Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stop and smell... His Glory!

We've all heard "stop and smell the roses!" I'm sure we all attempt to slow down so we can enjoy more than the smell of roses. I know I do. And I am largely unsuccessful at slowing down.

I just read something that caught my attention:
     "God is glorified not only by His glory's being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart. God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory; and that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart." Jonathan Edwards

So... when we stop and smell the rose, or take in the beautiful sunset, or enjoy the laughter of children, God is glorified. And our souls are refreshed. On this labor day weekend, breathe a little deeper, gaze a little longer, enjoy your children's fascinating discoveries from creation. Guide your children to enjoy what God as made to be enjoyed. Guide them to glorify Him by finding pleasure in those things we consider ordinary and take for granted. Your children will be delighted, and your hearts will be uplifted.

Oh, Father, please help us to slow down and enjoy the beauty of Your creation, that You may be glorified and we may be enriched.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Springs of Life

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23, NIV

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23, ESV

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23, NLT

Wow. When I look at the verbs telling us what to do with our heart, I am... wowed. Guard. Vigilance. Diligence. I have to confess, I am not much of a guarder of my heart. I'm not sure I really thought about it at this level before. At least not like this.

Look at how important it is to guard our heart! It is the wellspring, the source of our "quality" of life. It determines the health of our relationships, how we handle issues, what our choices will be, our actions, our reactions, our decisions, our mood. No wonder I find myself so often discontented! I don't guard what goes into my heart!

How does stuff get into our heart? Our heart is already deceitful. We don't even understand the full extent of it's wickedness! (Jer 17:9) Aside from our own sinful nature, sin gets there from our head. Pretty much. What we see and hear goes into our head. Our head transfers it into thoughts. Our selfish, sinful desires fuel our thoughts, which in turn transforms into what we believe. What we believe feeds our heart. (But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. James 1:15)

We say we believe a lot of things. A lot of good things. Probably most of what we say we believe is the right stuff. But it's very possible that we don't believe what we say we believe. Because "out of our heart spring the issues of life." Stress. Anxiety. Worry. Anger. Hatred. Jealousy. Apathy. Immodesty. Lust. You get the picture. We like to blame "things" (aka circumstances, other people, "just the way I am") for all those issues. WRONG! The truth? It's a heart issue. And we don't guard our heart.

We are not diligent in keeping promiscuity, adultery, violence, greed, among other things, off the big screens in our living rooms. Instead we are vigilant in keeping up with the latest trends, checking out the newest fashions, reading the most popular publishings, watching the greatest movies, feeling sorry for ourselves, and criticizing others. Scripture is not the guide for our speech, our dress, our finances, our entertainment, or our relationships. Because we really don't believe it is applicable in those areas. We think that what we hear from friends or the media is good advice. We like what we see at every turn. We really like it. It's comfortable. It makes us feel good. We want it. (Did you see the backwards progression?)

THANK GOD FOR HIS GRACE!! His mercies are new every morning. Great is HIS faithfulness!! There is hope! I pray, for the sake of the cross, I will be more diligent, more vigilant, in guarding my heart. When I am guarding my heart, I am guarding the hearts of my children. And my grandchildren. And our Covenant children. (It's that whole ripple effect thing...) I thank God that He, who began His good work in me, is faithful to complete it.

I pray you will work at guarding your heart, too. I pray your children will learn the importance of guarding their heart. Besides, it is the wellspring of life.