Where It All Begins

“The heart is the most unrelenting muscle I have ever heard. The heart is the muscle that begins its work and does not cease, not for one moment. And it begins first. It’s already beating as the brain grows and takes shape, begins to assemble thoughts still as mysterious as whatever lies on the other side of this thin place, where heaven and earth are tremblingly close to each other. The heart, beating. It sounds so ordinary and then it sounds so unbelievable.”

This blog post made me think.

Long before we can survive in this world apart from our mothers, we exist as a heartbeat.

When God begins His work making us, shaping us, molding us, He begins with our hearts.

And that pattern continues for the rest of our lives. He will never stop molding us. And He will never stop beginning with our hearts.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” -Prov. 4:23

Our hearts are central to everything else.

Our hearts, the doubts and pain and confusion and joys and praise they contain, it all matters to God. The health and condition of our hearts matter because everything flows from our hearts.

God is Love.

And we are created in His image.

And He starts us off as a heartbeat.

I think there’s significance in that.

Before our hearts know anything else, we know Him.

Oh, that we would stop living life so familiar with everything! Lord, help us to live lives of awe!

There is so much more to this life, to the way our Creator structured this world, than we will ever be able to comprehend this side of heaven.

Nothing is ordinary.

It is all miraculous.

Help me to see You in everything, Lord.

Give me eyes to see and ears to hear.

And help me be a reflection of You to a lost and broken world. Help me treat people like their hearts matter, because they do- to You, to me, to us as a society. We need each other. We need to become a people with hearts full of You, hearts that flow life. Build Your army, Lord.

Oh, Abba. Overwhelm me with You. Capture my heart. It  is Yours, Lord. It has always been. There, I find Your fingerprints.

The Language Of Hugs

As a therapist, I’m not supposed to hug my clients.

However, often they hug me.

And that brings tears to my eyes.

Because even though I feel like I have nothing to offer the world right now,

I’m obviously doing something right if my clients want to hug me.

All I can do right now is show up. I show up and I care. That’s all I have to offer.

But maybe that’s enough. Because where I go, the Holy Spirit within me also goes.

Wait and Hope

Isaiah 8:17
“I wait for God as long as he remains in hiding…I stand my ground and hope.”

Isaiah 30:18
“But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.”

Isaiah 33:2
“God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope.”

Isaiah 49:23
“No one who hopes in me ever regrets it.”

Phil. 4:8

Tonight I did some research on Philippians 4:8. Below are some quotes I found.

Lord, help me make You proud.

Help me not give in to lies.

Help me cling to Truth.

I can do NOTHING without You.

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We can’t afford assumptions, but must always ask Him His thoughts. Only one voice matters. And it’s not mine. It’s not the accuser’s. And it’s not another’s. That solitary voice is that of the Good Shepherd. He alone has the words of life. He alone is the truth.
It makes me stop and consider. The voice I may need to be most careful of is my own – my own opinions, my own evaluations. For it’s my own ideas that go most unchecked and are assumed to be the most neutral. How do I recognize half-truths when I’ve grown up beneath their skies? The truth is that the unrenewed parts of me are not neutral, and thus, neither is my own voice and my own estimations of myself, of others, of all of life. Shrouded by familiarity, the accuser of my heart hides in these assessments. My own voice and sincerity teaming with his to ever so subtly bring me into agreement with his lies. It’s here that I need the Voice of the Good Shepherd. More than anything, we need that Voice that alone carries life (John 6:68). We must resist the lies with truth (Jas. 4:7). So, I bring my little realist heart before Him and remind my soul: here’s what’s real. His is the most authentic, untainted, undeviating perspective in all the heavens and earth. He is the good Shepherd who loves us so deeply, searches us out individually whenever we go astray (Lk. 15:4). He came to give us life and life abundant, guarding and overseeing our souls with such care (1 Pet. 2:25). Our part is to follow, to stay close and to heed that Voice above all the others. And when we do, we receive just what He came to give us: life, and life abundant (Jn. 10:10).”

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“The testimony of Scripture is that Satan is a liar. And what he wants to do is corrupt our minds with lies. Just like he did with Eve, he wants us to doubt God’s goodness. This is why we must stick with the truth. It is the good that God wants us to embrace. Be deliberate with your mind. Above all, read God’s Word and pray. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure. We are to THOUGHTFULLY EMBRACE THE GOOD GOD HAS FOR US. What I really like about this passage (Phil. 4:8) is that it is not so much a picture of restraint, but a picture of what we are to embrace. These are the matters we are to be passionate about.

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Believers are in a war for their minds. Paul presents to us and to the saints at Philippi the antidote to counter the fiery missiles constantly coming at the believer’s mind. The key word in this passage is Paul’s command for us to ‘dwell’ on the list of godly qualities in Philippians 4:8. ‘The greatest area of sin in the believer’s life is not the area of actions but the area of thought. There is a whole classification of sins that we would have to call sins of the mind. What was the first sin of Lucifer? It was pride. What is that? A sin of the mind. Greed? A sin of the mind. Suspicion? A sin of the mind. Discouragement? A sin of the mind. We could go on and on. Those sins are more real to the child of God than such sins as adultery and murder and theft. That is a testimony to the fact that there is a warfare going on. Satan is attacking the mind. Therefore this word of the Apostle Paul concerning the use we make of our minds is so relevant to us today: meditate, ruminate, dwell on these things.’ ‘Wrong thinking leads to wrong feeling, and before long the heart and mind are pulled apart and we are strangled by worry. We must realize that thoughts are real and powerful, even though they cannot be seen, weighed, or measured. We must bring ‘every thought captive to the obedience of Christ’ (2Cor 10:5).’ You can choose to dwell in the heights or the depths. Your altitude is in your attitude. ‘And so we shall all come together to that oneness of our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature. Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teachings of deceitful men, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we shall grow up in every way to Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13-16).”

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“There comes a time in our relationship with God when He calls us to set aside our old thinking and old ways. It’s hard, but it’s the only way He can bring us into the new thing He wants to do in our lives. It’s a process. And it takes time. But God is so patient with us. He doesn’t waste those wilderness, wasteland moments. Hold On To Hope. ‘He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.’ {Philippians 1:6} In this verse, Paul is exhorting the church at Philippi. He is thanking them for their care and support while also acknowledging their hardships. We will have Winter seasons. We will feel discouraged. We will feel lonely. We will feel far from the Lord. But know that we are not! He is our hope. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will never give up on us. There is no sin so great or despair so profound or Winter so barren that the Lord cannot reach you. His arm is indeed mighty to save. The Lord is near to your broken heart. The Lord cares for all that concerns you. The Lord is doing a new work in you. The Lord is bringing you into Spring.

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“God is sacred. God will give you life. God will wreck you once you realize He was never here to keep you fragile. God will free you, when you are ready to be free. Not when you ‘hope’ to be. Not when you ‘want’ to be. No, when you are ‘ready’ to be free. When you stop resisting and you heed to the process. You break to the process. You let go and whisper beneath your breath, ‘I let go. I believe we’re going somewhere better than here. So I finally let go.’ God aches to be trusted. He sees a whole new life for you just standing and waiting on the other side of ‘trusting you won’t be hurt when you finally surrender.’ Trust is hard. But I realize that if I ever want to enjoy this journey then I am going to need to learn how to trust. How to let go. How to admit that I am not in control. I am not the driver. So I loosen up the grip and just trust we are going to make it. I need not be afraid to trust my Driver. We are going to make it.

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You have an enemy whose main goal is to steal your intended-to-be-beautifully-intimate connection to God, to kill your heart on the inside and to destroy the plans and purposes God has for you. There’s a whole lot at stake here. All of your heart and life. You know those thoughts you so quickly dismissed as harmless? What if those thoughts didn’t start with you? You lock your doors at night and only share your private thoughts with a few close friends, yet you welcome this stranger into your head and accept his thoughts, without filter. You haven’t just shaken hands with the enemy, you’ve partnered with his ideas about you, his ideas about God, and his thoughts about your husband. Your friends. No wonder you feel uncomfortable for more than an hour alone with God. Which thoughts are the enemy’s and which ones are God’s? which ones are mine? you might wonder, if you stopped to examine them. So, you, desperate to be out of this fog and to walk, wildly alive, in what He has for you: Use.your.voice. Speak His Word, don’t just read it. Fill the space with His truth and leave little room for anything else. For you, I say – the one who has been inebriated on years of thinking thoughts that aren’t God’s thoughts — the way you’ve been thinking has to change if you’re going to grow into what God has for your life. When the thoughts come, say ‘no’, with the power of Jesus and His name behind you and in your mouth, and run like you’ve never run before to His Word. Ask God what He says in His Word. Tell the accuser who is really in charge of your mind.