Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A HEART RELATIONSHIP


"No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, 'Know the LORD', for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.  (Jeremiah 31:34)

As we open ourselves to the new heart that God promises, we find that God has created our new hearts to know God… Jeremiah reveals that God not only offers us a new heart, but that heart has a capacity for knowing the God who created and redeemed it. The new heart can know God's compassionate forgiveness no matter what its formal learning, its social status, its previous record of brokenness.

[We are called] to examine our use of this new heart that God has given us. We begin by asking ourselves if we have acquired information about God only through Bible study, theological books, attentiveness to sermons. If head knowledge is the only knowledge of God we have, we may need a new heart -- one that can teach us in relationship about the God who knows our name, who knows the number of hairs on our head.

-- Elizabeth Nordquist in The Upper Room Disciplines


#3708

Monday, August 3, 2015

A GOD-SEEKING HEART


The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart: (1 Samuel 16:7)


Those words were written for the haggatons of society, for misfits and outcasts.  God uses them all.


Moses ran from justice, but God used him. Jonah ran from God, but God used him. Rahab ran a brothel, Samson ran to the wrong woman, Jacob ran in circles, Elijah ran into the mountains, Sarah ran out of hope, Lot ran with the wrong crowd, but God used them all.


And David?  God saw a teenage boy serving him in the backwoods of Bethlehem, at the intersection of boredom and anonymity, and through the voice of a brother, God called, “David!  Come in.  Someone wants to see you.”  Human eyes saw a gangly teenager enter the house, smelling like sheep and looking like he needed a bath.  Yet, “the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’”  (1 Samuel 16:12)


God saw what no one else saw: a God-seeking heart.  David, for all his foibles, sought God like a lark seeks sunrise.  He took after God’s heart, because he stayed after God’s heart.  In the end, that is all God wanted or needed…wants or needs.  Others measure your waist size or wallet.  Not God.  He examines hearts.  When He finds one set on Him, He calls it and claims it.


-- Max Lucado in Facing Your Giants




#3707

Friday, July 31, 2015

THE WORK OF FORGIVENESS


"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

The law of Christ, which it is our duty to fulfill, is the bearing of the cross.  Thus the call to follow Christ always means a call to share the work of forgiving [others] their sins.  Forgiveness is the Christlike suffering which it is the Christian's duty to bear.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)


#3706

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE CROSS-SHAPED ATTITUDE


The cross is the symbol of Jesus’ most radical expression of submission and servanthood. At the center of Good Friday was Jesus’ “obedience unto death -- even on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). This cross-shaped attitude is a pattern for us to implement and imitate. By opening ourselves to the shaping power of the indwelling Christ, we grow into the likeness of Christ. Serving is one of the most important disciplines because we act our way into Christ-likeness.

-- Dr. Maxie Dunnam


#3705

Monday, July 27, 2015

WATCHING OUR WORDS

Words, words, words. Our society is full of words: on billboards, on television screens, in newspapers and books. Words whispered, shouted, and sung. Words that move, dance, and change in size and color. Words that say, “Taste me, smell me, eat me, drink me, sleep with me,” but most of all, “buy me.” With so many words around us, we quickly say: “Well, they’re just words.” Thus, words have lost much of their power.


Still, the word has the power to create. When God speaks, God creates. When God says, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), light is. God speaks light. For God, speaking and creating are the same. It is this creative power of the word we need to reclaim. What we say is very important. When we say, “I love you,” and say it from the heart, we can give another person new life, new hope, new courage. When we say, “I hate you,” we can destroy another person. Let’s watch our words.


-- Henri Nouwen




#3704