…for the heart…that aches…
…and from the heart…that sometimes has no words to pray.
These are for you…
Blessings of answered prayers…Lynn
Throughout the Bible, God relates to His people in a closeness of companionship so intimate that He compares it to a marriage relationship. In the book of Isaiah, He said, “For your Maker is your Husband.” (Is. 54:5 NKJV) *
One Divine Husband. Your Real Husband.
The idea of clinging only unto God, above all others, is made very clear to us in Scripture. God’s exclusivity will never accept a rival or polygamy.
There are laws against polygamy, but we ignore polygamy when it comes to God. Scripture states emphatically, “The Lord is God; there is no other.” (1 Kings 8:60 NKJV)
His love requires His Bride not to give Herself away to anything other than Him. Moses told the Israelites, “For you shall not bow to another god; for Jehovah’s name is Jealous; He is a jealous God.” (Ex. 34:14 Masoretic Text)
Israel’s disobedient behavior prompted God to say, “They made Me jealous with a no-god; they made Me angry by their vanities.” (Deut. 32:21 Masoretic Text) Their gods of nothingness and their words and deeds of emptiness aroused His anger.
He alone is to be the object of our love and worship.
A heart united to God – one that is undivided in its affection and gives Him its full allegiance – this is what God desires for His Bride. Would any earthly man desire any less of his bride?
David knew what it meant to be united to God. In one of his songs to the Lord, he wrote, “Unite my heart [solely, reverently] to fear and honor Your name. I will confess and praise You, O Lord my God, with my whole (united) heart.” (Psalm 86:11-12 Ampc)
Do we keep God’s precepts and lean only upon our Beloved?
As we wander through wilderness circumstances, He is there on our every leaning side.
Do we keep God’s precepts, uniting our heart solely and soully to the Lord? In our wandering days of wilderness circumstances, do we lean only upon Him?
If we lean, let’s lean upon our Beloved as the disciple John did, “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23 NKJV), and be as the Shulamite, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (SOS 8:5 NKJV) **
Who is this leaning upon her Real Husband? Is this you?
Wandering in the wilderness, I languish. I yearn for my Beloved. I suddenly become aware of His tender presence.
He’s there, awaiting my nearness.
I draw close.
He reaches out His nail-scarred hand to greet me, drawing me to Himself. He accepts me, no matter what my mood or attitude.
“Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.” (Ps. 23:4 TLB)
He is my divine Beloved.
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (SOS 6:3 NKJV) I lean in, resting my full weight upon Him. I hear His heartbeat. My heart quickens.
He supports all my weight. He lifts the wilderness burden I carry. He brings me up out of Lodebar, that dry, pastureless place of lack and want. “He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength.” (Ps. 23:2-3a TLB)
My heart quickens again. “Joy rises in my heart until I burst out in songs of praise to Him.” (Ps. 28:7 TLB) ***
The heart is sacred territory, that place of shared intimacy with Christ, to be honored with no opposing affections. God desires His Bride’s heart to be espoused to one Husband – Him!
Your Real Husband…desires your undivided heart of love.
“Your real husband is the one who made you.
His name is the Lord All-Powerful.
The Holy One of Israel is your Protector,
and he is the God of all the earth!”
(Isaiah 54:5 ERV)
May your heart beat as one with your Beloved, your Real Husband…Lynn
A heart anomaly.
The American Heart Association says, “Congenital heart defects are structural problems arising from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels.”
“Because the coronary arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle, a defect or disease in a coronary artery may reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the heart receives.” (Texas Heart Institute)
Blood flow, oxygen, and other nutrients are extremely important for the health of the heart, for it to function properly. A buildup of plaque can cause a blockage. The removal of obstructions is essential.
An abnormal formation of the heart will cause heart disease.
I sat in the hospital waiting room of the heart wing, which is generally for outpatients. The families of others waiting almost filled the large seating area. It’s a busy place.
Skilled surgeons fix many heart conditions there.
I was waiting because Mr. M was having a heart procedure. He has a heart anomaly, a condition he was born with, and some blockage. Stents are usually inserted to open the flow of an artery, which he’s had before and we thought was going to happen this time. But it didn’t happen.
I waited for my name to be called by the nice lady at the front desk, which meant I’d able to go back into the patients’ recovery area.
Unfortunately, they were behind schedule. After about an hour and a half, she called my name. There was an inner-service phone call for me.
It was the nurse with Mr. M. She was calling to tell me they were ready to start the procedure but hubs wanted to make sure I was okay first. He knew stress was bad for my fibromyalgia. Now how sweet is that? Makes me cry. He was worried about me!
I sat down and waited to be called again. Finally, the call came and I joined my sweet recovering hubby. After another hour and a half, we were able to go home.
The prognosis is a little indefinite. Disconcerting, actually. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
While in the waiting room, I thought about a heart anomaly and clogged arteries.
We’re all born with a heart anomaly, an abnormal formation of our spiritual heart. And it can only be renewed and filled with God’s presence.
If the arteries of our spiritual heart become clogged, blockage occurs. Frets, doubts, worries, grumblings, disobedience, pride, selfishness, impatience, unforgiveness, unbelief, addictions, you name it, it can all build up as unholy plaque and cause unrest.
However, we all have a great Heart Specialist who is concerned with our heart condition.
But if we don’t allow Him to cleanse our clogged heart of these contaminates, they will act as stagnation to interrupt the flow of the Lord’s presence.
That cleansing life-flow we so desperately need will be diminished and our heart will not receive the appropriate nutrients – like love, joy, peace, comfort, encouragement – that it needs to function properly.
And we will have a dis-eased heart.
That heart anomaly? The one you were born with? And that blockage? The Skilled Surgeon knows just how to fix it.
He will take you into His recovery room and see that your heart’s pain is eased.
“Create in me a new, clean heart, O God,
filled with clean thoughts and right desires.”
Ps. 51:10 TLB
He foretold the destruction of the Temple and the final judgment.
He mourned over Jerusalem’s pending devastation.
Judas contracted with the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus.
Then, Jesus and the disciples returned to Bethany to dine at the home of Simon the leper. This must have been a joyous occasion. But it was unlawful to eat with anyone who had leprosy. It’s plausible that the Lord had healed Simon.
So, what happened next?
In ancient Jewish tradition, a mother wove a seamless garment for her son when he left home. Did Mary do this for Jesus? No one knows but I’m pretty sure, if she held to tradition, she must have.
If Mary lovingly created it, Jesus wore it, probably wearing it before His betrayal when He went to Simon the leper’s house. As He reclined at the table, a woman came and broke open her beautiful, alabaster passion box, full of the extremely valuable, perfumed oil of spikenard.
As she lovingly poured it upon Jesus’ head, it likely trickled down His cheeks, seeped into His beard, and gently dripped upon His shoulders, saturating His garment.
In Eastern culture, the garment of the bridegroom was saturated with rich perfumes. As this woman lovingly poured out her precious possession upon the heavenly Bridegroom, it permeated His garment.
Almost as prophetic words, the Shulamite woman says of her beloved in the beautiful Song of Solomon, “While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance.” (SOS 1:12 NKJV)
Don’t you know that through the long hours of His agony in the garden, during His betrayal, in the courtyard of His judgment before Caiaphas and Pilate, and until that garment was removed, Jesus must have breathed in that sweet smell of sacrificial love poured out upon Him, while this scripture likely echoed in His Spirit, “The odor of your ointments is fragrant, your name is like perfume poured out.” (SOS 1:3 Ampc)
As He probably did not wash His hair, the fragrance clung to it. That sweet aroma must have wafted its fragrance of love into His nostrils throughout His torment at the whipping post and while hanging on the cross, more than likely thinking, “This is for all those who will pour out their love on Me.”
Jesus’ sacrifice for our forgiveness and eternal life cost Him His life and was a sweet aroma to God, as scripture says, “God was pleased, for Christ’s love for you was like sweet perfume to Him.” (Eph. 5:2b TLB)*
When you meet with your Beloved, to dine in His presence, to sit and talk with Him, what passion fragrance do you pour out on Him?
Do you pour out the stench of whining, complaining, or bitterness? “What a waste!” as the disciples said.
Or do you pour out that overflow of sweet-smelling love, gratitude, and thanksgiving? Does your Beloved Lord receive it as He did the loving gift of spikenard?
“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.”
(2 Cor. 2:15 NLT)
~Lord, may the contents of our alabaster hearts and lives be poured out as a pleasing aroma in Your presence.
May alabaster blessings be poured out to you… Lynn
Whether you spell it baptistry or baptistery (both are correct), it’s still a tank filled with water for baptizing new believers in Christ.
Our Teaching Pastor is Kyle Idleman. He’s the author of several books, such as Not a Fan and his most recent one Grace is Greater: God’s Plan to Overcome Your Past, Redeem Your Pain, and Rewrite Your Story.
In a recent sermon, he told about the first church he pastored. It was a small church with about 30 members. As they were showing him around the building, he looked down into the baptistry. But there was no water. What did he see? Folding chairs! It was stacked full of folding chairs.
If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know something like this makes my brain go boing!
It made me think: what is our heart filled with?
What folding chairs of sin have we stacked up in the baptistry (you know, that place where our sins have been washed away) of our heart?
Do we unfold the chairs of selfishness, pride, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, anxiety, doubt, worry, grudges, adultery, or gossip and offer them a seat?
In an episode of Family Matters (if you’re unfamiliar with this show, you can read about it here), Laura, the daughter, is having a conversation with her nerdy neighbor, and a klutz to boot, and sort-of friend Steve Urkel, who loves Laura with all his heart but she has trouble tolerating him.
In the episode with the conversation, Laura was a freshman in high school and just joined the cheerleader team. However, the team thumbed their noses at her, treating her like old gum on the soles of their shoes.
Laura was very hurt and Steve wanted to know what was bothering her. As Laura talked with Steve, she tried to ask him how he handled being constantly treated so spitefully, but she had a hard time getting the words out.
The conversation went like this:
Steve: “They treat you the way people treat me?”
Laura: “Yeah. How do you stand it, Steve?”
Steve: “Well, I just don’t let it bother me.”
Laura: “Well, you mean like laughing on the outside while crying on the inside?”
Steve: “No way! Why, if you cry on the inside, sooner or later, your insides mildew!”
Laura: “Then, how do you hide the hurt?”
Steve: “You don’t! Why, I’ve learned that if you fill your heart with hope, there won’t be any room for hurt!” ***
Are we that way? Do we fill our heart with hope and love and all good things of the Lord so that there is no room for the unwanted junk? Do we keep the baptistry of our heart cleansed?
Or maybe we take away the chair in our heart that we’ve given to the Lord, shoving Him off and giving it to some disobedience, doubt, or worry? How can peace, love, or hope dwell in that heart?
What is the baptistry of your heart filled with? What kind of chairs have you folded up and stacked there?
Praying for you, that the baptistry of your heart be always cleansed and filled with all good things of the Lord.
Blessings of all good things…Lynn
***Yikes! I’ve had my days alllll mixed up! I thought Wednesday was Tuesday so I didn’t post anything for Thursday. And all day long today, I thought it was Friday! Sheesh! Forgive me. 😀 ***
Radio. The days of The Shadow, Blondie, Red Skelton, Burns and Allen, Ellery Queen, and many more.
One of the longest lasting radio programs was Fibber McGee. A comedy show that premiered in 1935 and continued until – believe it or not – 1959!
They had a running gag about The Closet. Fibber told his wife that everything in the closet was arranged just the way he wanted it. So, every time he opened the closet door, all the contents came tumbling down on his head. His usual response, “I gotta get that closet cleaned out one of these days!”
One day, his wife Molly went to the closet to look for the dictionary and promptly became buried in an avalanche of Fibber’s stuff. Cleaning out the closet was the theme for this show’s plot and all kinds of items were uncovered, like a photo album, a rusty horseshoe, and a ten-foot pole.
In another episode, they flipped the gag. The doctor came to visit and, as he was leaving, attempted to open the closet door. Of course, the audience chuckled in anticipation. Molly tried to stop the doctor, but that day had come and Fibber told her he had cleaned out the closet that morning and it was okay.
However, the gag did not end there. The closet became cluttered and ready to explode once again, leading to more disasters.
“Fibber McGee’s closet” entered the American vernacular and became a catch phrase synonymous with household clutter. I remember my mom saying it numerous times.
The thing is, the more you pile into a closet, the harder it is to find something.
That being the case, I wonder…do I have a Fibber McGee’s Closet, one full of things I keep shoving into it? Overflowing with things I’d like to forget or hide away?
I do. In the home of my heart, the place I have told the Lord is His home. When I collect things, like old hurts, dirty sins, unresolved unforgiveness, and outdated heartaches, and toss them into my heart-closet, I pile them on top of the Lord, covering Him up. Then, when I need Him, I can’t find Him.
Do I do as Fibber did, clean out my closet only to pile things back in, filling it up again with so much stuff that it’s ready to explode, leading to more disasters?
Every day should be a clean-the-closet day, never letting anything accumulate. Or explode!
Do you have a heart-closet full of old junk? Are you putting off cleaning it out? Is it ready to explode?
***Because my head was in Neverneverland, I had to pull out this oldie and dust it off. Hope you don’t mind.***
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Outside: Darkness rolls in. Hovering black clouds appear ominous, even though it’s early morning.
Inside: She stands by the window, feeling the darkness hovering over her soul.
Outside: Summer showers fall, hydrating the dryness of the flowerbeds.
Inside: She watches as the showers turn into a downpour, as tears freely stream down her cheeks.
Outside: The darkness intensifies. The clouds bump into each other, releasing claps of thunderous sounds.
Inside: Inside her heart, the dark clouds of gloom bump into each other, releasing their noisy clashes of thunder upon her soul.
Outside: The world rushes by, uncaring, unfeeling.
Inside: She feels the same. She prays, “God, it’s raining so hard in my life. No one seems to care. Where do I go from here? What do You want me to do? This all needs to be fixed. The downpour is more than I can bear. My heart trembles in this intense suffering.”
And in the quiet room, she feels the Lord speak to her…
My child, when the rains of difficulty come and bring the gloom of night, absorb all you can from them. They water the parchness of your life. Learn what I teach you in their midst. Sometimes, I use these trials so others may see a life that praises Me in the rain and for the rain. This way, you can help give tender care to others who have been burdened as you have. Your rain of darkness will soon be turned to blessings. I am working on your behalf…always. Just praise Me in the process. Remember these words of the old song:
I have learned to smile when skies are gloomy,
Smile although my heart’s about to break;
When I know that trouble’s coming to me,
Here’s the happy attitude I take.
Though April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May.
So if it’s raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn’t raining rain you know, it’s raining violets.
Trust Me to bring blessings of violets.
Outside: The rain begins to subside. The sun peeks out through the dark clouds.
Inside: A slight smile crosses her face. The Light of the Lord shines in her darkness. She knows the Lord is in charge and things will work out as she remembers Romans 8:28. She feels God’s presence refreshing her dry soul. And she begins to praise the Lord.
Though dark clouds of gloom roll over our lives, we praise the Lord. I’ve said this before…
When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB) Amen!
And when the enemy swirls his darkness around me and attempts to discourage or frighten me, do I still trust the Lord? You betcha! I say as David said, “But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in You. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting Him, what can mere man do to me?” (Ps. 56:3-4 TLB)
Have you ever worked on a surprise party for someone you love, trying to work out all the details and keep things secret? God does that for us when we release our burdens into His mighty hands.
So many things must be arranged in order to work out the situations we hand Him. And hiding behind the veil of heaven, God’s hands of workmanship manage our lives for eternity.
If dark clouds of gloom hover over your life today, with lots of noisy bumping is going on, trust that God is working on a surprise of violets just for you. So praise Him!
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How well built is the dwelling place we give our beloved Lord? Is it built on Him, as our sure Rock-foundation? Does it come crashing down in a storm of affliction?
If the old dwelling place of our hearts is cleansed and created anew, do we keep it that way, or do we allow the winds of worry or the storms of strife to revert it back to the same ol’ rickety shack?
If we’ve been created into a new dwelling place for the Lord, maybe we should pray…
~Lord, my heart is Your home. Let’s build it together and keep it clean together.
Help me clean out the closet of my hidden thoughts and throw away the trash of wrong attitudes. Dust behind the doors where preconceived ideas accumulate like cobwebs.
Sweep out the corners of my heart where the soil of unwillingness has piled up. Dig into those deep crevices of my soul where stubbornness plants its roots. Shine Your light into the dark recesses of my emotions so nothing can remain hidden from Your forgiveness.
Remove from the shelves of my mind all the negative thoughts that I cling to and replace them all with Your promises that they may be readily available whenever I need them.
Scrub down the walls that have been littered with the graffiti of my words that are dirty blemishes on Your Spirit and Your Word. Repair the cracks in the walls so that the enemy cannot ooze in with his unwanted ideas.
When spiritual unrest jams up my usefulness as a channel, rout out all the garbage of self that Your living waters may run freely to cleanse me.
Fix the holes in the roof where the rains of difficulties leak in and threaten to dampen my soul-rest. Seal up the broken windows where the winds of discontent blow in so easily. Let Your joy clean the windows and give them the sparkle that the world needs to see.
Clean out the soot of wrong burning desires that have blackened my chimney. Cleanse it that it may allow the vapors of praise to rise to Your throne. Rekindle the embers of my heart’s passion that have grown cold. Ignite a blazing desire to know You more, to serve You more, and to love You more.
Use my tears to mop the floor of my soul where it has been trampled upon with the muddy feet of those who would rather walk over me than to see the hurt and pain within me.
Dismantle the fences that I have unwittingly built which have kept me from reaching out to help someone or kept some hurt soul from reaching in.
Help me build on that one sure Foundation that is unshakable and can withstand all storms and disasters. Help me erect that exterior that holds all else together, using my obedience as the cement to hold Your bricks of truth in place. Make sure I pick up and use each brick so that the edifice does not become faulty, because each truth left lying on the ground is useless.
There is but one chair within these walls, and it is the throne upon which I give You the honor of sitting. When I try to sit upon it myself, shove me off! Make me land with a jolt hard enough to bring me to my senses, because it is Your throne, meant only for You.
Lord, this is Your home. May it always be a temple in which You may reside and can always feel proud enough to bring others to visit. May it be a monument to Your grace, Your forgiveness, and Your love.
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Sometimes, life will hand you a distressing situation that breaks your heart into tiny pieces. Then…
When the pieces of your broken heart fall by the wayside, God sends His Servants Hope and Encouragement to walk with you.
Why? Because of He loves you.
He sent Jesus to die for you.
Jesus went from Calvary-redemption to tomb-restoration to Gethsemane-glorification so He could bring resurrection-power to piece you back together again.
Throw aside those grave-clothes of your brokenness.
Shed that garment of hurt and replace it with a holy one. Be transformed by His Love for you and into His Likeness.
He walks the Garden still, to company with you. To come alongside you. To comfort you.
So, put on that glorious Easter-morn garment.
Walk out into the sunlight of the Resurrection Garden where your freedom was released and secured.
Find peace and rest in His presence.
Saying a prayer for all the breaking hearts.
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The Lenten season has arrived. A time when many Christians observe forty days (not counting Sundays) of fasting in moderation or self-denial, of repentance, and of spiritual discipline in order to deepen their relationship with the Lord and be spiritually prepared for Easter celebration.
It’s a time for reflection on Christ, His suffering, sacrifice, life, death, burial, and resurrection. It’s a time for deepening one’s walk with the Lord. A time of cleansing and refreshing. Of soul revival.
For health reasons, I cannot fast from meals, but I can from a particular food, and I have fasted from things.
If we cannot fast from food, what if we dug deep within our souls and found something in there to fast from? Maybe one or more of these things would be hiding there…
Arrogance, pride, worry, doubts, hypocrisy, indifference, anger, hopelessness, fear, perfectionism, judgmental attitude, pity parties, apathy, bitterness, unkindness, ungratefulness, selfishness, desiring more, critical spirit, negative words and thoughts, desiring attention or approval?
Or maybe we would find that lie the enemy keeps slipping under the door of our heart, the one that says we’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or whatever. Maybe we would find something in our schedule that needs to be eliminated…if only for a while. Or maybe we need a vacation from the internet, TV, movies, etc.
Maybe we should fast from one thing each day.
If you are not able to fast food (now there’s a good one to fast from!), make your own list and choose one for each day.
Right now, I’m enjoying reading a new book called 40 Voices: A Lenten Devotional and it’s written by my friend Jean Wise. (You can find it here.)
In reference to Mark 11:2, where Jesus asks two of His disciples to go to the village and acquire the tied-up donkey for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jean writes…
“Untie it and bring it here” is Jesus’ command. It is a wonderful statement to bring to our Lenten prayers. What, Lord, do you want me to untie and bring to Jesus this season? What do we need to unravel? What are we clinging to Jesus wants us to bring to him? Jesus knows where our knots are located. He sees the sin that tangles our hearts. He understands the hurts to snarl our beliefs.”
It’s not just giving up something; it’s untying it from our heart, getting rid of the knot, and relinquishing it. Surrendering one thing in order to receive something else. Something so much better.
Untie it. Bring it to Me. Asks Jesus. Such a great thought. Deep thought. Makes me ask myself, What do I have tied-up within me that I need to release?
What, what if we turned away from certain things and truly fell on our faces at the feet of Jesus, seeking His presence? On. Our. Faces. Suppose we let loose of those ties that bind and prayed for our heart to be cleansed of all the yucky stuff. What would happen to our lives and the lives of others?
We are to let go, to “turn away from everything wrong, whether of body or spirit, and purify ourselves, living in the wholesome fear of God, giving ourselves to him alone.” (2 Cor 7:1 TLB)
Are you tied to anything that is distracting you and marring your relationship with Christ? Do you need to heed the Lord’s command to “untie it and bring it to Me”?
If you decide to embark on this Lenten journey, I pray the Lord will bless you as you untie all the knots.