Is Christ at Home in Your Heart?

 

MHCHNearly 70 years ago, Robert Boyd Munger wrote a challenging meditation about Christian discipleship called My Heart, Christ’s Home (click on the title or image to open the full text, which is only six pages long) and it is estimated that more than 10 million have read this book. I read it for the first time about 15 years ago and it had a great impact on my life.

Imagine Jesus coming to the home of your heart when you receive Him as your Saviour. As He moves from room to room, what does He see? In the library, are you embarrassed to let Him see what is on the shelves?

In the dining room, what’s on the menu? What appetites do you try to satisfy there? Do you allow Christ to replace your secular fare with His soul-satisfying food and drink?

In the workroom, does He find that you are using your gifts and talents for His glory or are your tools rusting and collecting dust?

Do you even allow Him into the rec room where you go for fun and leisure activities? Is it a place you would feel comfortable inviting Him to hang out with you?

What about the bedroom? Are your relationships pure and godly? Will you consider His guidelines, keeping in mind that He gives them out of His love for you and not to stifle you?

Is there anything rotting in your hall closet that you’ve hidden away? Will you let Him clean it out?

The living room is the ideal place to meet with Him for fellowship. But do you visit with Him regularly, talking and sharing or does He sit there waiting for you to make some time for Him?

I love Munger’s interpretation of what Jesus might say:

“The trouble is that you have been thinking of the quiet time of Bible study and prayer as a means for your own spiritual growth. This is true, but you have forgotten that this time means something to me also. Remember, I love you. At a great cost I have redeemed you. I value your fellowship. Just to have you look up into my face warms my heart. Don’t neglect this hour if only for my sake. Whether or not you want to be with me, remember I want to be with you. I really love you!”

Jesus may be your Saviour—but have you truly made Him Lord of your life, of your heart…His home?

Ann-Margret 

 

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It’s my birthday!

I’m 46 today. Gasp! 🙂

Instead of the usual Saturday round-up, I’m simply going to share this today:

Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your King to take you wholly into His service, and place all the hours of this day quite simply at His disposal, and ask him to make and keep you ready to do just exactly what He appoints. Never mind about tomorrow; one day at a time is enough. Try it today, and see if it is not a day of strange, almost curious peace, so sweet that you will be only too thankful when tomorrow comes to ask Him to take it also. – Francis Ridley Havergal

Rending and Mending

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA common joke among quilters is that we take perfectly good fabric, cut it up, and then sew it back together again. Yet, as much as quilters often cringe at the thought of ripping into beautiful fabric, we can take that bold step because we know that final project—a mosaic of many pieces of torn and cut material—is far more valuable than the original “whole.” And the wonderful thing about a quilt is that not only is the final product a treasure, but each patchwork piece is special and necessary.

Although “The Teacher” stated in Ecclesiastes 3:7 that there is “…a time to tear and a time to mend,” he probably wasn’t literally referring to quilting or sewing—there are other analogies we could use to describe separation and union—but he knew that everything on this finite planet has its time and place.

If we take the verse literally, we might think of times we acknowledged a worn-out bed sheet had served its purpose and then ripped it into squares to use as rags. Perhaps we’ve had to let out a skirt that mysteriously shrank while we weren’t paying attention. At other times we may have had to mend socks, repair a fallen hem or sewn an entire project. How many of us have ripped up old love letters or shredded confidential documents? Or rushed to the hospital for stitches after getting a bad cut? At one point or another, we’ve all decided to take something apart or to fix something (or have it fixed by someone else).

Similar to the vows marrying couples make to each other, the opposites listed in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 remind us that real life brings change and we must be ready for both good and bad. Who doesn’t dream of a life with no pain, no messiness, no fear? It would be much easier if the good things in our lives remained intact—our health, finances, relationships, favourite possessions. We can look forward to such blissful existence in heaven but, for now, we must accept the tearing and mending that happens on a regular basis.

When we find ourselves in circumstances where pain and blessings come at the same time, or when we must make a choice between two good opportunities or two people we love, it’s easy to feel torn. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid every situation that involves tearing. There are times we must let it happen, trusting God to give us the strength we need to endure the pain, believing that after the rending comes the mending. What is torn may not necessarily be put back together, but our hearts can be healed.

Ann-Margret

 

Saturday Round-up

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

I’m thankful for the wise people in my life and can only hope and pray that some of their wisdom is rubbing off on me. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of it with you.

Jocelyn Green, a beloved friend who is also a beloved author, recently posted this caution on Facebook:

I just read a meme on Twitter that really has me scratching my head. It’s a quote from a book that says, “I can’t think of a single time where Jesus held someone accountable. He just held people closely.” Can we think about this for a second? Can we be discerning?

First, I understand that the idea is that we are to love our neighbors. That is a truth that cannot be denied. (See Matthew 22:36-40.) Jesus says love, so we should.

But let’s look at the first sentence in the quote. Not a single time where Jesus held someone accountable? The definition of “accountable” is responsible or answerable, or subject to the obligation to report, justify, or explain something. Check out Matthew 23 to see how Jesus holds the Pharisees accountable for their actions and hypocrisy. Matthew 25:31-46 clearly shows how we are all accountable for our decisions, and the consequences are eternal. In John 8, people are getting ready to stone an adulterous woman, and Jesus tells them to only throw a stone if they have never sinned. Isn’t that holding them accountable/responsible? At the end of that story, he pours grace over the woman, but ends with “Go and sin no more.” Again, he’s giving her the responsibility to make better choices. The book of Revelation contains letters to churches, holding them accountable for what they did or didn’t do. There are more examples, but I’ll stop there.

I’m sharing this as an example that we all need to be discerning when reading memes and hearing sound bytes and listening to famous people. I’m an author so it’s no secret that I love books. But we should be holding up those books to the Truth of God’s Word. We don’t get to decide what Jesus did and didn’t say. It is written.

Amen to that!

Here’s some more great advice from another author friend, Jackie Johnson: Feeling Lonely? Isolated? 5 Essential Life Connections

Just for Fun

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Something I came across on someone’s blog several years ago:

“Today, whilst I was driving, a speed camera flashed me. I was not over the speed limit, so I turned around and went past it again even slower, again it flashed me. Confused I did again, it flashed. Finding this funny, I drove past again at snail’s pace. Only later receiving four fines for no seat belt.”

Oy vey!

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Ann-Margret

 

You Can’t Clean with Filthy Rags

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Can I assume we all enjoy living in a clean house? What might be less certain is how many of us enjoy cleaning our homes. Ironically, the more we avoid cleaning, the more cleaning we have to do when we reach the point that we can no longer ignore the dirt. . . or somebody is coming over and we couldn’t possibly let them see things less than perfect. Now we’ve got two problems: a big ugly mess and the daunting task of cleaning it up.

Conversely, some of us may work hard at keeping our homes clean (and Pinterest-worthy!) because it makes us feel good about ourselves, not necessarily for the sheer pleasure of having beautiful surroundings.

Some time ago, God showed me that this was my approach toward righteousness. Perhaps you can relate. We know it’s important to be pure and holy and we desire it because it makes us feel good, but we don’t necessarily pursue it for the right reasons or go about it the right way.

At our church Bible study one day, someone pointed out that righteousness and self-righteousness are not the same thing. Ironically, my reaction to that was self-righteous: I thought, “I’m not self-righteous. I’m painfully aware of my own sins and shortcomings!” However, I was confusing self-righteousness with arrogance or pride. It struck me later that self-righteousness is not thinking I’m righteous; rather, it’s trying to be righteous on my own strength and wisdom, doing it as a duty, or works.

Isaiah 65

The Bible warns us that our own righteousness is like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). . .not even fit for cleaning our homes with! Scripture has many verses about delighting in the Lord, about finding our joy in Him and in His righteousness, not in our own. If we delight in the Lord and grow in our relationship with Him, He will make us righteous in a way that no amount of discipline and hard work ever could.

Ann-Margret

Saturday Round-up

I’m competing with the royal wedding this morning. Ah well. Hopefully some of you will drop by when the festivities are over. 🙂 (No, I’m not watching. I have a television but I don’t have TV, if you know what I mean. I just watch Netflix and DVDs. My current obsession is Lie to Me.)

Speaking of Royal Marriages…

Last week I learned that one of my favourite hymns, Unto the Hills, was penned by the fourth Governor General of Canada, John Douglas Campbell (1878 – 1883), and that he was married to Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise. Useless information but still pretty cool, especially as I’m Canadian. The hymn is based on Psalm 121, by the way:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

And that reminds me of this more modern take on the Psalm:

Are You Rejecting the Promised Land?

This year, I’m reading the through the Bible using the M’Cheyne Bible Calendar (it goes through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice). So, I’ve been in Numbers, a book that isn’t necessarily one you’d turn to for inspiration or spiritual enlightenment. That’s what made it all the more surprising when I tripped over this nugget several days ago:

“As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.” (Numbers 14:31)

What’s the big deal about this verse? Let me highlight the words the land you have rejected. The Israelites didn’t make it into the Promised Land for one simple reason: They rejected it. God didn’t take it away from them. For forty years, He patiently led them toward it and all they did was grumble and moan and complain and whine and murmur and reminisce about (of all things!) the garlic and onions back in Egypt. For forty years, they made it abundantly clear that they didn’t want the blessings God had in store for them. For forty years, they rejected His goodness.

It hit me right in the face: How many of God’s blessings, whether good health or success in my work or healthy relationships, have I missed out on because I was too busy navel-gazing at my pity parties? How many doors that God has opened have I not walked through because I didn’t want to leave something else behind?

I could write a whole Bible study on this theme, and maybe I will one day, but I just wanted to share those thoughts for now. I’d love to hear your own comments!

Read a Good Book Recently?

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Why not take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon or another bookstore’s website that sells the book? I can tell you from personal experience that even a one-sentence positive review can be a huge boost to an author.

If you (or your kids) have read any of my books, would you please consider writing a review? If you have friends who have bought my book, could you encourage them to do the same? Thank you so much! You can find my books on Amazon here.

One for the Road

May this encourage you today: “God’s power, glory, and majesty make me feel like I don’t deserve to be in the same room with him. His love, mercy, and compassion let me know I don’t belong anywhere else.” — Eric Collier

See you on Tuesday!

Ann-Margret

Dreadfully Busy! (Really?)

If you’re anywhere near my age (or if you have kids), you might be familiar with this old VeggieTales “Silly Song”:

I’m busy, busy, dreadfully busy!
You’ve no idea what I have to do.
Busy, busy, shockingly busy…

I can relate to being “dreadfully busy” but, sadly, I must admit that I can also relate to the last words of the chorus: “Much, much too busy for you!” Please tell me it’s not just me.

But, come on now. . . we are legitimately busy, aren’t we? People just don’t understand! We have work deadlines to meet. We have family commitments—our children or spouses or parents need and expect us to do certain things for them. There are committee meetings to attend and weddings/showers/funerals to go to (not to mention shop for). We have to catch up on our housework, our bill payments, our laundry, our yard work, our correspondence!  Did I mention sleep and going to the hair salon and grocery shopping and walking the dog and picking up the dry cleaning? And (cough, cough) Facebook?

Stop!

Breathe.

When did we get caught up in this whirlwind of activity? When did we start believing that unless we get all these things done—and well—we’re either going to be a big failure or we’re going to be unhappy?

No wonder we don’t have time to visit and sit with an elderly or sick person.

Or don’t we?

No wonder we can’t attend more than one church meeting per week.

Or do we just think we can’t?

No wonder we can’t find more than a few minutes each day to read our Bibles and pray.

Or can we?

Believe me, I’m pointing my fingers at myself here, too. The problem is not that we don’t have enough time, nor that we have too much to do. God has given us all 24 hours each day. He has also blessed us with opportunities, either at work or with our families, to do certain things and we should take advantage of them. So what is the problem?

I believe we’re doing things backwards. We’re not tithing our time. What I mean is, we’re not first scheduling in the important things in our lives and making the rest of the stuff fit around them. We’re trying to fit the important things around the other stuff. It doesn’t work!

Or. . . hmmmm. . . perhaps we think the wrong things are important?

Why don’t we take some time right now to submit ours calendars and agendas to God? Maybe we won’t find ourselves so “dreadfully busy” anymore!

Ann-Margret

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