Matters of the Heart: what God says about the core of man

The Bible is says followers of Jesus Christ are to live in a way that reflects Him. A Christian is a “little Christ.” This can be a difficult role to fulfill especially when other people, even Christians are not acting, speaking or living for Christ. How do I live in a dirty rotten world? How Can I shine the light in a dark world? What is God’s view of self, success, & stuff? Does it matter what I do with my free time? So how do I live in the world, but not become like the world? What is the matter with my heart?

the heart of the matter

What is the heart? The heart is not just a muscle that pumps blood, the shape of a card you receive on Valentines Day, nor where romantic feelings come from. It is said that you cannot understand a human until you understand the heart. The Bible describes the heart as your inner man [spirit, soul, mind, emotions, passions, will, etc.]. The heart is the real you, where your beliefs affect your behavior. It is the control center of a your life. [Read More]

key to understanding your heart

Have you ever had a set of keys that you just did not know what they unlocked? I use to have a small box of mysterious keys I no longer knew what they unlocked. I still keep many of them around just in case I have a door or padlock that I cannot open. Hopefully you are not missing a key to something important that I’ve borrowed and forgot to give back to you? It is frustrating not having a key to unlock something valuable to you [i.e. home, car, safe, etc.]. Sometimes it might feel like your heart is locked and you do not have the right key to understand. [Read More]

Heart Distracters & Hardeners

God, you really didn’t mean to say that?

What does it really mean not to love the world? What does it mean for me? Does it mean I have to give up listening to unchristian music, R-rated movies, MTV, video games, making lots of money, gossip magazines, or my short shorts? If you were really honest you don’t want the answers, especially from a 2000-year-old book that may seem out of touch with today’s culture and trends. [Read More]

i love the world

John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” [1 John 2:15] But then in another place John says, “For God so loved the world…” [John 3:16] and Jesus says, “As [God] sent Me into the world, so I have sent [believers] into the world.” [John 17:18] So on one hand, I am not supposed to love the world, but God loves the world. And on the other hand, I am not supposed to love things in the world, but Jesus sends His followers to live in the world. Okay, let’s decipher and answer: What is the world? Should or shouldn’t I love the world? How can I love the world? [Read More]

the colossal compromise

Compromise is a part of life. Everyday you are faced with decisions where you have to give up something good for another good. Do I study or do I play soccer? Do I visit this family member or do I visit this old friend? Do I go out to eat for pizza or a hamburger? Do we go on vacation to the beach or the mountains? Compromise is simply changing the question to fit the answer. Sometimes you cannot have both and you must compromise. Sometimes compromising is not this simple. Sometimes compromises can have a great affect on you and others depending on which option you choose. Sometimes people compromise deep-rooted beliefs or sacrifice morals to get what they want. [Read More]

lead me not into temptation

Temptation is something every human faces. Temptation in and of itself is not sin, but it is the first stage towards sinning. Temptation comes at you like blazing arrows at from Satan, the world, and your wicked heart. Your only vaccination to combat the constant nagging attacks of temptation is using the Word of God and loving Jesus Christ. Jesus was tempted, but did not sin [Hebrews 4:15-16]. Therefore, He knows the full weight of temptation because He did not give into it. [Read More]

hypocrisy

In the early days of acting a hypocrite was considered a good term. It described an actor who could put on many different faces or masks. Actors in the Greek theatre wore masks depicting an emotion. The masks were large, often twice the size of an actor’s face, so they could be easily seen. The Jews used the word hypocrite to describe a liar, deceiver, two-faced, or one who hid his true nature behind a mask. [Read More]

the spiritual war and your enemy

From the beginning to the end of Jesus’ ministry he warned, overturned, taught, and fought against spiritual foes. Much of Jesus’ ministry portrayed power encounters, exorcisms, and exposes a real supernatural warfare in this world. Since, spiritual warfare is real, how do we deal with it? [Read More]

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God, you really didn’t mean to say that?

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.” [1 John 2:15] Why do people—even Christians—not like this verse? Why would I rather cut it out of our Bibles than paste it into my lives? This is not a verse you underline as a favorite, claim as your life verse, or even care to like. In fact, most would say, “You can’t be serious? This verse sounds so Puritan. This verse is awfully intrusive. Shouldn’t it say, ‘Don’t love some things, rather than anything?’ Surely this verse is for people in Jesus’ day, not us?” No. It is for you. There is no way around it. And God is serious. He does not want to be equal or lesser loved than anything in this world.

What does it really mean not to love the world? What does it mean for me? Does it mean I have to give up listening to unchristian music, R-rated movies, MTV, video games, making lots of money, gossip magazines, or my short shorts? If you were really honest you don’t want the answers, especially from a 2000-year-old book that may seem out of touch with today’s culture and trends.

There is a great danger to treating this verse—and for that matter, God’s Word—as trivial. God intended His Word to be heard. Every word He wrote is intended for created man to be listened and adhered to. Do not subtract from the simplicity of this verse because it makes you uncomfortable nor add complexity to it with legalistic rules impossible to follow. Do not empty its authority, nor add your own authority to it. If you ignore this verse or others like it you are being seduced by the very world that God asks you not to love.

Love for the World forsakes Love for God

What does it mean to not love the world? Is it that I am supposed to recycle and keep this world a greener place for the next generation? That is true, but that is not what world means in 1 John 2:15 [kosmos = order]. God created the people in this world with order and said it was very good.[1] However, those God created would rather worship the creation than the Creator. Therefore sin—an enemy of God—entered the world and creation fell into chaos away from God. To love the world is to love the fallen world, which Satan dominates and manipulates [John 12:31; 1 John 5:19]. Worldliness has a way of desensitizing [making you soft] towards sin making you think you are in control of the chaos.

To love the world is to worship self and stuff above the God-King who created the world. Does that describe you? Do you love the world more than God who created the world? Are you driven more by money, success, skills, and security than following the purposes of God? Are you ruled and dominated by the world? Are you waging war with God?

Don’t Disregard, but Learn from the Downfall of Demas

Demas is an example of one who was “in love with this present world” and drifted from God [2 Timothy 4:10]. The drift did not happen over night, it happened subtly, quietly and gradually. Demas was like a spiritual meteorite. One day he was burning bright, but the next faded into nothing. I have seen many Demas’ that have shot through the spiritual skies for .04 of a second. Only to fade and drift just as fast from the fellowship of the church, from reading the Word of God, from listening and applying the Word, from sharing their faith, from singing the songs and meaning it, from faithfully attending church, and from fighting against sin.

You too can become gradually weakened by the world nagging for your attention, subtly poisoned by the world’s promises, and eventually become conformed and accustomed to the world.  Are you drifting? Was there a time when you were passionate about God and doing things for God? Were you once devoted and committed to following Christ but seemingly lost that spark? Demas was like that too. Demas’ downfall from following Christ came from a lack of love for Christ; instead he cultivated his love for the world, which spoiled his spiritual taste buds.

Worldliness is Matter of the Heart and the Heart of the Matter is what you Worship

Love for the world begins in the heart. Your heart is your control center, which is where you entertain and energize your desires and passions [i.e. root produces fruit]. If your are rooted in loving the world according to 1 John 2:16 the fruit you will bear is, “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does.” Craving, lusts and boasts are all rooted in the heart and their fruit is sinful chaos.

It is all about what you love and worship. This is why not only John but also Paul and James hold out the promises of life only to those who love God: “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28] “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived…God has prepared for those who love him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9] “If any one has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed!” [1 Corinthians 16:22] “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?” [James 2:5, cf. 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12]

The world demands and commands you to be preoccupied, captivated and obsessed with whatever is newest, greatest, and best. The world begs you to never be satisfied that you have enough. It makes you believe that you need the big title, the most attractive mate, the classy car, the fit figure, the fad clothing, and the thick wallet. Nothing of this world lasts. Clothes go out of style. Music fades. Movies go from the theater to DVD to the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Famous people die and become forgotten. The glitter and glamour of this world lasts for its 15 minutes. Yet the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ last forever. It is His fame that will stand the test of time. Sooner or later everyone will know that He is greater. Do you know Him? Does your heart faint for Him?

The Reward for Walking Away from Worldliness is out of this World

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” [1 John 2:17] If you choose worldliness you choose today. However, if you choose Christ you choose eternity. Worldliness is always about the now, not the later. Worldliness is about immediate gratification, not eternal satisfaction. If you do the will of God you will live forever. The choice is yours. What will you choose?

God will finally and ultimately deal with the prince and power of this world and create a new world where His Son will rule with righteousness and holiness, and I willingly subject myself to Him humbly, lovingly and joyfully. Look at Jesus. He lived in the world and walked your same sod. He could have demanded the riches, become king of the world, and wielded His power, but He chose the route of a humble servant. The power of the cross is able to help you defeat the strangle hold of the world upon your heart. As John Owen said, “When someone sets his affections upon the cross and the love of Christ, he crucifies the world as dead and undesirable thing. The baits of sin lose their attraction and disappear. Fill your affections with the cross of Christ and you will find no room for sin.”[2]

In summary, does God really mean to keep 1 John 2:15 in the Bible? Yes, He is serious as a heart attack about you avoiding affection for the world. Affection for your Heavenly Father chooses an Everlasting Kingdom. Either the kingdom of this world or the kingdom of Christ rules you. If you love the world, you don’t love God. If you love the world, you will perish with the world. And if you love God instead of the world, you will live with God forever.

You might be saying to yourself, “I don’t feel very much love for God right now.” There are two possible reasons for that. First, you are not part of the kingdom of Christ, or secondly, your love for God has been forsaken for love of the world. Love for God and the world cannot co-exist peacefully. This world is a battlefield, not a playground [cf. Ephesians 6:10-20]. Do not let your guard down, armor up. Victory is sure, but resistance is required. While being in this world, do not be like this world, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Romans 12:1-2] “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your heart on things above not on things that are on earth” [Colossians 3:1-2]. With the psalmist say, “Whom have I in heaven but You, and on earth there is nothing that I desire besides You.”


[1] Cf. Genesis 1:31; Psalm 24:1; John 3:16; 4:42; 6:51; 1 John 2:2; 4:14

[2] John Owen, Sin and Temptation, Vancouver, Regent, 1995, 62

key to understanding your heart

Have you ever had a set of keys that you just did not know what they unlocked? I use to have a small box of mysterious keys I no longer knew what they unlocked. I still keep many of them around just incase I have a door or padlock that I cannot open. Hopefully you are not missing a key to something important that I’ve borrowed and forgot to give back to you? It is frustrating not having a key to unlock something valuable to you [i.e. home, car, safe, etc.]. Sometimes it might feel like your heart is locked and you do not have the right key to understand.

In review, last week was a discovery of what is the matter with your heart. Luke 6:43-46 describes your heart like roots. Whatever you root yourself in that is the fruit you will grow. If you are rooted in evil you will bear evil fruit. If you are rooted in Christ you will bear Christlikeness. The only way you can change your heart is to understand what rules it. According to Ezekiel 14:1-5, your heart is infected by idols. The Bible is like a locksmith that opens the door to your heart and remedies its perilous condition. Today, let’s allow the Bible to be like a locksmith.

An examination of the condition of your heart shows a serious inner conflict [James 4:1-10]

James 4:1-10 is an expansion of the fruit and root illustration. James begins with the fruits and makes his way down the tree trunk to the roots. James reveals the fruit that hangs from everyone’s life is: conflict. Humans have a huge amount of conflict in their lives. You might not realize the amount because you are so used to it. Conflict might be as casual as who gets to use the bathroom first, who gets the last donut in the box, or what pizza toppings you want. Or the conflict might be as colossal as an abusive spouse, disgruntled boss, or rebellious children.

James calls you to do something radically different with your angry responses to human conflict. Rather than looking outside yourself to explain your anger, look inside your heart. James says your fights and quarrels “are at war within you.” You are angry and fight because that is what you desire and what you allow to rule your heart [i.e. idolatry]. Desires come from your heart. Desires of the heart are not all wrong nor are the fights always evil. The ability to desire was designed by God for good. However, human desires have become distorted through sin because you exchange worship of Creator for creation, which is spiritual adultery [4:4]. You give away your love for God to something else.

The heart is your control center. Your heart thinks, remembers, feels, desires, craves, experiences, makes choices, and acts. In other words, your heart is the base of operation for your cognition, affection, and volition. What your heart believes will affect your attitude, behavior and actions. Relationships, society, and culture might all influence your heart, but they are not the cause of your hearts control. You are in control of your internal responses to what is happening externally. What should your response be to sinful external influences? “With confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that you may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” [Hebrews 4:14-16]

There are a few common influencers on your heart that if not examined carefully can cause damage swiftly: anger, foolishness, despair and fear. Anger is like a like a hot flame that can inflict pain in its path and forgets about forgiveness and service. Foolishness does not think about the consequences of immediate satisfaction and forsakes seeking wisdom. Despair is like a wandering vagabond that gives up too soon on the path to paradise and foregoes trusting Gods promises. Fear has a firm grip on the opinions of man and an eye on the trial, rather than being unleashed by the love of God. How do desires take control of your heart? Let’s discover a deeper look at how our desires can be influenced towards sinful responses. Here is the digression how desires take the escalator downward:[1]

Changing your desires does not begin with controlling your temper, watching your tongue, or 4-step conflict resolution. Change is initiated when you “submit to God.” [4:7] You have to give up bowing your heart to foe-gods. Smash those idols and restore your allegiance to the One True God. Wash your hands clean and purify your hearts. When you radically destroy your idols and humbly restore with your Creator by drawing near to Him, He draws near to you [4:8].

Your heart problem can only be remedied by the power of Christ [Galatians 5:13-26]

God is like a master physician who knows your greatest need, gives your heart a true diagnosis, and provides you ultimate healing through the gospel. Do not be swayed by the allure of an alternate gospel, cheap grace or self-help. These will wreak havoc on your heart filling you with bondage, darkness and desperation. It is only the power of Christ that will remedy the sinful condition of your heart and give you the motivation for future healthy heart change. Christ does not desire you to be conformed to the image of this world, but to be transformed in the renewing of your mind. How does this transformation take place?

First, serve one another in love [5:13-14]. It is much easier to stir up a conflict that to serve another in love. “I want that donut,” is a natural response fighting for the right to eat the lonely donut in the empty box. It shouldn’t sound so Sesame Street to share that donut because you desire to serve someone else. To serve is the reason Jesus came. He did not come to be served. That makes Jesus strange. What King would stoop so low as to be a servant? Jesus did.

Second, understand the conflict is between your flesh and the Spirit [5:15-23]. Your flesh still desires to be rooted in the old dirt of your former sinful life [vs.19-21, 26], but your new life desires to be rooted in Christ [vs.22-25]. The fight is over the sacred territory of your heart. Who will you allow to be king, captain and champion of your heart—you or God?

Third, if you serve only yourself you will destroy all your relationships [5:14, 26]. Living in the flesh will crush others faith, break others hearts, crush their spirits, and grieve the Holy Spirit. The way you respond to conflict can either devastate or rejuvenate your relationships. Use your conflicts as an opportunity to influence others towards restoration.

Fourth, saying “no” to sinful desires is possible through the cross of Christ [v.24]. As a follower of Christ you have been united with Christ through His crucifixion. In other words, you died with Christ. When Christ rose you were raised to new life. In Christ, you have been given a Samurai Spirit, which in whom your have the daily help and power to resist the control of your sinful desires.

It is wise to ask yourself tough heart questions as if you are getting a thorough examination from the heart doctor.[2] You would not want to be careless because your condition could be as serious as an impending heart attack. When you ask questions of the heart do not rebuttal. Willingly accept the facts as they are and use them to motivate you towards change. Heart change sometimes seems like you are rowing upstream, but don’t stop midstream because you will swiftly drift backwards [cf. 1 Peter 3:18].

In conclusion, the gospel, particularly the cross, is the only remedy for your sinful heart condition. If you have never opened up the door to your heart to God today is the day. He holds the keys to your kingdom. He is the door to new life. Only He can give you a new heart that is fully satisfied in Him. Make Christ the passion of your heart today.

For further reading on the heart check out:

Idols of the Heart and “Vanity Fair” [David Powlison]

Understanding Influences on the Human Heart[Mike Emlet]

4 Common Heart Themes [Garrett Higbee]


[1] Chart is adapted from How People Change, Paul David Tripp, P.??

[2] 5 Heart Revealing Questions to Ask Yourself: 1) How important is ____ to you? 2) What do you like about ____? 3) How does ____ help you deal with life? 4) How is ____ helping you with God? 5) How can God and other help you with ___?

the heart of the matter

Why do I do the things I do? Why am I so angry? Why is my friend so depressed? Why was my family awesome one day, but now it seems like guerilla warfare? Why do I get angry in traffic? Why is she so critical and controlling? Why is he so ungrateful? Why is she so afraid? Why won’t he talk? Why am I the way I am? The simple answer is: the heart.

What is the heart? The heart is not just a muscle that pumps blood, the shape of a card you receive on Valentines Day, nor where romantic feelings come from. It is said that you cannot understand a human until you understand the heart. The Bible describes the heart as your inner man [spirit, soul, mind, emotions, passions, will, etc.]. The heart is the real you, where your beliefs affect your behavior. It is the control center of a your life.

There is something seriously wrong with your heart. Your control center has a glitch in the main frame. What is the matter with the heart? It is stained with sin. Sin is like the fat that clogs your heart from functioning properly. Sin is like eating a constant diet of junk that will eventually kill you if you do not do something about it. Sadly, there is nothing you can do about it. However, God has done something about it. He has given you Christ whom if allowed will do surgery on your heart opening up the clogged arteries and capillaries so His life-giving power can clean you from the consequences of sinful living.

The Bible Uses a Tree to Illustrate Heart Change: Fruits & Roots [Luke 6:43-46]

When the Bible speaks about fruit, it is usually referring to the responses to your behavior [what you do and think based on what you believe]. The fruit is what speaks in Luke 6:43-46. Jesus says something very powerful about words [i.e. fruit]: they flow from the heart [cf. Matthew 5:21-30].

Now it is important to understand that people and situations do not cause you say what you say or do what you do. Why can’t people cause you to sin? This may fly in the face of modern psychology and self-esteem talk, but you alone are responsible for the way you respond to people and situation. People and situations might influence you to sin because you are being blamed, threatened, manipulated, piled on with guilt, or spoken to unjustly, but you are the root causer of your responses to these influencers. Your words and responses are revealed in the fruits of your heart.

You can recognize a tree by the fruit it bears. If you plant apples what do you expect to take root? What if you plant giant pumpkin seeds? How about an acorn? The type of seed you plant is the plant that will grow. It is unnatural to plant a pumpkin seed and discover a few years later an oak tree. When you are dealing with plants you recognize there is an organic connection between the roots and fruit. The same is true with people—the roots of your belief bear the fruits that resemble

When the Bible speaks about roots, it is usually referring to your heart [where beliefs are born, incubated and grow]. You have the kind of fruit you bear because of your roots. You will speak and act the way you do because of what is in your hearts. The heart is how you function. Your sin problem is a result of our heart [cf. Matthew 23:25-26; clean cup]. You cannot change your behavior until you change your heart.

How can you change your heart? It begins by a change of belief [roots], which will affect your behavior [fruit]. When I was growing up my gramps had an apple tree. The apple tree didn’t produce many apples. It began to produce dry, wrinkled, brown and mushy apples. Knowing my gramps he would try to remedy this problem. Let’s say gramps went out to the tree with trimmers, a staple gun, stepladder and a box of Washington apples he bought from the grocery store. He decides to cut off the bad apples and puts on the new store bought ones. Did he fix the tree? Stapling apples will not help because the new apples will rot too. Change that doesn’t reach the heart [roots] does not last. Cosmetic changes never satisfy. Are you stapling? What kind of fruits are you trying to staple in place of actually changing?

To Change Your Heart You Need to Understand What Rules Your Heart [Ezekiel 14:1-5]

In Ezekiel, the spiritual leaders of Israel come to the prophet because they have questions they want to ask of God. As they come to the prophet he sees something is wrong with them. What is wrong with them? [Idolatry] What kind of idols? [In their hearts] These idols run deeper than cultural or religious idols they are idols inside the heart of man.

What is God’s response? Idols in the heart are a ”stumbling block before the face” Ezekiel 14:3 If you put your hands in front of face and walk about the room you will not make it far without stumbling. That is exactly God’s point about idols of your heart; eventually, they will cause you to sin.

An idol is anything that rules me other than God. Sin is fundamentally idolatry [cf. Romans 1:21-25 & Matthew 6:19-24]. Idolatry is the great exchange: creation for the Creator. Here is a great truth from this passage: Whatever rules your heart will exercise inescapable influence over your life and behavior. You live for some kind of treasure. Whatever you treasure will control your heart, “where your treasure is your heart will be also.” [Matthew 6:21] Whatever controls your heart will control your behavior, “no one can serve two masters.” [Matthew 6:24]

Isn’t it impossible to know the heart of another man? Yes, you can only see the outside of a man [behavior]. However, Hebrews 4:12-13 tells you that the Bible is like a scalpel. It cuts through layers of flesh and exposes the condition of your heart. Although you do not have x-ray vision to any mans heart, God and His Word do. The Bible is a heart-revealer. The Word of God has the power to change your heart. That is the Bible compares itself to a surgical tool that can cut to the innermost part of your soul—the heart. For without heart change, there is no real change. Here are some great x-ray questions to ask to see the condition of your heart, preparing you for potential heart change:

What do you love? Hate? What or who do you trust? Who do you seek to please? Whose opinion matters most? Who are your role models? Who do you want to be like? What makes you tick? If this were your last day on earth what would you do? How would others describe you on your deathbed? What is your definition of success? What would make you feel rich? What brings you greatest joy? What do you desire, crave, lust, and wish for? What desires do you serve and obey? What is your life aim? Goal? Purpose? Where do you bank your hopes? What do you fear or worry about? Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, escape or security? What do you pray for? How do you live with yourself? Where do you find your identity? How do you define what you are?[1]

Next week we will talk more about understanding your heart and in the weeks that follow how to guard your heart from influencers in our world seeking to distract you from giving all your heart toward God.


[1] Taken from an article by David Powlison, X-ray Questions: Drawing Out the Whys and Wherefores of Human Behavior, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Volume 18, Number 1, Fall 1999. Pgs. 2-9

i ♥ church planting

Church planting is in my blood because it started with His.
 
Christ spilled His blood on the cross so that the church might exist. I heard it said many times, but don’t know where it came from that “The blood of the marytr’s is the seed (growth) of the church.” And it started with the greatest martyr of all, Jesus Christ.
 
If He gave His life so that the church should exist, shouldn’t I make it the purpose of my existence to be passionate about building His church?
 
God’s plan for the world today is the living organism called His Body, the church. God is the beating heart of church, which is pumping blood through the veins of His people.  May we not bypass the opportunity to be a part of His Body. We may seek to destroy the church by clogging its arteries with perversions and sin, but Christ will continue to build His church. How it is awesome to be involved in something that the God of the universe is so passionate about.

Livingstone, I presume

africa-heart.jpg 

I love Africa. You know you love something when you think about it a lot and want to be there. There is something contagious about the land, the people and the culture. It takes you back to a simpler time when family matters and where wealth is unimportant.

I presume Dr. David Livingstone had this same heart for this beautiful continent.

At the end of 1840, at the age of 27, supported by the London Missionary Society, Livingstone set sail for Africa. On arrival in Cape Town on March 14th 1841, Livingstone made his way by ox-wagon to Dr Moffat’s mission station at Kuruman. While Moffat confined his work to the region around Kuruman, Livingstone felt called to venture north into the unexplored terrain of Central Africa. Isolating himself for several months in a native village many miles from Kuruman, Livingstone sought to speed up his comprehension of the language and customs of the Africans.

He became a doctor and a missionary, and devoted a great amount of his life to exploring Africa and spreading the gospel.  Livingstone was one of the first Europeans to explore the central and southern parts of Africa. He determined that the best way to tell the Africans about Jesus Christ was to move around and see as many people as he could.

He married Dr Moffat’s daughter, Mary in 1845 and she (and later their children) came along with Livingstone on his early explorations. In 1849, he led a group of Europeans across the Kalahari Desert and discovered Lake Ngami. Two years later, he again traveled through the Kalahari with his family. In 1856, he traveled on the Zambezi River, and became the first European to see God’s natural wonder—Victoria Falls. He also became the first European to cross the entire width of southern Africa.

On May 1st 1873, Livingstone was found on his knees by his bedside, having died in prayer. Following with the African beliefs, Livingstone’s heart was buried under a Mvula tree near to the spot where he died; but his body had to be returned to Britain. His body was buried in Westminster Abbey in London on 18th April 1874 which was declared a day of national mourning.