Posts tagged ‘heart’

Ephesians 2:11-12 – Gentile’s plight before God

Paul presents a bleak picture of what the Gentile believers’ plight was before they were converted. It’s not a pretty picture. But thankfully God intervenes which Paul will go into more detail in the verses following this section.

v.11,“Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.” Paul states “don’t forget” or most translations say “remember” which is not just simply recollection, but as you remember act on the basis of that memory. In this case Paul wants to remind the Gentile believers what they once were (2:11-12) and what they are now (2:13-18) which would lead to thanks to God and their obedience. Paul describes the condition of the Gentiles before they had become believers. He calls them “outsiders” and “uncircumcised heathens.” At least this is what the Jews called them, because there was a huge separation between the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews hated Gentiles and thanked God each day they hadn’t been born one. The Jews, who were called “the circumcision” had named the Gentiles “uncircumcised heathens” because they had not gone through the religious right to be circumcised. 

Circumcision: the Jews had the privilege of being God’s chosen people to whom he had given his covenant promises (Deut 7:6). One of the signs of his covenant was circumcision. Circumcision is an Old Testament physical rite or ritual that involved the cutting of the foreskin of the flesh from the Jewish male as a sign of the covenant  God had made with Abraham in Genesis 17:1-13. God required circumcision as a sign of obedience to him. As a sign of belonging to his covenant people, because once circumcised, the man would be identified as a Jew forever. As a symbol of “cutting off” the old life of sin, purifying one’s heart, and dedicating oneself to God. The Jews erred in believing circumcision was sufficient to make them godly without the necessity of inner renewal (Rom 2:25-29, Gal 5:6). What mattered to God was circumcision or cleansing of the heart (Deut 10:16, 30:6; Jer 4:4). The spiritual circumcision (cleansing of the heart) is equally available to Jews and Gentiles, to men and women.

Paul says that the Jews were “proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.” Paul was contrasting the Gentiles to the Jews in the second part of this verse to show that the Jews physical circumcision was no better than the Gentiles who were uncircumcised. The physical circumcision didn’t not guarantee that the Jew’s heart was affected or changed. The Jews needed to have their heart circumcised, their heart attitude needed to be one of submission to God, holiness and separation from the ways of the world.

v.12,“In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.” Now Paul gets right into what the Gentile believers were before their conversion. It is a very bleak picture of what they were before Christ. Five distinct disadvantages to the Jews:

  1. They were “living apart from Christ” or separated from Christ. Having no expectation of a Messiah to save them.
  2. They were “excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel.” Gentiles could never fully partake in the privileges promised to Israel (through Abraham), God’s chosen people. They could never truly be citizens of Israel. The best they could do was be a second-rate resident of Israel if they chose to go through training, baptism and circumcision.
  3. They “did not know the covenant promises God had made” to the Jews. The covenant promises were the basis for Israel’s distinctive privileges and made them God’s chosen people. Covenant promises made to Abraham (Gen 12:1-4, 15:1-6, 17:1-8), Moses (Ex 24:1-11), David (2 Sam 7:8-16) and the new covenant about which the prophets spoke of (Jer 31:31-34, Ezk 36:22-32). The Gentiles didn’t not share in these promises because they weren’t made to them.
  4. They lived in the world “without God.” The Gentiles had many gods, but they chose not to worship the one true God. Without God, the world was all they had.
  5. They lived in the world “without hope.” They didn’t know God, They didn’t follow God. This is the reason they had no hope.

Fortunately, their existence and their plight doesn’t end here, for God himself intervened. We will look at this in our next section v.13-18.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Paul gives a very good description of what Gentiles were before their conversion. It is a bleak picture but a good one to remember so that I can be so thankful for what God through Christ’s sacrifice did for me! Here is a reminder of what we once were: we were outsiders, uncircumcised heathens, separated from Christ, excluded from the citizenship in Israel, didn’t share in the covenant promises made to Israel, without God and without hope. Wow, what a hopeless state we were in. Key word is “were” because God chose to intervene. But I am getting ahead of myself. That is for the next section in this chapter.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  I am a Gentile (non-Jew) and when I read these two verses I realize without God intervening I have no hope of salvation. But thankfully I know the rest of the story. But this is a good reminder of where I came from.

June 24, 2020 at 9:24 AM Leave a comment

Heart attack

I was looking over my old post I wrote while in the hospital and I never really came out and said it. What you ask? Well, that on Feb 8 around 8:30am I had a heart attack!

My cardiologist wouldn’t say the word until just before my second procedure. That was when I finally asked him, “what happened to me? Did I have a heart attack or not? Or was it something else?” He finally said it was a “small” heart attack with very little damage to my heart. Which by the way is very good news, but not what anyone wants to hear. He could have told me it was stress, a panic attack, even hyperventilating, but NO it was a heart attack.

Not sure what you think when you hear those scary words, but I feel weak. I don’t know what to say. I often think about how young I am and how in the world can this happen to me. Isn’t this something that happens only to old people? I also get scared that it could happen again.

But after all the over thinking and anxious thoughts in my head I remember the most important thing, God is in control of my life. He has allowed yet another trial into my life. And he only knows why, so I need to trust him. Trust him like I did when I was a teenager battling cancer, when I was a young adult trying to have children and now with heart issues. I cling to my life verses once more,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

And I hope that when you come to a trial or an uncertainty in your life, instead of worry about it or getting angry, why not trust God that he has allowed this trial into your life for your good. I know if it wasn’t for the cancer in my life I wouldn’t be serving him today. So, like me, trust him with all your heart because he is the only one who is trustworthy.

February 21, 2013 at 2:28 PM 7 comments

Chest pains

I had a very interesting weekend, to say the least. Let me start at the beginning.

On Friday, Feb 8, as you all know we had the beginning of a huge snow storm that lasted all Friday and into the night. That morning I got up and went outside to shovel snow and get the vehicles cleared off. I started to clear the snow from behind the car De-Ann drives and then she came outside and had to leave. After she left I continued to clear away all the snow on that side of our driveway. Then I did the walkway and stairs. Went inside to get the kids dressed and ready to go to daycare.

We looked outside only 20 minutes later and you couldn’t even tell I had shovelled the driveway. That’s how much snow had fallen. Crazy!

After the kids were all dressed in their winter gear we went outside to a very warm van. I continued to clear away the snow from the walkway and the stairs so the kids wouldn’t slip. Then we all quickly got in the van and took off for daycare.

On our trip to daycare, the wipers started to accumulate ice on them. About 5 minutes into our drive I stopped and knocked off the ice from the wipers. This was my first episode of chest pains. It was sharp but only lasted for a thirty seconds. I had skipped breakfast so I thought to myself, “this is what it feels like to not have breakfast.” I thought to myself “note to self, never skip breakfast again. This feels awful.” I jumped back in the van and continued on our way. Further down the road the the ice started to build up again, so at the next stop light I go out and knocked the ice of the wipers again. This time the pain hit me so hard I started to feel like I couldn’t breath. Again it only lasted thirty seconds or so and I was off again.

Meanwhile the kids both had brought some card games with them for “show and share” at their daycare, and both of them had opened the packaging and had the cards all over the van. Faith was telling on Shawn and Shawn started to get upset. It was chaos. But I continued to travel to the daycare.

When I arrived at the daycare, I got out of the van and opened the door on Shawn’s side and saw he had let all his cards but four fall all over the floor of the van. By this time the pain in my chest was becoming unbearable but I pressed through it to help Shawn clean up the cards and pick him out of the van–even though he didn’t want my help. Then I told him to go to the sidewalk and wait for me. He didn’t want to, but finally he listened. Then I went over to the other side of the van to get Faith out and of course she had let all her cards out of the packaging and they were half on her lap in her chair and on the floor. I really wanted to sit down but I knew I needed to get her out of the van and into her class. I rested by holding onto her carseat with both hands and leaning my head on it. She proceeded to pat my head. Eventually I got up enough strength to help her collect all her cards and lift her out of the van and I got them both to walk to the front door of the daycare. Punched in the code and walked in the front door. The pain was more than I could handle by this time and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath so I sat on the chair right by the door. I told Faith to go get undressed herself and I would be there soon. I was breathing very quickly and erratically and the pain in the chest was getting worse. The manager of the daycare saw I was in stress and asked if she could call an ambulance. I told her no, that I just needed to catch my breath. [Boy was I wrong!]

By this time Faith was all dressed and came back to where I was sitting to say good-bye. She gave my leg a hug. Shawn the whole time was standing right beside me holding onto my leg. The manager knew I needed help even though I didn’t want it and called 911. By this time other teachers from different classrooms showed up to help and took Shawn to his classroom. He didn’t want to go, but I was thankful they took both kids to their classrooms.

The pain was impossible and I could barely sit anymore and I finally asked the manager of the daycare if I could lay on the floor in her office. Of course she allowed me to.

One thing I don’t want to forget to mention, one of the mothers asked me which van was mine and went out and turned off the van and brought me the keys and my cell phone. That is so amazing because if I had not had my cell I wouldn’t have been able to text and call the people I did to inform them about what was going to happen next…

The next thing I saw was a fireman starring me in the face asking me all kinds of questions. Then the paramedics showed up and next thing I knew I was taking my first ride in an ambulance [I can mark that off my bucket list]. They took me to the nearest hospital as I was connected to an ECG machine and oxygen mask. My paramedics were amazing, Kevin was the guy who worked with me as Audra drove. When we arrived at the hospital I wasn’t in any pain anymore but they wanted to make sure I was admitted into the ER. I laid on that stretcher for a bit more than an hour. Of course I took the time to get to know my paramedics. They are two amazing people, Kevin is a full time fireman and does the paramedics job on his days off and obviously a work-aholic. Audra has been a paramedic for 24 years and still loves doing it.

I finally was admitted to the ER and they put me in a bed where I had my first of 12 needles that weekend [I like to call them pokes]. By this time De-Ann had arrived from downtown. Unfortunately when she got the call I was going to the hospital she was just getting off the train. And the next train or bus was going to be at least 30 minutes. So she took a taxi which was the fastest way to get to me and the most expensive.

The two of us waited for the results of my first test or blood work. We met with the ER doctor and he told us that usually the first test will show very little and we would be repeating blood work again in six hours! [Yes, you heard that right. Six hours!] But he did say that with the story I described and the results from the first test, the second test would not show anything and we would be free to go home. We did the second test six hours later as he suggested. Then an hour later he told us the news. Not what we expected at all, and from his reaction, not what he expected either.

The results where that I had enzymes in my blood quite a bit above the level I should which usually means something is serious going on within my heart that needed to be looked at. He told us this news and then said “I am sorry but you are not going anywhere.” I was floored, I was thinking we were both going to go home and relax until we needed to pick up the kids. [Again, I was wrong]. Next thing you know I am being admitted to the hospital, not for a day but for four.

I almost forgot, the nurses in the ER were amazing but the poked me another four times before I went upstairs to my room. I waited for a bed for another four hours. While I was waiting I had both of the paramedics come and visit me before I was shipped upstairs. Great to see them both again and get a chance to introduce them to De-Ann.

The story from here gets interesting. I find out that I am going to do some more tests and meet with a cardiologist. I think by this time I am feeling like I am in the Twilight Zone. The whole idea of being in the hospital for my heart was surreal. I have no other way to describe it.

After a restless night sleep I am greeted by a nurse who wants to take my blood again. Then a few hours later I finally have the conversation with the cardiologist. Nice enough guy but not good news. He told me that they were going to schedule an angiogram for me on Monday and until then they are going to monitor me and continue to do blood tests. Uggh. As I am writing this I have had 12 pokes and I feel and look like a pin cushion. Even my daughter, Faith, was pointing at all my marks where they poked me and said “Daddy are those boo-boos?”

I saw the cardiologist again this morning (Sunday) and he had good news and bad news. Good news was that he did one of the many blood tests on me to see if I had a blood clot in my lungs. The test came back proving I didn’t [yeah]. The bad news was that means my issue was either a heart attack or a blockage in one of the arteries of my heart. He was leaning toward the blockage. But again this was an educated guess. The truth will be found when he does my angiogram. So I wait.

Here I am the night before my angiogram and sit here sharing with all of you my adventure so far. Please pray with me as I go into this procedure and try to be at peace.

One last thing, I was so blessed by so many amazing people during this ordeal, all the medical professionals (Patrice, Ashley, Blayne, Sophie, Patricia, Jan, Sheryl, Crista), my neighbour (Ryan) as he cleared our driveway with the help of one of my friends (Glen) from our small group who drove all the way from Brampton. Another neighbour (Michelle) who drove with De-Ann to go get the van from the daycare. Still more of our neighbours (Paul, John, Ryan) who helped De-Ann get through the snow to park the van. One of our special friends (Denita) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me in the hospital and ran around getting the van, my stuff, etc. Another one of our amazing friends (Glen & Nadine) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me today (Sunday). And of course all the staff (Deric, Max, DJ, Aaron, Donnette, Denita, Diane) at the church I work with, they have been so supportive and loving and shown me true care and love. And so great to have them all visit me this weekend. Not to mention all the amazing people at my church who called, emailed or texted me during this whole adventure. And continue to do so. And last but certainly not least my family, my Dad, sisters Joy and Linette and my brother Paul and Phil. And of course my own family, my two kids Faith and Shawn and my best friend in the world, love of my life and my Sweetie: De-Ann. I am so blessed to have such an amazing wife!

February 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM 21 comments

Faith’s cardiology appointment

A couple of weeks ago Faith had a cardiology appointment to check her heart. She was born with a hole in her heart. The specialist told us that one of Faith’s valves sticks a bit but it is nothing to be concerned with. We are scheduled to see the specialist again in a year from now.

After we had Faith’s heart x-rayed we were put into a waiting room where the doctor would examine Faith. It happened that the room was the “yellow” room. And if you know Faith at all she loves the colour yellow! You can see below the picture of her standing in front of the door of the examination room. She’s so cute.

We are so thankful Faith’s heart is still functioning well and we have no concerns. God continues to take care of our little munchkin.

November 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM Leave a comment

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