Make-Over of the Heart


Welcome back, my sweet Sisters!


Wow! Wow! Reading your comments, I am so humbled and EXCITED....I believe God is going to do AMAZING things as we study together.


Thank You, God for the transformations that are taking place. Thank You, God that You have drawn these women here....that You are meeting each one exactly where she needs to be. Thank You, Holy Spirit, that You are revealing to us what we need to see. Thank You, God that You are peeling away all of the layers to reveal the women You have created us to be.


Ladies, please, please, please take time to read the comments from Tuesday. I thought it was so interesting how SIMILAR our desires are! We are asking God to transform our hearts (actually TRANSPLANT them as we will see in Ezekiel in a few moments). I heard Psalm 51, "Create in me a clean heart." I heard from everyone a humble spirit desiring to change....to be changed by Him.


Wow! Thank You, God!


I want you to do something if you haven't already.


Print the lists you made. Print out the desires of your heart. Do you have a prayer journal or notebook you write down prayers? If so, tape these desires inside the front cover and PRAY over them daily! Or, keep them in your bible.


For instance Beth wants to see her adult children accept Christ. She would pray for that daily. She wants to be an effective witness (a common desire among all of us!). Pray, "Lord, make me an effective witness for You." I often pray, "Make me a Light shining for You."


Julie wants to diminish as He increases. This is funny, Julie. I have a prayer that I say often (especially when I am preparing to speak), "Less of me, God and more of You. Less of me and more of You. Less of me and more of You. NONE of me and ALL of YOU!"


Peggy would pray that she would " know, love & serve God so that others are drawn to Him."
(Again, isn't amazing the similarities with all of our desires? He has "hand picked" us to study together!)


Angie would pray, "Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. God, Help me to walk this out at work when I face "life circumstances" with my family and work.


Denise might pray, "Lord, make a Daddy's girl, with a heart on fire for You, Daddy!"


Our sweet Jamaican Princess might pray, "Lord, help me to develop a strong spirit of discernment, so I may know You better."


MAKE YOUR DESIRES INTO PRAYERS!


And, then pray those desires daily.


Next, I want you to print out (or write down) those goals you have.


I was blown away! Sisters, what amazing hearts you all have! You want to GROW in Him!


Some goals were becoming a more compassionate Christian, to be a Light shining for Him, to have gratification for Christ and His blessings, to have heart striving to please God, to break free from the past, and to walk more closely with God.


What AWESOME goals!


I would like you to take the time to either print or write your goals and tape them on your bathroom mirror.


When you are brushing your teeth or fixing your hair, look them over. Take time to thank God that He is bringing these things to pass.


"Thank You, Father that You are making me a more compassionate person. Please open my eyes to someone today that I can show compassion to."


Take time to ponder every day what it is You want God to do in and through You and how you want to change!


I don't believe it is an accident you are here. God has brought us all together ON PURPOSE! He wants us to encourage one another, challenge each other, and fellowship together.


Please read over the comments and take a few minutes to visit someone else in the study. Share what God has shown you these couple of days. Pray for her. Encourage her.


I would like to take a minute and pray for Vanessa.


Lord, we lift up Vanessa to You. Thank You, Lord that she is seeking Your wisdom through this trial. Lord, I pray for her marriage. I pray for healing and restoration. God, give Vanessa and her husband eyes to see one another the way YOU see them. Pour out Your love and grace in them to overflowing so that they can extend it to one another. I pray for forgiveness. Lord give both of them a spirit of forgiveness. Lord, I pray for Your comfort at this time. Wrap Your arms around Vanessa, letting her know how much You love her! In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen!



OK....now to Ezekiel.....



Ezekiel 36:25-28
God is speaking. He says, “I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 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. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.”

Write in your own words what God is going to do. Does that get you excited?



Ezekiel is a book of the Old Testament. This represents God’s old covenant (or His pledge or promise) that He has with His people. Jesus talks about a new covenant in Luke 22:20. Right before Jesus sheds His blood for our redemption, He says, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Jesus also promises that the Holy Spirit will come and live within us when He leaves the earth. John 16: 7 says, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

Ponder how Jesus fulfills the promise of Ezekiel. Through Jesus, we have the promise of a new heart and new spirit!




I can't WAIT to hear what He has shown you! Please share with us!



Lord, thank You so much for these precious women. Thank You that they have hearts desiring You! Lord, I am expecting beautiful transformations of hearts through the washing of Your Word and by the power of Your Spirit! Lord, open our eyes to see You and our ears to hear You, and our HEARTS to receive You! Bless You, God! In Jesus' Name we pray! Amen.



THIS IS WHAT WE WILL DO NEXT TUESDAY....


Please begin reading "Week 2" in our study. We will share our answers to the questions then. I can't wait to see you back on Tuesday!


WEEK TWO
A Delightful Heart



Psalm 37: 4, says “DELIGHT yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”


Listen to this again. This time, read it out loud: “DELIGHT yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The Bible says to DELIGHT yourself- isn’t that a beautiful way to phrase this- to take delight in the Lord? Delight yourself; immerse yourself in God’s love. Be passionate about the Lord and your relationship with Him.



Then, when you delight yourself in the Lord, what is He going to do? He is going to give you the desires of your heart. Put God first in your life, seek first the kingdom of God, make God your first love, and then He will give you your heart’s desires! It’s a cause and effect relationship. We do something, then God does something. God blesses and favors those who love Him.



HERE IS THE KEY! As we grow closer to the Lord, our heart’s desires begin to change. We begin to desire what God desires!

Let’s look at man from the Bible who took delight in the Lord and enjoyed God’s favor. His name was Jabez.

From 1Chronicles 4:9-10, Jabez prayed, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed! And that You would increase my territory and that Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil so that I may not cause pain.”


Jabez is a man from the bible whose name means, “pain.” The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “His mother named him Jabez (sorrow maker), saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain’.”


Can you imagine? When my husband and I were expecting each child, we would look up each potential name to find out its meaning. We were CAREFUL and DELIBERATE in choosing a name. Jabez was intentionally named PAIN!

This was not a great way to start out in life. Every day, Jabez heard himself referred to as “pain” from the time he woke up in the morning until he went to bed at night. Jabez could have been discouraged and lost hope. This could have been the end of the story, but God had plans for Jabez.


Pay attention! God wants to teach us by giving us the story of Jabez in His Word. Jabez put his hope in the Lord and cried out for God’s favor. He went to the Lord to deliver him. Jabez didn’t seek man or man’s ways, but sought God. He prayed “Oh, that You would bless me indeed!” “Indeed” means “Please bless me greatly. Bless me A LOT!”

But, did Jabez ask for wealth, power, or kingdoms? No, he asked God to bless him how the Lord saw fit-in HIS ways, not Jabez's ways.


He asked God to expand his borders or his territory. Then, as soon as the words are out of Jabez’s mouth, he realized he couldn’t do anything on his own, and needed God to help him. Jabez prayed, “Oh, that Your hand would be with me.” And he finished by asking God to keep him from temptation and sin, so that he “may not cause pain.”


What happened next in the story? The Bible says God granted his request and that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. Bruce Wilkenson says, in The Prayer of Jabez, “When we seek God’s blessing as the ULTIMATE value in life, we our throwing ourselves entirely into the river of God’s will and power and purposes for us. All our other needs become secondary to what we really want- which is to be wholly immersed in what God is trying to do in us, through us, and around us for His glory.”

We are seeking God’s blessing as our “ultimate value!” This ultimate value isn’t a new car, a great job, a diamond ring, wealth, fame, power, or glory. This value is NOT the gifts of the world. The world would tell us that the ultimate blessings would be a perfect body, a flawless complexion, a beautiful wardrobe, a luxurious home, a perfect husband, and children. But, when we seek God’s blessing, we are asking God to do His will in our lives. When I ask the Lord to bless me, I am asking Him to bless me in His ways and not mine. His “blessing” may be the exact opposite of what you are praying for.


For instance, I may be praying for a bigger, more beautiful home. But, God blesses me with my smaller home, teaching me financial responsibility or maybe ministering to a neighbor. God knows so much better what is best for me and at what times. When I “let go and let God,” He will always “out do” any blessing in my mind. God, the Creator of the universe, and the Creator of you, knows exactly what your heart’s desire is and how best to lavish his awesomeness upon you!


(Girls, reading the desires of YOUR hearts, you asked God for things like growing closer to Him and being a witness. How God LONGS to bless You in such Christ centered ways!)



God knows you better than you know yourself. Our fifth child, Abigail is a perfect example of God “outdoing” any blessing in my mind.


We were not praying for, hoping for, or even expecting another child. In fact, we had given away EVERY item of baby paraphernalia. My husband and I were enjoying a new freedom of our youngest child being potty trained, going to preschool, and being semi-independent. We were excited to be able to leave the children with a babysitter and begin to spend time with one another again as a couple. We loved the fact that the kids could dress themselves, feed themselves, and entertain themselves. If you asked us if we wanted to have another baby, Brian and I would have laughed and thought it was a crazy idea. But, God had a better plan and our baby Abigail has blessed us in ways that are indescribable. Now, we can’t imagine our family without her, and laugh at the idea of having less than five children.

Your God wants to bless you. He wants to give you “jewels” or “kisses from the King.” He wants to lavish His Kingdom upon you. Just in the same way we love to surprise our loved ones with awesome gifts, our Heavenly Father loves to shower us with His blessings. Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If you then know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” However, God’s gifts are not the gifts of the world. God is so much bigger than our thoughts and imaginations. And His blessings will always be so much more than anything we can even hope for or imagine. Don’t limit God with your version of “blessings,” but instead allow God to bless you in ways He knows are best.

God has shown me so much favor at times it is overwhelming. Sometimes, God will give me a “heart’s desire” before I even realize it is my heart’s desire. In the same way, you may not even know your heart’s desires. Let me share with you an example of God knowing what we need and how best to accomplish our goals above and beyond our wildest dreams.

Several years ago, I owned a children’s birthday party business, Party Pros, in which I planned creative, themed birthday parties. I would “do” the entire party- the invitations, goody bags, entertainment, and even an elaborate cake. I had a Pirate Party, a Dinosaur Party, a Little Mermaid Party, and the ever popular Cinderella party. This party was so cute. Little girls dressed up, I did their hair and makeup, an invitation comes for the ball, the girls take a carriage ride, and we dance at the lovely ball. To make the girls into princesses, they make crowns and put on “gowns”- dresses cut from pink tablecloths. This party was every little girl’s “dream come true.”

Well, my business had gotten very popular and I had over extended what I could do. But, I loved doing these parties and could not turn down any parent. Summer months tended to be very busy, and one week I had a Thursday evening, Friday evening, and Saturday morning party scheduled. As you can imagine, the planning and preparation was time consuming for these parties, and I had committed to too many parties so close together. So, on Friday evening, after I finished a Pirate Party, and was very tired, I began finishing the preparations for the very large Cinderella party I had planned for the next MORNING. At 11:00 PM, I began cutting 18 dresses for the little girls. After about 7 dresses, I ran out of pink tablecloth.

What was I going to do now? The pink gowns were a crucial part of the party. I knew Wal-Mart, which was open 24 hours didn’t have pink tablecloth. The party stores where I usually found the pink tablecloth didn’t open the next morning until 9:00 and I had to be at the party for set up by 9:00 at the other end of town. The situation seemed hopeless. I cried out to the Lord, “God, I am so tired. I‘m so sorry- I confess, Lord, I procrastinated, and should have had this done before now. Please help me, God! I don’t know what to do! I really want the party to be perfect for this little girl. I want to do a good job for her. I know God that with You all things are possible. I trust You and know You will work this all out.”

I went to bed not knowing how God would help me, but feeling peace that He would. But, I still felt the need to control how God was going to help. So, I planned to leave early in the morning, stop at a drugstore on the way to the party to purchase ANY tablecloth, and arrive early enough to cut the remaining dresses. In my mind, I thought God’s plan would be to provide pink tablecloths at the drugstore, or some kind of tablecloth that wouldn’t disappoint the birthday girl. In the “natural,” I couldn’t see how God could help my predicament. I wasn’t expecting a miracle!

In the morning, I continued to pray. I purchased tablecloth at the drugstore, which was the ugliest floral I had ever seen. It was either that or black. Thinking ugly floral was better than nothing, I grabbed it and hurried off to the party. I refused to lose faith, and continued to pray. I cried out again to God for his help. I said, “God, I have to give this to you! I know you will take care of me. I don’t know how, this seems so impossible.” In my mind, I thought God would help me cut the ugly floral tablecloths before the party began, and that the birthday girl and her mom wouldn’t be disappointed in them. I continued praying on the way to the party.

When I arrived, the mom was waiting at the door. She had an idea for the party and was hoping I would use it. This mother had been a dancer and owned beautiful dance costumes that she had worn during her performances. She thought it would be very special if her daughter and her daughter’s friends would wear these costumes instead of my tablecloth gowns. She had wanted to ask me earlier, but didn’t want to offend me. Sheepishly, she asked, “Would you mind?”

I was speechless. I knew this was the answer to my prayer! But, this was a large party, and I wondered if there would really be enough costumes for all 18 girls. The mother and I counted the dresses one by one and there were exactly 18 beautiful sequined glamorous gowns. What an answered prayer- a miracle! I knew God was speaking directly to me, wooing me and whispering love songs in my ear.

I have to tell you it was an awesome party and I wept and sang the whole way home. God took such care of me. He had given me the desires of my heart and saved me in such a way that I knew it could only have been him! I had limited God in my mind of what He could do, but He was so much bigger than any of my wildest dreams. Like God parting the Red Sea to reveal His glory, He had allowed the mother to delay requesting that I use her gowns so that I would understand the way His hand saved me. If I had planned on using them, I would not have heard His tender love song and see the way He is willing to save me.

I had taken delight in the Lord, not just that day, but every day and he was giving me the desires of my heart. When we seek the Lord and take delight in Him, He always romances us. He wants to do things for us so that His love may be revealed. He wants to give us the desires of our heart!

Questions:

1. What are blessings in your life that God has surprised you with? Take a few moments to pray and ask God to remind you of things you may have forgotten. Please don’t say, “I can’t think of any.” I challenge you to sit before the Lord, allowing the Holy Spirit time to remind you.




2. How are God’s blessings different from the “blessings” of the world? Make a list of worldy desires and a list of God’s blessings.




3. What is God revealing to you through the study so far?



4 thoughts shared....:

MyJourneyBack said...

Tracy,
Thank you so much for this study. I have begun slowing I need to print there is so much detail hopefully I can do that today.
I wanted to comment on the Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. I have leaned on this verse for a few years. I pray that I will learn just exactly how to Delight in the Lord and that I will remember to do that everyday. Take Delight just in knowing him. I can kind of explain that I think it should be like the delight I feel when I see my little grandson. He just makes me want to giggle and I just want to hug him. Oh to feel that same way with our father.
I hope you have a wonderful day.
Many Blessings my new friend.
Sherry

Peggy said...

Write in your own words what God is going to do. I rewrote what this verse means and from what I see today I should have made it more personal: God will refresh me as He cleans me with PURE, clean water. All the" idols" that have become impurities in my life will be sifted and though I may not see them, I need to acknowledge that they are there ,messing up my walk on how others view me & Christ in me. What difference does HE make in me & my water supply? As God removes each particle of impurity, He will be able to replace that spot in my heart with a soft, clean, pliable, tender trait in a heart seeking to be like His heart for people. There will be no hardness or jadedness when I look at others without Christ, but there will be more compassion for their impurities that need to be soaked in the Blood of Jesus just like mine. This will rekindle His Spirit in me. His Spirit will take control of my emotions. His Spirit will tear down walls. His Spirit will prompt me to the filth daily & the cleaning I need. His Spirit will stir up a desire to obey in everything. I will inherit the land promised and the eternal life that God alone can give me through His Son Jesus. It will be clear, and my life clean to others who see me shining with the Love & reflection of Jesus! This revival of a refreshed, renewed Spirit excites me and gives me HOPE beyond words! The sprinkling is watering the seeds that have been inside my heart waiting to GROW fruit! It is the baptism of His Holy Spirit breathing and living New Life in & through me. Daily refreshing me as I listen & obey. My heart will beat & flow with the love of Jesus & His Spirit bursting forth. Alleluia!!!

Proverbs 27:19 said...

For Ezekiel 36:25-28, I did something different. Instead of writing what God is going to do, I wrote about what He has already done and from that point what He will do.

God has poured His Sons' blood over me, He has buried me in HIs blood. While in that blood, I was cleaned of all the dirt that stained me.

Because of this, God will remind me of this. He reminds me so that I can move on into His blessings and be a useful vessel for Him and so that I will understand that I am no longer who I was. If I continue to bask in who I was, I am my own channel-blocker.

Thank you for doing this Tracy.

smooches,
Larie

Denise said...

You are such a sweet blessing. I truly thank you for hosting this study, I know my heart is being touched. I love you my friend.