Heart Disease

Hearts 168457_154905807894473_110794108972310_320156_2061498_n“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

Jeremiah 17:9, NLT

We are the wounded. What exactly has caused it isn’t always known.  A death, divorce, depression and disability are great triggers.  Some of us are chronically ill, others are mentally ill.  We struggle to hold a job, and to go to church. There are some who are reading this who are controlled by addictions.  And a few of us consider suicide on pretty much a regular basis.

We’ve been hospitalized and stigmatized, and sometimes even institutionalized. And at times we endure massive attacks of fear and anxiety.  We are not easily understood, and we hear the whispers.  Our paranoia can often saturate what what we are thinking, (I think its more like a “marinade.”  Our brains just soak it up.)  Most of us are ‘walking wounded.’ We limp physically, and figuratively with equal pain.

“For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable,
    and your wound is grievous.”

Jeremiah 30:12, ESV

If we are honest (and God insists on a rigorous honesty) we realize that we are a mess!  The prophet Jeremiah had a tremendous understanding of the human condition, and was never beguiled by the lie of pride, arrogance and selfishness.  He declares that we are diseased down to the core, like a rotten apple.

At times we continue in our favorite style of darkness.  And havoc sporadically rips through us and we become “disaster areas.”  How very sad, and profoundly tragic.

But you must understand this powerful fact.  Jesus Christ has been sent by the Father to save and cleanse all who come to Him.

“At that time a fountain will be open for David’s descendants and for the people of Jerusalem to cleanse them of their sin and uncleanness.”

Zechariah 13:1, NCV

“Children, it’s time for a bath,” and what God has done provides us the only way to “get better.” Some of us have carried staggering burdens for decades.  But I must be truthful. Our afflictions may continue to disturb us.  If you are bipolar or depressed, it just could be you’ll remain so.  But I know first-hand that our Father will give us an extra ration of grace.

In the Old Testament, family patriarchs could give an additional portion to a son he especially loved.  All were blessed, but some more so. That peculiar proclivity of our Father is why some of us with deep wounds can follow closer than others who are healthy.

“For I am the LORD, your healer.” Ex. 15:26

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“The treatment a wound gets decides whether time will bring healing or bondage.”

&

ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion. (Lord, have mercy on each reader)

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Our Life in Babylon

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Christians are now smack-dab in “Babylon.” We must live our lives under the auspices of this hostile world-system, and yet stay faithful to our Lord. We must manage ourselves with the same grace as Daniel or Esther.

In Jeremiah 29 there contains an important historical letter that the prophet Jeremiah wrote to those taken into captivity. In it we can absorb much of what is needful for the moment. For people caught in Babylon it becomes a vital document, advising them of what they should now do.

This list comes straight out of Jeremiah 29.

  • First, prepare for the long haul. Be good citizens of your new land, (vv.5-6.)
  • Second, pray for the peace of the nation you’re captive in. (v.7.)
  • Third, don’t be fooled by it’s culture, Discern what is true and what is false. Babylon is full of false gods and worship.
  • Fourth, remember that God has given you “a future and a hope” (v. 11.)
  • Lastly, extend that same discernment to the spiritual understanding of your own past.

These five should be enough to navigate faithfully through hard times in Babylon. We must admit that we’re only “pilgrims and strangers” here. Our citizenship is in heaven where it is secure. By faith we understand this.

As broken believers we are supervised by the Holy Spirit, even in this difficult place, Our souls are shepherded by God, even in Babylon. Our “captivity” is only temporary– it is not a permanent one.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV

“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion.”

Psalm 137:1

“She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.”

1 Peter 5:13

‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

Revelation 18:10

ybic, Bryan

 

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Pushing Back the Darkness

 

You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light. 2 Sam. 22:29

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darknessLuke 11:34

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. Ephesians 5:12

There exists a preponderance of scriptural weight in dealing directly with our relationship with darkness and the light.  Darkness is an evil presence.  As believers we must reject the darkness, and turn into the light.  We look directly at Him and we will find our salvation.

But there is a great deal of confusion.  But the entire concept of light over darkness opens our eyes to all that is good, and its worthy of a second look. But evil will insist on its darkness, and we in turn will push it aside.  God doesn’t dwell in darkness, neither should we.

When the blackness pursues us, we must turn and meet its presence.  It must only advance to the place where light meets it.  It cannot advance any closer.  When the time is right, we must push against its evil.  Darkness will never inherit a thing from the children of light.

When we turn to our Father, nothing can touch us.  We are teflon.  We press against darkness and it folds up.  It is an illusion and nothing more.  We shouldn’t be fearful or intimidated by the way it posturea and preens.  There is not a thing there, unless we buy into its foolish pretending.

Darkness will be forever pushed into a corner against our light. We should expect a push back.  But it holds no weight, and has no real significance.  We push back and he folds up.  Actually it is hardly a process and more a rout.  The light will shine and we will move into the place we are have been ordained for.

We take this place that the Father has made for us.  We will no longer be intimidated by a circulating evil.  We step out and the light meets us.  We push against darkness and it has to accommodate us.  He has made it so our hearts are only receptive to grace and light.

We can be touched by nothing except through His cross.

ybic, Bryan

 

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The School of Friends

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“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”

1 Samuel 18:1

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Ruth 1:16

The quality of our lives can be measured by our friends.  It takes some of us a very long time to understand this.  Often we have this mistaken belief that other things are immensely important, and we strive to make these qualities relevant and significant.  But the Spirit of God is on a whole different board, and He is wondering why we aren’t there with Him. It’s time to catch-up!

To be a friend– a companion, is a significant undertaking.  It involves channeling ones love and commitment to someone other than family.  If we have become someone’s friend, our dedication to that person can be measured. (Not everything is intangible).  So what will friendship require?  My answer is simply this:  All that is needful for the present moment.

Something ‘clicked’ inside of Jonathan when he talked with David.  There was something of understanding and an affinity that was created between them.  As I read this account I realize that this friendship was what was exactly needed for David to survive the conflicts he was coming into.  Now it certainly wasn’t the full answer, but friendship would certainly help lift him above the fray.

Ruth had this exceptional relationship with Naomi.  Ruth was locked on and quite intensely has made a strong verbal and volitional commitment to Naomi.  She is so sincere here as she makes a vow to follow and to serve.  She ‘shuts down’ her agenda and goals in order to live life through Naomi’s experience.  What a generous humility and gentleness!

“Don’t forget your friend or your parent’s friend.”

Proverbs 27:10

Both Jonathan and Ruth embraced their new calling.  Friendship is a cavern chiseled out to be an amphitheater.  It is a whole bigger and more expansive than we ever thought possible.  Its borders and boundaries go far beyond than a Wednesday night poker game with your buddies.

Recovering this new understanding of biblical friendship can be revitalizing.  When we see the fruits we wonder how we will ever transverse the path of discipleship without companionship.  It is noteworthy to point out that Jesus sent out His disciples ‘two by two’.  Sometimes, it will involve a radical (extreme) shift in thinking.  However, there can be an incredible boost coming from this relationship.

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”   

Helen Keller

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ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion.

 

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