8 November 2018

Hi, it’s Mick here, and welcome to Thursday’s Podcast at STC. Thank you for taking the time in your day to be part of our growing Podcast community – if you are finding these reflections helpful as you follow Jesus, why not pass on the link to someone else and share the blessing!

REFLECTION:

Today’s Bible reading is Acts 1:15-26 – it’s long and is one of those when you think ‘why is this in the Bible at all? – lots of detail and no inspiration!’ Well, it’s Peter keeping the team up to speed by spelling out clearly what’s happened do what’s coming next – a kind of early church team briefing! You can read the whole passage after today’s prayer but our focus verse for today is v24: ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart …’

On this Thursday of our Prayer Week at STC, the question is ‘How is your heart?’ – it’s time today for a spiritual heart check up!

The original words in the Bible for v24 are ‘Lord you are a heart knower’. This phrase is only used twice in the NT and both times in Acts. What does it mean? The heart here signifies our inner life or our soul. That which makes you, you!

John Wesley, the founder of Methodist Church, the great revival movement of its day, would often pose a question to his followers, which they then used in their house meetings – their version of our midweek groups. They would ask each other this ‘Friend, how is it with your soul?’ In other words, are you at peace with God and others? I do wonder what would happen if we started all our church gatherings and mid week communities with that question? ‘Friends, how is it with your soul?’ Perhaps such honesty and compassion would open our lives up to the Lord and we, like Wesley, would see a great Revival again!

v24 is a great reminder for us today that we can never hide anything from God because he knows how our souls are today, he is the heart knower. Actually, it’s a great comfort that we do not need to hide anything from Jesus. He knows us inside out!

My physical heart is obviously very important – it keeps me alive! I need to look after my heart through a good diet, exercise etc. (No dunkin’ doughnuts!) A physical discipline that will keep my heart strong and active. The same principle applies spiritually; we all need spiritual disciplines to keep our spiritual hearts strong and active! This daily Podcast is part of a healthy spiritual discipline – well done! The fruitfulness of my spiritual life is determined by the health of my soul, my inner life, my spiritual ‘heart’.

Here is a truth; my inner life determines and shapes my outer life – it’s not the other way round! If I am at peace in my soul, I will be at peace with the world. Being at peace with myself enables me to be at peace with those around me – my family, friends, work colleagues etc.

Our vision at STC for 2019 is ‘Join Us and Grow’; it will be an exciting year with so many opportunities for our church family to grow in so many ways. My heart’s desire is that all of us, those already in the church family and those yet to join us, would be aware of Jesus shaping our inner life by his life-changing love and enabling us to live in his peace every day. In a busy, hectic and demanding world that is indeed a precious gift to have and when those around us see us living with each day in God’s peace they too will eventually seek the God who gives this peace. It starts with me …

Lord you know everyone’s heart … Lord you know my heart today.

PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, you know what is going on in my life today; my joys and my challenges. Whatever this day brings, thank you that you know my heart, you search my soul and you pour your love and grace upon me today. Hallelujah.

READING: Acts 1:15-26

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, ‘Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.’

(With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

‘For,’ said Peter, ‘it is written in the Book of Psalms:

‘“May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it,”

and,

‘“May another take his place of leadership.”

Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.’

So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.