“If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.” A young lady that i know posted this quote on facebook a couple of days ago. This is the type of quote that i would normally “like” and comment about how true it is, but the more i began to think about it, the more uncomfortable i became with it. This is definitely the kind of statement that seems good, and that seems right, but that if lived out can lead to destruction.
If i let my mind wander (unrestrained) invariably it will end up drifting into sin. It will drift into thoughts and areas where it should not be. Verses 16-20 of Matthew 15 say; “Jesus said, ‘Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; …‘” Is that where my heart is, or is that the sin in my life trying to rise up and consume me?
Once you get to know me, you can get a pretty good idea as to where my heart is… what i am passionate about. Two big things that i’m passionate about are family and God / the Scriptures / Christianity / the church / Christian life. These are things that mean a whole lot to me. They are life consuming. But, if i let my mind wander, too often my mind will meander to the areas of raw passion. To emotions and desires unmet. If you would, to areas of the ID (related to the Ego and Superego). Are those thoughts my heart, who i am as a person? They can be if i allow them to be! Those are my raw emotions and passions, and if i allow them to be, they are my heart!
Colossians 3:2 says: “Set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” II Corinthians 10:5 says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” We must take every thought captive. We must make it a decision to set our minds in the right direction. If we let a meandering mind set the direction of our hearts, we will end up being consumed and ruled by our passions which will end up destroying us and all that we care about.
If you want your heart to be more than just your destructive raw passion and emotions, you must take your thoughts captive lest you become consumed. The only way to have the strength to truly overcome your raw passions and reach all that you are meant to be, is to seek the one who created you in His image and from whom emotion and passion originated.
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
There was a young man who grew up in a simple, small town. He left the small town, got his degree in engineering, and became famous for his simple, yet extremely effective designs. Time and time again this man would take a complex situation and find a simple, elegant solution. He went out to third world countries and helped the people find easy ways to find and build wells, design stable structures in earthquake prone countries that could withstand decades of major tremors, contracted with NASA to help design the next stages of the international space station. His work was amazing, revolutionary, and had won him the Nobel Peace Prize.
One year his hometown, which was in a valley, was hit by really heavy rainfall and was in danger of being crushed by massive mudslides. This young man came home and brought a plan to the town of how to simply, effectively, and inexpensively redirect the mudslides away from the town in into an area that had been unsuitable for farming due to the nature of it’s ground and (lack of) soil. This would have effectively rescued the town and produced all new usable land putting life and industry where there had been none.
The response from the leadership of the town and of the community was one of awe, but ultimately of rejection. The plan wasn’t a bad plan. It was a great one, but they wanted to rely on their own ways of doing it. The town had been threatened numerous times by mudslides. One year part of the town had even been buried, but they would be alright. They had always gotten through just fine.
Three months later, while he was doing some work in South America he got a message. His hometown had been buried in a record breaking mudslide. The entire town had been swept away with only a handful of survivors.
Do we fail to live out the message because we have heard it so many times we have just stopped listening? “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” Those of us born and raised in the church, we have been born, bred, and raised on the Word of God. Are we bearing fruit, or have we become too hard for God / YHWH to plant a new seed in? Will we be consumed when the day of destruction comes, because we were of His household?
Most of the sacrifices previously mentioned have been for the individual. Whether it was a burnt offering, or a peace offering, or a wave offering, or a grain offering. Each person would bring their sacrifice to the tabernacle to cover their own sins or for themselves and their families. However, the day of atonement is different.
The day of atonement is very special in comparison to the other “daily” sacrifices. The day of atonement occurs once per year on the 10th day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. It is a time when all of the congregation of Israel was to get together at the tabernacle / temple for a special sacrifice for all. The day of atonement is about bringing cleansing to the high priest and his family; to the tabernacle, alter and tools of worship; and to the congregation of Israel as a whole. It’s about purifying and bringing all to right. It’s kind of like rebooting or restoring a computer. It cleans out the system and gives a fresh start.
This is very important over the succeeding centuries, and if it had been done and taken seriously as it should have been, it would have gone a long way to help prevent the corruption and downfall of the nations of Israel and Judah. Yet it didn’t.
This principle still applies today. While it is important for each individual to come to repentance before the LORD, and that seems to be a lost art. Even more so the repentance of the nation. How often do we take responsibility for the sins of the nation. How often do we come to YHWH in worship of Him and seeking not only forgiveness and healing for our own sins but for those of our nation. How often do we take responsibility for the decisions and direction of the nation. It is something that the leaders of the nation especially are to do, but that the people of the nation need to pursue and take accountability for as well. It is our nation and our responsibility.
Rev. John Camiolo
You could say that this is where it ends, or you could say that this is where it starts. Either way, Jacob and his family are on their way to Egypt. There is a much bigger plan for them than any of them can see right now. It is a plan that won’t be fulfilled for 400+ years.
Jacob makes a wise decision. Even though his lost son has called for him to come down to Egypt with all that he has and that he will be taken care of, he still seeks the advice of Elohim; the God of his fathers. Jacob wants to make sure that this is what God is directing him to do. What’s important to note here is that even when faced with something he desires more than anything in the world, Jacob does not just accept and do what he desires with all of his heart. He seeks God’s will before he makes the choice.
As a result God blesses him. God tells him that he is to go. That He (God) Himself will bring them out, and that Joseph will be there to see him off on his death bed. At this point there is nothing more that Jacob desires. We will see more of this plan of God’s in the coming books, but understand that all that occurs in the meantime is a part of God’s plan.
Do we jump into doing something that we want so badly just because we want it without consideration of the consequences or whether it is God’s will. Many times i have seen an amazing situation that i really, really want and think that it must be God blessing me, but i may forget to actually ask Him if it is from Him. Other times i seek God’s will and accept what He tells me; then when things fall apart i wonder if i really heard God or if i was just doing my own thing.
Just because it is a blessing, does not mean it is God’s will. Just because it has led to frustration and trouble, does not mean that it isn’t a part of God’s plan.