How is Your Heart?

Proverbs 28:14 (Jubilee Bible 2000), “Blessed is the man that fears God always, but he that hardens his heart shall fall into evil.”

A hard heart is a very dangerous thing. A heart that is hard does not hear the voice of God, it is not teachable or humble and quite frequently it is full of pride. We harden our hearts or allow them to get hard for all different reasons. The most common one is that we are afraid of getting hurt. It’s a self protection mechanism, part of our fallen human nature.

The only problem is that we are only harming ourselves not helping. What we foolishly see as protection actually keeps the One away who wants to protect us. In fact the Comforter can’t even comfort us and heal those past hurts. A hard heart becomes like a stainless steel container that houses bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and all kinds of ugly junk. If you let it stay hard long enough, it becomes incapable of love.

Have you ever seen the experiment where someone dips a soft petaled rose into liquid nitrogen? They then dash it onto a table top and what happens? It shatters into a million little rose colored shards.

“It’s the hard things that break; soft things don’t break. It was an epiphany I had today and I just wonder why it took me so very, very long to see it! You can waste so many years of your life trying to become something hard in order not to break; but it’s the soft things that can’t break! The hard things are the ones that shatter into a million pieces!” – C. JoyBell

Ok, so maybe you realize your heart is hard, or on its way to diamond plated, what do you do?

First repent. Ask God to forgive you for the sin of self preservation, for putting yourself first, for doubting that He could or would heal you and protect you.

Next, soak it in the word. Look up scriptures about how much He loves you and how important it is for our hearts to be soft, teachable, pliable, and humble. Memorize them if you have to. Tell someone about it so that they can encourage you and hold you accountable.

Years ago a friend of mine and I agreed, after a conversation about the condition (hardness) of our hearts, to occasionally ask each other, “How is your heart?” I can’t tell you how much that helped me. We actually ended up not asking very often, but the thought that she might kept me searching my heart and asking God to help me keep it soft. The outcome was that for a while, some things really hurt! But the good news was that it only proved that my heart was tender again. So when I loved, I really loved!

How is your heart today, my friend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Yours

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You are Holy, Lord.
Your love is excessive.
You are Just, Lord.
Your generosity is extensive.

Who am I, that I caught your attention?
Who am I, that you lavish your affection?

You are faithful, Lord.
Your hand never fails me.
You are powerful, Lord.
Your strength never leaves me.

Who am I, that You would pay my penalty?
Who am I, that You would love me in my frailty?

You are my Father, Lord.
As Your child, I am loved.
You are my Bridegroom, Lord.
I am your beloved.

copyright Jodi A. Woody 2014

Today’s Prayer of Thanksgiving

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Lord, I love you. I thank you for loving me first. For seeing something in me that I couldn’t see. For creating me as the pearl of great price. Thank you for buying me back from your enemy and my enemy, from the one who hurt me, and used me cruelly. You brought me to Your Kingdom and clothed me, fed me and bound up my wounds. By your love you healed my heart and by your word you healed my mind. You placed mighty warrior angels around me for my protection and ministering spirits to help and sustain me. You gave me your Spirit as a constant companion to lead and guide me, and ever present help in times of confusion and trouble. You have taken away my nightmares and given me sweet sleep. My heart is at peace and my spirit is at rest. You have accepted me into the family of your loved ones. Given me a seat of honor at your banqueting table, in the presence of our enemies. Proving my worth and your love for me. I lake nothing that I need. You hold nothing back from me. There is not an enemies weapon that can touch me, no harm no illness, no evil thing. You have shut the mouths of the lions and you walk with me through the fire- not allowing it to burn, or even touch me. You raise your banner of love over me as a sign that I belong to you. You have given me a new name. Your name. I am yours and you are mine. Lord, I love you.

What Do We Do With Rejection

Rejection…we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. Sometimes it was intentional, other times we may have only perceived rejection when that wasn’t the intent. But it all feels the same. As a writer, I have had some of my work rejected, criticized and sneered at. I have to admit it hurt much more than the ‘in crowd’s’ rejection in my school days. Even in the fleeting moments when I was part of that crowd, there always seemed to be something lacking in me that others would point out (my curly hair when straight was in, my love for books, my bushy eyebrows, etc). What do we do with that rejection? I used to tuck it away, sometimes daydreaming about ‘being someone’ great and showing them all how wrong they were about me. Sometimes it would creep back out in the dark hours of night and haunt me, it’s amazing how even at thirty or forty, some cruel words or actions from your childhood can keep you up at night.
Now I give any rejection I feel to God. My strategy wasn’t working, obviously. He knows rejection…”He was rejected by men”; I even rejected Him for a season. One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” His work made us acceptable and accepted. If God accepts us, does it really matter what anyone else thinks? I have noticed that the more I know Him, and accept His love, the more confident I become, and the more confident I become the less rejection I feel. Oh, sure, it is probably still there at times, but I don’t feel it. It doesn’t affect me. I’ve also come to realize that everyone isn’t going to like me, or my art, or writing, etc. (I know, big surprise!), just like I don’t enjoy every book, piece of art, pair of shoes, etc. For those that are just being mean, well…first of all I tend to think ‘they’ll reap what they sow’, and more frequently I pray for them. The rest are probably had no intention of making anyone feel rejected.
As a writer and crafts-person/artist, I have to be especially careful when someone is trying to give constructive criticism. My stories and creations are like my children and sometimes I feel like that mother bear protecting her cubs. But if I ignore all healthy criticism, I will be the only one enjoying my work. We also have to be careful about how we feel about God’s ‘corrective criticism’ I hesitate to even use that word in association with God. He truly never criticizes. But don’t be fooled, He does correct and chastise. Aren’t we His work of art? He wants others to enjoy us as well.