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Posts Tagged ‘Heart’

Many many years ago we used to sing a song at Youth Group and Easter Camp. We we sang it so much that none of us really paid attention to what we were singing or who we were singing it to.  The song was based on Mark 12:30-31.

Love the Lord your God with all you heart, and
All your soul and all your mind, and
Love all of mankind as you would love yourself, and
Love, the Lord your God . . .
(Repeat x 16)

You get the idea.  We thrashed the song to within about an inch of it’s life – actually we killed it.  It is easy when we read the same bible verse so often for it to become a cliche, and for us to think we get it, just because we have read it so many times before. It’s also easy to get complacent, and familiarity can breed contempt if we are not careful.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

Jesus said that the most important thing we should do is love God and love other people (Mark 12:30-31). Life is not about your accomplishments or acquisitions, your popularity or prestige. It’s about how well you love.

There are three problems that keep us from loving fully as God intended:

  1. We’re all imperfect. There are no perfect relationships because there are no perfect people.
  2. Sin disconnects us. Adam and Eve had the first broken relationship and disconnected themselves from God and from each other. We’ve been excusing ourselves and accusing the people we love ever since.
  3. The more disconnected we are, the more fearful we become. We crave intimacy, but we fear vulnerability. We crave acceptance, but we fear rejection.

You may not have had a say in the hand you were dealt in life. But God sent his son as your Saviour to transform your cards into a winning hand. No matter what connections you’ve made in life, you will be held responsible for what you do with your connections today.

This week will you let God affect your connections? Will you trust him for your future in spite of a difficult past? Will you nurture, protect, and build relationships so that God is more fully glorified in your life? Resolve today to build healthy and not hurtful relationships with God’s help. May you remember that as we try and love God with all our heart, he first loved us.  Out of this overflow God also asks us to love others as ourselves – the second greatest commandment. That’s what life is all about and that’s what love is for.

That’s What Love is For

Sometimes we make it harder than it islove-god
We’ll take a perfect night
And fill it up with words we don’t mean
Dark sides best unseen
And we wonder why we’re feeling this way

Sometimes I wonder if we really feel the same
Why we can be unkind
Questioning the strongest of hearts
That’s when we must start
Believing in the one thing that has gotten us this far

Sometimes I see you and you don’t know I am there
And I’m washed away by emotions
I hold deep down inside
Getting stronger with time
It’s living through the fire and holding on we find

That’s what love is for
To help us through it
That’s what love is for
Nothing else can do it

Melt our defences
Bring us back to our senses
Give us strength to try once more
That’s what love is for

Believing in the one thing
That has gotten us this far

Round off the edges
Talk us down from the ledges
Give us strength to try once more
That’s what love is for

~ Amy Grant

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What is it about a sunset?  Why do we gaze expectantly at sunsets?  There are two really  interesting things about sunsets, they are always spectacular and they are always different.  There is a sense of wonder and awe when we look into a sunset.  We never really look at a sunset – we are often drawn in. Something or someone is calling us, reminding us that there must be more, so much more.  Is this just what we hope for and just cannot see?  Either way most people would agree that sunsets are a thing of awe, beauty and wonder.

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I wonder then why we so quickly forget these moments of wonder and beauty?  Life has a way  of turning these sunsets into forgotten overcast memories.  As we grow up and grow old I think we can forget to wonder, look for wonder and experience it.

Perhaps wonder is God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and getting our attention. Perhaps a sunset is God’s way of distracting us, and getting us to rediscover something – something buried and forgotten in the mists of life. Something important and critical.

Wonder demands questions of us. Questions like, What are you trying to teach me here?  What issues in my heart are you trying to raise through this?  What is it you want me to see?  What are you asking me to release and let go of?  Wonder asks us to respond.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wonder can also be captured, reproduced and repackaged.  Just walk into your favourite store and someone will try to sell it back to you.  How many pictures of sunsets have you taken?  Not really the same as the real thing is it? There is no accountability in a photo of a sunset.

So what to do with wonder?  Lately I’ve been challenged to re-discover wonder and just be thankful for the things that I have.  Perhaps wonder just needs to be enjoyed in the present moment.  It may just be about being present in the wonder.  Hard to do, but important.  Next time you set the sun set – see it change colour, experience the wonder and notice what this does to you, for you.

This week may you rediscover wonder, be present, if only for a moment and let it speak to your soul. There may be something you need to hear, something you need to see.

Rediscovering wonder

May you rediscover wonder
In the sunset of your years
May you choose to cling to hope
In the twilight of your fears

May you rediscover wonder
In the worship you have sung
May it remind you of your creator
Like in the days when you were young

May you rediscover wonder
Let it heal the hurts you hold
May you also forgive yourself
Before you grow too old

May you rediscover wonder
Let it flood your aching soul
Will you let His love astound you?
Will you let Him make you whole?

May you rediscover wonder
May it release you from your fear
May you rediscover beauty
In the twilight of your years

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Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788) was an English leader of the Methodist movement, son of Anglican clergyman and poet Samuel Wesley, the younger brother of Anglican clergyman John Wesley and Anglican clergyman Samuel Wesley (the Younger), and father of musician Samuel Wesley, and grandfather of musician Samuel Sebastian Wesley.

Charles Wesley is mainly remembered for the many hymns he wrote. One of my favourite hymns is Jesus, Lover of My Soul . Its stirring words speak of a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It reveals Jesus as Lover, Protector, and Provider.

Actually, it’s really the title of the hymn that strikes me most. It just really speaks to me of the intimate nature of Jesus and his love. 

About 300 years later Hillsong wrote a song  by the same name.  Everytime I sing this song it gets me.  It’s only two verses but it’s one of the most powerful songs I know. You can find the Hillsong version here on YouTube

I may never be able to write a hymn like Charles Wesley or write lyrics like Hillsong, but I do know that Jesus is the Lover of my Soul.  Here’s my reflection:

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

In the shadow of my mind
You cast your brilliant light,
Your love has found my burdened soul
As it worries through the night.

Jesus, your perfect love
Casts out my deepest fear,
Once more I realise you never left,
You’ve always been right here.

Please remind me when I forget
That you are the lover of my soul,
Transform my heart and renew my mind
As you work to make me whole.

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The Crucible

Fire, according to Wikipedia,  is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. The flame is the visible portion of the fire and consists of glowing hot gases. If hot enough, the gases may become ionized to produce plasma. Depending on the substances alight, and any impurities outside, the color of the flame and the fire’s intensity will be different.

The bible has a lot to say about fire and how it is used to refine, purify and test our faith.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed ~1 Peter 1:7

Sometimes my faith has been tested, in fact it often feels like more of an ordeal.  I heard someone once describe it as the ‘crucible experience’.  You probably know what this is like, it’s the dark tea time of your soul when it just feels like you and a tiny bit of faith.  Fortunately faith only needs to be that small and tiny. About the size of a mustard seed. 

How has your crucible experiences made you stronger?  How has you faith been honed and refined? 

The Crucible

In the fireplace of my heart
I’ve screwed up paper thoughts,
I’ve stacked my wooden feelings
Into piles of different sorts.

Light the fire in my heart
Let in burn with holy fear,
Draw me closer to your flame
I want to be so near.

As your fire dies in my heart
Let your embers start to glow
May your spirit wind blow on me
Fan the flame and make me whole

In my heart let there be light
As you burn in me your flame
I pray that I and those I meet
May never be the same

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A few months ago a good friend and I created  Brand New Heart Ministries.  It’s a forum to look at what it means to discover God’s heart. We’re really not sure where it will go or what it will turn into, but we both felt that we should just do it, so we did.  We’re running a 30-day Open Heart Challenge on Facebook.  The challenge is a reflective one.  Each day group members are reflecting on their feelings and emotions, talking to God, listening, and posting the result or no result.  Interested in finding out more? Want to join?  Have a look at the group page (just click on the second link above). If you’d like to join us we’d love to have you on board.  Just click on the ‘Ask to join’ button on the group page.

Through participating in the group I’ve felt challenged to commit my life to God, again.  I’ve been walking with God for 27 years now, but it’s always good to recommit sometimes.  I wrote this poem below and then prayed it.  If you feel challenged to recommit your life to God maybe you might like to pray it too.  If you’re not walking with God and want to here’s what to do. Read this poem and believe it – it’s really that simple. Then find someone close by who knows God and ask them to help you in your new-found faith.

At the end of the day we’re all the same, we’re all sinners and hypocrites.  The odds are stacked in the favour of God existing.  So live a little, take a gamble, choose life. You stand to gain everything and lose nothing.

Open my Heart

I know that I have sinned
Against you the only way,
And that my sin separates me
Far from you today.

I am so truly sorry
From my sin I turn away,
I ask for your forgiveness
I want to follow you today.

I believe in Jesus Christ
He died for all my sin,
He was raised from the dead
So that I could be alive in Him.

I invite you Jesus
To enter in my heart today,
To rule as Lord of my life
This, right now I pray.

Please send to me your Spirit
To help me when I stray,
Remind me to pray to You
And listen to all you say.

I promise to grow in grace
And knowledge of your way,
My greatest purpose in my life
Is to follow your example today.

Amen.

Belief in God is a wise wager. What harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists. ~ Blaise Pascal

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Colour my World

Your love
Is like an open rose
Its colour deep purple
As it slowly grows

Your peace
Is like the quietest stream
Its colour royal blue
As it washes me clean

Your hope
Is like a brand new day
Its colour bright yellow
As it lights my way
 
Your joy
Is like the morning sun
Its colour pure white
As the dark is undone

Your rainbow
Is your promise to me
You colour my world
As You set me free

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
~ John 8:36

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Guard Your Heart

In my house
There are four rooms,
Each swept clean
With a new broom.

In each room
A fireplace glows,
It beats my heart
Fast then slow.

Like my house
My heart has room,
Its been swept clean
With God’s new broom.

In my heart
The Artist lives,
He creates my life
For me to live.

Above all else
I’ll guard my heart,
For He is the wellspring
Of my art.

Above all else, guard your heart,  for it is the wellspring of life.
~ Proverbs 4:23

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