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greta_69It is our prayer that this ministry will encourage you and give you a deeper desire to know God and His Word. On this site, you can purchase Greta’s first book, Heart Medicine: Devotions for Imperfect Women Based on the Perfect Truth of God’s Word, as well as her newly-released 2nd book (November 2017), Heart Medicine Volume II.

Greta’s 2015 CD, Heart Medicine Music, can also be purchased here.  You can listen to samples of Greta’s singing as well.  Greta is available to speak or sing at your church or women’s ministry event.

To receive the latest Heart Medicine Devotions by email, join our mailing list using the form at the bottom of the page or download the free Heart Medicine app for Android and iOS. God bless you.


 

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In the Making

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“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:3

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” – Malachi 4:5-6

“And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” – Luke 1:16-17

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:1-25


I’m behind again. Actually, I don’t remember ever being caught up, so to say that I’m behind “again” is probably a generous and wishful assessment. Each year starts the same. This time, I’ll get it right. Just buy a present or two a month, and have everything wrapped by November. It never happens, and so the Christmas hopes and dreams of my 6-year old end up in the hands of UPS Ground somewhere in mid-December. We’ll see how that works out.

In Luke 1, it’s clear that Zacharias had all but abandoned his own hopes and dreams. He was old and his wife, Elisabeth, was barren. He is so mired in hopelessness that even the presence and proclamation of an angel doesn’t sway him (Verses 13-15). When Gabriel tells him that he will have a son, he asks for a sign (as if Gabriel’s visit doesn’t count as one) and instead, signs himself up for 9 months of silence (Verses 18-20).

But in the verses that precede Zacharias’ request for a sign is another bright, blinking sign that Zacharias missed. When the angel Gabriel announces the birth of John the Baptist (the son who will be born to Zacharias and Elisabeth), he quotes a 400-year old minor prophet named Malachi (Luke 1:16-17, Malachi 4:5-6,9).

It’s important to note that Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament, and the words quoted by Gabriel are the last verses of the Old Testament. Why does that matter? Because it also marks the beginning of a 400-year silence. 400 years with no more prophetic messages. 400 years with promises hanging in the air unfulfilled. That’s a long time to keep hope alive, and yet, God was working and miracles were in the making throughout those 400 years (Isaiah 40:3-5, Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 2:1-4, Luke 3:1-6).

And here’s the upside to Zacharias. While he may have struggled in his faith – he was firm in his faithfulness. Luke 1:6 tells us that Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous and reliable – their devotion to God’s commands was never diluted by their questions. That kind of faithfulness (continuing in prayer, continuing in the Word, continuing in church, service, and obedience obedience) is what walks us through the waiting. It keeps us in the place of blessing, so that God’s long-expected plan for us is not derailed, and we are positioned for the fulfillment of His plan in His timing. Faithfulness keeps faith alive (I Corinthians 15:58, 16:13, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 10:22-24, 11:6, James 2:17-18).

And let me tell you about God’s faithfulness. His sovereignty is imprinted all over the lives of Zacharias and Elisabeth. Zacharias was a priest from the “course of Abia” (Luke 1:5). Each course served at the temple for a span of just one week, twice a year. The “lot” that chose Zacharias to burn incense means his name was drawn out of the thousand or so priests in his course for this once-in-a-lifetime task. And it’s certainly no coincidence that Elisabeth’s cousin, Mary, would receive her own visit from Gabriel six months later (Luke 1:26-37, 24:44, Acts 3:18, Galatians 4:4-5).

Zacharias and Elisabeth had prayed for a child for decades. Their people had waited to hear from God for centuries. Neither of those waiting periods was in vain. They were not forgotten, and they certainly were not cursed (the cruel label slapped on barren women in their culture). Rather, they were chosen by God for something different, something 400 years (really thousands of years – Genesis 3:15) in the making – something that would bring glory to God and salvation to the world.

Maybe His glory and the salvation of those around us is in the making right now (Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 55:10-11, Habakkuk 2:3). Our “unanswered” prayers, our unbearable years of waiting, our seemingly unnoticed faithfulness – maybe it’s all just the prologue to His plan.

Let me reword that – it IS the prologue to His plan. With God, miracles are always in the making. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Merry Christmas.


YOUR PRESCRIPTION

Stay faithful. Keep praying. Trust that, with God, miracles are always in the making. The miracles you need are no exception.

In Between Angels

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“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” – Micah 5:2

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.” – Luke 2:1-5

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5

Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12


I am forever working on my ability to say “no”. As a consummate people-pleaser and a frenzied fixer, I tend to commit to more than I can ever possibly accomplish by reasonable means. And more than once, I have driven myself to the brink of insanity, trying to keep promises that no intelligent person would have ever made in the first place.

And yet, I have found that this very weakness has repeatedly drawn me closer to God. When stress steals my sleep, I find myself crying out to Him in the night, begging Him to bail me out yet again, pleading for peace and rest. And in His all-sufficient grace, He never fails to meet me back at square one. Somehow, my faith grows best in the sketchy terrain of over-commitment and inconvenience. And the disruption of sleep is often God gently reminding me that we wouldn’t need our midnight talks, if I had given Him more attention in the light of day.

There are midnight talks woven throughout the first two chapters of Matthew. It’s the kind of clear directives that we all want from God – dreams and angels. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

In Matthew 1, Joseph goes to bed no doubt pleading for peace. His bride-to-be has turned up pregnant, and to make matters worse, she seems to have lost her mind as well (Verse 18). She insists that she’s still a virgin, and that an angel appeared to her, and she’s carrying a child from God. Joseph is a great guy, but that’s a lot to take in. Heartbroken, this great guy is planning the kindest and quietest divorce possible, when an angel disrupts his sleep (Verses 19, 20-24).

He awakens with the same clarity of purpose as Mary, proceeding with the marriage and taking his new wife to Bethlehem in response to a Roman decree.

In Chapter two, the wise men stop at Herod’s place to ask for directions (Verses 1-2). Sadly, God isn’t even on Herod’s radar, and he has no idea of the key role that he will play in the fulfillment of prophecy (Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:16-18). All he knows is that his throne is threatened.

Herod attempts to use the wise men to root out his infant rival, but God uses a dream to redirect the wise men, and although they will find the baby in Bethlehem, they never set foot in Herod’s court again (Matthew 2:3-12). Another midnight talk follows, as an angel appears to Joseph in a dream, telling him to gather Mary and the baby and escape to Egypt (Verses 13-15).

But in the midst of all the midnight talks – in the midst of all the amazing appearances of angels and dreams –  there is divine use of the Godless. The fulfillment of a 700-year old prophecy hinged, not on the declaration of angels, but on the decree of a Roman caesar (Micah 5:2, Luke 2:4-5). An angel took news to Nazareth, and angels flocked to Bethlehem to announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds (Luke 1:26-38, 2:8-15). But here’s what I want you to see – in between angels, a Roman politician unwittingly ensured that Christ would be born in the little town of Bethlehem – just as God intended. And in between angels, an evil and insecure Herod prompted a trip to Egypt  that fulfilled another Messianic prophecy (Hosea 11:1). Pieces of the prophetic puzzle were placed both by angels and by the ungodly (Psalm 115:3, 135:6, Proverbs 21:1, Romans 8:28, 9:18, Ephesians 1:11).

Today, let’s look at our own lives with that undeniable sovereignty in mind. There are moments that God is as real to us an angelic appearance, and there are moments when we seem to be at the mercy of a fallen world. Never doubt that God is in both of those moments. He is working in the ungodly, and even in the inconvenient. He is present in the parade of things that you didn’t plan for, things that have been foisted upon you by seemingly evil forces (Genesis 50:20, Psalm 138:8, II Chronicles 20:6, Luke 1:37).

He is Emmanuel, God With Us (Matthew 1:23), and our sovereign Savior is with us everywhere – in the obvious, in the impossible, and in between angels.


YOUR PRESCRIPTION

Are you struggling to see God in your circumstances? This Christmas season, ask Him to show Himself to you. Trust that your sovereign Savior is working in everything that concerns you.

Flock & Fold

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“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” – Psalm 122:1

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” – Acts 4:32

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” – Colossians 3:15

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:37-47


Every night, like clockwork, my six-year old Joey asks me to tell him stories. And inevitably, the star of most of these stories is my rambunctious and wildly-unpredictable, younger brother, known to most of his fan base as “Uncle Danny”.

And though many of Uncle Danny’s youthful exploits were not sanctioned by the church (he was essentially the Baptist version of Dennis the Menace), it was the setting of many of our more memorable moments and the backdrop for countless stories from our childhood. We grew up going to church, getting ready for church, driving to and from church, serving at church, and spending time with church people. For as long as I can remember, church has been as familiar to me as my own living room.

In Acts 2, church became a living room to the newest members of the family of God. Following Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), the disciples had retreated to the safety of the upper room to await further instructions. And then it happened. The Day of Pentecost came and brought with it the fulfillment of the promised Holy Spirit – the Comforter, the One Who would finally put together all the pieces that Jesus had imparted to His disciples throughout His earthly ministry (John 14:16-18, 15:26-27, 16:12-14).

With the Spirit’s power, Peter begins to preach, and the church starts to grow exponentially (Acts 2:14, 37-41). But here’s the incredible thing – they don’t start a building project. They don’t start doling out titles, or forging an empire, or making a name for themselves. They start building a family (Verses 42, 44-46).

The early church took care of its own. They ate together. They prayed together. They shared their burdens and their blessings. They put each other first, gave up their ranks and their riches, and built a Christ-centered community that left no believer behind. Many (like Barnabas) sold their personal land and goods and contributed everything to the needs of their fellow saints. They basically stopped keeping track of who owned what, understanding that everything they had belonged to God anyway (Acts 4:32-37).

We wince at the hippie-commune connotations of that kind of life. We bristle at the idea of sharing our stuff that we have worked so hard for – especially with those whose contributions are questionable. But there is incomparable blessing in living so closely to the heart of Christ (Matthew 25:37-40, Galatians 6:2, 10, Ephesians 3:14-19, Colossians 3:1-17). Christ shared His inheritance with us. He gave His life to do so (Romans 8:14-17, I Timothy 1:15, I Peter 1:3-4, I John 3:1). Knowing that, how can we deny any of our brothers and sisters in Christ the same love, forgiveness, mercy, and ultimately, the honor that He has bestowed on us?

Let me give you a quick Thanksgiving reality check. Everything you have is His. It is only on loan to you. It is yours by the virtue of His permissive will and His abundant grace. Share, and count it a blessing to do so (Romans 10:12-13, Hebrews 10:24-25).

Everything else comes and goes, but the family of God has been as constant in my life as the family I was born into. We have grown together, weathered storms, and loved each other through good times and bad. And like nothing else, it has repeatedly pointed me to the God that I so desperately need and has forever nudged me a little more in His direction.

I have always known that church was my second home, but I am thankful to say that, more and more, it is a glimpse of my future home (Psalm 133).

Some take offense to being identified as “sheep”, but not this little lamb (Isaiah 53:6, John 10:11, 21:17). I am grateful for the safety of flock and fold. I thank God for my church family. I am grateful for the meals we share, but I am more grateful for the miles that we have shared on the road of life.

This Thanksgiving, praise God for His church. Praise God with His church. Make church your living room. Find your place in the family of God, and never doubt that you belong there.


YOUR PRESCRIPTION

Love on your church family. Pray for your church family. And if you don’t have a church family, find one. God wants to use you and bless you in a Christ-centered community.