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Transforming our heart into the heart of God

About the author: Rob Leonard, national field director for Man in the Mirror, has helped numerous pastors and leaders create discipleship environments in their churches. Raised in Batavia, IL, Rob moved to Indiana at the age of 24 to attend and later graduate from Purdue University with a B.S. Degree in Building and Construction Management. He spent the next eight years working in residential land development and construction as a project manager. Rob loves most outdoor activities, including hunting, camping, and vacationing on the beach with his wife, Michelle. He currently resides in Noblesville, Indiana.

Today's Scripture: Psalm 37:3-8

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wrestled some with adapting to and adopting a new way of life since March. In so doing, these verses have really come to life for me as I try to lean more into God than on what I can do through my own strength. 

The Psalmist begins talking about giving us the desires of our heart, this is not prosperity theology to be sure! We cannot just petition God for whatever we want and he gives it to us. This is not how it works. However, from more than 7,000 of his promises in the Word, they are true for every one of us when our hearts desire God above anything else. Then he begins a transformative work in us. Our desires become keenly turned from selfish want to wanting what he has for us and others. There are conditions precedent though and if we meet those, he is faithful to do what he promises. Those conditions:

  • Do not fret, worry or have anxiety
  • Trust in the Lord – have complete confidence in our Good Shepherd
  • Do good and be obedient to him
  • Dwell in the land and feed on his faithfulness (When we’re surrendered and abiding, we’re living in the Kingdom on earth)
  • Commit our way
  • Rest in the Lord and wait patiently (Don’t focus on time but be patient; God’s timing is perfect)
  • Do not be angry 

If we concern ourselves with meeting these conditions, our heart transforms into the heart of God and he can then better use us to prosper the Kingdom in so many ways. 

Since our world has been shaken up over the past two months or so, the hardest part of this for me has been verse 7–Be still and wait patiently. I’m sure I’m not the only one struggling with this. I want to go and do. It’s uncomfortable to not be able do what I want, when I want to. But as I push into him and try to be faithful to do this, he is teaching me that my priorities have been off base. When I try to live out of my own strength and desire, I tend to operate in a world of chaos, so to speak, which leads to a lack of capacity or peace in my life to do the things God wants me to do. My focus shifts to myself more and more and less and less to his desire for me.

So, while this has been a difficult time, it has also been richly rewarding in that my relationship continues to deepen with my Father and my heart turns ever more towards him and the PERFECT plan he already has for my life.

Let your heart turn to him and your desires become his as well and he will then give those to you!

Prayer:

Lord,
Thank you for who you are and for modeling your faithfulness to me! You can do nothing other than be faithful to who you are and that serves as a guide for how I’m to live my life, in total dependence on you. Help me to always surrender my will to your perfect one and all the promises you have for me when I do this. Thank you for giving me all that you do and not what I deserve.
In your name,
Amen

Posted by Rob Leonard with

Offering hope

About the author: Jason Chenoweth is the CEO of Outreach Inc. Outreach works with homeless youth and young adults between the ages of 14-24 years old. Each year around 500 young people are shown love, care, provided needed resources, and offered hope here in Indianapolis.

Hope is a powerful force in our world. The absence of it can rob a person or a community of its ability to withstand, to move forward, to persevere.  When hope flows freely we find unity, grace, and joy grow in equal measures. At Outreach, as we work each day with teenagers and young adults who are homeless, one of our primary goals is to offer hope.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” 

Hope is found in Christ. That hope comes from character being formed in us by Jesus. The character is a product of learning to endure. Endurance only comes from problems and trials. How we face our problems ultimately determines if the hope of Christ can be created in us. This means when we face difficult times and pain, we need to do three things. 

One, can we see the goal, the day and place where this current pain has been healed? Seeing the end result is so important. Secondly, can we see a path to that result? Can we see a way to get from the challenges of today to that better day yet to come? Third, do we believe we have the means to get there? Do we have what we need to make our way down that path?

It is on these three questions we can pray. If we can’t see the goal beyond this pain, ask God to show us. If we can’t see a way to get there, ask him to lay it out for us. If we think we are lacking, that we are not enough, ask Jesus to remind us of his love for us and that he is more than enough.

Prayer:

Jesus, today I want to ask for your help. I feel stuck. I believe the challenges I’m facing today are temporary. Can you show me where you and I are going? Will you show me the steps to take? Would you remind me that you’re strong exactly where I am weak? Thank you for giving me hope in this painful time.” 

 

Posted by Jason Chenoweth with

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