Category Archives: From His Heart

Special glimpses into God’s heart

Like a Willow Tree ~ Trusting in the Lord

Taken one foggy morning recently

Taken one foggy morning recently

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters…
Jeremiah 17:7, 8
NKJV

God promises that when we put our trust in Him, we will resemble trees planted by the waters.

I am most certain that the tree He has in mind for me is a weeping willow.  Rather than maintaining a constant plateau of rejoicing, I often find myself allowing my joy to weep out when encountering sad or disappointing circumstances.

It is not as though I go around depressed all the time; I think others would attest to the fact that I try to live life upbeat and encouraging.  There are just those moments when I cave towards despondency.  During those hard times, I’m as weepy as a willow.

However, an interesting fact about weeping willows is that although their branches do seem to weep, by cascading down, they are nevertheless remarkable for their toughness and tenacity to life.

God understands our human frailty.  Despite my tendency to weep when life gets rough, He uses each season of sorrow to grow me nearer to Him.  Along the way, He strengthens my faith and toughens me for the next time hardship hits.  He builds in me tenacity for the storms.

Do you ever grow despondent during of the trials of life?  God created us with emotions, and He understands there will be seasons of weeping.  Rather than beat yourself up because you sometimes let things get you down, rejoice knowing that God can use your sorrow to strengthen your dependency upon Him.

God can turn a weeping heart into a steadfast willow of trust.

Sue Nash/2013

Arise, God ~ Overcoming Life’s Rubble

Taken on a morning I really needed to see the sun rise

Taken on a morning I really needed to see the sun rise

The the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.”
Nehemiah 4:10
NLT

In this passage above, we see Israel trying to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, but the obstacles to doing so were great.  Their enemies tried hindering them every step of the way; however, there was also the problem of the rubble.

Heaps of debris, conspicuous evidence of their ruined city, needed excavating in order for the rebuilding to progress.  It was the clean up after the fall-out, and the task was overwhelming.

The exciting part of any rebuilding is in seeing progress, not in the drudgery of clean up.  Yet, without clearing out the mounds of debris, there is no room for successful restoration.

Life’s Rubble

Isn’t that how it is with devastating circumstances in life?

When faced with recovering from ruinous situations, whether of our own doing or not, we must deal with the rubble.  Mountains of fall-out from the destruction and change:

Consequences from poor choices, scars from regret, brokenness from rejection, damage from abuse, sadness about how things will never be the same and the list goes on.

The people of Judah encountered hindrances from opposition; there were those outside their city attempting to block their rebuilding efforts.  The rubble, however, was a hindrance from within.  Within their gates and from within their spirits, as fatigue caused them to lose heart.  The rubble problem was an inside job.

The same is true for us.  The wreckage leftover from damaging circumstances can hinder our progress from within.  It can cause us to feel overwhelmed and discouraged, thinking that things will never change for the better or restoration ever occur.

Help With Life’s Rubble

Ironically, when tempted to give up due to the enormity of the rubble, we must admit, as did the people of Judah that we will never be able to rebuild by ourselves.  On our own, and in our own strength, we cannot overcome the hurdles of rubbish.  We need help.

Christ must intervene to move the mountains of ruin.  He must come to our rescue.

Hindered from without and ruined within, Judah needed God to help them out of their trouble, most of which was from their own doing.  He did.  God came to their defense and helped them rebuild the wall.

Arise, God ~ Overcome Life’s Rubble

The enemy wants our lives to end in ruin, buried in mounds of rubble.  Yet, for followers of Christ, His very name is at stake in the midst of our circumstances.  No matter what brought about the devastation, when He hears our sincere cries for help, He responds.  God will arise to our defense, not because of anything we deserve but due to His very own name in us.

Arise, O God, plead your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches you daily.
 Psalm 74:22

Our enemy cannot stop Him from moving heaven and earthly rubbish out of our lives, if we will let Him.  Just as the damage may have accumulated over years, the rebuilding may take time.  However, God will arise to help us overcome the rubble and experience joy in seeing the walls of our lives restored.

For similar posts, see From His Heart

From His Heart for blogSue Nash/2013

The Parable of the Prodigal’s Mom

Bright sun with blue sky

Bright sun with blue sky ~ better days ahead

The Parable of the Prodigal’s Mom

When he came for his inheritance
To go see what there was out there,
His father consented to send him off,
But to watch him leave his mom just could not bear.

When he had been long gone
And his whereabouts were unknown,
His father was sure he would be alright,
But only on her knees in prayer did his mom keep hanging on.

When he spent his time in reveling
And his folly was rumored wide,
His father continued to stay afloat,
But his mom sunk to the ocean floor and cried.

When he fell flat on his face
And began faltering in his wrong,
His father waited patiently in silence,
But his mom spent sleepless nights fearing something was going on.

When he realized things were not working out
And started awakening to the truth,
His father remained unwaveringly steadfast,
But his mom only cautiously began hoping anew.

When he remembered how things used to be
And longed to return from whence he strayed,
His father expectantly awaited his return,
But his mom still wondered if she’d ever see his face.

When he wisely considered his ways
And began his journey back so full of need,
His father met him a long way off,
But his mom thought it was simply too good to believe.

When he met his father on the road
And found open arms instead of shame,
His father gladly welcomed him home,
But such joy his mom could scarce contain.

When he safely made it home
And embraced the love he once had scorned,
His father began the celebration,
And his mom at last rejoiced knowing her son had been reborn.

My prayer is that this will be an encouragement to any mothers of prodigals struggling to keep hanging on.  God loves prodigals, and continually woos them back, but He also understands the brokenness of a mother’s heart, whose child has strayed far from home.

From His Heart for blogSue Nash/2013

For similar posts, see From His Heart

The Sweet Fragrance of Christ

Gardenia beauty

Gardenia beauty

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15

Gardenias are one of my favorite flowers, mostly because of their sweet fragrance.  Preferences about fragrances differ, though.  I have a neighbor who detests plants like gardenias because of that same sweet smell.

Although I disagree, the reason for our dispute has nothing to do with the appearance of the flower, rather the characteristics of its scent.  Aromatic flowers like gardenias have what I call in your face fragrance.  A fragrance detected before you even see them, and one that grows stronger the closer in proximity you get.  When around gardenias, you either love them or not, because their aroma is distinctive and pervasive. 

My bouquet of gardenias

My bouquet of gardenias

I recently brought home a fresh-cut bouquet into our home, but had to move it from where I had it in the dining room to our sunroom.  Their scent can literally take over the air around them, and since taste involves the sense of smell, our food was beginning to taste like gardenias!  I don’t want them in my salad, but I still love them and look forward to their blooms each summer. 

The Fragrance of Christ is Distinct

Our lives as Believers should emit an equally distinctive and pervasive fragrance of Christ-likeness.  Our walk with the Lord should differ so from that of unbelievers that it is blatant.  No one should doubt to Whom we belong, because of the fruit of the Spirit, so vividly on display in our lives that even strangers spot the difference when we walk in the room.  The closer others get, the more evident the aroma of Christ.  At least, that is how we should live.

Arguably, though, we all fail in allowing the fragrance of Christ to pervade our daily walk. Many times, instead of a sweet aroma, we emit the stench of the old Adam by letting self-control quench a Spirit-led life.  Then, we merely blend in with the world around us.  Hindered is the sweet aroma of Christ, with its life-giving distinctiveness for a lost and dying world.

God knew we would struggle.  That is why He gave us the Holy Spirit, who continually changes us to resemble Christ.  Even in our frailty, God uses us as conduits of His aroma to the world.  Unfortunately, not all respond.

The Fragrance of Christ Confronts

Just as opinions vary on fragrances, the same holds true with the aroma of Christ.  It is the same kind of in your face scent.  When confronted with the presence and truth of Christ, it either attracts or repels.  Others either accept the Christ in us or refuse Him.  They either love Him or not. 

I love gardenias so much that I have a hard time comprehending why others do not. To me, their fragrance is nothing short of heavenly.  I love the Lord so much that I struggle grasping why not everyone does.  His fragrance is heavenly, for Jesus was heaven-sent.  He wants the world to taste and see that He is good, but what is good to taste must first start with a savory aroma. 

Does your life routinely emit the fragrance of Christ?

Let us each be increasingly mindful of how our lives are a fragrance rising up to God, and grow by allowing the Spirit to emit His sweet aroma to those around us. 

In my next post, I will share some more gardenia photos and relate another reason I love them so much.

God’s Heart is Always Wide Open ~ Only His Love Can Satisfy a Longing Within

A photo I took of one of my Amaryllis blooms this year.  They are wide open with beauty ~ reminded me of God's love.

A photo I took of one of my Amaryllis blooms this year. They are wide open with beauty ~ reminded me of God’s love.

Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31

A disclaimer before reading: this is not a Jane Seymour bashing post!  I admire her work and the efforts of the Open Hearts foundation.  I am not critical of those wearing her jewelry or joining her cause.  What follows is simply the challenge of a higher calling ~ a more excellent way.

A few years ago, Jane Seymour introduced a signature jewelry line called, Open Hearts. The premise behind her unique design is, “Keep your heart open, and love will always find its way in.”

Picture of Jane Seymour Open Hearts collection jewelry. Photo used for purposes of this blog only and not with any intentions to sell or distribute this product line.

Picture of a Jane Seymour Open Hearts collection jewelry piece. Photo used for purposes of this blog only, with no intentions to sell or distribute this product line.

The design is unique and highly successful.  More important than business success, though, is how she is using her concept to inspire others to join the Open Hearts community of followers, those who demonstrate they have embraced the philosophy of selfless giving even in the face of adversity.  Ms. Seymour best summarizes the idea:

“When you’re going through a challenge, instead of taking it all inside, if you open your heart, accept what’s happened, open up and in some way help someone else – you have a unique opportunity to have a purpose in life and to make a difference.” (Living With an Open Heart)

I applaud Ms. Seymour for her noble efforts.  The Open Hearts foundation is a very worthy endeavor.

I started thinking about their concept, though, of whether by opening up and helping others, love will always find its way in, and the foundation’s message that, when your heart is open it can never stay broken.  A lovely design and wonderful idea, but is it always true?

Helping others does tend to empower one to push beyond the pain of their circumstances, and many people have derived a sense of purpose by doing so, using the adversity they suffered as the impetus for moving forward in life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not proposing that this idea is of no value; it is, and a whole lot better than the hateful acts daily displayed around the world.  However, an open heart does not equate with love always finding its way back in. 

Selfless endeavors, while worthwhile, do not in and of themselves guarantee a return of love.  It does feel good to do good deeds for others; it does give one purpose to show sacrificial love.  However, efforts to demonstrate love, in hopes of it filling the longing within every heart for love, fall short.  Sadly, loving deeds do not always translate into love.

Plenty of loving people are lonely and empty, because the bestowing of unconditional love does not necessarily fill one with love.  If the opening of the heart were all required, then the only lonely people should be the Ebenezer Scrooges.  Those out there trying to make a difference in the world should have crowds of followers and friends, and lives satiated with contentment.  But this is not always the case.

Just as merely keeping one’s heart open is no guarantee that love will enter, there is also no assurance that by doing so a broken one will never recur.  Selfless giving does help one look beyond their own hurts, and instead reach out.  However, it also renders one vulnerable to hurt, rejection and more pain.  As humans, none of us are so loving that we are completely resilient to assaults against the heart, and there are always going to be individuals who do unloving deeds to us.  Opening up one’s heart, though courageous, does not guarantee against a broken one; it can be an invitation for just that.

Simply having an open heart, as demonstrated by reaching out to others, offers no assurance that love will always find its way in or no longer stay broken.  Only a heart open to God can find such love.  His agape love is the only type that is truly unconditional.  Unlike human love, His can heal any brokenness. Only His love will never fail. 

My goal in writing this is not to criticize Jane Seymour.  I admire her valiant efforts to encourage acts of selfless giving.  I wish that there were more in this world with her kind heart for others.

Without the love of the Christ being the center of such efforts, though, they will fall short of providing the doers of such, and those to whom they are bestowed, the promise of real love finding its way in.  Since God is love (1 John 4:8), only His heart is always open, only He can satisfy our longing for love within.  When we invite Him into our hearts, we find the kind of love that stays, and can then offer others the only hope of love this world has.

From His Heart for blogSue Nash/2013

For similar posts, go to From His Heart

Beauty Amid Ruin ~ Satan’s Attempts to Destroy

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
Isaiah 61:3

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about God’s gradual work of perfecting us into His beautiful image, a process which will not be completely finished until we reach heaven.  In my photos from Progression to Beauty, I illustrated this sanctification process by showing the gradual opening of a Magnolia flower to its marvelous beauty.  What I intentionally withheld was a picture of what happens to that same flower a few days later.

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

As God is working this sanctification in us, Satan is right along side trying to destroy anything beautiful in our lives.  His mission is one of opposition to God; hence, he is always on the lookout for anything good that he can attempt to ruin.  He cleverly deceives many into thinking that their is no hope of recovering any beauty amid the ruined circumstances life often brings.  Creation itself groans under the curse of sin’s ruin.

Some of you may feel that way.  You may think that because of past sins, or failed attempts to serve God that your life is beyond repair.  Convinced that you have gone too far, you think that your life can never again be restored to beauty. 

Yet, amid the very ruin itself are the seeds of new life.

Next years seed pod

Next years seed pod

God knew in advance that Satan would attempt to thwart His creation.  As a result, He provided the way back to beauty by sending Jesus to die in place of our sin.  You might ask, though, how is the cross a thing of beauty?

When Christ died on the cross, the enemy thought that he had won, but buried inside the tomb was the Seed of resurrection, simply awaiting His designated time to come forth.  With victorious glory, Jesus arose, giving hope to all that God’s intended beauty can indeed be restored.  Nobody has strayed too far that His love cannot reach.  No attempts by Satan can destroy God’s promised work of beauty in our lives.  God can bring back to life to any ruined one.  It is our choice whether or not we will accept what He has already done on our behalf to restore that beautiful new life. 

Are you tempted, like I sometimes am, to lose hope that God will restore to beauty someone or something that seems ruined beyond repair?

Let us together remember that God can and will bring forth beauty from ashes.  He is in the beauty business!

From His Heart for blogFor other similar posts, see From His Heart

God is Near ~ Our Hearts Weep with Oklahoma

A lovely garden angel

A lovely garden angel

Let us weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

Our prayers are with you Oklahoma, and our hearts are saddened over the loss of all your precious angels.  May you draw comfort and strength in knowing that God is near and He cares.  Below is the link to a song that I pray will encourage any of you hurting over this tragedy, or for any readers in a storm of your own. 

Are you broken?  Do you feel hopeless, wounded or in need?  If so, call upon the name of Jesus, the Defender and Deliverer.  He is a shelter in the midst of any storm.

Defender (Call Upon the Name)
by Travis Doucette

VERSE 1

He is near to the broken,
He is close to the weary of heart.
In His Name is a refuge,
Safety for the weak and discarded.

PRE-CHORUS
There is help for the hopeless,
For the wounded in need.
In the presence of Jesus,
There is power unleashed.

CHORUS
Call upon the name of the Lord,
He’s our Defender, our Deliverer.
A Shelter in the midst of the storm,
Jesus, our Savior, He is King over all the earth.

VERSE 2
I will sing of my Redeemer,
Testify to the touch of His hand,
Lifted me from disaster,
Set my feet on a solid rock to stand.

PRE-CHORUS

BRIDGE
God is our Refuge, our Strength, and Salvation,
A Mighty Fortress is the Lord Almighty.
There is no equal, no power beside Him.
Forever our Champion is the Lord our God.

TAG
Our Savior, He is King over all
Our Savior, He is King over all the earth

Father, in a way that only You can do, please provide healing, strength and comfort to all of those affected by this terrible tragedy in Oklahoma.  I pray that You will make a way through their suffering, where there seems to be no way.  Open up hearts to You that have never sought Your love, and heal every hurt with Your healing touch.  Do what only You can to make sense of this suffering.  In Your name, Jesus, our Defender and Deliver.  Amen.