Sunday, January 25, 2009
Change my heart, oh God; Make me ever new!
Change my heart, oh God; Make me more like you.
Why is this one of my favorite Christian choruses? Is it because it is a chorus pleading for change through God's power each day? Yes, that is its beauty! If I ever get to the place where I am no longer pliable clay in the hands of my Heavenly Father, then I can no longer become the woman he wants me to be.
Having practiced "throwing a pot" for the first time well into middle age, this chorus captured even more of my attention. In order to prepare the clay before it is ever put on the potter's wheel, it undergoes rigorous pounding and slamming to release unwanted air that will ruin the pot and perhaps crack it in the kiln.
Just as the air must be eliminated before molding, our self-sufficient attitude must be eliminated so we can yield to God's authority over our lives. Until we can admit that Christ is God's eternal and unequivocal portal into the kingdom of faith, we are useless raw mud, stiff-necked and proud.
Perhaps that is the route you, too, have taken before surrendering to God. I know that I had to undergo some very hurtful experiences and brokenness up through young womanhood before I could be the kind of mud ready for God's pottery wheel.
Even so, the spinning and application of lubricating Holy Spirit water is necessary to properly throw the readied mud. Have you just been set on the potter's wheel and are still waiting for His Hands? Have you been spun and reshaped over and over? Do you believe you are in the final stages before the kiln?
Regardless of where you are in your formation of who God wants you to be, remember that there have been thousands before you on that same wheel and in that same kiln. Remember Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednigo? Their kiln experience certainly cemented and authenticated their faith in a Living God.
My hope for you, as you become more pliable for God and thus more useful, is this: Do it with willing and joyful heartbeats and without fear of what God is creating--it's all good.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I recently submitted a devotional to The Upper Room with this title. It is a question we subconsciously ask ourselves each time we meet a new person.
Within these four words, a great deal is implied. We are asking many questions between the lines. Will you become a close friend or just an acquaintance? Will you be someone I can trust, even confide in? Will you come to my home one day as a welcomed guest or I to yours? Will you pray for me and I for you? Will I be able to ask for your help someday? Will our friendship become a key part of my future growth spiritually, socially, and/or psychologically? When I die, will you be someone who will mourn my passage out of this sin-stained world?
When we meet fellow Christian writers, more questions arise. When I have something published, will you be one who will rejoice with me or envy me? If I need you to honestly critique my writing, will you give me an honest analysis?
Perhaps I read too much into this question "Are you my neighbor?", but I know that Christ's parable of the Good Samaritan was not addressing people who lived next door to each other. They were "two very different ships passing in the night". This is the society and mixing bowl of cultures in which we live. But the Samaritan had merciful heartbeats for the injured and robbed person. Out of his own time and money, he cared for this stranger he just met, never expecting anything in return.
Christ died and I believe he did it all for our sakes, never expecting anything in return. How could we possibly return all that He gave us with his last heartbeat on the cross? It was all that Heaven had to offer,an inheritance outside the realm of the real and natural.
What kind of neighbor are you? What kind of neighbor do you wish to become in this New Year?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Do you remember when you were first pregnant as a couple? It was the first sound of the child within through the stethoscope that made your first memorable moment as a family. And so it is with God, when you first accept His Love and He inclines His ear to your sinner's prayer of belief. God hears your first spiritual heartbeat, faint, but oh how joyful your Father is when He hears it for the very first time! He exclaims, "Hello, My child" and calls you by name.
As a Christian and as a writer, I know that our spiritual heartbeats are not always strong and loud. Sometimes the noise of the world crowds out the sound, even though God is still inclining His ear and waiting to hear from our heart. It is in those moments that we realize how far we have wandered from His Stethoscope--His Spiritual Will for our lives.
If you have passed the half century mark, then you know that your heart must be strong and consistent in order to stay alive in a world that would kill your very soul at every corner and every turn. The experiences of life that are painful will either drive us toward God or away from Him.
Consider drawing close to Him today and staying there until finally your heartbeat is enveloped into the rhythm of His heartbeat. Nothing could be more peaceful or rewarding this side of eternity, I am certain.
Hoping your New Year will develop in You
New Ways to walk to the Tune of His Heartbeat,
Dr. L.B. Greer