Monthly Archives: January 2015

Have a Heart: A Matter of the Heart

February:  the month devoted to love.  Stores are filled with heat-shaped boxes of candy and heart shaped cards and vases of flowers with heart-shaped gift tags.  All this is available for the consumer so that he can find the appropriate expression of his devotion to his loved one.  If that expression of love has been preceded by a year of thoughtful and loving words and deeds, it is welcomed and cherished by the recipient.  If not, it is just an empty ritual, done out of duty rather than true devotion.

Our relationship to the Lord is similar. He, too, desires our sincere devotion, not empty lip service.  “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me’ ”  (Isaiah 29:13).

Stewardship is serving, helping, giving, but love is the basis for stewardship.  Without love, our good deeds are empty and without merit.  The first act of true stewardship is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).  Jesus called this the most important commandment (Mark 12:29, 30).  With that love for the Lord in us, we are enabled to be good stewards.  Then we can do acts of good stewardship, acts of true devotion.  We are enabled to . . .

  • “Give generously to Him and do so without a grudging heart” (Deuteronomy 15:10).
  • “Carefully observe [His decrees and laws] with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 26:16).
  • “Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).

God, through Ezekiel, promised, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).  This promise He has fulfilled in His Son, Jesus, Who has followed His Father’s decrees and kept His laws for us.  As we strive to live fruitful lives of stewardship, at the same time, we rest in Christ Who has been the perfect steward for us.

It is a Matter of the Heart!

In Jesus,
Pastor Tim

Seeking the Light

There is a mourning, a fog of sadness that covers me when I take down the Christmas decorations. For five weeks the sparkling silver, red, and green have overtaken our house. Lights twinkling in the darkness, glowing, guiding me during my early morning reading. But today, it will all be put away. The white cold, stark days begin. Days of waiting until we can decorate again. And as much as a dread the undoing, I crave the cool, clean crispness of January unfolding forward into spring, summer, and beyond.

It is in this chilly darkness that I remember to crave the Light. To be ever mindful of it, to never take it for granted. The prophet Isaiah states: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) The passage of time each year brings us to another Christmas. But the truth of it is that “Christmas can only be found” – Ann Voskamp reminds us in her book “The Greatest Gift”. Christmas is our hope, our brilliance even when the lights are put away and the shadows of winter lay before us. It is here where Ann reminds us that “God favors the darkest places so you can see his light the brightest.”

Epiphany is upon us. The traditional date when the wise men visited baby Jesus after following the star to Bethlehem. Their journey took them many months over difficult terrain. Each night they marked the position of the star in order to keep following it. It was only in the darkness where they could find their position and map out where to go.

We also wait in the shadows of this world that is not our home. May we continually seek the light of Jesus in these months until Christmas. May we love others looking for light in them as we reflect the glow that Jesus is to us. And may we remember what the disciple John wrote: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)