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Heart Soil

In this week's reading, I was struck by the many times the word "heart" was used. How easy is it to look good on the outside but have stubbornness or hardness in our hearts? Our readings tell us that Jesus knew immediately what people were thinking in their hearts, as He does mine today. I am convicted to continually exam my heart.

We read of the many miracles that Jesus is performing, yet the Pharisees can only find faults. They eventually plot to kill Jesus because He was breaking the Sabbath by performing healings and offering forgiveness of sins. Jesus sees past their legalism and goes straight to real issue: "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?" (Matthew 9:4)

Jesus teaches that how we value our possessions, care for ourselves, and worry about tomorrow also reveals the condition of our hearts. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)

The Beatitudes and Jesus' teachings on how to live with one another point to the true value our hearts. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matthew 5:8)

And, finally, we read warnings about what is in our hearts -- the good fruit and the bad which is stored up. "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." (Luke 6:45)

So what should our heart be like?

The parable of the sower speaks of the seeds sown in the heart. Whether the seed is snatched away from their hearts, falls among the thorns and doesn't take root, or yields crops depends upon the soil -- the soil of the heart. Webster's Dictionary defines soil as "a medium in which something takes hold and develops." How do we prepare our hearts to be the place where something takes hold and develops?

The easy and hard answer is to be in God's Word. It's easy because it is so readily available to us, but it's hard because we have so many distractions pulling us away from sitting with The Word and listening and learning through it. However, here is the truth:
* Reading and meditating on God's Word will help create the soil of our hearts.
* Following the teachings of Jesus will help create the soil of our hearts.

Prayer also helps cultivate the soil of our hearts. This week, we will read the familiar words of the Lord's Prayer. Because the words are familiar, we might rush through the reading. However, if we stop and study the pattern that Jesus is teaching, we discover just how we should pray.

In the Lord's Prayer, the first petitions are to God: worship, honor, glory and submission. Then we are instructed to pray for our own needs, both physical and spiritual. Is this how you pray? How often do we make our needs the very first things that we pray about? Let's use the Lord's Prayer as a model for our prayers, offering worship and praise to God first and foremost.

Our faith in God has been and always will be a heart issue. By being in God's Word and offering Him our praise and sincere prayers, our hearts become a place full of fertile soil -- a place where our love for God and each other takes hold and develops.

"For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." (Luke 6:45)

~ Anna-Maria Adair

September 30th Readings
LUKE 5:1-11
MARK 1:40-45
LUKE 5:12-16
MARK 2:1-12
LUKE 5:17-26
MARK 2:13-17
MATTHEW 9:9-13
LUKE 5:27-32
MARK 2:18-22
MATTHEW 9:14-17
LUKE 5:33-39

October 1st Readings
JOHN 5:1-47
MARK 2:23-28
MATTHEW 12:1-8
LUKE 6:1-5
MARK 3:1-6
MATTHEW 12:9-14
LUKE 6:6-11
MATTHEW 12:15-21

October 2nd Readings
MARK 3:7-19
LUKE 6:12-16
MATTHEW 5:1-12
LUKE 6:17-26
MATTHEW 5:13-48
LUKE 6:27-36

October 3rd Readings
MATTHEW 6:5-7:6
LUKE 6:37-42
MATTHEW 7:7-20
LUKE 6:43-45
MATTHEW 7:21-29
LUKE 6:46-49

October 4th Readings
MATTHEW 8:5-13
LUKE 7:1-17
MATTHEW 11:1-19
LUKE 7:18-35
MATTHEW 11:20-30
LUKE 7:36-50

October 5th Readings
LUKE 8:1-3
MARK 3:20-30
MATTHEW 12:22-45
MARK 3:31-35
MATTHEW 12:46-50
LUKE 8:19-21
MARK 4:1-9
MATTHEW 13:1-9
LUKE 8:4-8
MARK 4:10-20

October 6th Readings
MATTHEW 13:10-23
LUKE 8:9-18
MARK 4:21-29
MATTHEW 13:24-30
MARK 4:30-34
MATTHEW 13:31-52
MARK 4:35-41
MATTHEW 8:23-27
LUKE 8:22-25