Devotions

Shaped to Shine

I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 11:19 

My sister Susan Lea had the most soulful brown eyes. She was a quiet baby with such decorum that my father declared she had been ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalogue which was the Amazon.com of its day. She was a baby ordered “special” as my mother has often said. We have good memories of her that we continue to cherish. One thing I remember is a unique choice she made that now has great significance for me. When she got engaged to my brother-in-law Ken, she chose a heart-shaped diamond for her engagement ring. It was a surprising choice to me. Susan was very loving, but often met the world’s challenges with a tough exterior. It amazed me that she had such a romantic streak and essentially chose to wear her heart on her sleeve. When I think about Susan, I marvel at how utterly full of love she was. The many facets of her life are still cherished and far outshine that diamond.  

Our physical hearts aren’t actually heart shaped, but we use that symbol to convey the love we have inside.  My sister’s beautiful ring was sparkling with her love for her fiancé. Hearts are, in fact, one of the most sought after diamond shapes, even though they present the greatest challenges to the cutter. It reminds me of how God is working to shape our hearts. Only a very skilled cutter can take a rough diamond and create a flawless heart-shaped diamond. God took a shepherd boy and made him a king. God took an orphan girl with no future and made her a queen. King David and Queen Esther illustrate God’s ability to shape hearts for the purpose of greater love and generous lives. A heart given to God lets go of the old rough diamond in favor of the new creation God has envisioned for us to be. Perhaps the point of this Lenten journey is to place our heart in God’s hands who will shape it to shine with love. 

Think About Such Things

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV) 

It’s been a couple of weeks since we gathered in the sanctuary for Ash Wednesday. On that evening, we committed (whether publicly or privately) to pay more attention to our relationship with Christ. Maybe, you are doing this by taking on a spiritual practice that reminds you of your connection to God. Maybe, you have decided to put a habit or behavior “on the shelf” for these 40-days. Regardless, anything we do to strengthen our relationship with Christ is a sacrifice. At first glance, this might sound pious. However, my point is that we all have 24 hours in a day, right?  We choose how we will spend our time. When we make a shift and decide to increase the time we devote to strengthening our relationship with God, we take time from another place in our life. We might take it from sleeping an extra hour, our exercise schedule or from any other way we would typically spend our time.  

In chapter 4, verse 8, Paul writes to the Philippians: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” I believe this is a good word from Paul. As we lean into our relationship with Christ throughout Lent, let our minds dwell on whatever is noble, pure, excellent and praiseworthy. The Lord is leading us to think about these things and to spend time with him. 

Posted by Betsy Butler
Tags: devotion

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