Christianity 201

April 14, 2021

Thinking About “Heart”

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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After a break of several years, we’re paying a return visit to the devotional blog Get Along With God. These are excerpts from two different authors, Martha and John, which appeared on consecutive days dealing with heart. Today you need to click the individual titles to read the articles in full.

Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart (Ps. 119 2)

I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands. (10)

I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I have set my heart on your laws. (30)

I have sought your face with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise. (58)

Your statutes are my heritage forever;
    they are the joy of my heart. (111)

What It Means to Keep Your Heart

Living from Your Heart

…I’m drinking Psalm 119 and marking every mention of heart with a red pen. How rich this psalmist’s interaction with God! Raw and wide are his requests. High and low, he ranges all heights and every depth. The love between the man and his God is flowing, and he is free to an amazing degree. Free to feel and need. Free to pray outlandishly. Willing to express all the stormy desperation of his heart and unashamed passion for God.

Verse 81: “My soul languishes for Your salvation.”

The whole Psalm is the testimony of a wide-open heart to the wide-open Lord of All, sovereign and beautiful! The writer’s honesty moves from agony to ecstasy, from complaint to decision, from reality to worship. His love is for the Person of God, so his passion for the will of God makes him a beggar.

“My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times” (verse 20).

Consequences of Denying Your Heart

I once sat with a friend in the hospital. He was there for heart problems. I said to him, “You refuse to live from your heart in naked honesty and so your heart is hurting (actually dying) from being denied and suppressed. Your heart was made to live, feel, soar and hurt. You won’t let your heart function as it was created. You will not start from that unmanageable heart. You choose to be religiously safe instead of spiritually abandoned. So your heart is damaged by your own rejection of your dangerous self. You are afraid of your own heart.”

(See my audio series, “The Heart of the Matter,” for more on living from the heart.)

If your heart belongs to God fully, in all its wild wandering, as John said in his post, then you are truly His. You only belong to God if you have given Him your entire heart – good, bad, shocking. To keep your heart doesn’t mean to suppress it, but to live in such heart transparency that you KNOW your real emotions, thoughts and beliefs. Then you can direct your heart to God and your choices turn the vast vessel of your inner man straight into the heart of God.

That’s David’s secret. He lived from his own crude heart. His writings prove it. He sought the heart of God because he was himself a man of heart. And despite his failings, this is how God proudly speaks of David, as the ‘man after God’s own heart.’ The man in pursuit of God’s heart – not blessings, prosperity, acclaim. Heart into heart.

This is the process of the Psalmist of 119. He is ‘keeping his heart with all diligence’ by coming fully under the Light that exposes him to himself, and such reality propels him to fierce and holy prayer! Because the writer is in stark honesty, and ‘speaks and thinks the truth in his heart,’ ‘he dwells [permanently] on Your holy hill’ (Psalm 15 AMP). He enjoys a true love affair with God, relishing God’s love and enjoying it. His cleanness of heart finds a genuine union with God.

I love the prayer at end of John’s post. It gives a practical help to what might seem to some just an emotional fit. I want to repeat it here:

“Father, I am filled with ______, and I offer it to You in worship. My ______ holds claim on my heart, now I give it to You as something I have treasured. ______ held captive my heart, and prevented my heart being wholly Yours. Now I give You my ______, and the trust it held in my heart that You may dwell in and fellowship with me there. My heart is Yours!”

Tough Living in this World with a Heart!

My Achilles Heel

…I was just talking about the heart the other day to a friend. We were talking about it as it related to AI (artificial intelligence). I was saying that if they created a robot that was indistinguishable from a human, I would have a difficult time not having my heart engaged. They brilliantly said, “This is why Satan so easily can dupe us.” Our blessing and curse is that we have the Achilles’ heel of a heart. It’s both our strength and our weakness. And I find it very difficult, actually impossible, to not have it pricked quite regularly. I hurt when people are ugly, I grieve when another is in pain, and I rage when people are awful. It’s tough to live in this world with a heart.

But here is the truth about that statement: as a Christian, I am not given the opportunity to do otherwise. Born-again believers have to live open-hearted, as my friend told me just today. And I wholeheartedly agree. We, His children, have to walk in the world He died for with our hearts open—hearts that bleed, hurt and feel just as He Himself did when He walked on this earth. Though His allegiance was the Will of the Father, His heart was touched by our humanity.

He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since He Himself is subject to weakness.
Hebrews 5:2 NKJV

Carry With Me MY Heart

Yes, He asks us to share in His suffering as a part of fellowship with Him. Imagine, He yearns for me to share His burden for humanity. Not in human goodness, which there is none, but in true compassion that only comes from the Spirit of the Living God.

How changed are my ambitions! Now I long to know Christ and the power shown by His resurrection: now I long to share His sufferings, even to die as He died, so that I may perhaps attain as He did, the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10 Phillips

…My human compassion has only pity or some self-focused affinity with her pain, but Jesus knows her heart and is able to actually effect change in her life. Though I once had a high opinion of my compassion, I now see that our High Priest is the only one who can selflessly be touched by our infirmity.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 BRG

January 26, 2019

The Treasure in your Eternal Bank Account

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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We’ve often highlighted devotionals from Charles Price, Minister at Large for The Peoples Church in Toronto. Today’s is the first of three articles on the subject of treasure but I encourage you to click this link if you wish to follow these teachings and see what follows. Click the title below to read this one at source, and then links to the following two appear at the end.

Storing up Treasure

Exodus 9-11

Matthew 15:21-39

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   —Matthew 6:21

Everyone is storing up treasure in some way. For some, this is the range of their assets or size of their bank balance. For others, like the hypocrites who give, pray and fast publicly, it is their reputation before others. Whatever the case, we all have something in our lives that gives us reason to get out of bed in the morning.

What controls the heart is our treasure, which can be either earthly or heavenly.

The challenge is we straddle both spheres. No matter how heavenly our interests may be, we live on earth and are subject to its demands, pressures and values. The reason this is so important is shown in the progression of thought Jesus gives in Matthew 6:19-24. He starts with the heart but then goes on to say, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23). The thrust of this is that our vision, the goals that motivate us in the present, are either good and bring light or bad and bring darkness.

Jesus then moves from vision to master: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money(Matthew 6:24).

The subtlety of treasure is we assume it will serve us, but when our heart is set on something, that thing begins to captivate. In our pursuit of it, what began as our treasure and grew into our vision becomes our master. Instead of it serving us, we serve it.

To ask the questions, “What is your treasure?”; “What is your vision?”; and “What is your master?” is essentially asking the same thing. Our treasure, vision and master are one. It is true God created us free to make choices, but our freedom of choice is limited to one fundamental option—we choose our master. From then on, everything we do, value and hope for are simply the logical expression of the mastering principle of our lives.

Our treasure can be either earthly or heavenly, temporary or permanent, self-centred or God-centred, but it cannot be both. The world tells us that status and success are tied to our riches, but the world has it backwards.

Though we live in the temporal, a mature Christian has the eternal at heart. We either serve God or ourselves, and which we choose determines where we store up our treasures.

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, bring my heart into alignment with Yours so that I prioritize the right kind of treasures. You are my master, and You will never lead me wrong. Thank You, God.


Read more in this series:

When accumulation of wealth is motivated by selfishness rather than service, there is fault. Material things are neutral, but it is when they play too great a role within our value system that they become dangerous and destructive.

Whether we realize it or not, to emphasize earthly treasures is to derive our satisfaction from what we represent before people. Conversely, to lay up treasures in heaven is to derive satisfaction from pleasing God. Both are investments, but we are wise to invest in that which money cannot buy, that death cannot destroy and that holds its currency beyond this life.


“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”  —Matthew 6:20