Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Simple Goulash------The Heart Position

This is so simple and still yummy. You can definitely spruce it up and make it fancier, but this basic version is great...and fast! If you have the ingredients leftover, you can even make this almost entirely out them.

-1lb Ground Beef
-2 Cups Pasta
-1 Cup Pasta Sauce
-Shredded Cheese
-Onion Powder
-Garlic Powder
-Italian Seasoning

Cooking Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a small casserole dish.
2. Cook the ground beef in a skillet, seasoning with the dry spices listed and any others you want.
3. Boil the pasta until it is just about cooked.
4. Heat the sauce over low in a skillet until slightly bubbly, stirring and seasoning to taste.
    Reheat leftover sauce, ground beef, and pasta.
5. In the casserole dish, combine the pasta, sauce, and meat. Stir in cheese.
6. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese over top.
7. Bake for 15 minutes. 


The Heart Position

I love this term. I have no idea where it came from or who coined it, but it so frequently grips me and challenges me.

The Bible mentions the heart -a ton. It is mentioned all throughout the Old and New Testament, and we are given many commands concerning out hearts.

Commandments like

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it"
-Proverbs 4:23.

Or “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."  -Matthew 22:37.

Jesus frequently says to those He interacts with "take heart!"

And yet it isn’t my heart that I consider, or that I am cautious with.

In prayer, it is usually my words I am concerned with. Or how praying works. Or what God hears. Or who I am forgetting to think of. Or whether I really mean what I’m praying. Or if I’m even praying the right thing.

These things have nothing to with the position of my heart.

In gratitude, I think about my desires. I think about which of my desires are being met. Maybe about my needs and what I’ve been provided with. The things that have made me happy. Even the things that I struggle with but recognize I should be grateful for. I look around me at others and think about how much I have been blessed with.

These things, again, have nothing to do with the position of my heart.

In my daily activities, I am so often conscious of whether or not I’m “doing” the “right thing.” Decisions are weighed on how they will make me look –especially how they will make me look as a Christian. Sometimes I think about how my actions will affect others. Or if they stand up for truth. Often I wonder if my actions are truly justified.

Yet these things have nothing to do with the position of my heart.

And I could go on and on about other things in the same line. For a really long time. My senior seminar paper in college was all about intentions and whether or not they ultimately matter.

That is what the heart is, after all –intentions. The “Kardia” in Greek, which is a word frequently translated in English Bibles as “the heart,” is not a vital physical organ. It is the inner self, the will, the intention at the center of a person.

The heart is our “volitional desire” (according to Strong’s Concordance and HELPS-Word Studies.)

And our intentions matter. A lot. In an extreme example: if you kill someone because you feel like it, most people will condemn you. However, if you kill someone because it is the only way to stop them from murdering your child…people tend to be a little more understanding. It’s the “because.”

But, out intentions aren’t always a trump card either. If Billy cut off Mary’s ponytail because he meant well, assuming its length annoyed her too, he is still in trouble. “Meaning well” isn’t sufficient if the actions are wrong.

So then…spiritually, am I “off the hook” because I mean well by being concerned about doing the right thing? Or because at least I bother to pray and to be grateful? What if I do all those things, imperfectly, because my intention is to be a good Christian?

Still on the hook. Hanging there. Dangling. I’ve missed the point.

My heart positions matters only in relation to the Lord. And it is always in relation to the Lord.
Prayer is not for me. Thanks giving is not for me. Right actions are not for my sake. None of my life should occur with my heart in any position –humble, earnest, eager- except for submitted to my master, Jesus Christ the Lord. And that’s because of who He is. Not who I am.

How much easier it is to proclaim that than it is in my heart to actually go before the Lord and kneel, forgetting all else and holding nothing back.

Yet, simply,

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” –Romans 10:9-13.

May we, with our whole hearts, remember the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. May we trust in the Lord as it is said in Psalm 28. 

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