Written by Patricia Klein
A little over a year after my major heart surgery, it was time for an evaluation. Scans and blood work were followed by a phone consultation with my cardiologist. What she said was similar to lots of things in life these days. Basically, “… these things are good, but these need watching”.
A few weeks later, I had my annual eye check-up. Our eyes aren’t anywhere near our heart, right? Still, as she reviewed the pictures of my retinas, she pointed out that the blood vessels looked healthy, and so “your recent heart issues didn’t harm them”. I was thankful – but truthfully, I hadn’t even considered that the circulation to my eye could have been affected by my heart issues!
All this reminded me of the proverb: Above all else, guard your heart. For everything you do flows from it. 
As leaders, it’s so important to guard our hearts. It’s too easy to be influenced by trends in our world around us.
Meditating on Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, we have to conclude that the Kingdom of God is upside-down from what we’re used to. Jesus challenged his followers to think and live differently.
- Love your enemies. Do good to them!
- Turn the other cheek. Offer even more than is demanded, even unjustly demanded.
- Remember there’s the Now, but also the Later. If you’re upset because you’re hungry, or poor, or being persecuted now – remember that later on you’ll be satisfied, laughing, and greatly rewarded. Conversely, if you’re rich and prosperous, and famous now, later you may be unhappy, sorrowful, in mourning.
- And then this reference to our heart: Just as figs can never be gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes aren’t picked from bramble bushes, so evil things come from an evil heart, and good things from a good heart.
- Leaders desire to speak love, wisdom, courage, and hope. But our friend Heidi McLaughlin recently reminded us that we can only speak out what God puts into our hearts. May we guard our hearts, by spending time with our Father, worshipping, seeking discernment in these times, yielding our desires to his.
When the prophet was looking for a good candidate for the next King of the nation, God reminded him: ‘People look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart’.
 Proverbs 4:23
 Luke 6:20-49
 1 Samuel 16:7
As God lovingly looks into our hearts today, what does He see? Hurt and bewilderment? Feelings of inferiority and discouragement? Judgment and pride? Entitlement? Worship? Thanksgiving? Love? Self-sacrificing mind-set?
Oh Lord, how we need you today! Create in us a clean heart, we pray.
“Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will”
 Refiner’s Fire, by Brian Doerksen