How is your heart health?
A devotional by Patricia Russell
“Happy are those whose hearts are pure, for they shall see God.”
–Matthew 5:8 (TLB)
It was my second trip to the east coast of Canada and I was excited.
It was an opportunity to travel, sing, meet new people and encourage them in the Word and I thought this was going to be good!
One day, we went into town and met some people in the community. I remember greeting a group of people and chatting. Not long after, a little boy, about the age of six years old, approached me. I bent down and put my hand out to shake his. With thoughtful and deeply curious eyes he reached out and stroked the top of my hand. He stroked it again. He looked back at his hand as if fully expecting to see something to come off on to his little hand.
I was perplexed. I knew my hands weren’t wet. I was now puzzled! I noticed the adults around him looked disturbed and blushed. He looked up at me and asked, “Does it come off?”
My brain quickly went into fourth gear, as I realized he was clearly expecting something from my chocolate skin to rub off on to his hand. This was the first time he had met a dark-skinned person. He looked up in surprise. The question in his eyes required an answer. I knelt down, looked lovingly in his eyes and said, “No honey, the color doesn’t come off. This is the color of my skin. It doesn’t wash off. This is who I am.”
I waited for a response. There was none to give. In childlike fashion he shrugged his shoulders, turned and ran off to play with his friends.
Friends, it’s this very same attitude that God longs for us to come to Him with. Come without fear, with curiosity and purity. We only need to have the courage to reach out, touch His heart with our questions, our doubts, our fears. Believe me, His heart can handle it. Remember, He understands our makeup.
The Psalmist David said in Psalm 139:1-5 (TLB), “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit or stand. When far away you know my every thought. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say before I even say it.You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.”
David continues to marvel over the fact that God knows everything about us. Wherever we go, He is there! Whatever we think – He knows. Just like that little boy, God is not afraid of our response – He actually knows it before we say it (Psalm 139:4). That short encounter reminded me of how much God wants me to have a childlike heart in how I relate to Him. He told the disciples to allow the children to freely come to be with Him because they reflected the mindset He wanted us to have in His kingdom.
Jesus wanted them to watch and learn from the children who played freely, forgave easily and whose hearts were pure. When exposed to loving relationships, loving behavior and loving conversation, children will naturally pass that on to others they interact with. So maybe we need to check our hearts. Have you had a heart check-up lately? How is your heart beating? Are you anxious? Are you worried about tomorrow?
Take on the attitude of that little boy during the first time he met someone who didn’t look like him. “She looks different,” he must have thought. But he didn’t linger on that thought or treat me badly because of my skin color. He simply shrugged then decided to go and play.
I believe God wants us to see the differences in people and love them anyway. Remember, He created us all. Rest in knowing what David (the Psalmist) knew: God knows everything about you … everything. Yet He loves you anyway!
Let’s pray: Dear God, there are so many things happening in this world that can overwhelm my heart. I choose today, to trust you in everything. Keep my heart pure so I can see people through your eyes and love them the way You love them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Patricia Russell is a speaker, worship leader, author, certified life coach and songwriter.
Her gifts have been shared internationally with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through words and songs. She has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers. Over her 30 years in ministry, she has been a featured artist in musical cantatas locally and the United States of America.
Patricia had the honour of leading worship at the kick-off event for the 2006 the “Just Give Me Jesus” Toronto Revival with Anne Graham Lotz who is the eldest daughter of Billy Graham, a well-known American evangelist.
Patricia serves in ministry along with her husband Rev. Wayne Russell. Together, they have served as guest hosts on a local early morning call in program called “Nite Lite Live” that formerly aired on the CTS Television Network. They have two adult children Raquel and Benjamin.
Patricia has recorded two CD’s: “Lord I Trust You” and a live recording “Draw Me Nearer.” She is also an author. Her first book is titled Lord I Trust You: Words of Encouragement. It is meant to further encourage and share life lessons as a result of her cancer journey. She is a co-author of a #1 bestseller book titled Crushed Diamonds Still Sparkle, and she has compiled the recent #1 bestseller book titled Stronger Resilience.
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