Heaven's Heartbeat: Personal Reflections on Hearing the Heart of God

Heaven's Heartbeat: Personal Reflections on Hearing the Heart of God

by Micah Smith
Heaven's Heartbeat: Personal Reflections on Hearing the Heart of God

Heaven's Heartbeat: Personal Reflections on Hearing the Heart of God

by Micah Smith

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Overview

The human heart is a wonderful mystery of rhythmic life and beauty, like music and poetry. Listening to the beat of another's heart requires being up close, personal and intimate. Trust is essential. In Heaven's Heartbeat, author Micah Smith presents a ninety-day devotional dedicated to helping you hear God's heartbeat. Using anecdotes from his personal life, Micah offers messages to encourage you to hang in there and not give up when times are tough and uncertain. He presents an invitation to hear God's voice with renewed hope, growing trust, and calm confidence during the foggy seasons of chaos and confusion. Heaven's Heartbeat is not a book of devotional theories. In the next ninety-days you will discover the reality of God's presence in your life, the help of his Word to guide you, and the healing power of a Father's heart.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491700419
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/26/2013
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

Read an Excerpt

HEAVEN'S HEARTBEAT

Personal Reflections on Hearing the Heart of God


By Micah Smith

iUniverse LLC

Copyright © 2013 Micah Smith
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4917-0041-9


CHAPTER 1

Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. —Luke 18:1-2 (MSG)


Human beings long for a father that believes in them, cheering them on in life. Sadly, many people grow up missing such inspiration and support. The good news is that God wants to be your father and He will never disappoint you or abandon you.

He cheering for you right now.

Suppose you were able to lay your head on His chest and hear His heartbeat. What do you think you would hear? I believe His heart beats with a rhythm, pulse and cadence that say, I love you and I want you to hang in there.

He might begin with Luke 18:1. He doesn't want you to lose heart and quit.

Do you see it? Jesus says that prayer is the antidote to losing heart. Allow me to illustrate. In 410 A.D., Rome was brutally crushed and overrun by Alaric I, king of the Visigoths. Imagine this: an angry slave opened the gate of the protected city, the Goths poured in, and for the first time in 800 years, Rome fell to an enemy.

The attack had an overwhelming and disheartening effect upon the believers in Rome. They could not understand why the hub of Christian faith could be ravaged by such evil. Many Christ followers were severely shaken in their faith. Why?

Because they had falsely believed that the strength of their faith was in the invincible stability of Rome.

Many of Jesus' followers today are asking similar questions: "Where is God?" and "Why didn't He stop this?" or "Why does God permit things like this to happen?"

I don't have all the answers but I know God is a good father. As world events continue to darken and people around us lose heart, our call is to be full of His Holy Spirit, move under His touch and share His love and mercy to every person possible. Don't not lose heart. Be proactive in your faith.

Look up to your Father. He is cheering you on to the finish line.

CHAPTER 2

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. —1 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT)


The hill was steep, still I was confident I could work my way to the bottom and continue along the creek bed to the north. Snow swirled in sheets, danced in cadence to the wind's call. I moved to my right, taking a couple of quick steps; -- it happened so fast -- I'm still uncertain of the details. My feet didn't just slip, they leaped out from under me as if they had a mind of their own, without regard or concern for anything connected above the ankle bone.

Before I could exercise any level of authority over them, my big toes were at eye level. Looking at my feet suspended horizontally before me, I opened my mouth in protest just before I slammed into the ground. I fell hard -- really hard on my back -- with no opportunity to catch myself or soften the landing. In that same instant, I lost every bit of air from my lungs.

My first thought was, did anyone see me go down? My second thought was, Hey, I can't breathe! Not the slightest wisp of air would move through my lungs. It felt as if the atmosphere around me had collapsed into a vacuum. All I could muster up through my esophagus was a weak "uggggh", as I lay there in the snow on an icy hillside.

Finally, I rolled on my side, managing to lift my head and take a quick survey of the area. Seeing no one who had witnessed my fall, I rolled over on my knees and raised up into a hunched position, half stumbling and half running down the hill and into the trees.

I hadn't planned on falling.

After several more minutes passed, I had gathered myself enough to breathe without pressing my ribs on both sides to help push air in and out. As I moved on, I thought of my flippant confidence as I traversed treacherous ground. A passage from Proverbs scrolled across my mental screen:

First pride, then the crash— The bigger the ego, the harder the fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

Storms swept over most of the West — our area included — for two weeks it left unusual amounts of snow on the ground. And it continued to snow as I hobbled along the trail back home.

I could have blamed the storm for my fall. After all, it had created the slick, icy conditions. I could have blamed where I live for my fall. From the top of our hill, every direction dropped rapidly at a steep angle. I could have blamed the conditions and the circumstances for my fall. Yet the truth is, the fall was the result of my choice. No one had coerced me to run an icy slope on a stormy day. That bit of wisdom had been mine and mine alone.

The bottom line was simply this: I didn't think I would fall. In fact, I couldn't even imagine falling. Not once had it entered my mind! And that realization has led me into some valuable personal reflection.

Experience has a way to coax us into a false sense of security, doesn't it? Experience makes us slick, polished, capable, and vulnerable. What I gained from my painful fall that snowy day was a graphic reminder that I am not exempt from falling! Nor is anyone else.

There is another kind of fall, even more dangerous and severe than my abrupt, icy encounter with terra firma. It is the fall described in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, that is the result of a heart neglecting the warning signs of self-sufficiency, self-determination, and self-centeredness. It is a "fall" away from God. The very word fall presupposes that one has been in a higher position with Christ. The fall takes one down until they bottom out. For Jonah, it was a great fish, for the prodigal son, it was a pigpen. For Demas, it was the bright lights and siren song of the city (2 Timothy 4:10).

As I trudged up the hill toward home, I made another observation.

Falling and staying down is not God's will for us. Yes, He is the only One who can keep us from falling. Even so, if we do fall, He will help us get back up, learn from the experience, and keep going in the energy of the Holy Spirit, which is His grace.

I will not blame circumstances or conditions on any level for my falls; whether those circumstances include stormy economies, icy relationships, or slick temptations.

My feet will learn yet, that "by His power I live and move and exist."

CHAPTER 3

I said to myself, "Relax and rest. GOD has showered you with blessings." —Psalm 116:7 (MSG)


Being a dad and now a grandpa is a gift I cherish. Watching children grow is so fascinating. Stretching beyond infancy, they become toddler live-wires, bursting with energy, full of adventure and curiosity. Their pudgy little fingers, hands and feet can hardly keep up with busy little eyes, looking for the next mystery to unravel and new exploit to conquer.

My wife and I raised five children, so we do have some experience at handling busy, active toddlers. You grab them when they're not looking and hold on tight as they wiggle and worm and challenge your control with every breath.

There have been a few rare and extraordinary moments, however, when these small independent people have relaxed and rested in my arms. It's like heaven and we squeeze and hug and imbibe each other's spirit. When they stop struggling in my arms, we connect.

One time while worshipping with a group of leaders, it suddenly dawned on me that there are times when I am so busy, so active, and so full of living energy, bubbling over and full of curiosity and adventure, that Father God knows just how to handle people like me. He grabs me when I'm not looking and holds on tight. Finally, when I realize and understand the gravity of the moment, I relax and we connect.

As I rest in His arms, I imbibe His Spirit, I hear His heart and I feel His love. And I am healed and the world is not quite as dark, my problems not so immense and my tears do not sting as much.

Now, stop kicking ...

Don't you know he enjoys giving rest to those He loves? (Psalm 127:2)

CHAPTER 4

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, (like a lion) and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. —1 Peter 5:8-10 (MSG)


Ok this is going to sound preachy, I agree. Hear me out and I may make a point to ponder. People are angry today. Our generation has coined new terms for our fuming society. We joke about someone "going postal" and we read about "road rage" with a yawn.

It seems like it is only a minute step for men and women to shift from simple indignation to full-blown fury toward one another. We see it in parking lots, office cubicles, little league games and in checkout lines. Ballistic behavior is no respecter of persons or age. Children in elementary school as well as high school have mowed down classmates and teachers with indiscriminate violence. This kind of run-amuck madness kills marriages, shatters families, ruins ministries, and destroys minds.

Short fuses stuffed into seething souls. It is like a contagious virus to be avoided.

The book of Proverbs spells it out: "Don't hang out with angry people; don't keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious—don't get infected" (Proverbs 22:24-25).

The fact is any of us can give a valid list of a dozen reasons to be angry. However, here's the good news. Father God, in His wisdom, designed us with the emotion of anger. Anger is a God-given passion.

Martin Luther said he prayed better, preached better and wrote better when angry. Paul says it this way: "Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life" (Ephesians 4:26-27).

All through the ages, people of great potential have been unraveled by unrighteous anger, missing God's best. It hooked Cain, overcame Moses, swallowed up Jonah, and nearly hung Peter. In Proverbs 29:11 (NLT), Solomon wrote: "Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back." And James 1:20 sets the nail, "Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires."

Your anger can never make things right in God's sight. Our anger left to its own devices leads to death, because it harms others and us. Our anger harnessed and controlled by the Holy Spirit leads to life, because it targets the real soul foe in which there is no light and zero truth.

So, go ahead, be angry. But don't stay angry. Don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. Don't go to bed angry. And by all means of the Spirit, "Don't give the devil that kind of foothold in your life."

CHAPTER 5

Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.... —1 Thessalonians 4:4-6, (NIV)


A pathy is not a word we commonly use these days, at least, not in colloquial English. Usually you hear the word connected to a social or cultural ill in America.

For example, we hear about voter apathy, student apathy, and parental apathy and so on. However, there is a kind of apathy, which is equally as deadly as those I have referenced. It is silent and subtle. It is apathy of the soul and spirit. I have some friends who meet once a week and pray together for various needs that may come up. During one such occasion, it was very clear that the Holy Spirit called them to pray and petition heaven for help against apathy. The dictionary defines apathy the following ways:

"Absence of desire or emotion, coolness, unfeeling, impassivity, boredom, indifference, stupor, lethargy, and inertia." I dug a little deeper and discovered that apathy means "a lack of interest in or concern for things that other people find moving or exciting." The Etymology of the word breaks down like this: Zero emotion.

Yes, I agree, there are some things that we should not give our passion to (see 1 Thessalonians 4:5). At the same time, however, there is a danger today of believers falling victim to a slumbering indifference, instead of following Jesus with authentic passion.

You see, dear friend, apathy is not only silent and subtle, it will strangle the life of Jesus out of you. No wonder Paul wrote to the church in Rome these strong words: "Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out.

Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11, NLT).

Apathy distracts us from keeping the main thing the main thing. It will tighten its noose until the breath of God is cut off. Apathy is our final foe and we need each other in confronting this giant.

More wood on the fire please.

CHAPTER 6

"Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" —Acts 16:31, (NLT)


In his excellent book, Discipling Nations, Darrow L. Miller writes, "All people and cultures have a particular model of the universe, or worldview. Their worldview does more to shape their development, their prosperity or poverty, than does their physical environment or other circumstances.... Each worldview creates different cultural stories and produces different values. Ideas produce behaviors and lifestyles that affect people, cultures, nations, and history."

It's true, beliefs influence behavior. I have heard it over and over, like you have, "How could anyone behave in such a way as to hijack a domestic plane load of innocent people and fly the plane into a building with thousands of unsuspecting civilians?"

Ideas do have consequences. Those nineteen men who pirated both United and Delta flights were moved to do so based on their worldview. Let's pause right here, slow down long enough to explore in a personal way what worldview we have adopted. How do you see God? Who is Jesus to you? How do you view other human beings? What do you believe about the Bible? What sources shape your concept of marriage? How about parenting? What ideas have fashioned your view as an employee or employer? What will happen to you when you die?

As you carefully consider questions such as these, please remember this:

Reality is not what you say, reality is what you do. And what you do is based upon what you really believe.

I wasn't surprised to find a website called Belief-O-Matic, which states that even if you don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic knows. By answering the following questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, Belief-O-Matic will tell you what religion (if any) you practice, or ought to consider practicing.

Unlike Jesus, Belief-O-Matics has a disclaimer: Warning! Belief-O-Matic assumes no legal liability for the ultimate fate of your soul. Imagine that!

CHAPTER 7

We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. —2 Corinthians 4:9 (NLT)


Someone once said that, "those who can, do, those who can't, bully." I know what it feels like to be bullied. Between the ages of seven and ten, I lived near a family of five boys, of who two made it their hourly mission in life to harass, taunt, tease, chase, and bully me.

As a boy, it felt like hell on earth. They were bigger than me and used every ounce of their size to make my life miserable. Looking back, I'm thankful the day finally dawned when I decided to refuse to live that way any longer. I can still remember the summer evening when these two terrorists caught me behind our house and proceeded to pummel me with kicks, jabs, thumps and punches.

My dad's unexpected presence halted the melee. They instantly jumped off me and I ran over to my dad. As I did, one of them called out, "You just wait, we'll catch you again and we're going to knock your lights out!" Suddenly, something akin to a fearless fire surged in my small soul. I remember I walked a couple of steps in their direction and saying, "No! It stops right now." I then bolted smack into the middle of them and for the first time, gave them a dose of their own punishment. It was a moment of reckoning I shall always remember. I learned a life lesson about the nature of bullies, which by the way, come in all shapes, sizes and age brackets.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from HEAVEN'S HEARTBEAT by Micah Smith. Copyright © 2013 Micah Smith. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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