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heart of flesh, spoke

graphic: Martha G. Brady

Last weekend, I was totally involved in preparing for involvement in a local women’s conference at our church. It was the first of its kind that we have had in recent history. School had started. Most people were back in town.

We had lots of bugs in the planning and many disappointments. There are a few things we will do differently the next time. But GOD came through! He spoke to us through Julie Sparkman. She is a Christian counselor from Birmingham, AL. (Restore Ministries) Despite the fact that we wanted more people to come and enjoy our speaker, He brought the ladies who needed to be there!

She had just enough humor to help us laugh at ourselves but not too much as to be silly.  She spoke the truth that GOD is doing His work of salvation in us and it doesn’t look anything like what we think it should look! The same goes for our loved ones around us. The ways He is growing them is not in the directions we expect or may even want! stop

We have a picture of what we want our lives to look like. That is our idol. The way we know it is our idol is when they do something to block that picture from happening, how do we respond? If our response is anything other than joyful acceptance…and we all know it isn’t, then that picture we have so beautifully formed in our heads, is a huge idol. It is something we have put ahead of GOD and His will in our lives. It can be a very good thing, a happy family, a family that pleases GOD by ___, or whatever fills out that picture for us…having a family, a husband…you name it.

She encouraged us to make time to be quiet with GOD and allow Him to speak quietly into our lives…away from all the hustle and bustle.

As Julie spoke last weekend, her words echoed in my head along with the Scripture she shared with us. I’m glad I will have this Fall to interact with this material. We will be studying her video series IdolAddiction in our women’s group on Thursdays. It won’t be light fare as we look beneath our behavior to see where we live in unbelief and live out of congruence with the new heart He gave us at salvation described in Ezekiel. It is not something new we have to ask for. It is something He placed there already. (this is the first and more basic study. The second is Unhitching from the Crazy Train. It is in an updated study now and a book with the same title is coming out in the Spring of 2018.)

How hopeful and encouraging. We came through the weekend challenged, yes, but not to try harder. We came through realizing we need to remember who we are in Christ. Yes, we often need to repent. But not so much of the obvious behavior that shows above the surface. We need to look beneath the surface to see what idols motivate that behavior and believe that GOD loves us deeply and is concerned for our best and keeps us in a state of unbelief.

Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve, by inference was…GOD doesn’t really care about you. He doesn’t want you to enjoy your life. He is trying to make you miserable. That’s why he won’t let you eat of this fruit. So they ate of it and found out GOD was truly trying to protect them from things they had no way of understanding.

 I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:25-26