A United Heart

Lou Ann stopped by my blog a few days ago and in turn, I visited her blog. I love her heart, her mission, and her writing! So, I am sharing it with you. Please read her short devotional on what it means to have a “United Heart”–obviously a subject near and dear to me. Enjoy!

Teach me thy way, O LORD;
I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart to fear thy name.
(Psalm 86:11)
Most of this verse is simple in language and easy to understand. I stumbled a little at the word unite. What does it mean here? I looked up the Hebrew equivalent, and it means “unify; join.” Okay, but what is a unified heart or a joined heart? Commentators have several ideas about this word in the context of this verse. It can mean a “completely dedicated” heart or a heart with “undivided loyalty.” I thought of “single-heartedness,” something like single-minded.
In any case, the psalmist profoundly states his desires. This verse is his prayer:
            Teach me Your way.
            I resolve to walk in Your Truth.
            I want a heart that is wholly dedicated to respecting and following You.
Are the psalmist’s desires our desires?
            Do we really want to be taught what God wants us to do?
            Have we ever resolved (promised ourselves) to walk in the Truth (the Bible)?
            Do we have an “undivided” heart to respect and follow God?
In my counseling experience, I have found many women who want to do right. “Oh yes, I want to.” But, they don’t really want to be taught—not by God and not by anyone else either. They have never made a conscious decision to follow and know Truth. They don’t have time for God’s Word, don’t pray, and then they wonder why they’re having such a hard time grasping Truth. They have divided hearts. Part of them wants to do what everyone else does—follow “fun.” And, part of them really wants to follow God, but they’re not fully dedicated (united hearted) to it. Unfortunately, these ladies will always flounder spiritually.
I’ve also counseled women and girls who would say a hearty Amen to the psalmist’s three desires in this short verse. They are growing and changing. And they’re some of the happiest people I know.
May we all have undivided hearts!
Lou Ann Keiser is a missionary pastor’s wife with almost thirty years of ministry experience. She loves Bible study and people. Lou Ann is the mother of two married children and a grandmother. She lives in a quaint little town in Europe.
Please visit her blog: In the Way
**If you or anyone you know enjoys writing, www.servantsisters.org is currently looking for new writers to contribute devotions or photos with inspirational thoughts. You can check out the writer’s guidelines: Write For Us**
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Rippling Effect

Suggested Reading: John 15:1-11

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11

I was thinking about that day, as it often returns to my thoughts. He appeared to me in such a clear way it was undeniable. His voice spoke soft yet firm, “Your independence from Me has shattered his dreams.”

God opened my heart with surgical precision. I had gotten caught up in, “It’s my life; it’s my body; it’s my choice!” All those “my my mys” destroyed my husband’s heart, and mine as well. Did God reveal this to cause shame? Never. He revealed this to cause repentance.

“If only I had remained in His love, attached to His vine of wisdom; if only…”

As the ramifications of what I did spilled into my psyche, I was overwhelmed with grief. It took at least two weeks before I could confront my husband and share with him my regret.

“I should never have done it, I was wrong, I am so sorry! Can you ever find a way to forgive me?”

It was a nice sentiment, but he had long lived with the pain of my decision and bitterness had set in. It was several more weeks before he could talk about my change of heart. Healing has been a long process for us. In His love, God has allowed me to experience the consequences of my decision. I don’t find this to be cruel, however. I embrace the discipline. Everytime I feel the stinging pain I am reminded of how vital it is for me to remain in Him. Stay in His word, and for crying out loud, ASK HIM FIRST before making decisions.

You’re probably itching to know what awful thing I had done. I had many Christian women advising me to do it. Funny how in hindsight no one was telling me to see what God thought about it. It’s not their fault, of course. It was my responsibility to look for His will, and listen for His voice. Truth be told, I didn’t care at the time what He wanted. It was “my choice” and I made it.

Against my husbands wishes I walked into the hospital and signed the consent. I assured my OBGYN I was never going to have children again. My husband (who does not have a relationship with Jesus) and I had been having a lot of difficulties and I concluded I could not bear any more of his children.

Since then Chris has watched his sisters bear children, boys, which is what he always wanted and hoped to try for. I remember snapping a picture of him with his nephew,

and God began working on my heart. I destroyed that man’s dreams because I couldn’t be bothered to listen to the God I claim to serve.; no wonder my husband doesn’t care for “religion”.

I was certain I never wanted more children, but I underestimated the power of God. He has placed within me a strong desire to have another baby. Poetic justice? I mean, why would God place a desire that couldn’t be fulfilled? Actually, I know God didn’t place that desire in my heart to torture me. In a sense He has branded my heart with the hot iron of His love. Every time I hold my friends baby or see someone else holding their newborn I feel the ache deep within and I thank God for it.

Reminders that my choices aren’t my choices.

They effect others like a stone dropped in a pond. The ripples go out far and wide in ways I couldn’t begin to understand.

I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t waste our pain, and he brought me on my knees that day to bring about a glorious new birth. Is it a physical brith? Maybe not, but a spiritual one; definitely.

He told me all of this so my joy could be complete. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me enough to teach me how essential it is to follow You.

 

Preparation

“Before I was afflicted I went astray.” Psalm 119:67 NIV

Preparation

What types of events might you find yourself preparing for? Perhaps it’s a musical performance, teaching a class, taking a test, promoting a product, making a speech, or running in a marathon. At one time or another we have all experienced a time of preparation. If we prepared well, we likely did well in the event, however if our preparation time was lax, our performance probably showed the effort.  I remember a piano recital where I did not give my best. Truthfully, I didn’t even give 50% of my best. I was a teenager, and I was consumed with the object of my current affection; piano recitals weren’t really a priority. Over a decade later and I still remember that day, what a humiliation! It was a dreadful performance to say the least, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there! I was too focused on what I thought was more important. It may have taken several years for me to learn my lesson, but God has drilled it into my heart that when it comes to musical performance, I can never be “too” prepared.

“…I went astray…” vs. 67

This word should be translated “to sin ignorantly”. We’re talking about a major lack of preparation.  To keep our feet on the path planned for us we need to prepare for the journey. We must know the word of God in order to follow it! If we do not know the word well, we will come under affliction, or discipline, until we have learned what is necessary to mature.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

We prepare for life by memorizing the word, storing its truth in our hearts to be ready for spiritual warfare, sickness, doubt, discouragement, confusion, or any other arrow hurled our way.

Our natural inclination:

“All of us like sheep have strayed away. We have left God’s path to follow our own.” Isaiah 53:6

We prepare for the journey by studying the word of God and being able to discern what’s “good” from what’s “best”. We need to know the difference between a counterfeit happiness and a true joy. We want to stay on God’s path, because our own path will inevitably lead to personal pain as well as pain for those around us.

“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Humility and fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:3-4

Wisdom foresees temptation and has discernment; humility brings true wealth in God’s economy which leads to the life God intended us to have!

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

When we are ignorant in the word we will stray from the path He made for us. We will fall into error and we will be disciplined (Hebrews 12:6) by our loving Father until we return to the life he designed us for.  This doesn’t mean that every “bad” thing that happens is a result of our ignorance, or sin. There is a whole book in the Bible dedicated to this common misconception (Job). However when we do find ourselves in trials, tests, and difficulties we should take that time to make sure our feet are on the path they are meant to be on. We must ask God to search our hearts and make sure we have not wandered away, chasing after a counterfeit happiness. Are we on God’s “best” path, or just our own “good” path?

The Psalmist was thankful for the affliction that brought him back to God’s path, and back in line with where he needed to be spiritually. He declared

“…now I obey your word.” vs. 67

Let us never find that our sin was caused by ignorance of God’s plan for our lives. His will is laid out in his word; it’s our responsibility to be prepared.

Prayer

Thank you for your word that guides my path! Thank you for designing a perfect plan for me and loving me enough to discipline me when I wander from your directions. Lead me to the truth that you would have me hide in my heart and help prepare me for the battles ahead. Give me wisdom and discernment that I might not ignorantly sin against you.