Gather: February 2020
Welcome! We’re so glad you’re back.
Our February Gather is focused on Connecting Heart to Heart with God through His Word using three specific questions.
What are five things God wants me to know?
What are three things God wants me to feel?
What is one thing God wants me to do?
When heart is defined as a combination of our mind + will + emotions, these questions get to the heart of who God is and who He calls us to be.
One way to envision connecting heart to heart with God through His Word and all of life is to imagine a series of circles.
In the outer circle are the things of life we cannot control and reside at the far edges of our soul. We can do nothing to change these facts, yet they take up most of our time and energy.
The middle circle includes our mind, will, and emotions — our heart.
At the very center of every Believer, the inner circle, we find Holy Spirit dwelling in us and who we are in Christ. The inner circle, the core of who we truly are is where God’s Word connects with us in ways that transform our very being and lives.
When we consider our souls in this way one question we can begin to explore is how our mind, will, and emotions move us inward toward God or outward to things we cannot control or change.
Today, let’s consider how our thought life, our mind, moves us toward or away from God. God created us in His image and unlike any other created being, we are created to think and reason. This can be both a blessing and a curse because we often want to know something or figure something out, find the answer, the reason behind an issue. When we do get an answer, we tend to file it away without contemplating how this knowledge transforms us. We can know many things but have little wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Knowledge has the potential to transform when we turn inward and ask God what He wants us to know. As we do God is faithful to transform our knowledge into wisdom which speaks directly to our hearts. Wisdom and understanding only come when we seek God in the process.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Knowledge is what we hold in our mind and forms the foundation of our thought life. It comes from a variety of different sources in our lives. The world has its own form of knowledge and understanding, and God has His. Our desire for knowing and our natural inclination to rebel against God leaves us susceptible to the lies of the world. Jesus tells us He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In order to keep our lives in the way of life, we must seek truth according to God.
- When you think about your thought life, what do you think most about? Where do you go to find truth?
- What things have you learned to avoid because it sends your thoughts into unhealthy places?
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Many things can influence our thought life, and some thoughts are so random we recognize immediately they are not godly. Others come subtly and draw us away from God in ways we may not recognize. Paul teaches us we have the ability to take every single thought captive to the obedience of Christ. In other words, when a thought comes we can turn inward and ask God for wisdom or depend on our own knowledge. We take captive our own misguided understanding and replace it with the knowledge of God when we seek what He wants us to know.
When we apply this way of turning towards God in our study of Scripture by prayerfully asking God what He wants us to know His Word comes alive.
Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intention of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 NRSV
God’s Word has something to say to our thoughts and minds. It judges them and wants us to know truth. The Word reveals lies we believe when we seek what God wants us to know.
This week you spent time with Psalm 23.
- What things did God want you to know in this Scripture?
- Was there some misguided understanding or lie God revealed?
This Scripture is a familiar one. I’ve learned and acquired lots of knowledge about it over the years. As I approached it prayerfully this week I saw something brand new. I noticed the phrase “He makes me lie down in green pastures” in a new way. God didn’t invite, or suggest. Psalm 23 says, “He makes.” Asking God what He wanted me to know about this revealed making me lie down in green pastures is a form of discipline just like the rod found in later verses.
Most of my life I have avoided discipline at all costs. I don’t see anything positive about it. But when I look at this way, as a green pasture it seems different. God used a Scripture I thought I knew well, even have memorized, to speak right to my heart.
Emotions are the feelings which flow from what we know. Our thoughts stir us to love, compassion, anger, fear, doubt…
- What emotions or feelings did you discover when you asked God what He wants you to feel?
God wants me to let go of my fear of discipline and embrace it as a green pasture of goodness and healthy spiritual living. He wants me to be fearless when it comes to how He disciplines me.
Will is what we desire to do based on what we know and how we feel.
- What one thing did God place on your heart to do in the reading of Psalm 23?
This question should come with a warning or safety tip. At least for me anyway, because I’m bent to study Scripture to figure out what I can do to be a better follower of Jesus. So when I asked Jesus, “What do you want me to do?” And His reply, “Not one single thing.” I was a bit taken aback.
As I continued to pray I realized Jesus isn’t asking me to do some activity or thing. He wants me to see something in a new way. He wants me to consider a paradigm shift that leads me to embrace discipline and direction as love. To trust Him to discipline and direct me instead of deciding to change myself. Seeing discipline and direction in this way is a letting go of who I think I should be, and being who God made me to be.
- How did these questions help you connect with God at the heart level?
- Did you discover something new about your heart?
This next week we will be asking our three questions as we prayerfully read John 15. May your time in His word transform you and bring you new life!
Until next week… Blessings,
Carol & Stacy