My 11 year old son has been asking me for months to read 1st & 2nd Chronicles out loud. Last year, we read Joshua through 2 Kings as a family, but then I moved to the New Testament. We recently wrapped up James and Revelation, and so now seems like as good a time as any to go back to the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (and maybe we will read Chronicles of Narnia too).
Hebrews says, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (4:12, NIV)
It has been awhile since I have had a season of upturning in my heart. I think that during the school year, I am so busy teaching the kids all of their required curriculum and trying to keep the household running that I’m too busy to think as hard about deeper things; but definitely, the Lord knows when we have the energy to understand and tackle heart renovations. Summer seems to be the season for me.
I read to the kids this week from 1 Chronicles, chapter 9, about how there were 212 gatekeepers assigned to guarding the house of the Lord, but there were only 4 who held the key to the rooms and treasuries within. Four out of 212. They would have been men of integrity.
We discussed a ministry I recently became familiar with. They take supplies to Liberian children once a year, rather than shipping supplies, because there is no one of integrity on the ground there who can be trusted to distribute the supplies to those who have need. Too many individuals will keep the supplies for themselves.
Somehow, thoughts of need and integrity turned to inflation in the U.S. By my math, I’m paying an average increase of between 33-35% for most things. I asked my children how people can continue to provide for their families if wages are not increasing? Their suggestions:
- eat less/use less
- buy cheaper/smarter
We discussed missionary testimonies of going to “the least of these” who have practically nothing, and yet joyfully give of what they have to feed their guests. I asked my kids how these people were able to give so generously. They thought about it and then came to the same conclusion I have reached. “They do without to give to someone else.”
And then God directed my attention to my own attitude. As followers of Christ, we are supposed to set apart and devoted to pleasing our Master. Some lines are so clear, right? I’m faithful to my husband, love my children, return to the store when I discover that they gave me too much change. Integrity. But what about when Jesus said to clothe the naked and feed the hungry and I am blind to how much I really have? Empty shelves at the beginning of Covid showed me that I could fear in the face of not being able to provide for my family. If I was suddenly stripped of my excess (which is a lot) so that I only had what I could actually hold… would I be willing to give it away? If not, why not?? Where am I investing my joy? Do I really trust that God holds my past, present and future in His capable and very generous hands?
Tears surprised me, stinging my eyes at the thought of how very selfish I can be. I am right back to remembering that none of this (everything) is about me. I realize that I can’t even change my own heart, but I can go to the One who can and does and will. He suffered tremendously on the cross, and died, so that He could take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. JESUS.
As I was writing this, the phrase “Altitude affects Attitude” came to mind. Topping the Google charts are all kinds of articles on the topic; none of them had to do with God. Yet, altitude does affect our attitude. Our altitude (how closely we are walking with God and allowing Him to mold our thoughts because He says His thoughts are higher than our thoughts) direct our attitude (our posture toward a given thing). When I see things through God’s eyes and agree with Him, then my altitude and attitude are correct.
God, please take us higher. Change our hearts to be more like Your heart. Let your faith, hope and love be evidenced in our lives, not only in the best of times, but also in the hardest of times.
This is one of my favorite songs. It uses Isaiah 55:9 in the bridge.