Tuesday, January 26, 2010

OPEN HEART SURGERY by James MacDonald

I want to share from my devotional, hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
Hebrews 3:7-8

I had heart surgery this week. Not the blood-pumping, valve-oriented, physical kind; my soul went under the scalpel that pierces the soul and judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The passage I was looking at was in Mark 4, the parable of the sower and soils. This story is about one thing - how the Word of God intersects a person's heart.

Jesus compares our hearts to different conditions of soil. The first is the hard heart: "These are the ones who are beside the road where the Word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and the Word which has been sown in them" (Mark 4:15, NASB). Maybe you can relate. Do you find yourself saying, "I read God's Word and an hour later I can't remember what it said"? Diagnosis: You have a hard heart. The soil is so packed down that as soon as the seed is sown, the enemy snatches it away.

"But how did my heart get so hard?" Consider these four ways:

The first way to harden your heart is to run. If when you feel convicted by God's Word you say, "I don't want this" and shut down, after a while your heart's going to get hard.

Another way to harden your heart is to deny what you hear. You know that God wants you to forgive people who hurt you, but you refuse to. Instead you carry around a bag of bitterness, denying or rationalizing why God's command doesn't apply to you.

Maybe your heart's distracted. You hear God's Word but you think about someone else who needs it instead.

But here's what concerns me most: sometimes your heart is hardened by apathy. You say "amen" in church or, "Yes, pastor, what you're teaching is true and we really need to hear it," but then you go out and do nothing about it.

How willing are you to receive truth and sort through whatever you have to in order to get to the parts that God would say to you? The test is how you respond to truth.

So if your heart is open, I encourage you to do a self-exam. Ask God to show you your heart's condition and give you insight into how you might grow. This kind of heart surgery brings healing and life. Receive the seed of God's truth; allow it to sink into the soft soil of a tender heart toward God.

Journal:

What's the condition of my heart? Hard? Distracted? Apathetic?

How willing am I to receive truth?

Prayer:

Lord, do what You must to break up the hard ground around my heart. Show me where I must humble myself and then help me to do it.

I want your healing and life inside of me. Thank You in advance for the fullness of Your Spirit alive in me. Amen.

By James MacDonald. Open Heart Surgery in Our Journey (November 2009).

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether,
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11

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