Monthly Archives: February 2014

Guardian of Hearts

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On one of the final days of chapel of my first semester of college, the college president’s wife spoke.  She brought up a Scripture that I hadn’t thought about in a while:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for from it flow the wellsprings of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

wellspringShe made the interesting point that we need to be diligent in guarding our hearts in every area of our lives, both the weak places and the strong places.  I suppose I had never truly considered that I needed to guard the strong areas of my life.  The truth is, though, that pride should never stop us from keeping vigil in our lives.  My current environment has been a relatively safe place for God to teach me lessons from little things, which is far preferable to learning from bad experiences later.

I have never really been around or lived with any females in close quarters (other than my mom), so living in the girls’ dorm here at Trinity Bible College has been interesting.  Everyone is at a different stage of spiritual and personal growth, which I think is a beautiful thing, but if I am not careful, there are some dangerous traps I could fall into.

One of these “traps” is how I view myself.  It is, I think, more common for females to dislike themselves than for guys to dislike themselves; we are simply more prone to being weak in that area.  I, however, was always taught to love who God had created me to be and make the best choices I could for my body without worrying.  I have never disliked myself.  I live with a lot of other girls now though, and not all of them are comfortable or happy with themselves.  My sensitivity to moods and feelings was causing me to pick up on some negative self-image vibes.  Just a few days ago I caught my train of thought, and I was horrified.  It was as though I didn’t like myself!  I immediately declared those thoughts to be outrageous lies and repented for allowing them entrance into my life.  The lie was so cunning, so subtle that I didn’t recognize it for what it was: a lie.  It crept in so gradually that I didn’t even notice it at first.  As I mentioned in my “True Living” blog post, the problem with lies is that they simply aren’t true, and any area in which we are not living in complete Truth we are actually living in bondage.  (You can check it out here: https://hisdesertrose.com/2013/07/29/true-living/)  The most difficult thing to fathom about this lie was that it came in an area I had left unguarded because of my supposed strength!

bad waterYou see, that is what Satan does.  It is true that he pressures us in our areas of weakness, but he also does a far more subtle work in our areas of strength.  First he feeds our pride.  Then he lulls us into complacency.  We become lax in guarding that “place of strength” and suddenly it has the potential for great weakness.  The realization that I had left myself vulnerable to the cares and the lies of the world was humbling.  As Christians it is our duty to guard every place of our hearts because it is from our hearts that the life and love of Christ flows.  When we fail to guard our hearts, poison begins to seep in and taint what is flowing out of us.  Guarding our hearts is necessary for our personal health, but it is also a vital part of our testimony as Christ-followers.

I desire to be a faithful guardian of my heart so that I am able to guard the hearts of those who can’t guard themselves.  Now, I can’t make choices for other people, so I can never guard someone else’s heart completely, but out of love and compassion I can step in to shore up their defenses.  I am not able to control the hearts of others, but I can offer my strength, adding it to theirs.  God does this for each one of His children daily, and I want to be a warrior-daughter after his own heart, protecting and bringing hope to the weary and broken.

flame heartMy prayer:  Help me to guard my heart well, Lord, and not be lulled into complacency.  Strengthen me; help me to keep a diligent vigil over every area of my heart, the strong places as well as the weak ones.  By becoming a faithful guardian of my own heart I will allow life to flow out of me into this broken world.  Equip and enable me to be a faithful and loving guardian of the hearts of others.  May I be a safe place, a haven in which the hearts of others can rest in Your peace and be refreshed by Your Love-Light, for You are the Prince of Peace and the ultimate Guardian of hearts. 

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I Am a Dreamer

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Dreams are a wonderful thing.  They are the intangible image of our hopes for the future.  Every so often I take a good long look at my dreams, encouraging myself and making sure they are in line with God’s dreams.  My dreams are so big and my passions so deep that I sometimes feel crazy in comparison to others.  I am serious.  This happened just a couple weeks ago.

dreamI want to write books that touch the nations.  When I say that, it sounds impossible.  I have wanted to write books since I was six, but for a while I let myself be stifled by people whose “dreams” were so small and safe that mine sounded crazy.  Then I learned something powerful: when God is involved, there is no such thing as impossible.  My writing will touch the nations.  That is the passion of God’s heart: that we learn to dream with Him.

I am not saying that you have to dream of colonizing space or something.  If your God-dream is to serve Him by being a cashier at Walmart for the rest of your life, go for it!  But sometimes we set things up as our “dream” — or we stop dreaming — because we know it is within the realm of possibility and we don’t want to be disappointed.  Oh yes, we are very, very afraid of disappointment.  We think that if our dreams are “reasonable” we will be able to fulfill them or live with the disappointment if they never come to be, but that is a lie.  Small hope brings small reward, and as living beings formed in the creative image of God, we starve slowly on small hope. 

Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”   This first and oft-quoted part of the verse doesn’t mean that disappointed hopes make us heart-sick but rather that lack of hope crushes our spirit.  Now let me tell you the second half of the verse, the part that I don’t hear often:

“[B]ut when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

Tree of Life by Mandie ManzanoThat is what our God-dreams being fulfilled are: a tree of life.  Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than all we could ever all or even imagine.  In Jeremiah 29:11 God says that He has plans for us, to give us a future and a hope.  Does the God of Scripture sound to you like a God who wants His people to be dwelling in the place of small hope?

For far too long we have been selling ourselves short, but Jesus Christ did not live and die so we could placate ourselves with no hope or even with small hope.  Dreaming is about participating in God’s creative, life-giving nature.  But some have forgotten how to dream, and that breaks our Father’s heart.  Our reconciliation to God the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ has set us free to dream with God.  If we are not dreaming with God, we are not yet living in the fullness of the good things God already has for us.  I am reminded of a line from Jason Upton’s “Burning in the Sky”:

“Some men only believe in what their eyes can see.
Some men only believe in what their minds conceive.”

Is dreaming with God scary?  No, it’s not.  It’s utterly terrifying.  The God-things we dream of are too big for us to handle on our own, which is why so many of us settle for less than what God wants for us.  But don’t you see?  That’s the beauty of it: we can’t do it on our own.  God does not give out dreams as “To Do” lists; He gives dreams that He can accomplish with us.

God is creative by nature, and it is that creativity which makes us unique and gives us each a role to play in the making of history.  We were never created to live hopeless, because each one of us has a destiny to inherit the good things God already has prepared for us.  So here’s the real question: will you be a world-changer and a history-maker?  Will you be a dreamer?