Contents from a pillow in the shape of a heart.

One of the teaching tools I bring in my suitcase full of art, is a pillow, heart-shaped, and filled with different items that represent things which we may be filling our hearts. As the items are removed, what they represent is revealed and discussed. Are we trying to receive our ultimate worth, value, significance or security in one of these things? As I tell my own story using these items, some new thoughts may be sparked. Maybe we have held onto things that can never give us what we hope for. Healing may begin as we consider releasing our grip on these things.

These idols need to be removed and replaced for true healing to take place. But, with what what do we replace these idols? Only the deep, pure love, truth and grace of Jesus can replace these idols and give us the security and significance we need. Knowing how much we really are loved by Him, gives us the power to remove and replace these idols. It is hard, deep work.

Above, I show some of the things I took out of the heart pillow and "discussed" during our stay in Turkey. The women each carefully looked at the pillow so they could reproduce it in their own communities. With thanks to a friend, C* and her husband, for the concept, and my friend Mary for making my pillow, this heart pillow is being used around the world to care for women.

Lent is a Christian tradition that though not commanded in Scripture can have some great benefits. It is meant to be a holy time of contemplation and a time of growth. Unfortunately, like so many Christian traditions, it has often degenerated into ritual without understanding. Individuals give up candy, or meat, or Facebook –  without realizing the purpose. It actually was meant to be a step toward removing idols of the heart and replacing them with Jesus — but too often, that has been lost. It was meant to be a time of remembering how frail we are (on Ash Wednesday, which is this week,  many receive the sign of the cross on their forehead as a reminder that they are dust, and to dust they will return.) This is thoroughly scriptural, to remember that we are like the grass of the field, and to therefore set our affections on things above. But as we have been learning, idols cannot be removed, they can only be replaced. Unless we replace them with putting on Christ, we may actually be in worse shape than when we began. -Dee Brestin

A helpful sermon:http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/removing-idols-heart