Come Forth From the Heart

Matthew 15:18

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;

and they defile the man.

 

The thistle bloom that grew by the fence

Was purple and brilliant

Sitting atop a mathematical wonder

Of pale green points

 

The perfect orb

A faded base

With prickly spears

 

For all who touch

It’s nature will be known

Sharp and hurtful

Barbs formed

From the inside

Now out

 

 

 

 

proceed

 

 

 

 

 

It Determines the Course

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

—Proverbs 4:23

Fences.

They keep things in.

They keep things out.

They protect.

They guard.

At the very existence of a fence, it is reasonable to recognize that something or someone needed protection.

No one can really see a fence around our hearts.

It could be a harmful fence, keeping God out.

It could be a helpful fence, keeping sin and temptation at bay.

It could be a harmful fence, keeping sin and temptations close inside.

It could be a helpful fence, keeping God close inside.

As followers of Jesus, we need to guard our hearts from the lure and the harm of evil.

Our hearts will determine the course of our lives.

guard

Completely

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
—Ephesians 4:12

My husband bought a very thoughtful and loving card for me, along with some gifts. 

The card had a gem heart on it that was visible through a circular opening. 

The occasion?

Our wedding anniversary. 

Ephesians 4:12 encourages us to be completely humble.

Have I been completely humble in my marriage?

No.

The scripture also says to be  gentle. 

Have I been gentle in my actions and words?

Sometimes, yes. 

Other times, however, I haven’t. 

Have I been patient with my husband?

Have I always found myself to be “bearing” with him in love?

No.

Not always…

I will never be perfect, but I can always try to respond in the way God wants me to:

Humbly. 

Patiently.

Gently. 

After all, I do want my attitude to be right in my marriage when God looks through my life and sees my heart. 

The Lord Looks

Our Basset hound was not feeling at all well this morning.

Having had a very uncomfortable night, as well, I knew I had to take her to the veterinarian.

After waiting only a short time, we were called back to the exam room.

There, I noticed an x-ray illuminator on the wall.

I began to think….

It was there so that the doctor could clip an x-ray film on it and the light from it would make the images visible for inspection.

What if who we really are—our thoughts, emotions and memories—could be placed on a screen and made visible for inspection?

What would they look like?

Others look at us the same way we look at them–seeing the outward appearance.

At times, we are well acquainted with someone else and we have some idea of their true nature, yet we cannot really see all that they are.

God knows each of us, totally.

All our experiences.

All our feelings and emotions.

All our thoughts.

He doesn’t need a bright light in order to reveal our souls.

When God was instructing Samuel to go and anoint a new king from among the sons of a man named Jesse, Samuel looked at one of them and thought surely he was the one to be king– but God told him otherwise.

1 Samuel 16:7 says,

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.”

God knew the heart’s of each of Jesse’s sons, and He had selected one of them to be king.

God has not changed.

He knows our hearts, as well.

Your heart.

My heart….

 

the heart

 

 

 

 

Your Treasure

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While I was visiting a church for an event, I noticed an antique looking trunk.

It was sitting on the floor in the back, behind all the chairs.

Being of interest to me, I decided to photograph it.

I didn’t open it to see what was inside.

Still, I wonder what it was being used for?

If I think of adventurous sounding orchestra music, I can envision it being a treasure chest filled with jewels.

Thinking of soft violins playing a gentle tune, I can imagine a young traveler packing a trunk for a journey back in the 1800’s.

For years, trunks and chests have held what is important at the time to their owners.

The Bible speaks to us about what our hearts deem important:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

—-Matthew 6:21

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What we care about the most is usually not something that can be placed in a trunk or chest.

We love God.

We love our families.

Our parents.

Our spouses.

Our children.

But sometimes, we let the pressures of succeeding in our careers and the opinions of others become more of a treasure to us than they should be.

Prestige.

Wealth.

Popularity.

Where is your heart today?

It’s where your treasure is…….

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your treasure fr

At the Heart

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Last year, we purchased an unusual looking plant with curly, maroon leaves.

We planted it near a small rock fountain near our front door.

As the weather became colder, we covered it on nights when frost might’ve damaged it.

Now, as spring is upon us, we realize that our little purple-red plant is here for another year.

Recently, however, we noticed a change.

When we purchased the plant, it was a “low to the ground” kind of thing.

Maybe two inches tall.

So, what was the change?

Delicate, pink flowers were sprouting up from it!

What’s this?

We had no idea that they would appear.

God knew, however.

He knew what was hidden that would eventually come forth.

In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, we read that God had instructed Samuel to anoint the man He would indicate as the new king.

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’  Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

 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.”

–1 Samuel 16:1-7

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Samuel was making a judgment at first by what he could see.

God explained that He looks at our hearts.

As the chapter unfolds, we find that David, son of Jesse, was who God had selected to be king.

God knew David’s heart.

God knew what would come forth from this young man, although others could not.

What will you become?

God knows your heart.

There may be incredible gifts placed inside you, ready to bloom in God’s timing.

Who knows what beauty is about to bloom from within you?

God knows.

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outward

So the Heart Reflects the Real Person

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Early morning.

The boardwalk was quiet for the most part.

I passed a couple of people fishing off the rail.

Silent birds gliding through the still, moist air made their way across the wide expanse of the water.

The lake before me was like a perfect mirror, reflecting the perfect beauty all around.

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As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.

—Proverbs 27:19

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face

More Than Anything Else

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Why should we guard our hearts?

Proverbs 4:23 tells us why.

There are several translations of this verse, each giving us insight into the wisdom of this statement.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.


Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.


Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.


Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.


Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.


Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life.


Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it are the sources of life.


Keep your heart with all caution because from it is the outgoing of life.


Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.

If our hearts need guarding, it must be that there is something to protect them from.

If anything can draw our hearts and minds away from God in any measure, we must put up our guard against it.

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guard your heart final

Really Far Away

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I really like lizards.

Brown ones.

Green ones.

The flashy, iridescent blue ones.

The green ones are a little different than the others in one respect– they’re not always green.

Sometimes, they change to brown.

At other times, they’re green AND brown, because they are changing from one color to another.

So, you might not know by looking at them when they’re brown that they really are green.

You probably know some people like that.

They may purposefully mask who they really are in order to impress others.

In the Bible, Pharisees are talked about a lot. Some of them, according to Jesus, would honor Him with their words, but their hearts were distant from Him.

They would teach laws made by humans just like they were God’s laws.

Jesus said they were hypocrites.

Maybe they looked brown to most people, but really, they were green.

In some ways, I’ve done this.

Not wanting to appear sad in public, I smile and act like everything’s great.

If a friend asks me if I’m okay, I might say “yes” when the real answer—the green answer—is “no.”

I’m sure if I thought about it very much, I could come up with other ways that I’ve tried to be brown around other people.

It’s probably been just as confusing when others see me at the in between stage–half brown, half green.

At that point, who am I showing them anyway?

I want to be the way God wants me to be.

It would seem that the Pharisees were misleading others.

I don’t want my heart to be distant from Him.

When I see a green lizard begin to turn brown before my eyes, a lesson could be brought to mind.

Are those who know me really seeing who I am?

Do they see what I really believe?

Do they see God’s love?

So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Jesus, “Why is it that your disciples do not follow the teaching handed down by our ancestors, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?”  Jesus answered them, “How right Isaiah was when he prophesied about you! You are hypocrites, just as he wrote:

‘These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me.  It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!’

“You put aside God’s command and obey human teachings.” —Mark 7:5-8

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A New Heart

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A changed heart.

A changed attitude.

What does that look like?

How does it occur?

You may have prayed, as I have, for someone’s heart to change.

It could be that they were unforgiving and angry.

You hoped for acceptance and calm.

They may have been cold and uninterested in matters of faith.

You longed to see their hearts tender and warm toward God.

People actually do change.

But how?

God can work in anyone’s life in any manner that He chooses.

Sometimes, I think that there can be a series of events that build upon one another, culminating in what seems to be an instantaneous shift in attitude.

I have heard the story of a famous author who was not a Christian.

After some believing friends had spoken to him many times about their faith, he suddenly came to believe in Christ himself.

Think of it this way—-

Imagine a wall–a high, brick wall.

On the other side of that wall, a beautiful scene of rolling hills and farmlands is visable.

A stone is placed at its base.

The next day, another stone is set upon it.

Day after day, other stones are positioned in front of the wall, some on top of others.

You decide the climb the stones.

Still, you cannot see over the wall and you are unaware of what lies beyond it.

Climbing back down, you go on your way.

As time goes by, more stones are placed in front of the wall.

Finally, they are reaching higher than before.

Deciding to climb again, you scale up the stacked stones until you reach the top.

Looking over the wall, you gaze at the beauty before you, seeing the hills and farmland for yourself.

God places many stones in our lives—

Things that people say to us about faith in God.

Acts of kindness and love from others.

Words from the Bible.

As we are exposed to each “stone” we climb higher and higher until one day, we see the truth for ourselves.

As we pray for others, we need not grow weary in our hope for them.

Each day,  a stone of testimony may be placed in front of those we love.

One on top of the other, they may form a spiritual journey of grace—

ending in a changed heart for God.

 

 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.

–from Ezekiel 36:26

 

 

 

 

 

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new heart