Today’s Worship Walk: Proverbs 14:30

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A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Proverbs 14:30

That’s a pretty strong statement. Just that word “rots” evokes such an image doesn’t it? And other translations use language that’s just as harsh: “jealousy is like a cancer in the bones” (NLT), or “envy can eat you up” (CEV).

Unfortunately, I can attest to the truth of this idea. Early on in life I became very good at comparing myself against other people, always coming up short. My thought pattern then led me to feelings of jealousy and envy towards others. Trying to ignore or dismiss those feelings didn’t get rid of them. They settled in each time, chipping away at my self-esteem.

But I’m convinced now, that my physical body suffered as well as my heart. Letting jealousy into my spirit brought a whole host of other negative emotions, like resentment, frustration and even anger. And it’s been proven scientifically that any of those can hurt our bodies in any number of ways.

It’s important to realize that beyond being bad for us, letting envy and jealousy take hold is sinful. When we covet something someone else has or does, it is showing a lack of contentment and trust in God. Sin of any kind is destructive to us and our relationship with our Lord.

King David wrote about this idea. In Psalm 32, he gives us a vivid description of how being separated from God affected his whole being:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 

Psalm 32:3-4

David goes on in this song to give us the way out, and it starts with confession. His agony turns to rejoicing because he knows that when he turns back to God the relationship will be restored – he will be restored. The next step is repenting – making a decision to turn from those sinful feelings and thoughts.

Following David’s example will bring us to a place of healing and even better, renewal of heart, mind and body.

 

Click herefor more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Christian Quotes: Charles Spurgeon

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“The Lord is slow to anger,” because He is GREAT IN POWER. He is truly great in power who hath power over himself.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Like a city whose walls are broken through
    is a person who lacks self-control.”

Proverbs 25:28

Today’s Worship Walk: 1 John 5:14

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 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

1 John 5:14

I love how clearly John stated this, because it cuts through some faulty thinking we can have about receiving gifts from God. Yes, God wants to give us good things – He tells us so:

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James :17)

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)

So John confirms God’s desire to bless us. But did you catch the condition he adds to this fact?

“…according to his will…”

There it is. What a sticking point that was for me my first years as a follower of Christ.? Why? Well, I chose to believe that God desired to give me the good gifts I wanted, and when those presents didn’t arrive I was pretty disappointed.

My understanding of this principle was based on a selfish mindset, imagining all the wonderful material goods I could ask God for. I needed to let go of my old expectations and let Him give me new ones that reflect His plans for me.

It hasn’t been an easy process – dying to self never is. But here is what I’ve learned about this so far: God wants us to ask Him for things; He wants to abundantly provide for us; He knows what is best for us and will often withhold what isn’t good.

It’s never wrong to ask for what I want, but I’ve found myself asking less for “stuff” and more for deeper things. And I’m seeing forgiveness of a sin, or wisdom for a moment, or peace during trials as gifts of greater importance.

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

 

 

Today’s Worship Walk: An Avalanche of Praise

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To all of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving today, I pray you will savor the blessings God has given you as much as the food! Here’s a piece I wrote about remembering God’s goodness – enjoy.

An Avalanche Of Praise

“But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning…”

Psalm 59:16

One of the first things I do most mornings is to take my dog outside. She has a great time sniffing around the yard, doing what my Dad has called her “doggy business.” As I follow her (she takes me for a walk, you know), I find my thoughts usually turning pretty quickly to God.

Stepping out into the air, especially when it turns colder, is a wake-up call for me as well as Marcie. And walking through our little piece of nature grounds me in the present moment. I can get caught up in admiring how tall the trees have grown, or taking in the variety of bird songs.

The more aware I am of these details, the more quickly I remember the One who made them. And I realize that He created them for both His and my pleasure. That thought leads me to thank Him for the beautiful display of His love.

Sometimes my praise is quick and quiet, staying tucked inside my heart. But other times, like today, it gets spoken out loud. I started this morning by naming what I saw right in front of me – Lord, thank You for the sunny morning, and for the amazing colors of the leaves. Thank You for creating such lovely things for me to enjoy.

I could have stopped there, but I didn’t want to. After the sun and leaves, I wanted to thank God for the blue sky, and our big backyard, and our house. More and more items came to mind, and each one seemed to lead to another, like links in a chain. Before I knew it, Marcie and I were at our front door 10 minutes later.

This kind of “avalanche” of praise can happen for me during my regular prayer time, too. People, situations, hopes and fears all spring to mind, making it hard to find a good stopping point. And I don’t really want these times to end – they feel so intimate and precious.

It was an awesome way to start my day – and that is a praise all its own!

 

 

 

Today’s Worship Walk: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

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The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The theme of this passage is that we are not to live by the world’s standards, one the Apostle Paul wrote about several times in his letters. In Romans, Paul cautions us not to be conformed to the world, stating emphatically that following the desires of the flesh will lead to our destruction.

It’s easy to fall into living by what we see directly in front of us, that is, the earthly world. Many people are not even aware that there is another, more important spiritual realm all around us. Paul’s teaching on this is meant to make us aware that spiritual forces are unseen yet very real, and they are locked in battle for our souls.

I used to get a little freaked out at this idea, because it left me feeling helpless. After all, if I can’t see my enemies, how can I fight them? But thankfully Paul also wanted to reassure Christians and equip them for this war. Nowdays I can find several truths in these verses from 2 Corinthians and other letters that build me up instead of scare me.

God gives us weapons (Ephesians 6)

God assigns our part of the battle plans (1 Timothy 6, 1 Corinthians 16)

God will has the victory (Romans 8, Colossians 2)

The bottom line is that if we rely on Jesus to be our Deliverer, and keep walking in His Ways, no enemy will be able to claim us in any way. Praise God!

 

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

Today’s Worship Walk: 1 John 4:1

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Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

1 John 4:1

This verse may sound a little New Age-y, but the idea behind it appears many times in Scripture.

To be clear, John is not instructing believers to engage intimately with any Spirit but God’s. And he certainly isn’t suggesting that we try to contact and get to know more about them through seances, etc. God specifically mentions divination as a sinful practice in the Old Testament law, and He hasn’t changed His stance on that.

So then what is John telling us to do here? He is calling us not to practice divination, but discernment – the ability judge rightly, in this case about Godly things. This is how he continues on in verses 2 and 3:

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

Simply put, John is saying that when we receive some sort of clear, strong message, whether through someone else or our own thoughts, we need to make sure it’s coming from the right Source. In John’s time, and even more so in ours, many different ideas and beliefs are proclaimed as truths. If we’re not careful, we can be led astray without realizing until we’re heading down the wrong path.

The great news is that God desires us to grow in discernment, and gives us tools to help us become wiser. Going to the Bible must be the first step, and the others can be used to add support. I call this my 3-point check:

1. His Word – is a message confirmed or contradicted by Scripture?

2. Prayer – does lifting a message up bring clarity or uncertainty?

3. Mature fellow believers – do brothers and sisters agree or disagree with the message?

Like the Berean church, we can be known as people who are willing to make sure we’re being taught God’s truth, not somebody else’s. And we need each other to stay on the right track.

 

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

Christian Quotes: Charles Stanley

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“To have God speak to the heart is a majestic experience, an experience that people may miss if they monopolize the conversation and never pause to hear God’s responses.”

Charles Stanley

 

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:25-26

Christian Quotes: Mac Canoza

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WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.’
“Only those who obey the word of truth can truly worship God in spirit.”

Mac Canoza

 

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24

Today’s Worship Walk: Matthew 12:36-37

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But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 12:36-37

This passage, originally meant for the Pharisees, is still an important reminder today.

That religious group was angered by Jesus’s teaching, because it challenged their belief system and their stature among the people. In this chapter alone, Pharisees confront Jesus about how he is observing the Sabbath, and his power to heal and drive out demons. Their motive is not to learn, but to condemn.

Jesus knows that they are set against Him, and that most of their hearts will not be changed. So, he uses an illustration to share a lesson, and leaves them to decide what to do with it.

Jesus speaks of good and bad trees – the inner condition of either tree becomes apparent by the fruit it produces. This leads to Jesus talking about the fruit people produce, namely what we do and especially what we say. Our inner thoughts, attitudes and beliefs always seem to come out one way or another, in either a positive or a negative way.

It sure doesn’t take much for me to apply this truth personally, because I’ve done my share of putting a nice face on some pretty bad attitudes. But the facade always slips eventually, and some of my true colors come out. When Jesus talks about “empty” or in some translations “careless” words, he is talking about things we say that show the prejudice, envy, covetousness or any number of other heart attitudes that can rot our insides if we’re not careful.

How can we keep our fruit good? First by noticing how we talk, the messages we give out to those around us. Are we building up or tearing down? Are we hurting or helping? Most importantly, are we glorifying God by how we speak? If we see negative patterns, it’s time to take a look at our hearts and ask for God to prune and to grow us.