Tag: heart

Walking Through Philippians: Peace

Walking Through Philippians: Peace

Encouragment
There seems to be a shift of focus as Paul closes his letter to the Philippians. It feels as if Paul has pushed his readers to the top of a hill so they can coast down the other side. It doesn’t mean the ride is over, in a way it’s just begun. The long walk of stepping through unity and humility is complete. The summit has been joyfully reached, and a completely different vista is now in view as they race down the other side. As we consider Paul’s closing words in Philippians 4:5-23 a new thought takes the forefront. There seems to be five topics, gentleness, peace in our hearts, peace in our minds, contentment, and fellowship. Because of the breadth of Paul’s closing topics, we’re going to divide them into two lessons. This article will cover Philippians 4:5-9 while next week will close t
Seven: Dear Laodicea

Seven: Dear Laodicea

Encouragment
At a nearby town there is a spring that people drive for miles to draw from. To drink that water straight out of the ground is nearly impossible since it has a pretty potent odor. Believe me, I tried. The first sip made me gag. Yet, it’s not uncommon to see people pull up and fill five or six milk jugs to take home. I can’t verify this with my own experience but I’m told that it makes great coffee and is palatable when chilled. Who would have thought. I think that the parallel between this spring in the center of Illinois and the church that is the focus of Jesus final letter is easy to see. The seventh and final letter Jesus dictated to the churches of Asia was to the church of Laodicea. “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginni
Seven: Dear Thyatira

Seven: Dear Thyatira

Encouragment
My favorite morning coffee mug is the work of a craftsman. I have a whole shelf devoted to various cups and mugs. Most of them are machine made ceramic pieces of varying color and graphics but very little character. The one I gravitate to the most is a piece of hand thrown pottery. There’s just something about its authentic features that draws me to it. This particular mug came from Silver Dollar City in Branson Missouri. Silver Dollar City is unique among the various amusement parks that dot America. Sure it has roller coasters, rides, and shows. Along its pathways are also a variety of craftsmen demonstrating how things used to be made. Walking in the park you encounter blacksmiths, glass blowers, wood carvers, potters, and workers of leather. In a way, Silver Dollar City is a miniat
They Shall Experience God

They Shall Experience God

Beatitudes, Series
Have you noticed that there is a new food recall every couple of months? One item is recalled because of minute metal shavings that may have landed in the box. Another may be recalled due to bacterial contamination. Occasionally items are recalled because the contents are different than the labeling, like the gluten-free herbal supplement that upon scrutiny contained some wheat flour. The worst of course is when someone tampers with a product in order to cause harm. I think that these examples of impurity will help us understand Jesus’ next beatitude - “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NASB95) There are two aspects to consider when unwrapping what it means to be “pure in heart”. The first could be called inner moral purity and the second singlemi
Marketplace of the Heart

Marketplace of the Heart

Encouragment, Forgiveness
Jesus’ first act after entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was to clear the temple.  Whether this occurred on the same day as hinted at by Matthew, Luke,  or the next day as specified by Mark, or earlier in His ministry as John records doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is what Jesus did, why He did it, and what that means to us?  Mark records it this way, “Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made
There’s a Mouse in the House

There’s a Mouse in the House

Encouragment, Forgiveness
My wife Betty hates mice.  She is not happy until every attempt to eradicate and seal them from the house has been accomplished. And of course, every year at about this time new evidence of their infiltration appears. Or worse yet, one dares to run across the floor in broad daylight. Yesterday was that kind of day. This particular mouse was not content to sneak around and leave presents, it had to visibly scurry around and loudly gnaw on things. This, of course, led to great frustration and a litany of condemnations against the small rodents. Traps were set and the execution of the invader was successfully carried out. I write this not to poke fun at Betty, although her passion against mice does grind a bit. My mindset is more along the lines of “Ok, mice happen, we’ll do what we need t
Alone in the Garden with Jesus

Alone in the Garden with Jesus

Short Stories
One morning, not long after my first cup of coffee, there was a gentle knock on my door. Glancing at the clock I thought, “Who could it be this early?” After walking over to the door I called out, “Yes, who is it?” “My daughter…” I know that voice, it's Jesus. “Lord! I wasn’t expecting you,” I exclaimed having thrown open the door. “Please come in.” “Not today my daughter. Today I’d like to walk with you in a garden.” My thoughts flew to the song about walking in the garden alone with Jesus while the dew is still on the roses. One of my long-held desires had been and still is walking with Jesus like the song promises. “Yes Lord, that would be lovely!” “Then take my hand, my daughter,” Jesus said. In an instant, we stood outside a tall brick wall overgrown with vines and a rus