It’s All In the Heart

Today is Friday, November 15, 2019. Peace be with you.

Day 22,527

Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 82 today.

Today is Spicy Hermit Cookie Day. I’ve never heard of those, but they sound delicious. I might have to try those, this holiday season.

As previously noted, today is Friday. That’s usually a good thing, because after Friday comes Saturday and Sunday, another weekend. There’s not much planned for this weekend. C and S have a ladies’ thing on Saturday night. We have our “scattered” church meeting Sunday morning. Groceries will be ordered. There will be extra groceries, though, because we each have a work Thanksgiving lunch next week, and C is making something for a family who lost a loved one recently. In addition, our church’s Thanksgiving dinner is next Saturday night (the 23rd).

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66.4

Today I am grateful:
1. For the legacy and memories that my father left behind.
2. For the circle of friends that surrounds my mother.
3. For these morning opportunities to praise, worship, and thank the Father.
4. That, as we walk with God, we always have a job to do.
5. That God is working in my heart.

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90.14
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Psalm 106.47
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 85.10
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 
give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Luke 6.36-38
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. 
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face, 
who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. 
For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. 
For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 89.14-18

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

For anyone interested to know, the scripture references above, along with the “Lord, have mercy on us,” come from a collection of books called The Divine Hours, by Phyllis Tickle. They are a sort of revision of the Benedictine Rule of “fixed-hour prayer.” In the books, she provides a morning prayer, a mid-day prayer, and evening prayer, and a “compline,” which is to be read directly before retiring. I have used these books for prayer, on and off, for several years. There is a volume for summertime, one for springtime, and one for autumn and winter, which is the one I’m reading through now. I just found out that there are also volumes for “Eastertide” and “Christmastide.” However, I assume that those prayers are already included in the larger volumes.

(From Faith That Matters)

Cultivate A Kingdom-Directed Heart, by Dallas Willard

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
Mark 9.43

Being acceptable to God is certainly important enough that, if cutting off body parts could attain it, we would willingly do so. However, that is not really the point that Jesus makes in this passage that has always given me pause. The point is that what matters is really in the heart. The real question “always concerns who you are, not what you did or can do. What would you do if you could? Eliminating body parts will not change that.

“If you dismember your body to the point where you could never murder or even look hatefully at another, never commit adultery or even look to lust, your heart could still be full of anger, contempt, and obsessive desire for what is wrong, no matter how thoroughly stifled or suppressed it may be.”

It’s all about the heart. And the only way the heart can be changed is by surrendering it to Jesus. And if we cultivate that “kingdom-directed heart,” such sins will be crowded out. “From that heart come deeds of respect and purity that characterize holiness as God meant it to be.”

Father, help me to cultivate this kind of heart in my life.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.