Heart Issues

 

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Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23-24‬ NIV)

 

My mouth. Sometimes A lot of the time, it would do me good to just count to 10.. Or 10,000. Depends on the moment.

Hear me when I say that I’m a work in progress. Hear me when I say that it is usually with my husband and our daughters. As in, I’m like a babbling brook overflowing with however I feel at the moment.. With the ones who share my space.(anybody else relate?) My tribe. Poor things. They see me when I’m tired. They see me when I’m at my breaking point. Poor things see me and hear me when I’ve had all that I think I can bear. Bless ’em.

Hey. I could turn it around and say that while they see me at my worst, I too, see them at their worst. It’s true.

What is in my heart will overflow out of that leaky faucet of a mouth I tend to have here at home amongst my tribe. My tribe. Home should be our safe place. The safe place.

Whether I’m rambling or not thinking before speaking, or saying what I feel without feeling what I say, it’s a heart issue.

Listen. I know good and well that I’m not the only woman or person that needs to learn to keep my words sweet. Or even just keep my words.. In my mouth.. Zipped up. Words are what gets most of us in trouble.

Just like the way a piano key is pounded or gently tapped or softly pressed, our words have the same effect. The tone we use can change a mood entirely. It’s a choice. Tone. Timing. Temperature. Yes, your words, my words, they even have a temperature!

Hot words –> When angry
Cold words –> When wanting to hurt
Warm words –> To soothe and show love

You get the point.

Words. I love words. Can you take a wild guess at what one of my main love languages is? Yep. You guessed it. Words of Affirmation. I LOVE words. I mean, I’m a writer for goodness sakes. I love words. I love to use them to encourage others. I love to pray. I love to share the gospel through words. Sometimes my words are not encouraging to my little tribe here at home though. 

I should probably work on that with my man. Usually it’s when I’m tired or being selfish that I snap on him. Even if I’m not in the wrong, I still have a choice when using my words.

I should probably work on that with my daughters. They learn what they live. When I find myself getting on to them about their smart mouths or tone with each other, I stop and think for a second. Hey. They get it from us. They get it from me. They learn what they live.

My God is so merciful and gracious and good. I can hardly believe sometimes that HE would choose to love a sinner like me, in spite of me. HE loves me, he knows me, he made me, he loves me in spite of all of my failures and inadequacies.

And if I want to truly SHINE JESUS, my words better reflect JESUS.

Maybe you find yourself feeling the same way at times. Ashamed when you fail. Frustrated because the levy broke and ugly or hurtful words spewed out. Embarrassed because you should have it together by now. But you don’t. And I don’t. HE is not finished with us yet friends. Praise God HE is not finished.

We can fix our leaky faucets. With God. We can be intentional about our choice of words. We can think before we speak, text, tweet, or post. We can listen more than we speak. You know the old two ears one mouth saying, the one about listening twice as much as we speak. We can choose to overlook an offense as the Proverbs tells us. We can do some heart surgery. Inspecting ourselves. Looking deep within. Getting to the root. Immersing ourselves in The WORD of God and in prayer. Communicating with the One who created us.

If the saying “You are who you hang around” is true. And it is. Then maybe we would all do well to “hang around” God more.

No matter the circumstance, we all have a choice in how we react and whether we bridle our tongue or not.

I’m grateful for my God. The One who shows mercy to me when I mess up. And I’m grateful to the ones who remind me of Jesus.. The ones who show me mercy as well.

Maybe it’s time for a heart check.

Is there an area involving words that you need to work on in order to shine Jesus? Do you need to apologize to someone for the way that your mouth may have offended them? Do you need to spend more time with the One who made you? I know my answer to all three questions. Yes.

 

We never know what the future holds. Only God knows. Life can change in a split second. Our words matter. The way we choose to use them matter. 

 

 

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:28,29 (NIV) 

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

 

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To SHINE or Not to SHINE

 

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Ever had one of those moments that make you realize the real deep stuff down in your heart?

The “man, I sure do need Jesus. Because I still have dark in my heart” kind of moment.

The moments when you slip and flesh comes out in your attitude?

NO? Really?

Well, I do.

I think I am walking in the light and shining and something rubs me wrong (maybe my husband or my children or even a complete stranger) and self wants to be a sarcastic smart mouth or even (shhhh) snaps.  Maybe they were really wrong. Maybe they weren’t. Either way, it is always a choice to SHINE or to not shine.

Ever happen to you? Just me? Really?

It is in those moments that the Holy Spirit convicts me, and thank goodness for that gift. It is a gift. Even though we sometimes feel like giving The Holy Spirit an eye roll. (that is self again)

We battle self every single day. I battle self every single day.

 

Self has to die y’all. (Yes, I said y’all. I am a southern girl.)

 

It is in these moments that I am reminded again that nothing I can do will make me deserving of Heaven, and that my salvation has nothing to do with me. It is in these moments, these “self” moments that I am all the more grateful for GRACE and MERCY.

Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve it. But HE does.

 

I want to SHINE Jesus even when “self” is tempted to be dark with an ugly attitude. Light and Dark are total opposites. May we always remember that truth. May we always listen to HIS voice, HIS nudge, and the conviction of The Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 5:16 ~In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Striving to Shine,

 

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Wrong Label

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Labels are for cans of food. Labels are for items of clothing. Labels are NOT for people.

They shouldn’t be…that is.

Romans 2:3 ~ Do you suppose, O man —- you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself —- that you will escape the judgement of God?

Hmmm. OUCH.

So…. we are all guilty? Maybe? Definitely?

GUILTY.

 

Psalm 9:7,8 ~ But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the people with uprightness.

 

See, GOD…HE judges out of LOVE. He is not capable of using labels on people…judging people from outside appearances. Unlike most of the human population. Myself included.

Our Lord looks at our heart. So why don’t we look at the heart first?

 

1 Samuel 16:7 ~ But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 

Maybe you aren’t a judgmental person…..anymore. Maybe you never have been.

Maybe you have been the object of judgement. And it hurt. Deeply.

I wish that one blog post could change us all. It can’t. Real change only happens when we truly want to change.

If the heart isn’t right, then the behavior won’t be right. Upright. Like God. Christ-like.

Who wants to be labeled like a can of soup?

Who are we to label others anyway?

Being labeled as a snob because you aren’t as outgoing as the person labeling you hurts. To assign a label to someone before you’ve even talked to them is wrong.

Being labeled as stuck-up because you are just not confident or comfortable making small talk… hurts.

I truly believe that to judge someone before we’ve even talked to them is dead wrong. How can we do that?

How can we truly say that someone is “preppy”. “gothic”, “redneck”, “rich”, “poor”, “saved”, “not saved”, “shy”, “scary”, without even giving that person a chance to show us their heart?

We have to give others the chance to show us who they are. We have to teach our kids this. Labels hurt…especially when we are labeled wrong.

We have all been guilty of this behavior at some point in our lives. Hopefully we chose to STOP being this way. To give people a chance to show us who they are on the inside before assuming they are some other way by the outside.

It’s so heartbreaking to hear story after story of how teens and kids will even approach other teens and kids, BOLDLY telling them what they think the other teen is like…and they have never ever spoken to this person before. All based on appearance or heresy.

I wish I could say that it gets better with time. It doesn’t. Adults judge unfairly as well.

When is it going to stop?

Good news is this: One person CAN make a difference. One person can change. One can stand up for another. One can share of the hurt judging causes. One person CAN make a difference.

Will you be that person? Will you teach your children to be THAT PERSON? Will you choose to make a difference?

Until Next Time,

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Kind Words

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A little bit of encouragement goes a long way. Am I right? Definitely.

Those of us who have ran in races know that this is true! Anyone who competes in any type of sport..knows this to be true. When you are feeling as though you can’t go any farther, and you hear cheers…your spirits lift and you know for a second that you can!

Our minds. our thoughts,  and the way that we talk to ourselves really play a huge part in our success or failure.

 

 

 If we believe that we can, then we will. If we tell ourselves that we will, then we can. It’s our inner voice that hold us back.

 

 

The Bible tells us that We CAN do ALL things through CHRIST who gives us STRENGTH!

It doesn’t say that we have to do anything on our own strength…

It doesn’t say that we can do SOME things through the strength that is given to us by Christ.

Paul says it best..when referring to his ability to make it through ANY situation:

Philippians 4:12,13 ~ I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 

 

We are our own worst enemy at times. Why? Because of the way that we talk to ourselves. Who cares what others may say about your abilities! God made you…and HE loved you before HE even made the world. As believers and followers of God, we need to remember that our FATHER (GOD), doesn’t talk ugly to us or about us. HE loves us. HE is not capable of sinning. HE is LOVE. AND HE does NOT talk to us the way that we tend to talk to ourselves.

If you are a believer in Jesus, then this is YOU that HE is talking about:

Ephesians 1:4, 5 ~ Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

See how much HE loves us!!!

 

 

While we are on the subject of talking nice to ourselves, it would do us well to remember that we should only speak words to others as well, that edify and build up.

Ephesians 4:29 ~ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

What does this have to do with talking in a  positive way to ourselves (our inner voice)?  Everything!  The reason being, what we repeatedly hear..we start to believe. If all we ever hear about ourselves is negative..then how easy it is to think that way about ourselves. Now, this doesn’t mean to go around giving out meaningless flattery all day. (That’s another blog for another day.) This simply means to be an encourager and think before you speak, because as Ephesians 4:29 says (and I am paraphrasing of course) : If it doesn’t help someone, and if it isn’t nice, and if it doesn’t build the other person up, then don’t say it. 

 

 

I love this little acronym :

THINK, is what I am saying, texting, or typing

True

Helpful

Important

Necessary

Kind ?

 

 

Everybody can use some kind of encouragement… Talking kind to ourselves and others is something we all struggle with at times. Let’s build up instead of tear down.

 

 

            Until Next Time,

 

 

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Thankful Thursdays ~ March 21st

 

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I decided to start posting these “Thankful Thursdays” again. See, it is easy to get out of the habit of practicing thanksgiving, and I need little reminders from time to time. Maybe you do as well.

While doing one of my morning daily devotions, One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp, I just really became convicted of my lack of daily thanksgiving. I mean, it’s easy to give thanks in the exciting and good things that occur on a day to day basis. Yet, we are commanded to give thanks for the not so good stuff too.

Believe it or not, I actually found myself thanking God today for the not so great things that I face …and it wasn’t that hard after all. When we thank HIM for the yuck, we realize that HE is greater than any circumstance that we may face. We are truly TRUSTING God to be enough. And, isn’t HE really enough?

These words in my devotion today really stuck out to me:

I’m not sure how my life stands. How my inner and outer walls stand, how I make a home. Unless we make it a habit to give thanks, we habitually give our family grief. Unless we consistently speak praise, we consistently speak poison. Unless we are intentional about giving God glory throughout the day, our days unintentionally give way to grumbling. ~ Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts Devotional..Devo 40)

 

It takes being intentional in order to bring God glory. Gratitude must be continuous. Our words are either pleasant or like poison. POISON. Convicted.

Matthew 12:35-37 really hit home this morning..and really made me want to be more intentional about my giving of thanks to God. Read it and really think on it…This is JESUS talking..

 

Matthew 12:35-37 (NLT) ~ “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

 

May our words be words of grace…and thanksgiving..bringing glory to God. May we always give thanks in everything..even the yuck. May we think before we speak..and not use words carelessly.

 

 I am thankful for the sweet friends that God has blessed me with..who send me random messages and let me know that they love me and are praying for me. I am thankful for the gift of prayer and that I can pray for others and talk to God anytime and anywhere. I am thankful for healthy children.

What are some things that you are thankful for today?

 

 Colossians 4:2 ~ Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

 

 

              Until Next Time,

 

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