Proverbs 4:23 – Guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.
My daughter met a friend this summer and we were invited over to get to know each other as families, meet and greet so to speak. In preparing for the week and this lunch I couldn’t help but immediately think of scripture as it relates to the words of the invite, I hope you understand.
Not only do I understand, I’m completely on board, commend and respect it.
There was a time in my life when I would have felt intimidated by this kind of request. The self talk in my mind would have probably gone something like this…I will never pass this meeting test let alone this Momma test so why even try? I may have never followed through on the invite much less put myself out there as a family.
But God made us for relationships that are based around His word and we need these kind of Life groups. Without Jesus though, heck yeah I would fail! With Jesus, all is different now and with a completely new perspective. Why? Because not a single one of us could ever be good on our own doing. We all have the capacity for hate filled evil. So we have to be intentional about what we surround ourselves with…God filled or the latter.
Being grounded in this makes a world of difference. Once we replace intimidated with Jesus, well…everything changes.
Jesus could not bear the thought of not having any one of us in heaven next to Him! He chose the nails so we can surely be good with Him in our life. The invite however, is our choice to walk in a life filled of Christ or not.
With that, nothing about meeting new and different people is intimidating.
This family wanted to be sure though that we both understand the importance of this Christ centered piece and the question is critical.
There are unhealthy ways to accomplish this and equally healthy ways.
- Lockdown – never let anyone in.
- Wide Open – let anyone in.
- Don’t let any help in.
- Accept help but never give back.
Which results in keeping the most important relationship at arms length, Jesus. Either from lock down or misplaced priority toward emptiness, less abundant life, missed blessings, detachment from ourselves and the God centered life we are designed to have.
- Prayer for God centered heart.
- Read scripture every day.
- Apply God’s word in our lives.
- Allow spirit to lead our decisions.
- Evaluate everything that comes in our path.
- Turn ourselves over to God in obedience to His will.
- Cultivate an atmosphere of God centered community.
- Keep priorities based on God’s word.
- Trust God with the rest!
God asks us to guard our hearts so that they are providing for those inside its walls. It is also about self compassion which is done by letting in the pure, lovely, right, beautiful, and true and keeping out the negative, sin, critical spirit, and those who aren’t gentle with us.
Absolutely none of this has anything to do with the color of our skin or what we believe.
In the wake of Charlottesville, one question/statement I read in an article struck deeply in me. The statement was:
How many people have you come in contact with today that look or act nothing like you? Because this is where the real change in the condition of our hearts is going to happen.
Then…there we sat with our new friends having lunch together. My children and I being welcomed by an incredibly loving Christ filled Korean family. I could not help but feel completely blessed.
Christ filled hearts are the same and so beautifully different. Proverbs 4:23…the only discrimination of God’s character.
Loved By Grace,
Very good read from Efua.
My 5 years old daughter isn’t so much into jeans and trainers. She is a proper girly girl. She loves to wear dresses and ballerina shoes. However she has a particular pair of trainers she loved. I guess because it is pink and very sparkly lol.. She wore that pair of trainers till life vanished […]
Let's be clear. Peacemaker does not mean silence. Work is a verb and peacemaker is an action. It is not passive. Jesus did not keep quiet in the midst of divided thought and opinion.
When in doubt, go to His words and reflect on what they reveal. The places in scripture quoting the direct words of Jesus are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
God blesses those who realize their need for him, the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.
God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they will receive it in full.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great award awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.
Wouldn't it be so much easier if God would just speak? Since sides seem to know and even worse, justified to extinguish lives. If God would just come here and tell us! Oh that's right, He did come here already and we, humanity, nailed Him to a cross.
I read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John often. Jesus always sides with human life, every last one of human lives are important to Him. He tried to show us divide over differences is not the way and we, humanity, silenced it.
The biggest lie ever told is the notion that "us versus them" or "us versus different" threatens our own survival. It is the perfect diversion tactic because it takes our hearts off God and puts it on to the divide where it can infiltrate the condition of our hearts.
This is a two thousand year old piece of human frailty right here. We, humanity, couldn't even recognize God in our own flesh. God said here, I'm sending myself to you! And we, humanity, said Jesus was different and different was bad. But His willingness to speak peace, heal, care for, be oppressed and die is precisely what will put an end to it someday.
Our survival is only threatened without Jesus.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. ~ Desmond Tutu
Loved By Grace,
- Practice self-care consistently, without apology. YOU WILL HAVE OXYGEN
- Protect positive physical and mental space. YOU WILL HAVE PEACE
- Indifference to external reactors. YOU WILL HAVE AUTONOMY
- Release negative climates around us. YOU WILL HAVE GREATER GOOD
- Focus on life not on details of others. YOU WILL HAVE SELF-AWARENESS
- Accept problems have an equal solution & consequence. YOU WILL HAVE SELF-ACTUALIZING CHANGE
- See difficulties as the substance of growth and endurance. YOU WILL HAVE INNER STRENGTH
- Laugh every day, be a little silly. YOU WILL BE GROUNDED IN SELF WORTH
8 foolproof ways to stay positive all wrapped in this…PFA
Loved By Grace,
First time reblogging, very good read!
Last night, I went to the Comedy Cellar. If you don’t know, it’s pretty much a New York institution where all the comedy greats have performed. And most nights, an unexpected celebrity comedian will swing by to “work out” a bit. Case in point, the last time my friend went, both Chris Rock and Dave […]
This weekend brought with it the experience of college life from a different lens. I’ve titled it the hat lives matter encounter and timely given my last blog post, keeping off stairs. I have to say, the universe must have been testing my determination in action and since I’m still laughing about it well…that means time to blog it.
To all the college girls heading back to campus. My dear sweet things, you just need more time to figure all this out. I’m not judging, trust me I’m not doing that to us. This is Us, College edition is coming from college girl just like you not so long ago.
Oh the thrill of the bar life scene and be seen. It’s all so clean but mostly obscene. Here’s to me who finally feels free, defying Saturday night no hat policy. A college girl I once knew would smile on cue and do what is told with what we should hold. Not so fast my reply is now…the hat and its scars are not leaving this bar.
I’m confident Jesus would say no hat policy is the most ridiculous thing ever… in the nicest, most loving Jesus way possible of course. Then again so are blanketed Muslim bans. I’m staying PUT until they kicked us OUT of this place was going down that night. Which happened and it was FANTASTIC! No hats but Mom jeans…they IN.
I just have one more thing to say….Hat Lives Matter. The bar down the street my loves welcomes hats, mom jeans of all generations kind of people. You name it, you can wear it. Go there and be intolerant of nonsense.
Loved By Grace,
Keep calm and climb up the stairs because we do so well conforming to rules. Without a doubt, life motto right here. I would like to think something I’ve improved on as a thirty something…okay forty something…but…not so much peeps. Big sister is forty today though…okay fifty today so HA! Nothing has changed, I will not keep off the stairs and I’m super happy with that!
The children who inhabit my home had a good laugh this week because I pulled out pictures of my childhood to show them this defiant Mother in action. Which gave me a good reminder along with a few other embarrassing pieces of evidence…I do not follow suit of pretty much anything. Nope, give me regulations about life and I will defy that logic, EVERY single time.
The stroll down memory lane started because my son wanted to see proof of sports in action which nobody happens to believe. So my dear boy, here it is in all its glory…
- Take Away #1 – My son is like Mom!
- Take Away #2 – Certain parents made my name a BILLBOARD on everything!
- Take Away #3 – This mother gave this child the WORST hair cut known to man which I can say because it’s my Mom.
- Take Away #4 – We laugh hard in this family so I’m happy to entertain with hot mess hair cut, this Cubby rocks.
By the time Cubby above got to high school, the princess was in full effect, in all her perfectly packaged glory. The kids reaction…whoa Mom, you do know what you are talking about with all that believe in yourself talk. What on earth is that in your hair though it is hilarious. The style people! I’m sure we’ll see it come back in to circulation next year and I will get EPIC pictures. Oh yes I will, HA! Pay backs are you know what…lol.
Any guesses what those softball coaches and players thought of hair scrunchy girl? You got it! No way this girl will ever make the team, she probably can’t even throw a ball. Seriously? Go back to beauty school where you belong. And this is what you say to it children…You must underestimate what you see because Cubby is here to stay.
The rest my Loves, is history.
The point is this…Cubby can get lost easily listening to noise. Flock off noise, Cubby need not listen.
Go be what Jesus knows you can be!
Fast forward to this allstar champ and cubby. We don’t keep off the stairs, we climb them!
I love our adventures with Jesus. Until next year buddy! ❤️
Loved By Grace,
Studying the book of Job in devotion this week. Yesterday in Job 3, he was infected with painful sores over his entire body. Which made the pity party about the fact that my self inflicted, can’t feel my legs, might fall off the toilet when I try to sit kind of soreness is clearly a trivial reality. Love that about scripture, it gives us the smack down and quick. Curse the day you ever existed kickboxing and teacher who made me do it! HA!
Back to Job. He was already suffering, he had lost everything except his health and now illness strikes. The scripture tells us all this hardship was being driven by Satan and in fact a conversation was being had between God and Satan. He wanted to prove Job would abandon faith in his God when life got hard. God didn’t cause the hardship to happen but he permitted it. I can bet by the end of Job it was ultimately turned for good. More on that to come.
For now we are in Job 3. He doesn’t know these conversations are happening in the spiritual realm. All he knows is that he has lost his family, his livelihood and now he is painfully ill. Job did not curse God at the first strike when everything and everyone was wiped out around him. Will he do it now? The chapter describes the heart wrenching cries of Job…He screams out, why was I ever born? If my God hates me this much, why did the Creator make me and send me here? The world would have been better off without me.
Job 3:23 ~ Why is life given to those with no future, those destined by God to live in distress?
These are some powerful questions Job is crying out to God. He is not cursing Him but he is now cursing his existence. He is telling God he made a mistake creating him, creating his life. Ugh! I was in tears yesterday because we have the benefit of reading the first two chapters and the rest of the Job’s book. But he didn’t. I wrote down these notes about what is going on so far:
- God says: My child loves me, fears his Lord and shuns evil. He is good, loved by me and he will endure.
- Job says: I’m forgotten & abandoned, flawed and shouldn’t have ever lived.
Those are two very different perceptions. Had Job known the battles happening beyond his understanding he would have known God was in control of what he was enduring. That in itself gives the strength to love ourselves just as God loves us no matter the difficulties. Don’t just sit there and wish to die, accept help.
Ever been in a place feeling just like Job? I know I have and it is awful. I’m hesitant to write about it because often the world puts its judgements and perceptions on it but those are projections and the emotions it evokes. There are also hurting people who may not have a bible to read about Job. People who might not realize they are not alone in this feeling. So I feel moved by the spirit to write today.
I would love to say I didn’t curse God just as Job did not succumb to cursing Him. But I was very close to that sin…I guess it is up for interpretation but I definitely did not want anything to do with God. I most certainly felt exactly like Job 3:23. My family begged me to go to church, to pray for myself, to pray with them for myself and I would not do it for days. Because Job 3:23 was my story and I was sticking to it. The message of Job 3 spoken by the world around us, it must be true.
So there I was stuck in Job 3 and if you people don’t like it then leave me alone and save your own darn lives. It must have been their persistence and their prayers but at some point I got up and went to church. Reluctantly but I went and God made sure the message pierced my brain. It empowered me to endure but I had to make the choice to believe and trust Him. Even if I felt like it was just an invisible Him to hold to, that was what to trust.
With that trust Satan has no power that can’t be overcome in our lives with God. That illness, that job loss, the house lost, that flaw, that mistake, that struggle…it isn’t happening because we aren’t loved, because we deserved it or because we should not have lived. But God gives the choice to us to tell Satan where to shove it. Whether or not we embrace God or curse Him in the struggle is our decision.
We are not wrong or flawed or destined to be bad. When we say this we are feeling just like Job in a chapter of a book not finished by a narrator who is in complete control. A narrator I might add, who loves us beyond our comprehension. So pause and remember what God says…
I promise you this friends. The minute we embrace and I mean really grasp it with our entire being, is the minute everything changes. God will wrap His arms around us like we’ve never felt wrapped before. He is our shield and our defender. He equips and empowers with His full armor of protection and the only way Satan gets through is with God’s permission and even then, God is there.
Loved By Grace,