This past week was a particularly hard one for me, so I am so thankful for this extra day at home (yay Victoria Day! 🇨🇦) to recharge!
I am in the middle of a confirmed season of mild depression, and last week an adjustment to my meds did not go well. I am grateful for my excellent doctor who is right on top of things like this, but even more grateful for my Heavenly Father for reminding me to hold on to His promises as He helps me navigate each day.
One verse which has always anchored me is Zephaniah 3:17, which He recently brought to my attention again.
So this week, each day I will share one of the five promises it holds to remind both you & I that we are never alone, always held & forever loved, no matter what.
“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.”
As I am full aware, my heart tends to be led astray more than I like to admit.
My mind, my emotions, my will can all fall prey to not only enemy attack, but my own selfishness.
One of the best verses in the Word is found in the middle of a passage in Ezekiel, where God reassures His people that not only will He save them and wash them clean as He gives them a new land, but…
“I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.” (Ezekiel 36:26 MSG)
Part of God’s restoration involves spiritual open heart surgery, for not only do we need physical saving, but the saving of how we feel, how we think, and how we follow Him.
God knows we literally need His help with it all, every day.
When I find myself being lured towards former bad habits, stinking thinking or unforgiveness, I know I need to invite God to exchange my heart for a new one, my ways for His, and His truth for my thoughts.
I am so grateful that God never once has refused my request for a freshly beating heart set on following Him. 💕
I was a newbie bible college student when I learned the meaning of ‘heart’ in my Proverbs class, and it blew my mind. In fact, it is one of the facts I have never forgotten.
Learning what a word means at its root can change how its use impacts the reader, which is why I love to do a bit of digging when I study the Word.
In Hebrew, the word ‘heart’ is לֵב , or Lev. Its definition covers literally the heart of who we are:
“heart, mind, conscience, center, centre, middle.”
The heart is the core of who we are within. Mind, emotions, will.
So when you read over yesterday’s verse, “Keep vigilant watch over your HEART; that’s where life starts.” (Proverbs 4:23 MSG) while keeping in mind that heart means all of us within,it changes its impact.
Today’s verse emphasizes this meaning even more….
“Let your heart take courage….”
When we harness our thoughts and filter our emotions through the Word and prayer, we are able to focus on what God wants for us – life in the moment. Even if we are scared, He will help us move forward. When we get caught up in negative thoughts and feelings, we become stuck in particular moments – and halt our forward movement. Essentially, life pauses until we get unstuck with His help.
Tomorrow, I share a bit more insight on the heart. Hope you’ll stop by and connect then!
These four words tie the whole verse together when we look at what God wants from us, His kids.
When we walk with someone, we do so alongside them, showing we are in relationship with them.
WALK is an action word, implying movement and direction. When we walk with God, He will guide us as to our best next steps from right beside us.
The word HUMBLE in Hebrew literally means ‘destroy the wall.’ Which Jesus did when He died on the cross, tearing the veil between the Holy of Holiest and the rest of the temple. God made the way for us to walk directly with Him, for our benefit! And as we are now His temple, made holy through His blood, we can walk, as Adam & Eve did so long ago, with God 24/7, every day, always.
That thought? Humbles me, and invites me to welcome God within more fully.
The Message translation of these four words captures the perfect attitude of walking humbly:
“And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.”
Walking humbly, the attitude of humility, also means leaving our desires in His hands, and following His ways – so that we can walk in harmony with Him.
WITH GOD. Don’t those two words cause a tingle or a thrill to run through you as you read them? We are His, and forevermore we are with God, both now and in heaven!
Brooke Nicholls recently wrote that ‘you are who you walk with,’ which is no truer than when you walk with God. Being in His Presence changes us to become more like the One we are beholding, and being held by, as we walk alongside Him.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
When we walk humbly with God, He helps us to offer justice, mercy and kindness to those we encounter, as we become more like Him along the journey. And knowing that this is what He hopes for and desires for each of us helps me not put pressure on myself to live up to this requirement, as I am reassured that I can do all things with His help as I walk with Him on a moment by moment & daily basis.
“LOVE” – the motivation behind all we are passionate about. When we love a person, they become a part of thoughts, and a part of our life, and a part of our heart. Love becomes the motivation behind our actions towards the one we love.
In Hebrew, “AHAVAT” means ‘the love of.’ Which makes so much sense as we usually never use the word ‘love’ without who or what we love bring mentioned immediately after it.
‘CHESED‘ is the Hebrew word that means kindness or love between people, specifically the love of God by His people, and the love or mercy of God towards humanity. It’s usually translated into English as ‘lovingkindness’. (Thanks to Wikipedia for this definition.)
This meaning of CHESED helps clarify the English definition of ‘mercy‘ – compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. (Google dictionary)
In this case, the two words ‘love mercy‘ refers to how out of His love for each of us, He offers us mercy instead of judgment.
And in this verse, that means we are to do the same towards one another.
When we ‘LOVE MERCY,’ we are not on the constant look out for offence, but instead offer loving kindness (ESV) whenever we can.
Just as God does with us.
In the Message version, these two words are translated as:
‘Be compassionate and loyal in your love.’
When we love someone, we tend to look more at their best qualities than the ones they lack in.
Just as God does with us.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It does mean that as we receive His love & mercy, we become changed for the better.
Imagine if we showed mercy to all we encounter, and not just toward those we love.
And again, I am so thankful that He helps us to love and show mercy towards one another when we invite Him to help us do so!