I was a coach when God called me to preach.
But as a coach, I preached 'heart' above the physical, experience, or anything else.
We lost one basketball game (115-70) and all but 2 of my players fouled out.
We still played and finished the game!
Afterwards, I told the team "We did not come here to start a game, but to finish!"
(La Moyne and I were newly weds and she said that after THAT game....
she wasn't sure she was cut out to be a coach's wife) (:o)
My favorite short poem for Christmas (and every day) is one by Christina Rossetti:
What can I give Him? Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part.
Yet what can I give Him? Give Him my heart.
Our gr'parents and parents all had 'heart' or they would never have made it....
settling in Oklahoma. Oklahoma will be 100 yrs. old in Nov. 2007 and some of our family settled even before statehood.
They HAD TO HAVE 'HEART' to endure the wars, the depression, the drought, illnesses before penicillin and all that went with life back in those days.
We served as missionaries in South Korea for 3 yrs. and saw first hand how great those people are....people with great hearts! Their homes and land were overrun twice by the Communist invasion from the North.
But with great heart (and leaders of great heart) they came up out of it victoriously.
Today with loving hearts, South Korea is sending missionaries out all over the world.
North Korea is a terrible contrast of people who have 'heart', but who have dictators with no heart nor compassion.
In this paper today, 'heart' is used figuratively....
for the 'hidden springs' of the personal life.
It is the sphere of Divine Influence, but also can be attacked by evil.
The physical heart (as an organ) can sometimes cause physical difficulties...
as in the Wiginton family.
My Dad had a brother who died in his arms at a ball game.
Another one of his brothers died of a heart attack while working on the wheat harvest.
My 2 brothers and I have had to have stints put in to keep the blood flowing.
However the worst attack on the heart is that of satan and sin.
Someone has well said,
"Good and evil in your life is like 2 dogs.
The one that wins is the one that you say 'sic em' to."
The worst heart trouble is spiritual.
In Hebrews 3, the Israelites picture heart trouble that prevented them from having so much in God's favor with faith.....
but lost so much without faith (40 yrs.) that brought failure.
In verse 1, the writer of Hebrews pleads with us to 'Consider Christ'....
or like the Israelites, we too, will miss SO much!
1) A HARD HEART PROVOKES GOD (Vs. 8)
God is long-suffering to us but as our Heavenly Father (like an earthly father)...
He sees the best way for an errant child, is to discipline.
In vs. 12 he kept emphasizing:
"Today people, do not harden your hearts as was done in the wilderness".
2) AN ERRING HEART MISCONSTRUES (MISJUDGES) GOD (Vs. 10)
God is long on patience while we sometimes are short on patience.
The emphasis here is:
You have heart trouble if you don't know God well enough to faithfully discern His Ways.
This can come from ignorance of the Scripture...and lack of Faith.
They could not enter in to all that God had for them.....how about you?
The Bible speaks of the fulness that we can have (or the emptiness) we can have....
without faith and without heart.
3) AN UNBELIEVING HEART FORSAKES GOD (Vs. 19)
They could not enter in to the Promised Land because of unbelief. (Ps. 95: 8-11)
They needed simple faith.
"Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.
In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path."
How about you at this Christmas time? How is your heart?
Physically mine is doing well for 78 yrs. of age.
The physicians put stints in my left carotid artery as well as my left coronary artery.
Now it is up to me to allow the Great Physician to give me the attitude, actions and adjustments to live longer (and well).
But as you know, God is more interested in 'quality of life' than 'quantity of life'.
This means several things:
a) Walk by faith and not by sight (II Cor. 5:7)
I can lose faith some if I walk by sight....
(when I see my balding head and feel the weakness in my legs.)
Recently my brother and I both had good checkups, but we're not what we used to be.
Faith is STILL the victory and we're not what we're GOING to be...
A sense of humor helps as we age. My 'preacher brother' Keith uses a poem:
"I can live with my arthritis...
My dentures fit just fine.
I can see through my bifocals,
But I sure do miss my mind."
b) Jesus is not only my Salvation...He is my Strength and my Song.
Therefore I will not be afraid (lose heart)...
and 'with joy I shall draw water out of the wells of Salvation'. (Isaiah 12:2-3)
Sometimes after we had an away ball game in high school, the bus would let me off at the corner, about a half mile from home. As I walked in the dark, I would sing all the way home. When I reflect back on it now, I am reminded of the little poem:
'I'd rather walk with God in the dark
Than to walk alone in the light.
I'd rather walk with Him by faith,
Than to walk alone by sight.'
An old song (words by Edwin Orr):
'Search me O God and know my heart today
Try me O Savior and know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me
Cleanse me from every sin
And set me free.
Lord, take my life and make it wholly thine.
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride.
I now surrender: Lord, in me abide.'
A few years ago, I was supply preaching one Sunday and 2 of our gr'sons went with me.
I was preaching on the 'Five F's of Christians' from I Timothy 6:11-12.
Fight (the good fight)
Faith (have faith at all times)
Finish (the race faithfully)
Since I had shared those previously with our gr'sons, I asked them to stand up and share. They were surprised, but they did very well and their Papa was proud of them!
During this Season of His birth, I pray that we all will live these 5 F's from our hearts....
for truly life is all about heart.
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