buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Heart change”

Keep it Hot!

What better message to send on a hot summer day than to fan the flames to make us even hotter. What? Okay, this morning I read the passage about the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3. That passage always checks my spirit. The church was considered to be lukewarm – neither cold nor hot. Laodicea was known for their lukewarm waters – it was disgusting and people would spit it out. Jesus said He wanted to do the same with their attitude toward God.

My spirit does a check to see if my attitude has shifted into indifference or stagnation – being lukewarm toward God. I don’t want it to go there, but oftentimes, I find myself easing back into patterns that allow this unholy attitude toward God. It doesn’t take much for my eyes to shift away from Jesus into worldly patterns. I spend less time with Him in the mornings because I want just a few more minutes of sleep. Or watch television at night taking me away from more godly pursuits.

I have heard it said the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Indifference can stop any movement of God. I have found myself in those indifference moments because a social problem doesn’t concern me. However, our attitude toward social issues can become extreme. Tony Evans made the remark in a recent message “we are more concerned about what’s going on in the White House than what’s going on in God’s house.” That was a jolt to my spirit. We’re fanning the flames in the wrong place.

As Christians, our involvement in political things should be for the right reason. As Christians, we need to make sure we elect people who have godly values so that the government will be kept in check. However, as Christians are priority is saving lives – spreading the message of hope and restoration. We are to reflect Jesus to those around us. Many times though, we go through these seasons of dryness where nothing is happening in our spiritual lives to keep us on fire for the Lord. Our faith seems to have diminished and our hope seems to have fizzled when more and more of the world’s problems creep into our spirits.

It’s hard not to let those issues turn our heads into wrong actions and wrong words when our spirits have not been thoroughly cleansed by the presence of Jesus. My heart hurts when I hear words spewing out of person’s mouth that do not glorify God and these things are said by a supposed Christian. I also have to check my spirit when I want to judge that person. I don’t know what’s going on in that person’s heart to cause words to flow that are not edifying anyone. I am not to judge but to love. Sometimes it’s easier said than done.

I want to see God move again. It’s time for the spirit to be checked. A lack of faith or an attitude of indifference can keep God from moving. Maybe we’re not in a good place to hear or see God. Maybe we’re in a place where there is only lukewarm water flowing. Maybe we need to move to where the living water is flowing sweet and clear. Maybe we have lost our first love.

When the first church began, it was through the Holy Spirit’s tongues of fire resting on the people. The people had gathered together in prayer and worship before the Holy Spirit came down. They fasted as well. They were anticipating something to happen – Jesus told them to wait for it. They prepared for it; and when it happened, lives were changed dramatically.

I believe we can have that again. I believe God wants hearts turned toward Him again like it was in the beginning. He is waiting. Jesus is standing at the door waiting for the door to open to Him. There is no handle on His side of the door – the door has to be opened by us. Are we preparing and anticipating His knock? It could mean a world of difference – not only for us as God’s people, but the world is looking to us for the answers.

Our attitudes have to change. God is waiting on us to fan the flames into a holy fire. Indifference – no. Passion for Jesus – yes, please. Faith – white-hot. Jesus could do nothing when there is a lack of faith. I believe Jesus is waiting on us to remove the indifferent attitude toward Him and toward others. God is ready to move mightily among us. I’m ready for it. Are you? Fling open the door and say yes, Lord Jesus, come.

I know all that you do, and I know that you are neither frozen in apathy nor fervent with passion. How I wish you were either one or the other! But because you are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, I am about to spit you from my mouth. For you claim, “I’m rich and getting richer—I don’t need a thing.” Yet you are clueless that you’re miserable, poor, blind, barren, and naked! So I counsel you to purchase gold perfected by fire, so that you can be truly rich. Purchase a white garment to cover and clothe your shameful Adam-nakedness. Purchase eye salve to be placed over your eyes so that you can truly see. All those I dearly love I unmask and train. So repent and be eager to pursue what is right. Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come in to you and feast with you, and you will feast with me. Revelation 3:15-20 (TPT)

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The Stories

Over the last few days, I have been listening to several speakers tell their stories. I tuned into Daystar on my Roku and found Joni Lamb’s Table Talk. She was in Australia for the Plantshakers conference. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t heard of this conference before; but apparently this conference has been going on for years. One of the stories was a young man who started a bottled water company because he saw the plight of the poor with no clean water. He saw the statistics of the poor without water, and the statistics of how much bottled water is sold throughout the world. That gave him an idea. He had no experience in bottling water. He had no experience in business. But he had an idea – a God-sized idea. According to their website, they have given over $5.5 million to people in need. That’s pretty amazing! Check out https://thankyou.co/ for their amazing story.

I moved on to another speaker who talked about work that he and his wife are doing in the Middle East. Tom Doyle and his wife had a ministry that helps Christians in the Middle East. Their journey started when he was delivering a message to his church. During the message, the Lord impressed upon him that this was the last message he would preach to his church. His wife got the call as well. They both believed God was calling them to Gaza. Since that time, they have been ministering to the Christians in Syria and throughout the Middle East.

On Joni’s program, Tom spoke about some amazing conversion stories from the local believers in Syria. These men have chosen to stay in their country to win the lost. They all know that they will probably die for Jesus in that place. Tom mentioned that these men and women have such joy. Tom has a book out called Standing in the Fire that covers some of these stories. Check this out http://standinginthefirebook.com/ – the stories he told on Joni’s program are so inspirational.

On Joni’s program, she spoke to a couple who have a church in Manchester, England. They have been there for nine years and really making a difference in that place. The taping of this show was done long before the suicide bombing at the concert in Manchester a couple of weeks ago. So when I saw this program, I was intrigued by the fact there is a thriving church in this city where Satan chose to disrupt people’s lives by this tragedy. How much more can this church minister to this city now! Before this church, there were many churches in the city; but only a handful of churchgoers in each building. The church has been dying in England for years. But there is new life happening, and hopefully the church will have a greater impact in the midst of this tragedy.

I have heard there are pockets of rival going on in the western world. David Jeremiah said in one of his telecasts that all the great rivals have started by young people. They are the life blood of the church. Old men and women may have dreams, but the young can fulfill the dreams with their visions. It takes both in the church body. It takes us all to do our part. We all have stories to tell. Mine doesn’t have the thrill of the conversion stories in Syria. We all choose the path we will travel. I am praying my story has a better ending than the beginning. I want to make an impact on this world – I guess we all do. However, I will have to make some sacrifice to do it; we all do.

I guess that’s the kicker. We have to be willing to die to our self in order to move on with God. God can do amazing things through a willing heart. All we have to do is say Yes! As I consider this, I am reminded of the message at my church gathering on Sunday. The pastor said that desire informs behavior. Sin corrupts our desires and brings our destruction. The pastor mentioned that the intersection between desire and what we do is our idol. We will worship the desire of our hearts.

There is a war going on and the battle plays out for our hearts. We are told in Scripture to guard our hearts. Paul wrote in Ephesians about the armor we are to put on such as the breastplate to protect our vital organs. The heart is at stake here. In order to do the things God wants to do through us, we have to commit our hearts to him fully. There is no other way to have an amazing story to tell. When we get to heaven, I can imagine us telling our stories to each other. I pray for all of us to go out of this life with a blaze of God’s glory! Wahoo – what a ride! That’s my dream. What’s yours?

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:4-5 (NLT)

Lean in

My dear Child,

Oh how I love you! I want you to understand the depths of my love for you. I want you to grasp that my love is deeper than any ocean; wider than the expanse of the sky; my love for you cannot and will not change. I loved you before you were born. I loved you back then when you were doing that thing that has you so feeling so ashamed. I love you right now when you don’t feel worthy of it. I will love you no matter what you do or what you say. I want you to understand to the depths of your being that my love for you is unfailing. My love for you propelled me to the cross to take on your sin and shame. I bared the pain and sorrow of the cross so that you wouldn’t have to. There was no other expression that could demonstrate the depth of my love than to die for you. I forgive you for everything that you have done or will do in the future. Believe in me to take those sins and shame from you. Get your heart right with me so that you can experience my depth of love.

Open your heart and let my love heal you. When your heart aches, mine does too. When I see a tear, I shed one too. When I see the joy in your face, I am welling up with joy as well. I want you to know I am with you. I have never left your side. I feel your heart beating next to mine. I know you probably don’t feel me next to you, but I am here. You do not walk alone. I want you to feel my presence today. Seek my face and you will find me. I want to reside in your heart permanently. I want you to experience my joy and peace. Don’t be afraid any longer.

Let me heal those hurts and let me into those dark places. I will heal you and make you whole. I will go with you when the waters are too deep. I will be with you in the dark valleys. I will take care of you when the darkness closes in. Do not be afraid. I have not given you a spirit of fear but of faith. Believe in me. Believe I can do all things. Tell me what burdens your heart today. Talk to me. I am right here listening. Let me into that place that is hurting right now. Reach out to me. Set your heart toward me. Open your ears to hear.

Remember the joy you once experienced. Remember the times when miracles happened. Remember the times when you were rescued. That was me helping you. Think about the times you felt my presence. The memories are there; just remember. Remember those moments of your greatest victories. Remember the times when prayers were answered. Remember the times when you didn’t know how you were going to get out of the mess, and yet you got through it because I was there with you. Remember that all things will come together for your good, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. Be still with me for just a little while. I promise when you look for me, I will be found. I am willing, and I am able to do immeasurably more.

My Father wants a relationship with you. He sent me for you. I am your salvation and your hope today. I am faithful and trustworthy – not only for your salvation but for your deliverance. Know that I am for you. I have not turned away from you. What you are experiencing today will not keep you from the place I have appointed for you. I know there are obstacles in front of you, and I am prepared to go with you through them. I want to walk with you. Rejoice now for the things that I am doing that you cannot see at this time. Keep pressing into me as I work it out for your good and my Father’s glory. Stay the course. Keep your faith in me and do not lose heart. I have overcome so that you will have the victory! Remember my love for you will not fail you. Stay close and feel my presence next to you today.

Your friend forever,

Jesus

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

God’s Gift

Christmas is here. Wow – how did it come so fast? Are you prepared? In Galatians we are told in 4:4 that when the time had fully come Jesus was born. God gave us the greatest gift we could ever ask for. He gave us His Son in human flesh so that we could come to know the Father. Revelation of Jesus changes the way we view our image of God. I must admit I have a rather small view of God sometimes. I don’t normally worry, but there are times when worry creeps up on me. In that case I am not trusting God. I must not believe God can handle my problems. In truth, I have a heart problem. The thing about our hearts is that we follow the thing that has our hearts. I have recently heard several sermons on the matter of worship. We are made to worship something. Worship is a response to revelation. Worship is the overflow of our hearts. The Christmas story is full of responding to the message with worship.

Mary responded to the angel in humility (Luke 1:38). She responded to Elizabeth with a song of praise, rejoicing and glorifying God (Luke 1:46-47).

Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, heard Mary’s voice and responded in a loud voice of praise for the one who was carrying her Lord (Luke 1:42). The baby John leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice (Luke 1:44).

The shepherds who were given the announcement of Jesus’ birth went to see Jesus and returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen (Luke 2:20).

Simeon who had been waiting on God’s promise to be fulfilled, took Jesus in his arms and praised God for the salvation of Israel and the light for the Gentiles had been kept true to the promise (Luke 2:28).

The wise men traveled great distances to find Jesus. They were overjoyed to find the exact location of Jesus and bowed down to worship Him (Matthew 2:11). They brought their best for Him and presented their treasures to Him.

God gave us such a wonderful gift in Jesus. What could we possible give Him in return? What does He want for His birthday gift? I can only imagine it would be our praise and worship of Him. It would be our heart full of joy and gratitude for the wonderful things we have seen and heard. After all, what else could we possibly give to the One who created everything? All our works are nothing in comparison to what He has already done. Nothing has been accomplished that magnifies God’s glory like the life of Jesus. But is worship enough for God? Shouldn’t we be doing something for Him too? I think it all begins with the proper respect for a glorious God who loved us enough to send His one and only Son to save us from our sins (John 3:16). When we get the right perspective, everything flows from that response to what God has revealed to us.

Pastor Jimmy Carroll (Journey Church) said about worship “the greater our perception of God, the greater our worship.” We cannot in our own natural response worship God the way we should. It is a supernatural response. He is the source of our worship. Louie Giglio (Passion City) said that the cross is the epicenter of worship. When we get the perspective that Jesus came to die for our sins – to bear our cross – then we will understand true worship comes at the point of the cross. When our hearts fully understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us so that we could have eternal life with the Father, we will finally be able to worship God. God’s gift of Jesus should be received with great joy – our hearts leap within us for our salvation has come!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Ouch!

You know when you ask God to reveal things in your heart, He’s going to respond. I asked for God to do that for me. One of the things that God revealed to me lately came through a sermon by Joyce Meyer. She made a statement about one of her kids asking what she (her daughter) could do for her (Joyce) that day. At that moment, I had a flashback to the days of my youth. I would have never come to my Mom to ask how I could help her. Mom always had to ask me to do things for her. I was so self focused that I would not have seen her need in front of me. I wish I could say I grew out my selfish nature, but I am still working on it.

I remember so many times when the family went off to play golf and left my Mom home to cook our supper. My Mom truly had a servant’s heart. She never complained about doing for others. She knew we were off doing what we loved to do. And when we got home, she was always ready for us to sit down and enjoy a good meal. Even in the last few years of her life, when she was hurting she still managed to get through the cooking without a complaint. I was better in the later years with helping out in the kitchen without being asked. But it still makes me sad to think of how I treated my Mom without the gratitude for her caring nature. I know in her last days, I asked her forgiveness for how I treated her in my youth. She had already forgiven me long ago, but I still needed to say it once again.

When God revealed my heart, I saw my selfish nature. I don’t think my Mom had a selfish bone in her body; especially in those later years. She was so giving. I keep asking God to reveal my heart, and sometimes He shows me my Mom’s. I am still so far from perfect. But every time He reveals something, I can choose to accept the challenge. I know I want to become more like my Mom, but even better, I want to be more like Christ. As God reveals each area to surrender, I am one more step closer to living like His Son. I know I can’t do it on my own, which is why He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us. It’s through His strength I can do all things. Change doesn’t come easy. I will probably fail more times than not, but that’s okay. God is patient with me and will help me finish the work that has already begun in me. God is at work. I am still in the Master Potter’s hands. I am still being made into a useful vessel. One day God will have me ready for His glory.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

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