A Matter of the Heart

Nov 03 2014

Verse for the Day: Job 10:4 Are your eyes like those of a human? Do you see things only as people see them? 

Do you have or know anyone who has or is suffering from some kind of problem with their eyes? There is everything from simple allergies which cause irritation, itching and red eyes to more serious problems like cataracts or detached retinas. Then there are the normal eye problems like far or near sightedness that happen due to age or genetics when glasses are needed to help see properly. One of the most serious problems that can happen to someone’s eyes is a disease called glaucoma which if not caught early and treated could cause blindness.  

As serious as all the above problems and diseases can effect, cripple or handicap someone’s ability to see, I believe they pale in comparison to what I’m seeing as a more serious eye disease affecting this nation and the rest of the world and that's our spiritual blindness.

I believe this world as a whole and that includes a lot of people who call themselves Christians have an eye problem when it comes to seeing this world as Christ sees it. We have allowed our near and far sightedness to blur our vision from seeing the needs of others. We have allowed lust, greed, envy, apathy, and so many other desires and things to either effect or blind our vision of what The Lord wants us to do, be or say. 

Jesus had such great spiritual vision and was aware of those around Him-He was always looking and seeking those who were in need. When He saw a need He didn't turn the other direction and hope someone else would take care of it. He used it as an opportunity to help, minister, heal or meet a need in someone else's life.

How different do you think Christ’s ministry would have been if he turned a blind eye to those in need? The feeding of five thousand would have never happened, Zacchaeus would still be sitting in a sycamore tree, the blind would still be blind, and Peter might have drowned or at least had to swim to shore or back to the boat. The list would be endless of how different things would be if Jesus had not responded to what His eyes had seen.

I believe that our eyes are the window to our heart and soul and whatever we allow are eyes to see will affect how we act and respond to things. Matthew 6:22-23 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! 

While there are many kinds of eye problems and diseases that can affect our ability to physically see things most of them can be cured or improved with a visit to an optometrist. When it comes to spiritual blindness there is nothing or no one on this earth that can provide a cure-only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can one’s spiritual blindness be cured. Sure there are those who can guide, mentor, and help us when we seem to lose our vision and need help finding the right direction, but they cannot cure spiritual blindness. Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Only by God’s word and a life lived in, through and upon Christ can anyone overcome this eye problem called spiritual blindness. 

So let me ask you these questions from today’s verse found in Job 10:4 “Are your eyes like those of a human? Do you see things only as people see them?” Have you allowed this world to affect your spiritual vision? You know, at some point in everyone’s life they have seen or will see an eye doctor or medical doctor to help correct an eye problem or maybe you’ve just gone down to the local store and bought a pair of reading glasses. Whatever the case might be when you have trouble seeing and your vision becomes blurred you do something to correct it or improve your condition. So why is it so hard for us to see our spiritual blindness and the need to ask for help correcting it? 

Well, I will answer that question tomorrow as we look at a different kind of eye problem that I believe is the root to all our spiritual blindness. This disease has been around since Adam and Eve ate from the tree which God told them not to and it continues to this day. I believe this disease has infected the whole world and if we are not willing to acknowledge, confront, and eliminate what’s causing this disease, like glaucoma, it will leave us completely blind to what God has planned for us.  

When was the last time or have you ever made time to meet with your Spiritual eye doctor Jesus Christ to see if there is anything affecting your spiritual vision? 

Oct 27 2014

Verse for the Day: Joshua 1:8 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

Well another successful hunting season in Colorado has come and gone. For only the second time over the last 30 years I had two of my kids hunting with me at the same time and the first time my daughter Melanie joined me to hunt off of horseback in Colorado. We had a total of six people in camp this year, two females - my daughter, a friend and his daughter who was only 15 years old, my son Nathan and my brother in-law. It takes us about 2 hours on horseback to get into our camp and each morning started around 4:30 am as we got up to fix breakfast, feed and saddle horses and prepare for the day.

You might be asking just how successful was the hunt? Well for only the 2nd time over the last 30 years we came home without an elk to put in the freezer. And for the first time ever while hunting in Colorado I didn’t even see one elk during the 5 day hunt. So, how can I say we had a successful hunt when we didn’t kill one elk and to top that off 4 of the six people didn’t even see an elk?

It’s all because my definition of success changed several years ago. I use to think that a hunt’s success was based on how many elk were killed- the more elk you brought home to put in the freezer the more successful the hunt. And over the past 30 years of hunting in Colorado you can count on one hand the number of times I didn’t bring home an elk and for only the 2nd time in all those years that at least one person didn’t fill their tag. So what changed my definition of success?

Well my definition of a successful elk hunt took a dramatic change while hunting with both of my son’s and others during the 2011 elk hunt, when I had a horse fall over backwards on top of me on the second day of the hunt leaving me with 7 broken ribs, a right pelvis fractured in three places, bruised lung and a body that was bruised from head to foot. (You can read more about that experience in a couple of devotions I wrote entitled “A day I will never forget” and “Bad day on the mountain” dated 10/25/13 and 10/30/13 on the church web-site). You see I now believe a successful hunt, especially when riding horse, is any hunt in which you can enjoy time with family and friends and come home with no one hurt, no broken bones, no body parts missing and no major injuries. Only a few sore muscles, minor bruises, small cuts or scrapes to remind you of your hunt.   

Life has a way of changing our definition success. The older I have gotten and the closer I walk with my Lord Jesus Christ the more He has allowed me to see and understand what true success in Him looks like. 

Most people would never consider a hunt in which you bring nothing home as a successful hunt or think having a horse fall over on top of you as a victory. But for me as I look back on my years of hunting and see how God’s hand of protection was on and around me all the time,  I have come to realize that true success comes in the form of a Person and that Person is Jesus Christ and what He did for me upon the Cross. It’s not about stuff, filling a tag, having the most toys, biggest home or anything else. Success comes in knowing the Lord and knowing that your family and friends will be joining you in Heaven. 

Ecclesiastes 9 : 10-18 10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. 11  …. I   have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. ….. 12 People can never predict when hard times might come.…. 16 So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long. 17 Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king. 18 Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good. 

So what is your definition of success? Do you need to re-establish or rewrite what your definition of success looks like?  What are you doing to ensure that you and your loved ones know what true success really is?