Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How to Keep Your Way Pure

As I studied Psalm 119:1-24, I came across a question I wanted an answer to. Verse nine says, "How can a young man keep his way pure?"

Some of us (like me) may not be young any more, but if we belong to God he has given us a desire to remain pure. The second part of this verse answers the question: "By living according to your (God's) word.

Well, How exactly do you live according to your word, LORD? Through the Psalmist, God speaks a perfect and complete "how to" list in verses 10-16. God tells us to:
  1. Seek me with all of your heart.
  2. Ask me to help you not stray from my commands.
  3. Hide my word in your heart-memorize Scripture. It will help you not to sin against me.
  4. Start your day with praise and pray for me to teach you my decrees.
  5. Speak my Holy word back to me in prayer.
  6. Rejoice in obedience as one who rejoices in great riches.
  7. Meditate on my precepts.
  8. Consider the ways I work in the world.
  9. Delight in my decrees.
  10. Don't neglect my word, ever.

This simple list of how to remain pure sums up how a Listening Heart lives each day. I would love to share my resources with you, to help you meditate on God's Holy word, memorize Scripture, and more. Please leave a comment on how to contact you and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Always Listen, Susan

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Listening Heart Obeys the Greatest Commandment

Some of what you read in this blog will be a journal from my daily prayers and some from my manuscript awaiting publication called, THE LISTENING HEART: YOUR GUIDE TO SPENDING TIME ALONE WITH GOD HEARING HIS LIFE-CHANGING VOICE. Today, you are reading an excerpt.

". . . Love the Lord you God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30).

One day during my quiet time I point blank asked the Lord, “What does it mean to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength?” “Help me understand why loving you is a command.”

As I meditated on loving God, more questions came to mind like, “Why the breakdown?” “Why do we have to love you with our hearts? Our souls? Our minds? Our Strength?” The Promise Keeper kept his promise given in Psalm 21:2. He granted the desire of my heart and did not withhold the requests I made.

I began my search for answers. God spoke to my heart through Scripture I found while looking up the key words of his greatest commandment in my concordance. During my exploration he answered every question.
  • Our hearts are known as our center, our central core. In the time of Moses, the tabernacle, symbolizing the presence of God, was commanded by God to be arranged in the center of the 12 tribes of Israel (see Numbers 2). To obey God by loving him with all of our hearts means to place God at the center of our being and lives.
  • Our souls are the part of us that live forever. They are made in God’s image (see Genesis 2:7 and 1:26). To obey God by loving him with all of our souls means our lives are set on God’s purposes, which are eternal.
  • Our minds are full of thoughts, good and bad. To obey God by loving him with all of our minds means to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. And we are to cleanse our minds continually with his word (see 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 and Ephesians 5:26).
  • Our strength comes from our physical bodies. To obey God by loving him with all of our strength means we are to surrender our bodies, which were bought by God’s Son for a heavy price, to his service (see Mark 10:43 and 1 Corinthian 6:20).

And then I just so happened to be reading a devotional called, Through the year with Francis of Assisi: Daily Meditations from his Words and Life. In one of the daily devotions he was praying the Lord’s Prayer back to God. He wrote: “. . . Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” that we may love you with our whole heart by always thinking of you; with our whole soul by always desiring you; with our whole mind by directing all our intentions to you and seeking your honor in all things; with all our strength by spending all the powers and senses of body and soul in the service of your love and not in anything else.

If we open our hearts, souls, minds, and strength to love God and allow God to love us with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, we would remain constantly amazed each and every day. I have.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not so good days

Have you ever had one of those days when you just felt like nothing? When you didn't want to do anything and you surely didn't feel confident or have a positive attitude about anything? I'm in my second day of it. I asked God, "Am I really supposed to start my blog and a down note?" But it doesn't really matter how we feel about things, God remains on his throne, operating the universe with mercy and grace. He even speaks when our attitude and thoughts are not where they should be. This morning he even made me smile when I didn't think I could.

Not working on my study, the only thing I could handle this morning was my daily reading (I read the Bible through every year). During my last reading of the day in Psalm 40, I began to perk up. . . I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. . . I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly. . . I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. . . . Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.

Through this up and down Psalm, God tells us that like David, we are going to have days where even though we know the truth of God's word, we still feel like we are in a pit. I smiled when I read verse 6: but my ears you have pierced (or opened). Yes LORD, you open ears and I thank you for speaking to me, especially when I am poor and needy (vs 17). You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay (vs 17). Listening to you sets my feet on a rock and gives me a firm place to stand (vs 2). Your truth cleanses me and lifts me up. Amen.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The mighty voice of the LORD

I have started this blogspot to invite you to come along with me on a fantastic journey of hearing the magnificent voice of God. Although God’s voice is inaudible, he speaks loud and clear in many ways—to name a few, through creation, our pastors, other Christians, and the most reliable, his Holy word. God’s word says:

“The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Psalm 29:3-5, 7-11

If you are anything like me, you need his strength and desire his peace. Spend some time with him and his word, charge your spiritual battery, and go through your day strong, with his peace and calmness.

Always Listen, Susan

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Listening Heart

Not long ago, God reminded me of the time he planted a listening seed in my heart. Rummaging through a junk drawer, I had come across a gift—a small piece of cross-stitched art—that I had received soon after this prodigal had returned home. A found treasure, the yellowed cloth stitched in red held a precious promise open to all: “God’s voice still speaks to the listening heart.”

After God opened my heart, I decided to “come” and spend quality time alone with him in prayer and Bible study. He not only caused my soul to live, but gave me a burning desire to share what this awesome living is all about. This life is not without trouble, but a life of genuine love, strength, purpose, and more excitement than one could ever imagine.

One of the journey’s perks is being part of many lives who, like me, desire to hear God’s magnificent voice. We love, care for and encourage each other and are Jesus-with-skin-on for one another, in good times and bad. The listening heart possesses the key to soul satisfaction.