Tag Archives: inspiration

Should we follow our hearts?

©Photospin/Krillov

©Photospin/Krillov

I am an emotional creature by nature. I am driven by empathy. I feel things. Deeply. I can be as sensitive to the joys and pains of others as if they were my own. I would say that I make decisions more from my “heart” more than my “head.” So it caught me off guard one day when an acquaintance of mine expressed disgust over the fact that people mention following their hearts. She quoted Jeremiah 17:9 to support her belief that our hearts would only lead us astray.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

I was familiar with the verse and it inspired me to ponder use of the word “heart” to convey the source of our feelings and love—but also to express the source of our worldly desires. Yet, in Ezekiel we learn that God gives us a new heart and a new spirit—a soft, open and teachable heart, enabling our spirit to do his will.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” – Ezekiel 36:26-27

It has taken many years to develop what I would consider good discernment. I believe that discernment is an ability to hear and comprehend the leading of the Holy Spirit—an ability that I consider a gift of my heart.

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5

“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – Romans 10:10

With our heart, not our mind, we believe. We have a choice. We decide what and who is in our hearts. We must guard our hearts and make certain they are centered on God and not our selfish desires. If we love God with all our hearts, there is nothing safer to follow. Our hearts will be moved by His Spirit.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Luke 12:34

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45

When seeking God’s will, would you say you act based on your feelings or thoughts? Your head or your heart?

Advertisements

Stress got you down?

Image

© PhotoSpin.com

If I asked you to close your eyes and envision yourself in a serene and relaxing environment, where would your thoughts take you? Do your picture yourself nestled in the soft sand at a beach? Are you surrounded by majestic mountains or resting by a serene lake? Most of us imagine ourselves in a scenic natural setting. Stressful environments are man-made—but in nature, we see evidence of our Creator and it fills us with awe and gives us peace.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Our Maker formed us from the earth and created a lush garden setting to live in. That was the life we were designed for. It’s who we really are. Only our disobedience or denial of truth takes us away from the beauty of what we were meant to be.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. Genesis 2:7-8

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? Job 12:7-9

Playing outdoors takes us back to the innocence of our childhood and from that perspective we can see our beautiful world with all the wonder of a small child. When we grow world-weary, when our faith grows stale and our patience wears thin we have only to seek out the beauty of our natural surroundings to find peace and get in touch with our loving God.

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

You have taught the little children to praise you perfectly. May their example shame and silence your enemies! Psalm 8:2 (TLB)

How can you enjoy the beauty and peace of nature today?

Image

© PhotoSpin.com


Life, Death and Supernatural Events

© PhotoSpin.com

When my son turned three, my mother-in-law was battling cancer. The doctors had given her all the treatment they could and allowed her to travel back to my in-laws’ home in Florida where we—and more importantly, her grandsons—lived.

Looking back, knowing what I know now, I realize how very brave she was. I can only marvel at her cheerfulness to the end. She cherished her grandsons. On Brendan’s third birthday, she baked him a cake and played on the floor with him, as she had always been known to do. For someone who knew she was dying, she was so very full of life.  Only five weeks later, we lost her.

At only three, Brendan was still new to the world and still possessed much of the purity he came into the world with. Children that young seem to have an innocence of this world that allows them to see a spiritual world we can’t perceive.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Luke 18:16

At Irene’s memorial service, Brendan was fidgeting and crying. We went to the cry room at the back of the sanctuary and watched the rest of the service from there. The windowed room we watched from connected with the outer sanctuary wall of stained glass windows and Brendan kept pointing to the window next to us and saying “Grandma!” I finally stopped to pay attention to what he was so intently trying to communicate and followed his little finger to the window that featured an angel. It gave me goosebumps, but with the emotions of the day, I couldn’t really process it. Later that week, as he was babbling away in his car seat behind me, he pointed into the sky outside his window and said “Grandma!” with a big smile on his face. Did she linger with us for a while? Were Brendan and his grandmother able to see each other after her life on earth ended? I’ll never know for certain in this life, but it gave me something to ponder.

Just this week, I received a book from Bethany House to review: “Angels, Miracles and Heavenly Encounters: Real-life Stories of Supernatural Events” compiled by James Stuart Bell (a collection of similar stories I recommend as an interesting and thought-provoking read). I pounced on this book the day it arrived and blazed through the stories, many of which I could relate to. It brought many personal memories to life in my mind. Over the past few years my husband and I have lost three of our collective parents. Life, death and the afterlife are on my mind more these days. As this book claims, there’s more going on in the world than meets the eye. There is an unseen spiritual realm, and occasionally God allows us glimpses of it.

Have you had a similar experience? Tell your story in the comments.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” John 11:25

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.  John 5:24

In loving memory of
Irene Dubicki Lynch

1942-2004


For The Love of An Only Son

My sweet baby boy on a “benture” in the woods in 2005. (Photo: © Lauren Lynch)

In my last post, I shared that my son had played a role in saving me, and promised to elaborate on that claim …

Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. 1 Timothy 2:15 ESV

Like Eve, I was deceived in the past (1 Timothy 2:13-14), was lost in a life of sin, and discovered redemption through the process of bringing a life into the world. Women are uniquely cursed and uniquely blessed. Bringing a child into the world is a painful and exhausting process, yet if we continue to invest in our children, there is no greater reward.

May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful! Proverbs 23:25

As women, our unique blessing—the opportunity to experience life growing in our bodies—to serve as a vessel of creation—brings immense joy. There is no greater way to learn of putting the needs of another first than to have a child. The single act of bringing a child into the world stripped away so much of the selfishness that was holding me back. I still need to endure in faith to finish strong (2 Timothy 4:6-7), but God used my son to teach me of sacrificial love, denying my self, of pouring myself into another.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Nothing could truly help me understand God’s sacrifice of his own son than to experience the kind of intense love I have for my son.  There aren’t many parents who wouldn’t sacrifice their own life to save their child, much less sacrifice the life of their child. The giving of a beloved only son is a gift beyond measure. I know how precious my own son is to me.

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

Children are a valuable inheritance from the Lord and our legacy after our life in this world ends. In childbearing, I was savedyet againfrom myself. And because of this, I will do everything in my power to encourage my son in his faith.

A sacrifice has been made for you. Do you know how precious a gift that is? Have you acknowledged it today?


The Hour Has Come: The Story of Brendan

Brendan and I meet face to face for the first time. (Photo: © Patrick Lynch)

Before I brought a child into the world, I lived a very self-centered life. Although I was raised in a Christian home, I didn’t have a saving faith until I married and had a child well into my thirties. The process of bringing my son into the world was a difficult path for me, but I would not trade it for anything. It opened my eyes to a whole new realm of truth.

During my pregnancy, I had gestational diabetes. I was also old enough and had enough other health issues that it was considered a complicated pregnancy. I followed the hospital’s suggestion of writing out a birth plan that included my desire for natural childbirth. After all, it was what women in my family did and they all seemed to have pretty simple childbirth experiences. I was so confident in this eventuality that when we missed the Lamaze class on caesarean births, I didn’t even bother to read up on it in my books.

That must have been some sort of insanely stubborn denial because I was completely surprised when that was what played out for me. My obstetrician had scheduled an induction date for me because of the gestational diabetes and for four days of varying levels of pitocin-induced labor, I labored in vain. I had strong “camel back” contractions without a single centimeter of dilation. No one had warned me that induced labor might not work.

I had entered some sort of zone of pain management in my mind. I fixated on my hands gripping the railing of my bed and the hours slipped by, but no amount of visualizing my cervix opening made it so. Still, I had my mind set on natural childbirth, so it actually surprised me when my doctor told me in the middle of the fourth day of unproductive labor that she had already assembled a surgical team and prepped the room for a c-section.

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. John 16:21

After the decision had been made, it all went relatively quickly. Within an hour, my baby boy met me on my head side of the blue curtain and I knew without a doubt that it had all been worth every moment of difficulty.

Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. 1 Timothy 2:15 ESV

This much-debated verse certainly has a personal meaning for me. I know that I received my salvation through God’s son alone, and yet God used my son to draw me to him as well. (More on that in my next blog entry)

How has (or would) bringing a child into the world changed you?

(Photo: © Patrick Lynch)


Learning to Wait

© PhotoSpin.com

Being still isn’t easy. The world bombards us with over-stimulating messages, caffeinated energy drinks and opportunities for speed and convenience. We are losing our ability to wait for anything.

Becoming helpless—that doesn’t sound appealing, does it? How about letting go? We don’t like to do that either. Perhaps that is why so many people resist God. That is exactly what he wants us to do. In this upside down world, surrender sounds like defeat, but if we chose to follow Christ, we discover strength in our weakness–God’s strength.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7

Focusing on God takes discipline, but if we learn to make that daily effort, we will be heard and we will find the answer we seek. Listen to the patience we can learn from the Psalms:

LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. Psalm 38:15

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5

When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, “they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” (Psalm 106:12-13) Does that sound familiar? Sometimes it is so difficult to wait for God’s timing.

Waiting forces us to draw closer to God, to listen for his guidance. I can be so impatient. I want to solve everything as soon as possible and push forward. In doing this on my own, I am not only getting ahead of myself, I am trying to get ahead of God. Now there is a scary thought. The right answer will come if I learn to wait on the Lord.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The peace of God transcends all understanding. We can’t find that kind of peace on our own. We can only seek it through him. Sit quietly with him. Rest in his presence. Connect with him through prayer. Trust–and wait for guidance.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

How have you learned to wait on God?

© PhotoSpin.com