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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 03/20/18

Heart Workout

Best Cardio Ever - A Heart Doing Happy Flip Flops!

STORY: A Devoted Heart

Our Boston terrier, Jazzy, has started doing something that makes my heart do happy flip flops! Our house is arranged in such a way (like a figure eight) that she often loses me. It doesn’t help that she’s 12 and can’t see or hear all that well. Mom and Russ say she begins to panic if she runs around the house and can’t locate me. I only make matters worse when I call out to her, because she can’t figure out the direction of my voice. But then there’s the moment she sees me clear across the room or hall and runs full blast toward me. If she could speak aloud, I’m certain her words would say, “Mo-o-o-o-o-o-m. I missed you. I needed you!”

What was lost is found. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Scooping her up into my welcoming arms, receiving her exuberant expressions of devotion—does my heart good. I wonder what actions of my heart please the Father?

STUDY: Actions of the Heart

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NLT)

  • What are the actions in this verse?
  • If God is your Lord, your rock, your redeemer, how does that affect what your mouth says and your heart focuses on?

My very being longs, even yearns, for the Lord’s courtyards. My heart and my body will rejoice out loud to the living God! (Psalm 84:2 CEB)

  • How strong of an emotion is longing and yearning? When was the last time you yearned for God? What has happened since that time to cause you to back off from that level of passion? Or, if you are now in deep longing for God, to what do you attribute it?
  • What do the Lord’s courtyards represent?
  • When you are in a place of intense yearning, how does that fuel your heart and body to rejoice?
  • Does anything keep you from rejoicing out loud?
  • How does the fact that your god is a living God make a difference in the way you worship or long to be in His presence?

I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:10-11 NLT)

  • When you wander from God’s commands, how does that impact whether you feel like you're near or far away from Him?
  • When you don’t sense His presence so intensely, what do you do to try hard to find Him?
  • When we wander, we are tempted to sin. And when we sin, who is it ultimately against?
  • What preventative can we take to avoid wandering and sinning?
  • Why do you think God’s Word needs to reside in our hearts to make a difference in our attitudes and actions?

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! (Psalm 119:36 ESV)

  • What action is mentioned in this verse?
  • What does it mean to “incline my heart to your testimonies”?
  • In contrast, what does it mean to incline our hearts toward selfish gain?
  • What action step does it take to control the focus of our hearts?

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:1 ESV)

  • What action of the heart is mentioned in this verse?
  • What do we learn from this proverb?

My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right. (Proverbs 23:15-16 NLT)

  • What action of the heart is mentioned in this verse for us? What does it mean?
  • God is speaking through the writer here. What is God’s heart action when our hearts are wise?
  • When does God celebrate?
  • How often do we end up speaking something we wish we could take back? As soon as the words leave our lips, we want to smack our foreheads—duh! But oh! When we speak what is right, it’s so good it causes God to celebrate with everything within Him. That motivates me to want to get it right more often. I’m pretty sure I’d want to celebrate with everything within me too.

STEPS: It’s a Heart Thing

  1. Believe with your heart. Have a resurrection belief, not a stagnant tradition. “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 NLT)
  2. Give God your heart. This isn’t just reserved for the day you come to faith in Christ, but a daily exercise of the will. “O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.” (Proverbs 23:26 NLT)
  3. Honor God with your heart. Live in hope. Speak in hope. Trust in hope. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:14-15 ESV)

Copyright © 2018 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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