My First Burning Heart

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I still clearly remember the first time the Father spoke directly to me through His Word.


I was 16-years-old and just home from youth camp. I had brought home more than just dirty clothes from the Sangre de Cristo mountains. This time, I had a new desire to read the Bible


Summer had always been a time of voracious reading for me and I decided to shelve my historic romances and fill my time with the New Testament instead.


Because afternoons on the farm were hot, the daily siesta time was perfect for reading. So while the house was quiet, I opened to Matthew 1 and got a great initiation with the genealogy of Jesus. 


By the time I got to John’s Gospel, I began highlighting special verses and found myself memorizing them as I referred to the words again and again throughout those afternoons. 


Then it happened:


“You did not choose Me, but I chose you.”


The words from John 15:16 jumped out as if directed precisely to me. My heart throbbed inside my ears, and I looked up from my reading to make sure that I was still alone. Timidly, I allowed my eyes to return to the page and re-read those same red-letter words. 


“You did not choose Me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit….fruit that shall last.”


Could words spoken 2000 years ago be reiterated into my living room? Could Jesus pinpoint these same words precisely to me? And could I be hearing with my heart as clearly as with my ears?


Incredulously, I said aloud: “God, if You are talking to me, I’m pretty sure You have the wrong person. I’m a nobody from a little town that no one has ever heard of. I could never bear any kind of fruit You would be interested in.”


I closed my eyes and tried to regroup. Heat and lack of sleep from camp must have been catching up with me. 


Yet, the words continued their burning within my heart. 


As I sorted through my thoughts, a story came to mind that I had read just days earlier. The men on their way to Emmaus had felt this same sensation:


“Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road?” (Luke 24:32).


“What if God were talking to me?” I pondered. He had spoken to a teenaged Mary about becoming a mother (Luke 1:26-37). At least, we weren’t discussing that.


I decided that just in case this was God, it couldn’t hurt to answer as she did, “Be it done to me according to Your Word. Show me just what it means to bear fruit that will last” (Luke 1:38).


Turns out that God was indeed speaking to me – and has been doing so on a regular basis since. Wanna come along as we explore what fruit-bearing looks like when it’s God-inspired?