Devotion for January 29, 2023

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

When you have been hurt, it’s easy to put up barriers. But be careful — a protective shell can turn into a “heart of stone”: Resistant, unreceptive, impenetrable even to God.

The only thing more painful, and with … more serious ramifications than a broken heart, is a frozen one … Paul warns us [about] … allowing our hearts to harden. “They are darkened in their understanding … separated from the life of God … due to … hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18). A soft heart is not weak or naive. To the contrary, wisdom, experience, and faith make for a strong heart, weathered by compassion and seasoned with mercy. A hardened heart is not protected, it’s merely encased in injury, and it is painfully obvious to everyone but you … There are people who wake up everyday and feel like they are going through one painful test after another, They cry out. “Why won’t this end? How strong does God want me to be? I can’t take it anymore!” Maybe, this is you. Maybe, you are the one with the heart of compassion who understands and having gone through trials unimaginable came out the other side strong in Jesus who walked with you in that journey and you enter their journey to walk with them.

In response to heartbreak, betrayal, or shame, it is … easy to develop a heart of stone. We think this will protect us from … more pain. The problem with stone is … it feels nothing — no pain, but no love. It is a trap that feels like self-preservation, but it is actually self-destruction. God wants to give you a heart of flesh. With His love you can emerge from a painful season of loss with a heart that is yielding, porous, and ready to receive the gifts He has … for you.”

Prayer

Lord, give me a new heart filled with Your love, ready to receive the gifts You have for me. Help me to reach others and show them Your all-encompassing love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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