In my last writing to you, we began to explore my thoughts concerning “Preparation” H, a title to grab your attention and content to stir your heart. This is a series that I have begun to contemplate and write about that examines five words that begin with the letter H. I pray that this mini-series will help relieve pain, emotional soreness, discomfort, and prompt that burning-itchy feeling to get things in order as we attempt to shrink many things in our lives.
As an overview of these blogs, Preparation “H” asks the question: How is God calling us to prepare our Home, Heart, Health, Heirs, and Huddles for His Kingdom purposes. I think God has much to say, whether you read it here, or simply as you contemplate this question. There is so much spinning in my heart and head to help us conquer each aspect with hope, scripture, and God-size resilience as we respond to His calling of preparedness. This is part two – Heart. If you are just joining us and have missed part one, Home, you can find it by clicking here!
The heart – Kardia – is the chief organ of life and is placed in the center of our body. It is used figuratively in Scripture and over 800 times! Strong’s Concordance defines it as “the affective center of our being” and the capacity of moral preference (choice or “desire-producer that makes us tick.” The Bible never refers to our heart as the literal - physical heart, but I have found an interesting correlation! In my pondering, four actions have surfaced.
As we know, our heart is a two-part muscle that pumps blood in and pumps it out! It provides nutrients and oxygen through the blood and carries away waste. It’s job is also to maintain a steadiness, one that can be measured and seen by an Electro Cardiogram. The pulse should never be random. Life is in the blood, which is distributed by the heart!
It is our heart (desire-producer) that motivates our actions! The heart of our actions can be life giving and life receiving. Out of the heart flow springs of life! This two-part action is vital for life – We need to receive life-giving actions and offer things that give life to others. We can only do this when we have the atoning blood of Jesus flowing through our own veins…the ultimate blood that gives real life! Like the steady pumping of our heart, perhaps a habit of bringing life should be considered instead of habits that continually destroy. Allow the healing words of Life to carry away waste from our heart. Stay in the Word! Keep away from things that are harmful for the soul and drain your abundant life.
The heart must be exercised to stay healthy! In the little bit that I researched about the heart, I came across a children’s version of explanation. I thought it appropriate since we are to come before God with child-like faith.
The way to exercise the heart is to do what gets you huffing and puffing! So of course, huffing and puffing for me, means going through stuff that I don’t like! Isn’t it like God to strengthen us by allowing us to go through things that cause us to huff and puff and depend solely on Him? I never like it, but I have come to realize that strengthening my heart and my trust in God requires steady exercise that can be measured and seen with spiritual eyes.
On this kids website about the heart, it also teaches to:
In my quest to identify spiritual truths pertaining to the heart, I have learned that the heart needs to be properly nourished and strengthened by exercising behaviors that produce huffing and puffing! Another way to strengthen the heart is by reflection. When we spend time revisiting and reflecting on God's faithfulness in our lives, the heart becomes stronger as we face uncertainties. Our dependance on Father God grows deeper and our trust in Him preserves us. We must guard our heart from ourselves for it can not be trusted.
There is in the word of God a proper remedy for all diseases of the soul.
Keep thy heart with all diligence.
We must set a strict guard upon our souls;
keep our hearts from doing hurt, and getting hurt.
A good reason is given; because out of it are the issues of life.
– Matthew Henry
In my study of the heart, I'd like to share the top 7 verses concerning our heart. Read them and may the Holy Spirit do a healing work with your own heart.
O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear. Ps. 10:17
Working on my own heart,
Several months ago, I reupholstered my “red” chair. I decided last year to finally redecorate our living room. After over twenty five years with gold and red in our room, it was time - past time - to freshen things up and update. I ordered some new pieces in neutral grays, threw in some splashes of my favorite teal and painted the walls a fresh, clean white. It is a drastic change for the look of our home and I’m loving it, but that red chair.... I just couldn’t part with it. So I made the decision to have it reupholstered. It wasn’t necessarily a wise financial decision. I could have purchased a comfortable chair for much less than it cost me for fabric and labor. But there is a history to that chair in my home. You see it’s been my prayer chair ever since we moved into this house. It took me months to settle on a fabric and even longer to get it back in it’s “new” colors, but we’re back together again in the corner of the living room.
This morning as I prayed in my “new” chair I thought about the many hours I've spent in this chair through the years.
It’s where I start most days with my morning coffee and my Bible to meet with Jesus. In this chair, most recently, I’ve prayed for my family, for dear friends with cancer, surgeries, the loss of loved ones, for two friends whose husbands have recently lost jobs, for friends whose homes flooded this past fall, for the spiritual restoration of our nation, and in recent weeks for my own healing from serious illness.
Trusting His Heart, August 28, 2012
“Isn't it amazing what a day can bring as we journey in life. As I blogged earlier, Ken woke up yesterday with hymns of praise on his heart and began to make his way through the hymnal. He literally sang every hymn he knew (and Ken knows a lot of hymns!) non stop from 8am until we left for our follow up doctor visit, all the way to the doctor, in the waiting room, and he was somewhere around #650 in the hymnal when the doctor walked into the examining room! The doctor looked curiously at Ken when he walked in the room. I imagine he has seen many patients before with a Bible in their lap, but a hymnbook was a little different! As Dr. McDonald told us the news that the PET Scan had come back showing no cancer, Ken literally fell to his knees in the room and began to praise and worship Jesus. I was humbled to see his response and we all circled and prayed together thanking God for His love, His grace and His mercy in our lives! As Sherry sent to you in the text I sent out later that day, we still have no answers as to why his bilirubin levels are so high and what is causing the jaundice or the mass. Many doctors are consulting on his case and he will have a biopsy later this week on his liver after the storm passes. They are still not ruling out cancer in the pancreas or elsewhere in the body at this time. Please pray that the blood work and tests will lead them to an accurate diagnosis. He will have an MRI in about two weeks to give the pancreas time to heal.
......And so we learn more deeply what it means to wait on the Father for answers and trust His heart for us
in this faith journey.
Please continue to pray for miraculous healing in the name of Jesus. Ken's pain level from the pancreatitis is a little better today. He is sitting up some and actually walking around a little which he hasn't been able to do without extreme pain since last weeks procedure. He is definitely stronger today. Thank you for your faithful intercession before the throne.
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16
The night brought little sleep for both of us. I woke around 12:30pm and decided the Lord had waked me to pray and spend time in His Word. And so I came down to my red chair in the corner of the living room. I lit the candle next to the chair that dear Spencer (my future son-n-law) just sent me for my birthday and fell to my knees and began to pray. As I prayed, I was struck at the history the Lord and I have together in this chair. He has met me here so often in the middle of the night and ministered to my spirit, listened to my cries of pain and pleas for healing, mercy, understanding. It has been a place where He has taught me faith lessons as I poured over His Word and sang songs of praise. It's good to have a place where you sense His presence so strong. As Maggie, now grown, slept upstairs I thought of the times when she was a toddler and little girl and I would hear her come down the stairs in the early morning hours and join me at this chair. She learned that if the candle was lit mommy was talking with Jesus and she could join me in prayer or play quietly beside me if she wanted, but had to wait until the candle was blown out to leave the room. Mary Elizabeth spent many hours beside me at this chair as a child as well. Sweet memories....
I thought about the answers to prayer the Lord has given me kneeling at this chair.
I've learned that I don't have to understand all His ways, but I can trust Him.
In this place, where I write today as we wait for the storm, Isaac, to hit, I've cried to Him in the death of my Father, in the pain of years of infertility, in the storms of ministry demands, in the illnesses and deaths of precious family and loved ones, the diagnosis of my mother's alzheimer’s disease. I've cried out to Him for wisdom for my husband, my children, my life. I've prayed over the brokenness and pain of friend's marriages, loss of jobs, the lists goes on and on.... He has always heard my prayers. He has taught me to hunger and thirst after Him in His Word. Bible studies He's led me to write have been birthed here as He laid the foundation of Truth in my heart.
He has taught me some of what it means to wait on the Lord. I'm learning more today.
In this room we have also been led in songs of praise and had lots of fun with Ken at the piano leading leadership groups and gatherings of friends and students. We have seen great rejoicing and celebration in this room. It's good to have a history with the Lord and know that I can trust His heart for us where He is leading us today.
As I continued to work my way through the Psalms last night I read -
“Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts
in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will
give thanks to Him in song. The Lord is the strength of his
people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance.;
be their Shepherd and carry them forever.”
God did a miracle healing in Ken’s life and he is still playing the piano, leading worship in the body of Christ and singing praise to our Lord!
I’ve heard him playing and singing today as I’ve worked throughout the house.
Today, Jesus is continuing to write His story on our hearts in my “new” chair. He is faithful still and hears the cries of our hearts.
There is healing in His music.
There is power in His presence.
We don’t always get the blessed, incredible miracle that Ken and I experienced in our lives, but always He hears and reaches out to touch the broken places in our hearts.
He is our refuge to carry us through the storms
God has met me this fall in the "new" chair and spoken to my heart as I studied His Word, prepared to teach and wrote for our most recent Restore Retreat - Awaken to the Pursuit
of the Bridegroom.
I wonder if the new white chair with threads of silver helped to inspire the bridal theme!
Of course, there is nothing magical about the chair. It is the healing presence of Jesus that heals and comforts.
It is the power of His Spirit that ministers truth and hope in the hours spent here. Yet, I do believe there is something significant about having a place in your home where you have a history with the Lord.
Here in this chair, in the quiet, in the prayers, in the beauty of His Words, Jesus is forming me into who He sees me to be, who He created me to be. I cherish the many years of faith lessons In this chair.
As long as it will hold me, I'll be here, whatever color she wears.
And I wonder....do you have a place or a chair in your home where you have a history with the Lord in prayer
and His Word?
Do you take the time to write down your story with the Lord so that you can remember to trust in His faithfulness and learn to rest in it?
One thing I have learned in my chair, in my time with Jesus.....when we lay our shattered lives and fears before the Lord, He always redeems the brokenness.
Here in His presence, I can trust that although all our struggles and relationships may not be restored and our dreams may remain unfulfilled, Jesus will ultimately redeem it all by the power of the cross. And so I come, building a legacy of faith that enables me to live in the confidence that God's grace will carry me through whatever each day brings.
I come, by the blood of Jesus, before the very throne of God and bare the deepest longings of my soul.
You never know the miracle our God may have in store......
So, settle into your chair and come!
Blessed in my chair,
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