WK #4 - Heart Health

Listen to Pastor Lonnie's weekly post and follow along with the text version below:

I was watching a show one night last week about “America’s Heartland.” It got me to wondering about this ‘magical’ term heart. Well it’s only magical when you listen to Neil Diamond; but we hear a lot about the heart and not all of it good. Some phrases cause us to smile, ‘heart and soul’ or ‘have a little heart.’ Movies especially are about ‘heartache’ and ‘heart break.’ So what are we really trying to say using all these phrases?

You can have a bad heart, a wicked heart, or a straying heart. You can do things ‘with all your heart’ or you can have a ‘deceiving heart.’ It can be hard to make sense of it all.

Then to make matters worse, we all have a physical heart. One that beats inside of us and lets us know we are alive. And to top it all off we have this ‘hidden’ heart; the place where all our passions, affections and values flow from. What we call our ‘heart of hearts.’

Now here is where it gets interesting; we also have a spiritual heart. This is what God checks. He checks it to see if it’s healthy and if it’s doing what it’s made to do correctly. Why? Because He knows that it is from here flow all the issues of life.

We all know about David and the condition of his heart. Why God even said about him that, “he was a man after God’s own heart.” What a compliment. David was someone who walked with a perfect heart before God. Not a physical heart but a spiritual heart.

It may sound like a tall order but if he could do so can we. It is possible. Man looks at the body (outside) but God looks at the heart (inside). It’s about having a good heart before God.

So here we are in week four of the year, struggling to get our heart rates high enough to burn off a few more calories. Looking at ways to strengthen our heart and we may be missing an important aspect of a ‘total’ body workout! What does God say about developing a perfect heart?

First of all, establish values, not goals. Values, especially those that are God’s values are eternal; those of this world will burn and crumble. Our hearts will attach itself to anything that we claim has value and we must depend on that God-heart to discern what will hold its value.

We all need to be reminded what Matthew 6:19-21 says,

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)

So when your heart starts to stray you have to find the strength and fortitude to say “No!” and immediately redirect it to God’s ways. It is difficult but we must direct our hearts and not let our hearts direct us. The writer of Wisdom wrote in Proverbs 23:19,

“Listen my son and be wise, and direct your heart in The WAY.”

He understood that our hearts will go wrong and we have to rein it in. Now did David still make mistakes? You bethca! But that is why he continually prayed “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” We need to pray in the same manner remembering Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.

God wants us to develop perfect hearts that follow his own, just like David. What exercises are you doing to develop a strong and healthy heart? What values have you taken on that need to be reevaluated, rescinded or removed? Jesus is our life giving spring, drink often and much as this is the way of getting God’s values into your system.

And when you are following God’s way, he will release the blessings of heaven because you are changing yourself, your marriage, your family and our world.

Here are some things to be mindful of in the coming days:

· We are in week three of a four-week sermon series on 1st Corinthians 13. this Sunday we are dismissing Sunday School so that we can enjoy a 5th Sunday Celebration. It is an extended time of singing, prayer and reconnecting with each other. I am looking forward to hearing your journey of the heart.

· I would encourage you to read a Missions book. They are on the bookcase in the Education wing and are good for warming the heart on these cold winter nights.

· Don’t forget we are also celebrating Pops birthday with him at his home! Bring some chili and cheer on his 90th birthday.

Let’s pray:

Help me, O God, now more than ever.

I am in pain, and my friends make it worse by calling it Your will.

Help me stand strong – an example of grace.

Help me draw closer to You – an example of dependence.

Help me say, like Jesus, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Help me live long enough to see purpose in my misery.

And shut my mouth so I don’t tell my friends what I think of their silly ideas about You. Amen.