Heart Congestion 

“He has brought me to the banqueting house…” Sos 2:4

Last night upon returning home from a long day of celebrating family through gorging on turkey and all the fixens, my daughter pulled on my shirt and asked “Can I have some cereal?” Cereal? I asked, I couldn’t believe she was asking for something else to eat. Hadn’t she got her fill? She had the opportunity to stuff her small little belly with all the deliciousness that comes with Thanksgiving; Turkey, ham, dressing, Mac n cheese, potatoes of every shape and form, desserts by the dozens…and the ROLLS, just to name a few. She insisted that she was hungry. Despite the feast she had the opportunity to partake of she pushed her chair away from the table and settled…for cereal. I looked her into her green eyes and said “you just left a feast. Why didn’t you fill up then in stead of waiting to eat cereal?” As soon as the words left my mouth the Spirit grabbed them and turned them back on myself. And He asked me-“Why do YOU walk away from the feast of my presence and settle for lesser things? Why don’t you get your fill of me?” 

“They feast on the abundance of your house; and you give them drink from your river of delight.” Ps 36:8

God has spread a banquet table out before us, filled with His glory and goodness. We as believers are invited not only to come and partake but to come and indulge. But all too often we push our chairs away from the divine table of fellowship and we settle…settle for much less. 

Isaiah 44:20 says this about the idoltor ” He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray…

A deluded heart calls us away from the banquet table. It cheats us out of satisfaction and contentment. Leading us to something that has the equivalent of ashes, worthlessness, and conviences us this will fill our souls wanting. 

Deluded in the Hebrew actually means; heaped up, piled high. 

There’s the problem. Our hearts are pilled high, heaped up with ashes. There’s no room for the goodness and glory of Yaweh to settle down within, our hearts are too congested. 

We grab what’s convenient and push away the eternal. 

I feel myself doing it…pushing my chair away from the divine and chasing after the temporal. I feel my heart tugging me to the ash heap. I feel the weight of a congested heart; feeding on the ashes of regret, insecurity, unbelief, discontentment, complacency, pride…lies, all of it. 

“…And he cannot deliver himself or say is this thing in my right hand not a lie?” Finishes out Isaiah 44:20 by pointing out the fact that we are pulled to the ash heap not because it taste better or is better for us but because the allurment of it. It promises something, but it cannot deliver. That’s how lies work. That’s what deluded hearts thrive on, alluring lies. 

“I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness. Declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:14

Gratification of the soul. That’s what we are missing when we are pulled away by the nagging call of complacency and doubt. 

 All the goodness of God has been laid out for us through Christ, we partake of this goodness through fellowship, as we pull up our chairs to the table of His presence. He’s calling us to the table, to come and have our fill of him. To come and be satisfied. To come and have our thirst quenched. To come….

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Anonymous Heros

imageWhat is a hero? Hero’s believe in something bigger than themselves. They don’t settle for status quo. They rise up when others back down. Hero’s don’t look for battles but the battle looks for them. They aren’t out to be a hero but it finds them…because they were predetermined. They had resolve before hand.

I was thinking about all the superheroes (like superman, Spider-Man, and even the Ninja Turtles) and one similarity occurred to me…they were normal everyday people who worked, often times behind the scenes. Undercover, with no recognition. I was watching a very notable Christian speaker the other day and as she told her story of how God used a orphaned girl to begin a global ministry. she exclaimed that nothing is impossible for God. As I saw her, in front of thousands with bright lights, a killer wardrobe and a loud mic I thought about all the people who do not have this wide, high profile kind of ministry…I thought of the everyday people. Like myself, those who are drowning in laundry or who punch the clock for 12 hour shifts. I thought how easy it is for these  everyday people to sink into complacency all because it doesn’t seem like Gods work in their lives is as big or important as others, because  it lacks glamour. So we slip into a coma of complacency. God works out the impossible in the everyday areas of life all the time but could it be our complacency blinds us from seeing it? Impossible isn’t always glamorous and perhaps that’s why we miss it. 

Truth is everyday life is scary. We face impossibilities weekly; to raise children with a pure and devoted heart, Unstained by the world. For us,ourselves to remain faithful to our Lord, to have a marriage where honor and true love reigns, to work without being blindsided by corruption. The odds are against us. The world seems to mean, to corrupt- how could we make it through? And on top of all that we have the pain of disappointments, deaths, sickness that knocks on our doors. It takes a great hero of faith to march through the mediocrity of life with no applause, battling daily giants with no recognition, no light, no mic…just their lives as evidence. Being a hero is more than a cape and mask. It goes farther than a cool alias. Being heroic starts in the heart. We’re told that the heart is the well -spring of life. A life of a hero is a spring of courage that flows from a heart that is fortified by faith. Faith makes everyday Hero’s. Not bright lights or applause. The only applause that Hero’s are after is that of nail scared hands. No other motives. Just pleasing their God.

Hebrews 11 is the “Hall of Faith” as some scholars call it, in this chapter everyday people are called to the impossible. All of which stepped out obediently into the unknown because of one thing- faith. They trusted God to do the impossible and because of that the heavens thundered with applause. (Hebrews 11:6)

God notices you. He remembers your sacrifices and He does not turn a blind eye to your dedication. He knows it’s hard being “dust people”. When He calls us to lay our children down on the altar of his will…He sees and He smiles. When He sees a housewife fighting in prayer for her children…He applauds. When the teenager sets themselves apart for Him…He notices. When your life is unraveling at the seams and you throw back your head to heaven in surrender…He sees your name among those such as Abraham and Moses.

It’s in these everyday impossibilities that Hero’s of the faith arise. It takes faith to push through illness with your sanity still in tact, it takes faith to not become overwhelmed with despair when difficulties come our way. It’s takes faith to stay in a church where you’ve been hurt and betrayed. It takes faith not to settle when your eager for marriage. It takes faith to keep loving a unloveable spouse. It takes faith to keep pouring out your life in ministry. And it’s faith that pleases the Almighty.

“Be strong and courageous” is our call to heroism. The call that rings to all generations, the shrill should shake us out of complacency to see what God wants to do to and through us.

We don’t see God do the impossible because we aren’t expecting him to. Faith is confident expectation in God. Without it we are spiritual cowards; hiding from our callings, backing out of our resolve…basically throwing in the towel.

one of my favorite unsung Hero’s of the bible is Zerubbabel. This man was commissioned by God to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. It wasn’t an easy feat. There was opposition to his work on top of that he had to deal with a people who were complacent in their worship. It took courage for him to keep going, to finish the charge. I love the word the Lord spoke to him through the prophet Zechariah:

Zechariah 4:6 -7 “Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit. Says the Lord of Hosts. Who are you O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain and he shall bring forth the top stone amid shouts of “Grace, grace to it.”

God called him to the impossible and equipped him to see it through. The bravery of our walk demonstrates how big or how little we perceive our God to be. A little perception of God will yield a little faith.
By faith…Hero’s see something others don’t. They see a God that’s bigger than their circumstance. They see a God who keeps his word. They may have no evidence or proof but they still trust. Heros don’t have faith in themselves or their strength they have faith in God. And because they know to their core who their God is they can’t be shaken. A shaky theology will yield a life that quivers at every turn. So many of us can get motion sick from our lack of faith. Here to there. One extreme to another. We are on the heights of faith one minute and the lows of doubt another. The too and for motion leaves us disillusioned and confused.

We as Christians have been imparted with the greatest power a hero could ever need, the very Spirit of the Living Christ. This power raised Jesus Christ back to life. This power, through the Spirit enriches and pumps life into our core the same way Christs heart began to pound and breath entered His lungs. He is the one who causes dry bones to assemble and charge in battle. And He has armed you with victory. You bear the seal of a hero, wither  you know it or not because you bear the seal of the Spirit (Eph 1)

So the question on the table is are you going down as a hero or a coward?? Let’s face it, complacency is cowardly. It keeps us in our comfort zones, it doesn’t challenge us so it doesn’t take faith to live there and without faith we will never see the impossible done. You’r a hero, take the blinders off and put on the mask of faith and fight! Even if no one seems to notice. Real Hero’s have enough courage to be faithful when no one is looking. Some of the bravest things we do in our lives are known only to ourselves. Many of us fall into the category of anonymous heroism, where our courage will not be celebrated on earth but you must know that upon entering into His glory you will realize One did see, One did notice and He will say “Well done my child, Well done.”

Be a hero; Let your life be a testimonial that truly “nothing is impossible with God.”