Terrific Surgery

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them. I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19

Life sure tries to beat us up. Agree?

Can you recall a time when you faced significant surgery as a result? Did a good doctor bring you great repair? Did you get a much-needed win?

God performs surgery too. His specialty is the heart. And He does it well. Today’s scripture makes this clear. These are His aims:

  1. UNDIVIDED HEART GRANTING. God wants to eliminate our wayward, loose living. He wants our hearts no longer wandering from Him. And so He tightens things up between us and Him. (That’s where Jesus comes in.) A dual life robs us and kills Him. He wants us satisfied in Him alone. One is better than two. 
  1. NEW SPIRIT GIVING. All of us carry a spirit of rebellion inside us. It often gets us in trouble. God gives us a new, better one. His! His Spirit installed gets us running right. 
  1. STONE REMOVAL. When unconfessed sin and unrepentant living builds up in our lives, our hearts grow rock-hard, calloused, indifferent. That’s no way for a man to operate. God knows how to find stones and remove them. Let Him. 
  1. FLESH RESTORATION. Our hearts were designed to be soft and supple towards Him, not hard-hearted. God is committed to restore the heart-tenderness we need to live long and well. What a needed operation and fantastic restoration!

This Doctor sure has skills. May He operate well on us. May we let Him have our hearts. 

Taking you to the operating table for a moment more, may I ask:

  • Is your heart divided just now? If so, what or who is getting in the way? What surrender struggle might you be having?
  • Have you asked the Lord lately to remove any stones, any unnecessary rough build up in your life, your heart? What confession and repentance needs to go on?
  • Is God’s Spirit infusing and filling you with freshness? Pause and ask Him for renewal and restoration. He’s great at operating in these moments. 

O LORD, thank You for your amazing promise and commitment to care for my heart. Operate there. Bring your terrific surgery. Get me healthy. Keep me healthy. I don’t want my heart divided from You, no stony indifference or rocky rebellion building up there. Replace stone with flesh. 

May my spirit rejoice in the newness Yours always brings and may my heart be ever-tender towards You, just like Jesus. Amen

Towards a healthy heart, 

Coach Mo

Provoking Jealousy

“The Spirit lifted me up…and took me to Jerusalem, to the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes jealousy stood.” Ezekiel 8:3

Have you ever been provoked to jealousy? Have you ever had someone’s wonderful attention, strong devotion, and great loyalty only to watch it threatened, compromised, weakened, and walking away? Did someone choose another team or another mate after being with you? Did your jealousy burn? Did you hurt badly?

If so, you understand the heart of God. Our idols provoke His jealousy. He waxes hot for our love and devotion. So anything else that moves in on Him and His turf gets Him incensed. 

An idol is anything that subtly rivals or clearly usurps God’s rightful place of first and foremost in our lives. It moves in on God’s territory in human hearts and makes us believe that having Him is simply not enough. Most of the time an idol has something to do with power,  approval, comfort or control. These four come in all different forms and snakebite people all the time. They constantly offer us things they are powerless to fully deliver. They get us bowing down and Him burning up. 

Like Ezekiel, God exposes idols in our world, in our lives. He does it because He’s beautifully jealous. God reveals our spiritual adultery and pursues us still. Building something super special in us and through us remains His aim. His Spirit sees to it. 

So may I ask…

  • Does God’s jealousy for you move you deeply? Does your jealousy for God stand alone, unrivaled?
  • What competing idols might you be entertaining right now?
  • Are any of the following possibly personal idols or symptoms of ones: winning, work, sex, popularity, fame, money, title/entitlement, independence, specific possessions, certain relationships, coveted positions?

Spirit of Christ, lift me up so I can see what provokes my Father’s jealousy. It’s everything else I put on a pedestal with You or whatever I build altars to besides You. Help me eliminate the idols of my heart and believe that to have You is to have enough.  

Forgive me, Father, for chasing worthless things. There is always stuff that needs toppling in me. May Jesus live unrivaled in my heart, chaste and pure, full and whole. 

Thank you for loving me so jealously, relentlessly, passionately, perfectly. You alone are best! Amen

Be strong. 

Stand for truth. 

Live for eternity. 

Coach Mo

Bonus coverage: Check out Psalm 119:33-40; Isaiah 44:6-11; Acts 14:8-18

Divine Intersection

“…the hand of the sovereign LORD came upon me there. “ Ezekiel 8:1

Have you ever felt like life was more than random, that something or someone was bursting on your scene, beyond your arranging? What comes to mind?

There are indeed moments in life when events cannot just be random. And they can’t just be chalked up to the triplets Luck, Chance, and Fate at work. These three have no power. They have no game. They are way more imaginary than we think. They exist for those too timid to believe in God, too arrogant to give Him credit, or too indifferent to sense His care.

Something more powerful and personal is at work. Face facts. It’s God Himself.

Yes, God invades the affairs of men. His hand comes upon them. His Spirit rests on them. He shows up at special times, unique places, cool moments…often in striking, powerful ways. It’s His way. (In fact, He did it again for me, just now, as I am writing this…Amazing! Just ask my friend Jonathan Irby)

The hand of the LORD came upon Ezekiel in Israel as seen in Ezekiel 8:1. Altogether, scripture records 156 instances when God’s hand came upon or His word came to someone at a specific time and place. Divine intersections abounded then. And they abound now. God’s Spirit sees to it. (Ezekiel 36:27 & 37:14))

Have you experienced a divine intersection lately? Has God arranged something to command your attention, up your awareness, invite your new commitment, generate your fresh worship or greater devotion? Has the hand of the sovereign LORD come upon you?

May I also ask as follow up?

What divine intersection is coming to mind for you right now?

Why? For what purpose does/did He do this? How much weight should this carry with you?

If this hasn’t happened lately, have you been too busy, too noisy to notice his hand, his voice, his intersection?

LORD and Father, thank you for every moment you have invaded time and space and intersected me. Rest your hand here. Make me ridiculously confident that You are here and that I am not alone. Don’t let me go too fast, be too busy, or move so proudly as to miss your touch, ignore your intersection, or reduce you to being one of the ‘triplets’.

Do the same for so many others I know and love too. Come upon them by your Spirit. Keep creating divine intersections for us all. For Jesus sake and our joy in You. Amen

Touched, intersected, grateful,

Coach Mo

Facing Finality

“Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says…The end! The end has come…The end is now upon you… Then you will know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 7:2-4

What’s something you wish would have never ended? A moment, event, game, season, career, relationship coming to mind? Was it truly beautiful, sweet, powerful, almost divine? Did it hurt to see it end? Conversely, have you ever wished for an end to a tough journey? Has it happened?

The Bible is really good at properly helping us remember the past, deal with the present, and face the future. It helps us see our story rightly. Throughout the book of Ezekiel we see this kind of coaching consistently playing out. Here’s what emerges in chapter 7. Take these words to heart.

EVERYTHING HAS AN END. No matter how good (or bad) a story might be, the two last two words are always ‘The End’. And as much as we wish we could play, hoop, run, or make a moment last forever, the scoreboard turns off. Same goes for an embarrassing loss or crushing defeat. Every alpha in this world has an omega. Settle into this truth. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

DESTINATION MATTERS. As much as process and journey matter in life, destination matters too. It shapes our story. It defines and refines the process. We were made for eternity. Let’s keep living in light of this.^

THINK ABOUT LIFE AS CHAPTERS AND STORY. Chapters have drama. Stories have ends. Chapters offer no final judgement. Story does. Both offer redemption. Both offer future hope. Both bear reward. View this well.

THE WISE PREPARE. They get their house in order. They prepare for final judgment and expect that ultimate wins await. Fools don’t. They are blind to consequences, unsteady, only living in the moment. So, walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7; 1 John 2:28)

ENDS HELP US SEE THE LORD. They help us see beyond sight. They help us see more. When we come to the end of ourselves, we often see the LORD. So embrace this strong spiritual dividend that finality brings. (Joshua 24:7)

That’s a lot to chew on!

Perhaps these questions will help you and me make application…

Am I facing well the finality of life, inevitable judgment, and the subject of eternity? If so, what makes me think so? If not, why not? -What fear of finality might I be carrying? (Hebrews 9:27; Proverbs 28:1)

Is ‘living with the end in mind’ getting enough playing time in me? Is it shaping my use of time, talents, and treasures? If so, how? What’s the evidence?

How confident am I of my redemption in Christ and eternal reward from Him? (Romans 8:31-39; Philippians 1:6)

O Father in Heaven help me keep ‘things above’ in mind and face well the finality of life…just like Jesus. Let this govern at least one move I make today. Don’t let me get stuck in the past, present, or future. I want to be properly prepared for final judgment. The end is always nearer than I think. Thank You for writing a great story in me and through me by your Spirit, through your Son. Keep going. I’m Yours! Amen

Nothing matters more.

Coach Mo

“Aim at Heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” –  C.S. Lewis

Give This Playing Time

Ever struggled with who and what deserves more playing time in your life? I have. Still feel the strain.

Here’s a great clarifying verse and explanation to help. Give it playing time (even memorize it) and let it produce good results for you, in you!

Be strong. 

Stand for truth. 

Live for eternity. 

And get some wins today!