Out of the Heart

She was looking forward to spending time with her mom.  But then again, she wasn’t.  She said her mom gets mean when she is anxious or afraid.  Her mom cloaks the mean words with sarcasm and humor.  She pretends she’s joking.  As if she doesn’t mean the words she’s saying.  But she does.

And my coworker has been on the receiving end of her mother’s harmful words more times than she cares to remember.  She wants to avoid another one of those situations.  She loves her mom, but she doesn’t appreciate being the target of overly harsh words.

She said she had talked to her mom about it.  My coworker, the unbeliever, the one who never reads a Bible, said that her mom’s problem stemmed from her heart. Because, she said, you say what is in your heart.  And it’s true.  She is so right. 

But, I wonder, how did she know that to be true?  How did she learn it if she hasn’t read the Bible?  I don’t know. 


For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. Matthew 12:34


Then I think about my words.  My thoughts.  What is in my heart that I have tried to hide?  Oh.  It’s become a little clearer to me this week. I’ve been reading John Bevere’s book, “Honor Rewards”.  Every chapter has convicted me.  Not only the words that come out of my mouth need to honor others, but my thoughts do, as well.  Oh.  I know that.  But sometimes.  Sometimes, I can’t get past my thoughts turning vindictive. I realize those thoughts, or even words, are more harmful to me. They’re harming my soul’s eternity.

I know that God knows my every thought.  He knows my heart.  He knows if I really mean those mean words I say.  He knows the unkind thoughts I think.  I realize I have much work to do to clean up my heart.

I read that when we honor others, God will reward us.  I found that to be true this week.  One day at lunch, I read one of the chapters in the book.  I felt convicted about my thoughts of the people in authority over me.  I confessed my sin.  As I walked back into work, my step had a little spring in it.  I felt that my load had been lightened.  I had been unaware of how much my thoughts about others was affecting my mood.

I had been frustrated about a work situation, and I would have these imaginary conversations about it. Doesn’t everyone?  Sometimes in these imaginings, I would confront the person.  Other times, I would talk about them to others.  In my conviction, I realized that I should change my attitude and let things work out by themselves. I’m trusting God to let me know when or if the time is right for a face-to-face conversation.

Later that afternoon, I was sitting at my desk when my manager approached me.  He asked me to do the thing I had been stewing about.  The thing I had been hoping he would ask me to do. He asked. Wow.  What a little repentance will do for a person.  It will open your heart and allow God to give the blessings he has been withholding. 

I’ve learned. Obedience is always the key to heavenly rewards. My reward that day was nothing to write home about. But it sure did open my eyes to what I could be missing out on if I am not faithfully guarding my thoughts and words. God will reward an obedient heart.

Garden of My Heart

I knelt there in the flowerbed. The weeds had been mowed down. The stubble was all that remained of the flowers of the summer. What once was full of beauty, color and life was now brown, broken and dry. No use for it.

I began cleaning up the remaining fallen leaves. I pulled the overgrown weeds that had been left to grow wild. The flowerbed hadn’t received the best of attention this summer. Life got busy. I was tired. My free time was spent relaxing and doing more enjoyable tasks. Cleaning flowerbeds and pulling weeds isn’t my idea of fun. Oh. It’s a necessity for a beautiful flowerbed, but it can be hard work. It can take time. And after a week of hard work, I was looking for a break come Saturday.

My spiritual life is much like my flowerbed. It has its moments where it shines. Where I’m in perfect rhythm with my God and Savior. Where I’m obeying and seeing the fruits of my hard labor. Where I’m pulling the weeds of disobedience and pride from my spiritual flowerbed. Where I’m spending time in prayer and Bible study. Where I’m sharing moments with godly friends who share similar beliefs. Encouraging and building up each other.

I think of the times that I don’t keep my spiritual garden tidy. I’m tired and stressed. Perhaps I’m frustrated about a situation and a bad attitude creeps in. I could be expecting an answer to prayer that doesn’t come or it doesn’t happen in the way I want. The seeds of doubt begin to grow. A dose of self pity makes its annual appearance. The perennial questioning of why continues to bloom each season.


I love you, Lord. You are my strength. Psalms 18:1


Too much sun and rain, both good in and of themselves, cause gardens to grow quickly and abundantly. It also means that the garden needs constant attention. It’s easy for weeds to overtake a garden. Pulling weeds. Deadheading worn out blooms. Trimming and thinning out overgrowth. Pruning old branches that have left their prime. Making sure the best flower buds are the ones that bloom. It’s a necessary, never ending task. If left on its own, the garden will lose its beauty and grace. If routinely tended, it will provide hours of pleasure and fulfillment.

The same goes for my heart. Bible reading and prayer are good for the soul. Too much is never enough. But there’s more involved to keeping the heart right. It takes action. Hard work. It takes cleaning out the cobwebs of a cluttered mind that can lead one astray. It means making sure the self-centered desires and actions are rooted out by God’s will and plan. Allowing God to prune the budding heart so that only the most beautiful buds will blossom.

I’ve read that sheep need to be sheared on a regular basis. If left unsheared, a sheep’s wool will add extra pounds to the sheep’s weight. This will cause unnecessary health problems, and it can even be life threatening. The sheep needs continual grooming and care from his shepherd. He needs his shepherd.

I am like that sheep. If left to my own devices, I will add extra baggage to my life. If I don’t allow God to groom the ungodly areas of my life, my poor habits and desires will take control. My soul will be weighed down and threatened, if it is left without a steady diet of spiritual food.

My soul needs constant attention. Daily feedings from God’s word and an attitude of prayer keep my soul alive and healthy. My prayer is that I remain disciplined to keep my soul in check, so I stay close to the One who loves me most and knows me best. I need my Shepherd.

Above All Else

God knew David. He knew the good. the bad. the ugly. God called David a man after his own heart. Even when David sinned. And he sinned badly. But what sin is good? But oh. David stole someone else’s wife. She became pregnant. So he had the husband killed. Lust. Adultery. Premeditated murder. And after all that, God still said that David was a man after God’s own heart.

And God was right. He always is. David is the only person who God says is a man after his own heart. For God knew that David would always do what God wanted him to do. Read it for yourself.

God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’’ Acts 13:22

To be the only one God mentions in that way says something. Oh. God knows everything. So he knows. He knows the intentions of your heart. Even before you do.

God knows if you will do everything he wants you to do.

I have to ask myself. Do I have a heart that runs after God? Do I seek him above all else? Where do my interests lie? Will I do everything God wants me to? Is it even possible? I mean. I want to. But. What are the choices here?

Oh sure. David was human. He messed up multiple times. He did things out of turn. But every time he found himself outside of God’s graces, he admitted it and ran back to God. He was God’s and God was his. No matter what. David served only one God.

Oh. David had his faults. But he had strengths that continued to draw him to God. He was loyal. He loved fiercely. He was humble. He was honest. He had inner strength. He took risks. He served only one God. He spent time alone with God.


How great you are, O Sovereign Lord ! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! 2 Samuel 7:22


There is something for us to consider.  When we fail.  When we disobey God.  When our sins are made known to us.  Who do we run to?  What god do we turn to?  Do we automatically run back to the God of the universe?  Or do we run to the god of the credit card?  Or the god of the bottle? Or the god of the trashy novels?  Or whatever that fake god is we run to to soothe our hurting hearts.

And does it work? That running to false gods? Does it take the pain away? Does it solve the problem? Does it lessen the anxiety? Does it pay the debt? Does it heal the relationship? Does it remove the sadness and unloved feelings?

If you’re not running after God’s own heart, then whose heart are you running after?  Your own?  Most likely.  Who else’s heart would you turn to?

Where could I run to?
Where could I go?

Even then. There is a choice to make. We can always choose to run back to God even after we’ve run far from him. Even when we’ve committed those sins that break us. Even when we’ve hurt others and ourselves. God continues to love us and beckon us back. We can choose to have a heart for God. We can choose to run back to him. We can choose to do everything God asks us to do. We can.