Heart Trouble

This is the week before Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Many (mostly women and children) love this holiday, while others (mostly men) seem to hate it. I am kind of partial toward that date since it’s my birthday. Lovelady is my maiden name, and I was born on Valentine’s Day.

Stores use red and pink hearts with flowers, lace, and chubby cupids for decorations. In this case, the hearts seem to symbolize the seat of emotions and love in particular. We know our physical organ does not look like those symmetrical heart-shaped chocolate boxes, and that thing that pumps blood has nothing to do with our feelings. But for a few days, the focus is on the warm, fuzzy kind of affection.

After Valentine’s Day, the candy goes on sale, the decorations are put away, and we can forget about love for now. We can’t sustain that much positive regard for very long.

In our society and the proverbial human heart, the status quo seems to be anger, suspicion, jealousy, and contempt. At best, it is indifference; at worst, murderous hatred. You pay attention to the news, don’t you?

I think about the popular haunting song from the late 1960s, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” Jackie DeShannon first recorded it, then Dionne Warwick. Oh yes! We need more love in this world to cover the multitude of our sins.

The Bible uses the word heart many times. I highlight that word in pink every time I encounter it on the pages of Scripture. I’ve tried to grasp the significance of what it means. If we are tri-part beings of body, soul, and spirit, it likely fits with the soulish part of us. I think our souls are possibly made up of mind, reason, and thoughts. It’s also will, desires, motivations, appetites, conscience, and emotions. I suppose our personalities relate here too.

I’m still working on all this, so don’t hold me to it.

But for today, I’m concerned, in particular about our young people. I know many hurting kids have reasons to be angry, but so many have hardened hearts. There are too many news reports of teenagers committing senseless murders. A spirit of revenge is a common motivation. They are unregenerate souls who need Jesus to perform a heart transplant on them. We need revival. We need a mighty move of the Holy Spirit among us.

My go-to verse about this is from Jeremiah.

9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10  “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” –Jeremiah 17:9-10

What we need is a spirit of repentance to replace that spirit of retaliation and feeling justified.

23  Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!  –Psalm 139:23-24

10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  – Psalm 51:10

Then, even in the Hebrew Scriptures, a message of salvation is spoken clearly:

25  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, … 26  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  –Ezekiel 36: 25-27

That sounds like a heart transplant.

Finally, the little book of Titus sums all this up nicely.

3  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  – Titus 3: 3-6

So our teachers try all kinds of interventions to manage unruly behavior. Principals try to get students to stop bullying one another. School counselors teach Character Education classes. Social workers are dealing with increasing suicides among young people. Parents tell their children to “be nice.” Pastors and politicians hold community meetings to plan another “Stop the Violence” rally, but what good does it do? None of this can really fix things until Jesus changes their hearts.

February is American Heart Month, and many of our young folks have heart disease. We need revival to address our heart trouble. Only Jesus transforms the human heart.

Valentine’s Day reminds me of God’s great love for me. He gave me life twice – physically and spiritually. It’s a day that turns my heart back toward Him. I want others to know Him too, because…

16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  –John 3: 16-17

Shalom, Dottie

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