Archive for the ‘heart’ tag
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
Those whose walk is blameless,
who do what is righteous,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have no slander on their tongues,
who do their neighbors no wrong,
who cast no slur on others;
who despise those whose ways are vile
but honor whoever fears the LORD;
who keep their oaths even when it hurts;
who lend money to the poor without interest
and do not accept bribes against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
\o/ — Comments Psalm 15: They will never be shaken! — \o/
At first glance, my first reaction to Psalm 15 was to say, “Sure, these folks won’t be shaken, but I can’t be that person! This is describing someone way better than I can be!”
On second glance, I thought that maybe this was the opposite side of the coin from Psalm 14, which seemed so pessimistic and realistic about human failure, so Psalm 15 is more hopeful that someone can live the life God wants.
On third look, I see the kind of person the LORD longs for me to be. These are the values He wants me to live out in my daily life. If these become my goal as I passionately try to live for God, then my future is secure.
On deeper contemplation, the last four words — will never be shaken — reminded me of Hebrews 12:28-29:
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire”(TNIV)
Then the Holy Spirit defines what true worship with reverence and awe really is in chapter 13:1-16. The character the Spirit describes is comparable to character suggested in Psalm 15 — people who live the life of God in their daily routines.
In a mind clouded by Western culture, I can so easily separate worship from daily character. But, as Psalm 15 reminds me, worship is the character I live in my daily lifestyle because God wants to live with me, in me, and among us. If I want to live with God, then my character needs to reflect His presence in my life. At the heart of this is a deep admiration and appreciation for God and those who honor the LORD.
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Hmm. I’ve spent a lot of time learning facts — facts about history, facts about sports, facts about the weather, … facts about the Bible. Facts are important. Committing facts to memory can be crucial in all sorts of situations. However, when it comes to God’s stuff, the matters of love and faithfulness, facts play second fiddle to something else — my heart!
Knowing God, following Jesus, and being led by the Holy Spirit have often been reduced to religious practices, rules, and traditions. Like you, I am guilty of trying to reduce my life with God to manageable “go do” lists, and “go and do not do” lists. This makes things feel simple … formulaic … and quantifiable. I can make my own lists and decide who is in and who is out on the God stuff.
But God … this great and often repeated line in Scripture has a way of scrambling all sorts of human perversions of God’s grace and it wreaks havoc on our formulaic attempts of taming our lives with God. It most certainly re-arranges and re-orders my soul’s priorities in this matter.
But God … emphatically, repeatedly and consistently reminded His people that walking with Him centers on two holy habits of the heart: love and faithfulness. In all the discussion of the bits of wisdom in the Proverbs, maybe one of the very most important ones — second only to fear God — is this:
//Inspiration: Proverbs 3:3
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
God won’t let me settle for externals: not external religious observances, not external actions, and not external holiness. No, the Father wants love and faithfulness etched permanently on the tablet of my heart. He wants His words and His will alive in my interior world informing and transforming me from the inside out. Yes, the Almighty wants my obedience. Yes, the Holy One wants me to strive to be holy in everything I do and say and think. But without love and faithfulness etched into the fabric of my heart, sooner or later, the duplicity will out me and I will be revealed — my fake holiness, my skin-deep commitment, and my shifting loyalty exposed.
O God, so full of both glory and grace, I recognize that love and faithfulness are two primary attributes of your character. I confess that they are not so easy for me to reproduce. I confess further, that a part of me of would like to reduce these attributes to a list of “how to” steps. Deep in my soul, however, I know that only your Spirit can help etch these attributes of your character into my heart. So I ask, and I commit to earnestly seek, the deep water of your grace and open my heart to have You make Your character real in me, heart and soul deep. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Some things are very simple and don’t need a lot elaboration. (My daily Bible reading recently was from Luke 12.)
//Inspiration: Luke 12:34
For where your treasure is, there yur heart will be also.
There are two crucial issues for me concerning these verses. First, I’ve got to be honest with myself before God abut WHAT my treasure is. Second, I need to determine where I’ve invested that treasure.
Are my treasures Kingdom-focused? Are they people-focused? Are they about fulfilling and blessing me or are they about honoring Christ and blessing others? When I look in my heart, what is it pursuing with passion, focus, and purpose?
O LORD God, you know my heart and can test my motives. Please purify my heart and help me desire the things you want and to love the things you cherish. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
In the last book of the Bible, we are told twice that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and the old order of things that has brought death, sorrow, and pain will be no more (Revelation 7:17; 21:4). There are times that I long for that day because death, sorrow, and pain hang so heavily in the air we breathe. They are very much the human condition.In Luke 7, our reading for today, Jesus is very much about eliminating death, sorrow, and pain. The healing of the Centurion’s servant, the raising from death of a widow’s only son, his marks of identity as the Messiah — the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are healed, those who are deaf can hear again, the dead are raised, and good news is preached to the poor — and the forgiveness given to a sinful woman of the city. In anticipation of the great and final day when every tear will be dried — the day when the Lord will put his finger on our tear stained cheeks and usher in the ultimate healing and joy. At the heart of this healing of our hearts is the great truth in the verse that caught my heart this morning:
//Inspiration: Luke 7:13
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
//Incarnation: What this verse means to my life todayTo think the Creator of heaven would look at us, experience the pain in our hearts, and then have His heart go out to us is staggering. “O yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief!” That’s what the old hymn declares and this verse reminds us. So in my darkest of nights, in my most heartbroken of moments, in those soul-brittle times of betrayal, abandonment, and despair, the Lord sees my hurt and His heart goes out to me. It is important that I declare this aloud to myself in those moments. I need to remind myself of this truth in these moments. And I also need to declare to myself, and to others, that Jesus knows the tracks of my tears and will one day touch them, heal their hurts, and welcome me home to a place where death, sorrow, and pain have disappeared in the light of his grace!
//Invitation: My prayer for todayO God of wonder, Father of mercy, and Lord of grace, be near me. Help my heart feel your presence. Give me the courage to believe that your heart goes out to me when I hurt. Empower me with faith to believe that you are there and care when I feel alone. And, dear Father, help me declare my faith that I know there will be a day when joy reigns and sorrow, pain, and death are banished by the grace of your presence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.