To What Is God Stirring Up Your Heart and Spirit?

The Heart NebulaI love how God speaks to us as we open His scriptures and let them soak into our hearts. This morning I was reading the book of Ezra and as I did so many thoughts flooded my mind that I had to come immediately to a computer and put them down here.

I thought of Jeremiah 29:11, an oft-quoted verse inspiring hope and giving comfort:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And from there I remembered David’s blessed words in Psalm 139:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

Why did Ezra’s words remind me of these great promises and the fact that God has a perfect plan for each of us, a plan that will bring us fulfillment, wisdom, hope, peace and maturity? Why did I recall that God knows exactly what He has planned for me, numberless thoughts that were all written down by God before the foundation of the Earth?

Because the book begins in verse 1 with Ezra telling us that God stirred up (or moved or awakened) the spirit of the Persian King, Cyrus, and because God awakened Cyrus to His purpose for Cyrus, Cyrus issued a proclamation throughout his kingdom proclaiming God as the ultimate source and declaring that the temple of God must be rebuilt. This should absolutely floor us because this is the modern day equivalent of God stirring up the spirit of someone like the Emperor of China to make a proclamation that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all Lords and that He alone should be worshipped and then supporting such a decree with his treasuries.

Then, you see God at work in men’s hearts and spirits again in verse five where it states matter of factly that many Israelites arose to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem because God has moved in their spirits to do so. And, thinking of God awakening or stirring up my heart and spirit made me think of Paul’s admonition to Timothy to fan into flame (or stir up) his gift from God since God doesn’t give us timidity or fear, instead he gives us spirits full of power, love and sensibility.

As God spoke to me I realized that this was part of God’s answer to our prayers about our future. We still are unsure what our next steps are to be or where we will be going on mission after we return to Arkansas September 2nd. God comforted me with His words of grace, the truth being that I need not worry because He has everything already worked out and He will stir up my heart with His plan in a timely fashion. We will continue to pray about what His plan is, but we need not worry or work to create a plan; instead, we must listen to His call and purpose for us. It’s all already written in His book; He knows and He will let us know in due time.

At the same time God reminded me what it is like not to listen to His call and not to do those things to which He is awakening my heart. I spent four of five years in the wilderness ignoring the fact God had moved in our hearts to go into missions, and instead of a flame that inspired me to praise and worship, I experienced a fire that left me feeling dry, dusty, cracked and withered. God was a consuming fire, burning away the things in my life that separated me from Him (to Him be the glory), and He stayed with me in spite of my own doubts and fears.

All of this to ask you the question: To what is God stirring up your heart and spirit? What awakens you in the night and thrills your heart? As you delight in the Lord what are the desires of your heart that He desires to give you? Psalm 37:4. God does have a plan for you, and it will ignite your heart when you follow His plan for you. Are you on fire in your job? Are you on fire in your hobbies? Are they glorifying God? Do they add to the Kingdom or are you shutting the door to the Kingdom? Are you using your gifts to build up the Body of Christ? Is He stirring you up to another night of TV watching (“reality TV” or the reality of the Kingdom of God) or is there more to His plans for you?

Are you listening for God’s voice and following His moving in your heart or are you leaning on your own understanding and operating by your mind and what you think makes sense?

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