Grace Expressed: February Devotional

Grace Expressed: February Devotional

My grandfather was a wise soul.  Not only was he a pastor and Bible scholar, but he had spent many years as an international labor mediator, working with managers and unions to try to resolve complex problems. I can’t count the number of times I heard him say, “Let’s get to the heart of the matter,” either from the pulpit, or during a meeting.

Over the years, that simple phrase revealed itself to have incredible depth. 

Grandpa often meant, “Let’s peel through all the layers and get to the most important piece, the center, the core.”  (Like in Proverbs 4:23, which advises us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”)

He also used it to mean, “Stop the dancing around and be honest about what’s really going on.” (God, too, can see right through us to our core.  In Psalm 44:21, the Psalmist asks, “Would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.”)

And sometimes it was to say, “Trust me and be vulnerable so I can help you bring out what’s really bothering you in order to help you heal.” (Much in the same way that God, in Jeremiah 29:13 says, You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.)

And occasionally, “Let’s step away from the legalism or dogma and talk about the impact on the lives of the people involved.” (Romans 5:5 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.)

The common thread is that the heart is always the core – the very center – of the matter.  No wonder God wants us to love Him with all our hearts, wants us to hide His word in our hearts, wants to direct our hearts.  The God who created us wants us to follow Him from the very center of our being.  The place from which all life flows.  The tender place.  The vulnerable place.

Here, early in 2019, it seems like a good time to reflect on our hearts and to take inventory of what we have stored there.  Is it time to declutter our hearts?  Perhaps our hearts need redirecting. Possibly in 2018 or before we built up a wall around our hearts that needs to come down so that we can once again be vulnerable and sensitive to God’s spirit, His leading and His people.

Psalm 51:10 is our February journaling challenge scripture.  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Resolutions or desires to strengthen faith (Heb 10:22), heal relationships (I Tim 1:5), re-prioritize goals (Prov 3:5-6), grow in Him (James 4:8) – they must all begin in the heart.

Dear, sweet friends, my prayer for you is that your hearts not be troubled, but that they be full of joy and blessed assurance of God’s unfailing love for each one of us.  Have a wonderful month.  

February faith journaling challenge: Choose Psalm 51:10 or any one of these scriptures about the heart to create a page that reminds you to focus on the heart of the matter.