Zachary Bright

The Wonder of it All

You Say It’s Your Birthday…

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Several people in my life have had birthdays recently. My mother just had her birthday on July 2nd. Today is my birthday. I have received birthday wishes from friends on Facebook and by email and I am grateful for all of them. I don’t know when Jack’s birthday is. Jack was rescued when he was just a few weeks old when some people abandoned their house and Jack. So since Jack and I share a particularly close canine-human symbiotic relationship, we have agreed that we will celebrate our birthdays on the same day. I have the words from that Beatles song going through my head: “You say it’s your birthday; well it’s my birthday too, yeah…” So, Happy Birthday Jack! Jack is with the vet today, so I have a rare time at home without Jack. Last night at Bible study, a friend noticed that the Bible Study Dog had what turned out to be an anal gland abscess. The anal glands release the scent that dogs are so eager to sniff when they get together. So Jack is spending part of his birthday at the vet.

Last year I had one of my best birthdays in recent years. I was non-weight-bearing in a a rehab hospital after breaking my leg on June 18th. I was wheeled to the cafeteria after hours for a birthday party. Friends from several eras of our life were there along with my Mother who was visiting from Florida because she had a speaking engagement in California. The food was excellent. My son Chris was mainly responsible for getting me a new Apple computer. Chris told a hilarious autobiographical story in a way only he can! Did I tell you that he was a theater major at university? Well he was. Chris is very talented. The next day my brother, Brad, and his wife Kathy, visited, also from Florida.

I was planning to publish a post before my last post, “Speak to Your Soul”. I came to acknowledge that, though I had spent a lot of time gathering materials and my thoughts for the post, I would not be able to write the post now, because I needed to do some more thinking about the theme. Here is some of what I would have written, so that you can follow this theme if you are interested. The post would have been entitled, “Guard Your Heart”. Then I would begin with this text: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NRSV) Then I would explicate Dallas Willard’s understanding of the distinction between the heart and other parts of the human being.

Willlard thought that often the biblical words for “will”, “spirit” and “heart” point to the same reality. The heart receives input from reason, emotions, the body, the soul and the external world, and using that input, makes decisions and judgements about the essential direction of one’s life. The soul is the most encompassing part of the human and seeks integration of the whole human. But, Willard wrote that the heart/will is a very small thing. To find out more about these distinctions, see the book: “Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ” (NavPress, 2002) by Dallas Willard. This caused me to think of the heart/will/spirit as a fine instrument which can be damaged and misdirected or programed with lies, hence the title. I had a long list of scriptures that I would have used and then I would have made some practical suggestions about how one can guard this precious instrument so that it operates properly for human flourishing.

If you are having a birthday soon, or even if you are not, live today in the presence of Christ, and with hope and courage!

This post was powered by “Flags” (2011) by Brooke Fraser.

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Author: Zachary Bright

Until February 2014, I was pastor of Divine Savior Presbyterian Church for about 24 years. I am interested in theology, alternative music, new worship music, culture making, philosophy and dogs. Most of all I am interested in extending the Kingdom of God and its blessings to everyone around me. I am the Director of the Southern CA. C.S. Lewis Society and I am a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary. My wife Terry, my dog Jack Lewis and I host a Bible Study in our home on Sunday afternoons.

One thought on “You Say It’s Your Birthday…

  1. Ah, yes, birthdays. Mine is July 9. It was a bit off-track this year, but all birthdays are good; each one is always welcome. Specifically on this post, I think the “Guard Your Heart” idea was/is great, and Proverbs 4:23 was an excellent selection. Glad you went into what you didn’t go into, so to speak! The heart is such a marvelously layered and dynamic thing – in concept and in fact. I always find birthdays to be an opportunity to look to the heart. Your examination of guarding the heart added depth to my little yearly thoughts about resetting, dedicating, and energizing the heart. And since my Great Illumination in 2012, I also know about renovating it – and fulfilling its greatest desire: none other than Jesus, of course. To all: take heart! And happy b-day greetings to all the July celebrants – and everyone else in all those whenevers.

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