Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Daily Devo- Examine Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Our hearts are fragile and unfortunately pain is not something anyone can escape. At some point or another in your life, you will experience broken relationships. This is a direct effect from living in a broken world that is full of sin.

People who have been diagnosed with serious heart conditions need to change their unhealthy habits to help improve their overall heart health. Those that are diagnosed with ‘hardening or blockage or the arteries’ have recurring heart examinations with their doctors.

Just as a person with a heart problem diagnosed by a medical professional has to monitor their condition and identify any potential problematic areas, so should we on a spiritual level.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our heart that everything in life flows from it.

Think about that for a moment– EVERYTHING flows from it.

That means the good, the bad, the bitter, the joy, the pride and selfishness, and the love or hatred that comes out through our actions and words. To live a truly joyful and blessed life– we need to intentionally examine our hearts (with God’s help) to identify any areas in which we need to grow and change.

Lamentations 3:40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;

Examine your heart and pray– ask God to show you the areas in which need attention. Ask Him for discernment with your actions and words, that He would expose to you when you are reacting out of the flesh and not according to His will.

Psalm 26:2 NIV Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

Take a look at these 8 potentially problematic areas in our hearts when examining our spiritual health

  1. Pride: Do I focus on how much I’ve been wronged? Do I have a problem admitting my faults?
  2. Faultfinding: Do I rehearse the faults of others in my life?
  3. Avoidance: Do I avoid being around people with whom I have conflict?
  4. Silence: Do I shut down and refuse to speak about my problems or feelings in a healthy way?
  5. Isolation: Do I withdraw from those around me emotionally?
  6. Unfaithfulness: Do I worry and fret of circumstances outside of my control?
  7. Hopelessness: Do I lack faith that God can and will work out my situation?
  8. Resentment/Bitterness: Do I hold on to my anger and hurt until it turns into resentment or bitterness towards the one who the conflict is with?

The heart examination only works if you are truthful with yourself and God about your feelings and results from ‘your exam’. Finding problematic areas in your heart does not mean you are a bad person or even that God is displeased with you. The condition of our heart and circumstances never surprise God– nor change His love for us.

True freedom and happiness in Christ comes when we acknowledge our problematic areas and seek to change them. Pulling each bad habit, thought, or opposition to God’s Word and will out by its roots and planting new healthy habits; creating new root systems based on His word.

Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Father for giving Your direction and help throughout every day of our lives. Lord, it is because of You and You alone that I am able to share Your love and truth with others. These words are not mine but Yours and I pray that all the glory be brought to Your kingdom. Lord I confess that I have not put much thought into my heart health on a spiritual level, forgive me God, for I only want to please You. Help me to search my heart Lord and expose to me problematic areas. Show me where I am lacking and help me to seek and understand Your truth and will. Lord, I pray You will guard my heart and give me discernment and peace, so that I will not hold on to hurt or anger and allow it to take root in my life. I pray for Your strength to help me to change from the inside out; owning my faults, and seeking to make each right according to Your will. In Jesus mighty name I pray
Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home

Daily Devo- The Weeping Prophet

In our culture, we often hear ‘big boys/girls don’t cry’. This may be well-intended advice to try to toughen our children up for the challenges they will face throughout life, but it teaches them that their emotions are a sign of weakness and they should repress them.

In Jeremiah 9 you will see that Jeremiah expressed his feelings clearly and loudly. His expressions of anger and grief teach us lessons about our emotions and ways that we can communicate with God.

Jeremiah knew when to cry, he was known as the ‘weeping prophet’. He preached the message of judgement, cried and mourned for the people of God, and allowed his words to come from a place of compassion.

Jeremiah’s message offers us a great example of balancing God’s compassion and God’s character. Even God’s harshest truth is never void of His love. God directed us to love the sinner and condemn the sin.

Jeremiah offers us a view of his intimate relationship with God. He never left out the raw feelings of hurt, anger, or doubt and he did not worry that his feelings would somehow offend God. Jeremiah was in touch and aware of his feelings which made him sensitive to God’s expression of disappointment and sadness.

Jeremiah made it a point to pray and express his feelings to God, especially when he did not feel like praying at all. We can pray and express our feelings to God in the same way. Ask yourself if you are being open and honest about your feelings when you pray or do you tell God what you think he wants to hear?

Openness and honesty with our feelings and needs are essential for a healthy emotional life. The more we learn to communicate with God, the more we will be open to the Holy Spirit, sensitive to His corrections, and we will grow in compassion for those in the world.

Read Lamentations 3:22-25

Emotions are strange and feelings come and go. Sometimes we feel like we can conquer the world, other times we feel as if the world has conquered us. How are we suppose to control the surges of emotion we feel? How do we hold on to our faith in God when our emotions are up and down?

Those that have a relationship with God can count on Him in every area of their life. God will help us exercise self-control over our emotions– if we ask Him and put our trust in Him.

God will not give us more than we can handle with His help

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it

God’s mercy and compassion is new every morning

Lamentations 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

When life’s circumstances begin to overwhelm you- wait quietly for the Lord’s help

Lamentations 3:25-26 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your patience and forgiveness. Thank you for giving us your word to guide our paths and teach us what is right. Lord thank you for allowing us to come to you with our pure raw emotions, allowing us to express our feelings and frustrations to you. I pray that each person would hear Your message and take from it what You are trying to show them. Help us all to remain strong in our faith through life’s many storms. Lord, help us to be like Jeremiah aware of our emotions and seeking to know God’s heart. Remind us it is okay to weep when we need to weep, and that Your glory and mercy are new every morning. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home

Daily Devo- An Overcoming Attitude

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5:2-4 NKJV

How you feel and how you handle those feelings are two very different things. The world we live in is very emotionally driven. As Christians we should be aware and on guard with what we are allowing to drive our decisions and actions.

To develop an overcoming attitude we have to first get rid of the stinking thinkin. You know what I am talking about– the I stink, you stink, life stinks– attitude. Negative thinking is toxic and our emotions can cause us to make decisions we normally would not make. Heightened emotions and negative thinking can get the best of us and leave us in a vulnerable state.

One of the most important things you need to remember when life knocks you down is that there is no rut to big or to deep for God to pull you out of. When the pressure is on and we feel like we are sinking– we need hope.

24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations 3:24 NKJV

Never doubt in the dark times what you know God has promised in the light!

Sometimes in life we have to argue with ourselves about what the truth is and what the emotionally driven reaction is. Stories and life events become inflamed when we are pondering on them with the wrong attitude. They can overtake us and shift the focus from the truth to emotionally driven reactions.

An overcoming attitude comes with knowing how to handle criticism. If it is untrue– ignore it– if it is unfair– do not let it bother you– if it is ignorant– smile through it– and if it is true-learn from it.

It is important that we listen to those who know us, love us, and rejoice with us. Remember not everyone is truly your friend– some are rooting for you to fail behind your back– ignore them and follow what you know to be truth according to God’s word.

Keeping our attitudes in check can be difficult, especially if we have deep roots in negativity and are notorious stinkin thinkers. God promises to renew our minds in Him. There is no failure or sin too bad for Christ to restore us.

Our futures are not based on our past. We are new beings in Christ and He never consults our past to determine our future. The process to developing an overcoming attitude does not happen over night– it takes time. We need to remain patient and ready to listen.

God does not fail– Do not give up– you are an overcomer.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NKJV

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Jesus for Your truth and power. Thank you for renewing our minds through Your word and being our hope during the storms of life. Forgive me Lord for having stinkin thinking when I should be relying on You. I pray that You help me to develop an overcoming attitude and expose any toxic thinking I may have to myself. I pray that you will expose Your truth to each person who reads this post. Lord guide us all in every step we take. I claim in the name of Jesus we are all overcomers and Your Holy Spirit will remind us of His promises in times of struggle. In Jesus name I pray

Amen