A few years ago, I started a gratitude jar on New Year’s Day. It was similar to a gratitude journal. I had written one thing I was grateful for each day and penned my experience on a small piece of paper. Then, I dropped it in the jar.
Well, each day whether it was morning or night, I would add something to the jar I was grateful for. I didn’t exactly collect 365 pieces of paper by the end of the year but I did manage to fill up the jar at least three quarters of the way.
On New Year’s Eve, I dumped the jar and all the folded pieces of paper scattered across my bed. I began to read all the things that I did or went through the whole year. I had a flood of emotions of how faithful the Lord has been to me. I acknowledged the richness that life has to offer despite the challenges and difficulties. I even forgot some of the events and activities that took place such as the funny moments as well as the unexpected surprises. it gave me a fresh perspective on how to approach life and how to appreciate every moment given to us.
When you shift your perspective, it can transform your attitude. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things as much as the bigger things in my life. When you change your perspective on how you look at your life, you change your world. As the saying goes, “Gratitude is all about your attitude.”
I’m sure we all have something to be grateful for as we finish off the last quarter of this year. Hold onto your faith and keep trusting the Lord for whatever you need in this season. He is faithful.
Our entire existence is related to the heart. Everything you do in life is a reflection of the heart. We often focus on health conditions related to the heart but our spiritual health can suffer heart disease as well. It can be infected with bitterness, regret, pain, jealousy, hate, or rage. It can also be infected with greed, selfishness, arrogance, pride, or unforgiveness.
Issues of the Heart
The condition of the heart can eventually affect our physical health, social life, relationships or community. When you don’t deal with the internal issues of your heart, it can completely destroy your life if you’re not careful.
Intentions of the Heart
Whatever you speak stems from your heart. You can never conceal your true feelings or actions. For example, when you pretend to be nice to someone, your true nature eventually is exposed because you can only be fake for so long. You may think you’re fooling the people around you but you can’t fool the Lord. He knows the true intentions and desires of your heart. Everything we do must be done in love. The Word of God is not a quote. It is the Living Word of God.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Heart of Giving
When we give to others, it should be done willingly. It shouldn’t give because you want something in return. Don’t give because you want to be liked or praised by men. Don’t give because it’s forced out of guilt. Give because you are compelled to give. Give freely from the heart.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise, ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have the glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matt 6:1-4
Desires of the Heart
There are so many things in this life that grabs our attention. The biggest house, the fastest car, the perfect wife or husband, and lots of money. We are constantly chasing after bigger and better things without taking time to appreciate what we have or being content with what we’ve achieved in life. We are constantly competing and comparing ourselves with others which only leads to disappointment, discouragement, or depression.
Idolatry comes in many forms. The Lord desires good gifts for his children but we must put God first beyond anything that we desire. We also should not chase after the Lord for the things in this world. God is not Santa Claus, a genie, or a magician. So our prayers should never plead or beg for selfish desires but it should be an adornment of praise, honor, and worship to the Father who knows exactly what you need and desires to give you much more than you can ever ask or think.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4
Shifting the Heart
When you have a heart for God, the word is embedded within your heart. The true activation of the Word of God is not something you memorize or magnetize by the law of attraction. Unfortunately, too many people are claiming the promises of God without the acknowledgement of purifying their heart and mind and walking in obedience.
When you are walking in obedience, you have a desire to please the Lord and obey His commandments. You no longer have a desire to please your friends, family, classmates, or any other person that is not in alignment with the heart of God, His laws, and the purpose and plan for your life.
1 John 2:15-16
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The Bible cannot be cherry-picked. You simply can’t pick and choose what scriptures are desirable or comfortable for fitting your lifestyle. You can’t tweak the Gospel to fit into the culture of your comfort zone. The Word of God changes and transforms the culture.
Without a change of heart and shifting in your actions, behaviors and attitude, you are not living according to the Spirit of God but as instead as a carnal, worldly natural man according to fleshly or lustful desires. The natural man cannot understand spiritual things. Your character and mindset willingly will be transformed according to Christ when you put your faith in Him.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The Results of an Uncircumcised Heart
The Lord is a loving merciful God, however there is judgement for those who do not abide by his commandments. In other words, there are consequences for your actions and penalties for your sin.
Thus saith the Lord God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. Ezk 44:9
The Baptism of a Circumcised Heart
When you decide to let go of your worldly nature and desires, a purifying action takes place. After receiving salvation, you’re purged from your old nature, and life is renewed. It doesn’t mean that you are exempt from problems and heartache but you’re now a part of God’s heavenly eternal Kingdom.
When you decide to get baptized, it is a public display of your change of heart and dedication to Christ from an uncircumcised heart to being circumcised to Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit is activated upon your decision to live holy, sanctified (set apart), righteous and pure.
Although we are human, we will still make lots of mistakes and fall short of living a perfect life however that is the reason Christ died and was resurrected. You no longer need to live in condemnation, guilt, shame or regret. You are set free in Christ Jesus. This simple act of obedience is a dedication to the purification process of the heart. The outward man looks inwardly to transform his carnal ways to a spiritual one. It’s by God’s grace and mercy a new man is resurrected from the miracle cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to rest upon you.
So, let us come to the water of the Spirit. Let us drink from the water of life together. Let us reflect on the matters of our hearts and intentions. Let us celebrate with praise and thanksgiving and sing with a joyful heart for the things the Lord has done. Let us reflect on his nature and the promises, plans, and desires of our Lord.
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses Col 2:11-13
Let us love one another the way Christ loves us. Let us give with desire and passion. Let us speak words of life and not death. Let us focus on what we have not what we lack. Let our minds be renewed and transformed to truly change and shift the conditions of the heart.
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Our Father is worthy to be praised!
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise. Eph 1:13
2 Corth 1:21-22
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Scriptures Related to an Uncircumcised Heart
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury comes forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised
Scriptures Related to a Circumcised Heart
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15 Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
1 Corth 7:19
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
Scriptures Related to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
When I was a child, one game I loved to play was hide and seek. I believe every child enjoyed playing that game at one time or another.
There was such enthusiasm and excitement while your friends or classmates scattered to find a place to hide while you counted and waited in anticipation to search for each friend which brought so much joy and laughter when you found them.
The Lord is often hidden in our lives until we come to a place where we decide to seek him with our own heart. Although, the Lord is always working behind the scenes, we often do not know what He is doing or planning in our lives. The Lord makes it very clear to “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Many of us, wonder through life, randomly, without acknowledging or asking the Lord for direction. As believers, we may allow Him into some areas of our lives but not fully allow Him to control every aspect of our lives.
The Lord wants to be a part of every area of your life. The deeper relationship you nurture with Him; the more He reveals himself to you. You begin to see life in new ways. Your choices begin to change and how you deal with challenges and obstacles shift.
Life has its difficulties, but you will not allow life circumstances to grab a hold of you in fear, doubt and despair. Even when you feel discouraged, you can speak the word of God or listen to worship music and the weight of burdens and frustration will lift off of you.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb 11:6
You will become sensitive to the spirit as you continue your walk with Christ. He will nudge you in certain directions. He will cover you with a blanket of protection. He will open your eyes to his truth and reveal to you the mysteries of the Kingdom. You will begin to experience things that you know only the Lord could do. You will have a deep desire to please the Lord fully and not jeopardize your relationship by displeasing Him. You will be obedient to His laws and commandments and do His will without resistance. It’s not by the flesh but by His spirit.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”
Having a zeal for Christ is within reach for every believer.
For the Bible forewarns us….
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
You cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in the church. A double-minded man is unstable in all His ways. James 1:8
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matt 6:24
We are moving into a shifting world where believers must have a solid foundation in Christ to be able to withstand the wiles of deception coming upon the earth. [Click link here]: 2 Chron 20:1-34
1 Peter 5:7-9
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
He can only devour those who do not know the Lord and live a righteous, holy lifestyle. Once you’ve accepted the Lord as your Savior by faith, you are a daughter and son of the Most High. His hand of protection is upon your life to guide you into all truth, wisdom and knowledge.
The Lord is a consuming fire. Let us run under the shelter of the Almighty King. Let us seek Jesus with all passion and dedication. Seek the Lord while He can be found. The Lord is available and waiting. He does not wish anyone should perish. [Click the link here for reference]: 2 Chron 20:1-34
2 Peter 3:8-10
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
The Lord is a just God and will meet you right where you are. So come with your wounds and brokenness. Come with your anxieties, doubts and fears. Come with your mistakes and confusion. Come with your pain and despair. Come with your anger and frustration. Just come!
I pray for those who are entering into your presence at this very moment. May you comfort their heart and mind. Please take away all their confusion, doubt, pain and toil in this life. Reveal to them your glory for the sacrifice you gave to each person as a gift of love. Help them to draw near to you and keep a hedge of protection over their families, loves ones, households, communities, finances, health and relationships. May a fresh wind of vitality, strength and peace be upon them as they seek you and rest in your presence for the revelation of Jesus Christ. Amen
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.Amen. 2 Corth 13:14
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I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. 33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Theo 3:5
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know of.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
1 Chron 16:10
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.