Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easter 2013 has come and gone, but is it really over? Did we come away with a God-willed heart? (Ezekiel 36:26)

SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 36:26 (TM)
I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed.

STORY:                                                                                                                     S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, “Are you a leader?” Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, “No,” and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college:
“Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower.”
Easter has come and gone. The crosses in front of our churches once draped with purple and then white have been put back in storage. The lilies are still in bloom, but they now rest in a place of honor in our homes. The crowds have put away their Sunday best for Easter Sunday next year. The preachers have taken their “normal” Sunday off (i.e. the Sunday after Easter because of the smaller attendance). The regular worship routine has returned. Another Easter has been observed, the celebration was meaningful and beautiful … but now life goes on.

And our hearts? Have they been affected? Changed? Did God come near this year? Did God touch us? Moved us? Transformed us? Are we different because we celebrated resurrection? Did God really give us a God-willed heart? Or does the self-willed heart still linger within us?

J. Stowell writes: Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity," "the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and "the center of a person. The place to which God turns."
Do we have a heart for the King and for the Kingdom? Do we see and discuss the reasons why something cannot be done instead of what God wants done? Are we quick to God-size our vision or do we simply reduce our vision to our size?
Easter comes when we lift our eyes to the horizon of God possibilities. God saw life when we see a tomb sealed and guarded. God saw hope when we see death and lose. God saw a dawning of a new day when we see only what might have been. God saw greatness when we see only despair and failure. God saw new life, a joy-filled life, a life of grace and mercy. What do we really see this Easter season? Do we see a Living Lord or same-old-same-old?
Easter has come, but it doesn’t have to go. What is our decision? What does our heart say? Are we trying to be a leader or a Christ-follower? 
Open the eyes of our heart Lord. We want to see you in all of your glory or at least that is what we have said. Lift our eyes to embrace your possibilities. Make us truly resurrection people. Place on our lips the hallelujah of a new day. 

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