The Heart of Valentine’s Day

Roses

This is a special day for those “in love.”  For married couples, it is just another day of intentionally working at their marriage with a little bit of flare added to it or sadly for some, it is a “catch up” day or a day just passed by.

Nevertheless, the very symbol of Valentine’s Day really sums up the whole of married life….as well as everyone’s life.  It is a heart issue.  In other words, the heart of every issue is an issue of the heart.  This speaks even to those of a broken heart today.

Jesus said, in answer to the lawyer’s testing question of what is the greatest commandment, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 22:37-39).

Before an unsaved, lost man can be born again (John 3:1-16) and then love God with all his heart, he must turn to Christ and receive Him as the Word of God clearly states.  Until a man receives Christ as the only way to God the Father (John 14:1-6), he has no desire to love God (Romans 3:9-17).  But when a sinner is born again, the perfect love of God is poured out upon him/her (Romans 5:5), and they understand the greatest love of all from the Creator and Sustainer of true love (1 John 4:7-19).  No man understands or lives out genuine love until he comes to know God through Jesus Christ alone.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:9-13).

For a married couple that knows and understands the love of God, the heart is still the issue of every facet of marriage.  No matter what route or adventure marriage takes, loving God with all your heart is the answer.

Many years ago in Bible college, I was introduced to the simple marriage triangle.

marriage triangle

This triangle simply teaches, the closer each spouse moves to God, the closer they move toward each other. The further each moves from God, the further they move from each other. Broken marriages always involve at least one partner moving away from God.  Blessed marriages involve both partners loving God with all their heart, moving closer and closer to God.  When you really love someone, you want to be with them.  You want to move closer to them.  You want to know them.

God created marriage, not man (Genesis 2:18-25).  Therefore, if you desire to have a marriage that fulfills all that God intended and makes for a heart-filled Valentine’s Day every day, move closer to God through His Word, prayer, and worship; love Him with all your heart, and your neighbor (your spouse) in the same manner.

The heart of every issue is an issue of the heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bluegrass & the Gospel: Makes People Grin

 

Every once-in-awhile, I am blessed to have a guest blogger from right here in the mountains of East Tennessee. Wayne is a simple man born and bred in the Boones Creek area. His love for Christ and others is infectious. He grew up hard, but the grace of God continues to mold and shape him into Christlikeness. His viewpoint on life is biblical and full of plain ol’ common sense. So, with joy I share with you today a recent writing of his. Besides, I have a genuine love for bluegrass, too!

Did you happen to see the video of Earl Scruggs and Friends. Not only was there some great pickin”, there’s a lesson to learn. As the video took us through the door into the midst of some very talented musicians, we immediately picked up on the toe-tappin“, hand-clappin” tune of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”. If you could see the sheet music, you would note that each musician was seeing five lines and four spaces with matching notes to the old familiar tune. Granted, there was a considerable amount of talented liberty taken by each individual, but each was following the fundamental notes, the original standard, the very foundation of this song penned by Earl Scruggs. Now, as the music progressed, did you find yourself, pattin” your foot, maybe tappin” the table with your fingers. I know you grinned, no-one can listen to that and not grin…So, what made it so special. It was the individual musician. Their zest for the moment, their excitement, their pure enjoyment of playing the fundamental song their own special way.

Let us take a lesson from that. We have the fundamental, original standard, the foundation, the absolute truth of the Word of God. What we must learn is to present it with zest, excitement, enjoyment in our own unique way to all who will allow us to do so. Ponder on that a while and look for ways to make people grin.

Earl Scruggs and Friends

Reaching Your Own People

Last night in Prayer Meeting, we watched a portion of Dispatches from the Front, Episode 3, I Once Was Blind.  “The third episode . . . goes deep into the lands of West Africa, lands broken and bloodied by years of horrific civil war, desperate poverty, and dark religion. For centuries Islam and demon worship have held millions in the grip of fear, violence, and blood-guilt. However, the Gospel is changing all of that!”  What a powerful testimony to the power of the Gospel as demon worshipers are being converted to Christ and are making a difference for Him!  We even have one of church members headed to West Africa on a medical mission’s trip very soon to reach people in darkness with the light of the transforming Gospel!!

As I watched along with the rest of our congregation, a statement caught my attention as never before.  As Tim Keesee, Director of Frontline Missions, narrated, he made a statement about how these Liberian believers “were reaching their own people with the Gospel.”  How often when a native missionary comes to our church and we think, “Wow!  That is the best way; a native going to reach his own people.  He doesn’t have to spend time learning the language or the customs.  He can start preaching the gospel as soon as he returns to his native land!”  Then it struck me; I need to see myself in the same vein.  I can “reach my own people with the Gospel.”  They live across the street from me.  They speak my language.  They have many of the same customs.  They are in my family. Now, I’m not very good at reaching the Hispanics or Bosnian or Chinese in our area, but I can reach the East Tennesseans!  They are my own kind!!  J

How about you?  Are you reaching your own people with the Gospel whether they be Hispanics or East Tennesseans? What would it take for you to be fully engaged in the Great Commission?  You speak their language fluently!  Go tell them about Jesus!!

Scripture For Today:  Luke 9:6; Acts 8:4  (Read it, meditate on it, pray it back to God, put yourself in the passage, and obey it.)  Are you going everywhere?  Be sure to keep reading and answering your study questions for our first Sunday in the study of Out of Commission.  Looking for God to touch down in each class!!