He slowly, tenderly walks with us and helps us.  We’d be wise to ask for that help today, instead of trying to bulldoze our own path.  And maybe asking Him to help us be aware of the changes He’s already made in us.

Let Patient Love fall all over you today.

 

 

Enough

Enough: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. Competent. (m-w.com)

Last night I was doodling, playing with my watercolor calligraphy pens and listening to music, trying to find inspiration.

 

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I have always loved lettering.  I remember sitting in class in junior high and high school spelling “SMILE” and making block letters.  So calligraphy feels like an adventure back in time for me, with some added excitement with all these different types of pens!  I have always loved pens and journals too.  A natural tendency if you will.

I was listening to King’s Kaleidoscope “Rain” and the chorus is “I am enough, always enough.  You are enough, precious and loved.  Morning will come, sure as the Son,
I am enough, you are enough.  You are enough.”  (Go listen immediately*)

Not only am I enough, but you are too.  This song sings deep truths over my soul.

I didn’t always feel like I was enough growing up.  I fell into patterns of “pharisee” living-trying to earn my salvation.  Maybe you’ve been there too, trusting Jesus for your initial salvation, but after that you needed to get your stuff together instead of trusting in His work on the Cross continually.

Through counseling and tons of encouragement from friends, I am moving into recovery as a Pharisee.  Its a terrible way to live.  It eventually bites you.

So on this Tuesday, my kids are all home, I’m writing while one naps and the other two play and fight.  Reminding you and myself, we are enough.  We don’t have to earn or merit our salvation.  It’s done.  Jesus on the cross and raising three days later.  It was enough.  For you.  For me.  For the whole world.

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The Garden Tomb just outside of Jerusalem

 

I have written on my cupboard in the kitchen “You are Enough, because Christ is in you, and He is enough.”  (reference John 3:16, Colossians 1:27, and 1 Corinthians 12:9)

I pray those words sink deep into your soul, and mine too.

Those are the words that will change us for the better.