A Matter of the Heart

Apr 20 2015

Verse for the Day: 2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

How many times throughout your life have you started a new chapter in your life? If you are like me, there are probably too many to count. Some have minimal impacts on our lives like growing a year older, changing grades in school, celebrating another wedding anniversary or year of service at work. While some may take more effort on our part to accomplish like staying married or have a more significant importance or meaning at certain times in our lives. Like turning 21, graduating high school, or celebrating 10 or 20 years of service at work - these chapters usually come and go with little thought or effort on our part. 

Then there are those chapters in our lives that can bring huge changes some being good and some that truly test your faith. Some of these new chapters hit us out of the blue and are very unexpected like cancer, a heart attack, stroke or some other serious physical problem we have little or no control over. We also see new chapters caused by a divorce, loss of a job, or a new job that requires you to move someplace new. Again most of these types of chapter happen without any input or decision on our part regardless what we want.

But there are chapters in our lives that we can consciously choose and have input into as to when and where they will happen. Like deciding to get married, starting a family, changing careers, buying a new home, or deciding to retire. And for me personally I have decided to start one of these new chapters by retiring after 42 years of service - the last 38 years working in the oil and gas industry. July 6th 2015 will be my last official day with my company, but my last day in the office will be May 22nd (Vacation time to use up)

Throughout my working career I have acquired many new friends with each one of them being a part of that journey. And whether I have met you personally or not I feel my time of sharing devotions over the last 3+ years has been one of those chapters in my life that has had a huge impact on my life. My prayer is that in some small way at least one of these devotions has helped you in this journey called life. I know for me personally God has used this chapter in my life of writing devotions to draw me closer to Him. And while it’s been difficult to get devotions out over the last several months, I hope you will join me in my prayer as I prepare to retire from my current earthly job, that the Lord will use me in new ways and old ways like never before. 

As I always say “I may not know what tomorrow holds or what the next moment even holds, but I do know “Who” holds each of those moments and each of those days. So for me, regardless what new chapter comes along in my life whether chosen or unchosen, if I keep my eyes focus on Jesus knowing He holds every moment in His hands I can go into the future ready and equipped for whatever life brings.

So I leave you with this poem or writing that I received the other day with no authors name attached:  At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don't realize that they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring we give the best of ourselves. 

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life. 

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train. 

I pray whatever New or Old Chapter you find yourself on today that you realize this is only our temporary home. That one day this journey or train ride we are currently on will end as the Lord calls us Home. So, again thank you for being a part of my journey and may God shine His face on you and your family as we travel this journey called life.  

Mar 23 2015

Verse for the Day: 2 Corinthians 5:17 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (NLT)

Prior to buying our current home over 30 years ago I decided to have a basement built for the home to sit over. Once the basement was completed I hired a crane to lift each half of the home and set it in place. In total we have a little over 3,100 square feet of living space in which we raised our family. Over the years Jo and I have added many different features to our home to enhance and add to its appearance and functionality. We have added decks, covered porches, sidewalks, new windows and a total remodel on the inside. One of the things we have talked about for many years is having the outside of the house stucco. 

So this week while Jo is still California I thought I would surprise her by having the house stucco prior to her return home. Part of the prep work that needed to be done prior to putting on the stucco was removing all the old trim and repairing a few damaged spots in the siding to ensure a smooth and solid base for the stucco to adhere to. When the contractor had finished removing all the old trim from around the windows, doors and other areas of the house and the slump blocks I had removed, there was a huge pile of trash and debris that was no longer of any use.

As I think about the transformation of our house from siding to stucco I can’t help but think about today’s verse and what God does for us when we call on and trust in the Lord. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Before that new life can began the old life has to be transformed. Just like all the old trim, slump blocks, and other objects had to be removed from our house in order to have a solid foundation to build on. The same is true with our transformation from the old life to a new life. You can’t have a new life by just trying to cover up the old life. You have to allow the Lord to strip all the old junk away, repair the damaged spots, and start the process of rebuilding you into a new creation. And just like the stucco work didn’t happen overnight the same is true in our spiritual walk with the Lord. This is not to say that God couldn’t completely and totally change and transform someone in the blink of an eye, and He does, but this process of going from an old life to a new life is a continual process that is ongoing throughout our lives as the Lord sanctifies us into a new creation.  

This process of going from an old life to a new life can be painful. Removing all that old trash, debris, junk and the old way of doing things can leave you feeling ugly, unworthy, and unrepairable. Kind-a like our house looked once the old trim, slump blocks and other items were removed from around it. What once looked pretty good and was a place you would want to call home now looked like a total disaster. But once the old was remove and the rebuilding process was started the new began to appear and little by little the house was transformed into a completely new home. The old was gone; a new home appeared!

The first step to creating a new life is by asking the Lord into your life. Once you do that God has some great promises awaiting you like Ezekiel 36 : 25-27 24 For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. 25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. (NLT)  And 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (NLT)

I pray you will take time today to reflect on your life. Are there areas you haven’t turned over to the Lord? Is your old life keeping you from the new life God wants you to have? Do you belong to the Lord?

If you have never expected the Lord as your Savior or possibly you walked away from following Him, He will never force you back or force you to accept His free transforming gift of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness. The choice is your, you can keep the old life you currently have or choose to belong to Christ and allow Him to begin a new life in you today. I pray you choose wisely as your choice will last throughout all eternity.