The Overflow Of The Heart

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For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34–35, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Sometimes we Christians will intentionally speak (post, tweet) maliciously and no amount of “thinking” can stop us.  In these cases the “overflow of [our] heart” is quite clear. The old man, the evil man is still controlling us and the overflow of our heart brings out the evil of our old sin nature.

At other times, it’s just a matter of speaking (posting, tweeting) without thinking.  It is then that the overflow of our hearts reveals how far along we are in our walk with Christ.  Is the old, evil, sinful nature still in control or are we being transformed into His likeness?  Are we being controlled by the Spirit?

My Advice – Think before you speak (post, tweet).  The truth is, of course, paramount.  But sometimes, we can use the truth to be hurtful not helpful, to discourage rather than inspire.  It is never necessary to lie, but it should never be used to be inconsiderate, cruel or unkind.  “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15, NIV 1984).   For  “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  (Galatians 5:24–25, NIV 1984).  Then the overflow of your heart (intentionally or without even thinking) will be “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Galatians 5:22, NIV 1984).

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Stop Playing With The Box

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You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”  (Matthew 23:23, NIV 1984).

You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”  (Mark 7:9, NIV 1984).

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?”  (Galatians 5:6–7, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Your children had been dropping hints (some subtle, some not so subtle) since Thanksgiving about this season’s must have toy.  In my childhood days, we dog-eared the pages and circled the items in the Sears Roebuck or J.C. Penney “wish book.”  How’s that for subtlety?  It was an exciting day for sure when those arrived in the mail.

More than once you made it to the store just in time to be told the last one had just been sold.  There were hopeful promises of one last shipment before Christmas, but you’d heard those before.  Checking availability on-line came up empty.  But finally, with shopping days left to Christmas almost over (and no shipping time left at all) you were able to track one down.  What a relief.  Christmas morning would not be a disappointment to your child.

Now the excitement of Christmas morning is over, family and guests have left and your child is in the family room playing – – with the box the must have toy came in.  You had to see that coming.  Didn’t you?

Sometimes we get distracted by the box that Christianity gets “packaged” in.  It may be in the form of tradition, rituals or “religion.”  Or maybe in legalistic “do’s and don’ts”  We were “running a good race” yet we allowed these things to “cut in on us,” when the real deal was what was “in the box.”  It’s not always that these things were intrinsically bad, but we “should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”  We should not have “set aside” the gift that was inside the box.

My Advice – God took great care to send us just the right gift.  It needed no “packaging” or fancy “wrapping.”  Let’s accept and enjoy it for what it is, appreciate who it came from and be thankful for the gift.  Let’s not let the excitement wear off and allow us to be distracted by the trappings.

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Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Mind Control

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My Musings – No matter how “good” we were before we accepted Christ, there were certain things about that life that we need to leave behind.  A walk that we used to walk that we must rid ourselves of.  To do that we must set our mind on things “above,” on what the Spirit desires, not on what our sin nature desired in our past.  If we do not allow the Spirit to control our minds we will not be able to live an abundant Christian life, and our lives will lack peace.

It is interesting to note that the sin nature spills over into shameful outward acts, while the “Son” nature overflows with admirable inner qualities.  The former is characterized by the things we do, the latter is characterized by who we are.  The former may satisfy for a season, but the latter will last into the next life.

My Advice – The victorious Christian life is not about balancing the sin nature against the Son nature.  It is not enough that the scales tip more on the side of the Son.  We cannot continue to serve our sinful nature and expect to bear abundant fruit.  We cannot serve two masters.  Let’s make sure we are clinging to the Son by allowing the Spirit to control our minds and our hearts.

The Sanctioned Position

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My Musings – The “sanctioned position” is “to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  But only for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ.  For those who have not, getting old is indeed better than the alternative.

My Advice – If you have not put your faith in Christ you can.  It is open to all who will believe and receive.  But “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation,” for we never know if we will ever have another opportunity.  For we certainly do not want to be absent from the body without Jesus present in our heart.

If you have put your faith in Christ, do not get too comfortable being “at home in the body.”  For the things of this world can distract us, causing us to drift “away from the Lord.” We do not want Him to be displeased with our walk. Rather “we should make it our goal to please Him.

 

Not Of The World

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My Musings –  Just because we must be in the World (“not that you take them out of the World“), does not mean that we must be of the World.  Christians are not people of the World, they are people of the Word. For this reason, it is imperative that we regularly spend time in the Word (“protect them from the evil one“).

As you sent me into the World –  Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  (John 18:37, NIV 1984).

I have sent them into the World“You will be my witnesses [to the truth] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Our testimony to what is truth will not be credible if we are not familiar enough with the truth (in the Word).  We will not be credible witnesses to the truth if we are of the World.  Will you be a person of the Word or of the World?  Get the “L” out of the World.

“Set your minds on things above [the Word], not on earthly [Worldly] things.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived [Worldly]. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these.”  (Colossians 3:2, 7-8, NIV 1984).

 

 

What Are You Hanging On To?

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My Musings – He was seeking eternal life.  He had meticulously kept the commandments that Jesus mentioned.  He could almost reach it.  But there was one thing he lacked.  Something he could not let go.  There’s a scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” that provides a great illustration.  After finding the elusive “Holy Grail” supernatural events intervene.  A massive earthquake opens up threatening to swallow the grail causing it to be lost forever.  Suspended over the gaping crevasse, hanging onto his father (Professor Henry Jones) with one hand, Indiana Jones (Junior) desperately reaches for the grail, just inches from his other outstretched hand:

Professor Henry Jones: [in an urgent voice] “Junior, give me your other hand! I can’t hold on!”
Indiana Jones: [straining to reach the Grail] “I can get it. I can almost reach it, Dad…”
Professor Henry Jones: [in a quiet voice] “Indiana.”
[surprised, Indy looks back at his father].
Professor Henry Jones: [firmly, but still quietly] “Indiana… let it go.”

Of course, we all know what happens.  Indiana grabs onto his father with both hands and is saved.  Letting go of the prize he had long sought to find.

The application?  We cannot hold onto our Heavenly Father with one hand while clinging onto our prized sins – sinful habits, sinful relationships, sinful pursuits, etc…  We cannot serve two masters.

My Advice – What are you reaching for or hanging onto that is keeping you from fully committing to a relationship with Jesus Christ?  Let it go.

I Got My Mind Set On You

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My Musings – A person’s mindset is the particular way they think, their attitude and opinions about how they view things. A person’s worldview is the overall perspective from which they see and interpret the world.

As follower’s of Christ, we should have our mind set on what the Spirit desires.  This is contrary to our mind set prior to knowing Christ, where we had on mind set on what our sinful nature desired.  A mind controlled by the Spirit of God will view things the way God does.

The mindset of sinful man can only lead to death, whereas the mindset of one born of the Spirit is not only life, but peace.  The implication being that the mind of sinful man has no lasting peace.

My Advice – Set your mind on things above.  View the world and your life through the lens of God’s Word.  This will renew your mind and transform your life, as the things we take into our mind filter down to our hearts.

“And this time I know it’s for real. The feelings that I feel. I know if I put my mind to it, I know that I really can do it. It’s gonna take time.  A whole lot of precious time.  It’s gonna take patience and time, um.  To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it. To do it right, child.”  (I Got My Mind Set on You, lyrics by Rudy Clark, sung by George Harrison).