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Heart Health

greatful heart-resized

 

Dear Members and Friends,
 
I trust you are doing well and looking forward to our service this coming Lord's Day! 
Given the personal events of the past few weeks, I've been concerned about my heart. My twin brother, Dan, had open heart surgery October 15 and had to have 5 by passes to repair blocked arteries. Earlier this week, because of shortness of breath Dan had an angiogram which showed his heart to be doing well with no complications. His recovery is coming along nicely and it will just take time for him to fully recover.  We are all very grateful and relieved.   After all, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. 
Given all of that, most of the brothers called their Doctors and requested a stress test. Mine was last Friday and showed that my heart is doing well. Same advice as always: "Lose some weight...exercise...watch your diet." (You would think they could come up with something new!) 
Yesterday, there was an interesting article on KSL.com that Utah's heart transplant program celebrated it 1,549 successful transplant since it began 35 years ago. Each year there are over 3500 heart transplant surgeries, with most of them taking place in the US. 
I'm showing my age, but I vividly remember the first heart transplant surgery done on December 3, 1966 by South African cardiac surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard.   The man, 54 year old Louis Washkansky received the heart of an accident-victim and lived for 18 days. Barnard's second transplant patient lived for 18 months.   The advances in medicine over 5 decades are truly extraordinary. 
Physically, your heart is your greatest asset. No body part does more than the heart. From the time you are born, this amazing organ beats on average 70 beats a minute, 100,000 times a day, 35 million times in a year and more than 2.5 billion in the average lifetime. 
Scripture references the heart as the real you; our inner being. As such we are instructed to "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (Proverbs 4:23). Our speech and character reflect our heart. Every sin starts in your heart. 
Given all of that I've had to ask myself: As concerned as I was - and am - about my physical heart, am I equally concerned about my spiritual heart? I've had to ask myself: Is my heart pure? Am I working daily to keep it pure?   Am I being lazy about my "heart health?"  Am I conscious of what I'm feeding it, how I exercise it, how I maintain it. Am I eliminating the negative inputs into my heart put out by Hollywood entertainment, foolish or sinful friends, and worldly music? Am I feeding my heart with the Bible, prayer, godly music, and holy friends? 
Let's work on our "heart health" by protecting it from influences toward sin (Ps 101:3; I Cor 15:33), and supply it with influences toward holiness (Ps 119:11,63; 101:6). Get away from evil things, and spend your time with good thoughts and things (Phil 4:8).
 
Both physical and spiritual health require a strong personal commitment and discipline.
See you on Sunday either in person or "on line."
In the light of His glory and grace,
Pastor Doug