To divide something is not necessarily difficult. It’s easy with numbers, but when it involves the heavy stuff of living like God wants…well let’s just say, it’s gonna test everything in you.

Take Psalm 86:1-11 for instance. David recognized his poor and needy heart even while working at getting it right with God. He really trusted God, talked regularly with Him and believed God was listening to him. He even concluded in verse 10 that God alone was God. But in verse 11 David asked for the unthinkable- “…give me an undivided heart.”

What really proves that you have an undivided heart? Is it that you block out a couple of hours on Sunday for God time? Or how about opening the Bible at least twice last week?

WHAT THIS MEANS: What focus in your life would your friends say is the “real you?” What do you talk about more than anything? What do you think about when you jump in bed or crawl out?

DISCIPLESHIP THOUGHT: Becoming a maturing disciple is accomplished only by relentlessly eliminating distractions that trap us in mediocrity. Check Haggai 1:7 “…Take a good. hard look at your life, think it over.” Message translation.

I once had a coin that was dated back to the 1300’s. I was going to keep it so it would grow in value-I ended up losing it. Was it valuable? I will never know.

Some valuable relationships are often lost, while some have value to God but not necessarily to us. Genesis 21:8-21 reveals a story Abraham would not want to defend in a court of law. There were two sons, two moms, and one dad in this story. One mom and her son were sent into the desert and would have probably died except for God’s perspective of value.

Ishmael = God hears. And God did hear because Hagar and Ishmael were very valuable to God. Not so much to Abe, and for sure not at all to Sarah. But God is always attentive to our pain, confusion and irritations. He’s for us; we are valuable.

Check out Psalm 34:18 in the Message “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; If you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” (Sweet action on God’s part!)

WHAT THIS MEANS: Think about an instance in which you wondered where God was as you dealt with pain, confusion…Did you get through it with JOY and CONFIDENCE of God’s provision and love? Or, is there some residue of anger, whining or complaints you have? Can you be vulnerable with someone about it?

DISCIPLESHIP THOUGHT: Growing as a disciple only happens when we are vulnerable with others. Look at 1 Thessalonians 2:8

How old do you have to be when it dawns on you? How far from where you know you used to be are you now? How much has the culture, like an invisible magnet drawn you to a place where you wonder what happened?

When was the last time you knew God spoke to you about something so relevant to life today that it stopped you in your tracks? Maybe a more practical question might be- has God ever spoken to you?

Genesis 17:1 is almost out of reach for many of us. God shows up and talks with Abraham when he’s 99 years old. Check out God’s conversation with him. Abe got it, and fell flat on his face.

There’s never an age or distance you and I are from God in which we are free from His outrageous love for and challenge to us to live life to the max (which is to live it as He designed it). Our sophisticated or rationalized choosing to live as we want results in erasing God from our life.

WHAT THIS MEANS: One reason we don’t want God to speak to us is that when He does, it always means something will change in our lifestyle. How serious are you about wanting to hear from Him? Be honest with yourself about this one.

What does Jackson like to do on Saturdays? Tell me about his strengths and weaknesses. Who is his favorite author? What ticks him off? Would you be able to answer any of these questions?

Hosea 6:6 in The Message puts it in part like this: “…I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.” Is your relationship with God personal enough that you could describe Him to someone who only hears about God from a fan, after a referee’s poor call at an athletic event?

In a movie I watched recently, the words Jesus and Christ were used in two sentences as adjectives to describe a person’s irritation with something. Really?

In connecting with another, there are significant issues we must deal with. Will we be truthful or hide? Will we let fear of being known limit what we share about ourselves?

WHAT THIS MEANS: Are you willing to get real with God and deal with the cost involved to really know Him? Or are you ready to talk about your weaknesses and faults with  another? Can they ask you any question? Are you willing to honestly answer it?

We’ve all been part of  conversations  that never go anywhere, don’t resolve differences, often leave us frustrated, angry or confused. Many topics discussed are easily forgotten.

But a few conversations, statements made or questions asked remain in our thinking in a way that distracts us from thinking about anything else. We simply can’t get it out of our mind. Frances Chan made one of those recently-“As you get older, don’t buy more stuff for yourself, go out with a bang.” I will process that one for a while.

Another conversation I had contained this challenging question “Would you like sugar with that?” Guess how long I stayed up thinking about that one?

Jesus had some almost scary one liners. Check out some in Matthew 8-9. “Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead.” “You of little faith, why are you afraid?” “Do you believe I am able to do this?” How about “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?”

WHAT THIS MEANS: Examine your conversations this week. Do they provoke a deeper thinking in anyone? Get together with a few others and discuss how you were or were not challenged in some of your conversations. Why would you fear having one or two significant conversations with someone?

8th Street on a summer Friday night in Boise, Idaho is filled with people. It seems everyone is having a great time together. Laughter, jokes, who’s going to win the game Saturday dominates conversations. No problem-there are friends you play games with and have fun with. These are sort of like artificial plants-nice but not real. But are there friends we share hard stuff of life with? Sometimes, we have a friend we do both with, but that is rare.

Imagine Jesus throwing a Frisbee and yelling to Peter “go longer.” I can see it; but then there is the ultimate rebuke to Peter in Matthew 16:23. Jesus and his “real” friends slept outside together many nights and ate countless meals in various places. They shared life together as friends.

Acts 15:25-26 gives a glimpse of the deep friendship Paul and Barnabas had with each other and Jesus. They risked their lives together.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Think about the people you know. Who do you really share life together with? Who can you talk with about the things that keep you up at night? Who can you flat out share your emotions with? Ask God to bring someone close to you like this.

There is no problem with talking with someone about the ball game, movie or the weather. However, it is far easier for “trivia” to become our middle or first name in another’s mind, if that’s what we focus on.

When we truly love someone, our conversation will necessarily include what serious matters we are passionate about. Our thought provoking ideas, vision or dreams become a consistent part of our vocabulary. When was the last time you told someone about an ache in your heart?

Check out how much Jesus loves us in Matthew 26:36-46.

WHAT THIS MEANS: What keeps you from sharing your heart with others? Tell someone this week something you have never shared with anyone. Be a person who deeply loves others.

It’s midnight, you’re lying down, not sleeping, the blaring noise of people, music, traffic…and that damn dog barking…

At times you really want to know if God makes sense or has any relevance to the demands and structure of the life you have made. At least, you think, the busy pace of your life does numb the nightmarish thoughts you have about wasting your life.

Elijah steps into a discussion with God in 1 Kings 19:9-13. The Word on the Street puts Elijah’s perspective this way…”I’ve worked my butt off for you God…” God is the leading act in this and throws out an earthquake and a Wyoming wind before He whispers and Elijah hears him. Now, God can talk with him about what really matters in his life at this time.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Is the pace of your life keeping you from really hearing God speak to you? Are you sure you want to hear from Him? Amazon has cool noise reduction devices or you could go to a park with your Bible, but leave your laptop and phone at home…only if you are serious about hearing God speak to you.

We have a blueprint, we’ve prayed hard, studied it and feel confident God will bless the socks off of this one. But, the CEO of the Faith Organization rejects our projected path.

It’s easy to give in to the disappointment or darkness and not see our way out of this. We take control of our plan, but God is not impressed with our pointless attempts and non-faith efforts. We go to bed angry and uncertain.

Isaiah 50:11 clarifies God’s perspective on this. It’s scary enough to fail at what we believe to be right, but to lie down in torment? We don’t have to experience life like this.

We can sidestep this by doing life God’s way. Check out Hebrews 11:6. God always responds to our trust (faith) in Him. In fact, He only responds to this.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Our faith is like the dawn that reveals the beauty and adventure God wants us to experience. We can live with confidence even when we don’t understand.

It looks real in someone else’s life, they talk about it as though it is, and we can’t get it out of our mind, but ultimately we may conclude that we don’t think we’ll ever find it.

We may have even memorized John 17:3 which says in The Word on the Street “Limitless life is knowing you’re the only God and that I’m the Liberator you sent.” Our ongoing and deepening relationship with God seems to be a mirage, just when we think “finally.” Do we believe this is attainable?

WHAT THIS MEANS: There is no magic formula for knowing and experiencing God more completely as we grow as Jesus’ disciple. But pursuing God with an honest and committed heart while listening and expecting Him to speak to us increases our awareness of His continual presence with us. He becomes a friend , not an acquaintance.