The Flourishing Heart
By Jacqueline Overpeck
Benny Hinn Ministries
CBN.com “The flourishing heart buds, blossoms, and blooms—full of rich color—in spite of icy, overcast, winter skies.”
Last winter an arctic front brought a winter storm with miserable conditions to the Dallas area. Along with the freezing rain, came the accumulation of ice—heavy ice on the branches of our nearly sixty-foot, mature oak trees. We watched the weather intently, as field reporters gave the latest updates to our north...
“East of Tulsa, trees are falling. A few minutes ago our crew heard several loud booms that sounded like guns going off. We ran to see what the noise was—to find that trees, over a half-century old, are crashing down under the weight of the weather.”
The unpleasant report continued, “Viewers can expect this front to move through north Texas overnight.”
I sighed with anxiety. Pleading words slipped under my breath, “Not our oaks, Lord, please not our oaks.” The next morning as we headed out to go to the office, I was grateful to see that our beloved oak trees endured the severe winter weather.
Our neighbor, however, wasn’t so fortunate. An oak tree to the right side of their home had split down the middle. It lay sprawling across the narrow one-lane street. “Oh, no!” I pointed at the bulky, glistening branches, as my husband carefully maneuvered our car around the fallen tree. The awkward limbs lay reaching up and shining like they’d been coated in liquid crystal.
“Doesn’t that make you sad?” I asked my husband.
He nodded, then added, “It’s a good thing we cut the dead wood our trees last fall. If we hadn’t, one of them might’ve buckled under the weight of this freeze, too.”
Later that morning, I thought again about the fallen oak tree. I considered the word of God, which makes several references to the righteous being like trees. Then, questions began to fill my mind...
What happens in a person’s heart when a winter storm blows in with high winds,and freezing rain?
What if the living branches of a heart are unhealthy? Maybe even supporting the weight of rotten, old wood?
According to the Bible, we aren’t made to tremble in the coldness of fear and affliction. God created you and I to flourish in the warmth of increasing prosperity and hope. Psalms 92 expounds upon this:
“But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord's own garden and are under his personal care. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green. This honors the Lord and exhibits his faithful care. He is my shelter. There is nothing but goodness in him!” (Psalm 12-15, TLB)
How Can I Flourish?
What really causes a tree (or heart) to thrive—regardless of the weather? After all, there’s more inclement weather days in most of our lives than the majority of us care to admit!
To find some answers, let’s take a closer look at Psalm 92. The truths we find here might even kindle the most astute arborist’s flame:
1) The flourishing heart allows itself to be planted in Christ.
Allowing oneself to be uprooted from one place to another isn’t easy. To do so, the heart must release the past and embrace the future. This “grafting in” happens when you and I surrender to God’s will, His way, and the tender-loving care, He so gently offers.
The process of being transplanted may cause you to walk into unfamiliar territory. Maybe you haven’t been to church in awhile, or said a prayer in years. That’s okay. It’s never too late to turn your ears from the icy voice of discouragement, and run to God.
You are invited to dwell (and grow strong) in the Lord’s own garden, under His personal care. Given the state of affairs of the world around us, that’s one offer I’m going to readily accept. (See Psalm 92:12-13)
2) The flourishing heart produces fruit, it is vital, and green.
To be healthy as a believer, we need the light of God’s sustenance. As you open your spirit today to hear the Lord’s voice afresh, you'll become more aware of the Holy Spirit's gentle promptings. God is the one who supports life, providing spiritual nourishment. When we abide in His care, our lives burst forth with blessing. But, first we must be willing to let go of old, dead wood.
Is there unforgiveness, resentment, or anger locked up inside your heart? If so, you can release that rotten wood to God right now. As surely as you do, you’ll feel the difference. You’ll feel lighter, as-if a weight has been lifted.
Psalm 55:22 reminds, as you “Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” (See Psalm 92:14)
3) The flourishing heart knows how to praise.
What good thing has God done for you? Is His praise on the tip of your tongue? Mercies abound: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8-9, NKJV)
God is worthy of our praise. But, what exactly is praise, and how’s it done?
Praise is the applause of your heart, rising to pay tribute to a wonderful God—not only for what He has done, but also for who He is.
Here’s an example. Praise might sound something like this: "I extol You today Lord because You’ve given me breath. I honor You because You are almighty, all-knowing, and all-together lovely. I praise You because You have redeemed me. You healed my broken heart. I thank You for the harmony You’ve brought to my family and home. Only you, mighty Savior, can turn darkness to light. You’ve done all of this and so much more for me. How awesome and wonderful You are!” (See Psalm 92:15)
Forget the Snow Outside! It’s Your Time to Bloom!
No matter what your circumstances may be, when you are planted, fruitful, and full of praise, the weather won't get you down. God is your shelter. He esteems you as one who is highly valued.
Why not reach out to Him by faith today? The flourishing heart buds, blossoms, and blooms—full of rich color—in spite of icy, overcast, winter skies.
Learn more about the Author of Life
Jacqueline Overpeck is a freelance writer and works full time as Web Content Editor for Benny Hinn Ministries. She and her husband, Arnold, are both CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speakers Services) graduates. They enjoy the outdoors, and traveling in their spare time with their Maltese dog, Coconut. Visit Jacqueline at www.AuthorJackieO.com
© 2007, Jacqueline Overpeck. Used by permission. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the consent of the publisher.
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