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http://www.michellebenthamcreates.com

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday's In Other Words: Guard Your Heart

Welcome to this week's In Other Words. I'm glad you decided to join us today. Please include your link at the bottom of this post and leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by!

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As I read this quote some months ago I realized how often people say "I just don't have time to read my Bible...I'm so busy that I cannot find the time to have a quiet time." Often we make these excuses but are careful not to miss our favorite television program in the evening. We will make time to go to the movies or spend an extra hour out browsing shops looking for the right outfit... We even spend hours scrapbooking or reading other literature without giving God due consideration in our daily lives.


At the beginning of this year, I had some extreme encounters with God through fasting that helped me to understand that my intimacy with the Lord is not just about a regimented routine of get up, read the Bible, pray about anything and everything and then get on with my day. He showed me that the discipline of intimacy is a privilege and that I should regard it with great care.


I had one occasion to just be quiet before Him. I listened as I went about my daily activities. He didn't want me still - He wanted me to listen. So I did. I spent hours in my prayer closet just between me and God. That time was spent listening, chatting, praying, and even reading my Bible. He showed me my heart in those days. My heart to know His Word through Bible study, to know His power through prayer, and to know Him in my daily life... Yet, He also showed me my unwillingness to allow my heart to be guarded by His Word. I wanted the benefits of intimacy without the cost.



When and where does life in the full come from? It begins as a slow aching need in our hearts that only God can fill. A need to be loved, accepted and affirmed as precious and approved of - and we fill it as our human hearts see fit. In relationships, appearances and material possessions we seek our satisfaction - all of which leave us wanting more. There is something about our hearts knows that life apart from God is empty living. Solomon dedicated the book of Ecclesiastes to this very subject. Everything is meaningless, all of life comes to nothing without the Lord at its center.



A month ago as I began writing curriculum and preparing myself for the class I will be teaching at church this fall I realized that I was not guarding my heart by allowing God to teach me His Word through His love. I was, instead, doing what I know best: Dividing the Word of truth through Word Study and assimilating doctrine on an as needed basis.


I have read just about every book and verse of the Bible in the context of Bible study, but not in the context of intimate relationship with my one and only God. I began to read Chapters of the Bible daily. Something I will not give up again. I mark out notes in the margin as I read and allow the truth to rumble around waking up dark and dusty corners of my heart. His Word is exposing the places I am negligent in my relationships and the places where I am vulnerable to attack.


When I think of all the time I missed spending with the Lord, I realize how it must have grieved God's heart to see me anxious about my daily living. How often I fretted over and tried to fix things that are way beyond my control. He watched me spiral into self-destruction and despair knowing that if I would only surrender my heart to Him fully that I would have all I need to not only endure the crises of my life but to overcome them in power and victory on a daily basis. Surrendering simply for the sake of Knowing Him and Being Known to Him - to be His, completely and fully free. Intimacy.



In both the Old and the New Testament we are admonished to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

What does that look like in your life?

For me it is taking a detour to read the book of Micah when I'm in the throws of discovering and savoring the truth of Isaiah just because the Lord told me to... It is talking it out with Him over the dishes in the evening - even if my family thinks I'm nuts. It is even laying aside my nervous, fretful, "do-it-myself" tendencies in favor of belief and faith in things I cannot even fathom much less see.

Intimacy. It is born out of time spent in the presence and company of someone we love and want to know more about. It is about giving our time, attention and devotion to God in an undivided fashion and allowing our other relationships to flow out of that one defining affection of our lives. Guard your hearts, ladies... It is the key to living life with great purpose in the fullness of relationship and truth!

Be sure to link directly to your post for today's quote and not your blog url. Thanks!






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Visit Loni at Writing Canvas and learn more about the inspiration of Tuesday's In Other Words.


5 comments:

Denise said...

Awesome post, may you be sweetly blessed.

Karen said...

Boy, we always have to try and do it our way first, second, third...and the list goes on. Thanks for sharing today, it was great. Karen

Bonnie W said...

Thanks Michelle for stipping by to let me know you had Mr. Linky up and running. I had to leave the house early this morning and was afraid I'd miss you!

Great post and a great quote. Your words reminded me of a time several years ago when I went next door to the church early every morning to walk and pray. It started out as "exercise" but ended up and an exercise in intimacy. We moved to a new state and new church since them, but perhaps the Lord is telling me I need to get back to that time spent alons just walking with Him.

Bless you Michelle!

Laurie Ann said...

Michelle, this was a great post. Thank you so much for sharing what you've learned regarding intimacy with the Lord. When you said, "He showed me that the discipline of intimacy is a privilege and that I should regard it with great care." It is a privelege to be intimate with God and we should regard it as such. We should dust it and polish it and give it first place in our lives! God bless you for picking this quote. It meant a lot to me and revealed some truths to me that I needed to search out. And thank you for the sweet comment on my post for today.

Patricia@Typing One-Handed said...

Thank you for hosting and thank you for your sincere words. I've been through a similar awaking to intimacy with God. Mine was instigated by reading a book that I bought because it had a great title (well, I thought so, since I'm a fancy coffee addict!!) "The Gospel According to Starbucks." It lays out the idea that for us to be effective as Christians, we must be authentic. That authenticity only comes from an intimate relationship with God.

Blessings!