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The Heart of the Matter

by Rev Donald Geddes — last modified May 29, 2015 07:22 PM
An 8 year old girl who underwent a heart transplant had constant nightmares about being brutally murdered. It was discovered that her new heart originally belonged to a 10 year old who was murdered.

 

Penny Smith with own heartOthers who have had a heart transplant have reported sudden changes in their behaviour, tastes and fears as a result of the operation. It would seem that a heart can transmit the memories of its old owner to the new recipient.

An eminent psychologist says “The heart knows far more about our lives than we could have ever previously imagined.”

We refer to our heart as the seat of our emotions so that falling in love is said to “set our heart a flutter.”

Physically the heart is the muscle which, by pumping blood around our body, keeps us alive. But is it more than that? Is it the centre of our personality?

When The Bible commands us to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deut. 6:5), is it saying more than we ever imagined?

Recent discoveries about “heart memories” support the idea that the heart is the source of our motives, the seat of the passions and the spring of our conscience.

In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs describes the heart as the seat of good things like wisdom, understanding, the source of trust, knowledge and joy. Jesus taught that it is the pure in heart who will see God (Matt. 5:8). That is why Hebrews 3:12 says, For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

But the Bible also says that the heart is the source of wickedness, lust, deceit, backsliding, sorrow, bitterness, pride and envy. Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

This is why Jesus said, A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45

For this reason the Bible says we need a new heart — a heart cleansed of evil and renewed by the Holy Spirit. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Rom 10:10

Only those with a new heart will be able obey the command to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deut 6:5

Ezekiel understood the need for a new heart. He told the people who habitually disobeyed God’s commands, Rid yourselves of all the offences you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Ezek 18:31

Of course just as an individual cannot perform a heart transplant on himself, neither can we give ourselves a new heart spiritually. So God’s promise is what we need: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezek 36:26

For this to happen we need to heed Joel 2:12: “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Weddings: are they worth it?

by Rev Donald Geddes — last modified May 15, 2015 05:30 PM
According to a recent survey, an average wedding in Australia will cost $36,200! No wonder 30% of couples choose to live together before marriage simply because they cannot afford to get married. This is a matter of great concern.

 

WeddingIt means that many of those who do splash out on a formal wedding start married life with a burden of debt as few parents can afford to shoulder the total cost.

For many others, they have been living together and raising a family for years before they have saved enough for a wedding. This situation is one of the reasons why fewer and fewer weddings now take place in a church building.

For Christian couples, the cost of a wedding poses a real problem. This is a problem which churches must face.

If cohabiting is the result of economic necessity, is this a problem? New research shows that the try-before-you-buy approach of young Australians to married life is damaging the quality of their relationships. A survey by the Edith Cowan University found de facto relationships were more strongly associated with insecurity in the relationship than other factors such as poor health, poverty and work stress. Only 7.5% of married people doubt their relationship will last compared to 21% of de facto couples. Likewise, 42.5% of marrieds said their partners treated them very well compared to 31.2% of de facto partners.

As a result, cohabiting relationships are more likely than marriages to break up.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies reported that “in the early 1990s, 40 per cent of cohabiting relationships of women had ended within five years of commencing the relationship. Over the same period just 12 per cent of marriages ended within five years of marriage.”

The breakdown of relationships has serious consequences for the children. A High School Principal told me most of the discipline problems in his school came from children who came from de facto relationships.

From a Biblical point of view, marriage is considered essential because it involves a covenantal relationship based on strong mutual commitment. Sexual relations outside of marriage are regarded as immoral and wrong because there is a lack of life-long commitment. Sex without commitment is self-centred.

Paul instructs the Ephesian Christians: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Eph 5:1-3

So, what is the solution to the high cost of weddings? The answer is clear: have a simple wedding without the expensive trappings. The most important part of the wedding is the taking of the vows before God. The celebration is good but secondary. It is not necessary to spend a fortune to have a joyous occasion. Nor does an elaborate wedding secure a lasting marriage.

Perhaps churches could help by offering a simple buffet or BBQ wedding breakfast where other Christians can join the newly married couple in celebrating God’s gift of marriage.

Mothers Day

by Rev Donald Geddes — last modified May 08, 2015 05:10 PM
“My Mum couldn’t cope with domestic violence. She killed herself four weeks ago. She was the only person I ever needed in my life and I miss her so much.”

 

Mothers dayThese are the words of a 14 year-old girl in a heartfelt plea asking the N.S.W. Premier to introduce a course into schools to combat domestic violence (Herald Sun 19th April).

It is a reminder of the importance of mothers. Even, as in this case, a mother almost immobilised by severe depression.

Mothers Day is a reminder of how important mothers are to the very fabric of society. To think a child will not suffer from being brought up by two gay men is the height of folly. To such a child Mothers Day is meaningless.

The Bible stresses the importance of mothers (and fathers) in the Fifth Commandment: Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12). This is underscored by Deuteronomy 27:16: Cursed is anyone who dishonours their father or mother.

This command is tied to the continuing possession of the Promised Land by the Children of Israel. The breakdown of the family undermines the cohesion of society leaving it weakened and open to attack from hostile powers.

In Ephesians 6:2-3 Paul writes, Honour your father and mother — which is the first commandment with a promise — so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Not only is this the only command with a promise attached, but this promise is for everyone, not just the Children of Israel in the Promised Land.

Honouring our parents is the key to prosperity and social cohesion because it is God’s will and the basis for His Providence.

Our Western Society is crumbling as motherhood is undermined by radical feminism, Gay liberation, moral degeneracy, marriage decline and divorce.

Strong and godly mothers are a bulwark against such decline. Motherless children are adrift in a sea of moral relativism hardly knowing right from wrong.

When God commands us to honour our parents it means to prize them highly, care for them, love them and show them respect. We see this in action at Calvary as Jesus, wracked in agony, commits his mother to the care of His disciple John (John 19:26-27).

Jesus strongly criticised the Jewish religious leaders for not keeping this command, reminding them: For Moses said, ‘Honour your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ (Mark 7:10).

Mothers Day is a good opportunity to honour our mothers, but they are due such honour every day of the year! This is what pleases God and brings His blessing. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right (Ephesians 6:1).