It Starts in the Heart
What causes wars? Riots? Broken homes? Chaos and conflict? The Bible makes it clear: It starts in the heart.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
All attempts to correct social and relational problems are destined to fail without true heart changes. How does this process work?
1. There first must be a desire to change. At some point, one must realize there is a better way. In His teaching, Jesus pointed to a better way — the way of forgiveness and love.
2. Next comes the realization that it is impossible to change yourself. Attitudes are attached to emotions, and these are imbedded in past experience. Self-help falls short when emotions are triggered.
3. Finally, you realize there is only one place to turn. God alone can change the heart and renew the mind and emotions. And He has promised, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:26 NLT).
Is it time for a heart transplant?
I will allow God to change the attitudes of my heart so I may love Him and love others as He does.
Eye of the Storm
Hurricane season is here. Storms form. Seas churn. Winds gain high speeds. Where will they land? What will the outcome be?
Hurricanes have a distinctive feature: an eye, 20–40 miles in diameter, in the center of the storm. Winds swirl, forming a circular wall. Within that wall, there are no clouds, wind or rain. The eye is calm because the strong surface winds that converge towards the center never reach it. They are diverted into a rotating pattern.
Life can be like a hurricane, with winds coming from all directions, threatening our security and peace. The dangers are real.
But in the midst of it all, we find our place of calm in the presence of the Master of the storm. As the disciples discovered on the stormy Sea of Galilee, no wind or wave can overcome when He speaks “Peace!” We are safe with Jesus in the eye of the storm.
The “eye” has another symbolism. It’s a reminder that God’s eye is on us, even when things are the worst. We are never out of range of His vision, nor of His care.
This week, I will express my thanks to God and to a peacekeeper (police or military) who helps provide a wall of safety for our community and country.
Finding Your Voice
If you’ve ever encountered a Chihuahua, you may wonder how such a tiny dog can have such a big voice! A Chihuahua is not afraid to confront a dog many times its size, or to snarl at a human who gets too close. The secret of its boldness? Inside each little Chihuahua is a miniature king or queen ready to rule his or her realm. This dog depends on its bark and bared teeth to defend its territory.
When it comes to defending our Christian values, we too need a voice. We find our voice in prayer. In prayer we can boldly approach God’s throne. We can boldly resist the enemy of our soul. In prayer, we can stand firm in behalf of those we love and care for. In prayer, we can turn back evil and destructive forces that threaten our nation and our world.
God’s army may appear small and defenseless, but do not underestimate the power of your voice. We are sons and daughters of the King. Together, our voices can impact the situations we face and bring hope to our nation and the world.
I will show my love to fellow Christians by speaking words of encouragement and by praying in their behalf.
Power of Unity
If one wild goose had landed in the neighborhood for a rest stop, it would have hardly been noticed. But when 28 came marching up the street, they not only presented a united front; they left a mark. For days later, the sidewalk was littered with their “calling cards.”
There is definitely power in unity! That power is multiplied with the increase of participants. And it can produce good results or harmful ones, depending on those involved.
When evil is allowed to marshal its forces, the result is chaos, poverty, suffering and death. When good people come together to fight a fight or champion a cause, the impact can be beneficial to all. When Christians unite, empowered by the Holy Spirit, the world can literally be changed. The impact has eternal consequences.
Jesus emphasized the power of unity in regard to prayer. “If two of you agree...it shall be done.” (Matthew 18:19) In the Upper Room, 120 agreed in prayer, and the Church was born.
Unity doesn’t mean blindly “goose stepping” behind a human leader. It means joining with those who are focused on Jesus, the Leader of the Church, and are determined to carry out His divine agenda. The mark we leave will mean life and hope to those who follow.
I will unite with fellow believers at every opportunity in prayer, worship, fellowship and service.