a directed heart

a glimpse inside


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And so we are, saints.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1.

Father, thank you.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2.

Amen.

 


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the delight of spring after a deep deep sleep

Lord,

Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your sevant,
and teach me your statutes. (Psalm 119:129-135)

Thank you for being consistent in pursuing me when I was not toward you. Forgive my negligence, Lord, and my tendency to look at myself much before you. Thank you for reviving my heart and reaching down to the depths of me… Thank you for Jesus, who is my righteousness, my status, my hope, and my redemption. Thank you for being my Father who loves me and cherishes me even though I never deserve that kind of love. I have so much to learn; teach me your ways and your love, and transform me to look much more like your Son and much less like me. Thank you for loving me, Father. I love you, too.


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who is wise and understanding among you?

James has been puncturing my heart in a very refreshing and convicting manner lately… it’s been nice to feel that again.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (3:13-18).

Phrases to think about:

1. The wise are also understanding? Hmm.

2. By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom… so the wise are called wise by their works, because their wisdom is reflected in their works. (reminds me of James 2 where it talks about how our faith is shown by our works and completed by our works (vv.14-26)… sounds like wisdom apart from “wise works” isn’t wisdom after all, huh?)

3. Meekness of wisdom–what does that look like? What does meekness look like? (didn’t Jen study that like a year ago…?)

meek: humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
wisdom: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment
as to action (thank you, dictionary.com)

4. Jealousy and selfish ambition (sin) have consequences: disorder and every vile practice.

5. How am I striving to make peace (thinking also Romans 14:18-19 “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”)? What does that look like?

Prayers to be consistent in:

1. Praying for jealousy and selfish ambition to consistently lose to grace and mercy in my heart.

2. Filtering what I think is “wisdom” through these qualifications: purity, peacefulness, gentleness, reasonableness, mercifulness and fruition, impartiality, and sincerity.

Father in heaven, thank you for your Word. Thank you for the truth you present us in it and its power to move and stir us. Thank you for a renewed spirit and open mind today as I read your Word. Please renew that desire in me for tomorrow! I want to sit at your feet and drink in the truth of your Word. Thank you for Jesus, the Word who became flesh, dwelt among us, and bore the wrath you had for us. Give me the strength to fight sin and remember your Word. I want to reflect you and walk in the meekness of wisdom. Father, I ask all of this in your Son’s name. Amen.


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resting in this freedom.

I love summer. I love these days I can enjoy time in the Word and enjoy time in solitude. Thank you, Lord, for this season of rest.

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes” says the Lord. Zephaniah 3:14-20.

Praise God, he is in our midst! He is the mighty one who has saved us. Indeed, he rejoices over us–he is for us! There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ in in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you… The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angles nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Romans 8:1-4, 9-11, 16-17, 31, 35, 38-39

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:12-14

Sin has no dominion over me because I belong to you, Jesus, and I stand in God’s grace. I’m resting in that today.


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L is for the way you….

I’m learning about love.

Maybe that seems a little cliche, but in a world where love is a quick-fix word used to describe shallow nights and selfish intent, I think it’s a good word to study.

1 John 4:8 says God is love. Verse 19 says that we love because he first loved us. And God’s love was made manifest to us in Jesus–he sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (vv.9-10).

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (v. 11). What does loving one another look like? Since God is love, and we love because he first loved us, we should study God’s love and God as love, as well as what the Bible clearly outlines for us as love.

Here are some truths God has been teaching and humbling me with so far:

1. Love others as I love myself. And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matt 22:37-39). Whoa… love my neighbor as I love myself? I orient pretty much everything I do around myself: I sleep when I feel tired, I eat when I feel hungry, I buy clothes when I feel I need or deserve them, I do nice things for people so they will think better of me, I work hard to make a name for myself, etc. The root of pretty much everything I do is to please myself or meet my own needs. That’s loving myself. But I’m called to love other people as I love myself! That means renouncing my selfishness and caring for their needs when they feel a need, not just when I feel like serving them. That means renouncing my sinful desires for recognition and popularity and sharing the Gospel even when I might not feel perfectly prepared or at ease, etc. I’m called to look out for others the way I look out for myself, and to care about others’ salvation the way I care about mine. I think truly loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind is the key, though. Loving with all my heart, my soul, and my mind is not a love that is shallow or fleeting, but a devoted love. You can’t love like that without it being a deep and penetrating love… and that kind of love for the Lord can result only in serving others and ministering to them. Loving Jesus like that puts all of the world’s delights in the shadows–there’s nothing more I could wish for others than to know and love Jesus themselves. And sharing him with them is the best way I could love them.

2. God’s love is sacrificial. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16). In love God sacrificed his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” We are to imitate God and love one another sacrificially. Philippians 2:3-4 says I must count others more significant than myself and look not only to my own interests, but to the interests of others. I must sacrifice my own wants to meet others’ needs and even sacrifice things that are in my interest in order to look out for the interests of others… I need to renounce my selfish heart and cling to God’s sacrificial, generous, and merciful heart.

3. Love is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:4-7… this is humbling just as it is. Read those verses again. Lord, grow this love (your love) in me!

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:1-8)

Father, I want to have this same mind of Christ. May I not count equality with you a thing to be grasped… I so often worship myself as if I were you. I’m sorry, Lord… my tendency to worship myself just proves how much I need you. I can’t save myself, but praise be to YOUR name because you have already saved me with the blood of Christ! Thank you, Father. Thank you for your patient, unending, all-bearing love. Thank you for your Word, which teaches me more about you and stirs my heart to worship you more richly. Spirit, move in me and capture my heart; make it like the Father’s. All this in Jesus’ name and for your glory, Amen.


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waiting

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Father, I am anxious. Settle my weary and controlling heart with these truths: that YOU are moving in this city, that I am here for your glory, and that your name will be made great this summer. I’m loosing my hold on my plan for my summer here, God, and looking for your plan for my summer in this city. Use me for your kingdom’s expanse. I am confident in your “unseen;” I will not lose heart. I am so thankful to be your daughter–I have such a good hope to hold onto.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you… And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-7,10-11