Daily Archives: July 5, 2013

Josh. 7; Ps. 137, 138; Jer. 1; Matt. 15

A true matter of the heart…

Consider the following… you put your cell phone into your pocket and the phone mistakenly calls one of your contacts without you knowing it. The problem is the call remains connected for the entire day… how would the person on the other end describe you after hearing how you lived your life for that one day? Would that person describe you as a hypocrite or as an individual who speaks and acts in ways that honors God? Think about this for a moment… are you living a life that is aligned with God’s principles?

Very interesting approach Matthew 15 takes on the saying ‘do what you say and say what you do’. Perhaps, applying this saying to how we should be living our life, the saying would be better spoken as ‘do as He says and what He says you should do’ as it is what we do that exemplifies what is truly in our hearts! Lately there’s been a few occasions when I’ve needed to reflect on whether what I’m doing is really what God wants me to do or am I only doing what I’m doing out of a sense of obligation, as my heart isn’t into it. Who am I kidding… my Father knows me… He’s known me and all of us since before we were born (Jer. 1:5). I can’t hide from Him, so I need to make a decision… do I believe Him with all my heart? Since I love my Father, do I think of Him often, for scripture says that what or who we love, we love to think about (Psalm 137:5-9).

Just as God made man and women to live together as man and wife as a true partnership as one, so, too, the mind and heart are designed by God to live together in one body in true partnership. One without the other can have disastrous results as the mind cannot feel and the heart cannot think; each must be invested in the same goal if an outcome is to be one that is pleasing to God and in harmony with His teachings of how we should be living. But of the two, mind and heart, Matthew 15:16-28 shares Jesus’ words that the heart is the most dangerous as it is what comes out of the heart that can destroy us. Our minds and our bodies can be filled, but if our hearts are not changed, we live a life of ritual and religion that Jesus despised and not a life of relationship with our Lord and Savior that is pleasing to Him. I would suspect that the miraculous feeding of the thousands with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish in Matthew 15:29-39 was simply a quick cheap meal for those who chose to deny the gift of relationship with our Savior. Before I cast judgment, am I guilty of the same when I don’t fully embrace the feeding of my heart by the words of my Lord? Do I live a life that honors Jesus?

Recently, I visited a local woman’s shelter with the goal of finding service opportunities for the men in my men’s group. As has been the case in so many experiences lately, instead of me looking to feed, it was I was who is fed. The Pastor in charge of the shelter shared the many service opportunities… of which, food was, and continues to be, an issue. While examining the food pantry, I found many bare area’s where food once was, but is no longer. The Pastor then shared that every Wednesday, the ladies of the shelter bag food from their pantry to give to 12-15 homeless community residents… the pantry which is already at a dangerously low state. When asked how he could continue to give away the precious commodity, his response was ‘God will provide…’ and He had done so again and again and again! Just days prior, I had witnessed a shopping cart overflowing with dated food that was bound for a dumpster that I was able to have redirected to the shelter. Coincidence? Hardly… I am finalizing the application process to the Maryland Food Bank for the women’s shelter so good food is properly directed and used. All part of the manifestation of a changed heart to serve Him… to truly die to self. I witnessed an incredibly deep faith rich in God’s word of belief and trust on a daily basis through this Pastor. I want that kind of faith… don’t you?

German playwright, poet, novelist, and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated “Willing is not enough; we must do. Knowing is not enough; we must apply.” I think that Goethe, without knowing it, summarized what Jesus was trying to speak in Matthew 15… that in essence, to know, and not to do, is the same as not to know. To know of God, and not to do all we can with a joyful and changed heart, is that same as not to know God at all. Rather, to truly know God has others knowing of God because our hearts, not just our minds, are changed (Ps. 138:1).

Heavenly Father, help me to be committed to the changed heart. It is through this changed heart that those who come into contact with me will know of You and who You are. Father help me to accept those who surround me as they are, but model Your ways, and continue to pray for my brother and sister in hopes that through me modeling behavior which is pleasing to You, other hearts will be changed. I ask this through Christ our Lord… Amen!

gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)



Filed under 66 Books, Jeremiah, Joshua, Matthew, Psalms, Uncategorized