. Right Beside You | The Grace Place


As many of you know, I have been dealing with heart-related problems for almost 20 years. Because of this, I am “all ears” when someone is talking about a “healthy heart.”  Everyone knows the human heart is a vital part of normal body functions. When you study the Bible, you realize God has a lot to say about our “spiritual heart” as well. While there seems to be no limit to who God is willing to use, the one kind of person God does not use is someone who is living halfheartedly.
I don't know the current condition of your heart, but if you want to prepare yourself to be used by God, that is where it has to start.  The writer of Psalm 119 seems to realize this, and he reveals three things you need to know when it comes to having a healthy heart.
  • Know What to Hate. "I hate the double-minded, but I love your law." (Psalm 119:13)
Training yourself to hate the things that hurt you can be a powerful motivating force for change. For example, if you want to develop healthier habits, learn to hate the effects of the unhealthy ones. Learning what to love is crucial, but learning what to hate can be just as important.
  • Know Where to Hide. "You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word." (Psalm 119:14)
When things get difficult, we all have a hiding place we tend to run to. It’s where you choose to hide that makes all the difference.  For some, their hiding place is harmful and creates even more damage.  If you want to weather the storms of life and keep your heart healthy, you need to find a healthy hiding place.  God's Word, worship, or even the presence of people who build you up, are good places to go.
  • Know How to Hope. "Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!" (Psalm 119:16)
Knowing how to hope is often the difference-maker for keeping a commitment.  Most of us hope incorrectly because we expect things immediately.  Over time, disappointment from unrealistic expectations can sometimes train our hearts to stop hoping.  If you want a healthy heart, don't put your hope in quick fixes.  Anchor your hope in the bedrock of God's promises!
I have been thinking a lot about why God makes us rich. This weekend, I will share the third sermon in our five-part “Being Rich in What Matters Most!” sermon series. We are not focusing on how to “get” rich, but how to “be” rich. Our culture has a lot to say about how to get rich, but only the Bible gives us a clear understanding of how to be rich. 
In 2 Corinthians 9:11, the Apostle Paul tells us why God made us rich, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Our “generosity will result in thanksgiving to God!” Imagine if we became so generous that when people saw us they said, “Oh, I thank God for you. You are so incredible. You're not like a lot of rich people I know. They are kind of arrogant and stuck-up, think it’s all about them, and they think it’s all for them. Sure you enjoy some and God wants you to, but you don’t think it’s all for you and you’ve been giving. I just want to say, ‘God, thank you for you, because you are awesome!’ You are making a difference."
This five-week series gives us a fresh perspective on what being “rich” really means and how we can honor God with the richness of our finances, time and hearts. Please join us for this life-changing sermon series in one of our three identical weekend services - Saturday 6:00 p.m.Sunday 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Each year, in the month of August, we receive a special “Dog Days of Summer” offering. I have mentioned many times that summer is when attendance and offerings seem to go through wild ups and downs. When that happens, it creates huge challenges for us in staffing our ministries and paying our bills. Our weekly budget need of $35,000.00 is not a reflection of some wish-list, but is based upon careful calculations of our financial commitments as a church. This budget need doesn’t go away when we are out of town, on vacation, or involved in weekend recreational activities.
This offering is an opportunity for you to evaluate your recent giving patterns and determine whether you have tithed on all of your increase – salary, bonuses, benefits, capital gains, etc.  God will honor you in a powerful way when you honor Him “…with all of your increase.”  Please join Karon and me in bringing a generous and special offering this weekend! The Apostle Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”  
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10 NIV)  


Please consider joining us as often as you can for our Friday prayer time in the Lobby of the Celebration Center @ 6:00 a.m.  We are praying together for God to do things that only He can do.  There have already been a number of very specific answers to the prayers this group has prayed!  On Saturday's @ 4:00 p.m., we are meeting in the Lobby of the Celebration Center for our Prayer Circles prayer time.  Please join us and become a part of what God is doing and is going to do through the ministries of The Grace Place Church!!  We will look forward to seeing you next Friday morning or Saturday afternoon!