Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  The leaves change color, harvest time is winding down, the air is starting to chill, and you still get a few warm days to appreciate.  The inevitable thing, though, is that Winter is just around the corner, knocking at the door.  The first snow always reminds us of that.  Most local people I talk to don’t have much good to say about Winter.  Its cold, you have to move snow, plans may change, etc.  But there are also good things if you look hard enough.  No bugs, now mowing, Christmas, a new perspective on the world covered in white, a warm home to appreciate.  With every change, there are good and bad things that people can see, in every season of life.  What do you appreciate and what do you complain about in your current state of being? 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  Proverbs 4:23

Are there any people in this world that you don’t really care about?  Maybe there is a negative neighbor to the North that has lots of opinions different than yours.  Or maybe there are some countries in this world, in which you know no one and wouldn’t know or care if they ever existed.  Usually, unless you know someone in a given town, state, or country, you don’t give a second thought to things that happen there.  I’ve done some short-term missions trips to Bolivia years ago, and though I only know 10-20 people who live there now, when I hear about it in the news (which is seldom), my ears perk up, because it could be affecting people I care about.  We see videos of disasters from various places around the world, and feel sorry that anyone had to go through some of those things, even though we don’t know them.  Those people facing death and devastation could be Christians, though many are not.  Do we care at all?  Are our hearts cold toward most of the world? 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16

It doesn’t even have to be someone ½ way around the world, it could be someone right next door to you, or even in your own house.  Our hearts can turn cold toward anyone, given the right circumstances.  Is it good to have coldness or even hatred toward someone and then try to love others you do care about?  Is there a cure to warm a cold heart?  It starts with awareness and then forgiveness.  Take an inventory of your thoughts and the words leaving your mouth.  If they have any hatred, even a little, then you are not on a good path.  I see this even when I comment to myself about strangers while driving.  A critical word is usually a selfish word.  I also find that regularly praying for others helps melt my coldness toward them.  Even for people in countries where I know no one.  The book Operation World is a good tool to learn about some people you have never met and a guide to pray for them.  Or just look up some info on a place or people group online and see what a little prayer does, not just for them, but for you.  Praying for your enemies and those you don’t know often helps you appreciate those closest to you even more. 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

As things turn cold, remember to keep your heart warm for others and to keep them in your thoughts, prayers, and actions as we let joy emerge from the depths of the cold Winter months ahead.  As our hope eventually turns toward new life in Spring, may your hope in Christ bring you new life each day as well. 

Yours in Christ,
Clark