Tag Archive | Father

Vigilante!

This post is not about taking the law into our own hands but at the heart of the dynamic of a vigilante is a sense that something has to change and someone should do something about it.  Their frustration with the ruling authority’s inability or reluctance to act drives them to action.  These thoughts are all contained within the 23rd verse of Proverbs 4 –

“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts!”  The Message

The ruling authority, God, is informing us that He is not going to do what only we can do –  it’s ‘our heart!’

The short three-word sentence; keep vigilant watch, translates this way –

keep with more vigilance than you would use for anything else. Barnes commentary.

The NIV puts it this way – “above all else!”

The number one priority and discipline is to guard our heart as if it were the most valuable resource, commodity or treasure.  The language of this verse seems over the top but actually, it is the language of a very concerned Father, who is seeking to help a beloved child, as they take their place in this world.   Chapter four starts with this counsel – listen and pay attention to a father’s instruction.  God as our Father, is trying to get us in the loop and see what’s vital and important, as we start out into adulthood – Guard your heart.

The last part of the verse – for that’s where life starts, carries the idea of the fountainhead or spring, i.e. the starting point of a river.  Just as the spring of a river has its starting point deep within the ground, so too does the ‘downstream of our lives!’    The state and condition of the river are directly affected by the state and condition of the source, that is the spring.  Making sure the spring was fenced off and protected from debris and dead animals would result in the downstream river quality being at its best.  So, it is with the heart!

I have learnt, the hard way, that I cannot change me or my circumstances without first making the effort to go to the source and see if I have allowed anything in into my heart, that is directly affecting what it is I am seeking to change.  This is vitally important because if I take new actions but still hold the same heart attitude, eventually my heart will win and my actions will wane and I will be discouraged.

Life, literally in the Hebrew, means boundaries and they are set within our heart and so, real transformations have to begin in the heart!

The context of verse 23 is from verse 20 to 25 and contains hints and warnings about how debris and death will try to get into the heart, so as to affect the downstream –

  • Ears – Pay attention, to what it is our ears are listening closely to v 20
  • Eyes – The words we continually focus on will get into our hearts
  • His Words are life & health to our downstream life v 22
  • Lips – put & keep far away perverse & corrupt speech v 24

 

God, as ruling authority, as our Father, is letting us into how He set up the system and informing us of our part.  How vigilant we are, is our decision because love does not insist on its own way.  However, love desires the best for us and as a father, He is not a passive observer regarding our life.  Therefore, He will try to influence us for good and for change.

His influence centres around the event that lead to the ongoing discipline called self-discipline.  The event is to show and reveal any perceptions, thoughts & attitudes that are in our heart.  The saying is often true: the way we see the problem is the problem! Biblical transformation begins and only happens by the entire renewal of the mind.  Roms 12:2.

After event number one comes to the ongoing process which will regularly lead to more of event number ones, and that is self-discipline or self-control.  This is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and He longs to help us through this ongoing event and process of transformation.

When the spring that’s producing our downstream is cleared of debris and death, the water and flow of our lives will run clearer.

 

 

 

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Cardiology Part One.

Cardiology is the medical study of the structure, function and disorders of the heart. In this mini-series of four blogs I want to share some thoughts around the importance of the heart, as revealed in scripture.   The state of our hearts, is right up there as a subject matter to our Father, in fact it is His number one subject – above all else, guard your heart!  Prov 4:23.

God the Father is a committed and highly proficient cardiologist!

The heart has the ability to have affections, to think, to guide and set our life’s boundaries.  It also has an overflow; the mouth which in turn has the power of life and death attached to it, namely the tongue.

The heart is so strategic to all of life, we are commanded to guard it, (Prov 4:23) as if it contained the crown jewels.  The thought behind the word is to show vigilance more than over anything else we have or own.   One commentator refers to it as the master-controller!

One man in Scripture understood this and that was David.  He was after all, described as a man after God’s own heart! Acts 13:22.    This king, warrior and minstrel penned these words –

“search me O God and know my heart…Ps 139:23”

David had the confidence, prior to Christ and Calvary’s grace, to ask God to know his heart.  This is high level trust and a little risky but is the kind of prayer Father loves and will answer.  David was asking His God and creator to know his heart through observing, experiencing and reflecting.  All of these are the core dynamics of what the word know depicts.  David was also saying “let me in,” on your observations, experiences and reflections.

For David, there were two aspects of his heart that he wanted His Father’s feedback on – the thoughts and the ways within his heart and that through these reflections Father would lead him in the way everlasting.  This word everlasting means the old path and is made of two words that differ slightly.  One means the right way, the way a man should go and the other, the way a man goes by habit.   David’s son would learn this from his father and his own experiences –

“there is a way that seems right to man but its end is the way of death. “Prov 16:25

Here’s my attempt at paraphrasing David’s request from within this verse Ps 139:23

“I want you God to test through observation and experiences the thoughts and ways within my heart and reflect back to me, any habits that are not leading me in the well-established path of life which is Your desire for me!”

David’s prayer would be answered, numerous times and some of these were not good feedback but every time God spoke into David’s life about the state and condition of his heart, David responded with humility, transparency and faith!  It is for this reason I believe God defined David as a man after my own heart, who will do my will.

David was far from perfect, however, he always, apart from sixteen months of complete madness, went after and stayed after God’s heart!  Like David I have prayed his prayer and invited God to search and try my heart and give me feedback because I want what David had and I can only have that, if I do what he did!

God is a proficient cardiologist understanding the hearts structure and function like no other, he designed it but He also knows the disorders of the heart and these fall into six categories –

  1. unclean heart  Ps 51:10
  2. proud heart Prov 21:4
  3. hard heart Prov 28:14
  4. cold heart Matt 24:12
  5. double heart Ps 12:2
  6. unbelieving heart Heb 3:12

 

The beginning of the answer to that part of us described as deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it? Jer 17:9 NIV  Is to humble asks God to do in us what He did in David – search me and try me and give me feedback!

The next three blogs I’ll take two disorders from the list and share some thoughts.

Regards

Andy

HQ P2

In my last blog, I described, based on the word schemes from 2 Cor 2:11 the devil as a determined and focused traveller –

Who is heading in one direction, towards a specific destination with three things on his mind: rob, steal and destroy.

That destination is our mind and I am likening it to a military HQ.  If the HQ goes then the army is defeated and the territory that’s at stake, in this case our whole life, is handed over to the victor.  This in essence, is what the battle for Eden which was Project Cultivation, was all about.  Satan was after the delegated territory and all the authority, rule and splendour that came with it and this is what he offered Jesus in the wilderness!

Satan gain access to all of it by infiltrating Adam and Eve’s HQ, their minds and he used two major weapons which he still uses today to gain access to their & our minds, HQ – deception and lies!

The soul has a three-fold make up – mind, will and emotions. What I refer to as the thinker, chooser & feeler!   It is helpful to place the will, aka the chooser in the centre of the three because it reveals to me that Satan will try to influence my thoughts and feelings, so as to get me to choose, i.e. act.    It is through my actions that I can and will give place to the enemy and yield the authority and power I already possess. Cf Jn 14:30 & Eph 4:27.

This is his ultimate aim, to take the authority and power we have invested in us and use it against us!

In Eden, Satan presented an image and a thought which created a mood in Eve which she then acted upon and Adam joined in and the rest as they say is history.   Satan’s methods have not changed and so he presents to our imagination and our thinker, images which are really outcomes – “you’ll be like God!”   As soon as we focus on the images and thoughts, corresponding feelings are formed and attached, and as Ecclesiastes 4:12 says; a three-corded strand is not easily broken.

The accumulative effect of image, thoughts and feelings; are a difficult trio to break, so it is vital to not be ignorant of his methods, and demolish images and take captive thoughts.  I am also learning that any feeling or mood has its roots in someone’s thinking and will have attached images and is designed for me to act out or move toward the outcome(s) being presented.

God or Satan cannot just walk through the door of our HQ, they both have to use the same system and they both know that the HQ is strategic to their outcomes – “I have come that you may have life, in abundance until it over flows.  The thief comes to rob steal and destroy!” Jn 10:9&10

The Father decided from the outset to fill the earth with His Eden project and central to all this filling of the earth were Adam and Eve.  They and us were not created as passive but proactive partners, through whom God intended to fill the earth.  In Genesis 6:13 this filling the earth through men and women dynamic is clearly spell out –

“for the earth is filled with violence because of them!”

All the resources of Eden, all the authority and the power to exercise these resources were delegated to Adam and Eve, to God’s co-workers.  What was delegated was then abdicated by the surrender of the HQ’s by Adam and Eve.

The great news, of the good news, is this – that in Christ, we are back in the place of authority and power. In fact, we have more authority and power than Adam and Eve.  See Phil 2:10.  

 

Father’s creation mandate, to fill the earth with Eden is still valid and through Christ we have been given free access to the resources of the king of kings and His kingdom. These resources can and will become our realities, as we exercise faith and confront the works of the Devil, as Jesus did. Cf Jn 14:12 & 1 Jn 3:8

Satan is a determined traveller but in Christ he is a stripped, disarmed and defeated one. Col 2:15 And through the abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness, we have the right and the might, to rule and reign in life! See Roms 5:17.

That right to reign includes exercising authority over our imagination, thinking and emotions.  All of our HQ!

There’s a war on and in Christ we are super conquerors and nothing and  no one can separate us from His love or snatch us from His hands.  Deception and lies are the only weapons Satan as in his arsenal.  So, let’s not be ignorant of his schemes?  Let’s proactively guard our HQ because the stakes are high.  Very high indeed!