Working God’s Word Into My Heart

Luke 6:48-49  is a beautiful scripture that explains why some folks either don’t like to read the Bible or read it without joy while others can’t get enough of it.

“If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.” (The Message)

Studying the Bible is like self-examination. It’s wonderful when the Word works its way into my heart, but it’s terrible when over analyzed. The Word of God is the only literature that is literally alive. I have books I’ve read ten times or more, but there’s no comparing them to the Bible. As I began my study of Mark this week, I was reminded of how much I love his Gospel. I said the very same thing a few months ago when I went through the Gospel of John.

Every time I read Jeremiah, I am awed by the way the prophet’s poetry touches my heart. David’s psalms reach into my soul, break my heart, or lift my spirit depending upon where my heart is at the time of my reading. Revisiting a book of the Bible is like meeting an old friend. My love for them bubbles to the surface, and I cannot contain the emotion they stir up in my soul. Last Sunday, Pastor Jeff challenged us to read the Bible together this year. He asked that we not look at the challenge as a chore but rather as a way of getting closer to God. I had to grin because I’ve been there and knew just what he meant. I appreciate God’s Word more than ever before in my life and lose track of time when I’m in it.

To me, the Bible is a beautiful love letter read over and over until the pages grow soft and the ink fades. There is tragedy, pain, and hurt in the pages, but that’s what makes it real. Love isn’t about getting what I want; it’s about sharing the hurt and the joy with someone who hears my heart. God’s Word does that beautifully as it points to Christ’s precious love, a love so amazing and real that it takes my breath away. I marvel each time it works its way into my heart.

A friend told me today that the ladies in her Bible study discussed the fact that we might live to experience a time when our Bibles are taken away from us. I told her that isn’t a problem if the Word is in our hearts. It can’t be taken from my heart from anyone other than me. It isn’t the printed book I cling to but rather the healing Word that lives in my heart. The Holy Spirit gives the Word life. I have a relationship with God’s Word just as I have a relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God.

Arguing over what a passage means is the best way to keep God’s Word from taking root in my heart. I love the book “The Blue Parakeet” by Scott McKnight. In it, he discusses the ways in which the Bible has been picked apart by those who would use its precious words to promote their agendas. It’s like taking a love letter and breaking down the syntax or picking out grammar and spelling mistakes. That ruins everything. Jesus fulfilled the law and became the Word. He knows the Word intimately. He is my model when it comes to God’s Word. Satan knows God’s Word well, but he hasn’t allowed it to be worked into his heart. It’s all in his head, and that’s obvious in his encounters with Christ. He is the perfect example of using God’s Word to promote his personal agenda. God forbid that we ever follow his example!

Next time you read God’s Word, let it wash over you like a stream of living water. It sometimes cuts deeply into my heart, but it opens up a beautiful space each time it does. God’s Word isn’t always just what I want to hear, but it is always just what I need just when I need it.

I love that about it!

Working God's Word Into My Heart

One of a Kind Heart

How can I read Psalm 138 and not sing aloud to God. David had many faults, and so do I; but he loved God in a way that touched God’s heart, and I want to do the same. God doesn’t need perfect children; He simply wants to be loved. It’s what David wanted, and it’s what we all want.

“I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
 I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

 All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Lord,
When they have heard the words of Your mouth.
 And they will sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
 For though the Lord is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.

 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” NASB

God is Love, and my heart is a one of a kind creation designed especially by Him.  According to Reverso,”Designer clothes or designer labels are expensive, fashionable clothes made by a famous designer, rather than being made in large quantities in a factory.”  Designer labels are expensive, but they do not compare with a one-of-a-kind creation which is, according to dictionary.com, ” unique; pertaining to a singular example.”

A singular example perfectly describes my heart which is one of a kind and cannot ever be duplicated. If I had an identical twin with the exact same heart, mine would still be unique because hearts are more than simple cells put together to form an organ. My heart has nothing to do with the organ that shares its name. My heart is the part of me that will live on long after I am dead. It is at my very core and is what makes me, me. It longs to do what it was created to do – love and be loved by God and others.

God designed my heart to love Him, and He loved me first. That is a powerful truth when I hold it next to my heart. It gives me hope just as it gave David hope and will give my granddaughters and their granddaughters hope. That’s the beauty of a heart, and  I cannot help but sing out in thanksgiving when I wrap my heart around God’s love. Psalm 138 is a perfect example of just such thanksgiving. I hear David’s heart in a powerful way!

I’ve given my heart to those who have hurt it deeply, and I’ve hidden it away in fear. I’ve also known the feeling of love in its truest form, and that gives me a taste of what God has in store. True love is about sharing the truth with love, and no one is better than God when it comes to that. It makes me want to sing, and that’s the best sign that my heart is right where it needs to be:)

Glass Houses

The saying goes, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks.” I understand and agree with the lesson of the saw, but I think “People who live in glass houses don’t throw rocks” might be a better saying. Exposing my heart to others and allowing them to do the same, causes me to put down my rocks. Rocks come from brick barricades built to keep me from exposing myself to a world that might not understand or accept me. Facades work as well as brick buildings when it comes to hiding, and I’ve done more than my share of hiding behind both. I have also tossed a rock when threatened. Fear is behind all rock throwing, so those filled with fear don’t fare well in glass houses.

Glass houses represent openness and allow me to share my story and let others into my story. They are the dwelling place of honest communion, but they are not designed for comfort. I never watched the reality show “Glass House,” but I know it was designed to let the audience determine what happened inside a house full of folks competing to win a $250,000 prize.  It is more about exhibition than honesty, and that’s not what I’m talking about.

When it comes to God, He sees all and knows all. He loves me unconditionally and waits for me to realize that I’m living in a glass house. In Ecclesiastes 12:14, I hear words that remind me that nothing is hidden from God.

“For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” NASB

Proverbs 12:22 reminds me of why I want to live in that glass house. Love makes me want to delight God because He certainly delights me.

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.” NASB

My favorite verse, Psalm 51:6, humbles and brings down the facades and bricks around my heart. David captured the heart of God in a way that makes me want to open my heart as he did. He was not a perfect man, but he was a man after God’s own heart. That’s all God asked of him, and it’s all He asks of me. David knew the pain of living in a glass house, but he also knew that God teaches wisdom to those with open, honest hearts.

“Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” NASB

The television show encourages inhibition and exhibition because that’s what brings great ratings. God encourages honesty and acceptance because it brings wisdom, faith, and delight. Nothing is better for my heart.

Carlo Santambrogio and Ennio Arosio.
Carlo Santambrogio and Ennio Arosio.