Matters of the Heart 49 – July, 2017

Whoever says he lives in Christ (that is whoever says he has accepted him as God and Savior) ought to walk and conduct himself just as he walked and conducted himself. (1st John 2:6 AMP) 

 I have many friends and associates who often talk about how their relationship is personal with God and we should all have a personal relationship that is constantly evolving.  I would venture to say the relationship my friends talk about is casual. I do believe my friends and associates love the Lord, but I want all of us to do better in a loving relationship in Christ.  When you are striving to be in right relationship with Christ, you want to work out your soul salvation and a major component of this personal relationship is ascribing to follow the tenants of the the word of God.  God wants us to have personal devotion and prayer as well as worship and fellowship with other believers.  When one truly has a growing relationship with Christ you’re concern for the foolishness in the church does not bother you, because you are following and pleasing what thus says the Lord. We should try to be like Christ as this scripture states; will we be perfect? No, but we should strive to walk and conduct ourselves like the one we “claim” to have the personal relationship with.  Kyle Idleman, the Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY wrote the book, Not a Fan explained how many people claim to have a relationship with Christ, but they are actually fans.  People treat Christ like he is a rock star.  They say things like “I love what Christ represents and what the word of God expresses, but I do not want to take up my Cross and follow Christ.” 

Bob Marley is known as a musical genius some call him a Prophet, but are we living in peace, love and harmony or just singing the popular poetic lyrics. We would be considered fans of Bob Marley, and this is how we treat Christ.  

When I look at the world, dictators, rumors of war, poverty, destruction, financial selfishness and greed, many are fans and not followers. If we live in Christ our light would shine with the light Christ left for us and walk and conduct ourselves as followers and not Fans.  Lord help us who claim to live in Christ not form our own theology, but keep you as our focus and do what is pleasing in your sight and not consider it such a chore.

Matters of the Heart 48 – July, 2017

I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:10 AMP) 

 My girlfriend and her daughter spent a few days with me on vacation.  My husband has relatives that came over to enjoy the pool and have dinner.  My friends daughter has an American girl doll and one of the visitors who is about ten years old, the same age as my girlfriends daughter; asked to see the doll and my friends daughter told her no.  The young girl on the island will never have an American girl doll. My College roommate can buy her daughter five more over priced American girl dolls with outfits and hairdresser appointments.  I was disappointed and I told her as such and why it would have been a wonderful, kind gesture to share her American girl doll with someone who will not have the opportunity to own an American girl doll.   

If we do not train our children to be kind and have a heart for God, they will display this behavior in all areas of their life. There were other alternatives, my friends daughter could have been a “helicopter parent”and monitor her doll; if she had concerns related to the  safety or destruction of the doll.   

In this scripture, the prophet Jeremiah is letting the people know that God test mans heart and gives to each man according to our ways and results of our deeds. It is more blessed to give then receive.  I hope I am reflecting right behavior with my child and using teachable moments to reflect the heart of God.  

Some parents would have thought this behavior was satisfactory, by staying out of it, she choose not to let the little island girl look at the doll.  I told my friend this was a teachable moment. I believe it could have been a lesson taught about sharing.  Truth be told, my friend has-exhibited this behavior in the past, so until I explained my position, she did not see anything wrong with her daughters objection to sharing her American girl doll. Sometimes our adult behavior matures and sometimes we exhibit the same childish, selfish behavior as an adult. We must be mindful of how we navigate our children’s  independence in making choices that reflect godly behavior.  Lord, help me navigate my children’s independence that prayerfully reflect you’re presence in their life.   

Matters of the Heart 47 – July, 2017

Then Jesus said, “let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31 NLT) 

 I can remember working in the emergency room at the hospital and on some days there seemed to be intense emergency situations one right after each other. Many people coming and going, on some days when I tried to sit down and have lunch, I could get less then three bites. I would take three days to finish lunch, portion control does work.   

Sometimes we get so busy that rest becomes a luxury and if we do not practice wisdom, our bodies will demand rest through illness.  Bestselling Author and Pastor John Ortberg said in his book, God is closer than you think “arranging to get enough sleep is actually an act of discipleship.”  When I did work as a Registered Nurse before pastoring, I needed to take at least two weeks on vacation, because the first week off I would sleep and was unable to enjoy sight seeing or the cruise activities or maybe even just a good book.  Jesus practiced wisdom and went off on several occasions within the New Testament to rest. The creation story in the beginning speaks of rest.  Once in a while, it is necessary to get away, to refresh and replenish to be the best you can be mentally, physically and spiritually.  I find that when I do not get the proper rest and solicitude needed I am short fused and irritable.  After a much needed vacation I come back home with fresh ideas and recharged ready to give the best of my service in all areas of my life.  I encourage you to find that quiet place to rest for a while to give the best of yourself in all aspects of your life. God bless you. 

Matters of the Heart 46 – July, 2017

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

I remember years ago there was something we did during devotional service, people would testify regarding the goodness of the Lord and answered prayers. Today, we are too fancy for that, and anyone who gets up and gives a praise report might be accused of test-a-lying.  Most churches have praise and worship service and have excluded the witnessing of the saints to encourage someone in the body of Christ that there is still hope and no matter what you are going through the Lord will make it alright.  We as believers must stand on the promises of God.

Presently, we are working on renovating the sanctuary; the goal is to make better use of the space and give the worship area a brighter more modern look.  I honestly believe my testimony will be God has provided the ram in the bush as he did for Abraham because he was obedient.  The Apostle Paul wrote these words of encouragement to the Galatians to continue doing good.  As followers of Christ, we look to the word of God for our standard, not the world, we do not always get it right, as Paul said when I would do good, evil is always present. Let us continue to look to the hills from which comes our help and our support has always come from the Lord.  I know what it is to reap a harvest and I will remain faithful because I serve a God that has showed up and given me the victory repeatedly.  I encourage you that even though the enemy wants you to get weary in doing good, continue to do what’s right and I know you will reap a harvest and you will say from your mouth “Look at God.”  Remain encouraged beloved, in the face of the enemy despite his or her bag of tricks; you will be victorious in Jesus name amen.