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A Healthy and Vital Heart

Today’s Reflection

GOD’S HEART beats in an ever-flowing, threefold pulse. God dwells at the center of creation — in the center of our being — as a source of life and love, inviting broken humanity to rest in the healing bosom of compassion, to be restored into a humanity loved and alive, and to pulsate into our wounded world as agents of compassion. We complete this cycle only to return again to the source of God’s love, become replenished, and enter once again into the body of our broken world.

Jesus’ spiritual path invites us to participate ever more fully in the three movements of this sacred rhythm. Through this process, the pulse of our lives beats more in harmony with the pulse of God flowing through creation. The process transforms the very rhythms of our hearts to beat as one with God’s heart that aches for the world. In the ancient world, people spoke of the heart as the vital center of the body. Our heart’s focus determines our deepest allegiances, investments, passions, and pursuits. As Jesus observes, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). Jesus cautions against centering our hearts on such anemic spiritual fare as wealth, honor, and social positioning. Instead, our heart is most healthy and vital when centered on God. . . .

Indeed a pure heart soaks up the compassion of God, beats in sync with God’s own pulse, and bears more fully God’s heart for the world. A heart that beats at one with God’s is a heart that holds others with care, savors and celebrates their healing and vitality, and supports them as they move through the world in pursuit of life and love. This heart grows increasingly more tender and beats with the pulse of compassion.

– Frank Rogers Jr.
Compassion in Practice

From page 22 of Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus by Frank Rogers Jr. Copyright 2016 by Frank Rogers Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What are the characteristics of a compassionate heart? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.

2 Samuel 5:10, NRSV

This Week: pray an increase of love of neighbor. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Thomas (July 3).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Jill July 2, 2018, 5:25 am

    Humility, patience and a willingness to listen deeply would be among the characteristics of a compassionate heart. I love “a pure heart…beats in sync with God’s own pulse”. May it be true of me.
    Church was really good yesterday – another sermon I needed to hear. Five characteristics that should be evident when in the midst of a crisis. Again, may they be true of me.
    Family time yesterday was good – lots of laughter – how I hope it soothed mom’s soul. We played long and hard, my family is pretty competitive at everything, including dominos and cards. It was good that my sister’s son and daughter-in-law joined us.

    • Andrea July 2, 2018, 11:43 am

      A prayer of thanks for the good family time you had yesterday, Jill, and may future gatherings have the same warmth for all of you. Prayers for you, Gloria, Jill, Becky and family, and Roger. Blessings.

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 5:26 pm

      Jill, so thrilled to hear your descriptions of yesterday’s activities! Praise God your Becky’s children were also there, kind of like a holiday gathering. I continue to pray for you and your Mom, Gloria, your Dad, Larry, and your sister, Becky and her family. And little Roger, too! Sending Love and Light!

  • robert moeller July 2, 2018, 5:28 am

    Thankful for this day, enduring the current heat wave, communion yesterday, and many posts here at the UR.

    I think a compassionate heart beating ” at one with God’s is a heart that holds others with care, savors and celebrates their healing and vitality, and supports them as they move through the world in pursuit of life and love.” I feel many compassionate hearts here at the UR. Thank You, Lord. Caring, sharing prayers flow from this oasis to all who come. Lord, with You this is possible.
    Healing, reconciliation, nurture, listening, faith, hope, love, mercy, and grace are present. They flow through us as gifts from God, Thank You, Lord.

    Blessings and prayers for all of you this and every day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 5:50 pm

      Robert, there is much to unpack in today’s Reflection and your quote also stood out for me. I am also reminded of the fruits of the Spirit in Galations: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

      I pray for you, Erich, Annaliese, your other family members and loved ones and the members of your congregation and of course, Pearl. You continue to bless us each day and I am thankful for that and also for your prayers.

      Sending Love and Light!

  • Betsy July 2, 2018, 6:49 am

    This is a place that welcomes and celebrates compassionate hearts. So grateful to come to this site everyday and share in the love and empathy that flows here.
    Wonderful worship yesterday. Sharing communion and singing, many patriotic hymns, and prayer with our church family. So blessed to have the freedom to worship freely in this country. Praying for more compassion for our neighbors, both close and far away, as we celebrate our country’s birth.

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 5:58 pm

      Betsy, I love hearing about all of the praise-filled accounts of everyone’s experiences at church. Being currently unable to attend, I miss being blessed in this way each Sunday. Thank you for supplying your own account. When hymns and songs are named, I look them up on YouTube and “share” vicariously!

      I am grateful we can lean on God and each other here among UR friends and family!

      Sending Love and Light and Praises!

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 6:03 pm

      Keeping you and your family and friends in my prayers, Betsy! Praying for our Compassionate God to enter into the hearts and minds of our leaders, and bring us together in Faith, Hope and Love for all!

  • Lou July 2, 2018, 6:52 am

    A compassionate heart- all that we find here- in all of the 35 posts yesterday- praise God for the support and compassion and prayers offered here.
    Thankful for safe travels to visit my family on a special occasion- my youngest was very helpful and kind to the elderly relatives- not a thing she likes doing as she is the youngest by far but she did well and I made the 5 hour drive there and back as I do not enjoy that either- but all went well.
    I am thankful that after many many sleepless nights I am finally able to sleep through the night again. Maybe because I am just so exhausted but nevertheless I sleep. I pray for all of those struggling with feeling down and discouraged,
    with those who have trouble sleeping, and for those whose hearts are troubled. God alone is the friend we need who is beside us all of the way. He may not answer in the way we want or expect but He is with us. I have experienced so many trials in the past two and half years. I was very very happy in my “previous” life- but I have to trust in God’s plan for me. I wake up every day and just say Jesus help me. And somehow He gets me through. I wish for things to be easier- because many things are not and I’ve faced many many challenges- but I know I have the blessings of my beautiful children and my extended family and that is all I need. I just have to get up and keep moving forward and try to spread my faith and God’s love wherever I can.
    Through the storm I know God is with me- I do not understand what happened and why my “happy” life ended but I have to keep going because I have people counting on me.
    Julie- I pray for you and your fears- I was paralyzed for awhile by mine -but God has helped me through and He loves you and will help you also. You have asked what my profession is- I’m a clinical psychologist- I hope you have a good lawyer and good counsel to help you with the logistics- but your best counsel is in the Lord. We are all praying for you.
    Thankful to Marcy and Robert for their individual prayers and responses – also to Mary and Andrea and their personal responses and support as well. Thankful for all of the compassion from the UR family –
    Special Love to Connie today- God is near/he heals the broken-hearted- God loves you.

    • Andrea July 2, 2018, 11:45 am

      Lou, your persistence, strength, and faith are inspiring. Prayers for you and your children. God bless you

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 6:40 pm

      Lou, I am praising the Lord that your trip went good and that your youngest daughter did well with her elderly relatives. She does have the example of her Mom! You have been faithful and strong, as you have weathered the storm. And Jesus carried you (“Footsteps”) when the roads seemed impassable. I’m reminded, when I’m discouraged, of the Parable of the mustard seed. When my faith seems small, yet it is great, because my faith remains solid in our Triune God, and I am never devoid of hope. I “long” for the days before my marriage, before the years of mental and emotional damage were perpetrated and I was physically fit. Romans 8:28 sustains me when this overwhelms me.

      I continue to keep you and your children and all your loved ones in my prayers. Thank you for your witness as I see you living in faith, showing your commitment to God. You are spreading the faith!

      Sending Love and Light and thankfulness!

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling July 2, 2018, 7:09 am

    Father God, grant us a healthy and vital heart. A heart that is pure, clean, humble, teachable, forgiving and kind. One that desires after your heart, God.

    Blessings

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 6:45 pm

      Yes! Thank you for this comment, sweet sister Mary! You are a beacon!

      I praying you are feeling better, and keep your Mom and Dad and loved ones in my prayers.

      Sending Love and Light and healing!

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling July 2, 2018, 7:51 pm

        Thanks Marcy! I had a good sleep last night. Feeling better today. Praise God for your encouraging words! So comforting. It makes me feel better despite my flu. You are an inspiration to me!

        May your health improve and all your needs met, dear Marcy!

        Blessings

        • Andrea July 2, 2018, 8:31 pm

          Mary, I pray you get well very soon. Rest up! Praying too for your colleague to become proficient quickly and share the work load capably. God bless you.

          • Mary Ng Shwu Ling July 3, 2018, 12:12 am

            Thanks so much dear Andrew! You are such a blessing!

            I praise God for you, Andre,!

          • Mary Ng Shwu Ling July 3, 2018, 12:13 am

            Sorry typo error

            Should be Andrea

  • Gail Churchill July 2, 2018, 7:46 am

    A person with a compassionate heart sees a person who is like a sheep without a shepherd, and acts accordingly. He listens and acknowledges them and responds to their need.

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 6:52 pm

      Gail, I’m reminded by your words, that many are caregivers. This is how I served God when I was working, especially those with memory loss. We are blessed to do whatever we can, wherever we can to emulate the Good Shepherd!

      Sending Love and Light!

  • Julie July 2, 2018, 7:49 am

    Yes, again and again, I have found this to be a group that embodies every word of this reflection. I pray that I also have done so and that others may see the reflection of the Lord in my dealingswith them and others.
    I see the lawyer today. Please pray that she reiterates the words of the first lawyer. Pray that he will have to provide me with enough that can live reasonably. Also pray for the Lord to guide me through this next phase of life.
    Thank you Lou. I have not only a masters of nuclear engineering but also a masters of social work. However, again, no one will hire me with my fingers covered in gangrene. Currently a piece of bone is sticking out of one finger because the gangrene ate through the skin.
    I pray for one and all of you and I thank you for your prayers.

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 7:05 pm

      Julie, you were the first to welcome me here to the UR family, on what I felt was a personal level, so….Thank you! I pray the appointment with the lawyer went well and eases your concerns. I pray God continues to guide you through all the changes. You have been listening to Him and I pray when you look back on this time later, you will see how He was there all along. I am praying to God for the pain and the effects of gangrene on your finger can be treated. I am praying God’s strength, comfort and peace to come upon you and within you.

      Thank you for your prayers, my sister!

      Sending Love and Light and encouragement!

  • Connie July 2, 2018, 8:40 am

    My heart has been broken many times (as have everyone’s), but remains compassionate…PTL. Especially for ones experiencing what I have experienced. Mondays are still hard for me, but getting easier, I believe, thanks to this caring group of pray-ers.
    Thankful for:
    Wonderful posts today that I can lose myself in and experience others’ lives vicariously.
    Lord, heal Julie’s poor fingers. And please let Lou have more good days than bad and give her more good nights sleeps with pleasant dreams. Bless Jill’s family with even more good times of fun. Thank you for your mercy to me, a sinner. Amen

    • Andrea July 2, 2018, 11:39 am

      Praying Monday prayers for you, Connie.
      God bless you.

      • Connie July 3, 2018, 7:51 am

        Oh, thank you. Sending love your way.

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 7:21 pm

      Connie, I am keeping you in my prayers, good days, not so good days and everything in between. I pray God keeps you close to His heart of hearts and heals you the ways only He can and will.

      Thank you for your posts.

      Sending Love and Light and comforting hugs!

      • Connie July 3, 2018, 7:53 am

        Thank you, dear Marcy. I wish the same for you.

  • Andrea July 2, 2018, 11:37 am

    Julie, I pray for your visit with the new lawyer today and I pray for healing of your hands.

    Compassion lives here among the UR community. Thank you, God.

    A compassionate person cares about the suffering of others and acts. Jesus cared for the Samaritan, the woman at the well, the tax collector, the man possessed by demons, the leper, the woman with bleeding, Barabbas hanging next to Him on the cross….

    I pray to grow in compassion toward my neighbor. It is easy to love my literal neighbor who lives a few houses down. She is a dear friend. Today we are going to lunch to celebrate her birthday.

    Prayers for UR friends.

    • Marcy July 2, 2018, 7:37 pm

      Andrea, I hope you had a wonderful time lunching with your friend and neighbor today. Wishing her a happy birthday! I keep you and Lowell in my prayers every day and continue to pray for your daughter, son-in-law and sweet grandson. I am thankful for the encouragement in your words and your direction that we are to have compassion for all types of people. I admit to struggling with this at times, and having to remind myself who I am as a Christian and what I am to do as a follower of Christ. I have forgiven my ex and pray for him. I’m still recovering from the trauma and continue to work at it. Forgiveness was the first step!

      Thank you for your prayers!

      Sending Love and Light and gratitude!

  • Marcy July 2, 2018, 8:09 pm

    I pray the words that I write express the thoughts of mindful compassion I wish to convey. I spend time in mindfulness as part of the many things I learned in the mental health out-patient classes I went to in the Fall of 2015. I still have all the worksheets and large notebook from those classes. It was 9am – 5pm, Monday through Friday for three weeks, but I asked for an extra two weeks. Then I was working, caring for the elderly in assisted living until my physical health began its decline. Just when I was starting faith-based counseling last year, I had to quit, no longer able to drive due to migraines. Then I was hospitalized nine days over Christmas and New Years, followed by twenty days in the Rehabilitation facility and have never regained strength because I am poor and the government still hasn’t responded. I have learned to be patient in prayer, crying out to God for a path to healing and I pray it is His will. I find my usefulness in God’s leading me to pray for others, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I do so. I pray this passion for intercessory prayer shows God’s compassion.

    I am ever grateful to our heavenly Father for siblings and friends of this UR family. I am thankful for the prayers of this loving and caring family. I continue to pray for all who visit here, posting, occasionally posting or reading. I pray God’s healing touch on all who struggle mentally, emotionally, relationally, physically and spiritually, especially spiritually. With God, all things are possible! Praising God as we all work towards health, happiness and harmony in His Word, along with His many other blessings to us!

    And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!

    • Andrea July 2, 2018, 8:28 pm

      Marcy, God bless you. Your courage and fortitude are an inspiration. It saddens me that your health has declined due to difficulty getting the medical care you need. I pray that changes and I continue to lift you in prayer daily, praying your health improves and is restored. Thank you for your thoughtful personal comments and your prayers for each of us. God bless you.

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