Note: I am taking a sabbatical from writing the blog to edit two manuscripts for publication. See you when Embracing Grace: A 365 Day Devotional Journal resumes. Check back with www.erinelise.com for progress reports on the publishing of these books. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!
A 365 Day Devotional Journal
Scripture: Proverbs 4:23; Colossians 3:2-4.
The last ninety days primarily have been spent talking about the condition of the heart. No surprises there. Solomon, the wisest man that walked the earth, instructed his sons to
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”1
I always loved the poetic quality of this verse, never questioning its deeper meaning. My heart kind of knew what it was getting at. The Hebrew word, towtsa’ah, תוצאות, actually represents the entire phrase, “for from it flow the springs,” and according to Gesenius’s Lexicon it refers to “the place from which (any person or thing) goes forth, hence a gate, a fountain,” but “also the place of the exit or terminating of any thing.”2
Okay, that makes sense, as in the eye gate, ear gate, mouth gate, heart gate, etc. I’ve heard this before. I grew up on Vacation Bible School songs such as “Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear.”
Any place that something flows in or out of is a “gate” or a “fountain (spring)”. But when we talk gates, aren’t we referring to places of authority, as in “the gates of hell?” In Old Testament days, the city elders sat at the gates of the city and it was from there that they conducted affairs, settled disputes, made important community decisions, granted dispensations, etc. This makes sense, too, because no one has greater authority over my thoughts and actions than me.
I like the way the New Living Translation puts it:
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.3
I sit at my gates and determine the course of my life.
The pressure level within water flow can determine the course of a river. During times of severe flooding, not only are the banks overflowed, but the path of a river can be permanently changed. Waters do not always recede to their original path. The same is true in times of prolonged drought. The path of the river disappears underground. The same is true with the heart. Wrong choices in thoughts lead to a change in destiny if the path is followed long enough. Ask any recovering drug addict, alcoholic, or rehabilitated ex-convict.
So much emphasis was placed on the heart in this first volume because without dealing with my heart, I may as well quit my half-hearted attempts at godly living. Without dealing with my heart, any attempt at godly living is half-hearted at best and at worst, self-deceived, for true godliness begins in the heart.
So I embrace grace for the journey.
And this is more than simply words.
It is Life, my Life, and I am hidden with Christ in God.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.4
1Proverbs 4:23. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for towtsa’ah (Strong’s 8444)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm? Strongs=H8444&t=NASB (accessed June 13, 2011.)
3Proverbs 4:23. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. www.tyndale.com
4Colossians 3:2-4. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise