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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Well-Ordered Heart

You know the saying, "When you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." Well... I finally have some good things to share and some thoughts on a FANTASTIC book titled The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg.

First the good news... my sister has been home from the hospital for almost a month. God showed up in mighty ways and my sister who wasn't supposed to leave the ER for months went home two weeks after you all started praying for her and my family. That's the power of prayer! Thank you all sooo much for praying and sending cards. You were the hands, feet, and encouragement of Christ to my family.

More good news...Earlier this month, I signed a contract with my new publishers - Harvest House - for a two book romantic suspense series launching Feb/March of 2012. So those of you looking for a new book... it's coming! ;-) Keep praying. ;-)

Now for some book musings. This morning my daughters and I finished a chapter in the book The Life You've Always Wanted, and I couldn't shake the thought, "I should blog about this."

So here I am. I hope to make a sustained habit of it. ;-)

John Ortberg says, "There is a quest worthy of our devotion. It is the quest for what might be called a well-ordered heart."

Augustine suggested a well-ordered heart is to "love the right thing, to the right degree, in the right way, with the right kind of love."

To pursue a well-ordered heart, Ortberg talks about Colossians 3:17, "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Then he asked some questions that sent my mind whirling.

"What would it mean for us to wake up in Jesus' name?" My answer, probably not the pillow over my head groan that usually greets my alarm clock.

"What would it mean for us to drive in Jesus' name?" I read this question and my children giggled. Then they told stories to each other about how I fuss at slow drivers and don't have a good attitude and how I talk to people on the road who can't hear me. They each have a favorite story they tell in between peals of laughter. I won't repeat them here. You'll have to ask my kids sometime, because I'm not sure what they're talking about.

"What does it mean for us to watch TV in Jesus' name?"

This question resulted in a long discussion. I tend to watch crime shows on TV and explained to my kids how I watch them because I love the justice that's inherent in those types of shows. But their question was, "Do they scare you?"

They know all too well that there are nights I come up from my office after having written a suspense scene or after having watched one of my favorite shows and my heart is racing and I'm sure some sniper outside has a bead on me.

They think it's funny. I guess the way I tell is. But is that watching TV in Jesus' name? I have to admit, I don't think so. That fear doesn't cause me to love Jesus more or depend on Him. It just makes my imagination run wild to places it shouldn't go.

However, I don't think it means I give up all TV. For me, watching TV in Jesus' name means inviting Jesus to watch with me and listening to His thoughts about what I'm viewing. If something is presented that the Bible speaks against, I turn the TV off. But if not, I think Jesus cheers when justice prevails. I certainly do.

What does it mean to do household chores in Jesus' name? How do I work in Jesus' name?"

These two questions hit home too. Ortberg said in response to chores, "To respond in Jesus' name would mean reflecting on how fortunate I am to have a nice place to live. It would mean recognizing that this task can help me remember that I am not the Messiah, and the earth won't stop spinning if I have to take some time out to fix something."

My girls just said, "Oh. Yes. I need to think like that." Me too.

Ortberg's comments on work, for the girls: school, were insightful. He talked about how to work in Jesus' name involves viewing people as people, to treat them with kindness, maybe even to say a prayer for each person we encounter.

The conclusion we came to was that having a well-ordered heart means we have to be intentional about how we think and act. We have to be quiet more and prayerful more and focused on us less. We also discussed how we can't do this in our strength or determination.

We need Jesus. After all, it's in His name, in His character, by His strength we're to live.

So how would you do life "in Jesus' name?" What would you do differently than you have been doing?
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