Pick Christ’s Heart

English: Fruit on tree; from the Philippines

Fruit on tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We pick a person’s brain to gather knowledge, like picking fruit from a tree or using a pick axe to dig deeper for hidden gold nuggets. It’s helpful to learn others’ thoughts and ideas because their experiences have been different than ours. Their knowledge and perspective may help us better understand a problem or answer a question we’re wrestling with. Picking a person’s brain allows us to discover what they know and it may give a bit of insight into who they are, but to really know them we must pick their heart.

Picking a person’s heart goes beyond gathering facts. It means when they’re speaking we watch their expressions for signs of joy, sadness or pain. We listen to the tone of their voice to notice if it trembles from fear, is clear and direct from focus on a deeply held belief, or bubbles with excitement. We ask questions because we care about the answers. We want to understand their concerns and joys, and share in them. We watch and listen closely to learn what makes them feel loved and to become aware of how they show their love for us.

Relationships grow strong when we reach that level – with our wives or husbands, our family, our Christian brothers and sisters, and others in our life.

In Philippians 3:10 (NIV), the Apostle Paul wrote, “I want to know Christ.” If we have the same desire, we will spend time picking Christ’s heart. We do that by studying the Bible. As we go deeper, more of our questions will be answered and we will better understand Him. We will know that Jesus has clearly shown His love for us by dying on the cross and read that He has told us how to show our love for Him:

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.‘” Matthew 25:37-40 ESV

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ESV

These two passages point out that we have another responsibility in the process. Once we have picked someone’s heart, we must act on what we have learned for it to truly matter.

Comfort Food & God’s Love – Hot Stuff in Bowls

It was near freezing outside and there was a drizzling rain that made the cold seep into your bones. It was a good day to eat hot stuff in bowls, which is just what I was blessed to do! Breakfast was old fashioned oatmeal (with brown sugar and cinnamon, and actually cooked, not flakes mixed with boiling water); homemade chicken ala king at lunch (not always served in a bowl, but this was, which made it even better); and oyster stew for supper (if that one’s not to your liking, substitute your favorite chili in your thoughts).

The list of “hot stuff in a bowl” goes beyond what I enjoyed that day. How about homemade vegetable soup made with ingredients fresh from the garden, or gumbo (seafood or chicken or whatever else you like in it), or beef stew? Just thinking about those can make your tummy warm up! No wonder they call it comfort food.

Comfort food tastes good but also brings a sense of well-being. Many thousands (millions?) of bowls of hot soup (chicken and otherwise) have been served by mothers and grandmothers when their children and grandchildren had a cold. The soup itself has no healing power (I realize there will be debate on that). The taste is pleasing and the heat can clear your head and warm you from the inside, so you do feel better – thus it is a comfort. But the real sense of well-being comes from the fact that the one giving you the soup loves you. They want to take care of you…to help you feel better…to comfort you.

The Apostle Paul wrote a wonderful blessing to encourage and comfort the Thessalonians:

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” 2nd Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV

Our overriding comfort is an eternal one that has been given to us already – Jesus paid the price for that. Notice the focus Paul prays for in the present – he prays that God will comfort their hearts. The heart is where true comfort resides – from there our hearts can be established by God for good works and words.

Hot stuff in bowls is good on cold days. The taste and warmth make it comforting, but it only becomes true comfort food when our heart is affected by the love of others (like I was that day when my wife, Sharon, prepared it for me). However, our true comfort only comes when our heart is affected by the love of God.