Transform My Heart

The devotion was out of Galatians 5:22-26 ~ the all so familiar "Fruit of the Spirit". I read over it quickly, really reading it from memory rather than the words on the page. As I looked at it a second time there it was~the thing God had for me, the thing He didn't want me to miss. The first word in verse 22 ~ BUT. Why is it there? Most of the time in reciting this verse I never mention it. However here it was staring me in the face.

I went back to the beginning of the chapter and began to read. As I did God began to unravel the reason for this oh so small word with its HUGE meaning ~ "BUT". In verse one we are admonished to "Stand fast therefore in the liberty (generosity) by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.". (Galatians 5:1). A few verses later in verses 19-21 he tells us of this "yoke of bondage" ~ "the works of the flesh". The list reads like themes of recent Hollywood movies~adultery, fornication, uncleanness, sexual immorality, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, etc. Doesn't sound like a quiet evening at home does it?

Those are the things we can expect when we live our lives without Christ. Verse 19 states that "the works of the flesh are". They "are"! You can count on it! Does it have to be that way, No. Why? Because of the small word ~ BUT, meaning~ there's another choice, something else is available. Christ is telling us~you don't have to live a life full of unrest. He wants you to live a life full of purpose.  God is a "purpose-ful" God!  He has a purpose for you and your life.  He tells us: I've paid the price and poured out my "generosity" (liberty) to all mankind, if you will only accept it, accept me and follow me. If you do, verse 22 tells us what our transformed hearts will experience~love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Life isn't easy at its best. "BUT" this I know, regardless of what the day may bring my God has already provide a place of peace if we will only follow him and rest.

Dear one, life is full of choices. You can live your life struggling with the works of the flesh if you choose to do so ~ BUT ~ Christ himself shed his blood to give you another choice ~ peace in Him. From centuries past He is still call to all who will listen to Him ~ I DIED FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Lord, Thank you for every word that you have given us. Let us not dismiss the small ones and quickly move on. Let us drink in every word that can transform our hearts after you and allow us to live and rest in the fruit of your spirit.

Happy New Year!

It's been a while and since it is the start of a New Year I wanted to give an update on my prayer request.  With surgery scheduled on my hands in December all I could do is to keep doing what I was doing and wait for my surgery date.  At least that's what I thought. With the built up stress on my hands and the pain I was in I didn't make it to the surgery date.  Instead, the pain level increased not only in my hands but everywhere.  During a brief visit to the hospital I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Since that diagnosis I've had to do some soul searching because I know that nothing touches our lives unless it is first filtered through God's hands.  All of this was part of His plan for me, all this pain has purpose so I set out to find out what that purpose was and is. 

God quickly showed me that through all this He was trying to get me just to "Trust Him" and REST in Him.  I was doing neither.  Yes, I "trusted" the Lord but then set about attempting to get all the ministry work done in my own strength. That isn't His plan for me, nor for anyone else.  God wants me and you RESTING in Him and letting Him do the work through us.  He doesn't want us exhausted and that is exactly what I was ~ exhausted. 

Looking back now I see the red flags ~ warning signs ~ God had placed along the way in attempts to get my attention. But when you're headstrong and stubborn God has to use more serious measures.  And that, HE DID! 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ "In Everything Give Thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  It's difficult to "give thanks" when you're in pain but that is exactly what I have to do ~ Give Thanks to God for the pain because I know it has been His way of teaching me to REST IN HIM ~ GIVE HIM COMPLETE CONTROL OF MY LIFE AND LET HIM GET THE WORK DONE THROUGH ME IN HIS TIME AND IN HIS WAY. 

Let me ask you.  Have you been/are you burned out?  Maybe you don't even realize it ~ I didn't.  Do you see the warning signs God is placing in your path?  You'd be wise to pay attention.  He puts them there for your welfare.  Are you attempting to "be all and do all" for everything and everybody? Let me encourage you to STOP and examine your life and motives and ask God to reveal to you if you are truly RESTING in Him or are you doing His work your way.  Philippians 1:6 ~ "HE who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."  Do you see it?  "HE" began the good work in you and it must be "HIM" who completes it ~ not us.

For those of you with "RA" ~ I thank God for you and have a new appreciation of what you go through daily and pray that God will bless and comfort you and send a cure for this debilitating disease that WE live with.  Let me share with you some scripture God had to bring to my memory.
Psalm 100:4
Isaiah 40:29
Isaiah 40: 31
Isaiah 41:10
Isaiah 41:13
Isaiah 49:15~16
Isaiah 53:5

You are constant in my prayers!