Testimonies: Heart Palpitations Gone

Our God is still in the healing business! I’ve had heart palpitations and nerve ending issues since 2012. I was told I’d probably have it the rest of my life.

Since then, many close friends have prayed for my heart. About five weeks ago, the symptoms disappeared. I had been experiencing palpitations every

few minutes, every hour, every day. Suddenly, they were gone. The nerve ending issues also disappeared. It went from burning, tingling hands and feet and random sharp pains to none at all. I’ve been able to stop taking supplements to help with the misfiring nerve issues.

I went to the doctor on Friday and had an EKG done like I do every year. No heart palpitations were evident, and my heart showed “normal for my age range”! The nurse looked stunned and seemed genuinely shocked!

Nothing has changed with my medications for these improvements to occur. I just started getting better. I’m praising God for this miracle! He is so good to me.

I hope this encourages you if you’re waiting for your own miracle. ♡

– Heather

Heart Matters and the Idolatry of Religion

Here’s a provocative statement that may offend some fellow believers: love and our relationships with God and other people are more important than obeying rules and laws. If this statement is true, howBible then do we reconcile Jesus’s statement, “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15)? First, we must love, then we can demonstrate that love through obeying His laws.

The Shema (Jewish prayer) from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 emphasizes love/faith over law through this statement, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” The Shema is a filter to be applied to the laws that follow it. Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Romain in his article Why is the Shema so significant? explains this sentiment beautifully: “The Shema stands out as a cry of belief, something that cannot be simply carried out or avoided but has to be personally taken to heart.”

Religion without Relationship is Idolatry

If idolatry is the act of worshipping something other than God, than it seems fair to state religion without a personal relationship/love of God is essentially idolatry (Colossians 2:23, Acts 17:22). James A. Fowler in his article God Hates Religion puts it this way, “The English word “religion” is etymologically derived from the Latin word religo, meaning to ‘bind up.’ Religion binds people up in rules and regulations or in ritualistic patterns of devotion.” The religious spirit controls its followers through fear and guilt by demanding perfection through works to better one’s stance with God and man (Matthew 6:1-8, Philippians 2:3, and 2 Corinthians 12:7, and 1 John 4:18). In this scenario, God is viewed as a demanding boss; and His followers are underperforming employees with whom He’s frequently angry and dissatisfied.

A sacrifice given out of pride or apathy is another religious idol. It is performed out of self-exalting piety, without thought or thankfulness to God. Prideful giving is often haughty and flaunts how well one is able to meet such requirements compared to others. However, it’s the not quantity of what we give or the awe of others that makes us right with God but the quality of our motivations and the thankfulness of our hearts for all that God has given us. Isaiah 1:10-15 and Amos 5:21-24 illustrate this idea through God’s repeated rejection of “meaningless offerings.”

Cain’s Offering – An Example of Religion, Wrong Motives and Why it Matters

In Genesis 4, we see religion and love’s stark contrast. Abel was a shepherd who offered God the best of his flock which God accepted. Cain was a farmer who offered God some of his crops, but his offering was not accepted. Why? The words “best” and “some” provide clues. Abel gave God his best; Cain only gave God some of his crops, indicating he kept the best for himself. When Cain was angered by his offering’s rejection, God told him that he must first “do what is right.” Instead, jealousy over his brother’s offering lead him to kill Abel. Cain’s jealous was birthed from wrong motivations, giving from an ungrateful heart, instead of thanks. Even if Cain had given the best of his crops to God, the offering would have still been rejected due to the state of his heart.

Other Scriptures Confirming the Importance of Love/Heart over Law

  • Desiring mercy not sacrifice – “But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with such scum?’ When Jesus heard this, he said, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.’ Then he added, ‘Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:11-14).
  • Food restrictions – In Romans 14, Paul instructed early church believers not to judge each other over what food should or shouldn’t be eaten. Christians in the early church were Messianic Jews (Jewish converts to Christianity) and gentiles. Jewish laws prohibited the Jewish people from eating certain foods; gentiles were not required to follow the same laws. Therefore, some believers felt convicted to not eat certain foods while others did not. Interestingly, the Bible says a believer who feels convicted that he should not eat the food in question but does it anyway has sinned; the person who did not feel the same conviction did not sin by eating the same food.
  • Giving, prayer and fasting with the wrong motives – “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.” (Matthew 6:5-7).
  • Condition of the heart when approaching God with prayer – Before we approach the throne for prayer, God requires that we come to Him with faith and trust that He will do what we ask of Him and that we will pray with the right motives. See Why Won’t God Answer My Prayers? for a deeper study of this topic.
  • The wicked hearts of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah – these towns were destroyed for their willful disregard for others who were suffering and their depth of depravity (Ezekiel 16:49, Jeremiah 23, and Isaiah 1). See the Old and New Testament Parallels, Symbols and Ponderings Series Part 3 – Sodom and Gomorrah for an in-depth study of the people who lived there.
  • Worshipping God with modesty not out of showy materialism (1 Timothy 2:9-10) – See Relevant Magazine‘s article Yoga Pants and What the Bible Really Says about Modesty about this topic.
  • Measuring gluttony  How much of something is too much? Who determines the measurement? Could it be the answer lies in the conviction of the heart about what is just enough and what is too much? (Proverbs 23:20-21)

Jesus is Our Perfection

Doesn’t God demand perfection from us? Yes, He does, and we should do the best we can to live righteously because we love the God who gave His Son for us (Matthew 5:20, Matthew 5:48). However, it’s important to remember, our measuring stick is not how well we’re able to keep the laws because we all have fallen short of the glory of God (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23). Perfection is something we can never attain. Instead of focusing on our lack of perfection, we should fix our eyes on Jesus’s grace (Galatians 2:20). His blood sufficiently covers what we’ll never attain on our own (Romans 3:21-24, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

A Christian Response to Social Issues

I am humbly reminded each day when I read the news and interact with my fellow man that the highest calling in my life is to love God and love people. Sometimes, neither call is obvious or easy. I confess, when I read the headlines day after day, I’m perplexed and torn about how to obey God and yet not cause my friends, family and neighbors that don’t share my views such division that it keeps them from exploring a relationship with the Father. hands-compassionWhat do we do? Do we bend and cave on our convictions? Do we sit back and watch? Do we become outspoken activists?

 

The issues and injustices I am confronted with may force me to respond. We don’t always have the luxury to be a passive observer. However, the basis for the response should always be the same — I am compelled to love above all else. Love is my only option. I must consider all aspects of the debate. I must weigh the outcomes of my actions and the actions of my brothers and sisters in response to an issue or injustice. I must consider whether or not such an action will close doors for people to hear the Gospel. I must always remember the difference between the message of primary importance (God’s love and compassion and the power of the Gospel) versus lesser, but still important social issues of the day. I must look for common ground with those who stand on the opposite side of the dividing issue. In the end, although we differ in our methods, most people want the same things ultimately — to be loved and accepted for who they are and for someone to understand even a fraction of the mile trod in their shoes.

 

The world often doesn’t look the way I want it to look. I should not be surprised or upset or allow myself to appear arrogant or finger wagging. We should carefully pick our battles, always in love and without agenda except to further the message of the love and hope in our Lord. What we say and do affects people. Our tongues, as provocative and powerful weapons, have power to divide nations. Will we wield it for good?

Man’s Greatest Power

“Man’s greatest power is his ability to influence others.” – Leslie Hardin

Fisherman

Sometimes we think we’re powerless because we’re “ordinary” or don’t have the ability or access to influence the masses like a president, the Pope, or a CEO of a highly successful company; but even the least of us have the ability to influence others.  Want proof?  Look at the apostles.  Some of the apostles were fishermen and one was likely a tax collector (See “Who were the Twelve Disciples?” on Bibleinfo.com).  Fishermen were considered by many people of the day to be lowly and ordinary, and tax collectors were loathed by their communities.  Status, fame, and fortune are not necessary ingredients for impacting people.  You have the power to not only impact the people in your immediate circles, but you can also impact people around the world thanks to technology like blogs, other forms of social media, etc.

Below are a couple of personal stories to illustrate the power of “ordinary” positive and negative influence:

Story 1 –

I’ve wanted to be a missionary since I was twelve years old, and I remember allowing someone else to snuff out the burning desire to fulfill such a calling.  His words were harsh and left an impression on me. “You can’t be a missionary.  Only men can fulfill that role,” he said firmly.  I outwardly disagreed with him, but I lost interest in pursuing my dream for several years because the passion of his words stung.

When I think upon that memory, I realize something even more profound than what was right or wrong with the man’s statement — I subconsciously allowed him to influenced my decisions.  Now that I’m older, his words remind me to think about the words I speak to other people.  Am I encouraging or discouraging someone who trusts my opinions?  Am I speaking truth?  Is there a hidden motive when I provide council to others?

Story 2 –

Recently, a good friend of mine watched in horror as a little boy on his bicycle slid sharply down a hill and plowed into a hedge, scraping his feet and legs. When it was obvious no one else in the neighborhood would help, my friend intervened, scooped him up, and carried him back to his house.

After helping the child, she realized the importance of caring for the neighborhood kids and releasing compassion and love on the people living around her.  The boy’s accident opened her eyes to the need to build a community and turn strangers into friends.  As a result, she plans to hold block parties to learn about her neighbors.  She also plans to meet the boy’s mother and be involved in the child’s life if she allows it.

My greatest hope is the little boy will never forget the kind-hearted woman who showed compassion and carried him home when no one else came to his rescue.  Perhaps one day when he grows up, he’ll show similar compassion to someone in need.  After all, there’s no greater influencer than someone who is willing to experience inconvenience, personal sacrifice, or suffer for the sincere desire to serve others.  My friend may have considered her gesture insignificant, but sometimes we never truly know the depth of imprints we leave on other people’s hearts.

Over and over again, I’m reminded of the power we have to influence people.  The words we speak and the actions we take can encourage, empower, and bring truth, love, or mercy; however, we can also bring condemnation, lies, hate, and judgment.  It’s our choice on how we choose to release words over people and show the love of Christ. How will you influence others?

Speak life!