“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’.”

Matthew 15:18

The Pharisees did all the right things. They attended every service, gave ten percent of all they had and prayed several times a day. People looked at them and thought they were truly committed to God but they were not. Jesus called them “whitewashed tombs” who appeared to be neat and clean on the outside but inwardly they were dead and rotten. All their words and actions were meaningless due to the sinfulness of their hearts.

It is just like a sponge. Squeeze it and whatever comes out is what is inside. When the circumstances in our lives challenge us, our hearts and lives are tested and whatever comes out of our mouths, is a clear indication as to the condition of our heart.

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

Matthew 12:34b-35

Whatever flows from our hearts, will be revealed to the world through our words. Do we speak words of encouragement to those who are down? Do we keep our mouths closed when we could say something to hurt someone the way that they have hurt us? Do we praise and thank God for His faithfulness and strength? Do we choose to walk away from a conversation that is tearing down someone’s character? Do our words reflect a passion for God?

There is evidence in our lives when our hearts are full of self but oftentimes we do not even recognize it as evil because we have become so numb it. Doing the right thing just isn’t enough. We need hearts that are pure.

“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ “

Matthew 15:18-20

We cannot make our hearts pure. Only God can do that because a pure heart is a work of God. The Holy Spirit identifies the evil within us but we must claim and confess it in order to become clean. We can be encouraged by David. He not only sinned terribly by committing adultery with Bathsheba but he also committed murder to try to cover it up. When he finally came face to face with his sins, he threw himself on God’s amazing grace and repented. He experienced true forgiveness and was washed clean. He did not just want to be forgiven of his sins but wanted God to change his heart and make it pure.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

We see the wretchedness of our own hearts and attempt to change but oftentimes fall back into our own ways. We have to seek God for stability to pursue a pure heart and our stability can only come from a daily walk with Him. Each day we must recognize that we can only depend on Him in order for our hearts to be purged and purified. We all could use a heart change and one day we will all have to give account for the careless words we speak.

“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 12:36-37

Evil for Evil

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.”

Romans 12:17

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

1 Peter 3:9

I am someone who does not handle injustice well and is truly hurt when having to watch someone suffer from being falsely accused. Injustice is defined as unfairness, an act that inflicts undeserved hurt, an act that involves unfairness to another or violation of one’s rights.

Why is it that the people of this world who lie, cheat and steal seem to be the ones that succeed? Why do they get away with their evil deeds and then are looked up to by the world?

Thinking about those people finally having to pay their dues may bring a smile to your face for the moment but in the end, vengeance does not belong to us. It only corrupts our soul and hardens our heart. When someone has wronged us, we should leave vengeance and revenge to God and instead lift up in prayer those who have harmed us. We cannot control the actions and words of other people or stop people from taking advantage of us but we can cry out to God who protects and loves us. He knows the truth, the motives and the hearts of all people and He responds in a just way. Knowing this truth, we can find peace in the middle of all the evil of those surrounding us.

Good or evil?

“The tongue can kill or nourish life” Proverbs 18:21

Most people do not realize the power of their words and how they can be used for great good or for evil.

Not long ago, a neighbor carelessly and without any idea of harm said some negative words about me that for quite some time have had a profound impact upon my thinking. It has been a warning to me about the consequences of the words I use toward others. The harmful words of this neighbor affected my self-image. It has taken time but I have been able to put it aside. Someone told me, “You don’t count your critics, you weigh them.” When I came to realize that the neighbor was being unwise and careless in her comments, it no longer had any significance in my life.

I got to thinking about that incident when I read about a young college girl who returned home for Christmas after her first semester at a university. It had been an extremely difficult time for her both socially and academically. She really had no knowledge of what worldliness looked like in a college setting.

Because of loneliness and the fear of being rejected by her peers, she fell into a number of temptations that went against her convictions. One morning she decided to meet with her pastor and struggled to get out the words in her cry for help.

When she arrived, her pastor was happy to see her and wanted to hear all about what she had been doing during her time at college. She blurted out that she was a complete mess and that between the alcohol and sex she could no longer stand herself. He responded to her with “What? You, the most stable and mature Christian girl in our church? You should be ashamed of yourself.” The girl immediately ran out the door crying.

Often times, Christians lose their opportunity to be redemptive because of their judgementalism. Sometimes our outbursts of rejection can drive people completely away and further into sin. Before we speak, we should consider our words wisely and think ahead to the impact they might make on the life of another.

“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones” Proverbs 16:24

I’m not complaining but…..

Grumbling and complaining have become a past time in this country. It takes place in our homes, at work and even in the foyers of our churches. It has become so tolerated that sometimes we do not even recognize it in ourselves or in others but it is a sin. In fact, I think if we had to make a list of sins, it probably would not even make our top 10 list. Because it is a sin, it breaks the heart of God.

The people of Israel had complaining mastered. As they wandered through the desert, they grumbled and complained and God disciplined them for it. Some were even struck down by a destroying angel. (1 Corinthians 10:10) God takes complaining very seriously because when we complain, it becomes a reflection of our heart. If we are too busy complaining then how can we find time to rejoice in Him? If we’re complaining about money, relationships, our churches, jobs, whatever else is out there then we are definitely not praising Him for the very breath He gave us this morning or the roof over our head or the food that fills are bellies or the people He’s placed in our lives. Suddenly our reflection becomes blurred and what we see starring back at us is ugly.

Proverbs 27:19 say this…
“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

Whatever is in our heart is very visible to other people every time we open our mouths because the words that come from our mouth speak loudly to the condition of our hearts.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Luke 6:45

What do your words say about you? Are they Christ-like? Are they words of love and praise for a God that has blessed you with life, the love of family and friends, shelter and food and most of all salvation?

Life is not always what we think it is supposed to be but we have a God who is in control of it all. He allows our lives to unfold the way He had planned in order for us to draw close to Him and mature and grow in our faith. Instead of complaining about all that is wrong in our lives or the world, praise Him for what He is doing and how He is going to use it for His glory!

Lord in all of our living let us be grateful and content in what You have for us. Convict us when we grumble and complain. Thank You for your goodness and your faithfulness to grow us through Your discipline. Thank You for not sparing us the striving and growing it takes to draw nearer to You. Let our words and actions be ones of praise and thanksgiving instead of those of discontent and grumbling.


More on a life in Christ see:

Inner Character

This posting and the following one are to address an anonymous comment sent in regards to “Letting go”.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:1-11

Justification of our sin through action in itself is a sin. 1 Peter 3:9 says, Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” which means there is no room for ungodly response to someone else’s actions. If we feel that someone has wronged us, Jesus again said that we are to take it to that person and make him or her aware. Many times, we do not give people the benefit of the doubt. Often our wandering minds have no control and so something someone says or does in complete innocence is taken out of context and turned into exactly what Satan wanted you to hear or see. That is why we must always be thinking on truth. We must always be aware of Satan and his attacks because he is only here to steal, kill and destroy our families, our marriages and our friendships. He wants nothing more than to separate all the things that God has brought together.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

James 3:16

James says that most of our quarrels and arguments come from our own selfish ambition. It comes from our own personal desires. We see something in someone else that we wish we had or maybe do have and do not recognize and it becomes Satan’s feeding ground in our life turning it into our heart issue. We become quick to point out every flaw we think we see in someone because we make it our own personal mission to find fault in his or her life. My worship pastor reminds us a lot that when you are pointing a finger at someone else’s sin or faults, that there are three fingers pointing back at you. I have really had to think about that because how quick are we to focus on someone else’s issues when really the issue at hand is our own heart. Whatever is in our heart is very visible to other people every time we open our mouths because the words that come from our mouth speak loudly to the condition of our hearts.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:41-45

There is in fact a reason that we should be very careful and slow to judge because we all have huge flaws that must be dealt with in our own lives. A judgmental spirit can often reflect someone who is self-righteous or superficial or possibly, who has an insensitive heart. It is hard to look clearly at the lives of others when we have a plank in our own eye because it blurs our vision. We can examine ourselves for our self-righteousness by considering how often we are quick to correct others rather than correcting our own attitudes and actions. Jesus does not tell us not to examine the lives of others because we should help hold one another accountable but we must be careful to make sure that our eyes are also cast towards ourselves. We must be walking in humility in order to walk more closely with God.

We are to reflect good character and our relationship with God should be producing good fruit. Our fruit exposes where our lives are rooted and whether they are rooted in Christ. To judge a tree’s fruit, we cannot just look at that one particular moment or season of production but the whole period of production from that tree. The product of that tree reflects the heart and the product of the discipleship of that tree reflects the inner character, which Jesus refers to as the treasure of the heart. (Luke 12:35) Simply stated, our works, our speech and actions are a snapshot of our hearts. A good heart is faithful while a hypocritical one is not. Obedience is not about keeping the rules we create but that of faithfulness to God. We cannot acknowledge the authority of Jesus if we are not pursuing our commitment to walk with Him in our daily lives. Trusting in God because of our faithfulness in our walk frees us to treasure the relationships that are at the center of our lives. Do we value one another by serving and giving to one another or do we value our selves and hoard up all that we have because that ends up being the true reflection of our heart? All we have to do is look at our heart to know if we are fully trusting God and walking with Him.

“Father, may we not look at others with a tainted heart but that of a heart that is filled with a love for You. May we not point fingers at others but recognize in our own lives the areas of our heart that we need to examine and make pure. Help us to love as You have loved and to be a blessing to others at all times. May we always be able to turn the other cheek and show true godliness in our lives.”

Walking in Truth

This is a posting I wrote and posted on April 28, 2008. I am reposting it in response to a comment that was sent about the Letting Go posting. I hope this will help to answer the question that was presented in that comment.


“Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40

What is truth? Paul wrote that we are to think on truth. We are to think about the truth of God and His word as well as ourselves and others at all times. It is important that we know truth and that we view the world and those in it through the truth of God and not ourselves or our circumstances.

God created every one of us as a wonderful and unique creation. He did not create one mold and then destroy it saying that everyone must fit into this likeness. We each are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalms 139:14) our Father who loves each of us just as we are flaws and all. He created each of us with a purpose that He so carefully planned for our lives. (2 Timothy 1:9) He gave each of us our own unique and special gifts that can be used to serve others and glorify Him (1 Cor 12:7-11) and He loves and accepts us when the rest of the world may turn their back in rejection towards us. This is truth and when other thoughts enter into our mind, to the contrary we must recognize the source as coming from the father of lies. We may know what is true about ourselves and be secure in it but suddenly someone walks into our life and we find ourselves comparing who we are to who they are and thus enters sin.

As women, we must guard our minds from the overactive tendencies we have that can interfere with our relationships with friends and family. We must guard our hearts and minds by knowing truth so that Satan may not gain ground in our lives. It is so very easy for us to allow our minds to wander as we try to read between the lines of a conversation or the actions of someone else. Our minds can come up with all kinds of things to justify the behavior of others. Essentially, we are playing mind games with ourselves. The question when we head in this direction should always be “is this truth?” Praise the Lord for His truth because without it we would have no hope and no trust.

When our hope and trust comes from the Lord, it makes thinking on truth easier to accept. Hope and trust come from being secure in His love and loving others with His love. 1 Corinthians 13 clearly talks about love and what it is and it is not. As believers, we are called to love one another. Let us look at the meaning of this passage.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Truth clearly states that “love does not delight in evil” and that it “rejoices in truth”. Really read over that passage. When we find ourselves being jealous or keeping record of wrongs then we are not walking in the truth that God has laid out before us. When we question someone’s actions or words or even distort them then we are violating what is required of us to love others as God has commanded. When we read into their words or actions instead of accepting them as they were presented then essentially, we are making that person out to be a liar. We must always ask ourselves what is true and what is real.

One of the hardest things to do is to train our minds not to think evil about another person. Trying to not second-guess or read between the lines is so hard because our sinful minds automatically want to assume the worst in people. We as women are very sensitive and emotional and many times take things out of context and lose focus and when we find ourselves second-guessing or analyzing each other, we then hinder the opportunities of having healthy relationships with one another. This leads us into Matthew.

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

Matthew 18:15

In order to have healthy relationships we must obey truth. When someone has hurt or offended us, we are to go to them in private and bring it to their attention. This means that we should not waste away our days wondering and worried about what others think about us because truth says that if they are walking in truth then they will bring it before us. Instead of being hung up on whether or not people are having critical thoughts about you, turn toward God and His word or towards your mentor. They are the ones who know your heart and your attitude. They do not look at you through judgmental eyes and they will help you recognize or identify wrong attitudes.

The conclusion,

The wicked man flees though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

Proverbs 28:1

Basically, if you are not guilty, don’t act like it. If you are walking in truth then do not allow the world to condemn you and reject you because Christ is living through you. Enjoy your relationships that are from God and do not hold back from giving yourself to others for fear of what they may think. God places people in our lives for many different reasons and we decide whether they will be a blessing or a burden by whether or not we are walking in the truth of God’s word.

“Father, help me to hide Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against my sister. Help me always to think on truth and to shy away from the tendencies of second-guessing those in my life. May I always take them at their word and remind me to always seek Your approval above all else.”

Who steals our joy?

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

[John 16:22]

Who steals our joy? We in fact steal our own joy. We as Christians know and believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again for our sins so that we may spend eternity with Him in Heaven. We know who God is and that He is for us and with us always. We know how great the depth and height of His love is for us. All of these things are reason alone for us to be full of joy at all times and thanking Him for all He has done for us in our lives but sometimes, life can make that difficult. Circumstances come into our life that cause us hurt and pain and so we tend to focus on those things instead of the radiance of Christ, the One who saved us. Sometimes, we get too busy in our day to day living that we forget who He is and can’t even find time to praise Him even for a minute. Moreover, of course, there is the sin that we each commit daily whatever that may be. All of these things get in the way of being able to experience the fullness of joy by the Holy Spirit.

Many like to think that Satan is the one who takes our joy, that he can rob us of it. This is not my belief. I believe that once we have the seal of the Spirit upon us, Satan cannot touch the spiritual things given to us by God. I do however believe that our various acts of sin are what cause us to lose our joy and I believe that Satan is the one who leads our minds to the places that then lead us into sin. Sin entails many things and Galatians does a good job of spelling them all out for us.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

I think each one of us can admit to recognizing one if not more of those sins listed above in our lives. Satan is the tempter and he comes to steal, kill and destroy, but we ultimately make the decision as to whether or not we will succumb to his temptations. We, because of human nature and selfish attitudes decide if we will choose the path of sin and turn from God and towards ourselves. When this happens, we are giving away our joy.

How sad that we can forfeit the joy that God has for us by focusing on ungodly things. We need to claim Philippians 4:8 and think on things that are true, think on God’s word and not what “the world”/Satan is whispering in our ear. We have the incredible opportunity to walk in joy always by abiding in Christ but that can only happen when our minds are focused and set on Him. His word says that we should, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10. This is not just a suggestion but a command from the One who brings us joy and loves us enough that He wants us to experience the never-ending flow of it.

What robs you of your joy? Do you find yourself sad, angry, depressed or just too busy to love or serve others? These are just some of the things that can take away our joy because we have become focused on ourselves and not the One, who saved us, forgave us and gave His life for us. He should be our reason for living, the reason that we get out of bed in the morning. He should be the reason why we do EVERYTHING that we do. If we do anything for any other reason, then it is very likely they we will lose our joy. He is our reason to live and He alone should be our EVERYTHING. If our hearts, minds and souls love Him above all else and our eyes are focused on Him, then we will know His joy, a joy that will never fade.

“Father, I thank you for all You’ve done in my life. I praise You for Your mercy and grace and that You loved me enough to die for the sins in my life. May I not become so focused on myself that I lose focus of you and forfeit the joy that You have given to me. I pray that my mind and eyes stay upon You at all times and that I not become distracted by this world and the things is it.”

Negative vs. Positive

“For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?] But we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 2:16

What we focus on, we become and so if we think in a negative way then we can quickly gain a critical spirit. We all know someone or may be the person who has “the gift” of suspicion. This person is everywhere we go. They are the ones who always seem to think the worst of everyone. No matter what good deed or nice word someone may give, this person is always there to comment in some negative way. They are the people who will say, “I just call it like I see it?” How familiar does this sound to you?

How easy is it for us to point out the shortcomings and failures of someone else? It has become so easy that we tend to focus on what we think is wrong with everyone else. As long as we can focus on the rest of the world then we do not have to focus on our own issues, which is much easier and less painful. Negativity is very difficult to deal with and we often try to undermine Satan and his attempts to create this stronghold in our mind by saying “I’m a pessimistic person”. Well, that is the first step to recovery.

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.

John 16:7-8

The second step would be to confess to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to search our hearts and point out to us our own sin. When we allow Him to examine our hearts, He will convict us and show us truth. (John 16:8) Many times, we read the word world in scripture and smile because we feel it is referring to all the lost and sinful people out in the world. This is true but we have to remember that we too live in that same world and are still sinners.

As God’s children, we need conviction in our lives and we need the Holy Spirit to explore deep within us so that we can deal with the issues of negativity in our own lives. There are non-believers in this world that are positive but because they do not know the Lord, Satan already has control of their mind and so he has no reason to attack them with negativity.

Satan attacks us where we are weak and vulnerable. We all have weaknesses whether it is gossip, being prone to pessimism, lying or deception. None is worse than the other is and we all have to conquer our own sin. We need the Holy Spirit to come and reveal to us these natural places where we fail and where Satan will choose to attack. Only the Holy Spirit can convict and set us free from these strongholds. The only way this can be accomplished is if we allow Him control of our life.

Do you think anyone has ever thought of you as that person with “the gift” of suspicion? I am sure at one time or another we all have fallen into that category. We can change our way of thinking by focusing on having a mind like Christ.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 2:16

When we become believers, we are “given the mind of Christ” because He is alive within us. We should no longer think as we once did because we are a new creation and so we should begin to think as He did. This means we should stay focused on the many blessings within our life that He has given us and who God is within us. When the Holy Spirit is living within us our whole attitude and thought life should change.

When you think about what all Jesus went through, the deception and desertion by his own disciples, He remained positive and was always able to offer out encouragement to others. What this means is that because we have the mind of Christ, when negativity creeps in, we should instantly be aware that our focus is not on Him and that we should turn to thinking on what is true and right.

We have the opportunities to think in a negative way but when we think this way, we have then chosen our old mind-set instead of the mind of Christ within us. Each situation presents the opportunity to make these choices of good or bad. When we choose negativity, we are following the patterns of our old mind and not the mind that God has given us. Once we receive Him into our lives, He promises a new heart and spirit but ultimately we make the choice. We should be aware of our mind-set and attitude so that as we go about our day we remain focused and a reflection of Him.

“Father make me aware of my mind-set daily so that my old ways do not control my way of thinking and lead me down the wrong path. Help remind me of the love You have for me so that I may be an encouragement to others. Give me a discerning spirit so that I am aware the moment that negativity begins to take over my mind. May Your mind be active in my life.”

What matters most?

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7

We know that we are to take our thoughts captive and think on truth but we also have to be careful about what we focus on because wherever we focus our attention or energy, those things can and will develop in our words or actions. Basically, whatever we focus on, we become.

When I get a craving for cheesecake, it does not take long for me to pursue that desire and I end up at Target picking up a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. Our thoughts stir our desires and emotions and lead us to make choices, good or bad, where we must decide whether we will follow through with them. If we find ourselves only focusing on the negative in our situations, lives or relationships then we become negative and develop a critical spirit. Our conversations and actions become negative and it begins to consume us to the point that we lose the joy that God has placed in our lives. To think that we can lose our joy based on one negative thought.

When trouble arises in our lives it is important that we evaluate where it came from because most of the time, we create our own drama based on our focus and thought life. When we feel depressed or discouraged and cannot quite put a finger on where it is coming from, we should examine our thoughts and find what it is that is fueling our emotions. It is so important that we keep a reign on our minds and feelings. We can choose whether to think the worst or best in our life and in our relationships. Scripture says that we are always to think on what is true, right, good, lovely, noble and pure which means we are to think the best in our lives and of people. We should focus on God’s grace, mercy and love and not on the things we do not have. I saw a quote once that said, “As you wander through life, brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.” It is somewhat corny but there is a lot of truth to it. Too many of us focus on what is not there, what we do not have or what is not right.

How often do we talk negative about the things God has given us? I live in a neighborhood that has homes that were built by a Christian builder. He told us once that he prayed over this neighborhood before it was built asking that it would be filled with families that loved the Lord. God heard his prayer because there are four families alone that all attend the same church and have a desire to obey the Lord. What breaks my heart is knowing that there are people who complain about what flowers are planted at the entrance of the neighborhood or how something in our home was cheaply done. God has blessed our families in this neighborhood with beautiful homes and wonderful neighbors who care for one another but sometimes people focus on the negative and allow Satan to devalue what God has so graciously given to each of us. These are the very things that shape our character and speak to the condition of our heart. (Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23) What is it that really matters in our lives? Is it Him? I cannot help but hear the words to this hymn while writing this post.

“O soul are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.”

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Helen H. Lemmel-1922

Our happiness and direction in life are decided by our thought life and this is a powerful thing because our thoughts are not just something that passes through our minds and are then gone. We have to remember that our mind is like a battlefield. Satan is always looking for the opportunity to find his way in and take our focus off Christ. It does not matter how well we live our life if our thoughts are not true or right and especially if they are not pure. We must focus on the things that have eternal value and stay clear of those things that will lead us down a path of discouragement and unhappiness because are we truly happy when we’re complaining?

“Father, keep my eyes turned and focused on You. Forgive me for the times that I allow my thoughts to focus on the things that are not pleasing to You. Help me to keep my mind filled with Your truth so that my focus is on what is true, right and pure. May all that I do bring honor and glory to You.”


This was sent in an anonymous comment and I thought I would share it in case you don’t read the comments of this blog because it is definitely worth reading. I thought the message was right on and speaks to everyone of us out there. In order to know peace and contentment we have to know and walk with Christ. He must be our focus and our commitment.

The Captivity Of Discontent
by Jon Walker

“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content]—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.”
Philippians 4:11–12 (HCSB)
The Apostle Paul, who was blessed with great privileges – but also beaten and stripped of everything he had – taught that true contentment must be learned: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12, NIV) He teaches that God gives us strength to be content. This is an important spiritual truth to learn because if wealth, good looks, or the seemingly perfect spouse brought lasting contentment, then Hollywood would be filled with some of the most content and happy people on earth.

But it’s not.
What does this mean?

Don’t compare yourself to others – When you compare your life with someone else’s, the only place it can lead is discontent. There will always be people who appear to be better off than you, but you don’t know their real circumstances.

I recall counseling a husband many years ago, who said he wished his wife could be more like so-and-so, and he named a woman in our congregation. What he didn’t know was that the woman was an alcoholic who was causing awful heartache and stress for her family and her husband. That’s why the Bible says it is unwise to compare ourselves with others or even with ourselves! (2 Corinthians 10:12)

Be grateful for who you are and what you have – Learning to be content requires that you stop any “when and then” thinking – “When I am ___________, then I’ll be happy.” (You fill in the blank.) You may actually be content for a little while but then someone else or something else will come along and drain the contentment from your life.

But listen – you are unique. God created you to be like nobody else, so why would you want to be anyone else? God is perfect, and you were his perfect choice to be you! Understanding that is a huge step toward being content with your life.

And then look at all the things God has given you. So often we allow what we don’t have to dominate our focus to the point we forget the many, wonderful things we already have – not only material things, but far more important blessings, such as family and friends.

Give yourself to others – If you will begin giving yourself to others, sharing what things you do have, sharing your time and your talents, you will find yourself learning to be content. Helping others will give you an appreciation for what you have and who you are but, more importantly, you will find yourself growing in contentment. Why? Because God designed us to serve and share with others and until we do that, we will feel great discontent.

Focus on things with eternal value – The real secret to becoming content is to focus on the things that have eternal value. It may be a familiar teaching to you, but Jesus said we should store up our treasures in heaven, and not on earth “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19–21, NIV)

Think about the things in your life – What will last forever? What will last at least for your lifetime? What will last only a few short years, or months, or days? Based on eternal value, what things are most important in your life? Where – and with whom – should you invest your most time and energy?By reorganizing your life around eternal priorities, you will find yourself growing in contentment, as you live according to God’s design and purpose.