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Order the New Book!

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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Bigger Barns

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treasure (2)

“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” – Proverbs 11:25

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” – Luke 12:15

“And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” – Luke 12:18-20

Scripture Reading: Luke 12:1-34


I have a confession to make – I’m a hopeless book hoarder. For years, my dad and I were partners in crime, and my poor mother would cringe every Saturday morning as we returned from the flea market, hauling bags of used books purchased for as little as ten cents each. And to this day, I accumulate far more books than I’ll ever read.

I recently parted with several good Christian books at a yard sale. A friend of mine happened to pick up a book about healing from past hurts, and the Lord used it to help her tremendously. In the following months, she referenced the book constantly as one that gave her greater understanding of God’s work in her life. She thanked me for it over and over again, and I finally had to come clean. It had sat on my shelf for years, and I had never even found the time to read it. But in spite of my hoarding, God had turned that book into a blessing.

In Luke 12, Jesus directly addresses hoarded resources in the broad context of eternity. Surrounded by a crowd so great that they are practically tripping over each other, Jesus’ disciples are with Him in the middle of the mayhem (Verse 1). On the fringe of the crowd are the scribes and Pharisees. They are seething with anger over the scathing rebuke they received from Jesus in the previous chapter (Luke 11:37-54) – a rebuke that included a call to give alms (gifts for the poor) out of their own hoarded resources.

But despite the tangible tension in the air, Jesus is determined to seize this teaching moment, as He challenges the values of the Pharisees. He urges His disciples to reject the materialism and self-reliance that is so prevalent among their religious leaders and rely instead on the protection and provision of God. And sandwiched between the timeless truths about God’s provision for sparrows, ravens, and lilies (Luke 12: 6-7, 24, 27) is a brief parable about heaven’s take on hoarding (Verses 16-21).

We start with a rich man. He’s had a great year, and now, this rich man is getting richer. And he takes great satisfaction in that. So much so, that he is consumed with the management of his surplus. And in that management, there is never a thought given to the idea of giving. His sad, self-centered response to blessing is the concept of bigger barns – tearing down the barns he already has and building bigger, better storage space for his personal stockpile. His only goals are lifelong security and personal ease, and there’s no consideration for God, for others, or for eternity.

Little does the rich man know that the time to enjoy his surplus is quickly coming to an end. And this man who had so much in life will go into eternity empty-handed, as he squandered any chance to lay up treasures in heaven.

We shake our heads at the shortsightedness and selfishness of this unnamed rich man, but how many divine opportunities have passed us by? Any blessing we receive – from the simplest possession to our biggest windfall – can open the door for us to be a blessing to others (Proverbs 11:25-26, Luke 6:38, II Corinthians 9:6-11, Philippians 2:3-4). But the temptation is to take our ease – to eat, drink, and be merry in our own little world – and to build bigger barns for all of our stuff, rather than paying the blessings forward in Jesus’ name.

May God forgive us for the blessings we have hoarded. May God forgive us for being so stingy with the blessings we bestow on His work and on others – as if our Heavenly Father has ever been stingy with us (Deuteronomy 8:18, Psalm 34:10, 81:10, I Chronicles 29:14, Malachi 3:8-10, Matthew 6:31-32, Romans 8:32, Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 13:5).

Starting today, let’s tear down our barns and instead build something that will last for eternity. May our barns be few, our blessings transferable, and may our security rest in the Giver of all things.


 

YOUR PRESCRIPTION

What are you hoarding? What resources has God given you that you’re not even using? Ask God to show you what you might be able to pass on to others for His glory.

Potential Risk

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walk spirit

“And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” – Judges 16:20

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – Ephesians 4:30

“Quench not the Spirit.” – I Thessalonians 5:19

Scripture Reading: Judges 16:4-31


More often than not, I find that the potential of my day depends on the first thirty minutes.

Yes, my day can go off the rails just that quickly. Because, while my body is painfully slow in those waking moments, my mind on the other hand, has squirrel-like tendencies, darting from one fragmented idea to another. Did I pay that bill? I need to get to the store. I’ll make a list. I should check for coupons. I think my car needs gas. Is it supposed to rain today?

Not exactly earth-shattering stuff, but these are the shiny objects that distract me from what matters most. Before I know it, I’m knee deep in nonsense, and the quietest time of my day has been spent on everything but my quiet time with God.

In Judges 16, Samson was knee deep in disaster. After completely squandering His God-given potential, Israel’s rough and reckless judge was about to become a floor show for the Philistines, as a life that God had filled with purpose was filled to overflowing with sin.

From the beginning, Samson was supposed to be set apart (Judges 13, Numbers 6:1-6). His birth had been foretold by “the angel of the Lord”, and his parents were instructed that he should be a Nazarite. This vow of consecration included three important conditions – he could not touch anything dead or unclean, he could not drink, and he could not cut his hair.

In exchange, he was blessed. Specifically, the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him, giving Samson miraculous physical strength (Judges 13:24-25, 14:6, 19, 15:14, 19) – the kind of strength that could kill a thousand men in one sitting (Judges 15:15). But sadly, Samson was anything but set apart. He willfully chased women (Judges 15:1-2, 16:1, 4). He ignored every detail of his vow – manhandling a lion carcass and a donkey’s jawbone (all unclean stuff) and never following the biblical prescriptions (outlined in Numbers 6) to cleanse himself.

And it’s likely that he had also broken the vow’s condition of no drinking. Twice Delilah tied him up, once she wove his hair on a loom, and finally she cut it. Each time, Samson had to be woken up afterwards, and all along, Philistine soldiers were hiding in her bedroom. The overall picture makes it pretty easy to question his sobriety (Judges 16:5-19, Psalm 1, Ephesians 5:18).

So with every other provision of the vow violated, his fabulous head of hair was the only thing keeping Samson tethered to God. But Delilah soon takes care of that, and like his hair, Samson’s God-given potential is cut short. His strength leaves him, and more importantly, God’s Spirit leaves him (Judges 16:19-20). It’s truly heartbreaking.

We usually talk about how Samson’s strength was in his long hair, and Samson himself gave Delilah that explanation. But don’t miss the point. His strength was in his vow, in the extent to which he allowed the Holy Spirit to work in Him. His strength required separation from the world, separation from sin.

Just like Samson, I need as much of God as I can get. Everything I have comes from Him, and everything I have requires Him. And He requires me to be set apart and to walk in His Spirit. Outside of His grace, everything He’s given me and everything He wants for me is at risk (Psalm 51:10-11, Isaiah 61:1, Romans 7:18, 8:5-7, I Corinthians 2:9-11, 14, Galatians 3:3, 5:16-25, Ephesians 4:22-24, Philippians 2:13, Hebrews 12:1-2).

Samson would be given one last opportunity to bring glory to God, as he would use the last of his strength to destroy the Philistines (Judges 16:22, 28-30). But I want to give God so much more than an eleventh-hour play.

I want to live out His plan. I want to live the kind of life that invites His Spirit to abide and abound in me. I want to give up the things that are weighing me down and live up to my full potential in Him. Here and now – that’s my vow.


YOUR PRESCRIPTION

Are you living by God’s standards? Are you living up to the potential that He’s given you to serve and glorify Him? Ask God to show you the areas where you need more of Him and less of you.

 

Right Now

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Jeremiah-29-11Right Now

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations…Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” – Jeremiah 1:5, 8

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” – Jeremiah 20:9

“Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:19-23

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 1


Right now, a friend of mine is going through a trial that is fierce, frightening, and unbelievably unfair. This isn’t her first rodeo. Months ago, I would have defined her as someone who has been through more than I could ever imagine, and her trials have only snowballed since then. I listened to her tears on the phone last night, and though I’m rarely at a loss for words, words were useless. I remember hearing myself murmur, “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know…” while in my head and my heart, I was frantically praying for divine intervention.

We live in a Christian culture that all too often equates “blessing” with the world’s standards of success. But there is a calling that flies in the face of our expectations – it’s a calling that finds little reward in this world but fills the storehouses of heaven. It’s the call to suffering.

In Jeremiah 1, while still a “child”, Jeremiah was called to be a prophet, something God had ordained before he was even born (Verses 5-6). God would use him tremendously (Verses 9-10), but the lesson was often contained in Jeremiah’s God-ordained suffering.

Jeremiah never had what we would consider a successful ministry. He would never marry or have a family. A son of the priests at Anathoth, his own would turn against him, and he would be the target of multiple assassination plots. He would spend time in stocks, after a beating delivered by a priest (Jeremiah 20:2), and more time in a pit – a cistern full of mud that doubled as a dungeon (Jeremiah 38:1-13). In a time when people wanted feel-good messages and flocked to false prophets who told them what they wanted to hear, Jeremiah told them the hard truth about their rebellion, their idolatry, and the inevitable consequences. And they would never heed him. It was an utterly thankless job.

But though his contemporaries never listened, Jeremiah’s ministry would have incalculable ripple effects in the Kingdom of God. His life of suffering would yield some of the greatest insights we have into the longsuffering love of God, His sovereignty, and the promise of restoration in exchange for repentance (Jeremiah 3:22, 17:14, 29:10-14, 31:3).

In Lamentations 3, as he mourned the devastation of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, he wrote the timeless truth that God’s mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness. In Jeremiah 29, he wrote an open letter to the exiles in Babylon that overflows with promises about finding God and His purpose – promises that we still claim today. He gave us the image of the Potter and the clay (Jeremiah 18:1-11) – the ultimate metaphor for God’s never-ending work in our lives. And though the “Weeping Prophet” desperately wanted a quiet, normal life, his need to speak the truth (and his call to suffering) burned relentlessly inside of him (Jeremiah 15:15, 20:9, 14-18).

Much like Jeremiah, right now, your suffering may seem to be without purpose. It may feel like more of a curse than a calling, but I submit that you might be one of those peculiar people who is tasked with the greatest calling of all. To be like Christ, to taste in His sufferings, to be used and even abused for the cause of Christ may not yield accolades or accumulate wealth in this life, but it is the stuff that all of heaven stands and cheers for (Acts 7:54-56, Romans 5:3-5, II Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18, Philippians 3:10, I Peter 5:8-10, Revelation 21:3-4).

Hold on, my friend. God has not left you. Whatever is lost for Christ’s sake will be restored tenfold. Whatever is suffered on earth will be sanctified in heaven. God’s Kingdom holds you in high regard, regardless of how this world sees you. And right now, your suffering is not in vain.


YOUR PRESCRIPTION

Are you suffering right now? Ask God to use your suffering for His glory. Praise Him for allowing you to taste what Christ went through for you, and trust that He has a plan for you.