Everybody Has a Heart


Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 15

God has a solution for fighting poverty in verse 1, “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.” I had to read that twice. Imagine if you got a do-over every 7 years? If you’re in bad shape, that could be a real blessing.

I took my family on a tour at our local homeless shelter this past Monday. I thought that serving together as a family,  especially serving meals to people less fortunate, might be a great way for our family to bond, bring perspective on how blessed we truly are and teach my children how rewarding it is to help others.

The people who occupy this shelter for their temporary living space are the poorest of community. For many of the residents this is an opportunity to get a fresh start; a do over. The staff helps them identify goals, provides guidance on how to find a job, interview and dress appropriately; they also teach organizational skills, basics for daily living (like how to manage finances) and basic hygiene.

Shortly after our tour my youngest daughter said to me, “Mom, why were some of those people were looking at us weird?” I responded with the kindest words I could muster, “Well sweetheart, those people don’t have homes… perhaps they were looking at us because they were ashamed to be there or maybe they think we’re ‘the rich people,’ we really are compared to them. We have a home.”

I wasn’t honestly sure what to say, you know how kids ask the most amazing questions that we, as parents, sometimes don’t know the answers to ourselves. My answer was intended to show compassion and help her per-adolescent mind that she didn’t have to be self-conscious of her image or take anything personally.

In verse 7, “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.” This is a basic human courtesy to be kind to the poor among us; it is not our social status that defines us.

My mom used to say, “Sarah, everybody has a heart!” What she meant was I am not better than anybody. I should not judge anyone, look down on them, act like I’m better than anyone nor be mean like a bully. Whether they have a physical disability, are poor, shop at 2nd hand stores vs. the trendy stores at the mall, don’t wear matching clothes, have body Oder, etc… My mom taught me an incredible life lesson in those words – to love everyone and recognize that everyone has feelings – Don’t judge.

Perhaps Deuteronomy 15 was God’s way of saying to the Israelites, “Everyone has a heart.” Give them a new beginning, a do-over every 7 years. Which leads me to note that Jesus gave us a HUGE do-over for dying on the cross for our sins. We are all poor in spirit and lost without Christ. He sacrificed everything for us to have eternal life. He didn’t discriminate on the basis of wealth, acts, right vs. wrongs…. he did it for those of us whose hearts have repented and accept his sacrifice. The result – a new birth.

God Takes Up Residence

Heart home

Today’s Devotional: Exodus 40.

Another milestone day. Today we conclude our study through Exodus and what a finish. Verse 34 says, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle,” and so it is with our hearts.

When God is so dominant in our lives and we allow His Holy Spirit to fill our hearts, there is no room for anything else and THAT is what true fulfillment looks like. It is a peace beyond all understanding and a  confidence that you can’t find anywhere else.

We risk getting all religious and churchy to get there though. We think that the only way to truly fill our hearts with God is to get busy in religious activities and begin a lifestyle that is so rigid and rule-bound that we exhaust ourselves. What I’m talking about is a relationship with God. Think about it – What happens when you are in a relationship with someone? You think about them constantly, you go out of your way to serve them and you communicate about everything.

Some of my friends know my deepest, darkest secrets… So does God.

I have friends going through some tough times and I want to be there for them because I love and care about them… So does God about you and me.

When I have ‘stuff’ in my life, my friends check-in because they’re worried about me and what to see how I’m doing… God does more than just check-ins, He’s in the valleys with us too.

I call on a friend when I need sounding-board to make a good decision or clarify a situation before I react to it… so should I with God, FIRST!

You see, I love the visual of the cloud covering the tabernacle and being so filled with God that even Moses couldn’t get in. That picture for me is God filling my heart and there is no room for Sarah to get in. You know I’m bound to work all things out for MY own selfish agenda, prone to tell God what I want and beg Him to give me the desires of MY heart. Even worse, I will try to justify ugly self as not being so bad or better than so-and-so. Truth is, when there is no room for me, I’m better for it.

I pray God takes up residence in our hearts this week and WE LET HIM. God takes over to the point where there just isn’t room for us to control or manipulate our circumstances for our own outcomes and desires. Allowing our lives to be a product of His outcomes and His desires. What a powerful conclusion to the book of Exodus and powerful beginning to our day and week.

May God fully bless you and fill every crevice of our hearts.

Interior Decorations Of My Heart


Today’s Devotion: Exodus 26. “Things are what they seem in the bible.” I heard this on the radio yesterday on my commute to work. The radio guy said that we need to take the Word of God literally. Many take scripture, read it to what they want it to say, and twist it to defend it against itself. I can’t say I completely disagree with that because I have had people take it out of context and misuse it. I used to be a surface reader, but I have come to appreciate reading God’s Word and looking deeper, beyond just the words to the heart of the meaning.

I especially find myself doing that as I read the intricacies of the tabernacle. If we were to read it too literally, we would think God is quite the interior decorator. So I ask myself why God put such a thorough description of this tabernacle in His word? I can muster up a lot of theories and questions like, “Where did they get all of this stuff? They are supposed to be in the desert. Is it a literal desert with sand and cactus and stuff, or is it one of those deserts that I have faced in my life that are places of isolation, discomfort, and pain?”

For this I went to my commentary and this is what I learned from Dr. Vernon McGee, “Everything in the tabernacle speaks of either the person or work of Christ. Every covering, every thread, and every article of furniture reveals some facet of the Savior. As the bars held the tabernacle together, so the Holy Spirit of God holds true believers together today. Believers should be held together by the Spirit. In fact, believers are told “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

McGee, J. Vernon (1984-01-06). Thru the Bible Commentary, Volumes 1-5: Genesis through Revelation (Thru the Bible 5 Volume Set) (Kindle Locations 11849-11852). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I love that! It all points to Christ. God is very deliberate in the old testament to point to the coming Messiah. I find it especially interesting that He has every detail covered. This tells me (us) that He has everything in my life covered too. I also can’t help but realize that He is pointing every detail of my life to the return of Christ and He is being very deliberate about that too.

Life may be a metaphoric desert, but it doesn’t have to be hell, nor does it have to be insignificant. God has a plan and His plan is detailed and perfect. What an honor that He has all of that figured out in advance for us. We simply need to be reading His Word, growing in knowing Him and having a relationship with Him. It’s as if He’s decorating my heart with His love.