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Matters of The Heart

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9)

We’ve heard it a thousand times.

I really like that house. I want to find a way to buy it.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

But I want a cookie!
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

It would be nice to be friends with him….
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

That’s a really nice car!
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

I want to be someone’s mom….
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

I need to take some time to rest.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

The verse from Jeremiah 17 often gets applied in ways that make a person doubt their hopes, desires and needs. Applied incorrectly, it can cause a person to push themselves beyond what is healthy and good.

If something is dear to you, that means it’s a bad thing because The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

Applied incorrectly, this verse leads a person to strive in ways that are unhealthy.

Brownies….. Love me some chocolate! But…. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked! I guess my snack is going to be a glass of water today….

As I’ve been thinking about this verse, it occurred to me that, that was then. Then, as in, at a time in history when people trusted themselves and did not trust God. Jeremiah 17:5 says “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.”

That — deceitful and wicked hearts — that was then.

This is now.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

There was a time in history when hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked.

Before Jesus and the gospel of Grace.

The Old Testament is full of examples of deceit and wickedness.
Think Amnon and Tamar.
David and the incident involving Bathsheeba.
Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery.
Jezebel.
Haman trying to kill all the Jewish people.
Jonah refusing to warn the people of Ninevah.

And in our own personal lives, yes, at one time, our hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked.

At one time, we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7

Regeneration.
Renewal.

Jesus makes all things new.

All things. Including our hearts.

If Jesus is in you and you are truly seeking Him, it is impossible for your heart to remain “deceitful and desperately wicked.”

I encourage you to trust Jesus in you instead of worrying about what your heart used to be without Him.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2016 in Profundities

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 29

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#29. Get back into the letter-writing habit again. You know — the snail-mail kind.

When I was younger, I liked to write letters.

Some of my friends can testify to that. I think my longest one was about 19 pages (front and back).

These letters were probably really, really boring.

Like, “On Wednesday, I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Speaking of sandwiches, do you know anything about The Earl of Sandwich? Or The Sandwich Islands? Our car is way too small. When we go somewhere, I end up sandwiched between my brothers in the back seat and it’s just not very appealing. Speaking of peels, I had a banana with that sandwich I mentioned a minute ago. Apparently some people like having banana slices on their peanut butter sandwiches? Inconceivable! Peanut butter and banana? Say what? No, no. Bananas are better left on the side.

“Speaking of left sides, spiral bound notebooks are not cool at all, on account of the spiral being on the left side. Terribly inconvenient for us lefties. Who came up with that idea anyway? Know what else is terribly inconvenient? I was trying to do my penmanship lesson the other day, and because I’m left-handed, the letters got all smudged and I got an inky pinky in the process.

“I got a pack of new pens with pink ink the other day. I just love pink ink. It makes me as happy as any [*moody pre-adolescent*] girl could possibly be. I’ve been writing in my journal with pink ink every third day because I have some pens with purple ink and green ink too, and equality and civil rights and all that jazz. It just wouldn’t do to have the purple and green feel like I was a raging racist…..

A couple of weeks ago, I went to this meeting and they had this funny prayer thing at the end where everyone was supposed to hold hands with someone. This big African American guy grabbed my hand. I’m 11 and this guy is holding my hand. But, I’m not a racist so I just stood there and thought about how brave I am for letting this stranger hold my hand.”

You get the idea….. Blibber-blabber about everything and nothing. Probably none of it made a whole lot of sense. And I tried very hard to be an equal opportunity writer so my inks wouldn’t feel left out. (Just kidding!)

Nowadays, I don’t send a whole lot of letters. I pretty much flunked out on this one, except for the occasional “Hi, how are you?” note or a thank you note.

I really, really like this goal because a few days ago, I got this in the mail:
image

Receiving this note was so encouraging and it made me smile on the inside. I’m all about encouraging people and making people smile, and that is a good enough reason to get going on this goal.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 28

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#28. Visit at least one family member per month — unless the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Let’s say that the weather has been rather uncooperative.

Or, I could just tell the truth and say that since I work a lot of weekends, it’s hard to get out of town much these days.

That and the fact that I do live in South Dakota where it’s blustery, cold, rainy, snowy or icy about 8-9 months of the year and that doesn’t help matters much either.

When I wrote this goal, I thought it would be nice to have a family dinner once a month. They’re all in the same general area and I’d just have to drive 2 hours north, stop at that Pizza Ranch or one of my brothers’ houses, have dinner and chit-chat or play a game or something. Maybe I’d stay the weekend. Maybe I’d just stay the day.

It was a lovely idea, really.

Why did I not actually do this one?

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 27

image

That being said:

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#27. Visit Ireland. And Iran. And India. And Iraq. And maybe even Afghanistan. I want to go to Ireland because I’ve always been fascinated with the beauty, and I want to go to the other countries because I feel so much compassion for the women and girls who are in bondage because of religion and culture.

This illustrates why this hasn’t happened yet:
image
And, here is a solution to this problem:
image

(I didn’t say it was a good solution!)

A serious look at the feasibility of international travel:
image
For me, it would be slower going than that because I only spend $10 or more on a meal maybe 3 times a year. I never get drinks and I don’t think I’ve ever had more than 4 meals out in any given 7-day period, unless I was traveling.

But, if I cut those 1-4 weekly meals out, I might be able to save enough for a ticket somewhere once a year. Maybe.

At any rate…. I’ve been thinking about why I listed the countries I did.

I mean…. Iran? Iraq? Afghanistan? Seriously?

When I wrote the original list, ISIS hadn’t become a thing yet.

I’m not as daring today as I was then.

My heart still breaks for the mamas and the little girls in those countries who are property, not people. My heart aches for the young boys who are brainwashed into believing that blowing themselves up is somehow a good idea. I weep for the mothers who have to watch their babies train for suicide missions.

It’s so wrong on so many levels.

So, no, I haven’t traveled. I won’t get to the Middle East any time soon. I may never go anywhere. Who knows what will happen?

Now, to commence with the eating at home thing so I can go to Canada so I can check out the Hot Springs and see Aurora Borealis.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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Link

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#25. Pay cash for a high-quality, gently-used, fuel-efficient, American-made car.

I commute roughly 250 miles per week and where I come from, when you have to drive 25 miles each way for something, you’re going to be driving through about 22 miles of…. nothing.

22 miles of fields.
22 miles of sunshine.
22 miles of wind, ice, fog and blowing snow.
22 miles of skunk stink.
22 miles of -0° F temps.
22 miles of mist, rain, hail and tornados.
22 miles of pheasants, deer, and tumbleweed that might cross your path.
22 miles of school bus stops and kids running across the road to hop on the bus.

Winter around here can be very cold and very treacherous.

The first winter I had this job, I was very much concerned with the fact that it was possible my car could die on the side of the road and I wouldn’t be able to get to work anymore.

I intended to save scads of money for the purpose of purchasing said gently used, fuel efficient, American-made car.

I had my eye on this:
image

Ford Escape.

Because, you need lots of room for
3 Tire irons
Full-size spare
3 blankes
Sleeping bag
Bag chair
Extra set of windshield wipers
A shovel
5 quarts of oil
A gallon of antifreeze
HEET
Flares
A mini air compressor
A floodlight
First Aid kit
CPR mask
A toolbox
Snowboots
2 jacks
Scrubs
An overnight bag

Because you never know what might happen when you’re 22 miles from anything.

Because it’s 4-Wheel Drive.
That might come in handy somewhere along 22 miles of ditches on either side of 22 miles of black ice.

Because with a 15 gallon gas tank and fuel efficiency of 29 MPG, I can get to work and back 9 times before having to fill up.

I was all gung-ho about this until it turned out that I had to move last January.

And then I bought a house.

My gently-used, fuel-efficient, American-made car fund currently stands at about $0.

In case anybody is interested, here is a link to a video on how you can drive new cars without having a car payment!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 24

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#24. Buy a camera. I loved my old one to death.

I did.

Within a couple of months after writing this goal, I purchased a newer version of the camera I’d loved to death.

It wasn’t the same.

I’ve taken some pictures with it and they haven’t turned out anything like the ones from the old camera. And it doesn’t work like the old one either.

I would love, love, love to get a digital SLR camera. I love art and music and crafting and all that good stuff, but my favorite creative outlet is photography. Bright eyed babies, frisky puppies, sunsets — I love capturing beauty.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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