Friday, July 11, 2014

A Heart Work

 Recently, I completed a stress test with my cardiologist as I was having some shortness of breath which she thought required some attention.  She followed up with a nuclear PET scan which is a test of endurance for laying completely still with your arms above your head for 20 minutes while they take pictures of your heart.  Following the tests some days later, I met with my doctor and she felt I needed a heart catheterisation to look at an area of abnormality.  I had previously had one a number of years ago that had shown nothing of any consequence.  However, I am always leery of tests, so I wasn't terribly excited about another one.  Nevertheless, I trust my doctor and agreed to have this done.
     This past Wednesday, I underwent the procedure knowing that if they found something they could correct with a stent or angioplasty that they would do it at the same time.  In short, they did find a significant blockage which they were able to correct with a stent.  After an overnight stay in the hospital, I came home yesterday to begin a new way of living with a better diet and a gratefulness that they were able to repair an artery before trouble came my way.  As I recuperate,  I couldn't help but reflect on the heart surgery that the Lord had performed on my heart over 43 years ago, but in a different way and not a temporary fix.  In fact, the Lord gives to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ a new heart.
     From Old to New Testament, God makes clear His plan for salvation and what it means to us.  In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God instructs the prophet to speak these words to the Children of Israel who had once again fallen from His ways:  "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."  Note:  God does all the work here from start to finish.  While He speaks here of Israel's restoration, this is a foreshadow of God's plan for those who are called by His name as we see fulfilled through Jesus Christ.  My MacArthur Study Bible's footnote on these verses reads:  "The gift of the 'new heart' signifies the new birth, which is regeneration by the Holy Spirit.  The 'heart' stands for the whole nature.  The 'spirit' indicates the governing power of the mind, which directs thought and conduct.  A 'heart of stone' is stubborn and self-willed.  A 'heart of flesh' is pliable and responsive.  The evil inclination is removed and a new nature replaces it."  This is the best heart transplant procedure ever done, and only God can do it for us.  There is no concern that we can ever lose it either.
     In the New Testament, we read these words of the Apostle Paul who testifies to our new life in Christ:  "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;" (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).  Once again, both Old and New Testament bear witness to the change in us.  We are new creations...not just repaired creations.  God has given to us a new set of values, life, and outlook.  He has forgiven our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, and now we can live for Him.  Yes, evil and sin are still present, but we are free to obey God and to see life from a new perspective no longer bound in sin and death.  This newness of life is a continuous work of God's Holy Spirit which He gives to us to guide and direct our steps.  We no longer live for temporal things but with a view of eternity before us.  What glorious surgery the Lord does on us!
     On April 27, 1970, God did surgery on my heart and my husband's heart the same evening.  We confessed our sins and received from God's hands hearts of flesh.  We became new creations in Christ and have enjoyed fellowship with Him these many years.  How grateful we have been for His complete provision for us.  He has not only given us new life but also has given us the gift of eternal life with Him.
     While I am very thankful for my physical heart repair, I rejoice even more in my spiritual heart transplant which God has done in my life.  My eternal destination is secure in Christ who is able to keep me safe in His arms.  Has God done spiritual surgery on your heart?  If not, ask The Great Physician to give you a heart of flesh even today.  He will be faithful to answer your prayer.  Selah!

I welcome your testimony on how God has worked in your heart.  It is a blessing and encouragement to others.

Many thanks to all who prayed for me during my recent procedure and hospital stay.

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