Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The heart.



"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?"
Jeremiah 7:9

If you have been in the church for very long, you have heard this scripture preached a thousand times.

I know I have :)

Along with words that we can never trust the leading of our heart...that also includes any of it's desires... and any of it's longings.
NOTHING that comes from your heart is good.
Period.

Are these words familiar?

I cringe these days when I here a believer say how evil their heart is.
I believe this is an area that has not been taught well AT all by the church.
So much confusion on this topic.

In the past, for me the heart was tied to my flesh.
So just like I wanted to not live according to anything fleshly, the same went with my heart.

"For the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth."
Genesis 8:21


So never ever follow it.
Never listen to it.
And for goodness sakes, never ever go with any of it's evil desires!!!

I lived in this for a long time. I am sure you have too.
Living with the motto that my heart is completely evil, and it contains absolutely nothing good at all.
I despised it.
I shoved it down.
I threw it on the floor.
I stomped on it.
I disciplined it.
I hated it.

I lived in such a state of constant confusion in my relationship with God.
In everything.

It was almost like this cruel game He would play with me called,

"Amy figure out where I am... figure out which "right" combination of words and prayer will connect you to Me. And then maybe...just maybe I will answer you."

Or...

"Hide and seek God"

Or

"Aloof and sometimes available God."

Or

"Pick which path to go on, and if you choose the wrong path, I will be far from you type of God"

And on and on and on....

Really longing to know Him... really wanting to go down all the right paths.... really wanting to please God in all that I did, but I couldn't quite seem to ever attain that goal.

Until one day, a friend recommended a book to me called,
"Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge.

I could NOT believe what I read....
I came across a scripture in Ezekiel 11:19...it reads...

"And I the Lord, I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them;
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.



Then in Ezekiel 36:26

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

What??!!!

God, waaaaay back before Jesus came to reconcile us back into relationship with God, He made a promise??
He made a promise to me??
To me??!!!
That my heart, that was eternally wicked and evil..
My heart that was as cold as ice and hard as stone..
My heart that could desire NOTHING good in itself..

He made a promise....

He promised that He was going to give me a NEW heart?
A NEW spirit??
A clean and undivided heart towards Him??
Remove my old, cold, stoney heart, and give me a heart that is soft and pliable and fleshy??

YES!!

He did promise me that... He promised you that!

~ Now, please understand something.. I am NOT talking about the flesh here.. that's a whole 'nother post ;).... this is about your heart.... big difference!

As I read more into the scriptures about this, I realized that in fact when Jesus came and gave Himself as the whole and complete sacrifice for me, that part of this deal was this whole area of the heart.

It was such a loaded deal... Such a HUGE deal!
It wasn't just a passageway to heaven.
It wasn't just forgiveness of sins.
It wasn't just healing for sickness.
It WAS Him coming to restore, heal, make whole my heart again.
It WAS Him coming so that I, just like Adam in the garden, I would be restored to complete and whole relationship with God.
It WAS Him coming to bring LIFE to my heart.
It was Him coming to make His new home, no longer residing in a temple or the arc of the covenant, no... He now makes His home in....

wait for it...

in my heart.

Jesus now resides in my heart.

Galatians 4:6
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father".

2 Corinthians 1:22
He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Romans 5:5

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Proverbs 4:23

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.


Interesting isn't it when you realize the difference between a heart that was pre-covenant/old covenant/pre-Christ's dying on the cross, and a heart that is in the new covenant/after Christ dying on the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

I am not normally a scripture thrower, but as Christians we have gotten hung up on ONE scripture about the heart being evil, when there are literally a hundred about it's goodness, it's life, and God's indwelling.

Christ came for so many reasons, but this one area is one that has set me free in so many ways.

My heart is good.

Did you just have your cackles go up when I said that?

And guess what?

Your heart is good too.

So good and so clean because of what Jesus did at the cross, THAT He now lives in your heart.

As a matter of fact, scripture says the very well spring of your life flows from your heart.

Let me ask a question....

Going back to the heart being evil and deceitful... how in the world could Jesus dwell in a place like that?

Does He clean out a little room in your heart, and stay in that little room? ;)

Or is only one part of your heart good, and the other evil?

Thinking on the Spirit of God... God's presence, if you have some time, take a gander at the restrictions and strict directions on the placement of the arc of the covenant. Seriously... take some time to read on that... and that if a priest had any un-confessed sin, if he stepped foot near the arc, he would drop dead. Drop dead! No joke... read about it yourself.

The arc contained the presence and Spirit of God.... one more question.

Do you remember on the day Jesus dies, the big veil that was ripped in half in the temple?

That was HUGE! That little bit of information that was shared in the gospels, spoke...no no.. SHOUTED to the jews of that day.....

There are no more veil's between you and God!

Jesus has covered every sin that every man has ever done, and ever will do...

He has come and redeemed the heart, made it clean, and has moved in... taken up residence so to speak.

So now, when you walk with God, where does He speak?

Where does He lead you?

Where does He live?

In.

Your.

Heart.

Why?

Because your heart is good...it's clean... it's redeemed.

The redeemed heart is good.

I remember the day so clearly after realizing this truth... I heard God speak to me after years of torment and confusion....

He said,

" Amy, I want you to hear me. I want you to know where we are going in the journey of your life. I want you to know my heart toward you. I am not a God that I would hide from you. I am not cruel. I don't play games. I lead you through your heart...it's that plain and simple. You can be confident in Me, and trust Me. I want you to know Me, to know my ways, and to hear Me."

I think for so long I looked at God the Father as so mysterious and a bit sadistic. I know that sounds really harsh, and we are taught to NEVER say such things about God... but in realizing His heart, and getting to know Him a little bit, I have come to realize the thing that my Father loves is when I am real. When I don't hide and don't cherry coat things... He wants me to bring it all out into the open, and talk about things with Him.

So, from one child of God to another, please hear these words.

Your Father loves you, and He has made your heart so clean and so good, for one reason... so He could make His new home IN you...

Your heart is the space from where your Father leads you and speaks to you.

It's where He makes His desires YOUR desires. (Philippians 2:13)

To say it's evil and dirty is to completely shut down the simplicity of His heart and how He has designed you to hear Him and know Him.

For this very truth, I am so grateful this Christmas season for Christ's coming....

Merry Christmas... Christ HAS come, and has created in you a clean and beautiful heart.

Amy

Friday, December 17, 2010

Questions.

It all began..

The world that is.

One God.

One man.

One woman.


2 trees.

1 choice.

This man and woman, all they knew was one thing.. love.
We don't even know how long they were in the garden with God... it really could have been for hundreds of years.... and then again it could have been a much shorter time.
But truly, these 2 beautiful human beings were created out of love.
The love of God.
The love of the Trinity.

I heard a quote from an author once....

"Man was created out of the laughter of the Trinity."

I love that!

I am more and more convinced of the Trinity.
Alot of folks argue about this topic.... but here's a thought on the Trinity.
I was thinking of the scripture, "God IS love."
It's His very nature.. it's who He is... love.
And to BE love...love in it's own nature has to be shared.
One cannot BE love, and not share it.
So here is a thought... take it for what's it's worth...
If God is only one... all by Himself for aaaallll eternity, how could He be love?
That's where the Trinity comes in.... God is not just ONE, He is 3.
And the relationship and love H shares is within the 3..
Father. Spirit. Son.

And out of this love relationship with each other, God's love was poured into man and woman.

And just another little nugget on God...
The whole philosophy of God being one entity, all by himself out there some were in the universe, stems from pagan Greek philosophy.... thankyou so much Mr. Aristotle!
mmm hmmmm...

And unfortunately, a lot of this philosophy has seeped into Christianity...being past down from one generation to another... getting more and more further from the truth of the true being of God, the Trinity and His heart.
We have gotten further and further from the truth of what the first generation of Christians believed.
And little by little, generation after generation has passed down one tweak of this and one tweak of that in how we see and relate to God.. until finally it has gotten to perverse and so twisted that the entity of God has become a being that is:
Aloof
He is distant.
He is by himself and alone.
He is moody.
He is sometimes benevolent.
Some people do believe in the Trinity, but again Greek philosophy has the Trinity in a hierarchy type rank/relationship, as opposed to being equal and a love relationship filled with joy and contentment.

Sorry a bit of a bunny trail... ok, back on track.

God.
Man.
Woman.

All they knew is this world that reflects the heart of their Father.
Love.
Purity.
Goodness.
Completeness.
Wholeness.


They never knew pain.
Sickness.
Lies.
Deception.
Doubt.

All they knew was love.

Until...

One day, the great deceiver came..
And asked just the right question.

"Did God say......"

"Did God say not to eat of that tree??

Really?

No, He only said that because He doesn't want you to become like Him."

And so the deception of man and of woman began.

Why was this question so powerful do you think?

The small seed of doubt that planted deep deep within the question was what caught Adam and Eve.

What was the seed of doubt?

Your Father is holding out on you.

And when you start to unfold that initial seed, you can see how the lie unfolds even more. The lie speaks of how the Father mustn't really love you to keep something good from you.
It also speaks of their Father being selfish.

This one question changed everything inside the woman and then the man.

One question that spread like poison through the hearts of the woman and the man.....
One question that blinded the woman and the man of all the love, the relationship, the intimacy, the wholeness and unity of their hearts with God...their Father... their Creator.

One question that threw the wool over their heads...

Just one question.

But I wonder this.

I wonder if the woman and the man had remembered the heart of their Father, if they would have fallen so easily prey to the deceiver and his bag of tricks?

I wonder if they had checked and thought to themselves,
"Abba is good, He would never hold out on us something that was good. This isn't truth....this is a lie."

But they didn't.
Instead, they took the bate.
Hook. Line and Sinker.

Gulp.

They bought the lie.
They bought the deception.

They took it, and believed the lie that their Father was indeed holding out on them.
They questioned the very nature of the One's Who's heart they have always known to only hold love and goodness towards them.
They believed the lie that He was holding something good from them because of His own selfish, and power hungry nature?

This Father that loved, provided and was completely smitten and in love with his son and daughter holding out on them?

Really?

Wow.
"Did God say.... Did He really say that??"

Let's keep going with this....
This is where believing the lie went with this man and woman.
If God was holding out on them then all that their Father had shown them about Himself had to be a lie. And if HE was lying to them then His true nature is not love, but indeed selfish, self
centered and completely power hungry.

That could only mean one thing.

He doesn't love me.
He isn't truly for me and my benefit.
He holds the best things for Himself.
He isn't who He says He is, and therefore I need to take care of myself.
I am all alone.

Interesting how one little question can cause such ripples in the heart of a man, isn't it?

One man.
One woman.
One lie.
They believed it.
It changed everything.
Let the hiding from Father began.
Let all the misunderstanding His heart begin.
Let the shame, guilt and fear that sin introduced begin, and begin the distortion of our perspective of His nature and His heart towards us.