A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding draws it out.
Proverbs 20:5 NAS
If there’s one thing I’ve seen stifle effectiveness in my own life and in the lives of others, it’s unresolved issues. Sometimes our issues become so loud in our minds and hearts, we can’t get “us” quiet enough to receive from God or be of use to Him in the lives of those around us.
The Lord taught me this lesson in a way He knew I’d never forget. In high school we had a Christian club that met at lunch. One of the students had a pro football player at her church and managed to get him to come speak. We bought pizzas, announced our fancy-schmancy speaker and had the best turn-out ever. Our football player shared about his life before and after Jesus. It was a glowing event for this handful of high schoolers to pull off with little help (our school administration was decidedly unsupportive of the club, but legally we were allowed to have it, so we tried to be effective and respectful witnesses). As I picked up used plates and cups left over from the pizza feast, a girl came up to me and said she wanted to believe in Jesus and His offer of salvation. But...the biggest, hardest “but” I’d ever heard followed next... but she’d experienced some painful, traumatic events in her childhood that made her feel that God didn’t love her, see her or care. Her feelings crowded out the little bit of faith she had to believe in His love and salvation. Her words touched a nerve too close to home. A place of entirely unresolved pain. She said, “If you can explain how it is God could allow that to happen to me and at the same time how He could love me and save me, I will give Him my whole life right now.” I couldn’t explain. I prayed. But I couldn’t explain because I hadn’t let God touch the place in my heart that needed that same explanation. I told her honestly, I don’t know how He could allow it, but that He did love her and she could believe and be saved. She said, “It’s not enough” and walked away. I turned away as tears of too-many emotions welled in my eyes. I cried for both of us. I’d been part of the event planning team. We’d prayed for hearts to be turned to Jesus. But at that very moment, I severely lacked the understanding to make our prayerful planning a reality. Why’d she have to ask me? Why not someone else, someone who could have answered? Who didn’t have my issues? That moment God grabbed my heart and we began the journey down the path of healing. I couldn’t let those issues, my issues, be a stumbling block to someone else. I’ve prayed for that girl for years since, and in my heart I truly believe that if God went to the ends of the earth for me, He won’t let my mistakes get in between Him and another one of His children. I so very deeply hope that the seeds of longing for a relationship with God in that girl took root and blossomed. That day was probably a step along her journey to Jesus, but it was also the beginning of a journey for Jesus and me, too.
Whether it’s answering the hard questions, or simply processing enough of life to draw out dreams/plans that God has placed deep in your heart to bring them to fruition, processing life with your Maker will only bring blessing and peace to your soul. We need His wisdom, understanding and perspective to fulfill the purposes and plans He has designed us for. We can plan to be used of by the Lord, but if our issues trip us or others up because we don’t have the Lord’s understanding over a matter, we won’t be as fruitful. We might have dreams and plans for great things, but without His understanding it’s very likely we will miss a valuable facet of His intention for us.
As you press into the Lord this Summer, take purposeful steps to plan and process with Him. Make your plans for this sweet Summertime and the upcoming Fall with Him, pray over how you spend your vacation, and if you’ve got unresolved pain in your heart seek His perspective over it.
Here's a free pdf. download of journaling prompts to get your started on processing everything from dreams to disappointments with the Lord.
Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” Exodus 3:5-6
I am a barefoot girl at heart! Often, when I am setting up for an event at church I like to kick off my shoes. It is not unusual for me to get a few disapproving glances or comments. I am quick to respond with the above verse and a remark about how the church is holy ground too!
All kidding aside though, it is something to wonder about this whole taking off your shoes thing because the ground was holy. I wonder if Moses’ shoes might have represented something less than holy because of all the less than holy places Moses had walked.
Figuratively, our shoes tell a story. They tell where we have been, the trials we have endured and the races we have run. So maybe God was requiring a clean sweep in Moses’ life. He would have to forget all the previous ways he had walked and follow this “burning” call on his life. Or perhaps it was a humility issue. My husband feels that it is a very humbling thing to take his shoes off in front of people. I think he feels like it exposes him. Either way, God had an appointment with Moses that required him to remove something.
If God were to show up at your door today, what do you think He might want you to take off? Would He want you to take off a critical attitude, arrogance, unforgiveness, a habit or a secret sin? Regardless of what He might ask of any one of us, the point is that after an encounter with God Almighty we should never again walk the same as we had before. I am praying for the Lord to meet with you today in a way that would change your walk forever as well!
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Excerpt from My Reflection in His Eyes
While putting together the details of our wedding, people would occasionally sing the “dun dun dun dun” of the wedding march before inquiring about the progress of the preparations. In my mind I would always hear “here comes the bride, all fat and wide.” And I just couldn’t imagine walking down the aisle hearing “see how she waddles from side to side” in my head. Instead of the “Wedding March,” we played another classical piece that had no first grade school yard lyrics attached to it.
Sometimes, the music of our lives has some rather unpleasant lyrics. In Christ there is freedom to choose what tune will play through your life. In Christ you have the choice to fill your mind with truth that cleanses your past and propels you into the good future God has for you.
Reflect for a moment about some of the truths you have learned about how God sees you… click here to download the rest of this lesson.
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I am a shield to you. Genesis 15:1
God had asked a lot of Abram. The Lord laid out an adventure for Abram that required him to leave his father’s house, journey to an unknown land, forget the ways and practices of his people and serve the Lord alone in a polytheistic culture where monotheism was unheard of. It was more than a step of faith--it was miles and miles of faith as Abram travelled to the land God had promised.
The Lord appeared to Abram in a vision, telling him that one day he would be the father of a great nation. Scripture records that Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Abram’s faith--and our faith--mattered most to God. It’s by faith that we unwrap the gift of salvation and by faith we grow in the grace and promise of God. Faith is the thing God has delighted in most--not our emotionally distant fulfilling a list of do’s and don’t. But a life centered around a heartbeat of authentic faith.
When God spoke to Abram on this occasion, He greeted him saying, “I am a shield to you.” The word shield can mean a shield as we know it in our modern western context, but the word can also mean king/ruler, protector/warrior. Is God personally and experientially your shield? Is He the King of your heart and Ruler of your life? He is faithful to keep His promises, even in the situations where you cannot see Him working.
Abram had no children, both he and his wife we old and yet God’s promise of a child indeed came to pass. God renamed Abram based on the fulfillment of His promise to him--Abraham means father of a multitude.
Ask God to show Himself to you as the faithful One who is your shield and great reward. How can you make the Lord the King of your heart in even your smallest decisions today?
Read Genesis 15 and Hebrews 11.
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