Make a Date

My entire schedule has been messed up the last couple of years and like everyone else, especially in 2020.  I used to set aside every Saturday morning studying the Bible or researching lesson plans. This time alone with the LORD was always fruitful and a blessing to my spirit.

My schedule really changed when the pandemic set aside early shopping times for the “at risk” people (insert smirk emoji). Instead of spending time with God, I spent it going to the store before the crowd. This eventually became my new habit. My time studying suddenly vanished and I had a hard time focusing on it at any other time. Something always got in the way. This was supposed to be my date-morning with God.

I fast every January as a first fruit offering to the LORD and for guidance for the year ahead. I fast alone and with my church. This year I asked God to help me realign things again. I felt out of control with the inability to focus. I needed His help. Praise God, He never disappoints!

I am at the end of my first fruits fast and I was feeling a little disappointed in myself. I felt that somehow, I failed in focus, prayer, and study. Nothing had changed. I felt I hadn’t done enough through the fast (which is a works mentality and lacks faith in God’s grace.)

But God!

Last night as I was crawling in to bed, God reminded me of our Saturday date-mornings. So, I set a date for 6:00 am. I can go to the store later in the morning, I can run later in the day. I can clean house this afternoon. But today, beginning at 6:00 am, that is God’s time.

My life verse is Ezra 7:10, especially the part that says Ezra devoted himself to the study and observance of the law. But I love to teach it too 😊

Whenever I study for others I am so blessed because I learn for myself as well. If I try to just read the Bible as something to check off my reading plan for the day, I usually leave rather empty. It was a duty and not a joy. Oh, but when I set aside time to meet with God, on purpose, for the joy of it, I am so very blessed, each and every time. God is faithful.  

As I began reading Ephesians, I had focus today and I started to see Scriptures that related to the class I begin to teach on Monday! It was awesome. I was reminded of God’s love, His grace and the Power that He has bestowed upon us. I was reminded of the life I am called to live.

Make a date and be faithful. Give time to God and He will give to you in greater measure.

Ezra 7:10

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Discipline or Privilege

I have been reading James W Goll’s book THE SCRIBE and he said something that really hit home.

He had always used the phrase “spiritual disciplines” when it came to setting habits for prayer, worship, journaling, being in the Word and so forth. He recalls a time when the Holy Spirit said to him “you are not disciplined enough to have spiritual disciplines.”  Well, if that is true of James Goll, it is even more true for mel!

The Holy Spirit’s response to Mr. Goll was to call these things ‘privileges”.

This puts a whole new spin on things. A discipline is performance based. It often turns to a drudgery or just something to check off a list. Doing the same thing as a privilege, however, means doing it because you can do it. You do it because God has equipped you to do it and because you want to do it. You do not have to do these things for God to love you more. He loves you already! Praying, studying His Word, praising Him, worshipping Him are all things we get to do! They are things He invites us to do so that we can can have relationship with Him. They are benefits and gifts that our Father has lavished on us!

To take this thought a little further, what if we have that same attitude in everything we do? What if I do not see cleaning house today as the drudgery, I believed it to be? What if I saw it as cleaning and caring for the home that God gave me 10 years ago? What if my commute to and from work every day is not seen as a long drive and time wasted, but as time spent worshipping God with the radio or being taught God’s Word through audiobooks I’ve downloaded? What if its neither of these things and just quiet time with Jesus? What if I see going to work every day as the privilege it is! What if I see it as something God has enabled to do? It is God’s provision for me. The same with errands like going to the store.

I believe if we looked at more of the everyday things in life as privileges instead of routine things we must do, we will be more thankful, and in doing so, we will reap the benefits of a blessed and more joyful life.

Philippians 2:14-16

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 

Psalm 121

Meditating on Scripture is probably one of the most rewarding things a person can do. When you spend time with God in His Word your entire perspective on things change.

Recently, I have been going through one of those “phases”. With everything going on with the pandemic, the political craziness, the increase of lawlessness, and just life in general, a feeling of loneliness was settling heavy on my heart. A spiritual war was intensifying on the battlefield of my mind. I knew the only things that would win the battle would be the arsenal of the Word and a renewing of my mind.

I made a big mistake this year and did not have a study plan in place by January. I read the Word every day, but this year the plan was haphazard at best. I love the Word. I love seeing the story unfold and I absolutely love meditating on it. But these past few months, I seemed to have just drifted. Funny, how that happens. You just seem to drift and before you know it, you are not where you know you need to be.

Then one day, as I was putting things away and battling things in my mind, I glanced at the bulletin board in my home office and I see Psalm 121.1. I don’t remember when I actually wrote this, but God knew I would need it soon!

That one Scripture changed everything! I still have to fight the battle. The weapon I am using is meditating on Psalm 121; memorizing it, and letting the Holy Spirit recall other Scriptures that are hidden in my heart that strengthen my resolve to be the victor in the battle. The more I meditate on Psalm 121, the more the battle changes in my favor.

Not only is it renewing my mind, it is renewing my heart as well!

The next few posts on A Heart After Him, will be how God is renewing my mind with the washing of His Word. It’s a personal journey but you are welcome to come along.

Part 1

Theme

Two of the keys to effective Bible Study and effective meditating are to pay attention to the words and pay special attention to repetitions. You look for the theme

These eight verses pack a mighty wallop and the theme is obvious in one Hebrew word, shamar (שמר).  In this Psalm, the NIV translates the Hebrew word shamar (to keep, guard, watch over, attend to carefully) as watch. Other versions translate as keep, but really, any of the translated words reveal and mean the same thing and each brings its own powerful impact. More on this in the study of each verse in following posts.

“He watches” is mentioned five times in eight verses. Four times it says either “watches over you” or watches over your”.

In every verse it says things he will do or something that he is to you: He will not let your foot slip; He is your shade, he is my help. We see that He will not let the sun or moon harm (representing the dangers in the day and night.) Verse seven says he keeps us from all harm (evil).

The theme for Psalm 121 is that God watches over us, He guides us and He protects us from everything,  around the clock and He will never stop!

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

THE BEATITUDES

The App series The Chosen has made a wonderful impact on my life. Their portrayal of Jesus and the biblical stories made me want to read the Gospels through a new lens. I know a lot of the dialogue and the scenes are “fiction”, but I believe they are soundly based on Scripture. The way they portray the characters and the events transfers them from words on a page to real human experiences to which we can all relate.

I have a new hunger to read and study the Gospels slowly, with intent, purpose, and a teachable heart. I want to see beyond the words I often read too quickly. I want them to penetrate my whole person (spirit, soul, and body.) I no longer want to just read about Jesus and what He did, I want to see who he is through the example he lived for us, as I sit at his feet while he teaches me. My heart’s desire is to grow deeper in relationship with him.

I began this journey in Matthew. I read slowly, made notes, read commentaries, and did my normal Bible Study routine. By the time I arrived at Matthew 5:3-12, it finally dawned on me that I needed to pray for revelation, wisdom, and enlightenment on what I was studying. I needed the Holy Spirit to reveal the Scriptures to me. I am slow, but I get there eventually! Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Be this person.” I understood that to mean that all of verses 3-12 applied.

We will come back to chapters one through four of Matthew in later studies. But for now, we will begin with Matthew 5:3-12, commonly referenced as The Beatitudes. Activating these verses in our lives is not optional, nor are they multiple choice. They all apply to the life of everyone who calls themselves a Christ follower.

The word for blessed (makarious) used in Matthew 5 refers to a current state of being. It does not mean if we do this, we will get that. Each of the nine “blessed” verses begin with “Blessed are” they do not begin with “blessed will be”. The Greek word makarious used here is a grace word that references satisfaction in abundance, an authentic spiritual joy, peace, and feeling of well-being. It implies a state of happiness that already exists in the life of the believer. A popular commentary on Jesus as seen through the culture of his time on earth, describes the word as someone who is already happy because they already have something or have already been promised something. They do not have to do anything to earn a reward, it is already theirs. The commentary goes on to say that this distinctive spiritual joy accrues to man from his share in the salvation of the Kingdom of God.

With this definition of blessed in mind, the Beatitudes describes a person who is already happy because these characteristics are already active in their lives. Jesus lived the ‘blessed” life! The Beatitudes describe the person of Jesus and how we can learn to be like him.

A Declaration of the Beatitudes for right living.

Although not all of these are always actively on display in my life, I declare them over myself as I grow in spiritual maturity. However, I do know that I am blessed! When life gets me down, all I have do is read through this declaration and my mood swiftly changes as I praise God for the blessings He has already given to me.

I am sure that these declarations  will  change as go I deeper into study. These verses are rich with meaning and when you tie them to the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus used as the foundation of his sermon, you cant help but sit back in awe, raise your hands, and shout praise to God!

  • I am blessed because I know and recognize that I am spiritually bankrupt without God. His grace allows me to set aside all self-dependence and rely on Him alone. I have spiritual joy and peace in this life with the knowledge that I already live in the Kingdom of God here on earth where God rules. I have a future home made just for me and it was prepared by Jesus himself (v3).

 

  • I am blessed because I am sorry for willful rebellion, unintentional sin, lack of and unbelief. Through my sorrow and repentance, He comforts me and forgives me. I live in peace knowing that all is well with my soul, that I no longer live in shame. I know that He is with me and comforts me through all that this life brings. Though sorrow may come, either through loss or sin, there is joy in the morning (v4).

 

  • I am blessed because the Holy Spirit helps me to grow spiritually and guides me in areas of self-discipline. He teaches me humility and self-control. In my weakness He is made strong. I have the same power that raised Jesus from dead living inside of me and I know that I will succeed and be prosperous when I strive to eradicate prideful behaviors from my life. I display the fruits of the Spirit through, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (v5).

 

  • I am blessed because I love the Word of God, and I strive to be obedient and accordingly. I hunger to know Him more and continually grow in spiritual maturity. I am filled with the Holy Spirit, hallelujah! (v6).

 

  • I am blessed because God is merciful! I can do nothing to earn his favor. He gave His One and Only Son so that I might live. Because I remember that I have been granted unmerited favor, I strive to forgive others promptly and show mercy to those who have wronged me (v7).

 

  • I am blessed and I know that I shall see God! I have been made pure because the blood of Jesus has washed me clean (v8).

 

  • I am blessed because I am a child of God! Whenever it is possible and within my ability, I will be a peacemaker. I will not let anger control my behavior and I will help others in reconciling differences (v9).

 

  • I am blessed and I do not take offense when I am persecuted for my love of Jesus and speaking out in truth (v10).

 

  • I am blessed because I know that Jesus is my intercessor and he defends me to the Father when others speak evil and falsely against me. I praise God and I rejoice because I am counted among the prophets who were persecuted before me (v11)

 

  • I have a great reward waiting for me in heaven (v12)!

MIDNIGHT IS A GOOD TIME

  • Midnight is a good time to pray.
  • Midnight is a good time to praise.
  • Midnight is a good time to worship.
  • Midnight is a good time to be loud.
  • Midnight is when someone may be listening.

Although, in Acts 16:25, it really was midnight for Paul and Silas, when they were beaten and placed in stocks, it is also symbolic of our deepest hour during tests and trials. Therefore, midnight can be in the middle of the day.

Their praise in the middle of the night resulted in a miraculous rescue (by way of earthquake!) Not only were they released from their chains, but a jailer’s life was spared. It was customary at that time for a jailer to be punished, even to death, for a prisoner’s escape. He would have rather died at his own hand than by the hand of his superiors. But another miracle happened that night. None of the prisoners escaped! They were all still there, but free from their chains!

A bonus…. his entire family was saved and baptized that same night!

So,

  • Pray to God in your midnight.
  • Praise God in your midnight.
  • Worship God in your midnight.
  • Be loud about it in your midnight.

It might still be midnight, but you are no longer in chains, and besides, you never know who might be listening, you never know who might be saved.

Acts 16:22-29 NIV

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

“31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.”

 

 

 

CLEAR THE FOREST

Praying Ephesians 1:17-23 and 3:14-19 is exciting! Why? Because God  does what you are praying for! However, sometimes the revelation he brings may not necessarily be what you were expecting!

In today’s reading of Joshua from the Year of the Bible reading plan from my church, we find ourselves with the Israelites taking the land as God commanded….well some of them were taking it. In chapter 17 we see that the clan of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) want more land because they were numerous. They asked for it, but didn’t want do the work to “clear the forest” or fight something stronger than themselves. They wanted the easy route.

Then God revealed how this passage described…….. my own actions and desires!!!! Wait a minute….. me, God? I thought this was about the Israelites!

I have been praying for something that I wanted God to do (give me)  and it didn’t appear that He was working in the direction I wanted him to work. I didn’t want to have to clear the forest and I definitely didn’t want to fight for it!!! I wanted to wait for God to just give it to me all wrapped and ready exactly how I wanted it and how I desired it.

Well, sometimes it just doesn’t work that way! God has something really good for us and sometimes it just might take some effort on our part to get it. I’m not talking about “works” or “earning” something from God. I’m talking about a faith partnership. God has provided and he will go to battle in front of me, I just have be willing to do what is required of me. For one, I needed an attitude adjustment! I also needed to remember Proverbs 3:5-6. I will trust in Him and not my own understanding. I will trust that He will guide me in all that I set out do in His will as I submit to Him.

The Israelites didn’t just waltz into the Promise Land…. they had to fight for it with a dedicated trust in the One who gave it to them. And so shall I.

FRUITS OF PERSONALITY

As we mature as Christians, we begin to display The Fruits of the Spirit, at least we should anyway!

As I was reading Galatians 5:22-23 it occurred to me the “fruit” described in these verses could also be used to describe the Holy Spirit. As we mature, we become more like Him and we have the same personality traits.

The Holy Spirit is love.

The Holy Spirit is joyful.

The Holy Spirit is peace.

The Holy Spirt is patient. (forbearance.)

The Holy Spirit is kind.

The Holy Spirit is good.

The Holy Spirit is faithful.

The Holy Spirt is gentle.

The Holy Spirit displays Self-control.

EARLY AND OFTEN

I am almost to the end of reading the Tree of Life Version (TLV) as the main Bible in my daily reading for 2017. It may be the end of 2017 and time for a new Bible, but I will always use this version when I want to see a word or passage side-by side with another version. I love the TLV. It is a Bible translated by the Messianic Jewish Bible Society and it has opened my eyes, mind and heart to a new way of seeing Scripture. I love the Hebrew language and they often use Hebrew words instead of  English words. The Hebrew language is beautiful and powerful.

Another thing I love about the TLV is that they translate a word or phrase consistently the same throughout the text depending on the context in which the word or phrase is used. When used consistently, you notice when a word or phrase is repeated. Noticing repetition in Scripture is a key Bible Study tool. Repetition can show importance, significance, or emotion. Repetition emphasizes, and it is the best teacher. When God says something more than once, it is in our best interest to listen!

So, as I was reading the Book of Jeremiah recently, I noticed three words consistently used together. I didn’t specifically notice or pay a lot of attention to the words “early and often” until about the third time I saw them (Jeremiah 25:3.) I went back and marked Jeremiah 7:13 and 11:7. I marked my Bible every time I saw this phrase. It is used eight times in Jeremiah in the TLV!  But what really caught my attention are the words that followed them.

“but you did not listen;  Listen to my voice;  but you have not listened;  But you would not hear;,  you have not obeyed; Oh, do not do this loathsome thing that I hate”.

In every one of these verses it is God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah to the Southern Kingdom of Judah just before the exile to Babylon and the fall of Jerusalem into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar. God was warning them of the fate that was about to happen if they did not repent of their wicked ways.

God loved the people of Judah. He loved them so much that he warned them early and often. He wanted so much for them to turn to Him so that he could relent from what was going to happen. He even loved them enough to punish them to get their attention so that they would turn to Him.

God is patient, God is kind, God is love. God is full of grace and mercy, but He is not a pushover. God warns us over and over. He warns us early and often! We need to pay attention to what our hearts hear, listen to the Holy Spirit and obey what He says. He just might be warning us of something in our life that needs changed.  He might be making us aware of a situation, or a prayer that needs prayed. He just might be showing us the signs of the times so that we will be ready when Jesus returns or calls us home.

God loves us!

Our amazing and loving God does not pull the rug out from under anyone saying “Surprise!, I guess you shouldn’t have done that! Or “You should have acted this way or that” and then punishes without warning. His Word tells us over and over how to live successful and prosperous lives, full of the Righteousness of Christ, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. He shows us how to live in authority, power and boldness. He shows us the way to eternal life with Him.

But, He also warns us early and often of the things that will hurt us and things that will separate us from Him forever. He has been doing this for about 2,000 years if you start with the words of Jesus. There will be no surprises, but it will come, and it will come quickly.

Heed the warning. Answer the call.

Jeremiah 7:13

I spoke to you early and often, but you did not listen, and I called you but you did not answer.

Jeremiah 11:7

For I earnestly forewarned your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt until this day, forewarning early and often, saying ‘Listen to My voice!’ Yet they would not obey or incline their ear, but each one walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart.

OTHER REFERENCES

Jeremiah 25:3-4; 26:15; 29:19; 32;33; 35:14-15; 44:4

JONAH REVEALED

God is faithful! When you earnestly and humbly ask Him for an answer, He will answer. It may not be in an audible voice at the very moment you ask, or even a whisper. The answer may come in small segments as you piece these segments together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When that last piece goes into place, suddenly, the answer arrives.

This is how it happened most recently for me. Did I just say most recently? It has taken three years for that last piece of the puzzle to be set in place. But the beautiful thing is…….it feels sudden.

If you have read through any of my Facebook or blog posts, you know that I have considered myself “stuck” in Jonah for quite some time. I just couldn’t get past the thought that I had left something undone. I have read the Book of Jonah, containing only four short chapters, 48 verses and about 1200 words (depending on the version) about 100 times. I honestly don’t think I’m exaggerating. I’ve read it in several different versions and translations.  I’ve listened to it in audio versions and I have even hand written it in a journal.  Still, I just couldn’t get a grasp on what God was wanting me to see or what He wanted me to do.

Legalism and pride told me it was my own disobedience that needed to be corrected. Friends and loved ones told me it was a book or Bible Study that needed to be written. So, again and again, I would sit down at my computer, with Bible in hand and just stare at them. Nothing. No insight, no direction, nothing.

In the meantime, the women’s small group I attend did the revised version of Priscilla’s Shirers Discerning the Voice of God and my puzzle pieces started lining up. She made a profound statement that caught my attention. In a discussion about hearing the voice of God and our desire in knowing His purpose for us, she warns us that if we aren’t careful with these good intentions, they can become idols over the most important thing, knowing God Himself.

A brief time later I read Mark Batterson’s book, Whisper. In it, he states that most of us read the Bible completely wrong! We read it like a history book (which it is). We do not read it to know God Himself.

So, I prayed, again. I honestly desired to be obedient. I wanted to know what God wanted me to see in Jonah. What am I missing? I asked Him to show me. I apologized for being so thick headed and I fervently asked Him “what am I supposed to do? I’m stuck, God. I’m stuck not only in Jonah, but it seems like I’m stuck in everything.”

Then, that final piece shows up in John Bevere’s book and Bible study, Killing Kryptonite. Without revealing the good parts of the book for those that haven’t read it, I will paraphrase. He describes a prayer that he prayed every day. It was a long prayer, full of godly desires and sincerity. He wanted to be used by God. He wanted wonderful things to happen through his ministry and so on. He wanted released from a bondage that haunted him. But the answers didn’t come. the release didn’t come.  Until one day, after a time alone with fasting and prayer, God told Him. John was focusing on these good desires. What God wanted, was intimacy with John.

That’s what God wants with me as well. It’s not a blog or a Bible Study to be written. It’s not even a book. It’s Him. Although those things may come when my focus is right, God wanted me to see Him.

So, I read Jonah with new intentions. I looked for God, to learn about Him and to know Him. He is my prize. He is my answer.

The amazing thing about the Book of Jonah and any other book in the Bible for that matter, is that the things God reveals about Himself in one Book, are inexhaustible! There is no limit, so here are just a few from my good friend, Jonah.

  • He speaks, and He speaks to people.
  • His Word is active.
  • He is sovereign, yet He chooses to use people to accomplish great tasks.
  • He made the land and the seas and everything in them.
  • He commands and calms storms.
  • He limits.
  • Fish obey Him.
  • He disciplines.
  • He protects.
  • He saves.
  • He is merciful.
  • He is patient, even with wayward prophets.
  • He desires that all come to repentance, even the wicked.
  • He relents from destruction.
  • He gives second chances.
  • He gives life to the dead.
  • He shows compassion.
  • He is love.
  • He provides.
  • He protects.
  • He teaches (sometimes by taking away).
  • He challenges us to be the image of Him.

God wants an intimate relationship with you as well. Seek Him and you will find Him. 

You will seek me and find me, when seek me with all your heart.

                      Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

A NEW LENS FOR MY HEART

I recently had cataract surgery on both of my eyes. For a two-week period I had one “good” (right) eye and one “bad” (left) eye since most eye surgeons do not perform the surgery on both eyes at the same time. It was challenging during that two-week time frame because I could no longer wear my bifocal glasses.  They had been rendered useless the first day. My left eye is the dominate eye so it still needed them, but my right didn’t since I had upgraded to a multifocal lens that would eliminate the need for glasses for the most part.  I read a lot for both work and pleasure so I still needed my reading glasses to read my Bible and other really fine print for my left eye to be effective and because my right eye was still healing and adjusting. I didn’t need glasses at all for distance or for using the computer.

I often found myself covering up one eye and comparing it to the other eye. The difference was quite remarkable. I would tell people it is like the difference between regular TV and HD. However, the most notable difference happened last week while I was getting a pedicure. I must have been bored because I found myself covering my eyes one at a time to see how they compared after almost two weeks.

Thank goodness, I was there early on a Saturday morning and there weren’t a lot of people looking at the crazy lady covering her eyes one at a time while uttering “whoa” out loud in complete amazement.

When I covered my left eye, I could see bright white walls, sparkling color and HD like definition to the things around me. When I covered my right eye, it was looking through a golden-brown filter that left everything looking dull, dirty and fuzzy. Letters were often in double vision.  I was stunned by the difference. I hadn’t noticed the stark difference until I looked at the light-colored walls under the light of a brightly lit nail salon.

Then on Sunday, during my evening “prayer walk”, I thought about the upcoming second part of cataract surgery to replace the lens on the left eye. I thanked God for the success of the surgery on the right eye and I prayed that the second surgery would be just as successful. After a slight chuckle over my antics at the nail salon the day before, I remembered my optometrist trying to convince me over the last few years that I needed the surgery. I kept putting it off telling him I was “too young” and that I could see just fine as long as I had new glasses. He said that new glasses wouldn’t do any good since it was the presence of the cataracts that was impairing my vision. He said, “You will be surprised after you have the surgery. You have just gotten used to not being able to see clearly.”

As I pondered this, my prayer changed from my physical eyes to the eyes of my heart. Have I been walking with a cloudy, golden-brown filter that distorted what my heart could see? Have I become accustomed to not being able see the things of God clearly?  Am I confused by  double vision? 

So, I prayed Psalm 119:18.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

Oh, Lord, give me a new lens for my heart. I want to see things fresh, new, bright and clear. Open my eyes to see the hidden treasures in your Word. Remove the cataracts of my heart and help me see the world through your eyes under the bright light of Jesus.