A Seasoned Heart

If I’ve learned nothing else in my 25 years of marriage to my amazing and beautiful Italian-American wife, I’ve learned there is much more to life than salt and pepper. Ms. Diane’s cooking has taught me that when you mix the right spices together to season a meal, amazing things happen. This might explain why I weighed less than 200 lbs. when we were married and I’m just a little (what’s 50 lbs. among friends?) over that today. Seasoning a meal correctly resulted in fewer leftovers and a larger waistline in my case.

During last Sunday’s Life Group, God showed me a wonderful example as He brought the words of Psalm 34:8 to life in the words of a dear, gentle sister-in-Christ.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”
(Psalm 34:8, NKJV)

Ms. Alma is a precious member of my “family of faith” and was among the first to welcome my wife and me to our new church. While not much older than us, this dear octogenarian seems light years ahead of us in spiritual maturity. I’ve long admired the way she lives out her faith in all aspects of her life. The other evening, she responded to a question I asked, and God used that moment to reveal His truth in my heart.

Our small Sunday evening Life Group discussion often focuses on what we took from Pastor’s sermon that morning. This past week, the lesson entitled “What Are the Odds” looked at Luke 17:11-19 (the story of the 10 lepers). One takeaway from his lesson was this point.

Many are with Christ, but few are in Christ. –Pastor Wilton McMorris #InChrist #ASeasonedLove Click To Tweet

Sharing my thoughts on this, I mentioned how 1 John 4:4 (… greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world) came to mind. I followed up on my comment with this question. “What’s it mean to you to be ‘in Christ’”? Little Ms. Alma, who is all of about 4’9”, yet a giant among the many godly women in our church closed her eyes and recited Galatians 2:20.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in
the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved
me and gave Himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20, NKJV)

I listened intently as she spoke these words directly from her heart. The passion, gratitude, and acknowledgement of her Lord and Savior in her voice moved me to tears. As she spoke, my heart cried out, Lord, help me to one day share the same passion and devotion this precious soul has for You. In response, God brought Psalm 34:8 to the forefront of my mind.

Thinking more about this during Monday morning’s “God time”, God shared the concept of A Seasoned Heart in prayerful response. What our small band experienced through Ms. Alma’s heartfelt recitation was the culmination of her life experiences and depth of Christ’s love within her being poured out. I then understood that God was saying to me, “In time, if you continue to grow in Me, you too will become perfectly seasoned through sanctification.”

A seasoned heart for God occurs as we grow closer to Him. #SeasonedHeart #InChrist #ASeasonedLove Click To Tweet

Many times, I, and maybe some of y’all too, get so wrapped up in our everyday lives we forget to give credit to and glorify God for His many gifts. While we appreciate that beautiful sunrise while we’re standing out in our pasture or sitting in our offices, we don’t take the time to truly savor it. We don’t take time to thank God for giving us another day on this Earth to share His love with others. Often, we cannot recognize how seemingly innocuous events occurring each day are blessings from God, and in doing so, we miss the joy of that blessing.

I ask each of you to consider taking just a few purposeful breaks throughout your busy days and take an inventory of all the things that occurred today. Count up all of God’s blessings He’s heaped upon you, and #SavorGodsGoodness with praise for His presence in your lives.

God’s blessings,

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52 thoughts on “A Seasoned Heart

  1. J.D., God is reminding me in several different ways this week to pay attention to all the little and big things He’s doing every day. There are no coincidences with Him. The sun rising every morning is not a coincidence. Running into a friend at the store isn’t coincidence. Reading your blog. My crazy pup’s love. I could go on and on. Thanks for being faithful to share God’s message of hope. If I can corral my people tomorrow evening, I plan to watch your interview right before my 10 p.m. online Bible study.

    1. So true Ms. Annie. No coincidences, happenstance, or luck with God, is there ma’am? To include me in your list of blessings is an honor indeed ma’am. I pray I am worthy. God’s blessings.

  2. This was the very first scripture I had my 4 year old son Chris memorize. It has always been extra precious to me and I love the seasoning analogy as I love to cook and can totally relate to that.

  3. This reminds me of that old Baptist hymn, “Count Your Blessings:”
    Count your blessings, name them one by one;
    Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
    Count your blessings, name them one by one;
    Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

    There’s a reason God gave me this particular takeaway from your writing today. Thank you, as always, for making me think.

    1. Always humbled by your encouraging words Ms. Candyce. As an “old Baptist”, I find myself softly singing that tune quite often when doing chores around the Cross-Dubya. Thank you for bringing a smile today ma’am.

      1. As I age (in Christ and according to the calendar) I find myself appreciating the little everyday things more and more. Especially since my fall down our flight of stairs and broken back. Like being able to walk, putting on my own shoes and socks, bending over sitting in the garden and watching the hawks, etc. So much we take for granted. My recent prayer has been, “Let me see and appreciate you in every little thing. A blooming rose, fluffy kittens, shoes, walking…” Thanks for this needful reminder, JD!

        1. Thank you so much for commenting Ms. Sheila. Yes, those “little things” that God brings into our lives (moment, people, sights, etc.) all serve to remind me that God loves me and likes to see me smile or thanking Him for another blessing in life. I’m so very sorry you are continuing to struggle with health after your fall, but when God saves us (as He did here I think), it’s important to show gratitude for His blessing, even when it doesn’t always feel like we’re being blessed in the moment. Always appreciate the way you “look for joy” in life my friend. God’s blessings and prayers for a complete and fast recovery from your fall. Us “calendar-challenged” folks must be careful with every step it seems. 🙂

  4. How true that we get so wrapped up in daily life we forget to thank and praise God. I stopped everything just now to look out the window and say thank you for all the blessings in our little garden spot of the world.

  5. I love my daily walks in the neighborhood. Those walks give me an opportunity to pray for my neighbors and to praise God for His blessings. From the herons to the butterflies to the gators to the turtles, I thank God for His creations. (I’m careful not to get near those gators…Grumpy the Gator) 🙂 I love the opportunity to thank God for the simple things in life.

  6. Thank you for sharing this wonderful example of a godly woman. And I greatly appreciate your advice of stopping periodically throughout the day to savor God’s goodness. Because of Jesus, we are indeed very blessed and always have something to rejoice about.

  7. Praise God for creating mornings! There’s something new and refreshing about them. My yard buddy (Rawleigh) enjoys them too! I get to see all four seasons as we take our morning stroll. That’s where my many blessings can be counted for what I have in Christ! Thanks for reminding us and for sharing Alma’s heart expression of scripture!

    1. Yessir. There’s something special in the wee hours of the morning, before dawn breaks, that makes a man realize how very insignificant he is. Yet, I am enough for God to love me and to want me to draw near to Him. Pretty heady stuff old friend.

  8. Your Ms Alma reminds me of a dear friend and mentor who welcomed my family into our church nearly forty years ago. Such a wonderful Christian role model. Sometimes I need the reminder to recognize my many blessings, especially when life gets so busy I can hardly find time to breathe (of course that’s when life is too busy, but that’s a different issue). But Ms. Alma and my dear friend also remind us that we are also called to be that Christian teacher and mentor to others. We have the role model before us–do we answer the call? Thank you, J.D. I see you as one of those loving mentors, my friend.

    1. I think we all need reminders like that Ms. Katherine. Something that Ms. Alma made me realize this past week was that as she is to me, I am to someone else who has yet to grow in Christ as long or far as I have. Let’s all remember that there’s always someone who is looking up to us.

  9. Ms Alma exhibits such a grateful heart. Brings to mind that old saying, “Like a bright candle in a holy place, so is the beauty of an ag-ed face.” LOVE it when the radiance comes through and blesses others.

  10. We have so much to learn from those who have walked with God longer. Their wisdom and insights are precious. I join you in hoping that one day we would be as well seasoned ad Ms. Alma. J.D., thank you for sharing both her wisdom and your insights!

  11. So many people in my life have been like Miss Alma. My grandparents, my parents, and many of the people in the church when I was growing up were like her. Such a blessing to be among them!

    1. Same here Ms. Edwina. It’s humbles me to think about all those who have passed onto glory who made the time to show me Christ’s love in my life. I pray the opportunity to thank them for the investments they made in me one day soon. God’s blessings ma’am.

  12. I love the idea of being perfectly seasoned through sanctification. I guess the spice of life leads to our us being more like Christ as He conforms us to His image through all circumstances.Thanks for the reminder to see the good things to be thankful for. Instead of complaining that I get up early, I can thank God for the beautiful sunrise.

  13. Your friend is an example to us all. I love her answer because that Scripture does reflect Christ in us. Thanks for sharing this sweet example. Blessings to you and Ms Diane and enjoy all that good food she cooks!

  14. Oh, Ms. Alma made my heart sing, J. D.! To live each day with such awareness of God’s blessings is a rare and beautiful gift.
    I will try as much as possible to respond to your blog when I can, and I do pray God will keep us safe in our travels and reveal untold truths about Him in all our adventures.
    Blessings, my friend!

  15. Oh, I needed this one. Just when I feel like the Lord has added too much onion or garlic to my life, He smooths it all out with another wonderful ingredient. I guess that’s why some folks prefer to be called “seasoned citizens” rather than “senior citizens.” I loved “perfectly seasoned through sanctification.” Many blessings!

  16. I’m so grateful for God’s many blessings. He poured out a much needed one today. Rain! Thank you, Lord! Ms. Alma is a wonderful example of someone devoted to God. I hope to become perfectly seasoned, too, one day. Thanks, J.D.!

    1. Oh, how we would be grateful for rain. It’s been six weeks or more since we’ve seen a drop. Yet, God is good and He is in charge. In Him I trust. We’ll wait and be ever-grateful when it comes.

  17. Sorry to be late getting to this one, J.D. but thank you for extending Ms. Alma’s sweet spiritual influence all the way to TN. I love the image of God seasoning us through the things and the people that He brings into our lives. I happen to be married to the most wonderful combination of ingredients designed to soothes the acrid nature of my normal tendencies. It may be hard to believe, but I used to be even worse than I am now. I have a device on my wrist that reports on some of the indicators of the status of my heart. I’m sure you’re well aware of the benefits of being aware of how our heart is doing physically. I was really convicted about how easy it has been for me to ignore what’s going on in my spiritual heart. Once again, Diane and I are blessed to have our hearts seasoned with some home-grown spiritual spices from the Cross-Dubya.

    1. You are never late Mr. Ron, as your comments arrive just when God knows I need an encouraging word my friend. If I may be so bold sir, as I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting her, but I would have to agree. Your Ms. Diane is the perfect seasoning for the life God has given you, as my Ms. Diane is for me. How did two old codgers like us ever end up with such wonderful gifts from God as our brides? Will be praying for your continued good health and longing for the day that I can shake your hand and hear your smile.

  18. Great message. I found it extra interesting because our pastor preached on the same parable of the 10 lepers. It is hard to imagine that 9 of them did not think to thank the Lord because they were too busy celebrating. But, we too often are too busy to thank God for our many blessings. I plan to work on this more each day. Thanks JD

    1. I had that same thought Ms. Yvonne. In fact, I wondered two questions that perhaps one day God will answer. Did the one Samaritan who returned to praise God and thank Christ ever make it to the temple and the priests? and Did the nine who did not return remain healed? Great lessons in that scripture isn’t there?

  19. What a wonderful word picture you make, JD. And such an important message that trusting Christ requires more than mental assent. It is taking up our cross daily. I’m thankful for the saints who show us the way of mature faith. Thanks and God bless!

  20. J.D., this is another one of my favorite pieces from you, they are adding up each week to the same list. 🙂 Ms. Alma must be a real sweetheart and such a sweet soul in Jesus. I imagined the whole scene at your life group. And I love your analogy to Psalm 34:8, one of my favorites. I want to daily taste of the Lord’s goodness and trust His ways and count my blessings as I take into my soul His promises and truths seasoned with the grace of the gospel!

  21. What a neat analogy. Some spices don’t taste good in themselves. But when added in just the right amount to a dish, wow. what a difference. Some of the little things in our lives don’t seem good, but when added to faith, they make up a whole that we wouldn’t otherwise have. And then God sprinkles an abundance of good things into our lives everyday as well. Marvelous!

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. I agree ma’am. Some spices, by themselves, are sort of “yucky”, but when they’re combined with others or cooked in something, they enhance the flavor of the dish. Sometimes, God’s truth is that way. It’s bitter to our human spirit, but when it is mixed with the Holy Spirit within us and when we have surrendered to it and are “prepared” through sanctification, the result is a sweet-smelling aroma lifted up to the heavens. 🙂 God’s blessings sweet lady, and thank you for adding so much to our conversations each week.

  22. I love the wisdom of the elderly saints. Even my mother, who suffers from dementia, can speak out of her spirit the most amazing things. Even though the mind may dim, the spirit is still alive and accurate with the Word of God. Blessings, brother!

    1. Yes ma’am. When my dad was at his worst in his dementia journey, there would be moments where in the midst of a bad evening, etc., he would utter such wisdom through a profound statement in the middle of a tirade. God’s word, hidden in our hearts, does not age in the same way our human bodies do. It does not succumb to age or disease. Instead, like a fine wine, aging only enhances it. Wonderful imagery in your words ma’am.

  23. I love how God caters His seasoning for each of us. With Cajun affinities, sometimes He adds some hot spice into the mix for me. Interesting how He is enticing me with more international flavors!

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