Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Philippians 3:14, NIV).
Centered: “emotionally stable and secure.” (merriam-webster.com)
Place: anywhere you dwell, both literally and figuratively.
A very wise person once told me “everything is attitudinal,” that is, thoughts, words, and deeds begin at the core, aka “heart,” aka “center” of a person.
We are, of course, being human, heavily influenced by others, by emotions, by psychological operations, and so on, but we must not lose sight of the fact that, putting all those temptations aside, we still have a will as free as it ever has been, and every action emanates from our choices when once we attain the age of reason, some choices ammended later as we attain maturity.
Proverbs 23:7 puts it like this: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (KJV).
Gospel writer Luke 6:45 elaborates: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (ESV).
What I gleaned from this advice was to keep track of my core, i.e., “heart attitude,” “center,” or “primary motivating factor” because, as Proverbs 4:23 explains, “Keep (guard) your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Conversely, to ignore it leads to destruction perhaps even death.
This advice has come in handy innumerable times over the years, not that I have always called the shots right, or taken the time to drill down to the deep place where heart attitude both resides and rules.
Like every other human, I have committed my share of assumptions, presumptions, and ratonalizations that have fallen short of the truth, for the truth is a refining process, a chisel in the hand of an artisan whom we can choose to be either the Artist of artists, Potter of potters, or the other one who deceives and destroys.
Because, at best, we can only “see through the glass darkly,” as the metaphor goes, here on terra firma.
It is not always easy to discern the best, right, most judicious, or wisest route to travel, thoughts to cling to, or counsel to take, but Proverbs chapter 2 gives us this hope:
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways… (1-15, NIV)
And let’s face it, although every age, era, and epoch has its own challenges and conflicting voices there is One only Who is not counterfeit, and today amid the unprecedented global challenge of the pandemic and those who would exploit it for personal, corporate, or political gain, we especially need a clear voice. I would argue the voice we need most is of that same One Who created and gave voice to begin with.
If we center our hearts on Him, there is another promise–this one akin to the eye of the storm, the retreat in the desert, the balm of Gilead for what ails the world and what ails us: salvation (redemption, deliverance, healing, guidance, peace) not only in the here and now but in the then and future. Gospel writer John puts it this way:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (3;16, KJV)*
Here is the essence of our God, as Father, Son, and Spirit (Helper and Guide), our “Divine oasis,” you might say, what He desires of us and what He does for us–in every “place” we may find ourselves, literally and figuratively, this and every day:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God… (Micah 6:8)
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33), and
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
And there is a LOT more encouragement and hope where those came from for help during the terrors that come by day and those that come by night, both from without–and within.
Stay centered in Him and in His Word, friends.
BREAKING UPDATE (5/16/20) For when it’s difficult to dig down to your true motive, “pray a request” based on Proverbs 16:2 “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” God can help–and clarify.
My re-post today comes from a free, downloadable 48 page devotional based on the all-time go-to Psalm for difficult times: # 91.
Take a break (perhaps in your place of retreat), be reminded and refreshed.
“In the Midst of the Fray”
Originally posted in 2013
I woke up the other day and turned on the news to this: “And we have no idea
as of yet,” the nuclear energy expert said, her voice tense, “the full impact and
far-reaching damage of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster…”
I tried another radio station and heard: “And economic advisers are predicting
the financial fiasco may be just months away…”
One more attempt to get some news, a weather forecast maybe—I’d settle for
a mattress commercial at this point—revealed: “The United Nations is forming a plan to ‘save earth from killer asteroids’” (Really).
So much bad news and I’m not even out of bed yet.
I turned off the radio.
Immediately, bits and pieces of Psalm 91 came to mind:
“…Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare…” (3)
“…under his wings you will find refuge…” (4)
And “He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in
Okay, Lord. This looks like a Psalm 91 kind of day, I thought. And I
decided that before I let all the current troubles fester in my consciousness…continue reading here…
*If you have not yet entered into this place of salvation and hope, here is some information.