5 items tagged "Life"

  • All Words Count

    Matthew 12:33-35 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”

    When it came to religion, no one studied, disciplined, and had more zeal than the Pharisees. If a test existed, to show how much knowledge they had or how dedicated they were to their faith, this group of elite religious people would be on the honor roll! But then enters Jesus. Jesus was able to see through the religious veneer and go straight for the heart, as he always does. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…” This would have been quite the statement to hear. During those days, spiritual growth and maturity had always been measured by external factors, but with these words, Jesus is flipping that on its head! Jesus is forcing these people, as well as us, to look within and start evaluating what’s really happening internally.

    Pharisees despise introspection. To introspect is to take an honest look within ones’ heart. We then have to take responsibility for what we find. What are we producing? Is the fruit coming forth something we really want to share with others? Is it spoiled or ripe? The reality is, what comes out of our hearts was already there to begin with. If bitterness, envy, malice and the like are flowing from our mouths, we can be certain they have been festering in our hearts for some time. Our hearts are always revealing themselves, especially at home. We can put up a great front in public, like the Pharisees, but at home our hearts are on full display. How do we speak to our spouses after a long day at work? When our kids continuously push all the right buttons, how are we responding? How do we speak of others (i.e. from church, work, etc.) in front of our families?

    Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Every word out of our mouth counts. It’s either building someone up or it’s tearing them down. Let’s make sure we allow the Lord to do the heart work in our lives, to ensure the fruit that is produced is not spoiled but will be ripe to bless others!

  • How's Your Heart?

    This one little verse has me thinking alot lately: "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joyand my heart's delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty." (Jer. 15:16)

    This is quite the statement to make.  The prophet Jeremiah was so ready to hear from God, that when he received His Words, he took it like a hungry man would take his dinner! He cheerfully received them, treasured them up in his memory, digested them in his mind, and carefully retained them.  Let's not forget too, things were not always easy for Jeremiah, he is often referred to as the "Weeping Prohpet".  To say he was pursecuted would be an understatement!  Here is the point, if anyone had reason to lose heart and joy it would be Jeremiah.  The circumstances seemed to never be in his favor...yet, when it came to hearing from the Lord, there was no circumstance or crisis that would keep him from being nourished

    When was the last time you can honestly say you were hungry to hear from the Lord?  When was the last time that just being with Jesus was the highlight of your day, the goal of your day?  When is the last time you were nourishedby His Word?  Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)  Lose your joy?  What's your heart finding it's "delight" in lately?  Take Jesus at His word.  Be all about Him, let Him nourish that place in you that aches, and watch what He does in your life. 

     

    Lord, put a fire back in our bones for more of You!

    Amen.

     

  • Keep Your Heart

    “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

    We must be watchful, vigilant and ready to fight for our hearts. The heart is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, over 200 times the heart is referred to things that motivate, mold, and impact our life. To put it simply, the heart is a big deal! Though the Bible makes it clear that it’s of the upmost importance to look after, without intentional guardianship, it prefers to drift. It doesn’t always stay where you tell it to stay! As you may have already experienced, a drifting heart will never drift in a good direction. So, let us not take this lightly, we must know what it means to be diligent over our hearts. All of life is going to flow from our hearts and when we lose a grip on it, there will be some symptoms that will flare up. Below are some examples of a drifting heart:

    · You’ve lost passion

    · Your view of God is small

    · Your living offended

    · You no longer share your faith with others

    · Diminished interest in prayer

    Hearts that are full of God are surging with love, faith, and passion! When life flows from a heart like this, nothing in your world (relationships, workplace, school, etc.) is left untouched by God! Will there be times of heartache, dryness, and disappointment? Most likely, yes. These are the moments in which we MUST be vigilant of our hearts! Rather than allowing these circumstances to dry us up, let’s press into Jesus, receiving the water that will not leave us thirsty. God is entirely faithful, He knows exactly what your heart is in need of and will not hold back on us. “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14

  • Messy Lives

     

    “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.”Proverbs 25:26

    How muddy is the spring of your heart right now? Is your well polluted by all the cultural toxins seeping in? Or does your spiritual well draw on Living Water as its pure, thirst-quenching source? Here are a handful of toxins that will pollute your well:

    Septic Thoughts: If you are looking for the bad and ugly, you will certainly find it. However, if you are determined to find the good and beautiful you will not be disappointed. Too often, our wells are polluted by chronically negative thoughts about others, circumstances, and ourselves, resulting in thought-bondage.

    Lethal Language:Words that do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.” (Mother Teresa) Your words are either bringing life or death, building up or breaking down. Helpful words build up, but hurtful words crush. What comes out of your mouth was first hiding out in your heart. If you want to empty your mouth of the garbage, you need to start with cleaning up those hidden places in your hearts!

    Hazardous Waste: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) Hiding your sin might make life easier in the short run, but it always becomes worse over time. If you hide your sin you can’t receive God’s blessings. Those who confess find mercy and forgiveness.

    Green with Envy: Envy is when you resent God’s goodness in other people’s lives and ignore God’s goodness in your own life. Our culture thrives on envy. We want the newest toys, cars, house, etc. We never enjoy what we have because we’re too busy striving to lay hold of what everyone else has. Envy is a serious heart killer. Just take a look at what the book of James says about it: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (3:14-16).

    Bitter Roots: “Bitterness is like a cancer. It easts upon the host.” (Maya Angelou) Bitterness has a dangerous tendency of justifying itself. It feels right, so we allow its roots to grow deep into our hearts and minds. Bitterness will destroy not only your character, but your relationships in record time. Bitterness will never produce good results, you will only harvest pain, anger, and disappointment.

     

    “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

    For more on these “culture toxins” and others, check out the book Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated Wordby Craig Groeschel.

  • Sticks and Stones

    "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." (James 3:9-12)

     

    There is that old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."  Nothing can be further from the truth.  All of us have had things said to us that not only hurt, but has possibly greatly influenced the direction of our lives.  It's amazing to think that words carry such power, that just a few syllables can completely crush you or on the other end, can completly change your life for the better.  If our words have this much power to harm, how much more so can it be used for good? Chapter 3 of the book of James is discussing the importance of taming the tongue, that if we can get a hold of it there can be so much more peace and joy in our life. 

    It's wild how easy it is to justify our backbiting and negative talk.  No matter the issue, without barely even trying, we as people ( Christians too...there, I said it) find the cause or reason to allow toxic waste to flow from our mouths.  Of course, we would never describe it like that, but really isnt that what it is?  James is saying how in the world can salt flow from fresh water?  How can toxic talk come out of a life that has been transformed by the living God? Can the Holy Spirit really live in a heart like that?  Here is our point, the words that come from our mouth is a barometer of what is really going on in our hearts.  Our hearts are always on display, by what is flowing from our lips.  Think about that next time we become offended by someone.  When someone is speaking out against you and you feel like you're being attached, pause and ponder before you let lose.   The next time something breaks down in your house, ponder how you plan to vent your disappointment.  Your words can make all of the difference.

    Your words will either bring life or they will bring death.  (Prov. 18:21)

    Reflect:

    1. Recall a time when you've hurt someone with your words.  What was motivating you?

    2. What are 2 or 3 practical ways you can be more careful with your words?

    3. What can you say today that can encourage and give life?

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