I didn't teach/coach very long before God called me into the Pastoral Ministry.
But as long as I coached, I would emphasize 'heart' as much as anything.
I kept telling the girls (and also the boys as I coached both), "You've got to have heart".
The NCAA Men and Women's Basketball games are excellent examples of teams that may have equal records and physical skills.
But in order to win, the team with more 'heart' (desire/yearning/hungry) usually wins.
Lately, La Moyne and I stayed up several nights to watch basketball games on TV.
I said, "We're going to have to stop this 'late night stuff' as we're not as young as we once were!" :)
Understandably, we're pulling for the University of Oklahoma Women's team who had a close game with Southeast Missouri State last week. They stopped our tall girl inside fairly well, but forgot about our 2 players whom I feel have the most 'heart'.
Jenna Plumley is a 5' 3" freshman (Native American from Red Rock, Okla.) who might weigh all of 100 lbs. but she's all 'heart' and hits 3 point shots with 'gusto'.
The other girl with 'heart' is Leah Rush (a Senior) whom I feel is the leader of the team.
She seems to be 'all over the court' and especially at the 'needed spot at the right time'.
Our eldest son Craig, coached the Women's Basketball team @ Grand Canyon University.
They had a great year, winning 23 games, only losing 4 and were 16-0 in their league.
Craig was also named 'Coach of the Year' for the PAC West Conference.
Craig prepares for each season with a Spiritual Retreat for his teams in the fall.
The emphasis is always on the Spiritual, to 'give their whole hearts and to play inspired'.
In fact, Craig just returned from attending the NAIA tournament in Jackson, Tennessee and said that one of the teams that lost, seemed to play 'un-inspired'.
The Bible is full of emphasis on the 'heart'.....for out of the 'heart' are the issues of life:
"You shall love the Lord thy God with your whole heart, soul and might". (Deut. 6:5)
"Blessed are they that keep His testimonies and laws with all their heart." (Ps.119:2,34)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart". (Prov. 3:5-6)
"You shall seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart". (Jer.29:13)
"Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning." (Joel 2:12)
"The goodness of God is to lead us to repent". (Heb. 2:4)
In his book 'David', Chuck Swindoll wrote:
"How does God measure a man? Does he span his shoulders to test his strength?
Examine his hands to evaluate his work? No!
God measures a man by the depth of his devotion to Him.
He wraps a ruler around his heart."
The title of his 1st chapter is 'God's Heart, God's Man, God's Ways'.
This reminds me of I Samuel 16:7:
"Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart."
The nation of Israel is used in Hebrews 3:8 as an example of 'hard hearts'.
Vs. 8: "Harden not your hearts as in the rebellion in the wilderness.
God was grieved with them, for 'they did always err in their hearts and have not known nor followed my ways'."
Therefore they could not enter into the Promised Land.
Vs. 15: "Today, if you would hear God's voice, harden not your hearts."
I remember how sad it was on our farm during times of drought.
The ground would be too hard to plow in order for us to be able to plant the cotton.
I wonder how sad it makes God when our lives are so hard that we're not able to receive His blessings and return unto Him, a crop of 'Good Character and Holy Living'.
The next year after we received rain, we were able to make some harvest.
Dad showed us 4 sons a check for over $1200 that he rec'd from the alfalfa seed crop.
God blesses us with SO much....it's called 'Grace'.
Let us not return that Grace with an unbelieving (or hard) heart.
The New Testament presents 'the heart' as the center of life.
How true that was in our family.
My Dad had 4 brothers with 2 dying of heart attacks in their 40's.
Two of my 3 brothers (and I) have had some physical difficulties with the heart...
but we praise God for the modern medical procedures to help keep the blood flowing!
Let's look in the Bible at a few worthy examples of 'Great Hearts':
Joseph said to his brothers (who sold him into slavery):
"Fear not for I am in the place of God.
You thought evil, but God brought good out of evil".
2) MOSES' MOTHER:
It was a great sacrifice for her to give up her son, but it was best...at the time.
God worked out His great plan for Moses.
In spite of wrongs, David was a 'man after God's own heart'....
and was used tremendously for God's good.
4) JESUS IN THE GARDEN:
"Not my will God, but your will be done." (Matt. 26:36-46)
Have YOU done this vocationally, character-wise, and in your service?
5) PAUL: (II Tim. 4)
He fought a good fight of faith and finished the course that God had laid out for him.
This should be our prayer for us (and for you).
We like to hear from you, but more importantly, please keep in touch with God....
with your WHOLE HEART.
'The Heart's Garden'
The heart is a garden
Where 'thought flowers' grow;
The thoughts that we think
Are seeds that we sow.
Every kind, loving thought
Bears a kind, loving deed;
While a thought that is selfish
Is just like a weed.
We must watch what we think,
Each minute, all day;
And pull out the weed thoughts
And throw them away.
And plant loving seed thoughts
So thick in a row...
That there will not be room
For weed thoughts to grow.
"My heart is fixed; I will sing and give Praise." Psalms 57:7
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