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Stone Mountain, Georgia – Chattanooga, Tennessee – Masada, Israel. What do all three have in common? Jon and I have visited them. In each place, from the valley below, we had to decide if we would hike up a steep, winding path to the top, or if we would take the smooth, easy ride. At Stone Mountain and Masada, we rode the cable car. And in Chattanooga, we rode The Incline. An Incline does not go straight up and down; it slopes, or leans at an angle. That is the meaning of the word “incline.”

This year I have read about a couple of “inclines” in the Bible that teach me about my relationship with the Lord. 1 Kings 8:57-58 says, “The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments.” Sometimes I find it hard to look up to God and to want to follow and obey Him. I tend to want MY way, to make MY decisions, and to follow MY heart’s desires. At other times, I want His ways, but I try to do them depending on my own strength or knowledge. According to this verse, it is God who will incline the hearts of His people toward Him. He takes the responsibility of bending, or leaning our hearts toward Him. It is not OUR work, but HIS. We need to simply yield and follow the way HE inclines us.

Then Psalm 40:1 tells us, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” What a blessing to know that from His throne in Heaven, God bends, or inclines toward me to listen to my prayer! We Christians can simply talk to Him, telling Him our hearts’ sorrows, desires, needs, thanks, and praises! And when we cry out to Him, He leans down to listen, and He hears. Praise the Lord that He inclines our heart up toward Him and His ear down toward us!

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