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Take my heart, Oh GodRiches from the greatest Christian women writers of all
ZondervanCopyright © 2010 Worthy Media, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJanuary 1
Among all the names that reveal God, this, the "God of all comfort," seems to me one of the loveliest and the most absolutely comforting. The words all comfort admit of no limitations and no deductions. -Hannah Whitall Smith
GOD OF ALL COMFORT
We love seeing the word all if it points to something favorable for us. We love when all of the shoes at our favorite store are on sale, or all of the candies in the bowl are dark chocolate, or all of the bills are paid in full. However, when all aspects of life seem to crash down around us, that's a different matter. We find ourselves in desperate need of the "God of all comfort."
Consider the ramifications of that name. No problem or heartache is outside of God's range of comfort. He has unlimited resources-a vast wellspring-at his disposal. When we're hurting, truly the loveliest name of all describes God bringing us not some comfort, not comfort for some things, but all the comfort we need.
The God of all comfort waits today to comfort you. No limitations. No deductions.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
God has chosen you and me for the purpose of bearing much eternal fruit ... fruit that is simply the character of God's Son coming out in us. -Anne Graham Lotz
MORE LIKE JESUS
As the new year begins, you may feel melancholy, looking back with some regret or ahead with fearful questions. Issues and anxiety don't leave much room for hope. Certainly you want to feel optimistic, even joyful, but how?
The answer comes not in trying, but knowing; not in doing, but resting. In Galatians 5, God promises joy as a "fruit" of his work in us. So instead of trying to manufacture a feeling of joy, look to your Father in heaven and remember his promise. He has already planted joy in your heart by his Spirit. So feeling joyful is not the issue. Rather, quietly sit before God and express to him your deepest hurts and concerns and ask him to grow in you his fruit of joy. Then, as Anne says, you will continue to bear fruit-eternal fruit-for him, becoming more and more like his Son.
Read Galatians 5:22-23.
O faithful soul! The repose enjoyed in thyself is but a shadow of that which thou wilt find in God! -Madame Guyon
Rest. Repose. Times of quiet when we can think-about God, about life, about what we are called to do. Such times grant us refreshment, a needed break, a time to refocus.
And yet, Madame Guyon would have us realize that those precious times are a mere shadow of the kind of rest that our soul can find in God.
Our soul thirsts; he alone can satisfy. We hunger to know the depths of God's love; he fills us to overflowing with nourishment from his Word. We face difficult times; he gives us the refreshment that keeps us moving forward. We struggle with guilt over sins we have committed; he alone grants us forgiveness that brings true peace and repose. We need rest from the storm; he invites us into his refuge and wraps his arms of protection around us.
Today let your soul find its best rest in him.
Read Psalm 62:5-8.
My calling is to press my face into the shoulder blades of Jesus so that wherever he leads I will go. -Margaret Feinberg
Hold on tight and don't let go. That's the picture Margaret Feinberg creates when she describes her calling as pressing her face into the shoulder blades of Jesus. When we hold on that tight, we show trust, we draw comfort, we give love.
When you hold onto Jesus like this, you draw in his scent of strength and purpose. You feel the radiant warmth of his love. And you're so intoxicated by it that you follow closely so as not to lose a single precious moment basking in his nearness. As you lean into him, the direction of your steps becomes almost irrelevant. Each cobblestone you traverse, each ditch you leap across, becomes a victory. You care less about where you're going and more about simply trusting where he's leading you.
Press in. Inhale deeply. And don't lag behind.
Read Psalm 73:23-26.
Uncrowd my heart, O God, / until silence speaks, / in your still, small voice, / turn me ... to listening, waiting, stillness, silence. -Esther DeWaal
IN THE FULLNESS OF SILENCE
When our hearts, our minds, and our souls are filled with worldly concerns, we leave no room for God.
Silence. This is the path to clearing clutter and countering pride. Release thoughts and worries. Free the mind. Let go of desires and expectations. Open a sacred space inside your heart. Then God will take up residence.
Elijah experienced demonstrations of God's great power, but he heard God speaking directly to him in a quiet whisper. He felt humbled before that soft voice and covered his face.
Deep prayer is not about using a wealth of flashy words or demanding great miracles. Instead, it is learning to be so still that God's words and his will can be distinguished over the insistent clamor of the world.
In stillness, our eyes see with wonder. Our hearts open and our minds surrender. And then we can hear God.
Read 1 Kings 19:11-13.
Excerpted from Take my heart, Oh God Copyright © 2010 by Worthy Media, Inc. . Excerpted by permission.
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