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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A New Heart and Spirit

“For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!" (Ezekiel 36:24-28, MSG).

Was there a time when you informed God exactly what would bless you beyond measure—told Him what you just knew was your due—and then demanded your promise fulfilled? You believed your heart was completely His—that is was soft and pliable in His hand, but there was a dissatisfaction of soul that could never find fulfillment. Impatient for your promise—your inheritance—you didn’t realize there was a part of your heart growing hard to His Spirit—putting up a wall to His love and His will. You were obsessed with your promise more than your Father. Your ears became deaf—your eyes lost His vision—your heart hardened to stone. You were so focused on needing your promise that you didn’t even realize when you had retreated from Him—when you had left His presence. Suddenly you realized you were alone in a strange land of your own making.

Just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, God waits for you to return home. He longs for your return—to gather you back into the intimacy you once knew. He knows you have fallen, but that is not His focus. He sees you through the eyes of grace. When you cry out to Him His grace forgives any sin and melts the hardness of selfishness. This is His promise—a new clean heart and a new spirit. The old cold heart is removed and replaced with one that is pliable as clay in His hands. Selfishness is broken, and the needs that God places in your heart become the most important. Daily surrendered to Him you live by the power and strength He alone provides. In every way—in every thought—in every action, He directs your life. You live an abundantly fulfilled life by His gracious bounty and merciful love. Your heart is at rest, and you have complete peace knowing with every part of our being that He is your loving and forgiving Father. Focused on His promise instead of your own you realize fulfillment of your own has been found in your surrender to His will. You walk in the gift of your promise—abundantly filled with His Spirit.

You are home in Him. No more stony heart—you have become the least so He can be the greatest.

 (Copyright 2017 Lynn Hampton Lacher)

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