Barbara Bush Heart Trouble

ISBN 13: 9780310294313

Heart Trouble

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9780310294313: Heart Trouble
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Many of us have heart disease not caused by cholesterol or cardiovascular problems, and we are not receiving any warnings at all. We are in spiritual rather than physical jeopardy. This Woman's Workshop asks: What kind of heart does God want His children to have? To find answers author Barbara Bush examines biblical passages about the heart, probing into our hearts to diagnose: - What our habits reveal about us - If our actions speak of Christ in our lives - If our words expose heart disease such as envy or self-centeredness - What the hidden intents of our hearts are. Heart Trouble has an introduction to Scripture verses and themes, questions labeled Digging Deeper at the end of each chapter with space for answers, and suggestions for group use. Addressing contemporary and biblical issues, the Woman's Workshop series and the Workshop series for men and women are ideal for group or individual Bible study.

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About the Author:

Barbara Bush lives in Mission Viejo, CA, where she leads several Bible studies. She is also the author of Woman's Workshop Mastering Motherhood.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1 Heart Trouble A major television network recently presented a program about what type of person is most susceptible to heart attacks. Included in the program was a test for viewers to score themselves, based on age, weight, sex, diet, habits, and physical condition. When the points were added, each viewer knew what his or her potential for heart trouble was. Cardiovascular problems are much discussed these days, and people with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol counts are watched closely. But many of us have heart disease of a different kind, and we are not receiving any warnings at all. We are in spiritual rather than physical jeopardy, and often we are not even aware of it. Jeremiah tells us that it is difficult even to diagnose our spiritual problems because our natural reaction is to keep our symptoms hidden, even from ourselves. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9, NASB). Just as smokers tell themselves that they will never face lung cancer, or junk food lovers ignore warnings about their health, many of us reassure ourselves that our spiritual lives are fine even when we don't feel very well inside. And just as some people avoid doctors, we refuse to look for help because we are afraid to find out that something is wrong. In March, 1980, in Washington, scientists noticed that Mount St. Helens was beginning to make some ominous sounds beneath the surface. As the mountain began emitting plumes of smoke and earthquakes occurred, authorities evacuated the area and closed off nearby highways. Some long-time residents refused to leave; one or two geologists took up posts within the area to observe the phenomenon more closely; a few campers strayed into the area, either uninformed of the danger or doubtful of it. But the eruption did come on May 18 with a force five hundred times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The resulting blast of searing heat, molten lava, steam, rock, and ash left seventy-five persons dead, the entire mountain rearranged, trees snapped, and automobiles squashed. Glaciers melted, sending torrents of water and mud coursing down to the valleys, and pumice and dust were showered on towns 450 miles away. The spiritual human heart can be compared to a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Before trouble starts, everything may look fine on the outside. Perhaps a little steam let off here, a rumble there, but nothing we feel we can't handle. However, just as a beautiful mountain can become a wasteland in minutes, so our lives can be ruined by the words and deeds that issue from unrepentant, neglected hearts. Finding Spiritual Health Our physical bodies do not become strong unless we put the necessary ingredients into them. People whose diets lack vital nutrients end up with stunted growth, malfunctioning organs, and even brain damage. Our spiritual lives do not progress without proper care, either. This growth is sometimes referred to as our “sanctification,” our increase in holiness, becoming more like Christ. We grow as we increase in the knowledge of God and His principles for our lives, as we develop Christian character. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are born into God's family (John 1:12). But the Bible tells us we are like babies and need to take scriptural nourishment to mature. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Some growth is easy and rather painless, some comes only after much trial and tears. That is because some changes in our conduct are surface changes, while others demand excavations into the bedrock of our hardened natures. Levels of Growth If a woman had a Christian upbringing, some aspects of Christian character undoubtedly were encouraged from birth. Her habits are a help rather than a hindrance as she starts to explore the levels of Christian growth. Even for someone with no Christian background, some habits are easy to change for the new Christian. Instead of sleeping in on Sunday, getting to church each week is often a joy. Foul language may disappear instantly from the daily vocabulary. Sometimes even the desire to continue more harmful habits dies at the moment of salvation, though this is not always the case. The next level of growth in Christian character, actions, may be a little harder to change. Often we know what the right behavior is but fail to follow through; or we realize we should not participate in some activity, but do so anyway. Sometimes much time and study are required before a person grasps the biblical principles that guide the Christian in proper behavior. It is even more difficult to control our reactions. Someone surprises us with a question we don't want to answer, and we lie. Another car collides with our car, and we blow a fuse. A customer gives us a hard time, and we respond sarcastically. We may be able to keep ourselves in hand when things go smoothly, but sudden stress reveals character flaws. At another level yet, our speech may betray heart problems of which we are not even conscious. Envy or self-centeredness can be unknowingly revealed by our everyday conversations. Questionable language and stories, angry or bitter turns of phrase, or whining tones of voice show others the spiritual battles still unwon. Habits, actions, and speech are all on the surface, displayed in our daily living to any who want to find out if our conduct matches our professed beliefs. But hidden at yet deeper levels are our desires, our thoughts, our motives, unseen and unknown by anyone until they express themselves in word or deed

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