Monday, May 14, 2012

The power of a focused Heart

Last year, Ondrea received a prophetic picture while praying for me. In it, she saw my heart like a White horn - when I blew the horn, it had tremendous power to change things.  This means that when my heart is turned and focused intensely toward the Lord, there is great power and anything can happen!  The power of intercession and prayer are magnified when my heart is turned towards the Lord.  Prophetic words and energy can flow from my spirit when my heart is turned towards the Lord.  Just like a horn produces a sound, the energy that is produced from a focused heart is in harmony with the Lord's voice and purposes.  The horn also represents the multiplication of sound that occurs.  God multiplies power and energy when I pray or act in accordance with his desires and heart.  Even if I don't feel anything tangible, I can expect fruit and change when my heart is focused towards God. I love this prophetic picture because it is so clearly portrays a heart that is in union with the Lord's Heart.

I found it to be true that when I am able to keep my heart turned towards the Lord, my faith level soars.  I find it easier to avoid distractions and am full of anticipation for what the Lord is going to do.  When my heart is divided or distracted regarding earthly concerns, my faith level plummets and I find myself faithless, discouraged, and disheartened.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

When we inwardly turn our hearts toward the Lord, the veil is taken away.  We are able to see clearly and receive truth from God.  Conversely, when our hearts are turned away from the Lord, there is a veil keeping us from seeing clearly.  The veil keeps the light of his love and truth from our hearts.

Matthew 13:22
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

It is impossible to have a passionate, burning heart for the Lord when our lives are filled with distractions and wordly cares.  A heart that is focused on the Lord is in love with him and his words are meaningful to us.  We will hang on his every word and listen intently to his voice.  Similarly, when my heart is focused on my wife and I push out all distractions, my love for her intensifies.

Proverbs 4:23
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

This scripture is a basic principle of how life works that contains great truth. It is an ancient path, so listen carefully.  The eternal principle is this:  "Our hearts contain life, and that life is going to flow into something, so be careful what you let that life flow into."  If we allow the life in our hearts to flow out into things that God does not intend it to - we will have nothing left over to give to the things that are important.  It is imperative to "Watch over your heart", guarding diligently what you allow the life of your heart to flow into.  If we give our hearts over to our jobs, we will have nothing left to give to God or our families.  If we give our heart to making as much money as possible, the spring of life will run dry eventually.  If the life-flow of our hearts is not rooted in God and aligned with God's heart, that life in our heart will eventually run dry.

Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This scripture contains another, similar basic principle of life:  The flow of life from our hearts will be directed toward whatever we treasure.

This is why Jesus said we cannot serve two masters.  We will find it increasingly difficult when the flow of life from our heart is divided up into two separate streams.  One stream flowing into the things of the world, and the other stream flowing into the things of God.  We will find that when our hearts are intensely focused on the things of God, the worldly stream dries up.  Conversely, when our hearts are intensely focused on worldly things, the God stream dries up.  We cannot maintain two streams flowing in opposite directions!  It is pride and foolishness to think we can!  Believe me, I have tried it and failed from experience!

When we are united with God and our heart is turned towards him; when we have surrendered to him, his spirit can flow through us. Then, rivers of living water can flow through us as John 7:38 says  "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

On the practical side (help for when our heart isn't focused on the Lord):
I have found that is quite difficult to turn my heart toward God when I am believing lies about him.  Like the prodigal son, I believe the Father might be angry with me so that lie keeps me from turning to him and receiving the love and rest I so desperately need.  We need to renounce lies about God and receive the truth about his true nature and our true nature before we can have an open, honest heart that is turned towards him.  When we are believing lies or we are bound in sin, we will continue to hide and run from him.  We will build up walls of self-protection from him and from others.  It is important when we are in this place to call out to him for help.  I have also found it helpful to renounce lies and speak truth out loud and/or bring them to another person.  If there is sin, confess it to God and if necessary to anothe believer. When you do this, it breaks the hold of the lies and then you can be free to behold him with an unveiled face again.  I have found it helpful to ask my wife for prayer when I start to fall into the performance trap and feel my relationship with God beginning to slip.  Not only does it break the cycle in my head, it lets her know I have needs and weaknesses that she can be praying and encouraging me in.

I love in the movie "Seven days in Utopia", the main character is a golfer who had lived for nothing but Golf since he was a child.  Pushed hard by a Father driven to make him succeed, he finally breaks down and sees God's truth.  Here are the lies he wrote down and buried:

  1. My golf scores are a reflection of my self-worth.
  2. Failure in golf is failure in life.
  3. Success in golf will bring the fulfillment that I long for.
  4. My calling in life is to play golf.
  5. The opinions of others are paramount in the choices I make.
  6. God is a crutch for the weak.
  7. Tradition is sacred and never to be challenged
I have also found it helpful to prayerfully make a list of lies, then make another list of God's truth.  Here is a sample list that I wrote up about a year ago.

1. Lie - God is only available to me if I have been good enough today.  If I have prayed this morning, been nice to people and basically been perfect.
Truth - God is near to me, will flow through me, and is available to me at all times, whether I have been perfect or not.  In fact, I need him even more when I have failed.  Look at the Joy of the father when his prodigal son came home!

2. Lie - Tomorrow will be a better day.  Even though today is really screwed up, a good night's sleep and some time will fix things.  I can't approach God today so I must resign myself to failure and misery today.
Truth - God works Today!  If I turn my heart and repent now, God will meet me now!  I don't have to wait until tomorrow.  I can have a soft heart again now!  No day is too screwed up for God to redeem now!  Hebrews 3:7,8 - "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts"

3. Lie - I have screwed up too badly for God to save me. In fact, I am a screwed up person. I am a lost cause.  Who am I to enter God's presence and draw near to him.  He probably wants nothing to do with me now.
Truth - I am God's Son!  I am cleansed, forgiven, perfect, righteous, holy.  I can go boldly to God because I am in Christ!

4. Lie - I am a failure and will never rise above the mistakes I have made.  Things will continue the way they always have.  I am destined for defeat and failure all my days.  I will not succeed or accomplish anything of worth.
Truth - I can do all things through Christ.  I am more than a conqueror.  There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.  No failure is too great for God to redeem and change.  No cycle of defeat too deep for him to break.  I can and will move mountains and defeat giants by Faith.

5. Lie - I don't have what it takes to do what God is asking.  I'm not gifted enough, don't hear from God well enough, am not smart enough.  I'm too selfish and don't have the right personality or enough charisma.  I'm not a very good leader.
Truth - Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me!  I am complete in him.  I have all I need in him!  Galatians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, Having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
I choose to receive from God everything I need to be a blessing to others.  God has blessed me and will continue to pour out his love, gifts, wisdom, strength, provision, and care so I can pour out to the people around me!

I also created another similar list of lies/truth towards the end of this article.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Forever Yours

These are the words to a song that Ondrea got in prayer this morning.  We would like to set it to music.

Forever Yours
Let us consider carefully how we listen
Spirit speak
Open our hearts, leave nothing hidden
Spirit speak
As we listen You’ll make us to be your…

Lamp on a stand,
Lifeline to the lost,
Beacon in the storm,
Welcome to the house on the hill

Let us consider carefully how we listen
Consume us
Set our hearts on fire, burn away the chaff
Consume us
We long to glorify you Lord, make us your…

Lamp on a stand,
Lifeline to the lost,
Beacon in the storm,
Welcome to the house on the hill

We are forever yours,
Our life is forever yours