Tuesday, August 20, 2013
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Our second child was in college; we had just one left at home. And honestly, I hadn't totally figured out the adjusted grocery needs at our house. I always made sure we had plenty of quick breakfast food around. We needed that because of our crazy lifestyle. And because I hadn't figured out the new math for our new family configuration, I bought way too many donuts or muffins or bagels or whatever a few times. When that happened they sat around a lot longer and they turned a little dry, a little tough, and then they got a little hard. But that's where the microwave comes to the rescue. You pop them in, you warm them up briefly, and what was hard turns soft.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Warm a Hard, Old Heart."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans 1:21, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him. But their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man, and birds, and animals and reptiles." That's a pretty sad testimony here to the downward spiral of people away from God.
No one starts out real far from God; we go through stages of getting away. The Bible says, "We wander away like sheep." So, first of all, you start thinking confusing thoughts. It says their thoughts became futile, and then your heart gets darker and your heart gets harder. You hardly even realize it. And then you start to get all full of yourself. It says here that they claimed to be wise and became fools. Well pretty soon you end up worshiping earth stuff rather than worshiping the Lord. You didn't mean to get there. You know how it starts? It starts when your heart just begins to get dark and hard.
Maybe you could notice that happening to you lately. Now, your actions haven't changed that much, you're still at the meetings, you're singing the songs and you're doing jobs for the Lord. But you get more confused in your thinking and your heart is drying out like my old donuts. You're tougher and you're harder inside. You need to warm up that heart again. How do you do it?
Well, the Bible says you do that when you glorify Him as God and give thanks to Him. That's how you keep from having a hard heart. That's the way to soften a brittle heart, to review what God has done for you. Gratitude is the key to attitude. If you're not specifically looking for and saying thanks for all God is doing in your life, your spirit starts to turn sour.
Let me suggest a daily thank you agenda. First of all, you start at the cross and just review. Picture yourself there and review what was paid for you and how much you are loved. Then secondly, review the big tapestry that God's been putting together so far in your life. Go back and thank Him for the people, the provisions, the circumstances that He's unfolded so skillfully so far, that He's architected, that He's woven together. It's helpful to look at that big picture that He's been painting. Not just at today's thread, but at the big tapestry. And then, thank Him for His gifts and His interventions in the past 24 hours. Bring your thanks up-to-date.
As you get on your knees and you specifically start to review what your Father has done, at the cross, in the tapestry of your life up to this point, and in the last 24 hours, you'll find that toughness, that hardness starting to melt away.
Praise and gratitude are like a spiritual microwave. They warm the heart that has gotten hard and they make it soft again.