Into My Heart

Into My Heart

Into My Heart

Into My Heart

The thought was overwhelming. Although I was driving I took my phone out of my pocket to call my wife who was several counties away for an appointment.  At that very moment I saw she was calling me.  Now I had forgotten to take my phone out of its silent mode and I had not been aware of the incoming call.

Although the call was not an emergency, it was a reminder in a wonderful way of God’s very presence inside me.  “Into my heart, into my heart. Come into my heart Lord Jesus. Come in today.  Come in to stay.  Come into my heart Lord Jesus!”  I still remember learning that song as a child. I remember believing it as I asked the Lord Jesus to come in.

It has taken a lifetime from that moment so long ago to appreciate how powerful a change this has made on my life.  God is truly our Great Friend, unlike any other.  He consoles, guides, promises, protects, chides, disciplines, encourages.  He loves!

In my life as this wonderful Friendship has grown I have long lost count of the many ways He has done these things.   I cannot imagine a life without Him!  My greatest concern is displeasing Him.  I know that I am far from perfect and that I do displease Him at times. It is at those times, when I realize I have gone astray in some way that my heart breaks and I run as fast as I can back to Him.  How thankful I am for His many wonderful promises!  “I will never (ever) leave you!”  “Your sins and transgressions I will remember no more” “I will come and I will receive you to myself”  “I am with you always, even to the end of this age.”  And they go on.

As I said, I cannot imagine life without Him.  Into my heart He came.  In my heart He stays.  Have you asked?  Do you believe it?  If you don’t I would love to talk with you and tell you so many, many stories of how good, how faithful, how wonderful is this, the greatest of all Friendships.  It is an offer to everyone no matter who you are or what you have done.

“Prom? Yes”?!

English: Duluth box car number 18052 on displa...

English: Duluth box car number 18052 on display at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom. Photo by Sean Lamb (User:Slambo), October 10 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Prom? Yes”

That’s what the train said.  It was early this morning.  On my way down Cumberland to have breakfast and prepare for the day ahead, I heard the sound of an oncoming train.  Just before I reached the crossing, lights flashing red, the barricade dropped, blocking my path.  One, two, three, four engines headed up the slowly moving freight train.
This is gonna be a while I thought.  What to do?  I started counting the cars but soon lost count.   I began trying to read the sides as one by one the graffiti embellished cars rolled past.  Were these graphic displays the work of gangs, an attempt to create art, or something else?  Then it caught my eye.  Amidst the graffiti on the side of the boxcar I could clearly make out, “Prom? Yes”.
I understood that.  A question.  From whom?  Was the yes an answer or was it a hoped for response?  I thought, “Why, in this age of seemingly unlimited means of wireless communication was the side of a box car used?”
We are told that the amount of information competing for our attention has doubled in ten years to something like 35 GB of data.  We are not built to process that much and the overload takes a toll on us. If we are going to pay attention then the communicator better do something special!
Golden skies, billowing clouds, autumn leaves, soft new fallen snow, the tiniest peep of a newborn chick, the cry of our own new baby, the anguished cry of His Son dying for all of us.  No one would or could have done more to get our attention.  Are we listening?



Whew! I was soaked with sweat, and around me lay piles of dirt, wood chips, a pry bar, bow saw, shovel, spade, ax, blocks for a fulcrum and… a stump removed from the ground. It took all my effort, a variety of tools, four hours of work and a LOT of energy. When I finished I was exhausted but satisfied.

Last week I wrote about that stump and how it was held by something unseen beneath the surface of the ground and that, after digging down almost a foot and cutting every root in sight, it remained firmly entrenched in the landscape.

Removing it took persistence, patience, rest between attempts and a variety of tools. At last, after digging deeper than I thought I would have to go, using a hand spade, to uncover a large tap root going directly down from the center cutting most of it with a saw and then, putting all my weight on a 6 foot steel pry bar… it broke free!

Like stumps, conflicts and other problems can be deeply rooted. During my span of 25 years serving churches I have witnessed many a conflict in church. Whether the conflict was over theology, programs, buildings or personalities in every case I have seen that all ‘sides’ seemed to possess a portion but not all of the answer. When the conflicts have not been resolved it has been because people could or would not work together.

We are too ready to speak and too slow to listen. We are too convinced we are right and ‘they’ are wrong. In our failure to listen; in our failure to consider that we don’t know it all; we reject the people and the perspective of others without which we will never find the answer to our intractable problem.

In the Church God has given gifts to each of us so that together we become more, much more than the sum of our parts. I kept going back to the tool shed for something else. I kept going back to that stump over several days until it gave way.

Without the strength, gifts, understanding and presence of some of the most unlikely and even the least favored we may never resolve our most difficult problems. Jesus was murdered by those who exclaimed, “Can any good thing come out of Galilee? … Search the Scriptures and they will tell you that no prophet comes out of Galilee.” (John 7) They were sure Jesus was NOT the answer, to their own loss.

We need each other. We need those we think most likely to succeed and we need those who seem least likely to succeed. We need the most gifted among us and we need those who may seem to be the least gifted among us. No one among us has all the answers or all that is needed to find solutions in our world and in our lives. I needed many tools to break that stump free. We need all the gifts God gives us to uproot the problems in our lives.