The Heart of Life
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
Many futurists predict that clean water will become the focus of national and international attention in the years to come. As the global population grows, more clean water is polluted, along with depletion of underground aquifers. Humanitarian agencies are making strong efforts to dig wells in lands where clean water is scarce. Water is second only to oxygen on the list of human necessities.
It is not surprising that, in the arid biblical lands, water and its sources were a frequent and potent symbol of health and vitality. The father in the book of Proverbs told his son to guard his heart carefully, “for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NASB). The heart is like a deep well from which flow “the issues of life” (NKJV). “Everything you do flows from [the heart]” (NIV). Just as a poisoned well can put an end to physical life, so a defiled heart can sicken the spiritual life (Mark 7:14-23).
What efforts are you making to protect the purity of the heart-spring that gives life to all you do? What filters do you have in place to screen out impurities? “Keep your heart with all diligence.”
The heart of the problem is the problem with the heart. Woodrow Kroll
Keeping the Heart In Time of Adversity – Puritan John Flavel
Jim saved for a long time to take an Alaskan cruise. At last he was on board with two carefully packed suitcases. The first evening, when he heard “Dinner is served” announced over the loudspeaker, he took peanut butter crackers from his suitcase and sat at the table in his small cabin. Every day at mealtime, he repeated the ritual. It wasn’t that Jim didn’t like the ship’s tasty banquets. He simply didn’t know that his meals were included in the price of the ticket. For two weeks he enjoyed beautiful scenery and wildlife off the decks but ate dry, stale food in his cabin.
This sad story is a metaphor for the way some believers follow Jesus. God has promised to meet His children’s every need—His boundless riches are included in the price Christ paid for their salvation (Eph. 1:18). Yet many folks are instead trying to live out of their own resources. They don’t realize that the wealth of their Father’s love, power, and provision is on their “menu.”
A believer’s relationship with the Lord is one of complete unity. Jesus is our life. His Spirit lives through us. Therefore, we have remarkable resources available to us, as do our brothers and sisters in Christ—we have access to His power, strength, and endurance.
Jim didn’t know he had the right to satisfy his hunger in an extravagant way. Learn from this exaggerated example. Discover in God’s Word the riches you are entitled to through faith. God offers believers everything required for living well and wisely, so trust Him for all your needs.
“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:21)
Only those religions that believe in special creation—that is, orthodox Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—also believe in a bodily resurrection. Of the three creationist/resurrectionist religions, however, only the Christian faith acknowledges that the resurrection can be possible only when the Creator Himself becomes the atoning Savior, dying for sin and thereby defeating death.
When Christ arose from the tomb, He could proclaim, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). His resurrection body was the same physical body that had been in the grave, able to be touched and even retaining its crucifixion scars. Nevertheless, it was different, a “spiritual” body (1 Corinthians 15:42-49), controlled by spiritual forces. Our present “natural” bodies are controlled by natural forces, but the resurrected Christ could move quickly from Earth to heaven, and could pass through closed doors (John 20:17, 19, 26).
But our resurrection bodies will be like His someday, according to the “working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). By that same “working,” He is able to subdue all things, for He is the Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16). Our “vile” bodies will become “glorious” bodies, no longer subject to sickness and aging, or lusts and evil passions. “This corruptible shall have put on incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:54). “We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This is the blessed hope of the genuine Christian. HMM
The Epistle to the Romans is one of the greatest of Paul’s writings, and is rather a treatise than a letter. It was probably written by him from Corinth, three years before he himself arrived at Rome. Dean Alford says, “There is not a grander thing in literature than this opening of the Epistle to the Romans.”
As to his flesh, he was of the seed of David, but his higher nature was by his resurrection manifested most powerfully to be divine. Had he not risen he could not have been God; his resurrection by his own power has made his Godhead plain.
Little did he dream that his prayers were to be answered by his being conveyed in chains to the great city. Very mysterious are the Lord’s ways of granting our requests.
let or hindered
His office and his gifts placed him in debt to mankind to labour for their conversion, and every Christian, according to his ability, is in the same condition. Are we paying the debts under which the Lord has laid us?
He was not afraid of danger, and was willing to come right under the palace walls of Cæsar. In due time his desire became a fact.
They must have known better. No man in his senses can worship birds and beasts without feeling degraded by so doing. Natural reason rebels against such an insult to God, and as they would not listen to its voice the heathen were left to fall into abominable vices. Let us never slight the checks of conscience, lest we should be given over to our own corrupt hearts. No doom could be more terrible.
I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)
Let me tell you about the true Christian, the Bible Christian, and his view of this troubled and uncertain world in which he lives.
He is not the worldly-wise, smiling optimist who draws his comfort from a denial of the facts; or bases his hopes on false expectation of peaceful intentions among nations.
Rather, he is of all men the truest realist. He will have nothing to do with fantasy—he wants to know the facts—and he does not hesitate to face up to any truth wherever he finds it.
He knows the world is lost on a wide area, and that the Christian alone knows the way to the desired haven. For in the Bible and there only, is found the chart to tell us where we are in this rough and unknown ocean.
He knows that the day when Christians should meekly apologize is over; that they can get the world’s attention not by trying to compromise and please, but by boldly declaring the truth of divine revelation with the affirmative signature, “Thus saith the Lord!”
“For thou wilt light my candle.” Ps. 18:28
It may be that my soul sits in darkness; and if this be of a spiritual kind, no human power can bring me light. Blessed be God! He can enlighten my darkness, and at once light my candle. Even though I may be surrounded by a “darkness which might be felt,” yet He can break the gloom, and immediately make it bright around me.
The mercy is, that if He lights the candle none can blow it out, neither will it go out for lack of substance, nor burn out of itself through the lapse of hours. The lights which the Lord kindled in the beginning are shining still. The Lord’s lamps may need trimming, but He does not put them out.
Let me, then, like the nightingale, sing in the dark. Expectation shall furnish me with music, and hope shall pitch the tune. Soon I shall rejoice in a candle of God’s lighting. I am dull and dreary just now. Perhaps it is the weather, or bodily weakness, or the surprise of a sudden trouble; but whatever has made the darkness, it is God alone who will bring the light. My eyes are unto Him alone. I shall soon have the candles of the Lord shining about me; and, further on in His own good time, I shall be where they need no candle, neither light of the sun. Hallelujah!