The Heart of a Servant


Phillipians 2:4-7

4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.
7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men.

Susan Cain writes in her book “Quiet”, that in the early 1900s we shifted from an age of character to an age of personality.  It takes time to get to know someone’s character and understand their heart.  I’ve found that those who inspire me are either authentically thankful people, or they demonstrate their genuine love for Jesus and desire to serve him with their lives.


Recently, I learned of a common misunderstanding in scripture from Pastor Dave Love (Calvary Castle Rock).  This misunderstanding comes from a poor translation of Hebrew into English.  The context is that the Hebrew people were in slavery in Egypt for 400 years and that Moses was to be their ambassador for God’s deliverance.  Moses is instructed to speak the following to Pharaoh:


Exodus 7:16
16 Tell him: Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the wilderness, but so far you have not listened.


 The word poorly translated as “worship” numerous times in the book of Exodus does not mean to worship, but rather comes from the Hebrew word “avad” meaning to “serve“ [H5647].  The word has common undertones of bond-service and a master/slave relationship, including the ear as a symbol of their allegiance.  The picture of a bond-slave was given right after the commandments were given to the Israelites in Exodus 21, which I believe emphasizes their importance (i.e. now that I’ve set you free, this is the kind of relationship I want with you).  However, the heart of the instructions come out more clearly in Deuteronomy.


Deuteronomy 15:12-17
12 “If your fellow Hebrew, a man or woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, you must set him free in the seventh year.
13 When you set him free, do not send him away empty-handed.
14 Give generously to him from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. You are to give him whatever the LORD your God has blessed you with.
15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you; that is why I am giving you this command today.
16 But if your slave says to you, ‘I don’t want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family, and is well off with you,
17 take an awl and pierce through his ear into the door, and he will become your slave for life. Also treat your female slave the same way.


What was offered to the Hebrew in trouble and what is offered to us is this:  You have tried to go it alone, but are not doing very well.  Do you trust me to take better care of you as your master than you can do for yourself?  This is what God offered the Hebrew people after setting them free from slavery in Egypt (the world).  The same offer is given to us.


I can set you free from your slavery to sin and the world (Egypt).  I can give you a better life, although the way may not always be easy.  Do you trust me to be your master (Father) and provide for your needs?  If you have seen my goodness, will you trust me to care for you?  Will you pledge your allegiance to me?  Will you try to do what pleases me (serve)?


I get it.  If we haven’t seen the goodness of God due to life circumstances, we may not be ready to trust (Exodus 6:9).  Recently, God did a miraculous change in my heart and marriage, which has given me hope for the future.  Before this, I didn’t have this hope as an anchor for my soul.  If God can heal my heart and enable me to love, He can do anything.


In our self-sufficient culture, the term slave is foreign to us, and yet affects us all with the choices we make on a moment by moment basis.


Romans 6:16-18
16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey – either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?
17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to,
18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.


The point of this article is not merely about choices and serving, but rather that out of love and gratitude, we can give or serve cheerfully.  We can look at the character and the heart of Ruth in scripture as an example.


Ruth 2:11-13
11 Boaz answered her, “Everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death has been fully reported to me: how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and how you came to a people you didn’t previously know.
12 May the LORD reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
13 “My lord,” she said, “you have been so kind to me, for you have comforted and encouraged your slave, although I am not like one of your female servants.”


Peter after his restoration, James, and Jude all called themselves slaves to Christ.  Peter eventually recognized that it wasn’t about his efforts but trusting God to do what only He can do.  Peter learned to trust.


Going back to our original text, Jesus took the form of the lowest slave in the household when he offered to wash his disciples’ feet.  The servants with the better positions would do things like prepare food and serve the master’s immediate needs.  The doorman would be responsible for cleaning the feet of the “important people” who got dirty with dust and the dung of walking in this world.  A lot of people don’t recognize that Jesus laid down His right to be God and God-like when He walked this earth.  He wasn’t omniscient, wasn’t omnipotent, and wasn’t omnipresent.  Even more importantly, he didn’t come to be served, but came to serve, which isn’t very God-like at all.


Jesus modeled a new concept of what God is like.  That God is love.  That God came to serve the needs of people out of love.  I told some friends of mine recently, that if I get to the end of my life and I am all alone and have failed to love, I have failed at life.  My life would be nothing more than a clanging gong.  A number of prophetic messengers have said that there is only one question that will matter in eternity, “did you learn to love?”


Serving is a picture of love.


Your heart in the presence of God (part 5 of 5)


Dreams are the language of symbols.  Looking at what symbols might mean in the context of scripture and its Hebraic roots, often reveals interesting insights.

As a recap from part 4, we have been looking at the ark of testimony and the things inside it.   First described in the book of Exodus, the book of Hebrews piques our interest in the ark and suggests that there is symbolic relevance.

Hebrews 9:3-5
3 Behind the second curtain, the tabernacle was called the most holy place.
4 It contained the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered with gold on all sides, in which there was a gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.
5 The cherubim of glory were above it overshadowing the mercy seat. It is not possible to speak about these things in detail right now.

As I mentioned in the first of the series, I believe that the ark is a metaphor for your heart.

The ark along with your heart were created to bring glory to God and to be pure both inside and out.  The ark was coated with pure gold both inside and covering the ark.  Gold is a symbol representing purity and high value.

Your heart was created to be in the presence of God, 24×7, just like the ark.

The three items inside the ark were the pot of manna, Aaron’s rod, and the tablets of testimony.

In part 2, we established manna as a symbol for faith.
In part 3, we established the rod as a symbol for hope.
In part 4, we established the tablets as a symbol for love.

Faith, hope, and love are what is referred to be a “triad.”
There are a number of interesting triads in the new covenant.  In terms of dream symbols, the number three often represents the holy trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Yeshua said “I AM the way, the truth, and the life,” another triad.

I believe many things in the scriptures are intentional and that God knew what he was doing when he established numbers and details.  Yeshua said himself that not one jot or tittle would pass away until everything had been fulfilled.  The elements in the ark form a triad.  Are there other triads in the new covenant that we can connect with the triad in the ark?  I believe there are.

Not to get carried away with it, but there are some interesting symbols in the ancient Hebrew pictographs.  For example, the Hebrew pictograph for Father (“Ab” in Hebrew) is aleph-bet, symbolized by an ox head as a strong leader (aleph), and a house or dwelling place (bet).  The Father was to be a strong leader for His house.  “Coincidentally”, it also happens to be the first Hebrew word in the Strong’s concordance (#1).


I was praying about which pictographs out of the 22 Hebrew letters would best represent faith, hope, and love, and here is what I believe I received.

1.  Faith is best represented by the cross (tav), as this is the truth that will set us free.  In the ancient Hebrew pictographs, the cross was a sign, mark, or memorial.


The cross is a symbol of humility.  God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.  That is the truth connected to love and life.  It is the secret to every marriage and relationship.

2.  Hope is best represented by the seed (nun), as it correlates to offspring, heir, and sonship.


This also matches very nicely to power and resurrection life. The promise of eternal life gives us hope.  Yeshua is known as the seed of Abraham, producing new life and many sons for its fruit (Rom 4, Gal 4).

3.  Love is best represented by the house (bet), as it represents belonging and being cared for as part of a family.


Love is the way we are called to live our lives.  Love is what will impact others and is eternal.


Here are some pairings of triads which you might find interesting…

Faith  <-> Truth <-> Cross  <-> Son              <-> Manna
Hope  <-> Life    <-> Seed    <-> Holy Spirit <-> Rod
Love   <-> Way   <-> House <-> Father         <-> Tablets

See if the Holy Spirit leads you to other triads, i.e., righteousness, peace, and joy.  How do those words connect with the trinity?

It is these things in your heart which bring glory to God.  Faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.

To return to our original text in Hebrews, the scripture concludes that the old covenant is a shadow of the substance that is fulfilled in Christ.  In fact the thread of the text comes to these conclusions (Hebrews 10:19-24).

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh),
21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works.

By believing, we have life in His name.  The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in you, if you have accepted His offer.  It is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  We are called to be like Christ who humbled himself for the sake of love.

To conclude, my encouragement to you is to spend time in the presence of God where your heart can find acceptance, hope, and your faith strengthened.  Every person is uniquely created.  As such, we experience God in different ways.  How can you creatively connect with the presence of God?  Take some time to rest in His presence, reflect, and be loved.  There, your heart will find life.


Your heart in the presence of God (part 4 of 5)

Tablets of Testimony

As a recap from part 3, we are looking at what Mosaic covenant symbols might mean in light of a new covenant.  Particularly, I wrote that the ark of the covenant is a metaphor for your heart.  The intended destiny for your heart is to be in the presence of God, 24×7.  Inside the ark were a pot of manna, a rod, and two tablets (Hebrews 9:4).  In this section we’ll look at the symbol of the tablets of testimony and how they map to love.

We just survived another Valentine’s Day that is supposed to be about love, but often isn’t.  I lost my wedding ring a few weeks ago.  After realizing its loss, I humbly asked people everywhere if they had seen it, to no avail.  After looking for the ring in every place I could think of, I had chalked up the loss as having been careless with it in my pocket.  As I was helping with tasks around the house on Valentine’s Day, my wife found my wedding ring on the floor of the bedroom.  As I reflected on it, it would appear that covenant (what a wedding ring represents), was God’s gift of love to me.  In new covenant scriptures, the writer John can be described as a mystic and represented by the sign of the eagle, would go on to pen that “God IS love” (1 John 4:8).  The tablets, like love were a sign of covenant, albeit with some marked differences.

As I have written about in other blogs, the law of commandments are often misconstrued by well-meaning people who take scripture in isolation and do not consider what I would call the full counsel of His word.  For example, while on hand Paul writes that the law is no longer the yardstick for righteousness (Rom 10:4), we have to consider that Jesus said that not one jot or tittle of the law would be done away with until everything has been fulfilled.  Jesus took the law and amplified it to be about issues of the heart.  Take Matthew 5:21-22 as one of many examples:

21 “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment.
22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire.”

While I have heard many teachings about the Ten Commandments, the teachings that I had heard never sat right with me until I heard a teaching indirectly from the late Pope John Paul II.  John Paul taught about the outward appearance of the law as the ethics of the law (loving God with your mind), and the inner truth as the ethos of the law (loving God with your heart).  The law reveals the condition of both your mind and heart, and is a holy tutor to lead you to the place of needing a savior to change your mind and to change your heart.  Once your mind and heart have been sanctified, there is no longer a need for that particular law.  Love is fulfillment of the law.

With that background, let’s look at a few scriptures which reveal the supernatural creation of the tablets and what their function might be in a new covenant context.

Exodus 31:18, 32:15-16
18 When He finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God.

15 Then Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides – inscribed front and back.
16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets.

To clear up what was written on the tablets, it was Ten Commandments as described in Exodus 20.  Deuteronomy 4:13 makes that clear.

13 He declared His covenant to you. He commanded you to follow the Ten Commandments, which He wrote on two stone tablets.

What is important is that you don’t miss that the finger of God wrote the tablets.  If you think that Moses carefully chiseled out what God told him to write, you have missed the sign.

I have a confession to make.  I got wrapped up in trying to know the form of that tablets.  There is all kinds of speculation about what the tablets were like, such as whether they were granite, lapis-lazuli, or sapphire, what form of language was used, and what was written on them.  I had a dream revolving being distracted by a blue bottle on top of an airplane that I was flying on.  It was a correction dream letting me know that I was spending my time outside the kingdom by the appearance of something (idolatry).  Doh!  Remember I have been teaching about symbols being about their function (Hebraic) more than about their form (Greek).  In seeking what the Holy Spirit would want me to know about the tablets, here are my impressions.

1) Focus on my word
2) The purpose of my word is that love is demonstrated.

I believe the closest metaphoric purpose that we have in a new-covenant context is one of fire.  His word is to burn in us like fire as love is fueled with passion.

Jeremiah 23:29
29 “Is not My word like fire” – this is the LORD’s declaration – “and like a hammer that pulverizes rock?”

Luke 24:32
32 So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”

I have listed my take on the words that may have been written on the tablets, taking the Jewish perspective on the commandments.  There is debate on whether the original pictographs were used or the more modern version of the Hebrew language.  The English is for your benefit.

Loving God

  1. I AM Adonai your God.

א אנכי יהוה אלהיך

א אנכי יהוה אלהיך

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.

ב לא יהיהלך אלהים אחרים עלפני

ב לא יהיה לך אלהים אחרים עלפני

  1. You shall not take the name of Adonai your God in vain.

ג לא תשא אתשםיהוה אלהיך לשוא

ג לא תשא אתשםיהוה אלהיך לשוא

  1. Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.

ד זכור אתיום השבת לקדשו

ד זכור אתיום השבת לקדשו

  1. Honor your father and mother.

ה כבד אתאביך ואתאמך

ה כבד אתאביך ואתאמך


Loving your neighbor as yourself

6.  You shall not murder.

ו לא תרצח

ו לא תרצח

7. You shall not commit adultery.

ז לא תנאף

ז לא תנאף

8. You shall not steal.

ת לא תגנב

ת לא תגנב

9.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

מ לאתענה ברעך עד שקר

מ לאתענה ברער עד שקר

10.  You shall not covet.

י לא תחמד בית רעך

י לא תחמד בית רעך


Again, the purpose of His word is that love is revealed to God’s glory and credit.  We are able to love because He first loved us (1 John 4).

There are two important number symbols regarding the tablets.  I believe there were five commandments regarding loving God and five commandments regarding loving others as we would want to be loved.  I believe there were five commandments on each tablet.  This is also in keeping with Jewish tradition.  In terms of symbols, five is considered to be the number of grace as revealed in the new covenant.  In context, the number of two is the number of witness or of testimony.  Without grace, it will be impossible to keep the law.  It will be the grace of God that empowers you to fulfill the call to love God and love others.  If you think you can love on your own without the grace of God, you have been self-deceived. Your heart will bear witness to the grace of God enabling you to love.  There are two parts to this heart.  You can not separate the command to love God from the command to love others.  If we have one without the other, the law has not been fulfilled.  Hebrews 8:10 describes the new covenant function of the tablets of testimony and is the fulfillment of one of the most amazing prophecies written in Jeremiah 31:33.

10 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.

One of the beautiful things that is revealed in this scripture is belonging as part of a healthy divine family.  It was in the heart of God to belong and be loved.

2 Cor 3:2-3

2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone.
3 It is clear that you are Christ’s letter, produced by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God – not on stone tablets but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.

The tablets of stone, while glorious, were hard and rigid.  Now we can know that the purpose was always to be about love, and that it was to be soft and pliable.

Love in action brings glory to God.  This is what we were created for.

To be continued (conclusion)…

Your Heart in the Presence of God (part 1 of 5)

One of the benefits to interpreting dreams like Daniel or Joseph in the scriptures is that it teaches you to slow down and think about what a symbol might mean in context.

Hebrews 9:3-5
3 Behind the second curtain, the tabernacle was called the most holy place.
4 It contained the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered with gold on all sides, in which there was a gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.
5 The cherubim of glory were above it overshadowing the mercy seat. It is not possible to speak about these things in detail right now.

One day I asked Holy Spirit what the ark of the covenant might mean in light of the new covenant we have in Christ.  I believe I heard the following answer:

“The ark is a metaphor for your heart.”

Why?  Your heart is a container.  It was created to be in the presence of God 24×7.  The ark was to be found in the Holy of Holies where the presence of God was found.  Whereas in the Mosaic covenant, only the high priest could go in once a year, in the new covenant, the presence of God has been made available to all through the door which is Jesus.

Jude 1:24
24 “Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy…”

The ark along with your heart were created to bring glory to God and be pure both inside and out.  The ark was coated with pure gold both inside and covering the ark.  Gold is a symbol representing purity and high value.  Gold is a weighty substance (Kavod in Hebrew), and its luster shines to magnify its owner.  Gold is a symbol of glory.

Let’s take this a step further.  What is inside this ark?  According to scripture, three things: a golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of covenant.  All three of these signs were supernatural.  The manna was bread that supernaturally rained from heaven, the rod was a supernatural budding of an almond branch, and the tablets were written by the finger of God.  These three items in the ark were to be kept as a testimony for all generations.  In other words, they were to be eternal.

I’m going to develop the symbols of manna, the rod, and the tablets in future blogs, but let me provide a teaser as to where we are heading.

According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13, the things that are of eternal value are faith, hope, and love.  They are all divine gifts and not man-made.  The gifts point to the nature and character of the giver.  They are to be carried in your heart.

Manna is a symbol for faith
The rod is a symbol for hope
The tablets are a symbol for love

Carrying these in your heart brings glory to God.  It’s a miracle to have them in your heart.  They point to Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

To be continued (part 1 of 5) …

Power of the Word

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

In the last blog, I wrote about a case for redefining the use of how we use the word “soul”. I want to apply that new understanding with a scripture that I think is frequently misunderstood.

I want to suggest to you that the word ‘psyche’, translated ‘soul’ in this passage may be incorrect. What if ‘soul’ represents the “thoughts of your heart,” and the ‘spirit’ represents the “intentions of your heart?” If joints could be analogous to our thoughts, marrow would be analogous to our intentions, what’s at the core.

It might be time to eradicate the term “soulish” from the Christian subculture. Rather, I would say that it would be better described as our thoughts and intentions that are not yet perfected. We have many thoughts and intentions, but only some of them will reflect the heart and mind of God (Is 55:8).

Pope John Paul II talks about the difference between ‘Ethics‘ which addresses the law according to the mind, and ‘Ethos‘ which addresses the heart behind the law. Jesus addressed the issue of outward compliance with the Pharisees. Jesus taught that if we have an outward appearance of compliance (ethics) but the heart is still sinful, we have fulfilled neither the commandment nor the purpose behind the law. Once both the thoughts (mind) and intentions (heart) have been sanctified, there is no more need for the law. The law then has done its job as a tutor driving us to Christ for our redemption. Remember that Christ came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.

One of the purposes of the word of God is to sift us. It reveals not only where behavior is in need of being saved, but also our intentions. Whether it’s the outward behaviors or the inner intentions of the heart, the word is capable of revealing our need for a savior.

So what is the application for all of this?

If you’re like me, there are areas where I appear to be righteous on the outside, but am still unloving on the inside. Love is fulfillment of the law.

The only hope likes in the one who sanctifies us and leads us into all truth.

At the cross, which is an altar, a divine exchange can take place. When the power of His word (logos) brings up issues for our mind (thoughts) or our intentions (heart), take them to God. From God’s perspective, the cross was to be a place of both death and resurrection (something dies and something better takes its place). If we let something go, ask God what He wants to give you in its place. While the altar of the cross may seem foolish to the world, to those who are in the process of being saved, it is the power of God (1 Cor 1:15-31). His power is made perfect in humility.

Delighting yourself in the Lord

I’ve been learning about a profound inner healing tool as part of Sozo training from Bethel called the “Father Ladder”. One of the basic ideas is that our relationship to the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit often mirror our childhood relationships with our earthly dad (Father), siblings and friends (Jesus), and mom (Holy Spirit). Those trained and experienced in using this tool can often discern the nature of our relationship with the trinity based on our childhood experiences or vice versa. One or more of those relationships is usually weaker than the others. What is revealed is how we often have an image of God which is faulty. In the trinity, the Father cares for the body and provides identity (including your sexual identity), provision, and protection.

I come from a long line of stoics. As a result, I didn’t experience my earthly dad taking an interest in the desires of my heart. I unwittingly projected my earthly experience towards God as Father and discovered that my ability to believe that God cared about the desires of my heart was lacking.

Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

The word for ‘delight’ is represented by the Hebrew word ‘anag’ (H6026), meaning ‘to be soft’, and ‘to be delicate’.

So, what does that mean?

Let me give you an example. I was part of a team doing dream interpretation a few weeks ago at a particular event. We interpreted dreams for two friends on Saturday, one that went really well, and one that was difficult for the dreamer to receive. On a particular assignment on Sunday, my friend Chris went out of his way to a particular Starbucks at an REI and whom did he encounter, but the very dreamer where we felt like things were left undone. Chris wanted to buy her a coffee and discovered that her order was unusual and definitely a special order. Chris felt like he had heard from the Father for her that there was invitation for her to “ask for her heart’s desire”. “What do you want?” Chris explained to her that just like her coffee, the Father wanted to make a special order just for her.

Part of us doesn’t believe that God is really interested in our hearts and meeting our hearts’ desires. We hear so much about “not my will, but your will be done,” but that doesn’t make room for God caring about our hearts.

If we think we have to delight ourselves in the LORD in order to get something, we’ve missed the point of this verse (Psalm 37:4). I see faith as the pivot point for releasing the desires of your heart. Why? If we are not in a posture of delighting ourselves in our relationship with God, will we recognize the goodness of the Father when it comes? Will we recognize the Father’s desire to demonstrate His love towards us? The Father wants opportunities to demonstrate His love to you, personally. Our hearts need to be soft to be able to receive love.

Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Faith is the fulcrum for the rewards of your heart being released. I believe I saw that with a friend of mine just this week.

How will we know when we’re delighting ourselves in the LORD?

In His presence is fullness of joy. One of the teachings that I heard recently was that there weren’t fruits of the spirit, but fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). We don’t get to pick just one, we get the whole bowl as part of a package deal. All the fruit of the spirit are components of love. It’s about abiding in the love of God. If I’m feeling joy, I’m also experiencing His love, peace, patience, kindness, … I get to have it all.

Eric Liddell (whose Olympic event was captured in the movie Chariots of Fire) said “God has made me to be a missionary, aye, but he has made me fast, and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure”. Today, I went for a bike ride, choosing to delight myself in God, having a conversation with Him, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin and having joy bubble up inside of me making me smile.

I think there’s a variety of expression in how we can delight ourselves in the LORD which will look different for each one of us. Some people can delight in the LORD through singing and other musical expressions. For others, it may be being outside with nature. For me, delighting myself in the LORD is something I do best being alone with God.

How can you delight yourself in the LORD and believe that he takes great interest in your heart?

A New Covenant Heart

Has your heart been redeemed by a new covenant?

Without the regenerate work of Christ, my heart was sick. Scripture is pretty clear on that point. Jeremiah 17:9 tells me “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

I realized this summer through my reading that this was how I felt about myself. I didn’t trust my heart because I believed its nature was still evil. That means I’m still living with a Mosaic covenant belief about my heart. Jesus came bringing good news; that of transformation of the heart. There’s a new and better covenant, described in the book of Hebrews. There are four key texts in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which testify to the nature of this new covenant. They are written in the language of covenant. We’ll look at one of those.

Ezekiel 36:24-27
For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

As followers of Jesus, reborn from above, we understand that we have a new spirit within us. Somehow, we’ve missed that we were also given a new heart. That heart is good because it came from God. God is the giver of good gifts. If you have received a new spirit, it’s time to begin believing you’ve received a good heart!

That’s a spiritual reality. The question remains, why don’t I yet manifest this new heart in its fullness?

There seems to be a key later in the passage:

Ezekiel 36:33-36

“On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited. Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it.”

The issue which remains seems to be that of iniquity. Interestingly, the words iniquity and inequity (unequal) have the same basic meaning. In the English language, both mean morally unfair. In the ten commandments (Exodus 20), it is not sin, which is passed down to the third and fourth generations, but iniquity.  The context of the penalty of iniquity is the command to not make any images (idols).  The heart behind this command is that we would not give our hearts to something which cannot satisfy.  The image that is formed will be something that is served.  The scripture shows us that iniquity and idolatry are linked together.  In the Hebrew language, iniquity is represented by the word Avown’ [H5771].  Avown means to twist, to pervert, to be bent, or to be bowed down.  To get a fuller understanding of this word, Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 make great studies.

Things we serve are modeled to our children.  If the parents love and serve material things, the children will have a predisposition to love and serve material things.

One of the spiritual tools I have been trained in and taught to use is a Father’s blessing.  It’s the idea that every spirit has a longing to be blessed by their earthly fathers and their heavenly father.  The same holds true for mothers and their role in blessings.  It’s also about redeeming what’s been lost through what has been served.

I recently have been astounded by what Paul Cox and his ministry (Aslan’s Place) have uncovered regarding Deuteronomy 28.  I had been searching for a deeper truth of the cross of Jesus.  Deuteronomy 28 describes in detail, more than most can bear regarding blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience to Mosaic law.

Scripture teaches that Jeshua (Jesus) became a curse for us as part of his atoning work on the cross.  Which curses?  All the curses for our disobedience towards Mosaic law fell upon him (Isaiah 53) .  It is also important to note that we are also to be walking in the blessings of His obedience and righteousness through the work of His cross.  When we have our eyes opened to what Jesus has done for us, it awakens our spirit to a deeper understanding of what has taken place on the cross.  The cross serves as a message of transformation both in redeeming the curses in our bloodlines according to Mosaic law as well as receiving the blessings through His bloodline (see Galatians 5 and Deuteronomy 28:1-14).  We love much when we recognize we have been forgiven much.  The same applies towards receiving and the giving of blessings.

The word idol which goes closely along with iniquity is represented by the Hebew word Gillowl’ [H1544], which means log (as in round), something rolled, a trust, a commitment, to wallow, run down, on account of circumstances, and balls of dung (nice, huh).

Looking back at Ezekiel, the text suggests allowing the Lord to cleanse us from iniquity (inequity).  The first application is towards acknowledging and confessing the things we have served or are serving.  This also includes allowing the Lord to show us iniquity in our family bloodlines to confess and take to the cross.  Study Deuteronomy 28 carefully and look for the presence of curses and blessings in your own life, your children, and your ancestors.  It’s time to live in a fuller expression of freedom due to what has already been paid for.  As we allow the Lord to cultivate the hard ground of our hearts, it can become a place that God delights in (Eden means pleasure) and inhabits. This is the testimony of Jesus, the transformation of the heart.