IMG_4106-001Before I stepped out of the car, I heard the deep-voiced roar of Elk Falls echoing up from the ravine below. I made my way carefully down a winding path, with the increasing thunder of the falls reverberating in my chest. The surrounding dense rain forest dripped with mist created by the swollen river cascading from it’s rock-strewn bed in a high free fall to the deep pool below. The constant overflow of glacial river water was mesmerizing, ever moving, a living force breathing mist and noise into the atmosphere like a prehistoric dragon. I thought about the thousands of years this particular flow of water had carved its way into the landscape, shaping the rocks and terrain bit by bit on its way to the sea.

God’s Word speaks often of abundance, generosity, and overflow, mostly in connection to the blessings of God to His children. His blessings run like a mighty river, cascading down in an overflowing stream of His good gifts and grace to undeserving mankind.
I have no problem imagining the never ending stream of God’s gifts because I know He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider, able to supply all I need and more. When I contemplate the abundance of God’s gifts to me, my heart spills over with gratitude.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”    (Col. 2:6-7 NIV)

I well remember the exhilaration of my early years of faith in Christ, yet they pale in comparison to the deep roots He has grown in me since, building and strengthening me on a firm foundation. Every trial He sees me through, every sure indication of His love and guidance, every reminder of how He cherishes me as His child, causes me to overflow with thanksgiving.

When I lived near Elk Falls, there were seasons when drought caused the falls to dwindle to a trickle. Spiritual drought has reduced my thanksgiving to a trickle at times, yet I recall that I am to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(1Thess.5:18) Thanksgiving, even in difficult trials, has a burgeoning effect. The more  gratitude offered to a God who has limitless reasons to be thanked, the more thanksgiving overflows. And as words of thanks pour from a grateful heart, they carve the spiritual landscape of a person’s soul, forming a picture of Jesus.

Jesus said, “The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart.” (Luke 6:45 The Voice) His words reveal a heart overflowing with love and compassion for those He came to save. I want my words to reveal an abundance of thanksgiving to Him, coming from a heart overflowing with devotion and gratitude for Who He is and all He has given.

(oil painting of Elk Falls by the author, Valerie Ronald)


Looking into My Heart

IMG_1360A small crystal heart hangs suspended from the curtain rod above my living room window, where sunlight refracted from its beveled surfaces breaks into rainbows dancing around the room. How can a tiny piece of cut glass contain so many beautiful colors, changing as the sunlight shifts, revealing new shades and shapes? In my hand it is just a cold, hard trinket but within is the potential for light and movement and beauty.

I wonder, what does God see when He looks at my heart? I am pretty good at keeping it under wraps around other people, if I need to. I may be thinking, she really hurt me with those words, but I will just smile and reply politely so my wounded heart won’t show. But I can’t hide my heart from God.

“God judges people differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 TLB)

God looks into the unseen center of my being, where my thoughts, emotions and spirit reside. It is the eternal part of me which will live on when my body is long dead. My heart is the receptacle for the essence of who I truly am. The fact that He knows me so fully could be reason to make me squirm — make me tuck things away I’m ashamed of, falsely thinking He won’t notice. Actually, I find it a relief because even with all my faults and failings, I know God loves me just as I am. So knowing how completely He knows me frees me to be totally transparent with Him, and ideally, with myself.

The little crystal heart in my window is a picture of what I want God to find when He looks into my heart. When His Son shines through its many facets, my desire is to send the colors of His character dancing around the room, emanating from ….

a worshiping heart, exalting Him as Lord. (1 Peter 3:15 The Voice)
a devoted heart, set on heaven above, where Christ is seated. (Col. 3:1)
a grateful heart, full and spilling over with thankfulness. (Col. 3:16)
a peaceful heart, because of Christ’s constant presence. (Col. 3:15 TLB)
a serving heart, working for the Lord rather than for men. (Col. 3:23 NAS)
a pure heart, with love for others running deep and true. (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)
a sincere heart, true and trusting because Christ has made it clean. (Heb. 10:22 TLB)

Because Christ resides in my heart, that is who God sees when He looks into it. He is well aware of all the human frailties and sin carried there too, but when He looks at it through the crystal heart of Christ, He sees only beauty, and that is what I want to shine out.

I can’t make my heart clean, but I know One who can. As long as I reside close to Him, He will create in me a pure heart and a willing spirit to sustain me. (Ps. 51)

© Valerie Ronald and scriptordeus 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie Ronald and scriptordeus with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.