Why you don’t receive your heart’s desires

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4, ESV).

 The cliché declares the heart wants what it wants. It enforces the belief that we have these heart-felt desires of which we cannot control. We roll with this as if our heart is apart from the rest of our being—a separate vessel that we must submit to regardless of whether we want to or not. The heart wants what it wants. We are often told to follow our heart as if the truth of every issue of life flows from it. We can depend on it to guide us everlasting peace. These beliefs are both true and untrue. Allow me to explain.

The unregenerate heart

We are born with an unregenerate heart which simply means that it has not been changed by the power of God. It is the heart connected to our sinful nature. It is the heart of which Jeremiah spoke of when he said, “The heart is desperately wicked.” The unregenerate heart does not and cannot submit to God. If you don’t know God as savior it is possible to diligently follow your heart and be completely, perfectly and utterly wrong. If we don’t have the spirit of God ruling our hearts—which is given to us when we are born again—we will not be obedient to God. And even with all of our good intentions we will follow our fleshly, natural desires, never coming close to pleasing God.

“…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8)

Our hearts are submissive to the world view. We react to what is going on around us, pressed on every side to fit in with what is normal or seemingly necessary. Our desires and wants for our children and families become a reflection of what the world deems right and necessary—the way spend our money and time, our view of political and social issues, the way we love and seek to be loved. We become the walking billboard of the self-absorbed and progressive view of the world in which we live, rolling with the order just to keep up.

When we seek God with this heart it is not a reflection of his will but our own. God allows us to choose, of course, but it doesn’t mean he will be a participant or an approver in our wrong choices, even when our hearts are hungry for it.

Shining the Light on our Desires

But you say, what about us who are born again? What about those who desperately want to please God? God speaks to our spirit and in our innermost man we know what God knows. But even as born again believers our soul is often bent towards the world’s belief. If our desires don’t fall in line with the Word of God, they can be just as undesirable as that of someone who is not walking with God. Even as Christians we often absorb what we see, feel, and experience, and live out of this fleshly nature. We become prone to the same desires as the world, seeking to satisfy a longing that can only satisfied by a true and intimate relationship with God.

How do we change our heart’s desire?

We change by renewing our mind with the word of God. We find out God’s take on things and line our thinking up with his way—even if we feel something differently. We remember that he knows best.

It’s funny, but looking back at my life only five years ago it’s amazing how my desires changed as I sought a closer relationship with God. For so long, I was bent on a plan that I thought suited me. When I reexamined many of my desires they sought to look the part of someone I thought I needed to be. Many of them were prideful and self-serving based on deep-rooted insecurities and fears.

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

When we seek intimacy with God and truly set out to know and do his will not only will our desires change but we will begin to receive what we ask for because we are in alignment with His purpose and plan for our lives. His desires become our desires and his plan becomes plain.

 

 

 

Why Ignorance isn’t Bliss

Why Ignorance isn’t Bliss

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Is. 54:10, NIV)

I like a story that is so intriguing that it keeps you in the moment. It’s that story that can’t be easily broken by way of predictable plot twists and tired story lines. But it enraptures you and the writer leads you down the unknown path. It is those times that you trust the story, trust wherever it is headed. You are willing to follow.

We can’t live in those moments in real life which is why we look forward to them when we are allowed to escape reality.

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In the real world we are expected to face the truth about tragedy and disaster, dishonesty and impending doom, responsibilities and change. We are expected to talk election, figure out the best candidate and make the right choice. We count on each other to make the proper decisions based on what we know. And many times it is too much. The burden weighs on us, sapping our energy and spirit, leaving us jaded, confused and looking for a way out. We turn to ways to open the preverbal door of altered reality—and it comes in many forms.

It sometimes escapes us that there is a God who cares and who has purposely not equipped us to carry such weight. The doom we fear is to be averted. It is through prayer and relationship that we find peace and direction on what to do when we don’t know what to do. When we forget the source of our hope we forsake our solid foundation, our guiding light, our eternal beacon. We can live blissfully, not because we live in ignorance, but because of what we do know.

What do we do while we’re waiting for Change?

What do we do while we’re waiting for Change?

Waiting sometimes feels like wandering in darkness—seeking the light. We’ve prayed about change we feel it on the horizon and then…and then…nothing. It’s like God put up the preverbal finger and said, “Wait here, I’ll be with you in a moment.” What do we do while we are waiting on change?

 

don't grow weary

Be diligent and faithful in your present situation. Sometimes we become frustrated during those periods of quietness. In our restlessness we complain, withdraw our integrity, become weary and convince ourselves we will do better when something better comes along.

 

Walking in the darkness

We forget that God says”… Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, (HCSB-Col. 3:23). And that doesn’t just mean working like a boss at that dream job, but it means bringing that same enthusiasm to that ‘dead-end’ job, to that place of work where you feel undervalued, underappreciated; it is bringing it 100 percent to that job that you absolutely detest. When God has us in a holding place it is the perfect place—for now—withdrawing our diligence can delay our progress. When we become unfaithful, it dishonors God and makes waiting difficult, if not impossible.

Remember the last thing God instructed you to do and do it

We are always looking for something new—a fresh idea, a new venture—it gives off the sensation that life is moving, and progressing. But often new is not what we need. We need to pick up where we left off.

Do you remember when you got bored and uncomfortable with the path He’d placed you on and you decided you’d try something else? You were sick of hearing about the success and progress of others—new positions, promotions and acquisitions; there were the constant invites to friends’ and family members’  grand openings, baby showers and weddings and then of course there were the Facebook posts and Instagram pics. You thought I’ve got to be doing something wrong.  I must have missed it.

You walked away from it–quietly step away and into something more intense, interesting, easier, faster, and less humiliating–something that promised quick success only…it didn’t bring much of anything except a different spin on your ongoing frustration.

It is during times like these that God is testing a couple of things:

  • Obedience to Him
  • Trusting Him in what He has assigned you to do

Remember it was about 15 years between the time Samuel anointed young David as king and the time he finally begin to reign over the tribe of Judah. Preparation takes time and if your heart isn’t ready you aren’t ready.

Remember the last thing God told you to do. Are you doing it? Are you doing it with integrity? Well, keep doing it. He knows exactly where you are.

Stop Complaining

Complaining sabotages everything for which we work. Again, we read in the Word, “Do all things without murmuring and disputing.” (KJV 2000 Phil. 2:14) Complaining produces energy that is counterproductive to the results we want. It’s like putting bad gasoline in your car. It’s not going to perform as it should no matter how hard you press on the gas pedal.

Believe it or not complaining gives off negative energy and draws to us the exact opposite of what we want. Contrary to what we have heard expecting the worse in hopes we’ll get the opposite doesn’t work. The Word also tells us whatever we sow we reap. It we are constantly speaking negativity guess what we’ll get in return? Speak what you want and what He has promised you. Fill the atmosphere with positive words. Declare what God’s Word says about what you’re going through—and his Word always affirms His goodness.

Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing. The only one that can keep you from getting to there is you. Pressures may come but God has provided everything you need to make it. Take hold of the tools and resources. Renew your inner man daily. But whatever the cost, don’t give up.

Trust God. We trust that he has heard our prayers and that he cannot and will not forget or forsake us. It is His word. It does not change. When the world around us seems uncertain, His help and His presence are certain. You can count on it.

Bombard the Darkness with Light

Bombard the Darkness with Light

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

When I was a kid my mother would say, “What happens in this house, stays in this house.” It was our family’s mantra. It was a theme so instilled until it was no longer a house rule, but a way of living. And even when things started to fall apart, it was ingrained in us to keep mum. When sexual molestation invaded our family unit there was never a question as to whether we would tell someone. We would not. We had become prisoners of our own beliefs. And so for years it went on devastating me and my sister while my parents quietly went on with their lives. And by the time they found out the damage, psychologically had been done to my sister. Somehow I survived only minimally scathed.

Darkness is a powerful force. It is where the spiritual evils live. They don’t lurk here or ease around here they run rampant and free, thriving, feeding off of secrecy and shame and fear—all elements of the dark universe. They unabashedly assault and torment those who are too ashamed to tell and those too fearful to share. They torment best, when in their element.

What is interesting about the story of the woman with the issue of blood as that she came to Jesus secretly. Her plan was to simply touch the hem of his garment, get healed and keep moving. But Jesus called her out, openly, publicly. He stopped in his tracks to give full attention to this woman who had suffered in silence for so long. There was no shame in her affliction because Jesus had come for people just like her! But legalistically she wasn’t even supposed to be seen in public. But the healer had come. The deliverer was here. The law was being fulfilled. No need to hide. No need to feel unworthy.

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, (Col. 1:13)

Right now, my daughter is dealing with depression. We are praying and standing on the Word of God for healing and wholeness. When I first found out, my initial instinct was to do as I’d been taught to do from an early age—down play it and deal with it on a very private level. Listen, my friend Satan’s plan is to assault you privately and watch you suffer publicly. To tread gingerly is to battle in the devil’s realm. To keep quiet or low key out of shame is to walk on the same grounds as he.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen. 2:25)

 

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Shame represents a sin consciousness; it is laid upon us by the enemy. It is a condemning vice which represents blame. Adam and Eve did not know shame until they had a sin consciousness and this was of course after they’d eaten of the forbidden fruit. The book of Revelation calls Satan, “accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10). But Jesus defeated sin by the blood he shed. We no longer carry the guilt and shame of sin. We are free! Therefore we must resist this shame with the Word of God. It is not ours to handle or hold. And once we annihilate the shame we can use our weapons to wage this war confident that we will win.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (II Cor. 10:4)

 

Calling others who understand the power of prayer and are using those same weapons is a way to seriously assault and slay the enemy’s plan. You may have faith. You may be able to pray quite well—so can I. But I know others who can and will agree with me. You cannot have too much faith or too much prayer. My plan is to bombard heaven with the prayers of faith. This doesn’t mean that everyone in your neighborhood has to know everything that is going on in your household. You don’t even have to announce it to the entire church congregation. It simply means, with the leading of God, reaching out to others, with whom you can share your situation.

You see I’m completely vested in my child—spiritually, physically and mentally and it can be trying. Others will be vested with concentrated effort—all out spiritually warfare. The enemy is serious about his attack and we must be likewise about ours. We have all been given a measure of faith. We can use it for ourselves as well as others.

Brooding quietly in darkness waiting for relief is not the answer. There are believers who are willing and waiting to intercede on your behalf. Although there is darkness, the light of Christ cannot stand against it.

 

 

When You Share Your Faith

When You Share Your Faith

When we talk about sharing our faith many of us get visions of Bible-waving believers or John the Baptist messengers preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. But at the end of the day no one cares how many Bible verses you can quote or how many inspirational phrases you tweet. And on the other hand many of us don’t even bother talking about God at all at the fear of being off putting or too much.

Be a Doer

But the sharing of your faith is most effective in the demonstration of your faith. At its core, at its foundation it is simply about sharing the love of God. And that always takes action in which we connect with someone else.

His love covers the gamut of good deeds and heart felt dealings. It can be as simple as texting a co-worker to say “you are in my prayers”. It could be listening attentively as stranger shares personal information with you—people are crying out to be heard. It is offering hope instead of exchanging instances about how hard things are, how this country is doomed, or comparing illnesses and family drama. It is demonstrating the peace of God and the love of a Father.

You see when we speak in Christianese or try to convince people that we are good church going folk we are at that moment like the long line of believers who go through the symbolic motions of being typically religious. It is boring and ineffective. It is mediocrity in its purest.

When we demonstrate our faith it is a reminder to the cynical, non-believer, the hurting, the doubtful that there is yet hope for mankind because there is a God of love that is real and he is long-suffering. Good things do happen. God loves us and yes he answers prayers.

Every time we behave as the world does we reaffirm what many already believes—mankind is eternally lost and the God above isn’t doing much about it. When you demonstrate your faith you plant that seed of goodness. Another will come along and water with a word of God. Perhaps another will cultivate with an invitation to church or some event. But it starts with your seed. Your seed opens up the heart of someone who may have stopped believing that there is a good God.

Love without action

Demonstration of our faith can be a moment or singular action but it is also a lifestyle. As we walk in love, our demonstration becomes as natural and as much a part of us as our accent or eye color. It becomes woven into our DNA because it is who we are.

In one passage of scripture Jesus said:

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works.” (John 14:11, MSG)

Others may not believe what you say, but they believe what you do. And that is demonstrated in and through us every moment of every day.