Guarding Our Heart with Eyes Wide Open

Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

 

Our heart determines where we go because it controls our passions and emotions. If we don’t guard our heart with God’s Word and stay focused on the road God wants us to travel, temptations may overcome us.

 

Ephesians 3:17 “Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”

 

1 John 5:21 “Keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”

 

We should remember to keep God at the center of our heart to prevent anything else from controlling it. Let’s be diligent to call on Him, to study His Word, to praise Him, to serve Him, and to love Him with our whole heart.  He deserves better than our leftovers.

 

Proverbs 23:19 “Listen and be wise. Keep your heart on the right course.”

 

As Christ followers, we must be alert to everything that is happening around us.  We must have God-vision to see the darts the devil throws at us to trip us up.  Don’t be blind-sided.  We have the full-armor of God to protect us and guard our heart.  If we use the armor wisely, we cannot be defeated! Stand firm; stay strong with eyes wide open.

 

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A Quest to Save Childhood

I do not believe there is a loving parent out there who does not want their children to have good things in life.  As much as we want that for them, lavishing them with too many of those good things can be compared to letting them gorge on sweetsdamaging their health, hindering their appetite for wholesome things, and leading to a hunger for risky, harmful ones.

As loving parents, we must set healthy limits in all areas of our children’s lives by creating appropriate stages and boundaries. 

For example:

·      Put age limits on behaviors that rush our children out of childhood, like

1.             wearing makeup

2.             having a cell phone

3.             having a Facebook page

4.             playing certain video games

5.             watching certain TV programs or movies

6.             dating

7.             getting a job

I do not know what those ages are for your children, but my husband and I have an idea what those ages are for our children.  You know your children best and as you train them up, you know what they can handle or not handle at that particular stage in their life; however, we simply cannot push them into those stages too early in their life. When we delay these activities until an appropriate age, we get to ‘celebrate’ them as rites of passage toward a healthy adulthood.

We give our children something to look forward to when we are intentional about setting up these stages and boundaries. We teach them that it’s OK to wait for something. The world is shouting at them, “You can have it all now. You don’t need to wait! Go for it!” As parents though, we know that instant gratification often leads to long-term problems like massive debt, destroyed relationships and wounded emotions.

Our children are a blessing from God. Let’s give them our time; lots of time, and let’s steward that time into helping them make good, long-term, healthy choices now. Maturity is a process and is not something that happens automatically when they turn 18.

 

* Some excerpts taken from Focus on the Family website.

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The Peace of God

Rick Renner, author of Sparkling Gems from the Greek, expounds on this popular verse with such fervor and clarity: 

         Philippians 4:7 ”And the peace of God – a peace so wonderful that it cannot be compared to any other type of peace; a peace that stands in a category by itself and rises far above and goes beyond anything the human mind could ever think, reason, imagine, or produce by itself –will stand at the entrance of your heart and mind, working like a guard to control, monitor, and screen everything that tries to access your mind, heart and emotions.”

The devil is great about bringing up old news, right? Unpleasant stories, past regrets, or failures can often cloud our mind to where we no longer look ahead with hope and expectation of a better tomorrow, much less a better future.  He is very crafty at knowing exactly what will set us off and send us into fear and isolation. 

As a child of God, we can refuse to allow the devil to cause panic and anxiety in us. We can refuse to allow the devil to push our buttons.  When the peace of God is standing guard at the entrance of our heart and mind, the devil has lost his access to our thought life and our emotions!

This peace of God cannot be understood within ourselves; however, in my own simple mind when I think of the word peace, I see a vast ocean with subtle waves; I see a content, precious baby in the arms of his mom or dad; I see a grateful parent praying over their beloved child at bedtime; and I see a loving God holding his hand out to His beautiful creation – you and me.  So, you see, when I dwell on those thoughts instead of allowing my mind be filled with fear, or guilt, or hate, or regret; the peace of God, which is far greater and more spectacular than I imagine in my simple mind, transforms my mind to His thoughts – love, forgiveness, and hope.

Nothing compares to this powerful, protective, guarding peace that God has positioned to stand at the entrance of our heart and mind. When this peace operates in us, it dominates our life. Peace rises up and disables the devil’s ability to disturb us by preventing his attacks from creeping into our mind; therefore, destroying it from our thoughts and emotions.

Yes! Our God loves us that much and so much more to give us a peace that surpasses all understanding!

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Your Perception of You

I wrote this note back in October 2009 and felt that I should re-post it to my blog site. I hope you, too, find a new perception of yourself.

Do you say horrible things about yourself? Do you speak well of yourself or are you hyper-critical of your appearance, your weight, your intelligence, your talents, your skills, and every other aspect of who you are as a person?

I’m a huge fan of Rick Renner and his book Sparkling Gems from the Greek. He states in one of his enlightening devotions that he used to be so hyper-critical of himself that once the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said, “How dare you continually talk so badly about yourself after the good work I’ve done inside you. Don’t you know how marvelously I created you to be in Jesus Christ? Quit speaking so negatively of yourself, and start acknowledging every good thing that is in you.”

Most people don’t even realize how negatively they talk about themselves. When the Holy Spirit brings it to your attention, you’ll find out just how bad it is and how often you do it. Our own mouth can become our greatest enemy!

That’s what happened to me back in September of 2006. I went on a personal HeartQuest with 15 other ladies and a leadership team from TX. During my 6 day quest, I found out a lot about myself that I didn’t even know was there. The Lord spoke to me so profoundly and directly about this one issue. He brought to my attention the negative things I would think about myself and even sometimes say to close friends. After that revelation, He assured me that I was created in His image and He has never created a ‘mistake’. His creations are intentional and for a purpose. I have purpose and He has deposited good things in me. With His help I have grown by leaps and bounds and will continue to walk in that purpose for the rest of my life.

In Philemon 1:6 Paul said, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” So, even though God has done great things in us, it is up to us to activate His blessings in our life! The word ‘effectual’ is the Greek word energo. It’s where we get the word energy. In this verse, the word energo means to become energized or activated. So Paul’s words could be translated as “That the communication of your faith may become energized and activated…”

So let’s apply this to ourselves. Paul said that “every good thing” has been placed in you by Jesus Christ. Think about it – He saved you, He healed you, He redeemed you, He protected you, He has given you a sound mind, He has given you the mind of Christ, He has imparted gifts and talents to you, and He has planned a future for your life that is simply glorious! You are loaded with phenomenal potential that is just waiting to be activated!

Renner compares this to a car filled with gasoline but won’t go anywhere until we get in and turn the key and push the gas pedal. You may ‘feel’ like you’re worthless, you’re defeated, you have nothing to offer; but remember that you have potential, though you can’t see it until you ‘activate’ it.

So how do we ‘turn the key in the ignition’ so that the great work God has done inside us is activated and released? Paul said, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” The word “acknowledging” is the answer to the question. The Greek word is epignosis which describes a well-instructed, intensive, deep knowledge of the facts. No one becomes this knowledgeable accidentally. It requires study, meditation, digging deep into truth and applying oneself to know the facts inside and out. The result of this hard work is a thorough knowledge of the facts that a person has a strong confidence in what he/she says.

We are to confess the truth about ourselves, but before we can do that, we must know the truth. We must possess:

•A knowledge of exactly who we are in Jesus Christ.
•A knowledge of what Jesus has purchased in our redemption.
•A knowledge of every good thing that God has placed in us by Jesus Christ.
•A knowledge of all these truths that is so concrete and so unshakable that we are immovable in what we think and believe.

The truth in our life is no good unless it is spoken. The moment we open our mouth and start confessing the good things that are in us by Jesus Christ, a supernatural connection is made between our faith and all that Jesus has deposited in us. At that moment, the gifts and treasures God has placed in us become supernaturally activated. The confession by our mouth – our acknowledgement of the truth – is what sparks these spiritual blessings and causes them to become operative, activated, and manifested realities.

Let’s review how to make these truths real in our life:
1.Thoroughly know the truths through diligent study.
2.Put the key in the ignition switch.
The key is the Word of God
The ignition is our mouth
3.Turn the ignition by opening our mouth and speaking the truth.
Good things in us are activated the moment we start confessing the truth.

The recognition of these spiritual treasures that reside within you will pick you up, lift you high, and carry you over into the realm of victory you desire!

Now…take another look in the mirror and speak out/confess all of the good things that are in you by Jesus Christ. Let’s live victoriously!!

(Excerpts taken from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek)

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The Blessing of Joyful Giving

Do you find joy in giving? Are you a cheerful giver? Giving is sharing something you have with others like time, money, skill, or possessions. It really comes down to this: giving is sharing yourself. Giving originated in the heart of God. He blesses us more than we expect or deserve. The gift of life, the gift of love, the gift of salvation, the gift of eternity in Heaven…are all priceless. What we have in possessions may be a tangible result of how we have invested our time, energy, and talents; but who we are -our character- is a result of how we have invested ourselves with God and others.

In our early years of marriage, Brady worked 3 jobs, I worked during the day and went to college at night to get my bachelor’s degree. Our first house we bought was a tiny 1100sf dream home for us early 20-somethings. I remember a few days after moving in, sitting in the middle of our living room on our mauve- pinkish carpet weeping and thanking God for blessing us with our cozy first home. We always gave our first and best to God. It was non-negotiable with us and still is today. He desires to bless those with a cheerful heart. He doesn’t care how much we give as long as give from our heart. We have never once felt ‘obligated’ to give. We give because that is what God commands and it is a joy for us to give. God wants to give us His best if we give our best to Him.

We have seen the blessings God pours out on those that give with their heart. We have received those blessings countless times. Our thoughts on giving monetarily has always been ‘it’s not ours to begin with, it’s all His’…and yet, He only requires a tenth of what He gives us. That blows my mind! We serve an extraordinary generous God. We should all strive to be that generous, just like Him.

1 Chronicles 29:14 says, “Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!”

We give because God commands it. We give because it demonstrates that He is first in our life. We give because it reminds us that the things we have are gifts from God. We give to others so that God will be glorified.

 

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My Heart’s Desire

One of my favorite worship songs is “Here in Your Presence” written by New Life’s own, Jon Egan. I’ve attached a link below so you can hear it. At the very opening of the song, I’m immediately drawn into His very presence. I’m reminded of How much He desires me to be with Him, talk to Him, laugh with Him, and even cry with Him. I’m also reminded of how much He loves me, how much He delights in me, and how much He wants to bless me; His creation, His daughter. By the end of the song, I’m completely undone.

We have all failed at some point in our journey with God. We have left our heart unguarded, or let fear creep in and take root, or yes, even sinned; however, we can still enter into His presence in spite of all that…through earnest and sincere worship. Worship does not just happen on Sunday mornings at church. It should happen every day, throughout the day. Worship can be through prayer, studying His word, an offering of your time and/or money, fellowship with other believers, and retreating to your quiet place alone with Him.

Being in God’s presence:
1. Helps us to please and obey Him
“God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13
I know that when I’m in my fleshy, selfish ways that I’m not at my best. I am a much better person when I succumb to His presence.

2. Refreshes us with rest, peace and strength
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. Psalm 23:1-3
There’s nothing like getting in His presence when I’ve experienced loss or grief. I feel enveloped in His arms with an overwhelming peace and strength to get through whatever has caused me pain or heartache.

3. Gives us lasting joy
“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.” Psalm 16:8-9
I am grateful that He reminds me that He is indeed with me at all times, good and bad.

May we never take for granted the privilege that is ours to enter directly into the very presence of God. He desires our company. Let’s open the door and let Him in.

Here in Your Presence video

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Modesty = Dignity

Some of you may have seen the recent video that I posted on Facebook and Twitter about Jessica Rey’s speech on the bikini and modesty.  I found it quite interesting and agree 100%.  While you may not agree with her like I do, you must admit that it most likely has caused you to think twice about ‘why’ you wear one, if you do.

I believe the way we are raised influences our choices significantly.  I was raised to err on the side of modesty at all times.  I have lived by that for 44 years now. No, I am not a prude or Miss Goody Two-Shoes or even Puritan.  My friends can attest to that. :-)   I simply choose not to expose certain parts of my body for public viewing.  During my adolescent years, I was just obeying what my parents had taught me.  I never viewed modesty as a bad thing.  I associated it with ‘acting like a lady’, so to speak.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20′s did I realize that God said my body is a temple of Him and I must respect what He’s given me.  I had heard that scripture before but it never really struck a chord in me until after my teen years which is why we, as parents, as teachers, as mentors, as sisters, as friends must teach the younger girls how important this is before the world captures their attention and gives them a false identity of themselves.  The only identity we should be concerned with is the one our Creator gave us!

1 Cor 6:19-20  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Ms Rey states, “We need to teach girls that modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because they’re bad. Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves; it’s about revealing our dignity. We were made beautiful in God’s image and likeness, so the question I’d like to leave you with is, ‘How will you use your beauty?’ ”

I’m not a big fan of some of the clothing I see available for girls/teens/women today.  In fact, I’m appalled at how short the shorts are and how low the shirts are these days.  You can dress fashionably and still dress modestly, allowing your dignity to shine. Hint: layering is a good thing…and, you can do it in fashion.  I have a daughter who will be a teenage in November and she knows how to shop modestly already.  It’s a trait that is non-negotiable in the Boyd home.  She knows her body is not on display and she chooses to respect what God has given her.

Please understand that I am not judging anyone who does not share my opinion on this topic. I am simply stating how and why I believe the way I do on this topic.  I have some friends that will disagree with me about this, but my friendship with them is way more important to me than our disagreement on this topic.

The last part of Ms Rey’s quote is a question that all of us should take some time to reflect on, “How will you use your beauty?”

*Here is the video*  WJVHRJbgLz8

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What’s the Rush?

How many times have we wondered, “God, what’s taking so long. Why haven’t you done that yet. I told you about that months ago?” It’s our human nature to question things, right? I’ve certainly had many questions in my journey with Him and I really don’t think God is put-off by our questions. After all, He desires our conversation, our talks with Him.

God does indeed want to give us the desires of our heart; however, His timetable is so much better than ours. It’s so hard on the flesh while we wait; yet, it’s actually the mercy of God at work. During that time of waiting, the imperfections that would have ruined us are exposed so God can remove them. Those imperfections could be pride, greed, selfishness, arrogance, insecurity, and the list goes on and on.

Don’t be discouraged or lose sleep if it takes time for your dream/desires to become reality! God never gets in a hurry because godly character is more important to Him than gifts, talents, or temporary success in the eyes of others. He does want to use you, but He also wants you to be ready to be used.

Right now you may need some time to prepare, change, and grow. That way when God finally promotes you or gives you your desires, you’ll have what you need both naturally and spiritually to STAY established in that God-ordained position or role as you fulfill your assignment with excellence.

*excerpts taken from Sparkling Gems From the Greek*

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Your Perception of YOU

This is a note I just came across that I wrote back in 2009. I thought it would be a great reminder for all of us as we start a new year. :-)

Do you say horrible things about yourself? Do you speak well of yourself or are you hyper-critical of your appearance, your weight, your intelligence, your talents, your skills, and every other aspect of who you are as a person?

I’m a huge fan of Rick Renner and his book Sparkling Gems from the Greek. He states in one of his enlightening devotions that he used to be so hyper-critical of himself that once the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said, “How dare you continually talk so badly about yourself after the good work I’ve done inside you. Don’t you know how marvelously I created you to be in Jesus Christ? Quit speaking so negatively of yourself, and start acknowledging every good thing that is in you.”

Most people don’t even realize how negatively they talk about themselves. When the Holy Spirit brings it to your attention, you’ll find out just how bad it is and how often you do it. Our own mouth can become our greatest enemy!

That’s what happened to me back in September of 2006. I went on a personal HeartQuest with 15 other ladies and a leadership team from TX. During my 6 day quest, I found out a lot about myself that I didn’t even know was there. The Lord spoke to me so profoundly and directly about this one issue. He brought to my attention the negative things I would think about myself and even sometimes say to close friends. After that revelation, He assured me that I was created in His image and He has never created a ‘mistake’. His creations are intentional and for a purpose. I have purpose and He has deposited good things in me. With His help I have grown by leaps and bounds and will continue to walk in that purpose for the rest of my life.

In Philemon 1:6 Paul said, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” So, even though God has done great things in us, it is up to us to activate His blessings in our life! The word ‘effectual’ is the Greek word energo. It’s where we get the word energy. In this verse, the word energo means to become energized or activated. So Paul’s words could be translated as “That the communication of your faith may become energized and activated…”

So let’s apply this to ourselves. Paul said that “every good thing” has been placed in you by Jesus Christ. Think about it – He saved you, He healed you, He redeemed you, He protected you, He has given you a sound mind, He has given you the mind of Christ, He has imparted gifts and talents to you, and He has planned a future for your life that is simply glorious! You are loaded with phenomenal potential that is just waiting to be activated!

Renner compares this to a car filled with gasoline but won’t go anywhere until we get in and turn the key and push the gas pedal. You may ‘feel’ like you’re worthless, you’re defeated, you have nothing to offer; but remember that you have potential, though you can’t see it until you ‘activate’ it.

So how do we ‘turn the key in the ignition’ so that the great work God has done inside us is activated and released? Paul said, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” The word “acknowledging” is the answer to the question. The Greek word is epignosis which describes a well-instructed, intensive, deep knowledge of the facts. No one becomes this knowledgeable accidentally. It requires study, meditation, digging deep into truth and applying oneself to know the facts inside and out. The result of this hard work is a thorough knowledge of the facts that a person has a strong confidence in what he/she says.

We are to confess the truth about ourselves, but before we can do that, we must know the truth. We must possess:

•A knowledge of exactly who we are in Jesus Christ.
•A knowledge of what Jesus has purchased in our redemption.
•A knowledge of every good thing that God has placed in us by Jesus Christ.
•A knowledge of all these truths that is so concrete and so unshakable that we are immovable in what we think and believe.

The truth in our life is no good unless it is spoken. The moment we open our mouth and start confessing the good things that are in us by Jesus Christ, a supernatural connection is made between our faith and all that Jesus has deposited in us. At that moment, the gifts and treasures God has placed in us become supernaturally activated. The confession by our mouth – our acknowledgement of the truth – is what sparks these spiritual blessings and causes them to become operative, activated, and manifested realities.

Let’s review how to make these truths real in our life:
1.Thoroughly know the truths through diligent study.
2.Put the key in the ignition switch.
The key is the Word of God
The ignition is our mouth
3.Turn the ignition by opening our mouth and speaking the truth.
Good things in us are activated the moment we start confessing the truth.

The recognition of these spiritual treasures that reside within you will pick you up, lift you high, and carry you over into the realm of victory you desire!

Now…take another look in the mirror and speak out/confess all of the good things that are in you by Jesus Christ. Let’s live victoriously!!

(Excerpts taken from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek)

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My Motherhood

Another Mother’s Day is here! This is my 13th mother’s day and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I had always dreamed of becoming a mother one day. My dream was not too far off from what God had planned for me.

1. I’d always wanted a boy and a girl. Just two children would be perfect if one was a boy and the other a girl. Guess what? God did just that! I have a handsome son and a beautiful daughter.

2. I wanted my children to be at least 2 years apart in age so that they would grow up close in their siblinghood. Guess what? They are 25 months apart!

3. I didn’t necessarily ‘desire’ to give birth to my children, as I have always wanted to adopt at least one child. Guess what? Both of my children are adopted!

4. I wanted to have children 2 years into my marriage. Guess what? That didn’t happen. I waited 9 years for my son!

I know deep in my heart that I could not have planned my motherhood any better than God’s best for me. I am in constant awe as to how He has blessed me with such two amazing, smart, beautiful children. Yes, the journey was long and hard at times, but I wouldn’t give up any part of that journey because I learned so much about God’s love for me and my love for Him. There is nothing on earth that compares to that!

My prayer for you is that if your desire for motherhood has been put on hold for now, allow yourself to dive deeper than ever into God’s love for you. Enjoy daily conversations with Him about your desires. Grab hold of what He’s called you to do now. Make every moment count for His kingdom. Your season of motherhood will come soon. You are in the palm of His hand…and, there’s no better place to be as you wait on God’s best for you.

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