2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Dinner over. Dishes done. House quiet as all my people head off to find a place to digest and decompress left just me and the little dog staring at each other in the kitchen. The very clean kitchen within the pristine house after more than a week of scouring and purging. Every closet gone through and each cabinet in order, it looks like when we first moved in. Change is coming. No, change is here. In my peaceful resolve within my exhausted frame, compelled to take a walk and talk to the Lord, I grab the little dog harnessing her in and set off in the twilight as evening comes. She is more than happy to oblige.
The cul-de-sac was perfect. With five kids of our own, many days it was filled with more than ten to fifteen children at a time. Playing kickball and learning to ride bikes. Shooting hoops and tossing the baseball. The children have grown up for the most part and many moved away. We are moving. Today a sign will be placed in our front yard and the house that has blessed us so much readied for another family. As I kept walking, rounding the corner and up the hill, I am reminded of the emotion, elation and sheer excitement as the Lord unfolded His Plan all those years ago. Overwhelmed by His Goodness and Grace as a young couple with five small children that we were able to achieve our dream. The model home that captured our attention was sold long ago, but still looks as it did back then. Our home is different. In our hearts, we longed for a craftsman-style home, and to our complete and utter surprise ours would be the only one built in the area. The Lord knows our heart’s desire. We have had many wonderful days in this place and many challenging ones, too. Three little birds have left the nest. Another now driving and our last one a teen. Times are changing along with our heart’s desire.
Yes, I am a bit nostalgic and somewhat taken back how quickly things can change in life. Time goes by and we all find that yesterday’s dream now fulfilled or the promise made good is the past and we long for the future. People definitely mellow with age. The change that I am after is not to be matured and seasoned to the point of hiding away in the country until the Lord calls me home. No, I am challenged to move, grow and develop into the place and person that Jesus Christ called me to be. When the Lord is ready to change us, He generally moves us from our comfort zone and out of complacency with this call to action. No longer content with how things are, used to be or the direction that they care heading – our heart is motivated for more. God is not interested in saving us, healing us, delivering us and just leaving us in His Spirit’s Safekeeping until He comes. No, the Lord wants to move us from Glory to Glory. Though our bodies are aging and progressively dying away, we can be renewed day by day in His Presence. We cannot stay where we are and remain the same yet still expect His Glory to find us. His Goodness and Unfailing Love pursue us as we move through life, at some point we must respond and be captivated by it to experience the Promises, Potential and Purpose for which we are created.
Sometimes faith can feel like insanity except for the Mind of Jesus. The things we do because of belief in the unseen reality of the Living God often seem crazy and a bit extreme to other people who do not understand. One experience with Jesus in His Presence to hear His Word and watch it come to pass will make it impossible to ever be satisfied outside of the Lord ever again. My heart longs for the things hidden in Eternity naturally because God put it there. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) It is that thing that drives our dreams, fuels our passions and whispers there is more to life than this every monotonous day. As the Lord moves closer, keeping His Promise to renew us day by day, our heart changes. Our spirit, too. In the longing to align our life with the Lord abiding in His Presence – we discover that He does not change but we do. To be like Him, we must desire what He desires. Do what He says. In becoming like the Lord, we are moved. He stays the same. He is sovereign and unchanged by the tests of time or the rebelliousness of His Children. His Love is the same. His Grace is sufficient.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Where is your treasure today? There is where you will find your heart. Our heart is fickle. It can waver and wander if left to its own devices. Passion is a heartfelt emotion that has the power to propel us uncontrollably through life if not bridled and contained by purpose. Passion possess a fire that must be maintained. It must have an enduring flame with an appropriate supply to continue to endure after the initial lighting. Too many times, we give up when things don’t appear to be panning out as we would like them to or as quickly as we think that they should so we abandon our dreams. The dream you have been given is from the purpose that God placed inside of you. It lingers as the Lord waits for you to pick it back up and add desire with a good dose of passion to it. The only way that our potential will not be realized or our purpose left unfilled is our inability to accept change and unwillingness to leave our comfort zone.
There are many reality shows on television where people risk life and limb forsaking all dignity just for bragging rights. There is no cash prize except maybe some future exposure. Many will lay their entire life on public display just to be noticed. It is sad. Truly, sad. My life is no longer my own. I gave it away. Not until I had made a complete and total mess of it, but then gladly and willingly handed it to Jesus. As promised, He began to knit together a beautiful life from all the broken pieces. On many occasions, I have taken it back intent to finish the Work that Christ began in me. Only to discover as I crawled back into His Presence that it was never me, but the Christ who lived within me that was my power, purpose and strength. So now, as I begin to rifle through my possessions, get rid of things no longer wanted, needed or used, discard the things well past their prime, and look at the perfect house filled with imperfections from being lived in, I am aware of the change that the Lord has produced in my heart. I am not sad in letting go. But ready to move on. Why? I have had a change of heart.
2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NKJV)
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
I have a cousin who is a major league baseball player. If I mentioned his name, any baseball fan would know of him. He is a pitcher. But this isn’t about him, it is about Jesus. When he walks on the mound, he looks at home plate and watches the catcher who will begin to signal certain pitches according to the next batter up. If he likes the pitch, he nods affirmatively. If he doesn’t he will, wave it off until he is satisfied. I think we do that we the Lord many times. He will instruct us to do something. Encourage us to try. Lead us to something far greater but we wave it off like a bad pitch sure that we think our way is better. When the enemy seems to score against us, we look back at God like he is to blame when it was our unwillingness to trust and obey that caused our dilemma in the first place. The pitcher has confidence in his catcher and his discernment. It is the job of the pitcher AND catcher to be in educated concerning their opponent and in sync with the game plan.
God has placed a great light in the darkness and His Name is Jesus. Jesus gave you His Spirit so you have the spark that will become a fiery passion, if you choose to stir it up and fuel it with faith. God put the desire in this young man’s heart to play baseball for His Glory. Yes, I believe that every dream and desire is directly related to God’s Will for our life made to produce His Glory. When our passion and purpose is to serve the Lord, holding nothing back, our life becomes a platform. The tests and trials of life will burn away those things that stand between us and fulfillment. This particular ballplayer had his career immediately sidetracked by injury. The world was watching him based on his promise and potential until he got hurt. He was left behind and seemingly forgotten in the minor leagues hidden in the south. The stir died down to the next great graduate. However, when the Major League team ran out of pitchers due to plethora of injuries, guess who got called up? God has placed a purpose inside you that no matter how far suppressed keeps coming back up. What once was a dream becomes a nightmare as it plays over and over in our heart and mind. Why is there no release? It’s simple. God’s Word will never return to Him void. He sent it out with purpose tucking it deep inside our heart and it will not return to Him without accomplishing what it set out to do. (Isaiah 55:11) In the same chapter, the Lord always reminds us that His Ways are not our ways and His Thoughts so much higher. This is the very same God who will do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can even think to ask. (Ephesians 3:20)
Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I love this verse. Today, if you are unfulfilled, dissatisfied or frustrated with your life, it is time for a change. God is perpetually changing us from the inside out which stirs and renews the passionate desires and dreams hidden in our heart. But since we cannot see the Lord, we must have faith in what He tells us and see Him through His Word. If it sounds too big, too much or too hard – it usually has His Name written all over it. But I think the most important thing to know in every change, intent and motivation of life is that God wants to give us a new heart and new spirit day by day from Glory to Glory as we endure until the end are saved. We evaluate our choices by our bank account because that is where our treasure lies. We decide our future based on the temporary circumstances called to today. We commit to spend the priceless commodity of time on worthless things. But the Lord presses us, prods us, and provokes us to change beginning with our very fickle and human heart that becomes comfortable and complacent unwilling to change.
Proverbs 13:12-13 (NKJV)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
Discontentment is not a fruit of God’s Spirit but produced by human expectation. We think we know what will make us happy or satisfy our soul, but when it comes it is fleeting. I have experienced miracles from God and still want more even though I know to experience miracles the impossible must exist. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Longing overtakes us. Impatience goads us to just move on. Doubt begins to rise up to get us moving again. Our kids would challenge each other to see who could hold their breath the longest under water. They would get in the pool and test themselves over and over again. Our lungs are made with elasticity that expands and contracts with air. The more they practiced the better they got. This was a personal challenge. No one told them to do it, they just wanted to win or be the best against their sibling. Passion is driven by our cause. What is your cause today? What is Jesus whispering you to do that you are waving off like a bad pitch? “Lord, I don’t have time. I am doing all these other things. I must work to provide for our family. I have to take the kids to ball practice or dance class. Lord, I am just too busy to pursue my passion, potential and purpose in You.” Do you find yourself in one of these statements or maybe all of them?
When desire comes it is a tree of life. Take it from someone who not too long ago, gave up. Put my sword down. Slowly backing away from God’s Call on my life to fade into the gray area of compromise, complacency and comfort. I fought the battle. We won the war. I was weary and tired and didn’t fancy fighting ever again. The price was just too high. I slowly began to fall apart until finally the Lord could overtake me in my weakness gathering all the broken pieces of my heart and give me a new one. As my new heart began to beat, purpose and potential came out. My spirit rose up adjusting my attitude and actions. Now it is time to change, it begins with a new heart. It will always require change. Has the dreamcrusher taken your passion from you today? Do you want it back? King Jesus will gladly snatch it from him returning it to you. But He will not leave you like you were before but He will also revive, restore and renew your heart, mind and spirit to make His Glory come to pass in your life? Ask the Lord today for a new heart and new mind. You were made for more than ordinary but to do extraordinary things. The possible does not dictate your future but the impossible defines your faith producing a tree of life.
Psalm 20:4-5 (NKJV)
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.