The Heart Of The Matter

A number of years ago, during my personal prayer time, a God impressed thought came to my mind: ‘the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.’ I sensed this was an important phrase and promptly recorded the words in my notebook. Obviously, my first response was to search my heart, to examine where I might be allowing things to park or take up residence.

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Great Expectations

You may have read the popular story of the African king who had a good friend he had grown up with and his friend had the habit of always saying “this is good” whenever anything happened.

One day while they were out on a hunting mission, the friend, having prepared the guns for the king as was customary, gave him a loaded gun that misfired when the king used it. The misfire blew one of the king’s thumbs off, to which the friend stated, “This is good.”


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Under Construction

Have you ever made such a mess of things that you just felt like the ‘mess’ was beyond repair? Possibly a relationship blunder or fiasco on the job and the residual fallout left you feeling like perhaps you should just leave or quit. If it were possible, you would just start all over with a new identity. The problem with that is, ‘wherever you are, there you will be.’ You are always the common denominator.


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Put Fear In Its Place

In his commentary on Matthew 14:24, Matthew Henry states the following: In life the wind is often contrary. There are times when we are up against it and life is a desperate struggle with ourselves, with our circumstances, with our temptations, with our sorrows, with our decisions. At such time no man need struggle alone, for Jesus comes to him across the storms of life, with hand outstretched to save and with His calm clear voice bidding us take heart and have no fear. 

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When God Is Silent

There are times in each of our lives when it seems that God is silent. Especially during a time of sustained trial or when it appears that our prayers are not being answered. And unfortunately, there are some situations that we face that will not change. For instance, when a loved one has passed away and the reality settles in that they are not coming back. Perhaps a child born with a mental or physical limitation and nothing can be done to reverse it, we are required to come to terms with a different reality than we expected. Certainly life is not fair.

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Looking Back, Moving Forward

There are a lot of famous people from the past that I admire, but they like all of us, are a mixed bag. Not ‘all’ their qualities were admirable, not all the decisions they made were perfect. We have the tendency to examine their lives and decide we would not have made the same mistakes. Psychologists call that hindsight bias; it’s how we as humans have the tendency to overestimate our ability to predict an outcome.


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The View From Here

When I was a little child, a neighborhood friend a few houses up the street, lived in a home with a steep driveway. It was the delight of each of us to ride our bikes down that ‘very high mountain’. I remember having to work up my courage the first time or two down. Once I realized I wouldn’t die, it was all the more fun. Many years later we drove through the old neighborhood. While surveying old landmarks, I laughed at myself when I saw the ‘steep driveway’ for it was nothing more than a slight incline. It was hardly a ‘very high mountain’. That’s perspective. 


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What’s On Your Mind Today?

 

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” “Have you lost your mind?!” and “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most”. This is just some of the social babble we’ve all heard or may have even said one time or another. I recently read the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, although not a Christian read, I found it to be very insightful and highly recommend you read it. Our mindset plays a large part in how we handle life’s obstacles and setbacks. It can be the difference between a marriage dissolving, a job conflict becoming a battle or a truce and our mindset can even derail an educational or career path. 

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Perfect like me?

I have a sweet little book on our nightstand. I picked it up at an antique mall. On its front cover is a quote from Jane Austen (1775-1817), “Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for each other.” I love that thought, a great reminder for a marriage…that whatever faults I find in my spouse are also found in me.
 
No relationship, whether spouse to spouse, parent to child, friend to friend or supervisor to employee is devoid of the need for a healthy dose of humility. Right?
 
How humbling it is to admit fault…that original sin thing–pride–has divided many families, churches and friendships. The apostle Paul said it like this: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify…Let no one seek his own good but each one the other’s well-being.” I Corinthians 10:23,24
 
You know, I could do this if only my tongue was under complete control 24/7, but sometimes I fail and out comes something that doesn’t build up but, instead tears down. I like to think that you are like me.
 
Let’s remember we are all imperfect, each striving to grow in our faith and faithfulness…no judging here ’cause I am too acutely aware of my own imperfections.
 
 

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All is well

We gathered our most important documents, put them into a waterproof container; removed any items that posed a potential threat to our safety and even vacuumed away any dust to make our walk-in closet a place of refuge. Forecasts warned of an impending category 4 or 3 hurricane-a direct hit to our community.
 
We had prepared as best we could; food, water, candles, propane and then we waited. In the dark, the wind whirled and tossed the oaks surrounding our home. Our main concern was the well being of our family and friends–things can be replaced.
 
Before sunrise we were already reaching out to know everyone’s condition. Overnight the hurricane had downgraded significantly to only a category 2 or 1 storm. No major losses to anyone, all is well. Only electrical power loss, debris filled streets and lawns.
 
We set out promptly to assess the status of our beloved church building, noticing right away the steeple had suffered minor damage; other than some wet carpeting this was all we found. All is well. Yes, there are repairs to be made and cleaning to be done but all is well.
 
Life can be messy; uncontrollable events blow into our lives with as much force as a hurricane. A health crisis, a job loss, an unexpected turn of events. We may have prepared as best we could but still the storm blasts.
 
It has been said that, “Whatever bad happens to us, it is not as bad as it could have been-for God kept us from the worst, for God is a shield to those who hope in Him” (Proverbs 30:5). I am reminded of God’s words to Abram “do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield and exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1
 
In the midst of life’s storms, remind yourself–God is your shield; His faithfulness endures to all generations (Psalm 119:90); He is your hiding place and your shield (Psalm 119:114). Amen.

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