Tag Archives: the heart

Proverbs 14-15; Romans 14

I’d had the book on motherhood on a shelf for years, unread. A one-word focus on community, a look at my first community–my family– and the steady awareness of the fleeting years of my kids’ childhood became a perfect catalyst to read it.

Chapter 3–an undivided heart.

  A wise woman builds her home,
    but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1, NLT

I made a list of words, the difference between the wise woman and the foolish one. 

To build, the words: intentional, nurturing, gentle, joyful, wholehearted, obedient, prayerful, unhurried, patient, God-focused, available, attentive.

To tear down, the words: careless, disorganized, abrasive, selfish, hurried, divided, worldly, checked out, worried. 

And the difference between the two? The heart. 

I considered my own. A season of competing priorities, stress and preoccupation, the dailies of running a household, a growing overwhelm. Were these the things that were dividing my heart? Certainly, they all needed attention–workload, problems, obligations. But were these things becoming bigger than my God?

I needed new perspective, because the one I had left me hurried, worried, irritable and exhausted. It was souring my attitude. I was slowly dismantling my home with my own hands. And the crazy thing? I was hardly aware of it.

With the same demands, one woman can build upon them and another will use them to tear apart her life. Who did I want to be? What would my example sow into generations? What did my perspective say not only of my heart but of my God?

The stresses and demands, the pull of priorities, the problems–they didn’t go away because of chapter 3. But my perspective changed because of God’s word.

Courtney (66books365)

(Chapter 3 reference to The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. No compensation for mentioning this book.)

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Judges 8; Acts 12; Jeremiah 21; Mark 7

14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” Mark 7:14-15 NLT.

This summer, I’ve given a lot of thought to words. I listen to kids pick at each other … to a friend as she vents (and rightfully so) … the words out of my mouth tell a deeper story beyond what I say … and even silence speaks its own language, makes a statement.

17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)

20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mark 7:17-23 NLT.

Words become highlighted in colors of jealousy, betrayal, envy, evil thoughts. And even silence can speak hatred.

This language takes me to my knees, changes my prayer life, gives me new focus. When I look past the words and into the heart behind them, I see the need for Jesus in all of us, and I am filled with compassion where the wounding once occupied.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament

Proverbs 10, 11, 12; Acts 1

I read through Proverbs like a checklist check-up. How am I making my way through this world? In categories like godly, wise, fool, wicked … where do I fall? Who am I? I consider the godly and remember that if it isn’t perfection achieved, but a daily focus … I am that. And when I think of God daily, frustration mounts when my anger calls me wicked, or my running mouth a fool.

Who am I?

The answer changes depending on who you ask. I find as I read through the lines, I’m straddling them. I wonder how friends see me, and I wonder how enemies see me. Which one is right? Which one is true? It leaves me confused and discouraged. I find I’m all over the place–a multitasked life.

But the confusion leaves here: He has told me this before and repeatedly this past year. He whispers it again today in Acts 1:24 (NLT) as the disciples look to choose a replacement for Judas, they seek the Lord and pray, “O Lord, you know every heart.” I write the words on the notepad beside me.

O Lord, you know every heart.

Lord, I trust my heart in your hands. You tell me truth, and you pour grace. Make my paths straight–I pray my mind would be fixed on you and not distracted by the opinions of others. Yours is the only one that matters in the end.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Leviticus 13; Mark 7:14-37

Sores evident on a body. Unkempt, in disarray, mouth covered, calling out, “Unclean! Unclean!”

There aren’t any lepers where I live. But this is what they had to do back then. Call out a warning. Be kept from the populace, declared ceremonially unclean.

The placement of New Testament reading fleshes out a thought further. Jesus talks about what we put into our bodies and says that isn’t what defiles us. It’s what’s inside of us, in our heart–that’s what defiles.

“It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mark 7:20-23 (NLT, emphasis mine).

These things don’t stay tucked away as dirty secrets. They seep and ooze out of the mouth eventually (remember, out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks). And aware of it or not, we walk around proclaiming, “Unclean! Unclean!” by the very words we speak.

Evil thoughts snicker and sneer. Sexual immorality flirts, offends, destroys. Deceit is a whisper, slander a sword. Pride and foolishness wear broad smiles and bellow laughter.

I’ve sat dumbstruck, embarrassed over words that fall from my lips. I’ve wished I could take them back. Years later, words in the past still carry power. I wear them like sores–some I don’t even notice, but others see. And I don’t know which is worse.

In the following verses, Jesus heals. He restores. The young girl possessed by evil–she rests quietly when her mother returns. The deaf and mute man, he hears and speaks. And when I wonder about the antidote for my afflictions, He is right there.

Healer and Hope, why didn’t I seek You first?

They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.” Mark 7:37 (NLT).

Lord, the world sees glimpses of what is in my heart, but you see it all. And even though foul and offense have come out of my mouth, you still love me. You know my brokenness, but don’t define me by it, You save me from it. You see me for who I will become–all because of your great love. Thank you for grace.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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