Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

The Renovation Process

Emily at the burn pile of renovation debris

About 20 months ago, my husband David and I bought a little “fixer-upper” house in the mountains. We hope to transform it into a getaway place where we can rest and be restored. Last weekend, David, I, our daughter Emily, and David’s friend Greg went up to the house to do some major demolition so we could proceed with the renovation of the house. As the splintered wood and debris went on the fire, I couldn’t help but remember what the Lord tells us about the renovation process and how important it is to Him.

The house with a new foundation added on the left side

Have the right foundation

Part of this old house was falling off on one side. Before we bought it, David took a good look at it, he realized the foundation needed to be replaced. We both knew that was the first job to be completed. If the foundation isn’t right, a house won’t stand.

It’s the same with our personal lives. There’s only one foundation that stands the test of time: Jesus Christ. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11, NASB).

A foundation, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a usually stone or concrete structure that supports a building from underneath.” When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are undergirded by a foundation that will never fail us. When we place our faith in the fact that He paid the penalty for our sins on the cross and receive that free gift from Him, we have Him as the foundation of our lives, and no one can snatch us from His hand (John 10:29). We have the promise of abundant life now (with Him) and eternal life in the future (with Him).

Part of that foundation involves entrusting our entire lives to Him—not just admitting our sins and receiving the gift of His salvation, but also choosing to live for Him now and doing what He says (2 Corinthians 5:15, Galatians 2:20). He knows what’s best for us, and when we love and trust Him and do what He says, we have a solid foundation on which to build our lives.

Jesus asks, “‘Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great’” (Luke 6:46-49, NASB).

The world offers a lot of philosophies and advice about how to live and how to secure eternal life with God, but Jesus is the only sure foundation and the only way to the Father and abundant, eternal life (John 3:16; 10:10; 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14).

Old debris, ready to be hauled out of a new section of the house

Secure and listen to the right overseer

Before we began our renovation project, we researched contractors in the area. We wanted a reliable and reputable contractor to oversee the construction. We finally settled on an honest, hard-working man, who has directed all the building activities.

In the same way, as Christians, we are given an overseer for our lives. He is the Holy Spirit, and He helps us build our house of faith. He tells us the materials to use and how to renovate our lives to be more like Christ (Romans 8:29). He’s there to help us, but we have to listen to Him. Galatians 5:16, NASB, says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” We are instructed to give the Holy Spirit complete control of the building project that is our life (Ephesians 5:18). If we listen to any other “contractor,” we’re destined for trouble. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1, NASB).

We already have the Holy Spirit if we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 1:13-14). Imagine having the best house builder in the world and not listening to Him and instead trying to build by ourselves without any direction. We do that when we grieve and quench the Spirit by ignoring Him and not experiencing God’s best plans for our lives (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). We have been given the Holy Spirit so that He could help us build the best lives possible (John 7:38-39), lives that have an impact for God’s kingdom.

The leaky wall

Build the right way with the right materials

As David and Greg tore down walls last weekend, they found a place where wooden outdoor steps were built right into the wall of the house, causing water to leak in from outside. They discovered gaps to the outside where all kinds of insects were entering (including spiders, hornets, and even an army of lady bugs). They pulled out old drywall and insulation and removed wooden boards to prepare for new structures. Emily and I helped haul the flammable materials to a burn pile, which we carefully supervised all day. Other materials went on the trash pile.

Because we know Jesus, we should be mindful about how we are building our lives. Romans 12:2, NASB, says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” That word renewing actually means renovation; in other words, we throw out the old, worldly, stinkin thinkin and replace it with God’s Word, His truth, His way of thinking. David and I got rid of the old, decaying, no-longer-relevant parts of our fixer-upper so that we could replace them with new and better materials. The Lord wants to do the same with our personal lives. That’s why He encourages us to build up our spiritual lives as He leads us (Galatians 6:7-8).

One of the best materials to use in building up our spiritual lives is God’s Word. Psalm 119, the longest Psalm, talks about the benefits of God’s Word as a building material. We are instructed in 2 Timothy 2:15, NASB, to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

I don’t know how long we will be renovating our little house in the mountains, but I do know it will be much improved when we are finished. I’m excited to one day see the fully renovated, competed project. Until then, we will keep building. May you do the same, beloved.

David, still working hard on the renovation

Question: How is the Lord helping you to make some spiritual renovations? Comment at the link below.

 

1 Corinthians 3:11; John 10:29; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20; Luke 6:46-49; John 3:16; 10:10; 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14; Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18; Psalm 127:1; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; John 7:38-39; Romans 12:2; Galatians 6:7-8; Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 2:15

Definition of Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foundation

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from me and my family to you and yours! Here are some scriptures on thankfulness and some self-reflection questions that can help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude. (All scriptures quoted are from the New American Standard Bible.)

 

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”—1 Thessalonians 5:18

In the midst of your joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, what can you choose to remember about the Lord and His promises toward you?

 

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.”—Philippians 1:3-4

Who has the Lord placed in your life as a blessing? Whom can you thank Him for this Thanksgiving?

 

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”—James 1:17

What gifts can you thank the Lord for this holiday season?

 

“Be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”—Colossians 3:15-16

How can you focus your mind to be thankful? What can you read from God’s Word? What Christian songs can you listen to and sing? How can you praise God today?

 

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples.”—1 Chronicles 16:8

Will you thank the Lord by telling others what He has done in your life?

 

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”—1 Chronicles 16:24

How have you experienced the Lord’s lovingkindness (His covenant love, steadfast and merciful) in your life? Will you thank Him for His faithful goodness today?

 

“I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.”—Psalm 45:17

What can you tell the next generation—especially those in your own family—about the character, nature, and ways of God? How can you inspire the next generation to thank God?

 

“Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good.”—Psalm 54:6

How can you set aside your desires and obey God out of a thankful heart?

 

“I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever.”—Psalm 86:12

How might the Lord want to be glorified (put on display) in your life? Will you thank Him with all your heart, all you are, by allowing Him to do that?

 

“With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord; and in the midst of many I will praise Him.”—Psalm 109:30

What can you say as a public witness of thankfulness to God?

 

“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly.”—Psalm 111:1

Are you thanking God by assembling and praising Him with other believers?

 

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”—Psalm 139:14

Will you thank the Lord because He made you, and because you are designed perfectly by Him?

 

“Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; the upright will dwell in Your presence.”—Psalm 140:13

Will you thank the Lord for His constant presence in your life?

 

“Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Your name; the righteous will surround me, for You will deal bountifully with me.”—Psalm 142:7

Will you thank the Lord for those things He has delivered you from?

 

“To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and power.”—Daniel 2:23

How has the Lord provided wisdom and power in your life? Will you thank Him for them?

 

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”—Romans 7:25

Will you thank the Lord for the gift of His Son Jesus, who died that you might have life, and have it in abundance?

 

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”—2 Corinthians 2:14

Will you thank the Lord for the victory He gives us every day in Jesus? Will you thank the Lord by cooperating with His purpose for your life—to spread the beautiful scent of Jesus wherever you go?

 

May the Lord bless you, and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26) this Thanksgiving season and always!

Question:    What would like to thank the Lord for this Thanksgiving? Comment at the link below.

 

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Putting the Puzzle Together

Landon with some of the block puzzle pieces

My grandson Landon has developed a fascination with puzzles lately—well, mostly carrying around the pieces and depositing them where he likes. I thought I would help cultivate this interest and skill by purchasing him a new puzzle, so I looked on Amazon and ordered him one. It was a chunky wooden block puzzle for toddlers that allows a child to create 6 different puzzles by the way he positions the blocks. The completed puzzles each featured a brightly colored vehicle like a fire truck or bus. When I presented Landon with the new toy, he picked up all 9 blocks, carried them over to the magazine rack, and dumped them inside. I sat him down on the floor and started showing him how to make a picture from the pieces. He laughed, gathered up the blocks again, and tossed them in the air. Okay, I thought to myself, he’s not ready for this yet.

The truth is, we all encounter puzzles in our lives. Sometimes, like my grandson, we just can’t seem to make all the pieces fit together, to get a clear picture of God’s design for our lives. Right now, all 4 of my children are dealing with different puzzles in their lives, trying to figure out how everything fits together. I’ve been praying for them, and here’s what the Lord has shown me.

God sees the bigger picture

When I look at just one piece of the block puzzle I got for Landon, it doesn’t make sense. The colors and patterns don’t seem right on their own, but when I put them all together, I can see the grand design. It’s that way with our lives. God sees the bigger picture. He possesses the best plan, the best design, for our lives. We have to choose to trust Him when we don’t see how things fit together.

The Lord tells us, ““For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:9, NASB). Our all-wise, all-loving Father has everything under control.

I looked at the packaging for the puzzle I got Landon and realized the puzzle was made for 4-year-olds. Landon is two. He doesn’t have the capacity to understand the puzzle design at this point. It’s the same for us. Our finite minds cannot comprehend the limitless wisdom, infinite grace, and all-surpassing love of our Father in heaven. We have to believe He sees the bigger picture and is working out all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28-29).

He tells us in His Word, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT). Mirrors in Biblical times were made of metal, so reflections in them were blurred and unclear (kind of like looking at your face in a polished metal pot, where the reflection is distorted and fuzzy). In other words, life can be uncertain, confusing, and cloudy this side of heaven, but we are promised we will understand everything once we see the Lord face to face. Our job now is to trust the Lord with the big picture of our lives.

We can proclaim, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You” (Psalm 56:3, NLT). We can say in our hearts, “When anxiety is great within me, I am going to rely on Your consolations Lord to bring me joy” (based on Psalm 94:19, NIV). That word trust means to hide for refuge, to trust, be confident, or sure. Other words for consolation are comfort, compassion, empathy, help, encouragement, reassurance, and relief. In other words, we can give the puzzles in our lives to the Lord and expect Him to take care of them in His caring way. He knows how all the parts fit together for the greater good.

God puts the puzzle together

Since I am older and wiser than my grandson at this point, I am going to continue working with him to show him how the block puzzle fits together. I am going to put it together with him.

On a much higher lever, the Lord knows how everything fits together in our lives, and He is the One who makes it all align. “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you’” (Psalm 32:8, NLT).

We are wise when we allow Him to lead us in joining the pieces, in putting the puzzle together. We experience a deep intimacy and connection with Him when we do, a prize far greater than even the completed puzzle. Again, trust serves as the key to unlocking this gift. Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT, says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”  The best part is you will be walking that path with Him.

Through it all, we can rely on what He tells us: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

The puzzle of your life is beautiful and unique

The puzzling circumstances in each of our lives have come from the hand of One who loves us beyond measure. They are meant to refine and shape us to take on the image of Jesus for the world to see (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB). That word workmanship means a fabric, as woven together like a tapestry; a masterpiece.

Yes, all the pieces of our lives come together in the Master Craftsman’s hands to create a beautiful work of art. When others gaze upon our lives, may they ultimately see the overwhelming beauty of the Lord Himself (Psalm 27:4).

I’m hoping my grandson will soon get to experience the thrill of seeing his puzzle come together and realizing an amazing picture lies within it. May the Lord do the same for all of us as we entrust our puzzles to Him.

Question:  How has the Lord shown up in the puzzles of your life? Comment at the link below.

 

Isaiah 55:9; Romans 8:28-29; 1 Corinthians 13:12; Psalm 56:3; 94:19; 32:8; Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 27:4

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Helping Others in the Race

Sarah and David before their swim

My husband David and daughter Sarah completed an Ironman competition last weekend in Panama City Beach, Florida. The full-day event involved swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean, biking 112 miles, and running a marathon (26.2 miles). Sarah started doing the Ironman competition with her dad 4 years ago, and David has been participating in the Ironman for 7 years. This year’s event especially touched my heart because of the way I saw David and Sarah interacting as father and daughter. It reminded me of how we need to look out for one another in the body of Christ and to be intentional about helping one another as followers of Jesus.

Look for them

The first part of the Ironman competition involves swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean. The triathletes swim out into the ocean, following a long line of buoys that create a path similar to a giant upside down U. They come out of the ocean and then go back into it to swim the same path once again. After his first swim circuit, David came up to me and Sarah’s husband Ben, and asked, “Where’s Sarah? Have you seen her yet?” He smiled when we told him she had just re-entered the ocean seconds before him. He was looking for her. When he completed his swim and came out of the ocean the second time, he asked about Sarah again. He grinned once more when we told him she had already finished her swim. He was continuing to look for her.

We’ve got to watch out for one another in life. Those of us with more experience in the race need to be looking after those with less experience. We need to be watching for those “athletes” who might need a little help along the way. Paul had his Timothy in the Bible. He called Timothy, “my true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2, NASB). Paul looked out for Timothy and encouraged him in his walk with the Lord. Paul said he desired that Timothy would experience the true “grace, mercy and peace [that is] from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:2, NASB). We can all pray that the Holy Spirit would open our eyes to the younger ones we can come alongside. We can always be looking for them.

When we do that, we are looking through the eyes of Jesus. He looked at us and saw our need for a Savior, and He showed up alongside us to help. He, being God, took on flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  “For the joy set before Him, [He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, NASB). He looked ahead and saw us—those who would be saved by His sacrifice—and that was the “joy set before Him” as He “endured the cross.” When we look for others we can point to Him, we are joining Him in what is near and dear to His heart.

David and Sarah biking together

Love them

Before the Ironman began, David told me he wanted to do the bike and run portions with Sarah. He wanted to experience the event alongside his daughter. Deep down, I knew David was expressing his great love for Sarah in that decision. He was going to be blessed by the experience, but it also required sacrifice on his part. He was not going to be able to complete the Ironman at his regular biking and running pace. He would have to change his pace to stay with Sarah. He’s tall, with long legs. Sarah is shorter. Any cyclist or runner will tell you that you have to find your own pace and stick with it. David was going to have to make some adjustments that might affect his body physically as well as the timing of his race results. He knew going through the race with his daughter was worth it.

That’s sacrificial love. In the New Testament, the word for love, Christ-like love, is agape. It means an unconditional, unrelenting love, a determined goodwill that seeks another’s best interests. That’s how David chose to love his daughter, and that’s how Jesus chose to love us. Philippians 2:4-8, NASB, says, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  In other words, Jesus thought of us and did what was in our best interests, going to the cross for our sakes. He emptied Himself, literally laid aside His privileges as God, and loved us to the end (John 13:1). Jesus said this in John 15:13, NASB: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Each of us can ask the Lord to show us people we can love in His name. It will probably require sacrifice on our part, but when we do, we are obeying Jesus’ commandment: “that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35, NASB).

David and Sarah running the marathon

Encourage them

Since David decided to bike and run alongside Sarah, he was able to encourage her the entire time. He was able to draw from his many years of triathlon experience to advise her along the way. He reminded her when she needed to eat or drink in order to have enough nutrition. He kept track of their pace and made recommendations for when they should speed up or slow down. He kept the finish line in mind the entire time and kept them focused on the reward. Sarah received his advice and benefitted from it. When Ben and I met them halfway through the marathon, we both commented on how good they looked—healthy and strong, because they were running together.

We are instructed to “encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NASB). In fact, we are commanded to “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today’” (Hebrews 3:13, NASB). The Lord knows we need encouragement, and He gives us the blessing of being able to encourage one another in Him.

Jesus Himself encourages us as we run the race of life too. He says, “‘Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:20, NASB). He stays with us all the way to the finish line, telling us we can do all things through Him because He strengthens us and meets all our needs (Philippians 4:13, 19). He guides, protects, and defends us (John 10:11, 14-17), and He sees us through to the finish line and our eternal reward (John 14:1-3, Revelation 22:12).

David and Sarah crossing the finish line

When David and Sarah crossed the finish line of their Ironman competition, I cheered with all my heart. I was so proud of both of them, and I was extremely grateful to witness what can happen when we decide to look for, love, and encourage one another in this race called life. Jesus goes with us as we race, and we’re truly blessed when we get to experience Him in one another.

Sarah and David with their 2017 Ironman medals

 

Question:         Who has looked for, loved, and encouraged you in your race of life? Comment at the link below.

 

1 Timothy 1:2; John 1:14; Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 2:4-8; John 13:1, 34-35; 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; Matthew 28:20; Philippians 4:13, 19; John 10:11, 14-17; 14:1-3; Revelation 22:12

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The Fabric of Our Hearts

My mother, Sarah, and I with the special fabric heart

My daughter Sarah got married recently. Before her wedding day, she took some of the lace from my mother’s wedding dress, the same dress I wore for my wedding, and she sewed it into her dress in the shape of a heart. She surprised both of us with it on the day she got married.

That heart, hidden from view during the entire ceremony, reflected a great truth: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord always sees our hearts, and He tells us over and over in His Word that He cares about the fabric of our hearts—what’s in them, what flows out of them, and how we control them.

Inflows

We each decide what we will allow into our hearts, and those things influence us. That’s why Philippians 4:8, NASB, says, “ Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” That word dwell means to store up as inventory [in the mind, heart]. The Lord wants us to store up good things in our hearts, so we will be healthy spiritually, in the same way our doctors want us to eat nutritious food versus junk food in order to have healthy bodies.

Inflows come through what we allow ourselves to see, hear, and experience. Jesus said, “‘The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness’” (Luke 11:34, NASB). He even went as far as to say, “‘If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you’” (Matthew 18:9, NASB). He wasn’t encouraging people to gouge out their eyes, but He was directing them to set up appropriate boundaries—to even refuse to allow their eyes to see certain things—so that they could live abundant lives spiritually, emotionally, and physically and not be hurt by sin.

Our ears also bring influences into our hearts—the things we listen to and accept.  The scriptures warn us, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NASB). In other words, people often listen to things that make them feel good for the moment or that align with what they want, but those teachings aren’t truth and won’t benefit them in the long run. The Lord says, “Listen, O my people, to My instruction; incline your ears to the words of My mouth” (Psalm 78:1, NASB). We are encouraged to treasure His Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).

Our hearts are also shaped by the people we allow into our “inner circle” of close friendships. David’s friend Jonathan “encouraged him in God” (1 Samuel 23:16, NASB); whereas, Amnon’s friend Jonadab convinced Amnon to rape his sister and even concocted a plan on how to do it (2 Samuel 13:1-6). Proverbs 27:17, NASB, says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  1 Corinthians 15:33, NASB, warns, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”

As I looked at the heart on my daughter’s wedding dress, I thought about my mother and the many ways she has shaped the fabric of my heart. She has taught me a great deal about kindness, patience, and love. She inspires me to emulate these qualities. I know her relationship with the Lord produces this beautiful fruit in her life, so she has taught me the importance of that, too.

Outflows

Whatever we allow to influence our hearts also impacts what comes out of our hearts. The Lord wants good to flow out of our lives. That’s why He says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NASB). Jesus said, “‘The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart’” (Matthew 12:34, NASB). He also said, “‘For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man’” (Matthew 15:19-20, NASB). That’s why it says in Psalm 19:14, NASB, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” There is a direct line from our hearts to our mouths and actions.

Romans 12:2, NASB, commands us, “ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” In Biblical times, the mind and heart were considered to be the same thing. The word renewing in this verse means renovation. When we renovate a house, we throw out the old stuff and put in the new. With our hearts, it means getting rid of old, worldly thinking and replacing it with the truth in God’s Word. When we do that, God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will can be seen in our lives. We live God’s way for others to see Him in us.

The Control Center

The word heart in the scriptures means the mind, will, and emotions, the control center of our lives. There’s a constant battle over who’s in charge, who operates the control center: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another (Galatians 5:16-17, NASB).

The Lord gave us His Holy Spirit when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit is our Helper (John 14:26). He lives in our hearts, but we decide if we are going to listen to, trust in, and act on what He says. We can follow His leading or the leading of our flesh. We decide. That’s why the heart is the control center. Ephesians 5:18, NASB, says, “be filled with the Spirit.” I listened to a Walk in the Word radio broadcast recently, where it said, “To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be thoroughly permeated, entirely influenced, and completely controlled by the Holy Spirit.” We decide if that happens in our hearts.

I loved seeing the lace heart sewn into my daughter’s wedding dress. It reminded me of the beautiful hearts the Lord intends for us to have. We just have to release our hearts to Him so He can make them stunning . . . from the inside, out.

Question: What are some ways you have been led to give the Holy Spirit greater control over your heart? Share with us at the link below!

 

1 Samuel 16:7; Philippians 4:8; Luke 11:34;  Matthew 18:9;  2 Timothy 4:3-4; Psalm 78:1; 119:11; 1 Samuel 23:16; 2 Samuel 13:1-6; Proverbs 27:17; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 12:34; 15:19-20; Psalm 19:14; Romans 12:2; Galatians 5:16-17; Ephesians 1:13-14; John 14:26; Ephesians 5:18

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