Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Heart Matters: Part II

"—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also"
2 Corinthians 6:13 (NIV).
Are you like me, striving to find purity of heart? It is not easy is it? One moment we think we are doing well and just like that —wham—our thoughts can take us to another place where we are not doing so well. We let our heart be, as God said, "deceitful above all things." (See my Heart Matters Blog on 4/1/15).

We constantly struggle in our humanness asking how we can control this flip-flopping of the mind and heart. The mind wants to do one thing, the heart another. What lessons do we need to learn? Where can we find the help we need? For me, I found the necessary help in developing, by faith, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I learned that Jesus purposely sent a "Helper" and a "Teacher" to guide us––the promised Holy Spirit. His teachings are so very precious. Through his teachings we develop the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. 

His fruit fills us, guiding us in our decisions, in our thoughts and in our actions. Our job is to daily open our heart to his leading and guidance. And before we know it, an amazing transformation takes place whereby we begin to do what the Holy Book describes: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV).
"When I started on this exciting journey to find a personal relationship with Jesus, I had made a mistake. I thought what I needed was to learn to love Jesus “with all my mind.” But it was not my mind after all that needed to be opened, protected, and nurtured. It was my heart that was all tied up with rubber bands. I needed to learn to love him 'with all my heart.'” 
(Excerpt from Island Girl: A Triumph of the Spirit, soon to be released.)

As you can see from the excerpt of my memoir, I struggled to open my heart; to give my life and my will to the Lord. However, once I learned the value in trusting a sovereign God, my whole life changed. I encourage you to also open your heart to the discovery of these amazing treasures.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Heart Matters

In the Holy Book, the Lord makes the promise, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT). Furthermore, God tells us he knows something about us that we do not like to hear, to acknowledge, or even to admit about ourselves. He tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things…”(Jeremiah 17:9, NIV).  (Excerpt from “Island Girl: A Triumph of the Spirit,” soon to be released in April.)

For me, it is most difficult to hear God telling me that my heart is deceitful. I’m sure it feels the same way for you, doesn’t it? However, it is a hard awareness we must face daily when we look into God’s mirror of truth. And it helps us to understand why he makes the promise above, to give us a new heart and a new spirit.

As we face this coming Easter weekend; as we attend church services, probably for the first time this year; as we worship and offer our love, and our thanks to God for the saving gift of his son Jesus, can we be sure that our heart is not deceitful? It is a very hard thing to do.  Yet I encourage all of us to cry out as the Psalmist, David did: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:10-12, NIV).

Sustenance, from God is what we need in this difficult world. The greatest blessing God gives us is his divine presence and we can only have it when our hearts are made pure. Remember, there were two criminals hanging on a cross on either side of Jesus ~ one whose heart was doubtful and conceited; the other whose heart was pure ~ this one believed in Jesus by faith and he is now spending eternity with Christ in paradise.  Isn’t that our desire as well?