Sunday, November 9, 2014

A 1.50 Book Mark with a Beyond-Price Offer

I bought some things (understatement) while we were in Memphis. Christmas gifts, I promise!!! (Well... mostly...)
Ironically one of the things that has come to mean a lot to me cost 1.50. (True... I am a cheap date... A tacky one too as I found -joy of joys - a light-up Christmas bulb bracelet to go with my light-up Christmas necklace. Not kidding... But I digress...)
At any rate, I love book marks and so I grabbed a couple just before going to the check-out counter. One was a bright rose/pink color with white lettering and so I could not resist it!
Today in Sunday school I glanced at it and then kept glancing at it from time to time. The message? "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you." Ezekiel 36:26
I thought about a true story I heard years ago about how several people from different faiths were sitting in a Bible study, prepared to discuss apologetics.
When they came to the first theological divide, they decided to bow their heads and pray, asking for wisdom. The Christians, who were leading the study, were a little nervous. After a time of silence, the little circle of people looked up and as they shared, no one had gotten an answer until they came to a person who was not a Christian. That person looked up and said that he had gotten an answer. To everyone's shock he said.
"God showed me that I have a dirty heart and I need a new one. How do I get that?"
The Christian leaders were amazed - the "answer" had nothing to do with the theological point on the table for discussion but rather went straight to the "heart" of the matter - why Jesus had to die on the cross for us.
He did it so that we could have a heart transplant, so that God could supernaturally take our heart of "stone" and replace it with a heart of "flesh", of supernatural tenderness and openness to the things of God.
If the human heart could be fixed with just a little "self-help" or a little more religious effort on our part, then Jesus would never have had to die on the cross in our place. He could have just modeled a good life, left us with a do-it-yourself book, and died a natural death from old age.
This is the deal: before you can nestle next to the heart of God, He has to give you a new heart, one that will last throughout time and eternity. God's heart is eternal, pure, and holy. The human heart .. isn't. So trying to reach up to God through your own efforts (even coupled with a little faith in Jesus' nice example..) is like trying to use reel-to-reel tape technology to link up to state-of-the-art digital technology from the next millennium... Our sending/receiving set just doesn't match up to His...
Until He gives us a heart transplant..
During worship I continued to glance at my pink book mark containing this wonderful, amazing promise from God: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you...
Towards the end of the service, when people were invited to come kneel at the front or initiate a discussion with a pastor about this incredible offer from God Almighty, I could hardly contain myself.
I thought: worship should be the most amazing time in the universe because every person - every single person sitting in the pew - has a chance to receive a brand new heart right now, TODAY - if they haven't already. Every time His word is prayerfully taught, God waits in the wings, ready to do supernatural, mind-boggling, transformational, instantaneous surgery.
And then, as I was in the car and we were headed towards a lunch appointment, I thought, "Am I living out of my new heart or am I still trying to live out of my old nature, which is on life support...?"
Am I drawing on His strength or mine? His wisdom or mine? His righteousness or mine? His Spirit or mine? His power to love... or mine?
Soooo thankful today for a new heart, one that I can rely on now and yet will still be pulsing strong with His love throughout all eternity.
How is your heart today??

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