The Heart of Heaven

The Heart of Heaven
"For I [the Lord] have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live."
Ezekiel 18:32
In our day and age, I feel like there is some confusion around this Biblical principle.  God does NOT get pleasure in executing consequences for sin.  He invites us ALL to turn and LIVE.  He has made the way for EACH of us to spend eternity with Him in heaven (John 3:16).  Does He ask us to live within boundaries?  Sure.  Is that a restricted way to live?  No more restricted than that of the athlete and the self discipline it takes to win a race.  The athlete sticks to the goal!  The athlete aims at the prize, and often sacrifices money, time and sweat in an effort to obtain it.  
God is not in the race to gain the material things...He desires something much more valuable....souls!  This past weekend, Moriah Hovey gave her heart to Jesus.  God sought her.  He bought her at the price of His Own Son, and now?  She will be rejoicing in HIM and HIS supply to fulfill HER need!  What a Glorious Day!  
Even as I sit here now and try to record this life altering decision, I am so humbled.  God used me.  God used her Dad and her brother, Gunner.  God used our National Pastor and that's just the record of those here on the ground in Papua New Guinea!  YOUR countless prayers and petitions, Dear Reader, lifted to heaven have made an ETERNAL difference!  To GOD be the glory!!!
I have a confession...the heart of THIS missionary was bumbling, broken, and grumbling on the cusp of this life altering event.  While my heart is so full on THIS side of the decision, I must confess, in brokenness, that I was struggling with a servant's attitude on the day of Moriah's decision.  God was so gracious to allow me to pray with my daughter and counsel her, but it wasn't a shining missionary moment.  It reminded me of the verse that says "...for by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).  In the same way that it is the LORD who saves, it is the LORD who chooses who, how, when, why and where He will work!  I have done nothing, and I AM nothing in and of my own strength.  
We were at our church's Awana program closing event, and I had expected it would last 2 hours tops.  After the first hour, I was a bit weary and felt misplaced as our National partners were stretching their wings and, in many ways, flying solo.  I wasn't needed, but I was available.  We played games, sang songs, heard a story, quizzed the children, played MORE games, heard a message, had some food and were dismissed.  Now, it doesn't sound like a full program, but it was over four hours!  I was surprised it was so long and I felt so useless that I was struggling to stay positive.
I sat with Moriah during the message, and I held her in my lap for a good part of it.  When the Pastor gave the invitation to the group to receive Christ, Moriah raised her hand.  Now, I didn't SEE Moriah raise her hand because I was praying for her and the other children gathered together.  Pastor Peter approached me after the service and asked me to follow up with Moriah as she had raised her hand.  I took her to a grassy spot, and we sat down to chat.  When I saw her eyes welling with tears, I decided to go to a more private place--our truck.  
I asked Moriah, "Why are you crying, honey?"
"Mom," she replied without hesitation, "Mom, I'm not crying."
Surprised, I asked, "Well, why are there tears coming down your cheeks?"
"Oh, Mom, that is just water because my eyes are spilling over....those are not tears."  
I couldn't help but smile...inside and out.  "Oh Moriah," I continued, "Tears are a special thing that mean you are feeling deeply.  What are you feeling?"
"Well, Mom, Pastor Peter asked if anyone wanted to give their hearts to Jesus, and then he asked us to raise our hands if we wanted to.  So?  I raised my hand."
"So you are ready to obey Jesus and you understand that He died in your place as the covering for your sins?"  
She could only nod.
"Do you want to pray, Rie?" I inquired softly
"No, Mom.  I think you better this time."
So?  I prayed for her in her newfound faith and with her as Jesus penned her name in the Lamb's Book of Life!!!  WHAT a privilege!  WHAT a delight!  WHAT joy!!!
As she was recounting her decision to someone, she shared that I didn't see her hand raised.  
"Of course I didn't see it, Rie.  We were praying."
"Well, Mom, you kind of missed it."
I had to chuckle.  Here I thought I was modeling a good way to pray--eyes closed, hands folded, heads bowed, etc.--and instead, my daughter claimed I missed it!
We went out to eat on Sunday after church to celebrate Moriah's life changing decision.  It was a blessing to sit around the table and share together how God works, is working, and will work still to draw people unto Himself.
So?  What do you say, Dear Reader?  We are here if you have questions, comments or thoughts!!!
To God be the Glory!!!