Northview Church
Complications of the Heart
  • It all starts with the heart.
    It is important to note that whatever you do, where ever you go, and whatever you experience in life; it all begins with the heart.
    More Fresh Illustrations SUBSTITUTION

    59 year-old Massachusetts highway worker Kevin Sullivan told reporters from his hospital room that he didn't think twice before he served his truck into the path of a big rig to save the life of state trooper. Sullivan was on Interstate 495 following a pothole crew and a state police cruiser when he realized an oncoming tractor-trailer rig was not slowing down. As the truck approached, Sullivan angled his heavy-duty crash truck, designed to protect highway workers from cars, to blunt the impact on the unsuspecting officer's car.

    The oncoming semi plowed into Sullivan's truck, sending it tumbling down an embankment. Though the big rig still hit the police cruiser, thanks to Sullivan's actions, the officer only suffered minor injuries. Sullivan suffered a chipped cheekbone in the collision. Afterwards, both of his eyes were swollen, and even a handshake made him wince in pain. From his hospital room, Sullivan said, "I thought, 'I'm going get hit. It's my job.' I'm the first line of defense of the workers."

    — Submitted by Jim Sandell.

    In many ways, what Kevin Sullivan did for the state trooper is a picture of what Jesus did for us.

    Isaiah 53:4-5 (GW) "He certainly has taken upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we thought that God had wounded him, beat him, and punished him. [5] He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds."

    Life can throw curve balls when things go unexpectedly, but the decision of how we will react can change everything.
    Kevin made a decision, with his heart to have the best outcome possible in a horrible situation.
    We too can live like Kevin.
    You cannot live without your heart, you cannot do great things without putting your heart into it, and we must live for Christ with heart. It all starts with the heart.

    The heart is complicated.

    Story explaining the surrounding details of Jeremiah: The Prophet Jeremiah wrote about Israel’s complication of the heart.
    Due to their lack of obedience, the judgement was no upon them.
    The beginning of the chapter 4 begins with an appeal to Israel to return back to God.
    Jeremiah 4:3-4
    Jeremiah 4:3–4 NLT
    This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
    God was preparing his people for a return. He wanted them to return.
    Because their hearts would not return to God, there was not other option but to allow their enemies to prevail.
    Jeremiah 4:5-6
    Jeremiah 4:5–6 NLT
    “Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: ‘Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!’ Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem: ‘Flee now! Do not delay!’ For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.”
    The invasion progressed and the people of God were being overtaken. It did not have to be this way, but they did not heed God’s call to repentance. This is why the prophet Jeremiah declared,
    Key Passage: Jeremiah 4:19-22
    New Living Translation Chapter 4

    My heart, my heart—I writhe in pain!

    My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still.

    For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets

    and the roar of their battle cries.

    20 Waves of destruction roll over the land,

    until it lies in complete desolation.

    Suddenly my tents are destroyed;

    in a moment my shelters are crushed.

    21 How long must I see the battle flags

    and hear the trumpets of war?

    22 “My people are foolish

    and do not know me,” says the LORD.

    “They are stupid children

    who have no understanding.

    They are clever enough at doing wrong,

    but they have no idea how to do right!”

    The world is complicated.

    The world is filled with so much pain at times. We can look around us and see the difficulty daily. There is just too much to face it seems and our hearts can grow weary. Think about the troubles American is facing with race-relations, hurricanes, fires, elections, and economic fears. Our hearts can be overly burdened by everything that is going on.
    Life can be filled with heartache and our hearts must remain aligned to godly purposes.
    We can be in this world but not really be affected by the outcomes of worldly complications. This does not mean, we stay in our own Christian bubble and ignore the problems others face. In fact, we are to love those around us and ensure we are offering a helping hand to those in need.
    We become our best selves when we realize the words written in Matthew 6:21, which teach us:
    Matthew 6:21 NLT
    Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

    Our focus doesn’t have to be complicated.

    Daniel prays because of the disloyalty of God’s people. Daniel understood the importance of leaning on God and not on man. While people were in their distress, Daniel sought God, because he knew the focus didn’t have to be complicated.
    Daniel 9:17–19 NLT
    “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
    Our focus, can be simplified, just as Daniel prayed, we can pray for our cities, county, state, nation, and world. We can pray for our families, workplaces, differing people groups, leaders, and the healing of our world.
    Our focus is complicated when we focus on this world’s issues, but our focus is not complicated when we remember Matthew 6:21, which remind us,
    Matthew 6:21 NLT
    Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
    We can have uncomplicated hearts by following the directions of the Lord given through the Prophet Jeremiah.
    The people were asked to plow the ground of their hearts and not to waste their good seed among the thorns (v. 3a) What this can teach us to to have a deep repentance, to allow the word of God to rekindle and flow within our hearts in deeper and more meaningful ways and to keep away from things, which would cause us to live in waste.
    God desired the seeds of repentance to be grounded in suitable soil (v. 3b). We cannot allow distractions to keep us from our godly purpose. We must seek God and strive for godly things. A great garden cannot grow in a field of thorns.
    To prepare our hearts to be separated unto God (v. 4). Just like Abraham was able to submit himself in every confidence to God and make sacrifices, we can be ready to separate our hearts to God and prepare ourselves to live with every confidence that God is our source.
    More Fresh Illustrations STORY

    In "The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives", Brian McLaren writes, "Rather than seeing the gospel as propositions, mechanisms, abstractions, or universal concepts, I came to see the gospel as narrative, a story." He sums up his statement by saying, "We cannot truly tell the gospel without telling a story. Our message is at heart a story."

    —"The Church in Emerging Culture", p. 198-9.

    Matthew 13:34 (MSG) "All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon."

      • Jeremiah 4:3–4NLT

      • Jeremiah 4:5–6NLT

      • Jeremiah 4:19–22NLT

      • Matthew 6:21NLT

      • Daniel 9:17–19NLT

      • Matthew 6:21NLT

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