Tag Archives: hard heart

When the Heat is On

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I take no credit for this.  I found it on Facebook.  I wanted to share this with the hopes that certain people I know, who are going through trials, would pause and think about their response to the Heat.

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point,grandmother?”

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter.

“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

—AUTHOR UNKNOWN

When Pigs Fly!

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I’ve been thinking a lot about King Saul lately.

He was ancient Israel’s first king.  Before Saul, the people of Israel were lead by prophets and judges, but the rule of government was spotty at best.  The Bible says, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”  And boy, was it a disaster.  The last judge was the priest/prophet Samuel.

Samuel was getting along in years and had served the Lord and Israel faithfully for his entire life.  But the people started itching for something different.  They wanted to be like the nations around them who all had real kings.  For Israel, God was supposed to be their King.  But the people decided they didn’t want God for King nor Samuel’s sons as judges, they wanted to be like their neighbors.  They rejected God and demanded a king.

So God said, “Fine, I’ll give you a King, but you won’t be happy with the situation.”  God told Samuel to anoint Saul as King.

Now Saul was a nobody from a nobody family with nothing going for him except his good looks.  He was taller than everyone else and had a handsome face.  But his character was far from Princely.  As a matter of fact, on the day that Samuel anointed Saul to be king, he told him that later on he would come across a band of prophets.  Sure enough, later in the day Saul ran into the group and they were prophesying.  The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came over Saul, changed his personality, and he began to prophesy too.  This was such a dramatic  departure from his normal character that it became an expression of shock to say, “What?  Is Saul among the prophets?”  It became their version of “when pigs fly!”

But Saul’s change of character just didn’t stick because he had a hard time obeying God.  His new power went right to his head and he felt like he was exempt from rules.  Saul’s heart became harder and harder until the Bible says God’s Spirit departed from him… and he never noticed the difference.  Saul was so self absorbed that he only followed his own heart and didn’t seek after God’s heart.

So God told Samuel to go anoint David as Saul’s successor.  David was “a man after God’s own heart.”  Meanwhile, Saul remained king and his hard heart lead to desperate, horrible things.  Saul even stooped so low as to consult a witch for advice about the future!  Eventually Saul committed suicide by falling on his own sword.  His reign ended in misery and heartache for everyone around him.

Now my thoughts turn to you and I.  Have we “clamored for a king” like the Israelites because we don’t like the idea of God ruling over us?  Have we gone in for the pretty face of a sin without considering the content or character beneath the surface?  If God’s Spirit left us, would we even notice the difference?  These are all questions that we can ask ourselves both individually and as a community.  As for me, I pray along with David who wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God… and take not your Holy Spirit from me.”  (Psalm 51)