Feeling ‘Cold’? [v180]

FEBRUARY 2014

Feeling ‘Cold’?

There were ‘record-setting’ COLD temperatures throughout the Midwest during January, due to what was being termed as the “Polar Vortex”—and here in Michigan it was no different. It was the snowiest January ever with 39.1” (58.5” since December 1st!) and the coldest in the past century. I saw -17 degrees in the morning on my car’s external temp gauge, and the wind chill was reported to be -48! (and the ‘high’ for that day was only -1 degrees!). [ That same day, Ironwood, Michigan, in the upper peninsula, reported -20 degrees, and a wind chill of -55 degrees! ].

So, how cold can someone actually get before ‘permanent damage’ occurs?

Well, the normal ‘core’ temperature of a human is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and one will start to feel ‘uncomfortable’ at 95 degrees. When it drops to 91 degrees, people develop amnesia—and they become irrational and do strange things like taking all of their clothes off, thinking that they’re burning up instead of freezing cold!

After being chilled for a while, many people experience something called cold-induced vasodilation (CIVD), which dilates the blood vessels in the extremities, causing a loss of circulation to their fingers and toes, and inducing a sudden hot, “burning sensation.” People are particularly vulnerable to frostbite at this point.

At an internal temperature of 82-85 degrees, people lose consciousness. Death comes at a core temperature of about 74 degrees Fahrenheit.


Now, more important than the air temperature when it comes to evaluating the dangers of cold weather is the “wind chill index”—because the wind chill describes the temperature your skin is actually experiencing.

When wind chill is below -17 degrees Fahrenheit—as it was in the Detroit area many days in January—there becomes a very real risk that uncovered skin tissue can freeze. Ice crystals that form in skin cells can cause damage, including cell death.

At -17 degrees Fahrenheit, it has been shown that it takes about 30 minutes of exposure to cause frostbite—but it only takes just 10 minutes at -30 degrees Fahrenheit, and just five minutes at -50 degrees Fahrenheit!


Now, because of the cold temperatures for much of January in the Midwest, there was a real chance of homeless people dying outside (though many ministries like “Grace Centers of Hope” and “Detroit Rescue Mission” ‘squeezed’ in many more people than normal into their emergency shelters to save them from frostbite—or even death).

Though it would be ‘horrific’ if someone died like that, I think there’s something even more ‘dire’ than that! Yes…that of being ‘COLD’ toward the God of the Bible—that is, without a ‘saving’ personal relationship with Him, because that is what determines ‘where’ you will spend your ETERNITY!


Hopefully, you know that I think it be utterly ‘tragic’ if someone froze to death outside—and that I would have done all that I could have to help someone in that situation—but having a “burning sensation,” all the time, for the rest of your eternity (in hell) is something I can help you with, right now—so you will not experience any “permanent damage”!


God desires a relationship with EVERY ONE of us—but He’s a ‘gentleman’, and will not force us. He will wait as long as it takes for us to determine that we REALLY DO NEED HIM, and He then, in turn, will ‘guide’ us in a relationship with Him—Who knows our thoughts, and wants the best for us.


For those who do not yet ‘believe’ in the “Holy Trinity”—God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit—the apostle John, under the ‘inspiration’ of the Holy Spirit, said, “In this love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” [1 John 4:10]. Again, God is ‘prepared’ for when you are ready.

In addition to that, the Bible says God is ‘available’, and ‘at work’ in everyone’s life. “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.” [Acts 17:27-28]. God wants us to know Him—and He’s not surprised that you’re not as ‘keen’ about knowing Him: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way;” [Isaiah 53:6].


So, what is the problem? Well, originally it was the “sin” of Adam and Eve that ‘broke’ the relationship with God: “And thus death spread to all men, because all have sinned.” [Romans 5:12]. But God has provided a ‘solution’ for you!

God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to do what we could not do for ourselves.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” [John 3:16].

The primary reason Jesus came to this earth was to die, in our place, to pay the ‘penalty’ for our sin. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” [1 Peter 3:18].

So what do you need to do?

Well, since our own efforts to earn God’s acceptance are inadequate–He requires perfection—He offers His Son’s righteousness to be ‘imputed’ unto us: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” [1 Peter 3:18]. If we then admit our need for forgiveness (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23]), and accept the free gift of His grace and trusting, by faith, in Jesus, you become His ‘child’—one that He will then ‘defrost’ your cold-hearted nature. (“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” [John 1:12]).

The great news is that you don’t have to ‘do’ anything—it’s all been ‘done’ for you by Jesus: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” [Ephesians 2:8-9].

God assures that if you have ‘trusted’ Jesus as your Savior, you will experience eternal life. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” [1 John 5:13].


So, what’s the cure for a ‘stony heart’ that is COLD toward God? That’s easy—it’s God Himself. He converts your ‘heart’—you just have to LET HIM DO IT! (“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” [Ezekiel 11:19]). Then, just be ‘teachable’: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” [Colossians 3:16].

As a ‘bonus’, when you believe, the Holy Spirit comes to ‘live’ inside you, and He will strengthen, protect, and direct you in the ‘way’ you should go: “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” [2 Thessalonians 3:3-5].


So, are you ‘warming’ toward God yet? If so, just as you would do to change something in your life, you must ‘turn away’ from what you don’t want, and ‘turn toward’ what you do want. That is the same ‘method’ you need to use to begin a ‘relationship’ with God—turn towards Him, and He will reveal Himself to you (“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” [2 Corinthians 3:16].

So, what happens after this?

Just before Jesus left this earth, He promised that the disciples would be ‘infilled’ with the Holy Spirit—to encourage them, help them with temptations, teach them the best way to live, and be an ‘advocate’ for them in front of God the Father (“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you” [John 14:16-17] ). Just as it was then, when you ‘accept’ Jesus into your ‘heart’, the Holy Spirit comes to ‘live’ inside you—and you a given a “spiritual gift” (“To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” [1 Corinthians 12:7]).


Next step? Well, it’s really simple. In your own words, tell God you’re sorry for being ‘cold’ toward Him; that you desire to turn away from sinful behavior; that you accept the free gift of Jesus’ ‘atonement’ for your sins; and that you want to begin an ‘ON FIRE’ relationship with Him. That’s it!

[ Excerpts from: RBC Ministries ]


RESOURCE:
“Turning Your Heart Toward God”
by Kay Arthur

Discover What It Really Means to Be Blessed
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus identified attitudes that bring God’s favor: weeping over sin, demonstrating meekness, showing mercy, nurturing peace, and more. Some of these phrases have become so familiar that we’ve lost sight of their meaning.

In this powerful study, you will gain a fresh understanding of what it looks like to align your life with God’s priorities. Here you will discover anew why the word blessed means walking the fullness and satisfaction of God, no matter your circumstances. As you look closely at the meaning behind each of the Beatitudes, you will see how these truths can shape your choices every day—and bring you closer to the heart of God.

http://www.amazon.com/Turning-Heart-Toward-40-Minute-Studies/dp/0307458725

“The Pursuit of God”
by A.W. Tozer

Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. For his work, he received two honorary doctorate degrees. His classic Christian work, The Pursuit of God, covers the following:
1. Following Hard After God
2. The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing
3. Removing the Veil
4. Apprehending God
5. The Universal Presence
6. The Speaking Voice
7. The Gaze of the Soul
8. Restoring the Creator-Creature Relation
9. Meekness and Rest 1
10. The Sacrament of Living

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pursuit-God-Additional-Annotations/dp/1434442306

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[P.S.: If you would like to investigate what the Bible says about how to draw closer to God in the here and now, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html


LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v180) for FEBRUARY 2014
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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BELIEVERS: IF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS ‘COLD’
I must confess that I have a pet peeve when it comes to my coffee—I like it hot and I like it to stay hot. However, this seldom occurs. I am amazed how quickly my cup of coffee can get cold. Often I have to put it back into the microwave to reheat it…several times throughout the morning.

Unfortunately, our hearts can be like a cup of coffee—quickly digressing from hot to lukewarm to cold.

The ease of which our hearts can grow cold concerns me, especially when I read Matthew 24. Of all the signs of the end times, the one that challenges me the most is when Jesus said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” [Matthew. 24:12-13].

I am bothered that Jesus said “the love of most will grow cold.” This means a higher percentage of people will experience a decline in their spiritual temperature than will experience an increase in their spiritual temperature. Ouch. I don’t know about you, but I sure do not want to be one that Jesus finds with a cold heart when He returns.

On top of this, remember what the book of Revelation says will happen to those who are neither hot nor cold: He will spew them out of His mouth [Revelation 3:16]!

What kind of love is Jesus speaking of here? Since He said the most important commandments are to love the Lord with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves, it is safe to assume He is addressing our love for God and others.
So, if “the love of most will grow cold”, what are some contributing factors to this eternally tragic spiritual condition? I can think of at least six. You may come up with more. Here are my six:

1. Neglecting certain vital spiritual disciplines, such as time with God, meditating on the Word, prayer, fellowship with others, service, etc. If the liquid in a cup is not externally stimulated in some manner, it will get cold. Spiritual disciplines are one way of externally stimulating our heart.

2. Allowing a situational difficulty set our heart against the Lord. When we go through something challenging (i.e. health issue, divorce, loss of job, mistreatment by others, death of a loved one, etc.), we can either allow that difficulty to drive us to greater dependence on God or we can take up an offense toward God. The former will lead to growth, the latter will lead to stagnation.

3. Busyness in life. Here is the one most Americans are vulnerable to—getting so busy with life and demands that we simply neglect our relationship with God. Like any relationship, it takes effort for it to continue growing and deepening.

4. Materialism. Jesus said “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” [Matthew 4:19]. The question to ask with possessions is, “Do I own it or does it own me?” Perhaps the current recession in America is God’s way of weaning us from the grip of materialism?

5. The sins of the flesh and desire for pleasure. We are a pleasure-crazy culture. So much of what people focus on is pleasure, whether sexual, physical, emotional or relational. We spend a great deal of time, effort and money or what gives us pleasure. This can lead to a very self oriented life which will cause one’s heart to grow cold toward the Lord. Josh McDowell once said that sexual sin is the number one cause of people digressing spiritually.

6. Insulating ourselves from the pain of others. Many of us purposefully isolate ourselves from the hurt and pain of others. We don’t want to know what is really going on in other’s lives so that we can keep a safe distance—not having to show real care. However, Jesus wants our heart of compassion to stay hot by seeing real needs and responding to those needs where we are able.

Since these are some of the reasons people’s love will grow cold, what can we do to prevent this from occurring? Like my cup of coffee, I need to repeatedly put my heart in the microwave of the Spirit. How do I do this? I have six suggestions:

1. Hang around others with a hot heart. Fellowship with godly people is so important in our walk with God. Just like a campfire stays burning when the logs are together, so do we burn brighter when we are around other committed Christians.

2. Spend quality time with God. This goes without saying, but I must still say it. No other practice is more important than spending quality time with God every day in the Word and prayer.

3. Read biblically-accurate and Spirit-anointed books and articles. One reason I get David Wilkerson’s monthly mailings is because of how he always stirs my heart.

4. Intentionally expose yourself to needs. One must have balance here. You can become overwhelmed with needs and burn-out trying to meet all needs. Jesus did not respond to every need, but He spent enough time with hurting people to keep a compassionate heart and respond as the Father directed Him. I just learned of a ministry in my area to the homeless, and I am planning to check it out.

5. Deal with sins as they occur. Do not let sins build up. Dr. Bill Bright used to call this “keeping short accounts with God.” In other words, confess and repent of any and all sins as they occur in your life. This keeps your heart honest and tender.

6. Get surgery if you need it. When someone has a heart attack, they need surgery. Some Christians have grown so cold in their relationship with God that they need spiritual surgery from a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor.

We must do whatever it takes to insure that our love does not grow cold. This is more important than our retirement account, job, golf score, weekend source of entertainment, getting the best deal on something at the store, or next vacation. Just as we have to be intentional about staying in good physical condition, so do we have to be intentional about maintaining a vibrant relationship with God.

One final thing I must add that applies to all of the above: We cannot make our heart hot for God. This is not a matter of striving in our own flesh to be hot for God. Instead, it is relying on the supernatural power of the Spirit to keep our heart hot for God (see my blog on the “Exchanged Life” for more on this). God must do a divine work in our heart through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, with all that I have said, perhaps the most important thing you can do for your heart is to honestly admit the condition you are in—whatever that is—and sincerely ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with His presence. The Spirit “works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure” [Philippians 2:1].
[Pastor David Holt]

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THREE ESSENTIALS FOR RELATIONSHIP
1. There’s got to be love!
You can’t be in a good relationship with someone if you hate them. There needs to be love, whether it’s towards God firstly, your partner, your family, your friends and even towards your self. Love is the key ingredient that keeps any relationship on track. It’s only when the love part is allowed to grow cold that a relationship winds up in trouble. The Bible talks about in the last days, the love of many waxing cold in God, that’s a process it’s referring too. It doesn’t necessarily happen overnight but if you don’t fan the flames of love, it can start to grow cold. In terms of our God life, we need to let the Holy ghost do some shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts, so that we keep a strong connection with him. Its crucial that you keep the bonds of love strong and true towards those your in relationship with, it’s the key component to making it work! Remember, love is the foundation upon which good relationships grow.

2. You got to commit to it.
Building strong relationships involves commitment from both parties. In terms of God you can be assured he’s doing his part towards us but that’s not true of us all the time. How committed to God are you? Or your partner? Or those in your life? There needs to be a focusing of our intentions, to line up with our actions, to produce a certain standard of relationship that we’re aiming for. God knows when we’re real and so do others. So commit to the relationship, don’t mess around with it because if your not serious about it, then it’s doomed from the start! You got to show your in the thing, not playing around. You can undermine your happiness and those closest too you by just living with a “take it or leave it” attitude. Commitment is a good thing, it grounds you and settles you in a unshakable position and let’s face it, there’s plenty going on around us that wants to break apart theses important relationships in our lives. Don’t give the enemy a door of opportunity, but put in place the building blocks of strength in your God life, your marriage and in every other important connection you have.

3. Take time.
Time people often say is at a premium! There’s never enough of the stuff to go around for all you need to do in a day, week or year. Yet time needs to be controlled, not controlling us. If things get away from of us, i.e. you see your partner four times a week as you pass like ships in the night on the way to your separate jobs, then that’s out of sync with where you want to be. You need to take time for those your in relationship with. It’s not enough to vaguely know and hope someone loves you but never spend more than a few minuets with them. This leads to trouble! If your too busy to sit down and take a little time with God for example, then your relationship suffers. If you never see your husband, then you end up strangers and strain is placed on the relationship. King David said this “Lord help me to number my days so that I get a heart of wisdom.” Often people get into the trap of not wisely using their time and the less important things get the bulk of your time instead of the other way around.
What you need to do, is make some adjustments that correct the imbalance and restores the priorities of your time. God first above all, then your partner and family and so on. Trust me you’ll be glad you made the effort to put time in with those you love, and it will make everything in your life go better as well.
[Dade Provan]

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“OUT IN THE COLD”

I only wanted to play
I thought what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him anyway
But he found out and someone else gave him her hand to hold
And suddenly I find myself out in the cold

He trusted me all the time
I thought I could see another man and he would still be mine
Well yesterday I had a good thing worth more than gold
Today he’s got a truer love and I’m out in the cold

I had a love warmer than fire, but I listened to my desire
Now yesterday’s dreams are tomorrow’s heart aches
I’m payin’ for my mistakes, now girl, take a tip from one who knows
If you open up a new door, you may find the old one’s closed

So be true to your good man

Take a lesson from the story I have told
Or you just might get a left now out in the cold
You just might get a left now out in the cold
Don’t let yourself get left now out in the cold
Don’t let yourself get a left now out in the cold
[Carole King]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.”
[Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” [Revelation 3:15-16].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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