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Warm Hearts

Ezekiel 36:26

I will give you an undivided heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

This section of scripture is basically a love letter from God to his people. He reminds them that their sins have not gone unnoticed, but they are still his people. They should be ashamed for their conduct, but they will see that God will make his people as numerous as sheep.

He loves us.

How often have you felt the arms of God wrapped around you to comfort you? Have you seen the glint of love in the eyes of God, not with your physical eye, but with your spirit?

God wants us to know that we are his, and we are loved.

Yes, we’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all been selfish and lazy and cold-hearted. But God has a good plan in mind for every one of us. He doesn’t sleep. He’s not lazy. He keeps after us to drive us to do his will.

If you’ve been feeling the pressure to do something good for someone else, but your selfishness is fighting against it, relax and let the selfishness go. Tell your selfishness, “You’re fired.” It never did anything good for you.

That divided heart hosts a battle between laziness and godliness. Those in the world look to God’s people for an example of God’s love. If we don’t show it, who will? We are the ones God wants to use to bring comfort and blessing to the broken hearted. But not if we’re full of ourselves. Not if we’re nursing our cold, stony hearts. How is he going to work alongside his people if his people don’t show up for work?

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Jesus said that to his disciples (Mark 11:25) after they discovered that a fig tree that Jesus had cursed had withered. They never expected to see its branches so withered the next morning after Jesus cursed it. Jesus emphasized the importance of knowing, believing, and speaking God’s will.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24)

In a few other places in the Bible, God links the reciprocity of forgiveness. He wants to hear from us, but our prayers are sometimes hindered by our unforgiveness. This heart of stone keeps us from seeing more of God’s will being done in our lives. 

Coldness is a temporary problem. We can be warmed up. Our ice can melt. Take a look at your surroundings. Are you surrounding yourself with cold friends and following cold-hearted customs? Do you need to re-think your traditions?

Invest in warm friendships. If you don’t have any, make some. If you have some, have you been diligent to maintain those friendships?

Treat God’s word with greater respect. You can invite someone to do a Bible study with you. You can start a personal mission centered around being an available warm friend to your neighbors.

Ask God what he’s designed you to do. Whatever it is, it’s based in his love. And remember, his fiery love is powerful enough to melt the coldest of icebergs.

Something Cold

Matthew 10:42

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.  

How can something cold be warm?

Sometimes cold can be bad. A cold woman can be unforgiving and harsh. She can be indifferent and unkind. This is the kind of woman who inspires pity by her spiteful ways. She makes you feel the goosebumps of a bitter cold wind, even on a hot day.

Sometimes cold can be good. A cup of cold water sometimes feels like a warm hug A child who comes inside with a sweaty face, having played outside in the August heat for an hour, wants to cool his hands and throat with a cold glass of water. A cup of water to the dry and thirsty is a welcomed gift. It freshens and refuels the body.

Your generosity towards others makes them feel warm inside. When you volunteer to help out in a school or local charity, your attitude of warmth makes people feel loved. You can plant a seed of warmth and watch it turn into a beautiful harvest right before your eyes.

While you’re considering how to affect your community with the warmth of God’s love, you can find something cold and make it feel warm. Enjoy!

Being Warm

Matthew 24:12 

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.

Some of us are starting to grab a jacket before we head outside in the morning. Not all of us. I’m still in short-sleeve shirts. It’ll be a while before I need a jacket. But for some, October marks a change in the weather. People are starting to use the word COLD for something besides describing how they like their lemonade.

One thing I’m fairly sure of is that when I get to Heaven, I won’t need a parka. Heaven will be perfect. No need to wipe sweat off your forehead. No need to wrap up in a blanket. No one will be too hot or too cold. People will be as warm as the love in their hugs.

When I read about how Jesus treated people, the warmth comes through very well. He healed people with a genuine, full-hearted love. He had a warmth that penetrated the coldest of hearts around him. People saw his warmth and either hated him or loved him for it.

While we’re going through a change in seasons, let every cold day remind us to be warm like Jesus. We can be generous, thoughtful, and kind to others. We can be ready to forgive when we start our day. We won’t wait until others have offended us. Was it Vince Lombardi who said, “The best defense is a good offense”? We’ll let love be our offensive strategy and our automatic response.

Do you want generosity and mercy to be your legacy?