Preventing 'Heart' Attacks
Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: 'If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.' (1 Kings 2:3-4 NIV emphasis mine)
Dear Cambridge Family & Friends,
A few of you know of my family’s heart history. My father died when I was a teen of a heart attack. It was his fourth. His brothers all passed of the same fate. The five brothers suffered an astounding 13 heart attacks. When I go to the doctor for my annual physical, my family’s ‘heart history’ is always a concern. Once, a doctor started writing a prescription for heart medicine before he had even put a stethoscope to my chest. He just assumed what most people think, “With a heart history like yours, you’re a super high risk,” that is, until I explained that my father and uncles were ‘good ole boys’ from the South who smoked, drank and consumed a diet astronomically high in saturated fat. I literally don’t remember a single day that my dad didn’t eat a ‘healthy’ amount (ironic pun intended) of bacon, fried bologna or country ham, grits chocked full of butter, and fried eggs. He only drank whole milk or half and half. Now don’t get me wrong, I still need to keep my heart in check since family history is a contributing factor to one’s health.
This past Sunday I stepped on a lot of toes (including my own) when I preached a sermon titled ‘Arbitrary Addictions or Holy Habits,’ which reminded our church family that our bodies, as the Apostle Paul noted, are “temples of the Holy Spirit,” “members of Christ Himself,” and “one with the Lord in spirit.” In other words, any abuses, overindulgences, destructive habits & behaviors, taken to fulfill the sinful desires of the flesh, cause our Savior to take a direct hit from our sinful actions, thoughts and desires. These include overeating, smoking & drinking (especially if it causes another to stumble), taking drugs, downloading and/or viewing suggestive or explicit material and anything else that compromises our witness and service to Jesus Christ.
As detrimental as these are, and make no mistake, they can all potentially destroy you and your God-given potential, there is a greater enemy of the heart. The leading cause of heart disease is the one who attacks our hearts with more fervor than tobacco, saturated fat, alcohol and drugs combined – Satan. Satan has one mission: to destroy you, your God-given potential, your church and your relationship with Jesus Christ. He will taunt you, trick you, tickle your innermost sinful desires and deceive you. When you are made aware of a need in the church and think, “Oh, I’m sure someone else will do it,” – that’s Satan. When you short-change the church by giving less than a tithe (10% of your income) and spend it on something that has no eternal value – that’s Satan. When you make a derogatory remark about someone in the church, the music, the worship or anything or anyone who doesn’t fall in line with your personal opinion or preference – that’s Satan. Satan knows that if he can segregate even one member of the Body of Christ from the collective vision, mission and passion of the church he can potentially get a foothold and plant a cancer more deadly than those caused by the toxins in tobacco and the additives in processed food.
This month as we focus on ‘Heart Health,’ I certainly want you to take care of your physical heart. I want you to eat healthy and exercise, and be able, as the Apostle Paul writes, to “run with endurance the race God has set before you,” in other words, to serve God with all your ‘heart, mind, soul and strength.’ I also want you to guard your heart from attacks by adding healthy doses of staying in God’s word, praying, worshipping, giving, serving, blessing and loving others – both individually and as a ‘Family in Christ.” Let’s build a ‘heart healthy’ family history that builds up each other and a bridge that allows non-believers to cross over into the Kingdom.
In Him alone,
Cambridge Baptist Church