Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Porcelain Heart

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a man loved a little girl. He watched her grow up and knew her in every way. He loved her as His own and she loved Him in her youthful innocence. They spent many nights together talking, playing and laughing. One night like this He presented her with a gift He created for her. In wonder the little girl, who was becoming a young lady, lifted a perfect, beautiful porcelain heart out of the box. She marveled at its' beauty and treasured it close for a long time. Her Guardian offered to keep it safe for her on numerous occasions but she always laughed Him off, wanting to show the world the beauty of the heart He'd made her. As she grew older the time she spent with this man grew sparse. There were some days where things would be as they were when she was little, and in those moments He would plead with her to let Him guard the heart, warning her of its' fragility. But she held onto it, dismayed that He would try and take something so precious to her.

The two grew further apart and before she realized what was happening the little girl, now a young lady, was swept off of her feet by a handsome young man. He showered her with praises, exclaiming of her beauty. The young lady was sure that when she showed him her beautiful porcelain heart he would be awed as she was at this treasure. So she gave it to the young man in hopes of showing him how much she'd grown to love him. She trusted him to protect it for her. For a while he did. Then he grew a little careless. Over time it got some chips and cracks in it but wasn't completely ruined. The girl expressed her disappointment but the young man promised to be more careful and repair it, so she let him keep it. Weeks went by and the cracks in the heart only grew. Finally she made a decision. She had to get her heart back and leave. So, she timidly approached the young man who still held the heart loosely in his hand. When she reached for it he held it out to her saying, "Take it, I have no use for something so delicate. It's worthless to me." Once the heart was in her possession she turned and ran - hard, fast, and long. As soon as the young lady was far enough away from the handsome young man she fell to the ground and wept, for in all that happened the heart was shattered into bits and pieces. Her beautiful porcelain heart was destroyed. Only the skillful hand of the master craftsman could repair it.

She slowly turned in the direction of the home of her Guardian, knowing there was nowhere else for her to go. It was a long journey and she went over and over what she would do and say. The last thing she wanted to do was show Him the heart broken as it was. She could imagine the disappointment in His eyes. On her way back she tried many things to put it back together and some would work… for a while… and then it would break all over again. Still she continued on. Just when she got to the door of her Guardian's home she concealed the pieces of the heart in her clothing, deciding not to reveal its' brokenness. He opened the door and embraced her warmly with tears streaming down His face. The young lady sobbed brokenly, muttering apologies for not coming sooner. She was taken in, cleaned up, given new clothes to wear and her old room back. For many days she rested in her room, all the while wondering what to do with the broken heart. She and her Guardian went on daily walks where they talked about all manner of things, but He never asked her about it. He just waited. Many weeks went by, becoming months, and the girl couldn't bring herself to show Him the pieces of the once beautiful porcelain heart.

One evening they sat together watching the sunset in content silence. She sighed and leaned back soaking up the last bit of the suns warmth. As the final rays disappeared on the horizon He stood, looked at her, and said, "It’s time." Her heartbeat accelerated while she looked up at Him, knowing He was right. So, she got up and led the way to her room. There she opened a small chest that held the pieces of her heart and pulled out each one, laying them on the table like a scattered puzzle. They were there for what seemed like hours while she cried and told Him the story. He simply looked at her with compassion, carefully collected each piece, and without a word slipped out the door. That night she she slept soundly, relieved that she no longer had to protect the secret of her heart.

The heart was not mentioned, and the young lady knew without asking that He would take care of it. Months went by. Months that she spent learning under her guardian and talking with Him. During this time she grew and was nourished and healthy. There were occasions in which she wondered what became of the broken pieces but she never asked.

One morning as she was going about her daily chores and studies her Gaurdian came in and pulled her aside. With a radiant grin on His face He pulled a box from behind His back and held it out to her. Not believing what her eyes were telling her was true she stared, open-mouthed. In slow-motion she opened the box and uncovered… a porcelain heart. Not just any heart, her porcelain heart. It wasn't exactly the same as the one she had before, but more spectacular and beautiful. There were no cracks, no chips, just the purest porcelain. As silent, joyful tears slipped down her cheeks she reached into the box and tenderly pulled out the heart, admiring its' smooth texture. With careful movements the young lady knelt before this man and held the heart out to Him saying, "This heart can only ever belong to one person... it's maker. You alone are worthy of such a beautiful treasure. I love you Jesus."

The End

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Jesus Loves the Little Children

NOT for young readers!

**** If you're 13 and under I am strictly warning you not to watch this video without your parents permission. It has some graphic images of emaciated and wounded children.

Jesus Loves the Little Children

I would've posted the actual video to my blog but it wouldn't let me do it and emphasize the above warning as much as I wanted to. So view the video at your own discretion.

I heard about this video or one similar to it this weekend while reading this booklet on What's ridiculous is that Christian Americans could completely eliminate this problem if they would only excercise a little bit of self-restraint. I encourage you all to visit that link and read the booklet. Regardless of whether or not you read it though, you'll be hearing from me on this issue quite a bit in the coming weeks.

If Jesus really does love the little children, and we're supposed to be as Christ on the earth.... what does our inaction say to the world?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Counted Among the Dimwits

We've been reading in the book of Mark lately. One thing that I've noticed over and over is how often it notes that Jesus pulls his disciples aside to teach them privately - away from the crushing crowds. Often He began to teach them concerning His death and ressurrection. We're all familiar with the scripture - Mark 8:32-33

He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."

Jesus made a point of publicly rebuking Peter. He made sure all of the disciples heard it - I'm sure because they all were cheering Peter for saying the things they dared not. Peter, being the outspoken one of them, I can imagine was probably nominated for the job. And as usual Jesus knew their hearts better than they did. He accuses them of earthly mindedness. I can imagine that at this point Jesus was a little frustrated with these men. This wasn't the first time they'd exposed their earthly minds. Time and again Jesus rebuked them for not understanding the words He spoke in parables or for their lack of faith.

Think about it. These men forsook everything to follow Jesus. They'd performed miracles in His name and listened to His teachings day in and out. But it made no difference in changing their minds. Look at chapter 8: 15-18
Then He charged them saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." And they reasoned among themselves saying, "It is because we have no bread." But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?

Here Jesus tells them they are blind and hard-hearted! If they had been heavenly minded I think they would have seen and understood Jesus meaning - that He was trying to warn them against religion and hypocrisy. Please feel free to correct me, but am I wrong in thinking that earthly mindedness is equivalent to blindness? If we are earthly minded we will not see or hear the things that the Lord is trying to show us. We will be utterly blind to His revelation. The disciples walked in the blindness until Jesus last days on this earth. How many times did He pull them aside to teach them about His death and ressurection?? And were they expectant of it? Not at all!! Some even doubted until they actually saw Him risen.

It made me wonder - how earthly minded am I? Which also makes me ask - am I blinded?? Blinded to the things that He is trying to reveal to me?? Blindness is a judgement on those who refuse to walk in the light! I do not want that judgement on myself! I want to walk in the clear light of His word - able to hear His voice and obey! I don't want to be counted among the dimwits who didn't understand... But I'm afraid that far too often I am.

A chapter later in the book of Mark Jesus approaches a group of people who are bickering with the disciples. They're trying to cast a demon out of a mans' son and they can't do it... Even here their lack of faith, their unbelief hinders them. So the boys father cries out to Jesus, with tears, "Lord I believe; help my unbelief!" That man had more wisdom and understanding than those who walked with Jesus on a daily basis! His son was healed, even out of his inadequate faith. Those disciples must've felt pretty stupid! But they were blind to their error...

God I pray that if I am blind to my own stupidity, rip off the blinders. I want to be mindful of the things of You, not the things of this world!! Change my thinking! Change my heart!!! Help my unbelief Father! May my soul cry out to you.... God I can't thank you enough for your everlasting patience, your mercy! That even though I have the Holy Spirit, I'm still stubborn and earthly minded. I cannot even begin to understand the fathoms of your grace, but I am so thankful for them.. Holy God do not cease your work in my heart and mind to conform them to yours...

Friday, February 01, 2008

A couple more..

“This He will not endure.. To attempt to please Him with isolated acts of devotion when it is not the habit and state of our minds, is far more abominable than for a wife to attempt to please her husband with an occasional smile while she lives only to please and gain the affections of another man.”

- Charles G. Finney

“[Paul] gave the devil a headache all the Excedrin in the world couldn’t move. Why? Because he said, ‘None of these things move me’ Now get him straight, he didn’t say, ‘None of these things hurt me.’ Of course they hurt him! The more sensitive you are, the more deeply you’re wounded. But they didn’t move him!... The success of the Christian life isn’t profound theology and memorizing scripture, it’s ‘Keep looking unto the author and deliverer.’ “

- Leonard Ravenhill

We leave for Dallas this afternoon! See you after we get back!