Monday, November 29, 2010

Guard My Heart

    I do not know if you face the same struggles.  I do not know if you have the same doubts.  I do not know if you worry about the same things.  I do not know if you have the same longings.  I do not know if you me.  The one thing I do know is that I trust that sharing my innermost thoughts, doubts, and struggles as I continue to strive to be ever closer to our almighty Father, I have one hope: that it will help you in your walk. 
    I recently reached a point where I felt comfortable in my walk with Christ.  I felt comfortable in my role in my Christian community.  I felt comfortable in my life.  Then......something unexpected happened.  A small voice inside me kept saying that something was missing.  It kept telling me that there is more than this.  It kept telling me that there is much more to experience.  At first, I felt this to be my body craving something more, and pushed it away as sin, but it was persistent.  Then, I tried to silence the voice by becoming more involved in church, school, social interaction, etc...  This, muffled, but did not silence the voice.  I prayed night after night for an answer, for help, for something to make me realize what I needed to do.  While reading my Bible, I came across Proverbs 4:23 which says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  I read this verse again, and again, and again, and again.  My heart.  That's what was wrong.  I looked for more verses concerning heart and found a TON of references to heart in Scripture.  The main verses that really stood out to me were Proverbs 21:2 "All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart," Matthew 15:8 "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me," and most of all Luke 10:26-28 "'What is written in the Law?' he replied. 'How do you read it?' He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' 'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied. 'Do this and you will live.'"   First, Proverbs tells us that God is most concerned with our Heart.  He knows your heart.  He knows your true heart's intentions.  When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you accept Him into your whole being, but mainly into your Heart.  Jesus even states in Matthew that while certain people may honor Him with what they say, their true hearts are not for Him.  Finally, the most profound of all, God says to love Him with ALL YOUR HEART.  "All" is a very large word.  It encompasses everything that could ever possibly be thought of to do with the subject with which it is being used.  Every facet of your heart should be for God.  Love for Him.  Complete and total love for Him.  Now here is the that easy to do?  No.  Personally, I am working everyday to love Him with all my heart.  I know I haven't reached that point, but I am trying everyday to get there.  Jesus offered in John 7 the key to the Christian life.  He says "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (37-38).  I first responded to Jesus for the longing in my heart.  Now that I reached this point of confusion, chaos, and constant, ever present spiritual warfare, I realize that my heart is my refuge.  My heart is my greatest asset.  My His.  I now pay attention to my heart, and I guard it with as best I can.  I guard against complacency, I guard against anger, I guard against anything that will hurt His heart.  I am trying to get from obligation, back to desire.  I desire to know Him.  I desire to serve Him.  I desire Him.

God Bless

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Glory Days

    The old Bruce Springsteen song "Glory Days" might seem to only apply to people in their 30's to 50's who look back on their accomplishments in high school or college.  Whether it be sports, relationships, status, or anything, they live in the past.  One of the lines in the song says, "...but time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days."  Now apply this to your walk with God.  Apply this to the Great Commission.  How have you been thinking and talking about these two subjects?  Do you sit around and talk about the "Glory Days?"  Are you living in what God has done for you in the past?  Are you a long time member of a large church, and sit around talking about how hard the struggle was to start and grow the church?  Are you stuck in your walk with God, and your spreading of His gospel? 
    Paul's missionary work is far reaching and extensive.  Many of the places he went had never heard the gospel, and some did not want to hear it.  From Antioch to Rome, he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to far and wide.  Although Paul did not forget those churches he helped establish, he did not remain in his past accomplishments through Christ.  He was always dreaming, he was always moving forward. Anatole France said, "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe."  Paul was a master dreamer.   In Acts chapter 16, Paul has a vision while in Troas of a man in Macedonia (which is across the Aegean Sea) pleading with him to come and help the people of that city.  Of course, he goes to Macedonia and continues to spread the gospel from there. 
    This is not to discount what God has done, this is only a warning to not become like the Church of Laodicea.  Do not be lukewarm, and do not stay in past accomplishments.  Our dreams must be greater than our memories, or we will fade into the past.  While past blessings and accomplishments through Christ give us stronger faith and grow our relationship with Christ, it should not end.  We should never reach a point of contentment.  The Church of Laodicea were lukewarm Christians.  They were content in their relationship and their duties.  If you reach this point, you stop growing.  Not only do you stop growing, but you have a very real danger in actually going backwards in your walk.  Our constant longing to be closer and closer to God is what keeps our mind on Him.  Our focus on the Holy Spirit's guidance and counsel is what keeps our mind on things of heaven and not of earth.  Do not live in the "Glory Days."  Make every day a "Glory Day."

God Bless