Welcome to Heartsprings, where I share what springs forth from my heart for God and His people. I pray that what you find here blesses you and draws you nearer to your Heavenly Father who loves you like no other.

In His love,
Brenda :-)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Know Christ

July 11, 2015

"The initiative of the saint is not towards self-realization, but towards knowing Jesus Christ."   "The aim of the spiritual saint is "that I may know Him". -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Our main goal as Christians is to know The Lord Jesus Christ.  How many of us have thought for years that our main objective was the "great commission":  "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." -(Matthew 28:19 NASB)  But, how can you tell people about someone you don't know?  It makes perfect sense to know Him first, and know Him well.  Know Him so well in fact that we "secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances" [we are in] -Oswald Chambers

It sounds too simple.  How can our main objective be just to know Him?  That sounds like the lazy way.  An excuse to get out of the work.  Being a Christian is about the works, right?  It's about laboring, isn't it? "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." -(1 Timothy 4:10 NASB)  Yes, it is about the work and that is NOT the main objective.  Without Jesus we can do nothing.  "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5 ESV)  Without love (Jesus) the works mean nothing.  "And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." -(1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV)  If we don't take the time to know The One for whom we labor and The One that we need to tell the world about with both our words and our lives, it's all empty.  We won't really know why we're laboring and will burn out fairly quickly, and there will be nothing to tell the world.  You can't adequately share something you know nothing about.  The more you know, the more you have experienced, the better spokesperson you can be.

Foreign ambassadors are U.S. citizens who establish a concentration in the country they will be serving.  They take the time to become experts on the region's history, geography, culture, language, political structures, and its place in the global economy.  Without knowing all that they know, they could not be good ambassadors.  They are experts on both the U.S. and the foreign country they serve.  As ambassadors for Christ we need to be experts also and that takes time, discipline, and dedication.  We need to know all we can possibly know about The One we represent so that we represent Him well.  When we know Him, we know His voice.  When we know His voice, we can follow His leading to the works for which He created us.  "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." -(Ephesians 2:10 ESV)  There is a process and a plan and if we go off half-cocked, get ahead of or fall behind God by not knowing His voice and following His leading, all we do is for naught.  There is no eternal value in anything we do apart from Christ.  So take the time, believe God rather than the world that says, "If you're not busy, busy, busy you're not accomplishing anything." and accomplish something of eternal value - knowing Christ.  Amen!

Thursday, July 9, 2015


July 9, 2015

"Are you sufficiently right with God to expect Him to manifest His wonderful life in you?"  "If we really believed that God meant what He said - what should we be like?"
-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I have often wondered about the lack of power in the church today and in my own life.  Why are we not able to do the things the disciples did when the Bible says we would do even greater things than what Jesus did?!  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." (John 14:12 NASB) Compared to what I read in the New Testament, Christians today are impotent.

Is it that we are not sufficiently right with God or that we don't believe?  I think it may possibly be a combination of the two.  I think we're too much in this world; comfortable, familiar with, even reliant on our circumstances and what we can see with our own two eyes.  We are not sufficiently right with or reliant upon God.  We do things in our own strength, follow our own wisdom, and satisfy ourselves with things of this world.  Miracles make us nervous and any manifestation of the gifts of The Spirit are cause for doubt and confusion.  I think the New Testament believers would doubt our conversion.

So what to do about it?  First off, do we WANT to do anything about it?  We're so comfortable with things the way they are.  I struggle with that question myself.  I like comfort and self-reliance.  I like thinking that I'm in control and the sense of security that provides (albeit, false security).  I can't shake the feeling, however, that I could be doing greater things, and my life and the lives of those around me would be better off for it.  I'm not talking about fame, fortune, or being some kind of super-hero.  I'm talking about making an eternal difference in the lives of others.  I'm talking about fulfilling my God-given purpose and walking in all the power of the Holy Spirit that I was intended to walk in.  "Then he said to me, . . . . 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6 NASB)  I want to live by The Spirit, walk in The Spirit, worship in spirit and in truth.  Father, that is my prayer for today.  Take away the impotence and make me and my brothers and sisters-in-Christ strong in You.  Open our eyes to the ways and power of The Holy Spirit, Your Spirit, and let us not be afraid.  Give us knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and discernment.  Let us truly live according to the leading of The Holy Spirit that You have placed within each believer.  Let us exercise; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  Let us use the gifts of The Spirit that You have given each one of us for the edification of the church and to Your glory.  Let us fervently love one another that we would be unified and the world would see our love.  "I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." (John 17:23 NASB)  Raise up Your army, Lord, and strengthen them for these end times.
In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble." -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

The definition of "noble" is as follows:  having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.  
It seems that men (and women) of noble character have gone out of style in this country. High moral principles and ideals are seen as narrow-minded, judgmental, and bigoted.

My theory is that Americans have simply become too lazy to put forth the effort that it takes to be a person of high moral principles.  It's so much easier to be undisciplined, unstructured, and uncaring about how our actions affect other people.  Both my parents and my grandparents taught me to be polite and to treat others with respect without compromising my principles.  It was a fine line sometimes.  Agreeing to disagree is not always easy when you add human pride and ego to the mix.  I have long admired the Jews who could argue and disagree, then sit down to a meal together with no animosity.  THAT is true wisdom and maturity, in my opinion.  

The morals of this country have declined drastically in the last fifty years.  When I was growing up you never saw a dead body on the news.  T.V. couples slept in separate beds, and children who disrespected their parents were considered rebels.  Today, the media knows no boundaries.  Watching the news is like watching unscripted reality T.V..  The more dramatic the better.  T.V. couples have sex right before your very eyes and rebellious children are heroes.  There's no more mystery and nothing is sacred.  Nothing is left to our imaginations. It's all out there, bold-faced and brazen.  It takes too much effort to reign in our fleshly lusts so why do it?  "If it feels good, do it" has been taken to a whole new level.  Now it's more like, "If it feels good, do it, and make sure you share it with everyone else whether they like it or not."  It's sad.  It's rude.  It's downright disrespectful.  If I'm supposed to respect your right to "express yourself", why aren't you supposed to respect MY right to not be exposed to your "self-expression".  Sure, I could leave the room or look the other way and more likely than not come face-to-face with someone else's "self-expression".  You see, that's the problem.  

The complete lack of self-restraint is everywhere.  Everyone is coming out of all kinds of closets with complete disregard for those around them.  When I'm in the library, I do my best to be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb those around me who are trying to read or work.  I taught my children to behave the same way.  Then one day a person came into the library with total disregard for the established protocol or "library etiquette" if you will.  This person decided that they wanted to jump around, sing, slide down the banister, and toss books in the air so that's exactly what they did.  A few others thought it looked like fun, so they joined in.  The librarian was shocked and asked the people to stop.  When they refused, citing personal freedom, the librarian called the police.  The police came and quietly escorted the disruptive parties out.  The rest of the library patrons and the librarian were relieved and carried on with their quiet activities undisturbed.  Yes, this was a fictional account (except for the first two lines) to illustrate a point.  Disrespecting and disregarding others only leads to more of the same and soon everyone is being hauled to jail, or there's anarchy . . . and then who knows what.  

There was once a societal etiquette that no longer seems to exist.  Those who were raised to be polite and respectful can either embrace the new "personal freedom" attitude or suffer verbal abuse and persecution for being "narrow minded" and "bigoted".  Why can't we all have the freedom to express ourselves and be who we are a little more carefully, instead of just dumping it on everyone else with total disregard?  Find a group of like-minded people and be yourself with them and a little more subtle around the general public.  We all learn, one way or another, what is socially acceptable and what is not.  Walking around the mall with purple hair is one thing, making out in the food court is another matter entirely.  

Some people are offended at the slightest thing.  I'm not talking about pleasing all the people all the time.  That is simply an impossibility.  I'm talking about crossing lines and bringing out into the open, things that should be private; family matters, romantic intimacy, deep dark secrets.  Some things should be between you and your God and maybe a counselor - no one else.  It doesn't need to be on the news, or paraded around the mall, or made into a television show.  Have some shame, people!  Have a little respect for decency and keep some things sacred.  What is so wrong with that?  It makes life on this fallen planet a little more enjoyable to just be nice and a little polite toward one another.  I'm going to start with myself and attempt to be a little more noble.  I think it will be worth the effort.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blindly Following a Crutch

We don't follow blindly and Christ is not a crutch.  Not in the derogatory sense, anyway.  Those who don't believe in Jesus often accuse those of us who do believe of being blind followers.  I hear "Christianity is a crutch" all the time.  If only they knew the truth.

What some perceive as blind following comes as a result of wrestling with God over what we want as opposed to what He wants, and learning that what He wants for us is better - oftentimes the hard way.  God will allow us to have our way.  We are not robots.  It only takes a time or two, however, of having our way and falling flat on our faces to realize that maybe Father does know best.  Humans are prideful and stubborn, and Christians are not immune to those human traits just because they try to be.  Even the most obedient among us still ask, "why" and "how".  Then we remember that He always provides a way and that even if we don't see the reason, He always has a good one.  We've learned this from experience.  We've learned this from being honest with ourselves and with God about our imperfections and weaknesses - and wanting to grow and improve.  We've learned this from being stubborn, prideful children of God and failing at accomplishing what we thought we wanted over and over.  Some of us do it over and over more than others, but we all learn differently.  The point is, oftentimes the ones who seem to follow the most blindly are the ones with their eyes widest open.  They've learned the hardest lessons, and they know God the best.  They are the wisest among us.

As for Christ being a crutch . . . well, that coin has two sides.  On the first side, we are sinners in need of a Savior; weak and crippled and in need of a crutch until we're strong enough to walk.  Even then, there will be plenty of times in our lives when we will need to be carried or at the very least, have a crutch.  No one is at the peak of strength for their entire lives.  We all have weak moments.  We all get injured.  It's part of being human.  That's just how it is.  We're born prone to weakness and injury.  There is no better help anywhere than Jesus Christ.  He is the strongest, smartest, and most gentle physician there is.  He is a counselor, comforter, ever-present help in time of trouble.  And He knows all.  There's no one better to help you in a moment of weakness or pain.  The other side of the coin is that being a Christian is hard!  Most people won't tell you that, but it is.  It's messy, painful, and sometimes just downright frustrating.  We get dirty, we get hurt, we even want to walk away sometimes because this is just too darn hard.  Thank God for the first side of the coin!  Jesus knows how hard it is to follow Him sometimes and He sends a Helper in the form of The Holy Spirit.  Being a Christian is a constant battle between our flesh and God's Spirit within us.  God wants to perfect us, and our flesh wants to be totally human and indulge in whatever we want to indulge in whether it's bad for us or not.  Our flesh is a spoiled little brat and God's Spirit within us is the parent wanting us to grow up to be a well-rounded, healthy adult.  The two butt heads, naturally.  The interesting thing is that even when it's hard and frustrating, there can be peace.  There's a peace that comes with the "Christian package" that we can tap into anytime we want.  The Bible calls it "peace that passes all understanding" and it does.  I can't tell you how many times I have been baffled by the inner peace I have had in the midst of turmoil.  It's not what I should be feeling and yet it's there.  It's trippy!

I am a Christian and I am far from perfect.  I do not follow blindly.  I follow with absolute faith because I know that my God is beyond trustworthy and has only my best interest at heart.  I, on the other hand, am more self-destructive than anything and far from trustworthy.  I don't want to follow me.  I'll get totally lost.  Christ is not my crutch unless I ask Him to be and I need to ask Him to be much more than I do because I am crippled without Him.  I breathe in and out every day only because He allows me to.  I have an amazing husband, wonderful gifts and talents that I enjoy and can share with others, and a love for others that can't be explained only because He gave me those things.  He created me.  He wakes me up every morning.  He waits for me to take His hand and follow Him into the grand adventure that He has for me every day.  Some days I take His hand and some days I forget to.  That's okay.  He still loves me and He still waits for me.  Whenever I'm ready to stop following my own foolish ways, I can take His hand again; feel His amazing love for me, and continue on our grand adventure.  And let me tell you, it is a grand adventure.  There's action, adventure, drama, and romance . . . everything we look for in a good movie except it's real life.  It's not always easy and sometimes there's more joy than I can contain.  I've always said that parenting is the greatest pain and the greatest joy we can experience in this life.  Well, I can say the same thing about being a Christian.  What we have to decide is whether or not the joy is worth the pain.  For me, I have decided that it is.  Not to mention the fact that eternity depends on it.  I could not imagine spending eternity apart from my Jesus.  The one who picked me up, brushed me off, and loves me in spite of myself.  He wants to make my life here on earth and my eternity better than it could be without Him.  There is a learning curve, without a doubt, but what thing worth doing doesn't require some sacrifice?  Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice - His life - for me and for everyone who chooses to accept His sacrifice and make a few of their own for the sake of deep purpose here on earth and eternity in heaven.

Following blindly requires very little of a person.  Following Jesus requires much more than most people think.  It requires faith and fortitude, and more strength than we can muster on our own.  It's a partnership between God and man.  It's fellowship and friendship with a greater purpose.  Christianity is not a crutch, it's a way of life - my life by choice.  No blindness involved.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

“I say to you, do not worry about your life . . . .” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing—our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first. - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I'm reminded of the verse, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭33‬ NASB)  As practical human beings, this can be a difficult attitude to maintain.  I think men especially, have a hard time not focusing on how they're going to live.  It's their job in life and even more so those men who have families to take care of.  If God's Word is our standard, though, and the guideline by which we live, then we must do our best to fully rely on God.  We must learn to put our relationship with Him first, above all else.  This is how we live life victoriously, above our circumstances.  Like Peter, who walked on the water as long as he kept his focus on Jesus.  As soon as he shifted his focus to his circumstances, he began to sink.  Isn't that how it feels when we focus on the circumstances?  I know that I can easily feel overwhelmed and like I'm drowning when I think of nothing but my circumstances.  Only when I look to God - in worship, in prayer, in His Word - do I begin to feel lighter and lifted up.  This world is only getting scarier.  I can choose to focus on the scariness and become terrified, even frozen with fear, or I can focus on my relationship with Christ and be at peace.  Christ never changes, His economy never falters, and He has a plan for this world and for me.  All of the craziness is under His control and He is going to use it for good.  I can't see how it all fits together, but He can, and He loves me and is trustworthy.  There is so much freedom in keeping my eyes on Christ and being able to walk above the circumstances - keeping my head above the water.