What could be better news than your test results showing you are negative for cancer?
Or the raise you were promised is double what you expected?
What is the most thrilling message you could receive?
The best words to hear are God’s, whatever they may be. If he says it, I want to hear it, because I trust he always has my best interests at heart.
I heard him speaking to me when I connected with a former neighbor on Facebook several years ago. She mentioned her daughter’s flock was too small and asked if I had any chickens to sell.
The verse that came to mind was about showing hospitality to strangers, so I acted on it. My introverted nature resisted, but I invited her to bring her family to pick up some of my extra hens – free. We spent a lovely day together picking cherries and eating popsicles. Here’s the story.*
His words change me
Good things come because of the words I hide in my heart. They help me avoid sin, and therefore there is less junk to deal with in my life.
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11 ESV).
As an example, I don’t always withdraw from people because I’m an introvert. Sometimes I do it because I don’t like what they’re doing and want to have things go my way. Because I’ve hidden what’s true in my heart, I hear him remind me to love my neighbor as myself. Then I recognize my selfishness. And like the day I invited someone I didn’t know well into my home, I get to enjoy sweet rewards for my obedience.
My favorite time to open the Bible is at night before going to bed, so I can meditate on it as I drift off into la-la land. I don’t know if what I read before sleeping actually affects my dreams, but I’m sure it changes something in my internal chemistry. For one thing, it helps me understand the difference between my genetic makeup (introvert) and my sinful nature (it’s all about me).
My bucket, my heart
My favorite word picture for my heart is a bucket. When we go camping, I take several empty ice-cream buckets and use them for hauling water for the fire, washing the cups, and giving Annie dog a drink.
In the same way, when I look at God’s word every day, it’s like I’m filling my bucket so there will be water for my needs that day. It’s proven true over years of practice, that my day just goes better when I’ve started it with a full bucket.
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NIV).
The Proverbs writer said that paying attention to my heart is what I should be concerned about more than anything else. Now I see why.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis
*in case the link to the post mentioned doesn’t work, search for “A Bucket, a Cherry Tree, and Sharing with Others” in this blog’s search bar.