Today’s Worship Walk: 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

The Apostle Paul was passionate about planting and equipping churches. Even more, he felt protective of them, with a fatherly sense of affection for each. Since his ministry called him to travel, he couldn’t stay to oversee any one church. So, his letters are full of advice about the logistics of running services, as well as foundational teachings about Christian faith.

In his writings. Paul placed a lot of emphasis on relationships between believers. He often reminded his readers that followers of Christ shared a profound bond, and were called to live together in unity of heart and mind.

Paul understood how challenging that call was, though. Living “as one” requires sacrifice, namely as Paul puts it, to think of others above ourselves. That instruction hasn’t gotten any easier over the centuries, has it? I know it goes against my human nature.

This verse in Thessalonians is a great way to fix my focus in a better place than my own problems and plans. As soon as I take the time to say something encouraging to another person, I’ve shifted gears – me-centered eases into he/she-centered. Out of that comes a God-centered moment of bonding with that brother or sister.

The change in focus can happen quickly, and when it does, it tends to feed on itself. After reaching out beyond myself once, many times I’ll want to keep it going, and see who else might need encouragement.

 I like how the King James translation puts this verse: “comfort yourselves together.”  At its best, building others up has a positive effect on the whole community of believers – encouragement, comfort, peace, joy. What if all our churches sought that covenant above any other ministry?


Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Today’s Worship Walk: Mary & Martha

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In honor of the holiday season drawing near, I thought I’d share a piece I wrote about two famous sisters in the Bible who hosted a feast. I hope it blesses you!

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Martha Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Do you know the story of Mary and Martha in the Gospels? The two women, dear friends of Jesus, host Him and His disciples at their home. The focus of the story is how differently the two women choose to spend the time that Jesus is with them. Mary sits at His feet, listening to His teaching. Martha, however, is busy and distracted preparing the meal.

I used to feel a lot of sympathy for Martha – she got saddled with the work while her sister got to relax. And then, when she pointed that out, Jesus gently scolded her and defended Mary – that didn’t seem fair at all! But I’ve come to understand both sisters a little more.

Both women cared deeply for Jesus. They each valued the friendship they shared with Him. And they were excited to invite Him into their home, welcoming Him and His disciples warmly. Simply put, the difference between them is in how they showed their affection for Jesus.

Martha wanted to express her care through action. Providing a meal for visitors was part of the culture, an expected courtesy. And as a woman of the time, Mary naturally gravitated toward that task and was good at it. She probably assumed Mary would join her in the kitchen, so there was no need to discuss it.

In contrast, Mary decided to show her love by giving attention. She bucked tradition by settling at the feet of Jesus. She respected His teaching, and  wanted to soak in all He had to offer. Her focus was so fixed that it didn’t even occur to her that she needed to be anywhere else.

I think Jesus’ words to Martha, “you are worried and upset about many things,” were meant to calm her spirit. And when He said that Mary chose the better part, He wasn’t saying Martha’s situation didn’t matter. He was reminding her that relationships are more important than tasks.

As I get ready to prepare another round of holiday dinners, I’m hoping to find just the right balance between ‘Mary’ and ‘Martha’ thinking. Then I might just take a break from stirring and chopping to truly treasure being with my guests, even before the meal!


Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.


Today’s Worship Walk: Proverbs 31:25

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She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.”

Proverbs 31:25

I’ve gone through a bit of a journey with this Proverb. The first time I studied it, I was a new wife, and took on the verses as if it was a job description. I wanted to be able to rise early, be clever and industrious all day, and make my family proud to call me theirs. But I soon discovered that living up to all the duties listed was impossible, which led to some self condemnation.

Thankfully God has helped me to gain some perspective. This poem is less a list to accomplish and more an overview of a life led by Godly wisdom – mature faith showing itself through productive and generous days. Understanding that has helped me let go of unrealistic expectations.

One of the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman that I still aspire to, though, is the ability to “laugh at the days to come.” To be confident enough to face the future with a positive outlook, even if I don’t know what life has in store, sounds so sweet to me. And like all the other traits, the wisdom, grace and trust to live this way only comes through a close relationship with God. I’m glad He wants to meet us where we are and help us grow.


Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.



Today’s Worship Walk: James 3:16


But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

James 3:14

I’m not proud to say I’ve dealt with my fair share of jealousy. I’ve envied what other people have, whether a talent, a career opportunity, or a romantic relationship. And I also know what it’s like to try to pretend I haven’t felt it. I may have fooled other people at those moments, but not myself.

God was never fooled, either. As we know, He looks at the heart, and mine was full of selfish ambition and a sense of entitlement. He saw how much I clung to the frustration and anger, as if that would motivate me to try harder to get those things I wanted – in my own strength, of course.

A lot of those episodes happened before I became a believer. But, even since I’ve accepted Christ, these feelings have risen up in my heart from time to time. I’m better now at recognizing jealousy for what it is though, and being honest about it with myself and God. And the more I trust in God’s Will for me and desire to please Him, the less I look around at other people.


Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.




Today’s Worship Walk: Lamentations 3:21-24


Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:21-24

The prophet Jeremiah was called by God to a very challenging mission: warning the nation of Judah to turn away from their disobedience so that God’s wrath would not fall on them. In the culture at that time, a message like that would not be popular -Jeremiah was mocked and shunned every day.

Still, he remained tenderhearted about his homeland and his people, even weeping in despair over their coming destruction. But this deep concern, and the work he was called to, took its toll on Jeremiah. The Book of Lamentations shows him crying out to God as His awful promise is fulfilled.

How could Jeremiah keep going? Verses like these in Chapter 3 give us a glimpse. Jeremiah has learned to be refreshed in the knowledge of God’s ultimate goodness to those who love Him. His hope isn’t fixed on how others treat him or even if they respond to his message. The hope he holds on to is knowing that because of God’s compassion there are better days coming.

It is a reassuring message for each of us as we minister in our world today.

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.



Today’s Worship Walk: Romans 12:9


Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

Romans 12:9

I mentioned last time that one aspect I appreciate about Paul’s letters is how they reveal his heart. This verse points to another aspect of his writing: his ability to cut through to the bottom line of living like Christ.

Just the first sentence is enough to chew on for a while. What does “sincere” mean? We know the dictionary definition – simply put, “to be genuine.” But what does sincere love look like in daily life? And if we add on the instruction to love those who have hurt us (or those who are not so loveable), sincere love becomes even more of a challenge, doesn’t it?

Yet, Paul shows us by his own choices that it can be done, and the next sentence tells how. We are to cling to good in our thoughts and actions. We make the decision to show love for others, to consider their needs, to serve them. But as we follow Paul down that path, we also must follow his example of leaning on Jesus for the strength to do it. Otherwise, our love may become less sincere and more conditional.


Click here for more info on Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Today’s Worship Walk: Philippians 2: 15-16

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Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

Philippians 2:15-16

One of many things I appreciate about Paul’s writing is how clearly we can see his heart. God gifted Paul with the ability to teach and a passionate faith, but for many years it was used to destroy Christians. After Jesus met him on the road to Damascus (the story is in Acts 9) Paul experienced a change in his life’s direction. He “fell in love” with Jesus and his fellow believers, and his passion turned to building up God’s kingdom.

Verses like these give us a glimpse pause Paul’s new life mission and his true affection for brothers and sisters in the faith. He desires us to do more than hear and even read Scripture, but to live it.

He wants to show us that we can have a life mission with impact, too. Just imagine if all of us who say we follow Christ gave Him really gave Him our whole lives. Think of how much of God’s light could shine into our world.


Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.