Heart Healthy

7 10 2015

Have you noticed all the health foods in the grocery store? Everything these days seems to be marked with a label designed to draw our attention to the nutritional value of the product. Heart-healthy, low cholesterol, reduced sodium, no trans-fats, extra fiber, and no refined sugar food abound on the shelves. Everyone is trying to focus attention on the need to be careful about our physical health and what we put in our bodies.

Today it was the heart-healthy label that caught my attention. Red hearts grace the boxes of items that claim to be heart-friendly. Choosing those products is supposed to be a step in the direction of good health and a longer life.

I wish they had those kinds of labels for things beyond the physical. Wouldn’t it be neat to see a heart-healthy label on a television show or the cover of a book? I wish we could attach them to music labels and internet sites. It would even be helpful to be able to adhere one to certain people. Are they individuals who will help my heart be healthy or someone with whom I should be careful of my exposure?

As important as it is to be physically heart-healthy, it is absolutely vital to be spiritually heart-healthy. We need to be even more careful about what we put into our spirits than we are about what we put into our bodies. We need to read the labels, measure the goodness factor, and use God’s wisdom to help us determine what is best for us.

My Jesus Resolution today is to ask, “Is this heart-healthy?” I am going to examine the things that I put into my heart through the lens of Jesus. I want to know if they are going to help me look like Him. I want to spend time with people who encourage me in the Lord. I want to read books that point my mind to Him. I want to listen to music that lifts my soul in praise. Being heart-healthy is about more than living a longer life. It is about living forever with Him.

Collecting Prayers

5 10 2015

They come to her desk every Wednesday, bringing prayer requests and reaching for the hem of His garment. Her transparency shows them the way to Jesus.

It all started with a request from her boss. Can you work late on Wednesday night? “No,” she replied, “I go to Bible study on Wednesday nights.” She could have just let it go at that. She could have stopped, content that she had guarded her time with God from an intrusion by the world. But she didn’t. She took another step, and invited them into His presence

She told her coworkers that this group of Christians prays together on Wednesday nights. Did anybody have anything for which they would like for them to pray? Notes were pressed into her hand. Messages were left on her desk. And God began to work.

Every Wednesday, this special Christian lady collects prayers. She gathers hurts, struggles, heartaches, and tears and carries them from her office to a group of believers committed to taking them to the throne of God. In her office, she is known as the prayer lady. Her compassion and love have given the people in her office a way to trace the hand of God on their lives. The faithfulness of these praying Christians provides a powerful testimony about the faithfulness of God, pointing these hearts to Jesus every time they fold their hands and bow their heads.

My Jesus Resolution today is to take the extra step. I am going to look for an opportunity to invite someone to walk with me into the presence of God. Maybe it will be a chance to bestow a blessing on someone’s day. Perhaps it will be a moment to show someone the power of prayer. I am going to watch for an open door to open the Bible, mention the name of Jesus, or extend grace in a way that points someone to the cross. Jesus went out of His way to show God to those around Him. I want to be like my friend. I want to be like Jesus. I want people to know that when they come to me, I will take them to Him.

The Birthday Party

2 10 2015

She just turned three. The weeks before her birthday were spent dreaming about her party. Presents, balloons, and friends filled her imagination as she excitedly waited for the big day.

Preparing for the celebration, her mom asked her what kind of party she wanted to have. She expected her to pick a princess or a popular character party. Instead, she got an amazing answer. “I want a John the Baptist party,” the little girl exclaimed.

There are so many things that I love about her answer. This little girl chose someone from the Bible to be her hero. When she wanted a theme to set the tone for her party, she picked someone who dedicated himself to pointing others to Jesus. It didn’t matter that he wore funny clothes and ate bugs. He was God’s man, and she wanted him at the center of her special day.

The star in this story is her mom. Quietly, she has embedded the story of Jesus in her daughter’s life. At a very early age, she has managed to give her daughter eyes to see hearts that respond to who God is and who listen to His call on their lives. The stories in the Bible are more than just stories to this little girl. They are real and more compelling than the glittering glamour of the figures we usually hold up before our children.

The little girl did indeed have a John the Baptist birthday party. Her mom didn’t try to talk her out of it. She didn’t push for the easier convenience of a prepackaged party. She went out of her way to have a cake made, complete with John the Baptist, dressed in camel’s hair, standing in the Jordan River.

My Jesus Resolution today is to pick someone from the Bible and celebrate. Maybe I will walk with Ruth today and learn from her choices. Perhaps I will spend the day with Joshua and Caleb exploring what it means to live in God’s promises. I would love to stand with Moses on the mountain, walk with Peter on the water, and run with Elijah as he races a chariot. I don’t want to look to the world for my heroes. The Bible is filled with people who challenge me to look more like Jesus. Maybe I will start with John the Baptist.