Friday, October 19, 2007

Holy heart burn!

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Luke 22, 23, 24

Luke 24:31-34a (NIV)

31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized [Jesus], and He disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together, 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen!”

Good morning!

Have you ever had “heart burn” while reading a passage of Scripture? I was a proud little third grader, as I walked down the long center aisle of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Florissant to receive my Bible and a handshake from our pastor. It was a red letter Revised Standard Version, given to me by the church. I was definitely reading at a third grade level when I took the Scripture home to study it for the very first time. The words were long and difficult to pronounce; yet, many of the stories I had heard in Sunday school and Bible school began bouncing off the page as I read them for myself. There was this feeling inside that God was speaking directly to me! Oh, how my heart burned. There are times, when I sit in church and listen to the Word as it is proclaimed, that my heart gets all stirred up and I know, without a doubt, the Lord is teaching me something new.

Heart burn grabs our attention like nothing else can. If you’ve ever eaten something really spicy that did not settle well, you know the feeling I’m trying to describe. Heart burn can hurt, especially if you are being convicted of something deep down in your gut. Other times, that tingling sensation is a welcomed moment – an affirmation of call, a confirmation of direction, an encouragement to move forward in faith. Sometimes, heart burn hurts enough that you may find yourself seeking emergency medical attention in a local ER, ruling out the possibility of a heart attack. We should never ever ignore the feeling of a heart burn. It may be just the warning we need to keep us from falling into sin.

I love God’s Word. Ever since I received that red letter Bible, I’ve spent a good chunk of time pouring over its message for my life. There were seasons when I was not so faithful; I chose not to read the Word every day. God’s Word has the power to convict, and sometimes, it seemed much easier to keep it tucked safely away on a book shelf, buried behind a stack of magazines with a paper weight on top (as if that might stop the Word from speaking.) Even if you try to bury it on a shelf somewhere, God’s holy Word has the power to rise up and grab you when you least expect it.

While Cleopas and his friend walked along the seven-mile stretch from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Jesus, the risen Christ, suddenly appeared, and at first, they did not recognize Him. Have you ever entertained a stranger, and suddenly realized you have seen the Lord? His Word rises up from the pages of our Scripture, making our hearts burn with the Holy Ghost fire. When the men returned to Jerusalem, they couldn’t contain the Good News. Everything Christ had told them was happening before their very eyes. He is alive! He is risen!

Whenever I listen to God’s Word, whether I am reading the Scripture at home or hearing it proclaimed via satellite television or radio; and especially while sitting in worship on Sunday, my heart burns with Holy Ghost fire. God calls each of us to listen to our hearts, acknowledge His holy presence in our lives, and act with humble obedience to His call. I’m still trying, after forty-eight years, to flesh out that call. Love is an amazing thing. Because I’ve been loved so unconditionally, I cannot help but love others through Christ. It is that holy heart burn that keeps me focused on the walk back to Jerusalem. One day I will reach my final destination, and I have a feeling my heart will burst with pure joy upon seeing the Lord I love face to face.

If you find yourself experiencing a holy heart burn today, don’t ignore the symptoms. God may be calling you for kingdom work. Seek emergency spiritual attention immediately. Go directly to church. Find your pastor and ask for discernment and wisdom. Plug into a small group Bible study, and get hooked up in the Word. When you recognize the risen Christ is standing right in front of you, be very happy! Is your heart burning now?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: eyes to see and ears to hear the Word God is speaking to you today. If you can feel a little heart burn, then you know it’s time to act. Don’t put it off or ignore it any longer. The Word speaks! Jesus is alive! He is risen indeed! Amen!


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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