Old Faithful

This past weekend was one of the most fulfilling weekends I’ve had in a very long time. They were full of wonderful friends, fantastic adventures, new people, warm conversation, and joyous hope for the future. Saturday morning I attended a beautiful baby shower for my dear friend Santana and her husband. After I left the shower, I was blushing with excitement. It was a beautiful afternoon with perfect, sunny weather. I wanted to be romanced, so I turned to the One who loves me most. I decided to see a movie and spend time driving around talking to Jesus. I ended up driving to a department store and meandered inside for a bit.

I’m a simple girl, but for some reason I found myself drawn to the jewelry section. This is usually unlike me. However, I began to glance at the rings and admire their shining magnificence. As my eyes scanned the selection, a certain beauty commanded my attention. I reached for it and read the inscription around the silver band. Believe. I slipped the ring onto my thumb and it was a perfect fit.

ring

Tears sprang to my eyes as I admired the ring on my finger. I felt the spirit of God amplifying lessons and examples of his faithfulness in my life over the course of the last two months. He has been steady, loving and correcting me unconditionally. As memories of his faithfulness swirled through my mind, I felt a strong impression that he wanted me to use this ring as a reminder. My life has been on a calculated ascent ever since I began to dare to believe all that God says about me and all that he says I am. That’s how salvation begins for us all, when we decide (as a response to God’s awakening, not our own doing) to believe he is true and good. Yet, I knew that this thing was to be a reminder for me everyday to consciously decide to believe God on a consistent basis.

  • I believe Jesus is enough for today

I am fully persuaded that all that I need in life is in and flows from my precious Jesus. There is no real fulfillment outside of having a personal relationship with a God who brought me from death to life. There is no room for discontent in my life because Jesus is the source of all of my satisfaction. Does this mean that we don’t need money, friends or family? No! This simply means that we should understand all we need–all things good–comes from him. Therefore, he is my Superior Pleasure above all other things. As long as Jesus is on the throne, we shall never face a day that isn’t full of hope in him.

  • I believe God is for my good

Every good thing comes from God and God does not withhold good things from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). Not only do I believe that God does good things, but that he wants good things for me more than I want them for myself! Consequently, I can rest and trust his timing, his placement, and even his delay because I know he will come through for me.

  • I believe I am loved and accepted

I am not a mistake. God decided (it was in his perfect, detailed plan!) to create a woman who looks like me, smiles like me, laughs like me, thinks like me, loves like me. I am a purposeful, hand-stitched creation that God yearned to see in the world so that I could bring him glory and impact people for his kingdom. I am accepted and loved by God. It doesn’t matter who else has beautiful hair, a nice smile, or even who can write better than me. This world has space and a need for my particular personality, my particular words, my particular influence. Be grateful for the person God made you to be because it doesn’t matter how many people you think look, work, learn, or perform better than you do… God has a sphere of people and lives that only you can touch. You are special. You are loved. You are important. You are needed. You make a difference.

Blinking back tears, I took the ring to the register and paid the cashier. I find myself staring at it often and remembering that I do believe God in all these areas of my life and more. It’s not always been easy, but it’s worthwhile to trust a God who cannot fail.

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Psalm 85:10-11, ESV

I love how the people of God declare that love and faithfulness are friends and righteousness and peace are intimate. It’s a beautiful picture of the goodness of God and the wonderful life he offers us. When I read this passage, my heart swelled. This depiction of faithfulness flooding from the ground like a geyser and righteousness shining down from the heavens creates an image of the earth being an incubator of the goodness of God.

Photo Credit: Andreas Tille, Creative Commons

With such a beautiful, biblical description of God’s faithfulness erupting from the ground, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the infamous geyser in Yellowstone Park is named Old Faithful. Nature in all its magnificence only scratches at the surface of the awe-inspiring glory of God.  Everywhere our feet trod is covered in faithfulness; everywhere the sun beams light and heat radiates in righteousness. What a picturesque truth! The faithfulness of God is inescapable. It’s who he is and it’s all around us.

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Keep Thy Heart

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23, KJV

I love the Word of God! I love that the words are God-breathed and that they have life. When I turn the pages, Life is speaking back to me, beckoning me to encounter its truths. I read sundry versions of the Bible, my favorites being the Amplified and English Standard Version translations. However, there are times when I must return to my roots and dig into my dependable King James Version.

I was reading some interesting tweets from my mentee,  Nathalie, about how she plans to guard her heart. I was inspired and thought that I should share my thoughts on what I think it means to guard your heart. Guarding our hearts is a concept and phrase that is traditionally overused yet misunderstood. I whipped out my handy-dandy Dictionary for a better understanding, and I discovered two important facets.

1. Keep Thy Heart

I find it intriguing that the KJV says to keep—not guard—your heart. Now, in order to keep something, you have to have first received it into your possession. Whatever is “kept” is something that was given to you. If we look in the verses before Proverbs 4:20-22, it reads:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

We can see that there are things within our heart that should be kept, not just our emotional feelings alone. God wants us to keep His words hidden in our heart. Our hearts serve as the womb of the Word; just as an expectant mother would protect her stomach from external assault or carefully choose what food to consume, so must we be mindful of the Word we are carrying in our spiritual wombs.

2. Guard Your Emotions

Imagine you are a prison guard and you are responsible for the night watch to guard a detained prisoner in his cell. He is guilty of the most heinous crimes that could ever be committed. He has stolen, murdered, abused, cheated, raped, kidnapped, and robbed so many innocent people. The trail of broken people left in his past appears to be endless; he is greatly feared. You are the sole prison guard in charge of keeping this man detained, and ensuring he doesn’t attempt to escape under your nose. You know the world is safer while he is off the streets, so you don’t dare take your eyes off of him for a second. If he were to escape, the possibilities of evil are infinite.

That man represents the fickle emotions in our hearts—evil and deceiving. The prison guard is our spirit man. Our spirit should be diligent, as the Bible says, in holding our hearts (emotions) in custody because if the evil tendencies of the heart escapes, then there are no limits to the horrors that could occur. Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) says,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Guarding our hearts has a lot to do with guarding our emotions under a watchful eye. The same intensity and seriousness we would approach guarding a serial killer is the the same way we should keep our deceitful emotions away. If we allow our emotions to run rampant in our relationships, friendships, or businesses, we would wreak havoc that could cause mass destruction. Does this mean we should never allow our emotions to be displayed? Not so! God created our emotions.  However, we should be intentional about allowing the Word (keep thy heart) to wash and cleanse our emotions until our heart is transformed to look like Jesus.

My prayer is that we will receive the Word, keep the Word, and use it to combat our ungodly emotional tendencies. May our deepest desires please Him. May He wreck us and make our hearts brand new. May He transform us and give us hearts like His. May Holy Spirit control my emotions in every aspect. May our hearts your home, Jesus.