Condition of the heart

I attended a funeral the other week. I find that going to funerals always brings life into perspective, gives you a close sense of our own mortality, and allows you a moment to think about what really matters. At the end of the day – what does really matter? What are the things that are going to stand and be counted worthy at the end of your life as you step through the doors of eternity?

Luke 12:34 says…Where your treasure is your heart will be too. Whatever is in our heart, we will do. We need to decide what is important, what really matters. Make that determination in our hearts, our inner being and that is what will drive you towards having good character qualities, what you see as important in your life, and what will stand at the end. These things will not be part of our lives without our heart being invested.

My prayer is that you would allow God to grab a hold of your heart and that you would respond to Him today.

Thinking on this funeral, and what people might say about us at the time of our own funeral, brings into focus our heart. Our character qualities, the fruit produced from our lives, etc. all flow from the condition and response of our heart.

Gal 5:22-26 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

God has given us all different gifts and abilities and wants to use them to produce fruit in our lives. These qualities listed in Gal 5 are but a few. I’m not adding to the Word of God but how about…humility, integrity, loyalty, honesty, respect, fairness, responsibility, compassion, the list goes on.

Jesus knew that all things start in the heart. You are not going to action something if it wasn’t already conceived in the heart and allow your thoughts, will and emotions to get involved.  The condition and response of our heart is critically important and will determine what really matters in your life.

Matt 13 tells us the parable about the ‘Wheat and the Tares’. The wheat and tares grew up together and it was only when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop that you could see the difference.

At harvest time, the tares were pulled out, bundled up, and thrown into the fire. The grain was gathered and used to produce food. 

Christianity today is in the melting pot and the difference between the wheat and the tares has started to show. The difference between what good seed and bad seed produces is now becoming visible. In my view, this is a good thing. Not a comfortable process but one that needs to happen.

The condition of our heart is the thing that determines the character qualities we produce in our lives. But at the end, harvest time, the bad will be gathered up and thrown into the fire whereas the good will be kept and used.

It is the fruit in our lives that will last, the good crop, the things that matter. Are we sowing good seed to produce a good grain crop?

May we take a moment in our busy week to look at the condition and response of our heart and if there is anything that needs to be removed, plucked out, pulled up or cast aside. Let’s honestly take a moment to examine ourselves and what the Lord is speaking to you about and do something about it.

Place your heart in the hands of the Creator and see what He can create.

Ps. Adrian

Adrian Olney
Victory!!

As a country, we recently remembered the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy. The memory lives on as a time of huge sacrifice to celebrate peace, liberty and reconciliation.

On the 6th June 1944 and during the long summer that followed, men from all over the world came to fight in Normandy to defeat the Nazis and re-establish freedom across Europe. This was the first step in the liberation of Europe with pivotal battles that followed that forged the road to victory.

D-Day was the culmination of years of planning and preparation. Winston Churchill, the British PM, described it as “the greatest thing we have ever attempted”.

Many lives were lost in fighting for our freedom. Men and women taking a stand against tyranny. We live today, so many years down the track, in the victory that these courageous men and women fought so bravely for. May we never forget!

Another moment in history, about 2000 years ago, changed our lives forever. The greatest thing ever - Jesus Christ came to earth and paid the penalty for our sins. He willingly sacrificed His own life so that you and I can enjoy the victory that was won.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

Jesus’ last words before He died were ‘It is finished’. These words have echoed down through the generations since…victory!! We celebrate that victory every day. It is as real today as it was when the victory was won back on the cross. Nothing can take that victory away.

May we live our lives in the victory we already have, in Jesus Christ. That we would yearn for a life full of meaning and purpose, joy and peace, and love and kindness.  May we make the victory that Jesus bought with His own life count.

Ps. Adrian

Adrian Olney
Branded

A farmer wanted to make sure everyone knew which were his cattle so he branded, or burnt a symbol, into their hide with a hot iron rod. Branding showed ownership, especially of high valued goods; essentially it meant 'leave it alone, this belongs to me'.

Who do you belong to? Are you branded with the mark of Jesus Christ? When people look at you do they know that you are spoken for, owned by someone that considers you to be of high value?

Actually the highest value, because Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price - His own life – for you and I.

There is a very well-known passage of Scripture in Matthew 22 where the Pharisees went about scheming and plotting against Jesus to see how they might entangle Him in His talk.

Matt 22:18-21

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 

Jesus was onto their plotting very quickly and gave them a response that left them no room to disagree or argue.  What was Jesus saying in His answer, Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s?  He was basically saying that everything is God’s. Anything we give to Caesar is under God anyway.

When Jesus looked upon the denarius, the tax dollar of the day, there was an image and inscription on it – Caesar.  It told the people who owned it, who it belonged to. It was like the coin had been branded.

So as everything is under God, including our own life, what image or inscription can people see and read?  Wouldn’t it be great that when people looked at us, that they could clearly see the image and inscription denoting who we belong to, that we are owned, of high value and branded for Jesus.

Ps. Adrian

Adrian Olney
Fully Surrendered

To walk somewhere you need legs. Faith in itself doesn’t accomplish much, it requires you putting your faith into action, essentially giving your faith legs.

Imagine a tightrope stretched across 400m spanning the breath of Niagara Falls. The thundering sound of the pounding water drowning out all other sounds as you watch a man step onto the rope and walk across!

This stunning feat was made by Charles Blondin, a French tightrope walker and acrobat, in 1859.  He walked 50m above the falls several times back and forth between Canada and the United States as huge crowds on both sides looked on with shock and awe.  Once he crossed in a sack, once on stilts, another time on a bicycle, and once he even carried a stove and cooked an omelette!

On July 15, Blondin walked backward across the tightrope to Canada and returned pushing a wheelbarrow. All had witnessed that amazing feat, there was no question in anyone’s mind that he could do it.

He turned to the crowd and asked, “How many of you believe that I can roll a man across in this wheelbarrow?” Everybody shouted! He had put out a challenge to his viewing audience that tested their belief that he could do it (head knowledge) and true faith (putting that belief into action, heart knowledge).

In response to the question, one man in the front row was very excited in his professed belief. Blondin pointed to this excited spectator and said, “You’re next, jump in!” You couldn’t see that man for dust, he high-tailed it out of there! He thought he believed it—but he was not willing to get in the wheelbarrow and put that belief to the test.

Just so with Christ. Many people say they believe on Him, they say they follow Him. But when our belief is put to the test and our faith requires action to step into the wheelbarrow – we run away from it. My challenge to you today is…do you believe? And if you believe, commit and surrender yourself 100 percent to Christ, to your local church, and to those around you that need to know Him – be fully surrendered!

 Ps. Adrian

Adrian Olney
New Life

I have been thinking lately about the life we could live…or should be living as Christians, particularly because we held a baptismal service last Sunday and spoke about what it means to be water baptised.

I am sure that if we were offered a second chance to many of the things we have done, we would accept it with open arms.

For you to be saved, you need to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart what Jesus has done…and that is provided you with a second chance. Will you accept it?

Rom 10:9 - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Acts 2:21 - And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Whilst water baptism is not a requisite to being saved, it is however a step of obedience to be taken following salvation. It is a public declaration of our belief and surrender to a new life in Christ. Baptism by full immersion provides that dying to self, baptised into Christ’s death, leaving the old life and sinful nature behind and being raised from the water to walk a new life, like that of His resurrection.

Rom 6:1-4

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

What sort of life could we, should we, live then if Christ was raised from the dead? A new life! Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can partake in the new life that He is offering.

Can you imagine all your past sins being wiped clean and be given a second chance? That imagination can become a reality by accepting Jesus. My hope and prayer is that you know Jesus and that you are experiencing and walking in the ‘newness of life’ we have been promised through being baptised into His death.

Ps. Adrian

Adrian Olney