I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
I visited Brookgreen Gardens south of Murrells Inlet, SC. It is a 9,000 acre area in South Carolina’s Lowcountry with beautiful landscapes and a collection of outdoor figurative sculptures. Several of the sculptures were of dogs and two were of my favorite breeds, Greyhounds and Great Danes. The sculptures were made out of various materials and they all brought the scriptures about stony hearts and stony ground to mind.
God doesn’t want our hearts to be hard like the dog statues. He wants them to be soft and pliant.
In the Parable of the Sower recorded in Matthew 13, the farmer tries to sow seed in different soils. The stony soil was not a good place for the seed to be sown as it couldn’t go down deep and take root. When God’s word is spoken and read, it should find our hearts prepared and ready for the Holy Spirit to change our lives for the better.
God tells us in Ezekiel that He will give us a new heart and a new spirit. He will get rid of our stony hearts and our new heart will be made of flesh. This transformation can only be accomplished through Christ. When we give our hearts to Him, he will soften them and mold us into His image.
Daily living can accumulate lots of hard-core calluses on our hearts. As we go to God in prayer and scripture meditation, he softens those calluses and breaks down our attitudes.
David cried out in Psalm 51, after his sin with Bathsheba, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”. Let’s follow David’s example and ask God for a new heart.
Transformation is always possible. There are no hopeless causes with God. He is our hope. He is our deliverer and he can soften the hardest of hearts.
Continue reading “STONY HEARTS”
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. I Corinthians 9:24 ESV Continue reading “AGILITY”
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 Continue reading “AS IS”
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
We attended our local “Pooch Plunge” sponsored by the Humane society. This event is the social event of the year for dogs and their owners. We all strain at the leash eagerly waiting for the gate of our local pool to swing open and let the dogs in to swim.
Inside, we leap into the water swimming from side to side. At least, that’s what Mallory does at the pool. She can’t wait to get into the water.
Seneca is a different story. She walks around the edge of the pool, barely getting her paws wet as she laps up some water. Seneca greets everyone and is the perfect hostess. She’s very social but has to be forced into the water. Once there, she swims happily to the edge and gets out of the pool. She can’t wait to get back to her comfort zone.
Our other two dogs stay home. Bella doesn’t like the water at all so she misses out on an outing with the family. Danni doesn’t participate because she doesn’t get along with other dogs. She might have a wonderful time and love to swim but we will never know as she can’t be trusted. Danni would ruin it for all the happy pooches plunging in the pool and having fun.
So what kind of church goer are you? Do you plunge right in going deeper with Jesus? Are you a social Christian, only plunging in when forced? Do you stay away so you don’t have your life disrupted in any way; not knowing what you are missing?
Or do you stay home complaining about those who do go to church? Or maybe you go, grumping and gossiping the whole time, ruining it for those who are doing what God created them to do.
Why not jump in with Jesus and go deeper every day?
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV
I took a water aerobics class today for the first time and met a lady who had hurt her back by lifting her dog. She had to be very careful how she exercised and wore a back support.
On one of Bella’s walks on the Antietam Battlefield, she got so worn out that she had to be carried. She was picked up and toted along the paths. Needless to say, Bella enjoyed the rest of her day of sightseeing.
There are a lot of reasons for us to carry heavy burdens in this life. Sometimes it is to help others when they are worn out from carrying their own heavy loads. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are happy as instructed in Romans 12:15.
Many times we unnecessarily take on tomorrow’s worries. We add care upon care until we are loaded down with the concerns of this world. Things we can physically do nothing about, we drag along behind. These are the things that Jesus tells us to bring to him.
When we run to Jesus when we are loaded down with heavy burdens, whether real or borrowed, He will give us rest. He knows the things we are lugging around with us and wants to lift them from our shoulders, freeing us to rest and relax, knowing He is in control.
Next time you start to feel weighed down, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Run to Him and jump into His strong arms. He will carry you and your burdens.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Continue reading "Member of the Family"
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. Psalm 95:5-6 NIV
We walked several miles down the boardwalk today. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we weren’t the only ones enjoying the peaceful ocean. There were runners, bikers, couples and lots of dogs. Some of the dogs were soaking wet after having a romp in the waves. Others were walking along sniffing and greeting everyone they met. One particular husky seemed much more interested in the pigeons than his surroundings.
How often are we like that husky, going through life concentrating on one thing and missing all the beauty around us? People were admiring him but he couldn’t bask in the glow. The waves were roaring and the sun was glittering off their white caps, but the doggie only saw birds trying to get dinner. He didn’t savor the journey and the many blessings of the day as he wanted those pigeons for his dinner.
Often we can only focus on one thing and it is not always the ONE thing that we should be concentrating on at the moment. This world is not our home but God made all of creation for our enjoyment. We are to take care of it and realize it is God’s blessing. Genesis 1:31a states, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”. Not just good but very good.
Today as you go about your daily tasks, look around you. God’s creation is beautiful from the snow-capped mountains to the never-ending oceans flowing back and forth. As the old hymn says, “This is my Father’s World”. Stop and enjoy it today.
Greater love has hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ASV Continue reading “LOVE”
Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4: 11-12 THE MESSAGE Continue reading “ACCOUNTABILITY”
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and rescue you. Isaiah 46:4 NIV Continue reading “SWAYING STEPS”