We have missed the heart of a woman. And that is not a wise thing to do, for as the Scriptures tell us, the heart is central. Above all else. Because God knows that our heart is core to who we are. It is the source of all our creativity, our courage, and our convictions. It is the fountain-head of our faith, our hope, and of course, our love.
Your heart as a woman is the most important thing about you. God created you as a woman. You are a woman to your soul, to the very core of your being. And so the journey to discover what God meant when He created woman in His image — when He created you as His woman — that journey begins with your heart. The desires that God has placed into our hearts are clues as to who we really are and the role that we are meant to play. Many of us have come to despise our desires or at least try to bury them.
They have become a source of pain or shame. We are embarrassed of them. The desires of our heart bear a great glory because they are precisely where we bear the image of God. We long for certain things because He does! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far — I will find you. Why am I embarrassed to tell you this? I simply loved feeling wanted and fought for.
This desire is set deep in the heart of every little girl — and every woman. Yet most of us are ashamed of it. We downplay it.
The Heart of a Woman
We pretend that it is less than it is. We are women of the twenty-first century after all — strong, independent, and capable, thank you very much. Uh-huh… and who is buying all those romance novels? Each one filled with his love for God and his passion for me, his desire for me. He loved me. He saw me and knew me and pursued me. I loved being romanced.
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Most of our addictions as women flare up when we feel that we are not loved or sought after. At some core place, maybe deep within, perhaps hidden or buried in her heart, every woman wants to be seen, wanted, and pursued. We want to be romanced. A woman is a warrior too. But she is meant to be a warrior in a uniquely feminine way.
Sometime before the sorrows of life did their best to kill it in us, most young women wanted to be a part of something grand, something important. Think of Sarah from Sarah, Plain and Tall. We are awed by the nurses in Pearl Harbor, how in the midst of a horrifying assault they bring their courage and strength to rescue the lives of hundreds of men. And what about women like Esther and Mary and Ruth? They were biblical characters who had irreplaceable roles in a Great Story.
Women love adventures of all sorts. An adventure that is shared. Sometimes the idea of living as a hermit appeals to all of us. No demands, no needs, no pain, no disappointments. But that is because we have been hurt, are worn out. Our lives were meant to be lived with others. As echoes of the Trinity, we remember something.
Made in the image of a perfect relationship, we are relational to the core of our beings and filled with a desire for transcendent purpose. We long to be an irreplaceable part of a shared adventure. I doubt the thought crossed her mind. She sang her newly made-up song about puppies and kitties, fully expecting to be delighted in, then skipped down the hall to grace the occupant of the next office.
She was like a ray of summer sun or, better, a garden fairy, flitting from office to office. She was a little girl in her glory, unashamed in her desire to delight and be delighted in. Remember twirling skirts? Most little girls go through a season when they will not wear anything if it does not twirl and if it sparkles, so much the better.
Their young hearts intuitively want to know they are lovely. Last summer John and I attended a ball. It was a stunning affair. Black tie. The evening turned out to be glorious. But the highlight by far was the women. We were playing dress up for real and loving it. Now, we know that the desire to be beautiful has caused many women untold grief how many diets have you been on? Countless tears have been shed and hearts broken in its pursuit. Beauty has been extolled and worshiped and kept just out of reach for most of us. For others, beauty has been shamed, used, and abused.
Some of you have learned that possessing beauty can be dangerous. And yet — and this is just astounding — in spite of all the pain and distress that beauty has caused us as women, the desire remains. An external beauty without a depth of character is not true beauty at all. Ruth may have been a lovely, strong woman, but it is to her unrelenting courage and vulnerability and faith in God that Boaz is drawn.
Esther is the most beautiful woman in the land, but it is her bravery and her cunning, good heart that moves the king to spare her people. We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.
As described in Wild at Heart , there are three core desires in the heart of every man as well. For starters, every man wants a battle to fight. Men are made for battle. Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus to the Temple for three significant Jewish traditions. It was at this time that Jesus was circumcised, given his name and consecrated to the Lord as the 1st born. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: 'Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.
How have you been given to God? Prayer: Lord Jesus, at such an early age, you learned that belonging to a community was would be painful. At the same time you also became aware of the father's will for you. Send us your spirit that I too might not only discern your will for me but that I would have the strength to follow your desire.
I pray this in Your name. Over the last several decades there have been refugees all over the middle east running from dictators and power mongers killing the innocents. Here we find that this is an old story still going on today. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him. He stayed there until the death of Herod. When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. How about you? Does your words and actions cause pain and suffering for those around you? How do you protect the innocent? Prayer: Lord God, creator of all, I struggle to understand the pain of this world.
Through your son I can see that even he was not spared this evil. I am grateful for your presence with me in both my joy and my suffering. Clearly it is not your desire that we suffer but rather it comes our own selfishness and thirst for power. Help me in my daily encounters to bring peace and love to those around me. Jesus, at the age of 12, was eager to get about his mission.
But that would wait. Joseph and Mary were greatly distressed at his disappearance. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, 'Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.
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He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. Help me to see that it is in the relationships with those around me that you are most present. We know nothing of Jesus life from the Time he was 12 to when he again appears in the Gospels as an adult.
Jesus grew up in a family that valued work and sacrifice. Prayer: Lord Jesus, as a child you submitted to your parents guidance and wisdom, learning from them the skills of a carpenter, the ethic of working class people, the faith of those dependent on God. Help me to always be faithful to the lessons I learned from valued mentors and family.
May if love, sacrifice and work as those who gave me life. In your name I pray. Jesus, the holy one came to be baptized by the Baptist, John. Clearly he was not in need of having his sins forgiven. Some would say that in being baptized in the Jordan with all the others he took up their sins. Perhaps for Jesus the sense of ritual purification connected him with the community of believers. This act of submission was the very beginning of his public life, through it he set the theme of his ministry. Truly, anointed by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the words of the Father, he was now able to take on the life of the anointed one, the Christ.
John tried to prevent him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me? After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. How does membership in the Body of Christ, forgiveness of your sins and the taking on of the life of Christ connect with you?
Thank you your example in Jesus. What an interesting story to be put in the Bible. Does this not exemplify our own life today. We often become overwhelmed with the storms of life. Why do we not simply respond in faith that God will be there for us and with us. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!
The men were amazed and said, 'What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey? Help me the steadfast assurance that you will be there for me. Light my path that I may always do your will. Isn't it just like Peter to leap out with his heart leading the way! Proclaiming not what his head has told him but what he experiences and senses with his heart. You are the Christ, the Messiah! Yet, in no less than ten chapters we find that Peter denies Jesus three times.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Who is Jesus for you? How does this person impact your life? Prayer: Lord, each of us has to come face to face with the question of who you are. There are times when it all seems too good to be true.
Help me in my unbelief! John leads us through this story to see that Jesus is the resurrection and life itself! So the sisters sent word to him, saying, 'Master, the one you love is ill. When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
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And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Do you believe this? I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world. For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him. So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. So the Jews said, 'See how he loved him. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, 'Take away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, 'Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.
So Jesus said to them, 'Untie him and let him go. Death was death after all. Jesus shows all that even after 4 days and decomposition he would raise his friend Lazarus. Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life?
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Prayer: Lord Jesus, you came and set the entire world on its ear. You have shown that in you death is no longer death but new life. Guide me that I might live in your life today and everyday. Can you imagine being Peter, James and John? What an experience. Peter again using his heart, says he will make three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. He was so excited that he wanted to extend this experience. But, what about for him James and John?