Thursday, January 5, 2012

Open Wide Your Hearts

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

2 Corinthians 6

4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 910 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;
 11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.

So today's verse is a long one but what I want you to see in it is that we must each open wide our hearts to the Lord. In walking with Him you are likely to experience, like Paul both sides of the coin in life. We must learn to look to Jesus in the hard and the easy times. In the good and the bad. In the honor and the dishonor. God uses all these things to mold and shape us to His eternal purposes. Remember we are part of His story.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"  Our life is not our own, we have been bought with a price.

1 Corinthians 7
23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to. 

What ever you are walking through, invite Jesus to walk with you in it. It is easy to think we should take matters into our own hands, to bring about relief, or our desired out comes. When God is ready He will bring you in to your promised land. The difficulties and trials are working His changes in you and you must submit to the pressure of the wine press little grape if you want to become a fine wine.
Just as the clay on the potters wheel must submit to the pressure and molding, the patience in the drying and then firing to become a vessel of  honor you too must go through Gods transforming process.  Our God knows the plans He has for us, and they are good, he desires to give us a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29: 11)

To get to that good future you may need for Jesus to walk with you through the past. You may need to allow Him to help you clean out old closets and trunks, maybe the basement or the garage. You know, the placea you have shoved things you were unable to deal with. In your present you may also need to allow Him to begin to give you a vision for the future. It is good as much as possible to live in the present but there are times that we must look back as well as times we must look forward. It is important  if you are going to try and navigate the past or the future to take the Lord with you. Without the Lord you will not be able to make sense of the thing you find there. He will help you know what to do with the things you find in both the past and the future

At the beginning of a new year and then usually around my birthday I tend to be kind of introspective. The Lord seems to give me check points through out the year. They are places where I stop and with His help I look back and in those time I try to see if there is some part of the past that I may have been unable to deal with that He would have me clean up with His help. Sometimes it is just a bit of tidying up in the light of new information. Sometimes it is dealing with things long forgotten. He is faithful to walk with you through those places. I have found the Lord to be very understanding and while to me it may look like and ugly mess... when I look at his face I find compassion, understanding and healing.
I also need to look ahead, granted I can't see whats around the bend in the road, the Lord knows and he sometimes gives me bits of a vision to hold on to. You may think me weird but Joseph in the old testament had dreams and visions. He had to carry them for more than 17 years but he walked in both his station as a slave and as a prisoner not as one dejected with out hope or faith but as a man with a calling and a purpose. It just didn't look like much for a long long time. God keeps some of us hidden and he trains and prepares us for his plans. The story is not over yet... so don't give up.

Mary the mother of Jesus is said to have treasured all these things she experienced in her heart. You know having angelic visitations, hearing the accounts of the shepherds and Magi and their gifts, and Josephs dreams... all that had to be quite amazing and hard to process. Every newborn is special but her experience must have tried her. All this amazing stuff but I'm sure walking through it was not particularly easy. They had to flee for their lives in the night based upon a dream her husband had. Yikes

I am thankful the Lord leads and guides us - the journeys we must travel are often long and arduous. We travel through long valley's and deserts and we climb to mountain peeks. Ah what a view but the journey continues on.  

So I have spent the morning in prayer and worship and visited my friends at the Spokane Healing Rooms for prayer. I was blessed by the particular books I was led to pick up and the portions of each that I happened to read. The folks that prayed for me had wonderful visions and words of great encouragement.  One man had a vision of a train with two green lights, he did not know what it meant. Nor did I at the time. As I have pondered it more, I have remembered that I have been praying that God would set the rails for the future to take me to His appointed destination. So I see that to mean that the rails are set and I have green lights to go forward. The other vision that was shared was of me being like a rocket taking off and it was building up steam for its launch. Interestingly rockets do not have rail to run on yet they are guided to their destination. The person who shared it said God knows where that rocket is to go.  Pretty cool stuff as well as lots of other great confirmation kind of things.
 Sometimes it is good to have believers who don't really know your situation and life pray over you and be led by the Holy Spirit as they pray. I generally receive confirmations for things that the Lord has been showing me in my quiet times. Anyway I am thankful for that ministry and glad that I could go today and receive from God through these wonderful prayer warriors and intercessors.

Prayer:
Dear Lord,
We give you this day may you be blessed by the focus of our hearts towards your will and your ways. May you be blessed by our faith even when the circumstances still scream that nothing has changed. You are the mighty King of kings, the Lord of lords and you are our friend and you give us your Holy Spirit as our companion and comforter for the journey. Thank you for your Spirit that leads us. Help us to be sensitive to you. Open our ears to hear and our eyes to see and our hearts to receive that which you are doing and speaking over our lives. May you receive all the glory, honor and praise.

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