How to Fix a Broken Heart

WE FIX BROKEN HEARTS.

picture 1 6-30-15I couldn’t help but be overcome with emotion by this banner on the lawn of a local hospital.

My first thought was, “I wish fixing my broken heart was as simple as inserting a stent or constructing some bypasses.”  My broken heart had to do with visiting my sister in the hospital last Saturday afternoon.

All you have to do is listen and you’ll find many people with broken hearts. I have so many friends who are hurting.  Some of them are grieving over the loss of loved ones while other are grieving because of sons and daughters who have abused drugs and alcohol or who are struggling with same-sex attraction.

Others of my friends are brokenhearted over unfaithful spouses or ones who are addicted to pornography.

I could go on and on with people I know well who have broken hearts–pain caused by job loss, children in prison, debilitating illnesses, or  Alzheimer’s or other mental disorders.

While there are many things that boast of knowing how to fix a broken heart, most of us know that they don’t work.  Why? Because we tried them, and they didn’t offer any relief.

So, what do we do?  Where do we go?  Who or what do we turn to?

There’s only One who can fix a broken heart.  It is the Lord Himself—The Great Physician.

Shortly after Jesus’ baptism and temptation, He returned to Galilee.  Because news about Him had spread throughout the area, He was invited to teach in the synagogue at Nazareth, his hometown.  He read from Isaiah 61:1-2—“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”

In those verses Jesus laid out His mission.  Clearly, one part of it was to bind up the brokenhearted.

But a thousand years before Jesus came, the LORD had already revealed Himself as one who cares for the brokenhearted.  David, an individual who was described as “a man after God’s own heart,” struggled with a broken heart.  He had a dream that he felt came from God, but he just couldn’t seem to make it happen.  Every way he turned he encountered more heartache and pain, even within his own family.

picture 2 6-30-15There were times when David experienced loneliness, but deep down inside he knew he was not alone.  Through it all he chose to cling to the reality that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18)—that the Lord, “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

Like many of us, David knew that life can often be overwhelming.  But at the same time, he also knew that he had access to power that far exceeded his own strength.  In Psalm 121 he reassured himself by asking the question—“Where does my help come from?”–and by answering his own question—“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and of earth” (vv. 1-2).

So, what do we do when our hearts are broken and there seems to be no quick fix or no fix at all?  What do we do when our situation looks hopeless?

We have to do exactly what David did—talk to ourselves. We must trust that the Lord is close to us, the brokenhearted, and does bind up our wounds.  We have to believe that He is “a shield around [us] and the lifter of [our] heads” (Psalm 3:3).

Rest assured I’m thankful we have access to skilled doctors who can fix the physical abnormalities of the human heart, but I’m more grateful we have access to The Great Physician who is available 24/7 and heals our broken hearts and soothes our painful wounds.

Loving Father, I praise You today because You are the Sovereign Lord of the Universe and yet You care about the brokenhearted.  Quite often You are the only One who really knows how we feel and why we are hurting.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, for staying close to us and binding up our wounds. Thank You for being a shield around us and the lifter of our heads.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture Reading: Psalm 34

What if We Were Passionate About Turning the World Upside Down?

We are blessed this week to have the privilege to host a group of student and adult volunteers in our area called World Changers.  They are doing construction projects for the needy and sharing their faith as they work. It’s a beautiful example of The Great Commission in action–making disciples “as you go” (Matthew 28:19-20).

changetheworldAccording to LifeWay, World Changers “exist to serve churches in their mission of making disciples by providing missions experiences that develop the heart of students for serving others and sharing the Gospel….in strategic cities of all sizes.”

Volunteer assignments range from building a ramp for the disabled to putting a roof on a house.  There’s a job for everyone—those with well-developed skills as well as those with no skill at all.  Not only is there a blessing waiting for those who are helped, but there is also a blessing waiting for those who actually do the work.

Acts 17:1-10 records one of the stops on Paul’s second missionary journey at Thessalonica.  It was a strategically located city situated on a major Roman east-west traffic artery called the Egnatian Way. Paul knew that to share the gospel there would send it all over the Roman Empire.

The first item on Paul’s agenda was to find the local synagogue.  He explained to those who attended that the Messiah had come, that He had been crucified, and most importantly, that He had been raised from the dead—just as the Old Testament writers had prophesied.

After sharing the gospel with the congregation for three consecutive Sabbaths, many people believed with joy—Jews, Gentiles, and some of the prominent women in the city.  However, many of the legalistic Jews were incensed at the positive response.

Being infuriated, the Jews stirred up a riot.  They dragged some of the believers before the authorities and alleged that they were harboring traitors because they had allowed Paul and Silas to stay at their house.

Furthermore, they accused Paul and Silas of being troublemakers who had “turned the world upside down” (KJV) and were telling the people that there is another king called Jesus.

Fearing an out-and-out rebellion, the authorities made the believers post bail indicating that they would see to it that Paul and Silas didn’t cause any more trouble.

What a description of Paul and Silas—men who have “turned the world upside down.”  Although it was a derogatory statement, it is precisely what Jesus had in mind in The Great Commission.

wc_logoPic__4_Isn’t that what World Changers is all about?  It’s about doing acts of kindness that gets the attention of those who see what is happening—a new roof for a single mom, a ramp for a disabled husband, a new floor for an aging widow.

It was amazing what happened here after Hurricane Katrina.  When the Disaster Relief teams from all over the US came to our aid—feeding people, providing water, cutting trees, etc.—the church really got noticed.  Why? Because we were literally, “giving a cup of cold water” in Jesus’ name (Matthew 10:42).

We saw this truth play out in the aftermath of Katrina. Late one afternoon after a tiring day working with chain saws in the grueling 90 degree heat, the yellow-shirted Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Workers walked into our local IHOP, and the whole restaurant broke into applause.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Such is the power of doing our good deeds before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

Scripture Reading: Acts 17:1-9

Dear Father, we want our lights to shine brightly for You.  We want to be world changers who turn the world upside down for You.  Give us eyes to see every opportunity You give us to give a cup of cold water in Your name.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

 

Is He Really Going Over the Edge? Crazy?

From time to time people ask me what it’s like to be a minister’s wife.  I always say, “It’s a wonderful life—definitely not boring—but I never know what might be happening next.”  What I should say is, “I never know what Waylon is going to get us into next.”  I’ll give you an example and let you decide what my life might be like.

Capital one buildingThis Friday Waylon is going to rappel down the Capital One building in Baton Rouge, the second tallest building in the city—24 stories/308 feet.  Let that sink in.  24 STORIES/THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHT FEET!

And why might you ask is he going to do such a thing?  Well, besides the fact that Waylon loves an adventure and a challenge, there actually is a worthy cause that he is doing it for.  It’s to draw attention to the 4,500 children in need of foster care in our state and the lack of foster families to care for them.

And can you believe that the Covington Region which encompasses St. Tammany and four other surrounding parishes has the most children in need of foster care in our state? Look at these statistics:

  1. In Louisiana, about 1 in 4 children who enter foster care will eventually need an adoptive family.  Currently, there are 250 Louisiana children waiting for adoptive families.
  2. Every year in Louisiana about 650 children are adopted from the foster care system. Adoption from foster care comes at no cost to the adoptive family.
  3. On their 18th birthday, whether they’re still in high school or not, children in Louisiana “age out” of the foster care system without a prominent family and with little support, putting them at greater risk.
  4. About 250 children in Louisiana age out of foster care each year.
  5. Because of their lack of family connections and support, more than 1 in 5 of the youth who age out of the U.S. foster care system will become homeless.
  6. 71% of young ladies who age out of foster care are pregnant by age 21.
  7. 1 in 4 youth who age out of foster care will be involved in the justice system within two years of leaving the foster care system.

Why should this matter to us and why should we get involved?  Because it matters to God. Non-christians would view this as a humanitarian act, and that’s a good reason.  However, Christians have a Biblical mandate to care for widows, orphans, and homeless.

Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the LORD warned them about being self-centered and forgetting how oppressed and needy they had been. Two passages come to mind:

(1) “True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt.  Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command” (Deuteronomy 24:17-18 NLT).

(2) If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.  Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NLT).

The LORD made it crystal clear in these passages and in many others that He cares about widows, orphans, and the homeless–the defenseless people in the ancient world. He still cares about the oppressed in our world today, and expects us to share out of our abundance.

Would you consider getting involved in trying to help these children who are in foster care through no fault of their own but are victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment?  Please contact www.crossroadsnola.org and see how you can help.

crossroadsnola

Crossroads NOLA is a non-profit agency that came out of FBC New Orleans to help alleviate the problems associated with foster children in our state. Crossroads NOLA partners with the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home to care for orphans in Louisiana.

In case you are wondering if Waylon is the only one who has lost his mind, there are at least two other area pastors who will be rappelling with him on Friday— Ken Schroeder (FBC Mandeville) and David Crosby (FBC New Orleans).

This is what Waylon had to say on his blog (waylonbailey.com) a few weeks ago:  “I hope you will support me as I [“go over the edge”] Friday. Martha wants you to pray, and I want you to give [your money and your time] for needs of foster and adoptive kids and families in Louisiana.”

Dear Lord, You have made us aware of the vast need in our state involving foster care of defenseless children. Help us not to be “hardhearted or tightfisted” toward those in need.  We know Your Word clearly commands us to care in an active way.  Show us how we can get involved.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I Receive it!

Last Tuesday I went to the airport in New Orleans to pick up my nephew who had come to visit his mother, my sister who moved here a year ago. As we exited the short term parking area and paid the fee, the attendant said, “Have a blessed day!” To which I quickly replied, “You, too!” “Thank you,” she said with a smile.  “I receive it.”

Thursday, my nephew and I drove back to the airport for his return flight to Atlanta.  After getting him on board and buckled in, I returned to my car, exited the parking garage and paid my fee to the same attendant as on Tuesday. This time I beat her to the, “Have a blessed day!” part, but her response was the same—“I receive it!”

Admittedly, “Have a blessed day!” can easily become equivalent to, “See you later,” but there was something about the way the lady said it that made me think she really was speaking a blessing over me. I’ve thought about her response frequently since then and wondered how many times people have tried to speak a blessing over me and I either discounted it or was too caught up in what I was going to do next to acknowledge it and receive it.

As the Book of Numbers opens one year after the Exodus, it was time for the Israelites to scout out the Promised Land to determine how to conquer it.  The LORD had given them everything they needed.  He had assured them of His presence by manifesting Himself in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  He had provided water for them to drink and manna for them to eat.  He had counted them, organized each tribe, and assigned specific roles to each of the priestly clans.

picture 1 6-10-15All they needed to do was trust God, follow His lead, and take the land He had promised. The LORD told Moses to tell Aaron, the priest, and his sons to bless the people with these words: 24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26). Isn’t that a beautiful blessing?  It was exactly what the LORD wanted to give the Israelites—His protection, His grace and mercy, His favor and approval, and His peace.  All they had to do was receive it through obedience.

picture 2 6-10-15This week marks the two year anniversary of my blog at marthabailey.com which was conceived to serve one purpose—to keep the ladies and me connected between Bible studies during the summer and holidays.  However, it soon turned into a weekly venture that won’t let me rest until the post is written each Wednesday. Knowing that there’s a lot of harm to be done in the blogosphere, my goal for every post has always been for them to be honest, real, relevant, entertaining, and true to God’s Word. My prayer continues to be that I and the blog will remain under the umbrella of the Lord’s favor.

My heart’s desire is the same as the psalmist when he said, “May the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful.  Yes, make our efforts successful” (Psalm 90:17). I want to thank you for joining me on this journey.  I am praying the Aaronic Blessing over you as I type.  Would you do the same for me as I try to spread God’s Word and His love through my blog? I hope you have a blessed day!  I’m speaking a blessing over you.  Do you receive it?

Dear Father, I thank You for the opportunity to share Your Word and Your love over the internet with my family, friends, and people I’ve never even met.  Would you bless them today with Your protection, Your grace and mercy, and Your peace?  And, Lord, would You help them to live lives that You can smile upon and place Your stamp of approval upon?  I appreciate their support and encouragement and ask You to bless them as they faithfully visit my blog each week seeking to be inspired by You through my posts.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.