Rend Your Heart

“Rend your heart, and not your garments.”—Joel 2:13.

ARMENT-RENDING and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations—for such things are pleasing to the flesh—but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.
HEART-RENDING is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.
The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation. C. H. Spurgeon

In this day of self gratification and self indulgence, I found this message to be a timely reminder.  Let us press toward Jesus, and enter into His courts.

 

 

Ice Cream is Soul Food

While purging some old papers I came across a story my sister shared with me back in 1997.  It was sent to her anonymously so I can’t give credit to the author. Upon reading it again, I felt compelled to share its timeless message with you.

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen!” Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country.  Kids today don’t even know how to pray.  Asking God for ice cream!  Why, I never!” ?

Is God mad at me?” As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.  He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”

“Really?” my son asked.

“Cross my heart.”  Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing),  “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.  A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my kids’ ice cream at the end of the meal.  My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.  He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you.  Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already.”



The elderly gentleman’s actions set the stage for a teachable moment for mom, the little boy and of course the woman.  We get so caught up into religious ideology that we forget Christ said to come unto Him with the simplicity and heart of a child.  Our grown up ways cause so much misalignment with our Heavenly Father and with each other.  The streets, workplaces, schools and churches are filled with people ready and willing to “rain” on your parade, inflicting their brand of “righteousness.”  However, we don’t have to become a carrier of negative attitudes and behaviors.  Each moment present the opportunity to cast our lot with the likes of the elderly gentleman, whose brief encounter, listening to the beauty of a child’s prayer, opened the door for joy. In that moment the sound of childlike innocence and laughter brighten the room, and gave purpose to an ordinary meal.  He  made a deposit into the little boy’s heart and soul which the little boy appropriately withdrew and transferred to the woman.  “Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already” he stated with the blessed assurance that God was not mad at him, and that he could share his blessing with her.

When was the last time you made such a deposit? ice-cream-sundae

Christ told us to love our enemies, and those who mistreat us. Perhaps if we shared our ice cream with those who need it, there would be a little more joy, love and forgiveness in those places that are much too dark and dreary.   Share some today.   You may be surprised to discover just how really good for the soul ice cream is.