When the Bible refers to the heart, it obviously refers to something other than the muscle that pumps blood throughout our bodies.  So, what is the Bible referring to?  It’s not our soul because we are told to love the Lord with all our heart and soul; therefore, the two are separate. As I have searched through the scriptures, it seems that the heart embodies the deep inner self where emotions, moral values, and our decision making process resides.  In essence, the heart is where we live. 

I’ve been concerned about what is in my heart.  Jesus said that what comes out of a man’s heart can make him unclean.  I find that what comes out of my heart is a mixed bag.  There is in my heart the potential of both good and evil.  So, what can I do about this? 

Paul prayed for the Ephesians: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (Ephesians 3:16-17).  I desire to be strengthened in my inner being.  I need God’s power to overcome the evil things in my heart, so the things that “come out” of me will be good things. 

In Psalm 51 David asks God to create in him a pure heart. (Psalm 51:10)     I join with David in this prayer.  My deep inner being, my heart, needs the presence and the power of God if it is to be good.  God alone is good.  Good comes from me when I am full of God. 

“Create in me a pure heart most generous and merciful God.  Draw me closer to you that I may reflect your goodness, amen.”


[The restoration of friendship and fellowship after estrangement]

(Luke 15:6&7) “…..Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says. ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

A couple of days ago, I was sitting with my wife in the afternoon watching a Hallmark movie.  The story was about a young lady who had obsessively followed after her career forsaking her high school best friend and high school boy friend.  Years after high school, she returned to her home town.  As the story progressed, she came to recognize her failures regarding her friends. Through repentance and apologies her high school friends forgave her.  So the story ended with the restoration of friendship and fellowship after a period of estrangement.

Why am I sharing my reaction to this story?  At the end of the story, I was quite emotional.  Sometimes this is attributed to me being a male over fifty; however, the emotions were real even though I was watching actors in a movie.  It seems to me that humans love to see an act of reconciliation.  I certainly do.  I experience joy and gladness when people overcome their differences and are reunited.

Take for example the feelings you experience when you lead someone in a sinners prayer.  The few times I have had the opportunity to lead someone to the Lord, I experienced joy, gladness, and even elation when they received Jesus.  I was sharing in a person’s reconciliation with their creator.  An amazing and wonderful event was taking place.

Our scripture from Luke is part of Jesus’ parable about the Lost Sheep. He points out that in heaven there is an emotional, joyful response to a person’s reconciliation with the Father.  God loves his children, and for each of us isn’t it wonderful to know that on our day of salvation all heaven rejoiced at our reconciliation.


(Colossians 1:9-14)  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.  We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Paul wrote this prayer for the Colossians to encourage them as a new and growing church.  His prayer is powerful, and it covers important parts of what it means to be a Christian.  In it he covers a comprehensive list for spiritual growth to facilitate the development of a Christian’s relationship to God our Father.

I’ve been involved with church leadership for many years.  Enthusiastic leaders have a tendency to focus on what they are going to do for God rather than seeking God’s will for their ministry.  Paul wisely defines the proper order by continually asking God to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of his will.  He follows with clarifying how this is accomplished, “Through all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.”  The Holy Spirit will lead them into knowing God’s will.  By doing this they will be enabled to, “Live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.”  Paul then lists the ways they will please the Lord.

Knowing God’s directions will cause them to bear fruit in every good work.  Jesus reminded his disciples “apart from me you can do nothing” (see John 15:5).  They will also, “grow in the knowledge of God, and be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might.”  This will lead them to have great endurance and patience.  As they pursue this growth in the Lord and see his hand in their lives, they will be moved to give joyful thanks to the Father.

What an abundant prayer beneficial for all of God’s people.  I pray this prayer for my church leaders, but I also pray it for every one of my brothers and sisters in the Lord.  The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has provided great words of wisdom for the followers of Jesus Christ in all his letters.  I love to share his words.  For those of you who read this blog, it is from my heart that I share this prayer with you.


(1 Timothy 2:3-6 NLT)  This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.  For, there is one God and one mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus.  He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

God wants everyone to be saved – everyone to have the freedom Christ Jesus purchased for them.  Everyone is an all-inclusive term.  All of humanity has been covered. This is God’s heart for everyone.  We have an open invitation to turn to our creator and to enter his loving embrace as he welcomes us into his eternal kingdom.  Mankind has been given a choice, shall we continue to walk blindly into our future or turn to God?

My wife and I have a new puppy that is just about to turn ten weeks old.  She is delightful and fluffy, and she keeps us entertained with her antics.   Her name is Pearl, and she is what they call a golden doodle, a mix of golden retriever and standard poodle. In the two weeks she has been with us, we have fallen quite in love with this little creature.  Of course, she is a puppy.  Training, cleaning up messes and loud noises in the middle of the night are challenges we face with this lovely addition to our daily lives.  When I say training, I refer to her training us as well as us training her.

The other evening, while my wife was gone to a women’s meeting, Pearl and I were lounging on the back patio.  I was reading and she was chewing.  She came over to me for some pets, and I decided to bring her up to my lap.  To my surprise, she jumped out of my lap onto the concrete floor and landed awkwardly banging her head.  I was very concerned that she might be seriously hurt, but she was okay. 

Since I was in the groove of studying for what to write this week, it dawned on me that this incident had parallels to what I was planning to write about.  God’s desire is for us to come to him, and receive his peace and comfort, but often we go our own way.  We jump right out of his arms and wind up hurting ourselves.  Pearl looked up at me from her fall with an accusatory look, like it was my fault that she got hurt jumping out of my lap.  It’s amazing how often we look back and blame God for our self-imposed hurts.

God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, has offered us the opportunity to put our trust in him and walk in his way.  Everyone has this offer before them.  Should we receive his gift and stay in the comfort of his lap, or should we jump off and go our own way?  It’s our choice.


(1 John 1:8-10)If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Being truthful before God should be the easiest communication of all.  As I wrote about last week, God knows every detail of what happens on the earth.  So we can’t hide anything from God, for he already knows the truth about what we have done.  But when we go before him, he wants to hear the truth from us.  The above scripture points out the results of truthfulness before God.  “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.”   And then he will, “purify us from all unrighteousness.”

God is faithful, just, and he loves his children.  Our Easter celebration was for celebrating what he was willing to do to make our forgiveness possible.  His only begotten son was crucified on the cross to pay the price for our sins showing God’s love for us.  Now the door is opened for our return to fellowship with God our father.  Not only are our sins forgiven, but Jesus rose from the dead – demonstrating the eternal life that he bought for us. 

Our relationship with God is safe.  We can trust him with our deepest secrets.  He is merciful, forgiving, and kind.  His love for us is undeniable.  Can we be honest with God?  No one else deserves our honesty more. 


(Romans 11:33&34) Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out!  “Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?”

At times I read a familiar scripture, and I have this thought, “Nothing is hidden from God.”  For instance: (Matthew 10:29&30) Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without the Father’s knowledge.  And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”  The depth of God’s awareness of what happens on the earth is staggering.  The mind of God is incomprehensible.

In Matthew 17:24-27 we read:

“After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked,” Doesn’t you teacher pay the temple tax?”

“Yes he does,” he replied.

When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak.  “What do you think, Simon?” he asked.  “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes –from their own children or from others?”

“From others,” Peter answered.

“Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him.  “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line.  Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin.  Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”  How did Jesus know what the tax collector said to Peter, and how did he know that there was a coin in the mouth of the first fish Peter would catch? 

Another of these “how did Jesus know” scriptures is when Jesus said to the disciples there is a donkey colt that has not been ridden tied to a post in a nearby town (see Matthew 21:1-3). 

There are many accounts in the Gospels of what Jesus did, and what he knew. These accounts assure us that he is God, but he also revealed to us that no detail of what happens on the earth is unknown to God.  If you think about it, there is great comfort in this revelation, because there is no need for us to hide anything from God.  He already knows.  There is also great comfort in knowing he loves us, and through the sacrifice of Jesus, our sins are forgiven and forgotten.  So our relationship with God is secure in knowing that his mind far surpasses our understanding, and his thoughts are greater than anything we can imagine.


(Psalm 34:17&18)The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I have prayed and ask the Lord for many things.  I have sought his wisdom and direction.  Still there have been times of despair when I was emotionally distraught, and I have cried out to the Lord.

Every time I’ve reached the point of crying out, God immediately answered. God answered my cry because there was surrender and recognition of my need for him.  I went to him in my time of trouble because I knew only he could help me.  Often the answer did not immediately resolve the difficulty, but he was there to comfort me and lead me through it. 

When I come to the end of myself, and I humbly stand before the Lord, my words are flowing from a humbled heart.  That’s when he draws near to me.  He hears and he answers. Therefore I can confidently recommend that you trust in God in your time of need, cry out to him, and he will be there to answer you. 


(Colossians 3:12-14) Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

It is always good to remind ourselves as God’s chosen people, how we should act, remembering that we are holy and dearly loved.  In all humility, we remember what Jesus sacrificed for us. We have surrendered ourselves to him, and he has lavished on us holiness and love.  In return, we strive to do what pleases him by following his instructions.  Jesus put it this way, “A new command I give you: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).”


(Matthew 7:14) But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I was standing on the trail watching the approaching hikers coming from the direction I planned to travel.  As they approached, I asked them how the trail looked back in the direction from which they’d come.  Each one looked weary and haggard, and most of them didn’t give me any useful information.  Finally, an older gentleman stopped and smiled at me.

“Are you looking for information?” He asked.

“Yes, I replied.  I’d like to know what’s ahead.”

 He invited me to sit down on a nearby rock.  Compared to the other travelers he looked surprisingly fresh.  We sat down, and he began to share his knowledge of the trail.

“I’ve traveled this way many times.  In the beginning, I just relied on my own abilities.  It was always grueling.  I made it through, but I always had some type of injury.  The difference came when I met a man who changed my way of thinking.  He actually changed my whole life.  He showed me a better way.  I was amazed when he showed me an alternate trail.  It seemed so obvious.  I was embarrassed that I’d missed it. The alternate trail was narrow, but it was much easier to traverse.  Every time I came to a fork in the trail, he was right there to direct me.”

He paused to see my reaction.  I must admit I was excited by the thought of an alternate trail.  The one I was traveling on seem to lead to nowhere.

“Would you like to meet this man?” He asked me.

“Yes! I would.  I’d like to discover this narrow way.  Where can I find him?”

The older gentleman smiled, “He’s right here; let me introduce him to you.”


(Colossians 2:8-10 MSG) Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk.  They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything.  They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spiritual beings.  But that’s not the way of Christ.  Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly.  You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him.  When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too.  His power extends over everything. 

It is very common for people to intellectualize Christianity.  But no amount of study or discussion can give a person what Christ has to offer.  When you come to him, when you open yourself to him, then you’re on the road to understanding how God planned your redemption, and from that premise, you have the foundation to study and discuss the wonders of God’s world. 

No matter how intelligent a person considers himself or herself to be, their reasoning is flawed in comparison to the one who created the universe and all it contains.  It makes sense to first seek- out this all powerful and loving being we call God.  For knowing God is the beginning of wisdom (see Proverbs 9:10).  I began to make sense of this life when I surrendered my will to God and received Jesus as my savior.  I was given understanding that was unavailable before God gave me his Holy Spirit.  Then the words of the Bible became illuminated. The Holy Spirit guided me as I read , and I began to understand God’s truth. 

(1 Corinthians 1:20)  Where is the wise person?  Where is the teacher of the law?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Jesus is the source of wisdom and knowledge. It all begins with him.  Clear thinking isn’t found in the words of man, but it is found in the words of God’s son. For those who desire to have wisdom and knowledge, you will find them in Jesus.